punch, kick, hi-ya! pow! oof!
January 21, 2009 6:16 AM   Subscribe

I want to explore adding some punching or kicking to my workout. How should I do this with activities, classes, or games?

Recently I took a self-defense seminar and I found I really enjoyed the punching/kicking motions. It was the movement I liked, not so interested in the part of another person being involved. I also realy like Wii boxing and I have always been curious about that kind of workout - people punching bags, doing kicking exercises, etc. What types of classes, activities, or games might I try?

Possibly relevant info: About 8 months ago, I exchanged my couch potato lifestyle for a more active one and I regularly do strength training & cardio/aerobics. I am steadily moving toward my goal. I am not totally buff by any means, but I can get through an hour of cardio or a few weight circuits just fine. I am female in my mid 30s. I work out at the Y and have access to Wii too. I don't think I'd enjoy hitting people or being hit, Million Dollar baby style. The only thing I know about kick boxing is what I know from watching Say Anything.
posted by pointystick to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Have a look at Tae Bo, I found it to be a perfect mix of cardio/aerobics with kicks and punches thrown in.
posted by Glow Bucket at 7:04 AM on January 21, 2009

Check your Y for some cardio kickboxing class or get some TaeBo dvd's?
posted by spoons at 7:08 AM on January 21, 2009

If you really want a true "kicking/punching" work out then you MUST do Muay Thai kickboxing. I have done it for years and it is hands down the best cardio workout you can get. Plus you will get more self defense training and confidence that you will not get from things like Tae Bo.

There will be plenty of gyms in your area that will teach Muay Thai because of its popularity with MMA.

Good luck and good kicking :D
posted by birdlips at 7:21 AM on January 21, 2009

Best answer: I took a class advertised as aerobic kickboxing at a local martial arts studio, and it was great. We spent about half the class doing aerobic-y things that contained punches and kicks, and about half practicing those skills with a bag. It was a fantastic workout, and I know how to punch and kick now :). It seems like that's more or less what you want- to learn how to kick and punch, but with no expectation that you fight another person. I highly recommend it.
posted by MadamM at 9:38 AM on January 21, 2009

maybe consider checking out some capoeira classes. lots of kicking, no (intentional) contact.
posted by gnutron at 9:51 AM on January 21, 2009

Best answer: I'm just going to second the tae-bo videos as having lots of punching and kicking, but taking a martial arts centered class has the added benefit of focusing a little more on form. This makes a difference in the feel of your punches and kicks, even if you never hit anything but air. As with most workouts, doing things incorrectly can actually hurt you by putting stress on the wrong areas of your body. I took karate for years and it took me three years of classes, 3x a week to do a perfect side kick, but I could feeeeel it.

Perhaps do a free trial martial arts class that focuses on basic punches and kicks just to get a feel for what the instruction would be like and if it's something you would enjoy. Then have fun at the more kickboxing/aerobic classes. I like MadamM's suggestion.
posted by CoralAmber at 12:12 PM on January 21, 2009

Best answer: I wonder if you could get by taking a karate class without having to make contact with anyone else. Or have someone you know that knows karate, teach you a few moves.

In my flavor of karate, we were taught something called katas. They are a fluid series of moves (kicks, punches and blocks) done to imitate fighting styles. For each belt they become increasingly advanced. I found these to be extremely enjoyable to do and they almost became like a dance. You could probably find some demonstrated online to get yourself started, although it would be best to have someone experienced observe you occasionally to make sure you are doing them correctly.

You may be able to find a karate class that honors your desire not to go one-on-one with another person. In my class, we usually lined up and did punching and kicking exercises, not totally unlike an aerobics class. We only occasionally did one-on-one exercises and the teacher was very understanding about differing approaches to them.

Otherwise, Wii Fit has a few very small parts you might enjoy - rhythm boxing for punching and the advanced step aerobics incorporates kicking.
posted by bristolcat at 12:16 PM on January 21, 2009

Seconding Muay Thai. I've done it for more than a year and it is an incredibly good cardio workout. You spend most of your time, especially at the lower levels, punching/kicking pads and bags, which seems to be what you want to do. It's difficult to avoid hitting people or being hit; even for beginners there will be the occasional light sparring session or so (ymmv). But some gyms offer separate 'fitness' classes that place less emphasis on fighting technique and training; those classes might be a good fit with what you're looking for.
posted by nihraguk at 7:30 PM on January 21, 2009

Response by poster: Thanksa for all the great suggestions. My Y offers kickboxing so I'll give that a try and I will also look at a free trial session for one of the martial arts!
posted by pointystick at 5:31 AM on January 22, 2009

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