Students kick their way to fitness

By Gus Bode


Zach Davis, 22, background, and Brandon Taylor, 25, foreground, practice conditioning drills during Thai Boxing class Monday at the Recreation Center. The class is taught by Jim Crouse, a 40-year-veteran of the Tai fighting style. “There’s a philosophical difference between American boxing and Thai boxing,” Crouse said. Thai boxing places more emphasis on strikes with the knees and elbows as opposed to the fist, Crouse said. The classes average around 30 members throughout the fall and spring semesters and are open to anyone who chooses to participate. – George Lamboley | Daily Egyptian

As participants prepared for their first session of Thai Boxing, Jim Crouse ordered the group to undergo a set of calf raises and high knees as a warm-up.


“The participants can be totally out of shape and the class is designed to get them in the best shape that we can over the period that they are in the class,” Crouse, the class instructor, said. “This is more of a fitness, this is not a self-defense course.”

The student Recreation Center offers a summer class that combines kicking and punching for an intense workout.

Sally Wright said this is not your ordinary kick and punch class.

“We don’t have a program offered called kickboxing,” Wright, associate director of programs at the student Recreation Center, said. “We offer an instructional program class called Thai Boxing.”

Thai Boxing uses Eastern fighting styles and incorporates more kick combatives to achieve a full body workout, she said.

“The idea is that the folks in that class are going to get a good, solid, all-body workout, cardio, strength and flexibility through the Thai Boxing technique,” Wright said.

The participants of the class will use punching bags, hand wraps, ropes and gloves to develop physical strength and endurance.


“If you are going to sign up for Thai Boxing and you are a beginner, by the end of that six-week session, you are going to learn some skill,” Wright said.

Wright said everyone in the class learns together. However, that does not mean everyone in the class is a beginner.

She said there are varying degrees of ability in the room, and the instructor is in charge of being able to work with different skill levels.

Crouse said the program is designed for all skill levels and in any physical condition. He said the average age of his participants are college students ranging from ages 18-25, but both younger and older people have participated in the class.

Tiffany Vodicka, a graduate student in exercise science from Earlville, said she never participated in a boxing class until now and she wanted to give it a try.

“I have never did any Thai Boxing, so I said, ‘Why not?’” Vodicka said.

Due to her area of area of study, Vodicka said she wanted to see the activity from a different aspect.

“It’s a different view of exercising,” Vodicka said. “I’m trying to get certified for personal training so I thought I would take another look at exercising.”

The class began Monday and will be taught in the martial arts room of the student Recreation Center every Monday and Wednesday from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The class will run from June 20 to August 3 and the price of the class is $75 for members and $90 for non-members.