Are you interested in the spiritual and fitness aspects of kung-fu but not so interested in hitting people? Then kung-fu aerobics could be for you.
The Tai Chi Wushu Institute of Australia has started classes in kung-fu aerobics a fitness regime using the traditional stances and movements of kung-fu set to music, for the purposes of physical wellbeing.
As Master Shao Zhao Ming explains, to be able to defend yourself effectively you have to be fit. Many people are turned off by the violent aspects of self-defence classes. He hopes that women, particularly, will be more attracted by the fitness aspect of kung-fu aerobics.
The class starts with a stretching and loosening-up session. This is followed by jogging on the spot. The stretching and the jogging help to loosen up the body and kick start the cardiovascular system.
After this, the session begins in earnest. The participants begin a series of poses that all derive from kung-fu, or wushu as it is also known. Although originally designed for self-defence, the stepping and punching gestures used here also have the benefit of toning muscles by using the weight of the participants limbs as resistance.
Each routine is derived from a specific kung-fu sequence of moves, however, there isnt as much focus on getting the postures 100 per cent correct. People are here primarily to get their heart rate up.
The class is conducted in stages with short breaks in between for a breather and a sip of water. After the break, the class begins in earnest with a series of routines that require greater balance and ability than before.
Not everyone has it down straightaway but the atmosphere is encouraging. Perhaps with a bit of perseverance he will get to be as accomplished as the Master.
On the red T-shirts, in Chinese calligraphy, are the words “Essence, Energy and Spirit.” This is the motto of the group. Essence is the focus of todays exercises.
Essence refers to the material body and the world. The Chinese believe that in order to have a strong connection with the spiritual world, one must have a healthy connection with the material essence of things and the body. This is the foundation from which all else can be built.
Kung-fu aerobics is mainly about getting fit in a fun, but focused, way. As Master Shao shows us, there is a world of depth behind it and if the participant is interested in learning more, there is always more to learn.
CJ – Fitness
Tai Chi Wushu Institute.