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Cardiokicking punches pounds without any stress, competition

March 21, 1997

The issue:

Cardiokicking

Her view:

New class can help relieve stress, build self-confidence and improve health

Martha Roberts

Lariat reporter

By the time you read this, my legs will be killing me.

On my way back home from spring break last Sunday, I met San Diego freshman Eric Maggio, who happens to hold a second-degree black belt in Tang Sudo karate. Eric also happens to be the new instructor for Baylor's Taekwon-Do Club and an innovative new program called 'cardiokicking.'

According to Maggio, '(Cardiokicking) is a good workout--it's a chance to get a cardiovascular workout with karate,' and is designed to teach women self-defense skills at the same time. The environment is similar to an aerobics class, with some good dance tunes to keep a beat by. I personally don't think you've lived until you've kicked and punched to the 'Macarena.'

During our four-hour trip from Dallas to Waco via shuttlebus, I got to know Eric pretty well (or at least as well as you can know a fellow prisoner of the highways). When we parted, Eric invited me to come to his next cardiokicking class, and in a fit of 'I-gained-too-much-weight-during-Spring-Break' madness, I did.

Now, in my younger days (after my first real workout in a while, I feel pretty old) I took a few aikido classes with Dr. Glenn Pack, director of counseling services here at Baylor. And I even made an 'A' in my karate class a couple of semesters ago. But, I'll have to admit I was a little (ha) winded and pretty sweaty after the hour-long workout.

By the time class was over, however (and it went pretty darn fast), I was energized and pumped and buff and all those good things that come with using my body, which I usually neglect in favor of studying or working or just about anything else. In fact, the stress-relieving benefits of cardiokicking, along with the emphasis on self-defense skills, was what attracted some of the regular class attendees.

'The first time I came to class I knew it was what I wanted to do,' said freshman business major Candice Lucas, who has been attending for about a month. 'It's a good way to relieve pressures.'

'It takes your anger out and releases a lot of stress,' Terrie Ann Flores, a Laredo freshman, agreed. 'I tried aikido, but it wasn't as good as this. (Cardiokicking is) easier to use if you're confronted with a dangerous situation.'

Also, one hour of cardiokicking a week is definitely easier to fit into busy schedules than other martial arts or aerobics classes, which can take three or more hours a week.

'I don't have time to dedicate to martial arts,' Melissa Hearon of Las Vegas said. 'This is more realistic for my lifestyle right now.'

(Of course, I had to skip a class in order to make it to cardiokicking, but that's just me. Most of you are out of class long before I am, I hope.)

Hearon also pointed out that cardiokicking is ideal for women because they tend to be shorter than men--some of us (OK, it's me) even need a stool just to look through the peepholes on our doors. Maggio adapted his instruction to teach us different methods we can use against taller opponents, and if we couldn't kick quite as high as he, well, that was OK.

Having had some experience with martial arts classes, I expected some sparring with partners, but there was none of that. In fact, cardiokicking is totally non-competitive, so if you've never kicked so much as a can in the road you don't have to worry about keeping up with people who have been coming to class. As far as attendance, Maggio likes to have a good turnout (usually about ten people show up), but don't worry about roll calls or anything stressful like that.

Classes are held at 4 p.m. every Wednesday in Marrs McLean Gym. Unlike some of the more regimented martial arts societies on campus, cardiokicking is very informal, and since it's an offshoot of the Taekwon-Do Club, no dues are charged. That may change next year, though.

'This year is a trial run,' Maggio explained. 'I branched (cardiokicking) off from taekwon-do so I didn't have to cut through all the red tape.'

Being a seriously out-of-shape chocolate addict, I can tell you that any workout I can live through can't be all that bad. Actually, it can be pretty darn fun. And so far, I'm not sore at all.

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