Grins beam from faces drenched in sweat. Music energizes the kickboxers. They perform sidekicks and punch their fists in sync, making the ground below them shake from their strength. The instructor, Grace Shelton, is at the front of it all, leading her students with infectious energy and witty charm. Christian Nash attended the class with fresh eyes, like many of the other students who have never taken kickboxing. “Even though I’m a beginner I’m still able to keep up with all the moves and I can feel myself starting to memorize the moves in advance,” said Nash. That’s what Shelton strives for. Her kickboxing class is a full-body workout—mixing cardio, strength training and even some conditioning towards the end with a cool down that is influenced by a karate kata.
Being an ORU Alum, Shelton knows the importance of physical education, gaining her first fitness certifications as a student over 18 years ago. Shelton returned fully certified to become a gym instructor. She came to realize her love for her students and being back in the ORU environment.
“These moves are choreographed to the music and there are awesome sound effects that really motivate the moves, ” said Shelton. “This is obviously a no contact class but the sound effects mimic the sounds of making contact while in combat. It is invigorating and great fun.”
Students are able to enjoy the atmosphere and the opportunity to cleanse themselves of all the stress of the past weeks. Mollie McCune sees this class as a way to destress from the week’s workload.
“I’s a lot of fun so I feel like it’s a free self-defense class. It also helps work out aggression,” said McCune. “I get plenty of cardio in and I always get my steps if I come to kickboxing, and Grace is a good instructor.”
While getting your steps and cardio in is always a plus, kickboxing seems to serve as its own well-knit community.
“My favorite part is honestly the community. I started coming alone, since then I’ve noticed more of my friends coming. I’ve met a lot of new people through this class,” said Nash.
This kickboxing class seems to be a big hit with the students all thanks to the charismatic Mrs. Shelton. She wants it to be known that kickboxing is open to everyone, men and women. While the guys tend to gravitate to weight training, Shelton encourages them to step out of their comfort zone.
“Guys generally want to stick to the heavyweights and moving to music in a group setting is usually out of their comfort zone,” said Shelton. “We women would welcome the men taking on a new challenge.”
So if you ever have an hour to spare or want to get into this fun community, this group class always takes place at 5:15 p.m. every Tuesday on the second floor of the aerobic center.