Archive for January, 2008

Muay Thai: That’s Right, I’ve Taken Up Kickboxing


No, this kickboxer is not me… I just wish I could kick my leg up that high!So I’ve taken it upon myself to finally get into a fitness regimin (and stick to it). My work out routine? Muay Thai kickboxing!

I’ve always been a big fan of martial arts so deciding to finally take up a form was a long time coming. I remember doing Karate in summer camp back when I was a kid, but aside from that I have no real training.

Enter Toronto Kickboxing and Muay Thai Academy. I found this place through Google and it seemed really promising. TKMT is located at 610 Queen St. West on the 3rd floor (Queen and Bathurst) in downtown Toronto. The gym was founded by Warren Lee who has over 15 years of combat arts experience. If you have any questions about the gym before you decide to head down, be sure to email the address on the site or call in the mornings as he’s quick to respond and very helpful.

One of the main facts that’s outlined on their website is that they promote a clean, friendly and professional atmosphere. I was intimidated at the thought of joining a martial arts gym at first because of some of the negative stigma that goes with it (e.g. only catering to those ‘meathead’ types and male-dominated). This isn’t the case at TKMT, though. They are proud to have the largest number of female members out of all the martial arts training facilities in the GTA.

Walking into the gym, not only did I see a pretty even split among genders, but also a great variety of skill (from beginners to advanced), and backgrounds. The facility is a pretty decent size, and they plan to expand to the second floor of the building they are currently located in this spring. As their official site states:

Our academy has air conditioning, men’s and women’s change rooms, washrooms, individual showers, boxing ring, over 1,000 sq. ft. of grappling mats and padded walls, assorted heavy bags, rows of mirrors, power tower, Thai pads, belly pads, focus mitts, kick shields, and a host of other training equipment.

There are some beginner classes that are offered free for the first class, such as MMA, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Boxing. Since Muay Thai is so popular, the intro classes are $10 for the first class ($15 thereafter). I managed to get my friend into coming along since she was also thinking about joining a regular gym. We got there at about 7:25 (this particular class started at 7:45). Everyone has to take off their shoes on entry to the gym (so you’ll notice a big, mount of shoes near the front door), so at least with this type of work out I didn’t have to spend extra money on buying new cross-trainers. All members and visitors are required to check in at the reception desk (sign-up process was fairly simple). After we handed in our forms we got a quick tour of the facilities and told to grab a jump rope to start our warm up after we were done in the change room.

The facilities at TKMT Academy in Toronto - courtesty of We got to our mixed muay Thai kickboxing class which had about 12 people in it and started warm-up exercises. I haven’t jumped rope since high school, so I didn’t realize how tiring it would be! I was sweating like crazy. After a couple rounds of jump rope, we did rotations of jumping jacks, push-ups and sit-ups. Squats and leapfrogs and some other warm-up exercises followed next and 20 minutes later we were ready to start with the basics of Muay Thai. The warm up wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be and I did manage to keep up (most of the time ;). After the warm up our group was split up into 2 smaller groups depending on skill level.
We were introduced to the proper stance and hand position. Then we got into how to move with our feet while staying balanced and protected. And then the fun part came: we got to put on our gloves! Equipment is provided for beginners to use during the class, but if you’re planning on taking a lot of classes, I suggest you get your own gloves and hand-wraps (the gloves I had to use were pretty smelly).

Our wonderful instructor, Jenn, went through all the details of punching next and she put on her pads while we practiced our swings. I kept on forgetting to keep my guard up, but my punch was pretty good if I do say so myself. :) After we got the hang of jabbing and crossing, we started learning how to kick. With lessons on foot control, pivoting and hip placement for strength, the class got the hang of it pretty well. I was informed I have a really strong kick by Jenn. My friend (who was my partner holding the pads) is afraid to see me stresses out on a bad day… :D

After some more practice with kicking we combined it with punching, with Jenn holding up pads for each of us individually while we tested our skill. After that, the 2 groups reconvened and it was into cool-down exercises. Leg lifts are the worst! I’m surprised I was able to do 20 of them in a row without resting my feet on the floor, but when we continued I had to take a mini-break. Last stretch was a leg split with of course Jenn did fairly easily to everyone’s awe while we were all basically upright trying to stretch our legs as far as they could go.

Before we left the class at 9:45, Jenn gave us a good lecture on the history of Muay Thai and the Thai culture. That was very informative and a nice note to close the intro class on.

Both my friend and I really enjoyed the class and the variety of fitness and the way we felt afterwards persuaded us to sign up for a membership. TKMT had a January special going on right now for a 6-month membership: Only $475 (minus the $10 you pay if you decide to try out the class first) and that includes new boxing gloves and hand wraps. Plus the flexibility of the class schedule works well with my full time job. I had a lot of fun, even though my muscles are aching me today. I actually think my Turbo Jam DVDs helped me a bit with the basic kicking and punching techniques… :D Can’t wait for the next class!

Make sure you check out TKMT’s website. It’s very informative, plus gives a lot of tips on kickboxing itself, and health & wellness.

Heath Ledger Found Dead in NYC Apartment


Heath Ledger (from news just now about actor Heath Ledger, star of the upcoming blockbuster The Dark Knight.

This is the story from the Associated Press:

NEW YORK — Actor Heath Ledger was found dead Tuesday at a downtown Manhattan residence in what authorities say is a possible drug-related death, the NYPD said. He was 28.

NYPD spokesman Paul Browne told The Associated Press that Mr. Ledger had an appointment for a massage at the Manhattan apartment that is believed to be his home. The housekeeper who went to let Mr. Ledger know the masseuse was there, and found him dead at 3:26 p.m, Mr. Browne said.

The Australian-born actor was nominated for an Oscar for “Brokeback Mountain,” where he met his wife, actress Michelle Williams, in 2005. Mr. Ledger and Ms. Williams had lived in Brooklyn and had a daughter, Matilda, until they split up last year.

Mr. Ledger’s roles include the suicidal son of Billy Bob Thornton in “Monster’s Ball” and had starring roles in “A Knight’s Tale” and “The Patriot.” He was to appear as the Joker this year in “The Dark Night,” a sequel to 2005’s “Batman Begins.”

Sites like The New York Times mention that it may be drug related. A very unfortunate day for Hollywood and his family which includes his 2-year-old daughter Matilda.



Sale! Costa Blanca – Most Items 2 for $10!


Costa Blanca - costablanca.caIt’s a darn good thing I decided to make a stop at Fairview Mall last night. As I was on my way to Athletes World to look for some new cross-trainers, I stopped when I noticed some huge 2 for $10 sale signs in the Costa Blanca window. Of course I had to go in, since I didn’t spend any money on clothing on Boxing Day here in Canada. I’m sure glad I did!

They had a decent selection of items, especially the dress pants (nice pinstriped ones) which were about $39.95 regular price. I picked up a bunch for me and my sister for $5 each. They also had dressy tops (reg. price $24.95-$34.95), sweaters, and skirts that were all discounted to $5 each (if you buy 2 for $10).

Costa Blanca had some nice waist skirts and shoes for $10 each, and some jewelry 3 for $10. Still had some regular priced apparel as well. The cashier said that they have a lot more stock to get rid of, and the sale has been going on for just over a week now.

I got about 5 dress pants, a skirt and 4 tops (including a hot, black corset-type one) for $50! There was a decent selection of sizes available… I mainly saw sizes 4-10 in pants and a variety of S-XL for the tops. The store is located on the lower level near Sears. So if you’re in the Toronto area and need to refill your closet, hurry!

Review: Cloverfield


Michael Stahl-David, Lizzy Caplan and Jessica Lucas in CloverfieldI just got back from watching the highly anticipated J.J. Abrams-produced film Cloverfield. If you’re wondering if it’s worth all the hype and your $11, I think you’ll get you money’s worth. You’ll be highly entertained for 90-minutes, which just happens to be a perfect length for this type of film… any longer and you probably would’ve gotten dizzy from all the hand-held camera action.

Directed by Matt Reeves, Cloverfield starts out almost like a low-budget episode of Friends, with likeable characters, some comedic moments and a touch of drama thrown in. That all changes pretty soon once a loud tremor shakes New York City. What at first seems to be an earthquake is followed by a large explosion and the city’s residents, including Rob (Michael Stahl-David) and his going-away-party-goers to run for their lives. Rob and his friends end up on a mission to save a trapped Beth (Odette Yustman) in her highrise miles away, at the same time trying to beat the clock and catch the last helicopter out of the destructing city.

As for the monster, you’ll be anticipating to see what it looks like after hearing all the roars and screaming. And through the eyes of the handheld video camera held by Rob’s best friend Hud (T.J. Miller), I must admit it looks pretty darn freaky (along with it’s little “friends”). Cloverfield was amazingly shot, taking into consideration it’s Blair Witch Project-esq filming. Makes you wonder just how much post-production work actually went into adding all those special FX into a film that looks like it’s shot on a home video camera… very realistic.

If you haven’t already visited the viral marketing site take a look. And here’s the link for the film’s official site. Note to any Trekkers out there, there’s a short but sweet trailer of the upcoming Star Trek film preceding this movie. Can’t wait! :D

P.S. Stick around until after the credits. ;)

Kids Doing That Damn Soulja Boy Dance


This song is played out now, but it wasn’t until recently that I came across this video on YouTube of what seems to be a kids ballet/jazz class doing a short routine to Soulja Boy Tellem’s “Crank Dat”. LOL@this little boy at the front!

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