According to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, three out of four people in Canberra regularly participate in some sort of sports training. This may be training with a team, individual exercise or attending a sports club or gym to join in a fitness class, work with personal trainers or do their own workout.
Those stats are not a bad way to bust the myth that Canberra is just a government city with no soul! In fact, the nation's capital has more than its fair share of open outside places, perfect for fitness bootcamps, and indoor sports facilities for when the weather is less than savoury.
It comes as no surprise, then, that Canberrans enjoy a huge range of fitness options. Whether you want to get fit with your family, do some classes with your friends or train by yourself; and whether you are happy just participating in a workout or two because you enjoy the social experience, or you want to train to be one of the instructors or in a competitive capacity — there's something for everyone in the capital city of Australia.
One area that has really taken off in Canberra in the last decade or so is martial arts. Drive down almost any road, or wander through any shopping precinct, and you will happen across studios advertising taekwondo, karate, Brazilian jiu jitsu or Muay Thai.
In addition, you will also see gym timetables that list boxing, kickboxing and MMA classes as regular fitness workout sessions for all ages, from children to adults.
So, what is the difference between martial arts or kickboxing clubs in Canberra and a gym that offers a few kickboxing classes during the week? Can you expect to learn the same techniques at a regular gym as those you can learn at a kickboxing gym?
Sit tight, because those differences are the focus of this article.
What to look for in a kickboxing class
Whether you're learning kickboxing to get fit or build cardio stamina, or you're learning in a club for competition, there are a few common traits you should be looking for.
- Adherence to tradition
Most martial arts, whether the pure ones, such as Muay Thai, jiu-jitsu or karate, or the blended ones, like mixed martial arts (MMA) or kickboxing, have ancient roots and are often steeped in tradition. Anything from etiquette at the start of a fight or training session, through to specific techniques and rules, should be adhered to, at least to some extent. Many of these techniques are there for safety reasons or to help develop skills and strength.
- Instructors who are qualified
Not only should students expect their instructors to be qualified in fitness training or coaching, trainers should also have experience, preferably as fighters, in their martial art. This does not mean they have to have reached the top levels of competition, but some experience as fighters will build credibility.
- Balanced timetables
Not all students can train early in the morning or late in the afternoon. There should be a good range of class options. If the timetable does not suit your lifestyle, find a gym, club or community program that does. In the same way, timetables should also be balanced in terms of distribution of class types — if there is an oversupply of advanced sessions and only a couple of beginner classes, this will tell you more about the focus of the gym or club.
- Reasonable prices
This can be hard to gauge if you don't have experience with other gyms or kickboxing clubs in Canberra. However, comparing prices between gyms and considering how many times you will be able to train is recommended before you commit. Also consider 'extra' costs, like a joining fee or hire of equipment.
Another consideration might be whether or not your chosen kickboxing club or gym is a franchise and offers reciprocal memberships. If you travel a lot, or if you are in a job that involves regular transfers, it can be good to know that you can continue your training in Perth, or take up kickboxing classes in Brisbane or Sydney with the same gym program as you are accustomed to in Canberra.
Who Can Join a Boxing or Kickboxing Gym?
If you're keen to start learning boxing or kickboxing — well done. It's a fun and dynamic sport and a great way to get fit, build strength and develop your cardio stamina. A boxing or kickboxing gym is also a great place to meet new, like-minded friends.
And, the good news is this — anyone can join kickboxing clubs in Canberra. Regardless of your gender identification, your age or your level of fitness — you will be welcome at the club that best suits your needs and meets your goals.
The Australian Department of Health site lists a wide range of initiatives and programs that focus on physical fitness, health and wellbeing opportunities for every niche of society.
One focus group that is explored extensively is women and you can find a full list of activities, categorised into the individual, team, indoor, outdoor and class programs for women and children. There is a listing for martial arts, which covers everything including karate, Muay Thai, judo, taekwondo, Brazilian jiu-jitsu and aikido with a focus on women.
It is always best to check individual gym timetables, or speak with instructors and personal trainers who work there, to make sure the gym or club and the program it offers is the best fit for you, based on your level of experience and skills, your age, your goals and even your confidence.
You will find that most boxing gyms and kickboxing clubs in Canberra have classes for general fitness, where everyone is welcome, as well as classes exclusively for women or children, as well as beginners, intermediate or advanced fighters.
The key is to do your research and ask questions. It doesn't hurt to check if the gym or club you are considering offers a trial program, where you can trial the facilities and classes for a week before committing to a membership.
The Best Places to Learn Kickboxing in Canberra
You're ready to commit? Great! We have a few suggestions to start your search and help you find a fun and friendly environment where you can develop your skills and confidence, and meet your goals.
Stockade Training Centre
At Stockade, all fighters are welcome. They have classes for kids and women as well as a full range of sessions everybody can join. Options include: boxing, Muay Thai kickboxing and sparring, MMA, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, wrestling, crosstraining and boxing fitness.
Their name sounds tough and a bit elite, but Choppers is for everyone. Their class schedule includes: general fitness sessions with a focus on Muay Thai or boxing techniques, Muay Thai high intensity and endurance training, kids training (self-defence, endurance and strength), techniques (specialised class to develop Muay Thai and boxing techniques), personal training, sparring and fight team training.
'Go hard or go home' might be the attitude at Phoenix but the atmosphere is friendly and supportive for all levels. If you want a real workout, try their Tough Fit class — a mix of cardio, strength and challenge. Or you can choose to focus on your Muay Thai or boxing skills. Personal training, classes for children (aged 5 to 15) and self-defence training are also offered.
Full Throttle Boxing and Training Centre
Full Throttle is one of the best small training centres in Canberra. Small does not mean 'no variety' — but it does mean commitment to members and striving to achieve your best at all times. Essentially a boxing gym, with an amateur and pro fight team, Full Throttle also runs functional fitness classes, boxing and kickboxing sessions, sparring, Pilates and some of the best personal training on offer in Canberra.
Surely you can't learn kickboxing or boxing online? Actually, you can. During the various lockdowns we've experienced during Covid times, gyms around the capital have proven that online fitness classes can be effective if you are flexible with your training techniques and equipment.
In fact, sports and fitness tutors with Superprof have been offering online training for years. Not only is online training great because you can train in the comfort of your home, but the ability to do your workout with personal trainers and kickboxing coaches anywhere in Australia (or the world) is also a great opportunity. Maybe you have heard there are great kickboxing trainers in Melbourne, or you're moving to Adelaide and want to keep your skills up — check out online trainers on Superprof as your first point of call.
Will it be easy? Nope.
Will it be worth it? Absolutely!
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