Class offers first-hand martial arts action

BY VICTORIA KIPP | JULY 25, 2012 6:30 AM

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Cardio Combat, a new workout at the Campus Recreation & Wellness Center, drew a nice group on Tuesday evening as 11 women gathered to try the intense and different activity.

The legs, arms, and core are the main body parts that instructor Samantha Myers focused on. She began the evening by telling her class that it takes a while to get the hang of the moves. But she told the students to “just enjoy it and sweat.”

And sweat is definitely what the participants and Myers did.

Cardio Combat isn’t a typical cardio workout that people might do on their own in the gym.

“The class incorporates numerous forms of martial arts to work on strengthening, toning, and conditioning,” Myers said. “It is a series of punching and kicking so you are working breath as well. High cardio, high intensity, core conditioning at the end.”

Participants practiced uppercuts and jabs along with roundhouse and side kicks. Myers continually told the class to aim as if they were taking down an opponent.

The class is on the more advanced side, but participants don’t need to have any prior experience with any kind of martial arts.

Myers recognized a few faces around the room, but for the most part the participants on Tuesday were new. Some who had never done it before said they would definitely do it again instead of their usual stepper class.

Yanique Conie is used to boxing, so the class came a little more naturally to her. Even though it might have been easier for her than others in the class who had had no experience, the class was far from easy for Conie.

“Typically, boxing is more arms and everything is more extensive, but today was good,” Conie said. “It was definitely up there with boxing.”

Myers made sure to accommodate the students with no martial-arts experience. She introduced each maneuver by slowing down the movement and describing how it should be done.

“Because it is pretty quick-paced, it takes a little time to learn the moves effectively,” she said. “I really focus on technique so that you can utilize your body the best way to get the best workout — injury-free, of course."

Once the moves were introduced, however, the workout kicked into high gear. The moves that are taught go in sync with music. As the tempo in the songs picked up, so did the speed of the moves. At some points, arms and legs were swinging with barely a chance for participants to get a breath in.

The room was in continuous movement — one song led right into another, keeping the participants on their feet for the hourlong class.

“It was high-energy and kept me going,” Conie said. “My cardio was still going, and I got a really good workout in my arms.”

The participants left the class drenched with sweat, but many said they were satisfied.

“Combat is one of those classes that kind of gets into your system,” Myers said. “Either you really love it, or you just come to work out, but people who really do love it come back.”

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