With the meteoric rise in popularity of mixed martial arts and the already huge following of boxing around the world, most average gym Joe’s will have noted what extraordinary physiques these modern day gladiators have. These real, but seemingly unobtainable chiselled bodies, look like they could be straight off the set of 300.
Endless months of sweat, rigorous fight camps and brutal weight cuts, to get ready for bouts, aren’t exactly what most of us want to get stuck into to achieve our summer bods. There are many sacrifices made to be a pro fighter. It’s an almost impossible task with an often savage outcome and not for the faint hearted. How many of us are willing to put that level of effort and commitment into our daily health and fitness regime?
What if getting fit-for-a-fight, as opposed to being fighting-fit, was well within your grasp; If you could achieve a physique that you could hold your chin up high about? If you’re already committed to building up a sweat at the gym in the name of fitness, wouldn’t a little commitment to learn a skill that could be yours for a lifetime, be a better more rewarding investment of your time?
Enter Will and Dom. 35th generation fighting disciples of the Shaolin Temple, China, personal trainers in Central London, and stuntmen with the British Stunt Register. Champions in Chinese full-contact fighting (Sanshou) and well respected opponents among Muay Thai and K1 rules fighters across the UK. They have become ambassadors for traditional Shaolin Kung Fu and its internal arts.
This may not mean a lot to most, and detailing the lifestyle of monks living in the mountains of China is not the purpose of this article. Suffice to say that these guys have been there and done it the hard way… so you don’t have to.
‘Martial Arts training is, in itself, functional. There’s no better feeling of health than to be able to move our own bodies freely. We can build strength, power, speed, balance and mobility without any kit. Our bodies become our gym, with all the equipment we need built in.’
The fitness world has caught on and the popularity of pad-work training among personal trainers and fitness professionals is a growing trend. Unfortunately, many of them don’t come from a martial arts or fighting background and often miss a potent ingredient to maximising the benefits for their clients- Purpose.
Pad-work, among fit-pros, has become a tool for a varied form of cardio. And that it is… but with purpose, this style of training can become so much more. Explosive movements with rapid changes of direction challenge core stability. Multiple muscles firing in synchronicity develop balance, co-ordination and power. Compound movements throughout the body in every plane and direction makes martial arts training one of the original, functional, full body work outs. Pad-work is just one element in the arsenal that is martial arts training. A good instructor could get you to peak levels of fitness in an amazingly varied way.
Think of it as high intensity interval training (HIIT). 2-3 minutes of maximal work with a 1 minute rest. Explosive, reaction based drills that work your body and mind together and will hit all the muscle groups.
Traditional forms (Tao Lu)
These are sequences of movements that contain a library of techniques and exercises that can be taken apart and practiced separately for specific training goals or, in their entirety, will certainly get your heart rate up and your lungs open. They’re a great eye catching alternative to your long-steady-state cardio and when performed with a little love, can step in as your HIIT session as well.
Qi Gong is like Chinese yoga. Forget the YouTube ‘masters’ mysteriously flipping their students about without touching them. Don’t let the nonsense out there detract from the very real benefits of meditation and a more gentle movement practice. Taking time to quiet down your mind and relax your body have untold health benefits in the high stress world we live in. The reduction of belly fat, lowering blood pressure, managing anxiety and improved sleep are just some of the benefits you could enjoy.
‘The pursuit of improving your skills in activities like martial arts or boxing gives that activity meaning. It is an instant reward. Being able to enjoy the process of the training itself becomes our goal and improved fitness, weight loss and toning are very pleasant byproducts.’
Be mindful in your movements and happy in your training.
Will & Dom.
If you’d like speak to Will or Dom about your training, get in touch using the links below: