Instructor Tony Brogan goes through the drills with his students.

Your guide to martial arts in Sooke: Part 2

Last week, we looked at the various Taikwondo and karate schools available here in Sooke. This week, we looking at boxing and tai chi.

Last week in part 1 of this guide, we looked at the various Taikwondo and karate schools available here in Sooke. This week, we looking at boxing and tai chi.

Martial arts are defined as studies in self defence that apply strength, power and speed, and/or directed energy and balance. They can be armed or unarmed. Skills development focusses on self-defence and combat, and often involve a mindset component. Here in the West, mindset tends to focus on discipline and positivity, and classes are treated more as fitness-focussed than spiritually-focussed.

Following is a bird’s eye view of what the boxing and tai chi programs. They cater to a range of ages, skill levels and desired outcomes, and hold appeal for both female and male students.

If you are interested in previewing or attending any of these schools, contact the school directly to confirm time and place as some of these schools are still settling into regular schedules.

Sooke Amateur Boxing Club

In Sooke for about 10 years now, according to boxing instructor Tony Brogan, who said that Derek Hoyte was the driving force behind the opening of the Sooke Amateur Boxing Club.

What they teach

As detailed on their Facebook page, the Sooke Amateur Boxing Club offers “Safe instruction in the art of boxing.” A class typically consists of warm-ups, shadow boxing, form practice, and the application technique. Brogan lists the skills that are mastered in class, which include “Footwork, balance, co-ordination, reflex … arobic, anarobic exercises, strength and stamina building.”

Where and when

The Sooke Amatuer Boxing Club meets at the Sooke Community Hall at 2037 Shields Road, across from Mom’s Cafe. They meet on Tuesday and Friday nights starting at 6:30 p.m and go until about 9 p.m. Brogan also puts in an occasional Sunday meeting.

A bit about the art

As Brogan puts it, boxing is “the noble art of self-defence.”  He adds that “it’s non-agressive in its attitude, totally defensive in terms of the teaching, but in that comes aggressive defence where you know how to move forward and accost your aggressor. You learn how to be alert and stay safe. When someone is coming at you, you need to know how to move away and still deliver the blow.”

A bit about the school

As they outline on their webpage, the level of intensity is set by the capacity (and desire) of the student. “Workouts will be conducted with skill level, interest and safety in mind while at the same time providing participants with the opportunity to challenge their limits. If you want to compete, we want to walk you to the ring. If you just want fitness, we want to help you with that, too.”

About the instructors

Coach Tony Brogan is a former boxing competitor and enthusiast. He is a certified and registered coach with the B.C. Boxing Association.

Student profile

This martial art holds appeal for both men and women who want an intense workout. Brogan adds that the Amateur Boxing Club has seen women train with them from time to time.  “It’s eminently suitable” for both men and women he says. “Nobody has to get into the ring, we use it as a model for training. Once they get some conditioning, we get them into the ring.” It’s also ideal for families who want to train together “It’s something the parents can be involved in.”

Monitoring individual progress

There are no belts or levels in this program. The ultimate drive is fitness, with back-drop knowledge of self-defence. “Anyone who can do three three-minute rounds in the ring, they can play a full rugby or soccer game, they can go for a five mile run, they can do anything,” says Brogan.

Website

http://www.facebook.com/SookeAmateurBoxingClub

Fung Loy Kok Taoist Tai Chi™ in Sooke

Taoist Tai Chi has been teaching classes in Sooke since 1987.

What they teach

Taoist Tai Chi consists of a series of gentle movements that work on muscle relaxation, body alignment, and overall co-ordination and balance.

Where and when

Classes are held upstairs at the Sooke Legion Hall at 6726 Eustace Rd. Beginner classes are on Tuesdays starting at 10:30 a.m. Continuing classes begin at 9:30a.m.

The beginner’s class is an introduction to the 108 movements, and the continuing class is for students who know the movements and are then aspiring to improve their form and continue in Tai Chi.

Classes are two hours long, but fear not, the group breaks for a very civilized and traditional cup of Chinese tea halfway through the session.

A bit about the art

Tai Chi is a gentle form of stimulating the body and the mind. The international website (taoist.org) sums it up thus: “Taoist Tai Chi™ internal arts are distinguished at the physical level by stretching, full range of motion and the continuous turning of the waist and spine.  The movements exercise the whole physiology; including the tendons, joints, connective tissue and internal organs. At the mental and spiritual level, they are a method of ‘taming the heart’ and developing an attitude of calm, compassion and reduced self-centredness both during practice and in daily life.”

A bit about the school

The program in Sooke offers Tai Chi classes as a satellite of the Victoria Branch. Debbie Clarkston, an instructor here in Sooke, says that the focus for the Sooke Tai Chi group is focussed “entirely on health improvement.”  Tai Chi is an excellent way to be proactive with your health. “We work with people who face health issues like MS and fibromyalgia,” said Clarkston.

About the instructors

All instructors are volunteers, and classes are operated on a non-profit basis. According to the website of the international co-ordinating body (taoist.org), all instructors are accredited to teach by the National Instruction Co-ordination Committee. They must attend regular training workshops and meet annual accreditation requirements.

Student profile

“Even though the majority of the participants are adults, we encourage participants of any age to attend,” said Clarkson. “Dues are structured so that anyone can attend class.”

Monitoring individual progress

There are two levels: beginners and continuing students. Beginners are introduced to the 108 moves, and the continuing students refine and master them.

Website

http://www.sookeregionresources.com/resource/fung-loy-kok-taoist-tai-chi