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New Fitness Australia guidelines for boxing, kickboxing and MMA for fitness

This blog post was written by Doug Rouessart, the national manager of Punchfit® Global. Punchfit® is Australia’s leading provider of professional and authentic educational boxing and kickboxing courses designed for fitness instructors and personal trainers seeking to learn the skills to effectively instruct boxing and kickboxing classes.

The recent Safety Guidelines produced by Fitness Australia are welcomed and very timely, especially with the fast-growing popularity of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) for fitness.

Ongoing regular audits of the industry would also be welcomed to ensure these safety guidelines (in course content and practice) are being – and continue to be – met. This is healthy for the industry and ensures Registered Fitness Professionals are truly ‘professional’ and proficient in delivering these forms of training.

Boxing and kickboxing courses have been around for decades, yet I am amazed to see trainers in parks, gyms and studios still slapping at their clients with focus pads. Focus pads are designed to ‘catch’ (receive) punches and not to strike punches. Not only is it dangerous to the boxer/client, increasing impact to their knuckles and wrists, but it diminishes their workout by shortening up the punches. And when I see focus pads used for kicking… NO!

Course Providers must not only educate fitness professionals in how to teach boxing, kickboxing and MMA for fitness safely, but also educate them in the correct selection and use of the various equipment used in these forms of training. All correct equipment must be provided for practical use by participants in each course. References only (visual or other) are inadequate, and do not meet the basic duty of care.

We believe fitness professionals must be proficient and physically conditioned to perform the exercises they expose clients to, and also be able to receive the various striking techniques used in these forms of training.

The rule is, don’t teach or put your client through a drill or session you can’t do or have never done yourself.

Most Course Providers (authors of these courses) and their presenters have formal training and experience in these disciplines. This adds credibility and authenticity to the course – which is great, and should be a pre-requisite! – but equally as important is their experience in the fitness industry. If one aspect is missing or lacking, there is a huge void resulting in the wrong focus in the course content and incorrect selection and use of pads/shields.

We are in the fitness industry, not the fight industry! Therefore, these courses must be a lesson in fitness using boxing, kickboxing and MMA techniques, drills and skills, and not a lesson in the combative aspects of the sport or art of self-defence.

Registered fitness professionals who have little or no boxing, kickboxing or MMA experience should take lessons in one or all of these ‘combative’ forms to up-skill and broaden their knowledge in order to add more value to their sessions. But, remember to stay focused on fitness. Keep drills ‘authentic’ but simplified/modified for fitness because we are not training fighters. If clients think less, they will do more and get fit faster!

Do you teach boxing, kickboxing or MMA for fitness, and if so, do you welcome the new guidelines?
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