THE FIGHTER IN YOU
FOLLOWING THE UPTAKE OF COMBAT SPORTS IN FITNESS TRAINING, THERE’S CLEARLY MORE TO THEM THAN BLACK BELTS AND BLACK EYES. THOUGH, ARE THEY WORTH THE RISK?
Not so long ago, if you wanted to start boxing, the only option was a sweaty old building resembling a warehouse more than a gym. Inside, the sound of heavy breathing accompanied by the pounding of cowhide leather on pads (or flesh). Now, the story is different. Walk into most major gyms in the world and you’ll find an array of classes in anything from boxing to Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Disciplines once considered an excuse for mindless violence have become legitimate sports – more so, some of the hardest in the world. And for good reason. One hour of boxing will burn close to 750 calories, compared to 470 during circuit training. And that’s without even mentioning the technical difficulty involved. Yet, the question still remains: with a full-time job, daily meetings with clients and a general desire to keep your face intact, is it possible to take up combat sports without risking a collection of unflattering bruises for all in the workplace to see? Speaking to Thiago Stefanutti of Melbourne’s Absolute MMA, the answer is a resounding yes. As someone who has trained multiple world champions in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, he tells us, “Martial arts are the future of the fitness industry”. “Lots of people want to train like a fighter but they don’t necessarily want to be a fighter,” explains Stefanutti. “They don’t want the scary part… I’m totally happy to see people use martial arts to improve their fitness.” Tempted to ditch the treadmill for the gloves? If so, use this breakdown to discover which sport, from the classics to the newbies, is right for you. And whether you want to actually enter the ring – that’s entirely up to you.