The power of the kick

(Matt Oxman / Ryersonian Staff)

(Matt Oxman / Ryersonian Staff)

For women, kick-boxing can be the most impactful experience that Ryerson offers. A weekly one-hour class gives participants a chance to push their limits, both physically and mentally. Here are five reasons you may want to give kick-boxing a try:

1) Improves fitness

Despite the importance of a mental clarity within kick-boxing, there is no way to ignore the physical element. Powerful kicks and punches to a hitting pad or even a sparring partner bring an irreplaceable rush. A high-impact class also promises to raise the heart rate while improving balance, flexibility and strength.

“I appreciate how we utilize the body,” says third-year philosophy and criminology major Anoshka D’Souza. “It transforms it into this tool we can utilize in other ways than just sitting and walking. “You don’t need any secondary item to protect yourself. You can with your body and mind and that’s all you need.”

2) Helps mind-body connection

“You have to discipline yourself, that’s why we have the meditation part of the program,” says Ryerson kick-boxing instructor Fred King. “Once you approach a situation in a positive way and you get positive results, it’s empowering.”

Kick-boxing originates from ancient martial arts that combine strength and stamina with the power and control of thoughts. Alignment of the physical body with the quieting of the mind leads to a newfound sense of self.

“Kick-boxing is 90 per cent mental and 10 per cent physical,” says King. “A lot of the workouts we do are a lot of mental work, especially if you have to push yourself against a certain point beyond your comfort zone.”

3) Kick-starts a lifestyle change

Michelle Rocafort, a fourth-year accounting student, found kick-boxing to help her with a major lifestyle change.

A degree in accounting while minoring in law has Rocafort stuck behind a desk and living an inactive life. Before university, she was frequently active and nearly stress-free, and she’s yearning for that lifestyle once again.

“I thought about it (kick-boxing) as a way of a good release from studying and sitting all the time. I was not as active as I used to be and I didn’t really know or understand the benefits I could get out of it.”

4) Teaches self-defence

A kick-boxing practice equips students with the lifelong knowledge of being able to protect yourself. Having the confidence to walk down the street alone at night provides some with a feeling of power.

“I have an idea of how to defend myself,” says Rocafort. “I have that confidence that if I was in danger I have some idea of form. I have the muscle memory for any situation, you never know. It’s a really powerful feeling.”

5) Creates a sense of community

Everybody needs a friend or family for support. It helps ease the pain of failure and stress but also makes certain accomplishments feel more special.

Knowing those people are there for you increases confidence and puts a little pep in your step during everyday life. Ryerson’s kick-boxing class is brimming with community spirit.

“It’s a lot of emotions,” says Rocafort. “I don’t know, sometimes you can be frustrated, anxious or stressed and typically people are going through the same thing in the class. There is group support and everyone lets it out. You sweat it out together.”

D’Souza agrees: “I definitely see it as so homey. It’s intimidating when you walk in, thinking what are these people doing, but they’re the most nicest people. There is a nice community spirit.”

This story was first published in The Ryersonian, a weekly newspaper produced by the Ryerson School of Journalism, on March 26, 2014.

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