14 July 2020

Martial Arts for the Unfit

| Creekgirl
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Does anyone have any recommendations for a martial arts class? I am an overweight female in my twentys looking to try a martial art for fitness, the discipline and to meet other people. I have had a look on the internet, but the websites all seem to feature young men, I was hoping for a class that would be a little more diverse. I want to feel comfortable with my ineptness.

I was also hoping to find a discipline where you don’t have to shout/grunt everytime you make a movement. The descriptions on the websites don’t mention if this is a feature of the discipline.

Any area would do but I would prefer southside or the city.


If you’re looking for recommendations on martial arts schools in Canberra, check out our article on the best martial arts schools in town for a helpful guide to finding the perfect one for you.

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hey creekgirl, any reviews about which one have you joined ?

“You could always try Les Mill’s choreographed Body Combat – that’s an aerobic class held at gyms around town (eg Northside Fitness Centre) that has all sorts of martial arts/tai chi bits to it. The class I go to has mostly women, and its huge fun.”

And is useless from a self-defence/martial arts perspective

You could always try Les Mill’s choreographed Body Combat – that’s an aerobic class held at gyms around town (eg Northside Fitness Centre) that has all sorts of martial arts/tai chi bits to it. The class I go to has mostly women, and its huge fun.

I’d also strongly recommend National Tae Kwon Do. I found it to be a great workout (and I was recovering from an injury at the time I started training there so was pretty unfit and not sure what I’d be able to do). The instructors are all good, especially at Kingston. You’ll learn a bunch about Tae Kwon Do and yourself. And most of the classes are an even mix of guys and girls. As a girl I never felt out of place or outmanned, so to speak. Can’t recommend it strongly enough.

Look no further than Wing Chun. http://www.chengswingchun.com.au/

Not quite the southside/city, but Australian Self Defence in Mitchell is fabulous. They focus on hapkido, which isn’t particularly shouty at all, and does a even mix of punches, kicks, locks and the like, and a nice bit of cardio thrown in too. There’s the option to do some BJJ as you get up a bit in belt levels. They also run a specific white belt (the lowest belt) intro course on Sunday afternoons. It’s $50 a fortnight for as many classes as you want to attend. About a third females.

Hill Sports Academy in Belconnen does weeknight Cross Fit classes..if you live in the area, think about it – dont bother with the wing chung kung fu or tae kwon do or anythin else that sounds like this – this is for people that are fit already. You will get frustrated or injured doing this before you get fit. crossfit will get you in shape, no matter what your shape, and you can move on from there. there are mostly women doing the crossfit at this club, men doing boxing, judo etc.

JustThinking7:37 pm 07 Jan 11

I’d say it would depend on how overweight you are and what you feel comfortable with.
I’m not overweight and still hate all that shout/grunting crap.
I used to be overweight though so know what you mean.

Best of luck and hope some replies helped. Do you have someone that will go with you? I always found that better.

I would like to recommend Tang Soo Tao!

It’s a fairly small school with classes in Tuggeranong and Weston Creek. The school is run by two females and the class is also roughly 50:50 male:female.

We’ve had students of differing levels of fitness and ability in the hall and the techniques can be adapted until you settle in to it. While you don’t necessarily shout or grunt each time you move, the way you breathe is an important part of your technique.

If you’d like some more information, send an email to acttangsoo at gmail.com.

Im an overweight female and I’ve started wing chun in philip http://www.wingchun.net.au. Sifu Allen is awesome and since I go to the day classes he can take the time out to help me as im such a noob. Wing chun isn’t just great for moving your body but its good self defense and I highly recommend taking it up.

Also wing chun is a very ‘female’ focused martial art, unfortunately women in general aren’t into martial arts it seems and you just gotta go with the flow. Try day classes though, small crowd and once you get more confident you can go for bigger groups and of course, meet some guys 😉

smiling politely1:03 pm 07 Jan 11

Another vote for wing chun at Phillip, Sifu Graham’s an excellent teacher and exponent of the art. I’ve also heard good things about brazilian ju-jitsu and krav maga (I think there’s a class held at ANU). In terms of losing weight I’d suggest it’s a matter of training three times per week and watching your calorie intake. Martial arts will also do wonders for your self-confidence after a little while.

Kempo with Bobby Farquhar, Anu Basketball courts 5.30 pm on Tuesday and accross the road at the Rugby Club building on Thursdays at 6pm. Good mix of fitness, abilities and ages, and loads of fun. Look for the people in black. Great instructor.

Strongly recommend National Tae Kwon Do, they have classes running right around Canberra, I personally go to Conder Classes (Monday and Wednesday nights) and Kambah classes (Tuesday and Thursday) there are also classes running on Friday nights and Saturday’s in other locations.

It costs $65 per month for as many classes as you can fit in (or want to go to)…


georgesgenitals11:28 am 07 Jan 11

Wing chun is a very effective martial art, but isn’t necessarily going to do much around fitness or weight loss. I’d by looking for something a bit more active.

There is no such animal as THE world’s mixed martial arts champion, but the sport of MMA had its genesis in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

BJJ is a practical martial art, unlike some of the karate style ones, and will get you very fit if practiced regularly. A lot of the karate style ones are a bit of a wank

I do a Korean art called Soo Bahk Do, which I started primarily for fitness. There are six women in the do jang I attend (about a third of the class), and a similar proportion at the other do jangs. My instructor was very understanding about my back problems and general unfitness, and altered the program to fit me. I’ve been doing it for about 18 months now and I’m still loving it (especially the weight loss and muscle toning!).

These are the Canberra do jangs for Soo Bahk Do:
Gungahlin (where I go) – http://www.soobahkdo.net.au/
Florey – http://www.capitalsbd.com.au/index.php
Hughes – http://soobahkdo.chirp.com.au/where.html
Bungendore – http://bungendoresoobahkdo.editme.com/

Hope this is helpful!

Creekgirl +1 for Peter Morton.

Thanks Ozi, I might give that one a go. I wont be able to attend the St Eddies one though as it will need to be after hours.

gospeedgo – I have the Zumba DVD’s and I do it at home, but I wanted to try something different, and maybe get some new skills out of it as well.

You should try this:


ticks all the boxes.


I used to go to kickboxing at the Phoenix Gym in Mitchell and it was excellent for fitness (which was the reason I went). Was very good and had a diverse range of people from inept/uncoordinated to professional/competitive. That was a few years ago now though, so I don’t know what it’s like now. They have expanded their facilities in Mitchell in the interim though, so I guess they must still be popular.


They have a range of different branches and clubs. The classes are not “grunt/shouty” at all, but are great for fitness and the like. Our branch and Griffith (St Eddies) has between 4 and 7 people per class of varying abilities. You’d be welcome to come along for a class to any branch: first class is free and then you can chose if you want to come back. $50 for the term (10 weeks) so very reasonable prices, and you can do multiple classes per week if you want: ie. St Eddies on Wednesday, and Queanbeyan on Monday etc.

I work with a guy who is involved with Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. This is a wrestling/throwing/grappling/ground fighting technique related to judo. It is apparently (according to my colleague) very effective generally, and for women in particular. It relies on technique rather than a lot of physical strength. I believe there are a couple of dojos around Canberra. There is also quite a lot of info available via Google.

I think the world mixed martial arts champion is a BJJ practioner.

I hope this helps.

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