A little while ago Victoria and I decided that we would take up a class together for the giggle and she saw an opening for a class on Thursday nights for six weeks. All sounded great until I was informed that it was kickboxing… I won’t lie, I had a big gulp, but it was very well priced and was something out of our comfort zone, so why the hell not!?
We found ourselves at this little place beside Dundela Football club in East Belfast called ProKick. The place didn’t honestly look like much on the outside and I was a little dubious as to what we had gotten ourselves into. We entered and were welcomed and told to wait. We had just walked fairly quickly for over an hour to get there on time, so I was pretty happy to chill for a little bit and watch the class before us finish up. Watching their moves etc was a little daunting, but I was hopeful that we would be okay.
The class was fairly busy with a good mix of people all shapes and sizes. Some guys were wanting to know if they needed mouth guards and they were informed that no. They wouldn’t need mouth guards for a beginners class in kickboxing as there would be no contact. I breathed a sigh of relief as I was wondering if there would be any contact over the six weeks.
Billy is the head coach/instructor at the gym and started the class in quite a strong manner. Making sure everyone knew to listen to him and whatever he said. Some students decided to natter too much and he would discipline us all by making us do burpees. This was not appreciated by me as those girls would NOT SHUT UP. Continually doing burpees can really make you dislike someone and that person wasn’t Billy. I understood right away why he was making us do this. We had to learn that he was in charge and most importantly we had to respect him and the facilities. Yes, the place was old, but it was a place of learning and it didn’t need you to respect it, it expected it.
I immediately loved that approach as I knew we were to be challenged for the rest of the course. Billy takes us through some basics such as a jab and a straight right hand. But most importantly we learn to get that fighting stance right. Without getting that stance right, you would be buggered.
As time goes on…
As Victoria and I walked in from North Belfast every night we felt pretty warmed up and loose, so the warm-ups were handy to keep the heart rate going. As the weeks go on, we build upon the punches to kicks and turning those into combinations. Having been out of remembering sequences for a while, it took a little longer than I would have like to get it right and happily I wasn’t alone, a few people were making the same mistakes as me! Billy was firm, but patient and almost changed completely after the first week as we had now shown him and his building respect, so the burpees went away!
The second week ended with a kickboxing version of the game Simon Says, where you only move if Billy said the combination and then 1. If you moved before the 1 then you were doing sit-ups. I panicked and hoped I would last! Slowly I kept it going and all of a sudden I found myself in the last four! But sadly I mucked up and did the wrong combination. No sit-ups though, so I escaped that pain!
We moved from front kicks to crescent kicks. Some involving us have to quickly switch feet to make sure we could get the left foot up. Then there was ducking and knees. The combinations grew longer and so much concentration was required not to mess up too much. But we kept getting through it and I was getting prouder of the work we had done in the 4 weeks that had gone past.
Get those gloves on
Week 5 brought us to the big day, we would put on the gloves and do pad work. This simply involved aiming your punches at the other person’s gloves. Trying your best not to hit the face and keep it simple. Victoria and I teamed up for this week and we hit each other gloves. I didn’t want to go mad at the gloves just in case it hurt her. But boy did Victoria decide that I was going to have it. She punched hard and shattered herself. But she had this great big grin on her face that I couldn’t do anything but smile back at her. She had been a little stressed as of late and I think she needed to vent a little about how that was going, so saw the opportunity to let it out.
Right after that sessions, I decided to purchase our own gloves, so when the class ended, we could practice at home as it was a great little workout. Plus the other gloves were a little sweaty for our liking from the previous classes, so having our own gloves, just made a bit more sense.
One thing we noticed by about the 4th week was that the class was dropping in its sie dramatically. To the point where I think we lost near half of the class on the final week, which was disappointing as I had hoped that we would all get through it as one. I think the shadowboxing did it as it kept you going and made you think even more about your moves as you had to make sure you didn’t lose your rhythm!
I was loving the course and told Victoria that I wanted to keep doing it and go to the Advanced beginner classes. Which I will talk about another day! Sadly Billy wasn’t able to coach us as much on the last lesson and I think his presence was sorely missed as he had taught us the entire way through and to finish without him. Our instructor was great though and he got us through the lesson. It was pleasing to know that there were multiple great coaches.
I didn’t think I would love it as much as I would, but I truly did and I am excited about the next class and to keep practising with Victoria as I think our ability to look after ourselves has grown in case of an emergency. ProKick is awesome folks and deserves all the credit they do or their community (Victoria let me know what kind of things they have done, as she remembered being part of a short involving them). If you are wanting to know some self-defence and get your butt kicked for 45 or so minutes while learning something new then I would recommend this course as it is great fun! Information about the company and what they can offer you (they even have kids classes and boot camps if you are wanting to mix it up or have your kids learn vital skills in protecting themselves, click here!
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