In spite of Glasgow having been nominated the friendliest city, there’s no denying that Edina is friendly as well.
Just think of how open she is: welcoming international students, the International Arts Festival and the Fringe, soon to kick off...
Naturally, considering the amiable nature of the average Edinburgher, one wouldn’t think that boxing would be their forte... and that would be wrong.
Your Supeprof has been traipsing all over the UK to find the most rigorous workouts: boxing, kickboxing, mixed martial arts and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.
You will be surprised at the wealth of classes we found in the Athens of the North, starting with...
The Edinburgh Boxing Academy
Their home page is a bit off-putting; it proclaims ‘there is no easy way’. It makes you wonder what they mean because they certainly make it easy to work out there!
Let’s start with their classes: Beginner’s Boxing, Youth Boxing, Adult Boxing and, if you are at your peak of fitness, you might enjoy what they call T.E.B.A. Ultimate Fitness.
Known by its generic name, Boxercise, this exercise class incorporates the moves that boxers make to keep fit:
- Shadow boxing: essentially, boxing with your shadow
- rope skipping: an excellent cardio workout!
- Shuttle running: a short-distance sprint featuring quick turnarounds
- bag work: punching and kicking a heavy bag and working the speed bag
- Callisthenics: squat-jumps and situps, press-ups and chin-ups.
As you cycle through aerobic and anaerobic exercises, your body benefits from bursts of intense work separated by relatively mild reps; a manoeuvre designed to build cardiovascular endurance as well as burn fat.
Sports enthusiasts and experts agree that Boxercise is one of the best fitness regimens. That is why you can find a T.E.B.A. class every day of the week at the Boxing Academy.
What else do they have, besides a fitness studio and a weights room; locker rooms and changing facilities?
They have a decidedly generous membership plan; £40 a month give you access to unlimited classes. Youths and children as young as five can enjoy membership for £5-6 a month.
However, if you were hoping for personal training, that will cost you a bit more.
Why not head down to 13 West Harbour Road, catch a glimpse of their full-sized boxing ring and talk with a coach?
Do fitness enthusiasts in Leeds have such a fine facility to work out in?
Thai Boxing comes to Edinburgh
The ‘art of eight limbs’, or Muay Thai – literally Thai Boxing, is a combat sport that incorporates elbow and knee strikes along with clinching and striking techniques found in traditional boxing.
It is referred to as ‘eight limbs’ because there are eight striking ‘points’: kicks, knees, elbows and fists. By contrast, boxing has only two: both fists, and kickboxing and savate, the French combat sport, each use 4 ‘points’: hands and feet.
By the number of 'contact points', you can see how the whole body is engaged in Thai boxing.
It was a bit difficult, at first, to flex traditional fighting rules to incorporate the extra strikes that Thai kickboxing permitted.
An insistent demand for the sport, along with the proliferation of dojos offering training finally brought Muay Thai into mainstream arenas.
Where in Cardiff can one practise Muay Thai?
In Edinburgh, the go-to gym to get your Thai on is Hanuman.
You might start out with a personal trainer, if only to get an assessment of your current physical condition and advice on work you might do to build up your endurance.
If you are not sure you want to commit to such a rigorous regimen, you could take them up on their free trial offer; take a class to see how you hold up.
What if Thai boxing is truly not for you?
Would you be curious to know what gyms and dojos in Glasgow are like?
Perhaps K1 would suit you better. This combat sport is based in Muay but goes further to include aspects of karate, taekwondo, savate, San Shou and traditional boxing.
If you are a boxing purist, you could also take traditional ‘western’ boxing lessons there.
As intensive as these classes sound, you can rest assured that your coach will not permit you to work harder than you are ready for, nor will s/he put you in any kind of danger: for Hanuman, safety is paramount whether you are warming up, sparring or competing.
They are located at 10 Stewartfield; maybe you could drop by and see what they’re all about...
There’s a good chance you couldn’t find better boxing classes anywhere in the UK.
Boxing and More at Krav Maga
Krav Maga is a relative newcomer on the combat sports scene; it originated in the streets of Czechoslovakia during the mid-1930s and went mainstream twenty years later.
This particularly aggressive discipline ‘borrows’ from other fighting techniques, namely wrestling, boxing and bare-knuckle fighting; in its current incarnation, it is mainly taught for self-defense.
The best person to learn this unique fighting style is Marcus Houston, Edinburgh’s only full-time Krav Maga instructor.
There’s no need to discount this training facility because you think Krav Maga is a bit too much fighting for you; there are other programmes you and your family could benefit from.
If you have young children lazing around the house during their summer break from school, you could enrol them in the Little Ninja programme.
The martial arts are primarily about discipline and less about fighting.
As such, studying the arts as a child helps respect – for himself and for his environment, and inner peace. There is a spiritual element to martial arts, even though it doesn’t seem likely that a child as young as four could understand those concepts.
Nevertheless, teaching young children such a balance is an excellent means of paving the road that leads to self-confidence.
Adults can benefit from studying martial arts, too. The Krav Maga centre is well aware of that; they offer MMA training classes for adults several times per week.
You don’t need a membership to their club to attend these classes; you could just drop-in and participate. That's great news for MMA fighters from Liverpool who visit Edinburgh!
All they (and you) have to do is go to the Combat Ready Gym on Newhaven Road; soon, you too will be learning moves you might have never known you could make.
Also, find out where fighters in Belfast go to train...
Box at Leith Victoria
We could hardly write an article about boxing in Edinburgh without visiting her oldest boxing club.
This year, Leith Victoria celebrates one century of training fighters for the ring and for fitness. By no means should you infer that this is an outdated facility with tired, defective equipment.
The coaches and leaders of Leith have long held a stance of continuous improvement – in their equipment and their training methods.
As a trainee, you will start your sessions with warm-ups: stretches, isometrics and jogging in place. And then, you get to kick-start your heart by skipping rope and shuttle running.
You will then take your place at the speed bag or heavy bag for a bit of hand-eye coordination practice and rhythm training. Don’t forget your hand wraps!
What about circuit training, so common in Manchester boxing lessons? Yes, those also feature at Leigh Victoria.
These high-intensity exercises are designed to help build and maintain your endurance all while keeping your muscles primed for action.
Once you have completed your cardio burn, it is time to get in the ring for a bit of sparring. Naturally, all protective gear – gum shields, head guards and gloves will be worn.
When all is said and done and the cool-down stretches are finished, you will be left with the glow of health and the pride of accomplishment.
Whether you ever wanted to step into the ring to box competitively or use aspects of the noble art of boxing to maintain optimal fitness, you could hardly find a better place than the most venerable boxing club in Edinburgh.
Could amateur boxing in Birmingham be that good?
Trip Notes: Boxing in Edinburgh
In the course of our investigation into Edinburgh’s boxing scene, we uncovered a few facts:
1. Unlike Nottingham, called the Home of Sport by our travel council, Edinburgh does not have a strong relationship with boxing.
2. Like youths in every major city in the world, Edinburgh’s young people need places to release their pent up energy in healthy, constructive ways.
Bradley Welsh, a former amateur boxing champion, was painfully aware of both of these facts and the lack of facilities for young people to exercise in.
Five years ago, he announced his intention to open up 10 new boxing facilities so that kids could have a safe outlet for their energy while learning good habits for a lifetime.
Today, we see the fruits of his labour: more boxing clubs than we could write up in a single article, more devotion to a cause than most people expend even professionally... and more kids learning how to box.
Are kids in London so lucky as to have someone like Mr Welsh looking out for them?