For some reason when I signed up for Budokon’s Mobility and Agility class, I thought I was in for just another Yoga class. Boy, was I wrong.The description of the class listed on the Budokon website reads: “This class explores hip, spine and shoulder mobility through a variety of yogic transitions, animal locomotion and martial arts techniques that will change the way you move.”Indeed, this one-hour class challenged my body in ways that I didn’t know were possible.The class I took was taught by Jose who introduced the class with “get rid of what you expected - this is not a yoga class,” he made clear.Throughout the next hour, we moved our bodies in natural, but challenging, undulating movements. I spent a lot of my time observing the teacher and who I assumed were regular students - all absolutely gorgeous movers.I mostly felt a bit awkward, but this was no fault of the teacher. Jose was incredibly helpful and gave each student focused individual attention to help them understand the movements. He made me feel welcome and confident in the movements despite my own perceived shortcomings.“Everyone’s body is unique,” he stressed, “and we should move as such.”Melayne Shayne, who is the Global Brand Director of Budokon University and wife of founder Cameron Shayne walked in mid-way through our warm-up and greeted everyone with a warm hug and kiss.Everyone who works here gives off the energy that they were designed to move - their warmth and welcome emanate naturally. The entire class seemed to flow.Towards the end, students started trickling in for the next session (sparring). Some would join us on the mat and others would ebb out into the day.
And then Cameron Shayne, owner and “Father of Mixed Movement Arts,” stepped in to take over. The energy in the room shifted to a level of razor-sharp focus as more people flowed off the street and onto the mat.Cameron is a fascinating persona; he is both intense and philosophical, with over 30 years of martial arts experience. Its all he has ever known.Son to a notorious street fighter, Cameron found martial arts at the age of twelve. He went on to achieve a 4th degree black belt in Olympic Style Taekwondo under the Harmon brothers, a 3rd degree black belt in Yoshukai Karate under kick boxing world champion Gerry Blank, a brown belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu with Rickson Gracie, and a 4th degree black belt with Gui Arashiro.He has been practicing – mostly self guided - yoga for over 20 years. He once worked as Charlie Sheen’s Bodyguard. In recent years, he has focused on researching and teaching animal locomotion to create the Budokon system. (read more about Cameron).Animal locomotion is Cameron’s signature philosophy and I was lucky enough to experience his instruction in the last minutes of class. We started moving like gorillas and then shifting into the movements of a panther and a lizard (Cameron and Jose did this effortlessly – me, not so much).“Humans are weak and animals are strong,” Shayne explains. “By changing the surface or number of limbs you use to locomotive, you can change your anatomy.”I left after the first class (I’m pregnant, so wasn’t up for sparring), but would highly recommend staying through the evening. The evening classes shift seamlessly from mobility & agility into striking (described as: a combination of striking techniques from boxing, karate, and taekwondo to help build a solid foundation of skill, stamina, and practical self defense), and finally onto grappling (described as: this class combines wrestling and Brazilian jiu-jitsu to help build a solid foundation of ground combat for self defense).If you are looking for a workout that will completely shift the way you think about your body, you must give Budokon a try.For more information visit, http://www.budokon.com/.