Tuesday, August 16, 2011

New Self-Defense Fitness Classes

At our Vancouver area martial arts school, we pride ourselves in offering a full schedule of adult Can-ryu Jiu-jitsu classes, which offer students a wide range of self-defense skills, including striking, throwing/takedowns, breakfalls, joint locks, sparring, ground techniques and more. Our standard classes start by introducing the most practical, easy-to-learn defensive skills with strong emphasis on gross motor skills while also providing foundations for higher level learning that is developed as a student progresses.

Having taught these types of classes for 5 years now, and we do our best to make these classes accessible to anyone and have people of all ages (even a 65-year-old!), fitness, levels and physical abilities. That being said, some people have different comfort levels in terms of what we do, or are not necessarily looking to learn a comprehensive martial art, but still want a place where they can develop and maintain their defensive skills as well as their fitness levels. It is for this reason that we developed our new Self-Defense Fitness classes.

Using the simplest, most effective self-defense techniques in Can-ryu Jiu-jitsu, we've created a program that improves students' cardio, strength, coordination, balance, flexibility, etc, AND teaches students how to apply them for personal protection should the need arise. Unlike our regular Jiu-jitsu classes, these one-hour classes leave out higher impact activities such as breakfalls, throws, joint locks and sparring making it accessible to everyone. It's designed to be a solution for people looking for a lower-impact martial arts fitness option. It also can appeal to people who don't like the idea of being thrown or having their joints locked up, whether they're getting over an injury or just a little intimidated at the prospect.

I never really liked the idea of cardio kickboxing or boxercise classes, finding that these types of classes were more about getting fit with only a minor association with the martial arts, and little to no application as to how to use the martial techniques taught. That's why I wanted to make this class different. Around 1/2-2/3 of the class would be spent on fitness and circuit training with practical striking drills with the remaining time spent on the practical applications of the techniques. This class will not require uniforms and will have no belt system. The only equipment required would be a groin protector.

I am hoping that this class will help broaden our reach by offering a more simplified training option that addresses different people's needs. It would also serve as an ongoing training option for women who do our 2-hour women's self defense class. Additionally, I hope it will also serve to attract curiosity in our regular Jiu-jitsu classes from people who develop a desire to progress further. At the same time, it would also serve our regular Jiu-jitsu students should they want a different format class to help improve fitness levels or give them a training option while recovering from injury.

What do you think?


Anonymous said...

This sounds very much like a standard beginner krav maga class. I do like the idea and wish you the best of luck with it. Not that I'm in a position to come check it out but are these classes physically tougher than the JJ ones?


Lori O'Connell said...

Thanks for your support! I wouldn't say these classes are tougher, just different. As far as skill development goes, this class is easier in that we don't cover any fine motor skills. Students will, however, get a more intense cardio and conditioning workout since we'll be doing circuit training in every class. That being said, people who come in to the class out of shape and wanting to get fit will still be able to go at a pace that they're comfortable with, allowing them to build their fitness gradually. I suppose it depends on what you think "tougher" entails.

The Novice said...

I like the sound of it very much. In jiu-jitsu you have to have to stand/sit and watch the instructor demonstrate something complex, and the heart-rate goes down accordingly - and the fitness levels of the jitsuka don't get to where they should be. I hope there will be those that get comfortable with enough of the 'basics' to want to try more and thus migrate into proper jiu-jitsu classes. Good luck!

Lori O'Connell said...

That's a good point, Novice. Technical demonstrations will be way more succinct due to the simplicity of the techniques being taught.