Friday, May 18, 2012

Punching the bags for fitness? Yup, that too.

At Jungle Miami, we are always emphasizing the many benefits that training in Martial Arts offer. It doesn't matter if one is a regular folk or an athlete. Martial Arts are not only for self defense or for sports. Punching the bags are also a great way to get in shape, stay in shape and/or get rid of stress. Today we are posting an article published in the New York Times. Enjoy the reading and please feel free to send us your thoughts about this article or any other issue you may be interested in. If you have any questions, we will do the research and bring you all the answers.

Yurika Foster working the speed bag at the
Aerospace High Performance Center.
Throwing Punches With Models of Fitness

AS a pacifist I never imagined that a violent sport like boxing could offer me anything. What I didn’t know was that a boxer’s training, repurposed for fitness, could make for a safe and dynamic exercise program.
Two weeks at a gym devoted solely to fitness boxing, Aerospace High Performance Center in the West Village, taught me that much. I had never thrown a serious punch in my life until my first workout in the most hands-on class offered, Aeroimpact. After having my hands wrapped and gloved, Michael Olajide Jr. ran me through the basics: jab, uppercut, hook and power punch. Mr. Olajide is a 48-year-old former middleweight champion who had been teaching similar classes for about a decade before opening the gym in 2005.
“We take the conditioning of fighters and ask you to do exactly what a fighter would do,” he said as we walked into a room where three types of punching bags hung idly.
 Mr. Olajideworking with a student.
In unison with about 20 other students — an even mix of men and women — I started throwing right jabs into a heavy bag in time to pumping house music. After a few minutes I started getting tired but also felt weirdly exhilarated. Punching felt good.
Right jab, slip right, right uppercut, left power punch. Each sequence progressed in pace from slow to medium to double time, or fighting speed. The goal, Mr. Olajide explained, is to develop power, speed, reflexes, defense and endurance. Keeping up with the increasingly elaborate maneuvers called for serious focus and stamina.
“Pick it up,” Mr. Olajide shouted with a sharp triple clap when he saw me lagging, yet again. He gently reminded me to turn my wrist just before impact and to keep my defensive hand up. “You’re perfecting the punches,” he said.
After a while, panting and drenched, I had to take a breather.
At the end of class everyone lined up for short one-on-one sessions with “focus mitts.” Every time my big knuckle connected squarely with the sweet spot of the mitt, I felt especially strong. But I was nothing compared with some of the others, particularly a few women whose punches were much faster and stronger than mine. They were highly trained fighters, and it was easy to see why women’s boxing will finally be a medal sport at the Summer Olympics.
Jessica Clarke, 19, a model who lives in Clinton, said she trained regularly at the gym and had vastly improved in six months. (A number of Victoria’s Secret models train with Mr. Olajide privately, he said.)
“Everyone’s just full-on into the workout,” Ms. Clarke said. “It’s so motivating and empowering, and it’s fun.”
Michael Olajide Jr., a former middleweight boxing champion, leading a class at the
Aerospace High Performance Center in the West Village.
While resting for a few days, I found myself craving the gloves and the bags. I shadowboxed in the mirror at home, trying to work on my form.
The next week, after an Aerobox class, which complements the Aeroimpact class with skipping rope and shadowboxing, Teresa Misagal, 44, a restaurant manager who lives in Williamsburg, told me that her 14 years of training with Mr. Olajide had, in his parlance, “sleekified” her.
“It changed what my arms look like, what my legs look like, my entire shape,” she said.
Though jogging and machines have their merits, this brand of exercise goes beyond mere fitness. It’s an art form, much like dance, in which you are always striving to improve and perfect the punches.


Aerospace offers a variety of weekly classes for $30 each; a one-month unlimited membership is $300; 332 West 13th Street, West Village; (212) 929-1640,

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Women in MMA, some good and not so good news.

Jungle's own Adis Alvarez 

Today's days, people tend to relate MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) to the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship).  Mr. Dana White has achieved what no other promoter had been able to achieve.  He has put MMA in the global map. Thanks to him, MMA is now  considered a mainstream sport. This is a fact. And for those of us who own and operate  MMA schools, these are exciting times. MMA is not some abstract subject anymore. In our schools we have great students, who in time will become great martial artists. Including talented female martial artists.  Still, MMA is not perceived in the same way Karate or Taekwondo are.Karate and Taekwondo schools  tend to have a more neutral feel to them, gender wise. MMA schools are for the most part full of guys, so, female students can feel somewhat uneasy about joining in the classes. There are also some other issues affecting female martial artists. For instance, there are not many promoters putting on female martial artists in their fight cards. Also, with the UFC franchise buying in  STRIKEFORCE -which had been steadily promoting female fighters in their cards- some worried about the impact the buyout could have in the female fighting world. There is the ULTIMATE FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIP  TV reality show, males only. TV channels are showing MMA fights all the time.  There are TV shows with plenty of  MMA male commentators, mostly males. We have seen famous fighters, Florian, Mir, Shamrock, to name a few, become TV commentators, but for the most part, female martial artists are not being showcased as they should, in their own right.  We at Jungle, are doing our part, by giving our students excellence in training, we are hoping  to make exceptional martial artists and practitioners, males as well as females. 

We at Jungle are posting the article about the all female fight card that will be held on the 28th of this month in Kansas CIty, Kansas.  On the same day, two of students will be fighting at an event, one of these students is a female martial artist. We will share with our readers all the information, in our next post.
MMA is growing very nicely, every day and with it, many women are becoming  interested in practicing it and learning about it. With this post today about the INVICTA FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIPS, we are going to begin an exploration in the history of women in the world of Martial Arts.We hope you accompany us in this journey of discovery. Feel free to give us your feedback about this or any other subject you find interesting. Enjoy the reading. 

Royce Gracie UFC SHOCKER – Breaking MMA News

A spinal injury sustained during training has forced Shana Nelson to withdraw from her scheduled bantamweight (135 pounds) match up with Sarah D’Alelio (4-2) of San Jose, Calif. on the inaugural Invicta Fighting Championships all-women’s Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fight card at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan. on Saturday, April 28. Undefeated Vanessa Mariscal (2-0) of El Segundo, Calif. will step in to face D’Alelio at the event.

Additionally, Cat “Alpha” Zingano (6-0) of Denver, Colo. has withdrawn from her bantamweight (135 pounds) contest with Anita “El Tigre” Rodriguez (5-2) of Dallas, Texas, citing health issues as the cause.
The 38-year-old, 5-foot-6 Mariscal, a former student of MMA legend and UFC Hall of Fame member Royce Gracie, holds a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the fighting discipline she took up 15 years ago after stints in Karate, kickboxing and Jeet Kune Do.
Mariscal has put her strong Jiu-Jitsu foundation on display in MMA competition, winning both her professional bouts to date by way of rear-naked choke. In her debut on Nov. 20, 2009, she submitted Jessica Halverson in the first round of action and, in her last start on June 17, 2011, Mariscal forced Colleen Schneider to tap out in the third stanza of their bout.

Sarah D'Alelio
The matchup between Mariscal and D’Alelio will finally come to fruition after previously falling apart on two different occasions.
“I know she’s a tough girl with a reputation for being a tough fighter,” said Mariscal about D’Alelio. “She’s not going to back down and not going to give up, so I’m not taking her lightly at all. At the same time, I’m ready to fight anyone.

“What people don’t know about me is that I’ve been doing this for a very long time but, until recently, there had never been a platform for women to fight on like there is now. After (MMA superstar) Gina Carano came along, it started to change and, now, there are fortunately some big opportunities for us. I think what Invicta is doing for the women in the sport is great and will help all of us.”
Vanessa Mariscal
Mariscal, a personal fitness trainer and the owner of VMX Training Center, appeared on a Nov. 2011 episode of MTV reality series “I Used To Be Fat,” helping an overweight teenage girl with proper dieting and exercise in order to become healthier.

“Any time there is an opportunity for me to use my fitness and martial arts training to help someone else, I will be there to do it,” Mariscal said. “We have such a high obesity rate in America and our health care crisis is just getting worse. We are going to have to wake up and make some drastic changes in order to change things for the better and 
start living a healthier lifestyle as a society.”
Like Mariscal, the 5-foot-7, 31 year old D’Alelio’s greatest strength is her ground game. She has earned three of her four career professional victories by way of submission.
D’Alelio is looking to rebound from two consecutive losses, the last of which came at the hands of undefeated 2008 Olympic Judo bronze medalist Ronda Rousey on Aug. 12, 2011.
Tickets for the inaugural Invicta Fighting Championships event, priced from $35, are on sale at Memorial Hall box office (913) 549-4853), online at and and by phone at (800) 745-3000.
The live stream of the event on will begin at 8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. PST with the five-bout preliminary card and continue with the six-bout main card. The stream will be available free of charge.
In the main event, superstar Marloes Coenen (19-5) of The Netherlands will face off with Romy Ruyssen (5-1) of France in a featherweight (145 pounds) rematch. Coenen was the victor of their first meeting on Aug. 2, 2008 by way of submission (rear-naked choke) in the second round of action.
In the co-main event, two 29-year-old submission specialists – Jessica Penne (8-1) of Laguna Hills, Calif. and Lisa Ellis-Ward (14-7) of Lacey, Wash.- will square off with one another at strawweight (105 pounds).
Strikeforce bantamweight star and United States Marine Liz “Girl-Rilla” Carmouche (5-2) of San Diego, Calif. will square off with unbeaten prospect Ashleigh Curry (1-0) of Kansas City, Mo.
Leslie Smith (3-2) of Pleasant Hill, Calif. will meet Kaitlin Young (7-5) of St. Louis Park, Minn. at bantamweight and Sally Krumdiack (9-4) of Bellingham, Wash. will duke it out with Sarah Schneider (5-5) of Kansas City, Mo. at flyweight (115 pounds).
MMA fighter and actress Gina Carano

In preliminary card action, 2008 Olympic wrestling bronze medalist Randi Miller (0-0) of Denver, Colo. will make her highly-anticipated MMA debut against Mollie Estes (1-0) Lake Lotawana, Mo.
Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc (7-5) of Tulsa, Okla. will take on Amy Davis (2-2) of Idaho Falls, Idaho at strawweight. Sarah Maloy (2-2) of Ada, Okla. will meet Michele Gutierrez (3-2) of Las Vegas, Nev. in a super flyweight (125 pounds) tilt. Unbeaten Ashley Cummins (2-0) of St. Louis will battle Sofia Bagherdai (4-1) of Upland, Calif. at flyweight. Jessica Philippus (0-0) of Marshall, Mo. will make her professional debut against Meghan Wright (1-3) of Cincinnati, Ohio in a straw weight match up.
All bouts have been approved by the Kansas State Athletic Commission.

An interview with Vanessa Mariscal

About Invicta Fighting Championships:
Invicta Fighting Championships is a world championship Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fight series dedicated to providing female athletes with a major platform to hone their skills on a consistent basis. Founded in 2012 by longtime MMA executive Shannon Knapp and sports aficionado Janet Martin, Invicta is committed to pioneering the future growth of women’s MMA by promoting the best possible match ups between female competitors and identifying and developing future superstars of the sport.

Sources and other related news and links
Original Article at
For live streaming of the Invicta Fighting Championships go to

It's been confirmed Jessica Aguilar VS Megumi Fujii for Bellator 69. May 19th.
About Female Fighters News VIsit

Friday, April 13, 2012

Muay Thai For The Mind And The Body.


Jungle Miami brings today,  an interesting article, published 3 days ago in the New Straits Times of  Malaysia. Its about Muay Thai and all the great benefits of training in the ancient martial art of Thailand.
You are welcome to comment about this or any other subject you think merits our attention.
You can also send us your feedback. We really appreciate it.  Enjoy the reading.

Mind And Body Discipline
By Nuraina Samad | 

IT’S almost 10am on Saturday. The door opens and brothers Syabil-Azam Syamsul-Azam, 8, and Syahmi-Azam, 6, cheerfully run in, barefoot, and playfully head for the centre of the spacious Sparta Muay Thai and Mixed Martial Arts gym in Ara Damansara, Petaling Jaya.
In a while, they’ll be joined by their friends, among whom are Izzat Azlan, 8, Aqeel Rayn Shah Saifrullah Shah, 4, Jonathan, 10 and Sufyan Heikal Mazlen, 11.
They’ll all be putting on their boxing gloves and for the next hour, sweating it all out, punching and kicking under Muay Thai trainers Moo (Pai Toon Phongchin) and Tanwa (Phonchai Lun Thaisong).
Syabil-Azam, Syami-Azam, Aqeel, Jonathan, Izzat and Sufyan Heikal are among 15 children who spend an hour or more during their weekends doing Muay Thai — as a workout and martial art.
“One, two, one, two,” Moo hollers, and the children give a left punch and then a right. All in unison and with gusto.
“Right knee,” Moo barks and all of them step forward and give a quick jerk up of their right knee. Tanwa keeps a watchful eye on their moves.
After 10 minutes of quick and “lethal” moves, Moo smiles and says: “Okay, water, water.”
Sweaty now, they all run to their dads who are waiting on the sideline of the floor-padded gym, with water bottles in hand. After about five minutes, Moo calls them back to resume their rigorous but fun workout.
So why do parents send their kids for Muay Thai? Predictably, most of their dads are fitness enthusiasts, or sportsmen who are Muay Thai students themselves. They swear by its goodness. As for Jonathan, it is his mother, YL Shim who is a keen practitioner of the martial art at the gym.

They believe it is a “damn good” total fitness workout. They all agree that their kids are now in good shape. They are more disciplined, and have developed good habits.
Syamsul-Azam Shafei, 35, is convinced that Muay Thai has made his sons, Syabil-Azam and Syahmi-Azam fitter and healthier.
“It has also taught them to respect their elders because they learn to respect their instructor,” says the quality manager with an oil and gas company who is also a Sparta member. His wife, secondary school teacher Aidawati Othman, 35, agrees.
The couple, who lives in Shah Alam, has another son, 2-year-old Syahrin-Azam who will, without a doubt, join his brothers as soon as he is old enough.
Little Aqeel maybe the smallest in the group but you’d best not be messing with him. He moves like a pro.
His father, Saifrullah Shah Yacob, 33, who is a department head at Airod in Subang, is a sportsman and used to be a big league competitive swimmer. He joined Sparta in January, a month after it opened in December last year.

Izzat’s father, Azlan Salim, also one of Sparta’s earliest members, finds Muay Thai to be effective in getting his son into good health and shape.
“He has lost weight and is more confident,” says the 32-year-old commercial advisor of an oil and gas company who took up Muay Thai as supplementary training for his triathlon practices but grew to really enjoy the martial art.
His daughter, 4-year-old Marissa, has not joined the all-male group yet but Azlan believes it’ll be “just a matter of time because she already knows the moves”, having regularly joined him and Izzat in their playful sparring.
Nurazrina Abdul Samad who works with a financial institution, says her son Sufyan Heikal used to be overweight but since joining the Saturday classes, has become trimmer.
“In fact, he was put on a diet, which was quite tough. But since Muay Thai, he has lost weight and is very active. He has also developed very healthy habits,” says the 42-year-old mother of four.

Sparta general manager Dean Koh, 29, says these children are among the gym’s more than 100 members of all ages comprising diverse groups of people, from students and working professionals to entrepreneurs. There are some 40 female members in the Muay Thai classes.
Koh, who opened the gym with three others, adds that the gym also offers high intensity cardio workouts and self-defence. Other programmes offered are kettlebells, RIP 60 suspension training, western boxing and cardio kickboxing, and also competitions.
Sparta is an affiliate of Tiger Muay Thai, Thailand’s leading Muay Thai and mixed martial arts training camp located in Phuket.
Sazzy Falak and Nazril Idrus are the celebrity spokespersons for Sparta.

The writer, who is trained in classical and contemporary ballet, is a fitness enthusiast and is a student of Muay Thai.

The Art of Eight Limbs
MUAY Thai is a combat sport from Thailand that uses stand-up striking along with various clinching techniques. It is similar to other Indo-Chinese kickboxing systems. Here, it is known as Tomoi.
Muay Thai is Thailand’s national sport and dubbed the sport of kings.
The word muay derives from the Sanskrit “mavya” which means “to bind together”.
Muay Thai is referred to as the “Art of Eight Limbs” or the “Science of Eight Limbs” because it makes use of punches, kicks, elbows and knee strikes, thus using eight “points of contact”, as opposed to “two points” (fists) in boxing and
“four points” (hands and feet) used in other more regulated combat sports, such as kickboxing or boxing.
The history of Muay Thai is also the history of the Thai people and has been an essential part of Thai culture right from its dawn.
Muay Thai has always been a sport for the people as well as a military fighting skill. In all its golden ages, the people have trained and practised the sport — king and commoner.
It was a part of the Thai school curriculum right up to the 1920s when it was withdrawn because it was felt that the injury rate was too high. The people however, continued to study it in gyms and clubs, just as they do today.
For centuries, the army fostered Muay Thai and soldiers have trained and used the techniques for as long as there has been an army in Thailand. For the military it has always been the close combat fighting skill, the martial art of the battlefield. When a Thai soldier fights hand to hand, he uses Muay Thai. But then, so does every Thai person, male or female. Watching it, learning it, copying it, is a part of Thai childhood. It always has been.
The people have always followed the sport and have been instrumental in moving it from the battlefield to the ring. They have been as much a part of making it a sport as have the kings.
The sport has undergone changes. Still, Muay Thai has lost none of its exotic appeal or even its mystique.
The television fight broadcasts rate among the kingdom’s most popular programmes.
In the provinces, villagers cluster around any available TV to watch. In the city, people disappear from the streets while Thailand is watching Muay Thai.

Women in Muay Thai 
IF you go into Aisyah Abidin’s Facebook, you’ll see that Muay Thai and fitness make up most of her status updates. One of her latest is a video of her in a fierce but friendly sparring match in a “Sparta Beatdown” at Sparta Muay Thai and Mixed Martial Arts gym in Ara Damansara on March 31.
She sparred with her “best buddy”, Annie Wong. It ended in a draw.
Singapore-born Aisyah who is tall and lean with a well-toned body, has been doing Muay Thai seriously for a year before joining Sparta in December last year. She regularly works out at the gym, where you can see her lifting weights, doing intense cardio plus honing her Muay Thai skills.
The Muay Thai trainers consider her in great form and good to go into the ring.
When Life & Times meets her at the gym, Aisyah is seen sparring with fellow spartan, Azrin Izmee, 39.
Also there are women members Khairena Kamil and YL Shim.
This soft-spoken 31-year-old marathon runner says that she takes up Muay Thai as a challenge to her own level of fitness. “I wanted to see if, as a runner, I could survive the toughness and intensity of Muay Thai. And I could.”
Aisyah believes that there can be another reason for her attraction to this ancient Thai martial art — her mother is Thai and her great grandmother in her younger days was a Muay Thai fighter in Southern Thailand.
Also for her, Muay Thai offers a total workout. Besides, the trainers at the gym are themselves Muay Thai champions who have trained champions.
The eldest of seven siblings, Aisyah stays in USJ, Subang Jaya and works at Safmarine Malaysia in Glenmarie in customer service.

She works out whenever she can because “working out is the cheapest way to maintain weight, stay healthy and well, stay young”. So this early-riser begins a 30-minute morning workout of stretching and abs exercises at 5.30am.
Although her office is only eight kilometres from  home, the morning jam makes it an hour-long drive .
So, the only “unhealthy” thing for her is having a breakfast of coffee and bread in the car as she drives to work.
She does not diet but watches her rice intake and enjoys fish or chicken, and lots of vegetables and fruits.
When she is not working out she spends time with her family or goes diving, travelling, camping or hiking with her friends.
She hasn’t mentioned it in her Facebook but her short-term goal is “to get that six-pack”. So far, it’s a four pack that she has.
“But, I’ll get there,” she smiles as she pats her to-die-for ab.


Sources and links of interest.

 Mind and body discipline - Health - New Straits Times Original article link

"The Art Of Eight Limbs", at the Ethiopian Review.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Jungle brings Jongsanan "The Woodenman" to Miami.

On Saturday  May  26th,  Jungle will be hosting a Muay Thai Seminar with world Muay Thai fighting legend Jongsanan "The Wooden Man" Fairtex.  Jongsanan, born on July 24th, 1974, is one of the most decorated thai boxers in the history of Muay Thai. Today, he is a Muay Thai Trainer and MMA stand up coach, based in California. 

Amongst his accomplishments we can cite:
2x ISKA World Champion.
IKKC Junior Middleweight World Champion.
IKF North American Champion.
2x Lumpinee Champion


Some links of interest.

Video of one of Jongsanan's most famous fights known as the "elbow fight" it was nominated as the fight of the decade.

For registration, contact us at 786-738-3841.
Space is limited, so call us and reserve your spot NOW!
Costs: $85.00 until May 19th
           $100.00 @ the door if not sold out.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Tai Chi classes begin at Jungle.

 Jungle wants to share some great news. We are introducing a new class to  our roster, T'ai Chi Ch'uan, which means Supreme Ultimate Fist or Boundless Fist. In China, Tai Chi is categorized under the Wu dang grouping of Martial Arts, the arts applied with internal power. The term is used to separate it from the
Shoaling grouping of Martial Arts, the "hard" or "external" martial arts styles. Tai Chi's origins have been traced back to the 12th Century to a Chinese monk named Chang Sang Fen who reportedly lived for 200 years. His longevity was attributed  to his philosophy for living, integrating a healthy body and mind. Originally developed in ancient China as a self defense Martial Art, Tai Chi has evolved into a graceful form of exercise that is now used for stress reduction and for healing a variety of health conditions. There are various forms of Tai Chi and there are more than 100 possible movements and positions. According to the prestigious Mayo Clinic, Tai Chi's uses of flowing movements reduces the stress of today's busy lifestyles, improving overall health and well-being. Often described as "meditation in motion" Tai Chi promotes serenity through its gentle movements. Although more research is needed, preliminary studies conducted by the Mayo Clinic suggest that Tai Chi offers numerous benefits beyond stress relief, such as:

-Reducing anxiety and depression
-Improving balance, flexibility and muscle strength
-Reducing falls in older adults
-Improving sleep quality
-Lowering blood pressure
-Improving cardiovascular fitness in older adults.
-Relieving chronic pain.
-Increasing energy, endurance and agility
-Improving overall feelings of well-being.

Teaching T'ai Chi Ch'uan at Jungle is going to be the task of Sifu Elijah Wiener. Sifu Elijah started training in the Tai Chi Martial Arts under the guidance of Dr.Richard  Browne at the
Acupuncture Massage Community College (Florida) and under GrandmasterGeorge Xu, a Tai Chi Chen style specialist. Sifu Elijah went on to China to study and learn in Shanghai. He later became certified to teach the Martial Arts of Tai Chi, Chi-Kong and Kong Fu by the prestigious World Wide Association of Chinese Internal Martial Arts.

Tai Chi is considered to be a low to moderate aerobic exercise. Studies have shown Tai Chi lowers blood pressure nearly as much as aerobic exercises as we know them. The difference is that while aerobic exercises are usually high impact and could have negative implications for persons with joint and bone issues, Tai Chi's gentle movements present the opposite. 

To start learning Tai Chi, one does not have to be in great shape. You learn by doing. What's left for you to do?  Pay us a visit, get your days going by doing Tai Chi. You will love the difference it will make in your life.

Study finds joint health benefits from Tai Chi

It is often Iidifficult for older individuals with joint health problems to improve their condition. Regular exercise is one way to reduce the pain associated with age-related conditions. However, seniors are often unable to participate in vigorous physical activity.
One way for elderly individuals to solve this problem is by participating in Tai Chi. This low-impact form of exercise has been shown to improve a range of conditions, including joint health, without placing strain on the body.
In fact, a recent study of 354 seniors conducted by the Arthritis Foundation found that older individuals with joint health problems were able to improve symptoms of pain, fatigue, stiffness and overall sense of wellbeing by practicing Tai Chi. Researchers said that it may be a simple way for people to lessen the impact of a range of conditions.
"Our study shows that there are significant benefits of the Tai Chi course for individuals with all types of arthritis, including fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis," said Leigh Callahan, who led the study. "We found this in both rural and urban settings across a southeastern state and a northeastern state."

Tuesdays + Thursdays 10:30am to 11:30 am