Have you tried the kickboxing class yet?

  • Sep. 16, 2011 10:00 a.m.

Submitted article–Over 50 people have participated in a Haida Gwaii mixed marital arts class since it started in 2009 with the help of QCI Rec. When Ben Harris moved here in 2008, he found limited exercise options for youth and adults in Masset. With over 10 years experience teaching and training at Gibson’s Kickboxing and Pankration in Port Moody, he thought it would be beneficial to start a mixed martial arts (MMA) program. MMA is a full contactsport that allows the use of both striking and grappling arts while standing and on the ground, including boxing, wrestling,Brazilian Jui-jitsu, Muay Thai, kickboxing and karate. MMA-style training is gaining popularity as a great workout. The adult Mauy Thai kickboxing class is the most popular with12-16 participants coming out twice a week to Masset’s community hall. Each class is different with varying warm up and conditioning exercises. Participants learn punching combinations and kicking techniques. Drills are cooperative with one partner holding the pad and the other striking. Equipment such as the 600 sq. ft. of cushioning floor mats, focus mitts, Thai pads, kicking shields, medicine balls, skipping ropes, and hand weights are purchased with drop-in fees collected. This past year, Ben has taught a youth wrestling class and been involved with an after school submission wrestling club at GM Dawson. Submission wrestling is a great physical workout as participants are continually working to gain a dominant position. It involves mental toughness to stay focused on breathing, control emotions, and to never give up, even when in a non-dominant position. Participants must work cooperatively when learning new submissions andthere’s respect for each other as they learn to ‘tap out’. There are life changing benefits resulting from MMA-style exercise:physical health improves with added strength, endurance, balance and personal growth comes with increased confidence and positive self image. It’s a great social activity where there’s acceptance,encouragement, and cooperation from all. Haida Gwaii MMA thanks Northern Savings forfinancial support with a grant in 2010. Funds went to buying exercise mats to allow for more participants. To register for a class contact Haida Gwaii Rec. If you have questions about MMA or the classes, contact BenHarris at benwrestle@gmail.com.

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