Kickstart your love of martial arts this year

A new year often means renewed enthusiasm for those resolutions we make every January, and let’s be honest – the majority of them include the word ‘gym’.

But if the thought of getting your muffin top out in front of a personal trainer brings you out in a cold sweat, why not consider giving martial arts a go?

Gazette reporter Becca Choules with kickboxing instructor Steven Poulton

Gazette reporter Becca Choules with kickboxing instructor Steven Poulton

I was invited along to try out kickboxing for the first time and was given the warmest of welcomes by Tring Martial Arts academy owner Chris Allen, before being introduced to everyone.

Before the beginners class, I was given a front row seat to watch the youngsters from the Hyper Pro session in action – and it was obvious that they loved every minute, judging by the way they launched themselves into the high kicks with such a passion.

Chris, who opened the academy in 2005, said: “Last year, 93 per cent of new people joined the club on a recommendation from another member, which is brilliant.

“We have an excellent reputation in the local community. We’re friendly, non-judgemental and the instructors are there to make you work.

“What do you look at when you’re on the treadmill at the gym? A wall, a TV, or a window. Here, you’re introduced to everyone and you’re paired with a buddy. It’s a very social thing and you’re surrounded by like-minded people.”

Soon it was time for me to get warmed up for the taster session, and instructor Steven Poulton got us going with a little bit of cardio and stretching before we donned gloves.

We were shown the correct way to perform jabs, hooks and front kicks before we were able to try them out ourselves in sequence under Steven’s watchful eye.

The simple starter moves were enough to leave me out of breath and left me feeling like I’d got a good workout.

The academy offers a two-week free trial for any of its fitness sessions – including Cage Fitness, kickboxing and Krav Maga – so you can be sure it’s for you before you sign up.

For information on class timetables and more, visit