Get one-on-one training at Jing Kune Martial Arts
By Adam Tatelman, Staff Writer
The martial arts are typically practiced in large groups. This is something I have struggled with in the past; of course an instructor wants to have as many paying students as possible, but the more there are, the bigger the practice groups have to be. When they become too big, there isn’t enough time to devote to each individual student. I can’t say what the optimal group size is for martial arts study, but I had never seen a personal martial arts trainer before I visited Jonathan Louie at Jing Kune Martial Arts.
In theory, it sounds like a great idea. Surely practitioners would progress through their training much faster if it were possible to schedule one-on-one training a few times a week—even more quickly when that trainer, like Louie, has a degree in kinesiology and 20 years of MMA experience. For the most part that’s all true; however, there are a number of problems which hold JKMA back from achieving everything its intriguing pitch promises.
Good things first. The facility is fully stocked with all the supplies necessary for training both single athletes and groups of four or five. The whole floor is padded for ground control practice, and the walls are lined with mirrors for checking your technique. There are a variety of standing dummies, body-sized pads and focus mitts for punching. There is also a bench press complete with various dumbbells for strength training; no barbells, though, so longtime lifters may be less enthused.
The variety of martial arts on offer for training is also impressive; Louie is well-versed in striking techniques based on muay thai, boxing and kenpo, as well as disarming and weapons combat skills based on Filipino kali. It’s a real combo platter, so the best strategy is to decide if you want to practice for competition or for self-defence and arrange your practices with Louie accordingly.
Unfortunately, all of these positive features fell flat for me because Louie himself seemed to be balancing my personal training session with his personal paperwork. Each time he explained an exercise or technique to me, unless he had to be there to practice it with me, he’d show me what to do once and then head off to his desk and start working on his computer. He’d always come back if I had a question, but otherwise I was left to do 30 reps of this or that by myself. It wasn’t just my session, either; the next student got the same less-than-attentive treatment.
This is the ultimate flaw with what is otherwise a novel idea; since the personal trainer gig is a one-man operation, Louie is unable to give his full attention to even a single student at a time. If you are an experienced practitioner with some fitness and martial arts experience, this setup may suit you better than it would a beginner. If you’re just starting out, you may have more luck with a traditional group-practice setting. Jing Kune Martial Arts is located at 709 – 12th St in New Westminster and offers drop-in classes starting at 2:30 p.m. for $20 or monthly from $110.