10 September 2004
Training Log: Kickboxing
(Think this is the right date, but not entirely sure. I work at the same place as my sister in London, and one of her friends trained at a place called the Paragon Gym. On her recommendation, and that of a poster on TF, I decided to check it out...)
Paragon Gym, (Kickboxing), John Lawson, London, UK - 09/09/2004
Today I tried out a class in the slightly cramped conditions of the Paragon Gym (though that was down to the amount of people rather than the venue, which is a reasonable size and has plenty of mats - there are also good quality gloves on hand). Basic kickboxing, though the instructor, John Lawson, was both amiable and competent. Started off with a warm up, mainly star jumps, knee raises, bit of shadow boxing, torso twists and a few press-ups, with an odd press-up position where you raised left arm/right leg and vice versa, then held it for a while. Also did stuff like raising the leg and throwing a bunch of hook kicks, side kicks, turning kicks etc.
Did a brief bit of shadowboxing with a partner, then moved to stretching drills - basic leg raisers and the like. After that, there was a relatively long sequence of exercises with a partner, using their boxing gloves in lieu of pads. For example, jab, cross, slip, cross, kick to the knee, or jab, cross, front kick, kick to the inside of the leg etc. That section finished with a drill in which you hook kicked then moved straight into a turning kick without putting your foot down.
There was also a decent little exercise where first one person aimed punches at the other persons torso while they guarded, then you switched round and did it again, but with both of you allowed to punch. Switched partners, then moved into a warm down, with some more flexibility drills, after which the lesson was over.
In general, fairly expensive as well as brief, at £8 for an hour long lesson, or there are various monthly contracts (see costs below), on top of a £15 registration fee and beginner courses. I had emailed John beforehand with my experience, to which he replied I should pop along to a 'level 2' class, which is the second beginner course.
So, the advanced classes may have been different; I had been told it was going to be a tough workout, and while it was certainly enough to raise a sweat (and perhaps the higher level classes are much more intensve), there was no comparison to the punishment I got at Steve Dempsey's class or certain sessions at Elite. A particular problem for me personally (so this is merely a reflection on where I live rather than the club) was the tube journey - took me much longer than I expected to get home, and I had to catch the last train back from Shoreditch - if I'd been a few minutes later, I would have been stranded.
So to summarise, if you're tight on time rather than budget, this is a good place for kickboxing, and the instructor has plenty of experience. However, for the average wallet, you could probably find equivalent training at a cheaper price.
Club Name: Paragon Gym
Address: The Basement, 6 Boundary Street, Shoreditch, London
Postcode: E2 7JE
Country: United Kingdom
Website: Here (or at least it used to be: I've got a 404 error a few times)
Instructor: John Lawson (and various others - see website)
Cost: Fairly high at £8 per session (though when you compare that to some BJJ clubs, doesn't seem quite so expensive), or course fees which vary between £80 for 12 lessons and £100 for 16 lessons, plus a £15 registration fee upon completion of the beginners course.
Styles Taught: Kickboxing
There are various classes, all one hour long - three from 18:15 until 21:15 from Monday to Thursday (different ability levels for each), a light sparring class on Friday at 19:15, then a special 'red belt/beginners extra' class on Saturday at 11:00 followed by a touch sparring class at 12:00.