Roll With The Punches
By Maria Pemoloza
I’m just going to come right out and say it: I’m a lazy person when it comes to working out. It’s a bit of a shame, since New College offers free gym access seven days a week to their students. In high school I was a pretty active person: horseback riding, swimming, cross country, and more.
But when I started college, I immediately said “no more” and resigned myself to being a couch potato. It was difficult to motivate myself to go to the gym, considering that working out on my own just isn’t any fun.
Luckily for me, the New College Fitness Center and several New College clubs offer several group workouts including yoga, racquetball club, sunset biking club, and self defense class. This year, my friend and roommate Maya – who works at the gym – actually managed to convince me, of all people, to try out a self-defense class.
So I grudgingly dragged myself out of the comfort of my room and plodded down to self-defense class, agonizing over every step I took away from my cozy room. I’ve only missed one class since that day. Now, once a week on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m., I head on over to the gym and have a blast. It’s a group class, and it really helps me feel motivated to know that I’m not working out alone.
J.R. Ayers teaches the class. He runs the Ayers Martial Arts Academy located here in Sarasota, about four miles from campus. He teaches students here at New College for free if they join one of his on-campus classes or clubs.
J.R.’s expertise allows us to learn proper form and technique so that everyone gets the best out of the workout and so that no one gets injured. He structures the class in a way that allows us to not only learn different self-defense moves, but also allows us to get in a decent workout.
We spend first half-hour doing crunches, pushups and squats. The rest of the class is focused on learning new moves and revising older self-defense moves. Sometimes we work with pads, learning how to properly punch, kick, knee and elbow, and sometimes we use mats to learn different grappling moves and techniques.
The self-defense class works on many levels. Exercising with other people gets a healthy competitive spirit going. That makes me and everyone else actually want to try harder and improve, resulting in a much more successful workout.
Each time I go I can feel myself improving, and knowing that I’m putting in an effort towards my physical health gives me a glowing sense of satisfaction. I get to hang out with friends while getting in a much-needed workout that I know I wouldn’t get without the class.
I know that I’m going to have fun and feel good that I’ve gotten some exercise for the day. No more lazy couch potato for me – at least not on Wednesdays!
– Maria Pemoloza is a second-year student at New College.