Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Body - I'm CatWoman and I Kick Butt!

For the sake of our beloved little blogazine, this 'Auntie' padded off last Saturday afternoon, forsaking hearth, home and kitchen, to try out a new class – Zen Do Kai Karate & Kickboxing. (This is how it’s described: "Zen Do Kai combines the best and most effective techniques from many different styles of martial arts making Zen Do Kai Karate a complete and very effective system of self defence. The Zen Do Kai philosophy is 'if it works, we use it.'") It’s a new programme set up by Peter Robertson, a nice mixed martial arts instructor, looking all lean and crew cut and martial-artsy, who happens to be recently married to my friend. He set it up recently and is giving free introductory classes all the way to the end of August!

As I wandered up the steps, I had images of John Woo-style slow-motion fight scenes in my head, Matrix and X-Men-type moves. I’m Catwoman. I’m Jessica Alba. Stand back, World! I'm gonna kick butt (limp hair notwithstanding)!

....Oh God, cringe and wither….It couldn’t have been further from that!

The first session started with karate, and he brought us – a motley bunch of girls and guys of various experience levels – through some basic moves and drills. He got us trying out ‘wing chun hands’ – very Jackie Chan where you learn how to block opponents strikes and push it away and looks like patty-cake in slow-mo; some four-step basic move which looked slow and easy but got me all tangled up and lost (didn’t realise my hand-foot-eye coordination was so bad!); and I think there was something about how to grab a chap (imaginary of course) who’d caught you by the head, twist out of the hold and hit him back. It wasn’t in great detail, he didn’t explain exactly how to position our feet or hands but I gather it’s an introductory session, so those details would come later.

This lasted an hour, and was good fun, I must say, despite my being lost half the time. (You can see how dorky I look in the pics….which takes a lot of foolhardiness to post, mind you! a little kindness please) A little break, then on to another hour of kickboxing. Yay.

I think I followed this a lot better – not so lost, and easier to follow. Again, it was a few basic moves and drills. Move 1 – jab. Move 2- jab jab. Move 3 – jabjab, jaaaab. Move 4 – jab, jab, jab jab. I could do that. Then came the kicking, the elbowing (no real impact, so don’t worry – I left with not a single blue black – it’s nice and gentle at this stage, Peter reminds us). We had to run through a little circuit which included kicking the punching bag at different heights. One thing I also learnt… it’s not easy to kick high when you’re short like me. “Kick high,” he calls out, holding the bag. Yes yes, Peter, that’s as high as my leg goes…and it made as much of an impact as a limp sausage hitting a brick wall.

Two hours later, I disgorged from the gym. It wasn’t very aerobic at this stage, but when things pick up, I am told you’ll get a more vigorous work out. This was for beginners – baby steps. Did I enjoy it? Yes I guess I did – very much. It was fun because it the mood was informal and the instructor was actually quite fun; and being with mostly beginners, things were more forgiving and we laughed at ourselves a lot. And at the end of the day I learnt a few moves in self-defence. If I followed it through, it can be empowering I am certain. But Catwoman, I will never be. That said, I’d say, give it a try.

Where: Pan-I Complex, 601 Sims Drive (near Aljunied MRT)
To register or enquire:
Classes: Every Tuesday 7pm (karate), 8pm (kickboxing);
Every Saturday 1.45pm (karate) 2.45pm (kickboxing)

- Ee Waun


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