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Martial Arts Workout
self defensephoto courtesy of flickr
Martial arts classes such as capoeira and kung fu offer an easy and effective way to boost your confidence and self-esteem while getting a butt-kicking work-out. 

“These classes not only increase physical fitness and stamina but also remove fear and insecurity, and are responsible for a general mental well-being that works well to counter the negative effects of a separation,” says Dr. Shrirang Joshi, a psychiatrist and marriage counselor. Joshi points out that when you exercise, your body secretes endorphins, its natural antidepressant. Here are a few options, with an international twist, that you can consider.

Capoeira – Brazil

Newly freed African slaves, who had to deal with the oppressing class created capoeira in Brazil at the end of the 17th century. This combative dance set to rhythmic drumbeats and Portuguese lyrics increases flexibility, agility, endurance, speed, balance, and coordination. Its execution is breathtaking to watch and perform. To learn more, check out the book Unknown Capoeira: Secret Techniques of the Original Brazilian Martial Art coming out July 28.

Kali/Escrima/Silat – The Philippines
Kali, Escrima, and Silat are different names given to this comprehensive martial art that originated in the Philippines. It uses both open-hand combat and weapons, and it includes elements of boxing, grappling, and trapping. The 2005 book Filipino Combat Systems: An Introduction to An Ancient Art For Modern Times is still the best reference on Filipino martial arts.

Muay Thai – Thailand
Known as “the science of eight limbs,” Thailand’s national sport – Muay Thai – uses hands, legs, knees, and elbows. This martial art, which has its origins in the ancient battlefield tactics of the Thai army, is also referred to as Thai boxing. It’s usually performed in a ring with an opponent but can also be practiced as a form of self-defense. For more information, check out the Thai Boxing Association of the USA.

Wing Chun Kung Fu – China
The most empowering fact about wing chun kung fu – apart from the effectiveness of the art itself – is that legend attributes its creation to a woman, a Buddhist nun named Ng Mui. If you wonder what kung fu can do, rent a Bruce Lee movie and all will be revealed. To learn more, take a look at forthcoming book The Wing Chun Compendium, Volume Two, to be released July 14.

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Self-defense classes will not only teach you some valuable skills but they are also a great work out. This clip will give you the basics so you can decide if martial arts are for you.
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