City life is in constant fast-forward mode — work, exercise, relationships and your body must keep up with this pace. Stand still during rush hour and you’re likely to get pushed around. Martial arts instructor Bishop Garland of New York’s hip Crunch gyms will help you learn to duck, dodge and react.
KATA, KICKS AND CATACLYSM
As a warm-up, Garland goes through basic offensive and defensive moves.
“For the first 30 minutes, I go over the basics — punches, blocks, elbow stretch, hook. The elbow strike is the same movement as when you nudge someone dancing in a club. Mainly used in close contact moves, it can get more powerful when applied to putting someone to the ground.
“We go through all the basic kicks, from the crescent moon where the leg swings around then goes back down, the back kick and the kick check, where you lift the knee to block an incoming kick.”
Footwork is crucial, as it’s the small moves that allow you to execute the main ones. You won’t get the full benefit of the kick or punch if you get this wrong.
When these moves are put together, it’s a smooth sequence called a “kata.”
“Martial arts are high intensity and high impact,” says Garland. “People leave the class feeling elated knowing that if they were unfortunate enough to get into a fight, they would be able to protect themselves.”
BANISH THE BODY BREAKS
“Mental strength will give you control and understanding of the moves and as you will be executing them properly, every muscle will contract, toning your entire body,” explains Garland.
“Improved endurance, agility and flexibility are all to be gained from the practice of martial arts, but another advantage is the heightened perception of body awareness,” says Garland. “Knowing where your legs are in conjunction with the upper torso and how your mind can link your limbs helps you with balance and control.”
For more information on the street fighter class, go to www.crunch.com.