Extreme martial arts RAIZES bar on health and fitness
Team Raize, an extreme martial arts team, put on a demonstration of kicks,
flips and jumps for Conestoga students to promote
alternate ways to stay fit Jan. 17.
Norm Brandt, a first-year general arts and science student and computer programming graduate, first got the idea of extreme martial arts from watching martial arts movies.
" There was a few of us who were interested in martial arts but we weren't interested in doing the run-of-the-mill punch, kick, punch stuff everyone else usually does," said the team leader. "We wanted to do all the flips, jumps and extreme fight sequences that we see Jackie Chan and Jet Lee do in all their movies, so we started a club."
In 2004, Brandt, along with a few classmates who had various martial arts and gymnastics backgrounds, put a proposal together and submitted it to Conestoga Students Inc. (CSI) to launch an official extreme martial arts club.
" We trained in the rec centre and with the money CSI provided we were able to get team uniforms," said Brandt. "The uniforms made a huge difference - boosted team moral, pride and really made us look and feel professional and now three years later we're putting on performances."
Team Raize was interested in not only showing off the extreme side of martial arts but to also show people that there are more options to staying fit than just running on a treadmill and lifting weights.
" To pull off multiple flips and jumps is very draining and takes a huge toll on your body so stamina and healthy living are very important," said Brandt. "I thought I was fairly fit and healthy while I was doing the regular running and weight training but after only 30 minutes of training with the team I was on my back dripping with sweat."
Brandt said living a healthy lifestyle is just as important to personal fitness as the physical training.
" You really have to eat healthy, avoid fast food, stop smoking, and reduce casual drinking to do this type of stuff," he said. "With the amount of isometrics we do and constant movement that extreme martial arts requires, it's almost impossible for regular smokers to do without a change of lifestyle."
Teammate, Dylan Dombroski, a 16-year-old gymnastics coach with the Cambridge Kips, said dedication and fitness are so important.
" Really, anyone can do this but they really have to be dedicated to what they're doing which means keeping your cardio levels up and practising," he said. "With every sport comes injuries but there aren¡¯t too many sports that require jumping off high objects, doing flips and fighting with weapons so you really have to be fit and practice because with extreme martial arts come extreme injuries."
Aaron Cardoso, a Brazilian martial artist and Team Raize teammate, said people will get much more out of extreme martial arts than just great fitness.
"Sure this stuff makes you physically stronger but it does more than just that," he said. "The hard work, discipline, performing in front of crowds builds self-esteem and helps prepare you for all aspects of life."
Lindsay Silva, the event programmer for CSI, said that the health and fitness day was a great way to clear the winter blues and make student aware of the various ways to burn off those stubborn holiday calories.
" We thought it would be a great way to help students settle into the second semester," she said. "To have one of the CSI clubs like Team Raize perform was a unique and great way to tell students to keep fit and have fun."
Andrea Brean, a first-year general arts and science student, said the performance was a great show.
" The kind of stuff these guys do is not your average, boring workout," she said. "Anyone can tell just by watching that it takes a lot of co-ordination and hard work."
Phon Pham, a first-year general arts and science student, said he would most definitely be interested in joining the club after seeing the extreme martial artists.
" Just watching it gets your heart going," he said. "It was pretty sweet."
Team Raize, with co-operation with CSI, hopes to put on an even bigger and better show with more weapons, fights and flips either for the grand opening of the bar and bistro in the Student Life Centre or as part of an end-of-the-year party.
In the mean time, the extreme martial artists are training hard with the hopes of performing at the Lunar Festival in Waterloo at the end of February.
For more information on Team Raize and how to join go to www.teamraize.com
By ERIC MURPHY