Review: Excel Martial Arts

The 411:

Excel Martial Arts

Kids Karate, Self Defense, Women’s Fitness and Yoga

3045 Buhre Avenue

Recently I had the opportunity to try out a Women’s Workout at Excel Martial Arts. I was excited to try something that wasn’t your typical cardio class at your local gym, but I’ll admit I was nervous how my post baby body would handle it. I’ve gained over 50 pounds since the birth of my now six year old daughter back in 2006, and after giving birth again 9 months ago, my body is telling me it just can’t handle the weight I’ve put on (and of course my wardrobe can’t either!)

Shihan Joseph Rivera got straight to the point with the class full of women- who ranged from fitness veterans to first time rookies. We started with jumping jacks and other cardio just to get moving. About 20 minutes into the class, my calves locked up-something that has been happening to me recently. I was nervous about how Shihan would handle this-would he tell me to push through and just keep going? Would he tell me to sit it out? He actually did exactly what I needed: he told me to just walk it out, keep moving, and showed me a few stretches to help my legs. It was exactly what I needed. He wasn’t too hard on me and understood I really was in pain, and he wasn’t too soft- which helped me to still push my hardest.

I was excited when it was time to put the gloves on. It was like the reward for getting through the cardio. We partnered up and did several routines, all of which were fun. Throughout the class, the women who had been there for some time helped us newbies with our form and whatever we needed some guidance with. I loved all of the women in the class as well. They didnt make me feel self conscious about being out of shape or not knowing a routine right away. Such a great vibe.

My verdict? Definitely recommend this class for anyone who is ready to push themselves, get fit, and learn some pretty awesome fighting moves on top of all of it. Shihan Joseph Rivera is a perfect fit for women who are in shape and ready to move, or like me who need some encouragement. When you get to class you dive right in, which really doesn’t give you much time to think about it- you just go for it. And it gets hard, but the amazing feeling you get afterwards is so worth it.

I had a chance to speak with the Shihan after class and talk about the class, fitness in general, and some commonly asked questions. Overall, I learned that this class is actually training women to professional fight, without ever actually fighting. Pretty cool. I also learned a lot of people say they want to get in shape a little more before they start the class. This is a no-no. Just come, start the classes and go from there. And of course the biggest part of a healthy lifestyle is what you eat. Don’t think you are going to be able to eat all the cheeseburgers you want and lose weight with fitness. It takes a lot of hard work to keep your body in shape- don’t make it work harder by giving it a 800 calorie sandwich to work off.

To learn more about Excel and their classes, visit their website at

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