I have serious commitment issues when it comes to types of exercise. Running, boxing and yoga serve as my foundation and true loves, but I find myself bored even if I’m doing a combination of these on a regular basis.
Enter Tal Moriah and taekwondo. Tal is a former Team USA athlete who served as an alternate and training partner for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Taekwondo is a Korean martial art akin to karate with an emphasis on kicking.
Tal offers bespoke training classes that can focus on fitness, self-defence, cardio, strength, sparring, flexibility and/or coordination depending on the goals of his clients. He offers one-on-one or group sessions, for leisure or corporate team building, and can hold them anywhere – perfect for attention deficit fitness addicts like me.
We met at one of Tal’s client’s apartment buildings to use the outdoor recreation space. If, like most of us, you live in a shoebox without anywhere to host a personal training session, any park or space with at least a 2m x 2m open area works. You need a towel and a water bottle – he will supply the rest.
The warm up included familiar exercises like high-knee running and lunges, but also some interesting movements focused on coordination, like jump full-turns. Next, we learned the footwork – slides and steps. The slides close gaps and provide distance, while the steps allow you to alternate your kicking leg in the same process. Starting solo then practicing with a partner, I got a feel for the flow of the sport, which reminded me a bit of fencing. You step, I step.
We moved into basic techniques for punching and kicking. Given the range of levels in the class, Tal broke down each movement into its fundamental parts. To practice, each partner set received what looks like a set of padded leather Ping-Pong paddles. Held at an angled distance, the small surface area forces you to focus your punches and kicks.
Having served in the Israeli military, Tal also incorporates elements of Krav Maga into his self-defence coaching. This martial art focuses on getting out of real-life situations. Hong Kong’s relative safety leaves us spoilt, but most of us travel often and solo, making these basic skills so important.
Tal charges $1,000 for a one-hour private session or $2,500HKD for a group class of 5-10 people, to be split evenly. For more information, contact him at [email protected] or 9555 9783.