Volume 94, Issue 61

Thursday, January 11, 2001


Western and Laurier duel tonight - Golden Hawks present tough challenge

Wax on, wax off bringing in a new wave of fitness for young people

Canuck confidence lost

Wax on, wax off bringing in a new wave of fitness for young people

By Joel Brown
Gazette Staff

They may never be able to karate-chop a load of bricks, or take a sledgehammer to the stomach, but martial arts is quickly becoming a more popular way for young adults to whip themselves into shape.

While the physical fitness benefits to the various fighting forms attract participants, according to longtime martial arts instructor Paul Chau it's the mental workouts that make martial arts an ideal way of improving your health.

"No doubt it's one of the best ways to get fit," Chau said. "In the beginning it'll take a lot out of you, but after a month you'll be in shape that you couldn't believe.

"It is not only about the physical aspect, but mental preparation too. It teaches you to organize your time. What I teach is not only about how much time you have to do the task but how efficient you are using it. I find most of my students here are also strong students when it comes to academics."

Chau, who has been in the martial arts for 43 years, is now a master at the Northern Black Dragon martial arts club in London. He graduated with a science degree from Western in 1976 and also spear-headed a tai-chi club while he attended.

At times Chau says he found it frustrating to teach the class, since the number of participants would dwindle when midterm and final test periods.

"I found students, because of exams, miss too many [club] classes. It affects their process as a result because tai-chi requires, as all the martial arts do, a continued commitment to get better."

The longtime instructor says that time commitments are often an excuse to why people choose not to join, while many also feel they are not in the proper shape to do it.

"They say they can't fit it into their schedule or are too out of shape but that's all the more reason to join. It teaches you the discipline and time management skill you will need in order to become a more fit person."

Patrice Williams, who sits the board of directors for Classical Martial Arts Canada, estimates that martial art participation is growing, judging by the amount of new schools and part time programs that are being started.

"In terms of the city landscape it seems to be on the upswing because of people desire to attain health wellness holistic healing," he said. "It helps university students get through stress and it seems like that's what's killing us these days."

Williams has also seen more and more women wanting to participate because of an increased demand for self-defence techniques. "A lot of women are joining because more and more are seeking to be independent, and ultimately in order to do so, they have to be able to defend themselves."

A form of aerobic fitness that has evolved from the ancient arts is Boxfit, a combination of the various fighting techniques. Western student Lindsay Grundy says she started to participate in it when she sought a new way of working out.

"I like it because it combines strength and aerobic fitness. It's nice to have something that's faster and more exciting than lifting weights. It's also harder and has more of an impact."

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