DV: So Pete, how long have you been involved in training Martial Arts?
PA: I’ve been coaching Muay-Thai since 2004. I moved to Thornhill in 2008 and started Thornhill Kickboxing where I was a mobile trainer, working with people in their home and condo gyms and outdoors in parks when the weather was nice. I started Valour Martial Arts + Fitness Club in September, 2019 to better service our community.
DV: It’s been a tough start of the year for a lot of people. With social distancing it been tough for people to keep on track with their health and fitness goals. How can martial arts fill the gap?
PA: It’s important for us to practice social distancing at this time but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep track of our fitness goals just because gyms are closed. We have to be able to improvise and adapt in our current circumstances.
We are running online versions of our programs throughout April – both Muay-Thai and Bootcamp classes. I’ve always stressed to my students that focused practice at home is important if they wish to make noticeable gains – skills, flexibility or aesthetics. Our online classes will provide participants with a template on how they can build their own easy to follow program that will ensure that they stay on top of their health and fitness
DV: For some of our community that have never been exposed to martial arts, is it a safe form of exercise?
PA: Yes, of course! Many think that because Muay-Thai or Boxing is a sport that’s done in a ring versus someone else, that the training is always going to be you pitted against a partner. This is not the case at all. When working with others, I make sure that they learn the fundamentals of our sport – stance, footwork and how to properly execute techniques such as punches, kicks, knees, elbows. When one has learned the basic moves (I use a very simple system that even a first-timer can pick it up within minutes), these moves can be done safely by shadowboxing or on a punching bag, or with a partner.
DV: Is there a certain baseline of fitness that should be achieved before someone considers this?
PA: Not at all. Anyone of all fitness levels and ages can start whenever they’re ready to begin their martial arts journey. Here at the Club I do a quick survey with participants trying it out for the first time on where they feel they rank on a scale of 1-10 for their current stamina, strength, flexibility and other factors. After determining this, we work on a plan that ensures an upward trajectory in all categories.