Kung Fu Fitness kicks off on Isle of Dogs

Everybody could soon be kung fu fighting if an Isle of Dogs resident's martial arts classes take off.

Budding Bruce Lee's now have the chance to learn the martial arts at Kung Fu Fitness run in Burrell's Wharf by Aldrich Sawbwa.

Aldrich, 28, is keen for Wharfers to take it up the sport - whose best known exponent was 1970s film legend Lee - as a way of looking after themselves in more ways than one.

He said: "I want to help people get fit and learn practical self-defence at the same time. Kung fu is about both internal and external training. Outside it's the hands, the eyes and the body, but inside it's the heart, mind and spirit.

"Many people have an incorrect idea about kung fu. The philosophy is very simple, it's about making peace, not fighting. But what is important is you can apply the self-defence techniques very quickly.

"To perfect your kung fu you need to follow three steps - form, power and speed. It can be tough but I tell students there's no gain without pain, and most feel the benefit very quickly.

"The benefits are many, including improved self-esteem, better focus at work and at home, self-discipline, as well as self-defence.

"There are many stages to go through, and even when you reach the top level you can never stop improving."

Aldrich is originally from Burma and has been practising kung fu for over 20 years. He moved to London in February after living in Glasgow for several years, where he ran a similar school with great success. He's confident his Isle of Dogs venture will prove appealing as well.

He said: "What we offer here is different from anywhere else because we do a combination of kung fu and bando kick boxing. Bando is the Burmese form of kick boxing. Everyone knows about Thai boxing but this is even better. It uses the kukri knife, a traditional Burmese weapon, and is more aggressive."

If that sounds a bit too violent for some tastes then Kung Fu Fitness also offers more restrained martial arts including tai chi and yoga. Aldrich said: "We can tailor everything to individual requirements. It all depends on what someone wants to achieve, whether that's losing excess weight, increasing muscle, stress release or improving flexibility."

Tai chi classes take place at Burrell's Wharf in Westferry Road on Wednesdays, with the self-defence and kung fu at Docklands Settlements on Saturdays. Aldrich is also willing to arrange classes for businesses in Canary Wharf.

He said: "There are great benefits of learning martial arts for company employees. It can help improve concentration and fitness and lead to greater productivity, which is so important these days."

This article was published in the Wharf Sport section on 29th April 2010 More>>
Kung Fu Fitness is a combination of different Kung Fu style and Bando Kick boxing (Lethwei).

E- info@kungfufitness.co.uk

W- http://www.kungfufitness.co.uk/