To be perfectly honest, I kept my expectations rather low before attending UFC Gym’s Kickboxing Conditioning class held at Robinson’s Galleria. My relationship with martial arts was on and off–from first learning the basics from my dad and my uncle back in grade school (and then later losing interest in it) to training with my college’s Muay Thai team. Since graduating a few years ago, I had been looking for a gym that challenged me physically and mentally, and I would occasionally come across one that was rather repetitive.
Fast forward to an hour later: I found myself exhausted, but more importantly, exhilarated and challenged. I was brought back to why I liked martial arts in the first place.
Taught to us by Coach Adam Kechil, UFC’s Kickboxing Conditioning class is a workout that teaches you a variety of techniques through timed sets. We kicked and punched bags, practiced our coordination by doing exercises inside the octagon and also got to practice defense techniques with a partner. What was refreshing about the class was the variety, as Kechil says that no two classes are ever the same.
“In UFC Gym, there are two types of kickboxing: there is Kickboxing–learning the technique that you would need to fight in a competition–and what we did today, which is Kickboxing Conditioning,” says Kechil. According to him, Kickboxing Conditioning is a class where you train like a real boxer without any contact with others–something not everybody would be ready for right away. “Many people who are stressed out after their daytime jobs just want to experience the training. We say that this class promotes active contact without physical contact,” adds Kechil.
After the class, you definitely feel more empowered, armed with skills that could potentially help you defend yourself. When I asked Kechil whether his students–women in particular–would be able to defend themselves with what they had learned in class, he replies, “Definitely! These classes build stamina, fitness level, but most importantly, they build confidence. You’re more confident that you can defend yourself when you’re walking down the street.”
One misconception some people have about martial arts, however, is that you learn it solely to fight. Kechil wants to erase this notion, saying that at times, a fighter has to hold back: “Some people forget that it is an art. What martial arts can teach us is that if someone is angry at you and wants to fight, you don’t always have to lower yourself to their level. Be calm and flexible. Think about the technique. ” This is one thing I always admired about professional martial artists–how self-disciplined and self-aware they were, no matter what was being unfairly thrown at them. And when the time is right, that is when they strike. Kechil explains this beautifully through a metaphor, saying, “Think about an iceberg. You might just see the cool tip but if you go below the water, you see that it is actually a hundred times bigger. That is what training is like. When someone fights in a competition, they make it look so easy. But you haven’t seen what is underneath the water–the sacrifice, the hours of training to get to that point. That humbleness is martial arts.”