The Problem with "Turbo Kick" Classes and Why I'm Now Teaching Them

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wow - that was interesting. And Fun! :)

So, some of you know that I'm a HapKiDo Instructor at the World Martial Arts Center ( ). I love my art form, I love my school. I have been doing it for long enough and I'm quite comfortable up there, leading class. So when someone approached me about teaching a "Turbo Kick" class at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, I *immediately* signed on. And then I realized that this Turbo Kick thing is actually very different than teaching the art of HapKiDo. I was going to need to keep the energy up. I had never done that for more than 20 minutes. Especially because I normally teach the lunchtime class at my dojang, which is only 45 minutes, versus the regular classes which are one hour long. So as opposed to 10 minutes of warming up and stretching, followed by 15-20 minutes of heart pumping kicks, punches and partner work and 15-20 minutes of technique which, let's face it, brings the heart rate right down; I was going to have to keep heart rates up for at least a solid 30 minutes (leaving 10 minutes to warm up, 10 minutes of abs/core and 5-10 minutes to cool down).

Here's another thing. I've taken classes like this before in gyms. I have even done the Kenpo workout in P90X, which was designed by a very high ranking martial artist. But there's generally something about them that I find wholly dissatisfying. It usually moves faster than it takes to really get the moves right. And also, sometimes the movements make no sense to me (like why would you follow a powerful punch or, worse, a front kick with an uppercut when an uppercut requires your opponent to be close to you?). So the challenge to me is: how do I put together a workout that could actually be useful as well as have it be challenging in a cardio sort of way?

I signed on and then started to panic: how can I do that? Is it even possible? Well, over the following days (I only had 4 days between the time I said "yes" and the time my first class started to figure out what I was gonna do!), I realized that, yes, it can be done. I threw together a routine. It definitely could use more refining, which I will do over the coming weeks but it was a start. I'm keeping all of this stuff in mind and I think it'll end up being a really good class.

I have often thought I could be a pretty good group fitness leader and now I have an opportunity to give it a shot. This will be a great learning experience and I'm looking forward to making it as thoughtful, challenging and as FUN a class as possible.

If you take classes like these, what do you like about them? What do you NOT like about them? Any input from you would be greatly appreciated!


Oh - and P.S. - I think I'm gonna have to change the name. To SwiftKick. You heard it here first...


Mazz Swift

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I wish I lived closer to NY. I've tried a couple of different classes on that same theme in the gym: the TurboKicks and some cardio kickboxing classes. Unfortunately most of the instructors are not martial artists at their core. They fire off a series of kicks and/or punches without any thought as to proper technique and viability. They are teaching the students to whip out sloppy kicks that could potentially cause injury.

    Kudos to you for putting it together! "SwiftKick" ~ I love it!!

    Best of luck to you! Have fun!!!!

    2607 days ago
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