Wellness & Fitness

Kicking and punching to a flexible body


There is Tae Bo, an exercise system that combines elements of aerobics and kick-boxing, and then there is tae-combat, a creation of Felix Okeke, a non-contact high-energy martial arts-inspired workout.

Mr Okeke, a fitness trainer, came up with this new way of training as an alternative to present forms of workouts such as zumba, tae bo, toning, and strength training.

His technique integrates martial and mixed martial arts techniques, such as kicks and punches.

Instead of the use of weights, tae-combat uses kicking and punching to improve an individual’s flexibility, and agility, as well as increase core body strength besides building their stamina, posture, balance, and shape.

Mr Okeke points out that the kicks and punches or shadow sparring especially work on the main muscle groups in the body.


Tae-combat fitness trainer Felix Okeke demonstrating how to do a backkick. December 8, 2021. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

“Most people who lift weights are not flexible. Tae-combat teaches self defence while improving agility, strength, and flexibility levels,” he says.

He explains that the explosive kicks or punches work on muscles in the lower back, the upper body, arms, and obliques to build endurance and strength.

The specific muscles include the calves, hamstrings, and quadriceps with the calves used for forward and side by side movement of the leg; the hamstrings, which is the huge muscle on the back of the thigh are responsible for internal rotation, hip extension, and knee flexion while the quads or quadriceps are four main muscles in the thighs hence the name.

During tae-combat workouts, the kicks are varied. The snap kick targets the lower abdomen and helps strengthen the muscles in the legs and thighs, back kick helps in strengthening the lower back, butts and also targets the quads while the sidekick targets the glutes, firming the butts as well as the waistline to do away with the fats around the area.


Tae-combat fitness trainer Felix Okeke demonstrating how to do a frontsnap kick. December 8, 2021. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

“The punches can be jabs, hooks, cross punches, uppercuts which use front or rear hand,” explains the trainer.

He adds that in regards to losing, gaining, or maintaining weight, tae-combat just as much as other cardio exercises is high-intensity training with the many physical movements in short spaces of time helping in burning fat and toning the body.

“Although it is physically demanding, it is perfect for building mental endurance and courage,” adds Okeke.

His classes are divided into beginners and masters class depending on one’s mastery of the moves and are available as either 55, 45, or 30-minute workouts.

Hitting the pick, Okeke says, depends on each individual but generally, he puts the period at between one and two months.

“You can adjust the workout to suit your goals and work at your levels. One can start with one or two classes a week as they develop their coordination and moves,” says the trainer.

“Every time I tweak the training by being creative and coming up with new moves to make the workout classes interesting and break the monotony of repetitive moves,” he adds.

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