The Kung Fu masters and boxers of Bridge+ play as hard as they work, and their fighting spirit is matched only by their community spirit.
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Most of us working behind office desks from nine-to-five are aware that we need to do something to keep fit and healthy. Ambitious New Year resolutions, and our optimistic gym schedules are par for the course. When the monotony of fitness routines creep in, one begins losing interest, and then lapsing into permanent couch-potato-tude.
For a better way to fitness and health, many are looking towards training classes. The best fitness plans are the most convenient (yet effective) ones, and as part of promoting a healthy lifestyle at work, there are many fitness programmes and sporting competitions in Singapore Science Park that make it easier for people working there to stay in shape.
There’s a wide variety of training classes, with martial arts being a popular choice, and for good reason. It’s a complete full body workout that everyone can participate in, and personal fitness, from weight management to core strength, comes hand in hand with martial arts.
Round 1: Punch above your weight
When our friends at Bridge+ at Ascent told us that they had weekly Kung Fu and boxing training sessions there, and that they were free, we couldn’t believe our luck. We jump-kicked at the offer.
INSIDE went down to join in the fun and fitness – and punches and kicks – and also hear from some members of the Bridge+ community who are both joining and contributing to the growing martial arts scene at Ascent.
More than just a flexible office space, Bridge+ is a collaborative community, filled diverse talents from all walks of life. The members within the Bridge+ community not only share the same space, but also share their passions and interests.
In fact, the boxing and kung fu training sessions are initiated and organised by members from within the Bridge+ community. It's truly by the community, for the community.
Instructor Mark Crouch and Cynthia Chang, one of the ambassadors at Bridge+ shows us what typical boxing session is like.
A workout worth travelling for ...
In between uppercuts and defensive blocks, we speak to David Lim to find out why he travels from Tuas to join the boxing sessions.
David was hooked since day one. For David, the motivation and the great workout he gets is worth travelling for.
David says, “I’ve been coming down for more than two months. It’s much easier working out with other people rather than if I was doing it alone in a gym. The motivation I get from the others is important. People drive people, and this is the only time and place I have the motivation to carry on training for a significant time."
He added, "The guys who organise and host the training session are really helpful, they volunteer their own time to contribute to the community here, so I really appreciate it.
They’re very experienced and professional, but I don’t feel intimidated, because they’re so friendly, and because it’s everyone sweating it out and having a great time together.
And it’s not a competition, we’re all competing with ourselves to push further.”
"The guys who organise and host the training session are really helpful, they volunteer their own time to contribute to the community here, so I really appreciate it."
Round 2: Everybody is Kung Fu Fighting
Our kung fu instructor, Shi Khai Wei, is in a way, like a Shao Lin monk. A Shaolin monk who is also an expert at blockchain with much better hair.
Shi Khai works at LongHash, a global blockchain incubator supported by the Singapore government. A practioner of Kung Fu for more than 13 years, he volunteers his time to share his knowledge and experience with the other members in the Bridge+ community members.
At our first Kung Fu class, we took it slow, starting with some stretching activities to loosen the joints and then warm up the muscles.
We gradually ramped up the intensity and pace with some exercises to get our blood pumping – we did our first pushups in a really, really long time. We don’t remember pushups to be that difficult, and we put it down to the weather. This was followed by some jumping jacks.
We quickly transitioned to actual Kung Fu sequences. They looked simple when executed by someone practiced, but when we tried them out for ourselves, we soon realised they required some thought and focus.
Throughout, Shi Khai was giving tips and guiding us on the proper moves, and explaining the reasoning behind them.
The kung fu master speaks ...
In between frontal kicks and roundhouse kicks, we catch up with Shi Khai. He explains how the kung fu training sessions started, and how martial arts can help maintain your focus and energy.
Shi Khai shared, “The training sessions started half a year back. The folks at Bridge+ were inviting people in the community to share about their personal interests and passions. I wanted to find some training partners within our Bridge+ community and hope to inspire them as well."
Shi Khai adds, "Kung Fu is more than just punches and kicks. I thought about it, and about the benefits training sessions could bring to the Bridge+ community, such as maintaining fitness, gaining confidence, learning practical self-defence – especially for the ladies."
Diving deeper into the realm of Kung Fu, he also spoke about the thought and philosophy behind it, and the different perspectives of how one can approach it.
Shi Khai said, "You think about executing a strike, the purpose of it – is it to destabilise an aggressor, is it to parry a strike coming towards you – and how do you follow through, and what are the next few moves you need to do. There is so many nuances and details, and the skill ceiling can go extremely high if you wish to explore it further. For me, I try to guide people with the basics and introduce them to the world of Kung Fu. Kung Fu also helps you to achieve focus, and with your overall health."
Having practised this martial art for years, Shi Khai has been hale and hearty, and has only been sick one day in the past several years.
He quips, "I can stay alert the entire day without the use of caffeine. For a start, just come along and sweat it out with us!"
Round 3: Your Move
Serious playtime happens every Monday and Tuesday at Bridge+.
Boxing on Mondays, and Kung Fu on Tuesdays.
The training sessions are free, so don’t be shy to come down and join in!
That’s not all! We’ve made it even easier for you to integrate healthy living in your daily work. Sign up for a wide range of health activities, from regular physical activities to health education sessions in our offices here!
If you’re at one of our business parks in Singapore, come together to get active and stay fit at our workshops here!