It’s becoming popular to see personal trainers (PTs), in parks, providing some form of fitness to people who lack motivation or don’t seem to have time to attend a gym, etc. The PTs probably do a pretty good job for some or most of these people, but how ordinary it looks to qualified and trained Martial Arts Instructors, when the PTs get the focus pads out and make their clients throw a few kangaroo punches; some of them make my grandmother look like a pro.
Equipment which is used in the martial arts is designed by the people in the industry. It looks like a ploy, by the Fitness Industry, to make people feel they are getting something special from their training. It’s the sit-ups, push-ups and short runs that might be doing the job, not the use of the equipment but it certainly looks good when somebody is holding a couple of focus pads; makes people feel it's money worth spent. The other issue is a false sense of security. I have friends who feel good about defending themselves. You ‘oughta’ see their punches!
I remember when TAE BO first came to Australia and how unbelievably popular it was. I walked into a gym, one day, with over 50 in a so called, TAE BO class. The first 20 minutes was no different to an ordinary aerobics class. Then they started on a few knee raises. If you could only see the big smiles on people’s faces, as if they have been signed up for a career in the martial arts movie industry! What crossed my mind was ‘why would anyone not want to give the martial arts a try if this sort of training impresses them’.
Pads, focus pads and the likes are only props in the fitness industry. In the martial arts, they are our tools of trade. It is a shame that our tools are exploited by the untrained who have very little knowledge of what these items are intended for. It takes years to get good at using them. I take my hat off to any PT who has a good martial arts background. There are many martial arts schools which now provide this type of Fitness Training. Others just jump on the band wagon for a quick buck.