How? Present a class to a health club.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-08-2007
How? Present a class to a health club.
15
Fri, 08-22-2008 - 5:39pm
Hi,

I have 12+ years experience doing kung fu (chinese martial arts). When I was married my ex-husband and I had a school of our own so I have taught quite a bit too. I still practice but really miss teaching,

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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-09-2008
Fri, 08-22-2008 - 9:22pm

Hi and welcome to Gymrats!

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-23-2006
Sat, 08-23-2008 - 9:06am

I have actually done this quite a few times.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-08-2007
Sat, 08-23-2008 - 10:17am

Thank you, freshstartnow, I will definately keep checking back. I teach several styles of kung fu or wushu as its also known, including Shaolin, Long Fist, Eagle Claw, Preying Mantis...haha, all very mysterious sounding I'm sure!

Wushu (as I like to call it, its the chinese word meaning martial art) can actually be very rough on the joints like all strenous exercises, however, it is possible to learn it, and still get a good workout, in a low impact way. In fact, I know a master in his late 70's, still teaching and still quite agile and good at his art, which would not be the case if he'd destroyed his joints as a young man. Its very adaptable to learning and practicing at any age.

Your mentioning wanting a lower impact workout though, does make me think about who I'd be most likely to be teaching the class too at a club and what they'd want to get out of it. The traditional way of teaching and practicing probably wouldn't fit into that format as well. I could just teach a fitness class that used some of the elements of wushu, like Taebo did, but I don't think I'd like that much. I really love teaching people the skill and watching them improve and consequently getting stronger and more flexible in the process, which requires more than mindless movements. I think I'm going to need to think of a way to satisfy both to some extent. Something a complete beginner can jump into and get a good workout in, but that someone who come frequently would be able to get something new out of.

This might be more similar to your dance classes. I'd love to hear more about how they work. There must be routines you do. Do you do the same ones every time? how does the teacher deal with a new student who won't know the routines while keeping everyone else moving? I know how I'd do it in a martial arts school where my students are commited to coming on a regular basis but not as sure how it would work when people might come more sporatically but are expecting a good workout everytime.

Thanks!

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-08-2007
Sat, 08-23-2008 - 10:28am

Hi Dancin,

Thank you for the encouragement. I think I could come up with something that sounded fun and non-threatening, and its not unusual to teach kung fu with some typical conditioning exercises, like crunches and light plyometrics. I actually could teach tai chi too, since it is one of the chinese martial arts that I know, but traditionally you wouldn't mix them. It would sort of be like mixing aerobics with yoga, it could be done but would be a bit odd. How did you approach the gyms with your classes? Did you have something in writing or just go in and talk to someone? Also, who is the best person to speak to usually?

I like the idea of offering a free class too!

Thanks for the ideas! =D

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Sat, 08-23-2008 - 3:02pm

some gyms, like the ymca, have classes in addition to their regular fitness classes where participants sign up for an 8 week (or whatever) class and pay extra for it. if you want to teach real martial arts, that might be more appropriate. frankly, though, i think if people want real martial arts they take classes from martial arts studios and at the gym they want more fitness-style classes. though if you can make them FEEL like they are doing martial arts that is a bonus.

you hit the nail right on the head when you realized that the toughest thing about teaching group fitness is preparing classes that are safe and enjoyable for beginners who've just popped into the class for the first time while also giving regulars the tough workout they've come to expect. this is something to consider when you develop your class formats.

the first thing i'd do if i were you would be to get class schedules from the gyms you are considering and think about what kind of classes you could do that would fit in well with what they are offering. i'd recommend preparing proposals for two or three different class formats and give them a choice. FYI tai chi-style classes are pretty hot in gyms right now so you might want to give that as one of your options. but it also depends on where you live. what's hot in NYC is not what's going to be hot in rural oklahoma.

as for who to speak to, i'd start with the fitness director. each gym usually has a fitness director that coordinates the classes. you don't necessarily have to have it in writing but if you can give them a piece of paper with your name, contact info, and a summary of what you are offering them, i'm sure it would help them. they might need to speak to other people at the gym and call you back, and that way they'd have something to refer to. also be prepared to tell them what days/times you are available. this is really important - if they have an opening on the schedule at a certain time, they might be happy to offer it to you but if you aren't available when they have openings on their schedule you might be out of luck.

just a heads up - some gyms will be more casual that others with regard to who teaches there. all the gyms i've worked at won't hire any instructors without cpr certification, for instance. many gyms require some kind of group fitness certification, but if you are certified to teach your martial art that might be equivalent to them. i just tell you so that you aren't thrown off guard if they ask you about these things.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-08-2007
Sat, 08-23-2008 - 8:19pm

Jenindc,

Thanks, I was thinking about the possibility of offering different types of classes, a menu of sorts, so its helpful to think that might be a positive thing.

Thanks for mentioning about the certifications. I have certificates testifying to my degree but I don't know if that would hold weight or not in this type of situation. It doesn't help that the reference with the most weight is an ex-husband, not that I don't have other people to testify to my skill and experience, but not quite the same. I may look into a group fitness certification, and see if it might not be worthwhile.

I have contacted a nearby YMCA, just recently but have not heard back yet, I'll give them a little more time and try again. I might offer a kids class to them. I like teaching kids too, they really get into it.

I'm actually in Chicago and I feel this is actually a bit of a drawback to what I want to do. If I was in rural Oklahoma I could probably go to the local rec center, or cheaply rent some space in a church and hold classes tomorrow (haha- of course the drawback THERE is I might not have any students!). Space is at such a premium here and I don't have any current students because I haven't taught in awhile. I think I was considering a club for the opportunity to build up a small student base. Honestly, even two or three committed, interested students might make it possible to sublease a space 3 times a week, so I can teach as I want. Also, I like the idea of introducing wushu to a wider audience. Women in particular. Its such a beautiful graceful martial art, you can do it and be powerful and not have to act like your just as macho as the guys. Who wants to be macho! Not me! But I do want to be strong. I think if more people knew about it they would like it, so I like the idea of introducing it to people who might never try it otherwise.

Thanks, you've inspired me to write up a little synopsis of some class ideas. It might help me to decide what I most want to do too.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Sun, 08-24-2008 - 7:28pm

Hi!






iVillage Member
Registered: 07-09-2008
Sun, 08-24-2008 - 8:58pm

I know at LifeTime, they have a bellydancing class, but it is taught in a more aerobic format.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Mon, 08-25-2008 - 7:29am

I think you hit the nail on the head with the belly dancing class. In the gym, it's not in a purist form but group exercise and elsewhere you could make it more authentic, so to speak. While martial arts is a great workout, in the gym, it wouldn't be the strict form it is in a private studio where you have the same students who learn the art.


As dance choreography goes, each week instructors have to break down moves to the basic level and then build on them. On the rare occasion that you have only the same students who've already learned the choreography, you can move faster.






Avatar for cmkarla
Administrator
Registered: 01-03-2001
Mon, 08-25-2008 - 3:07pm

Hi! What type Chinese Martial Arts are you doing? My son's are both second degree black belts in Shaolin-do and I just love watching them practice as the forms and stances are so awesome to watch. It is quite the work out and so many

Karla
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