Arnold AFB Fitness Center marks a year of Kickboxing

  • Published
  • By Kali Bradford
  • AEDC Public Affairs

Kicking, punching, and blocking their way to a healthier lifestyle are the folks at Arnold Air Force Base Fitness Center. In the January 2023, the center began offering kickboxing classes to its members. The center recently celebrated a year of the class that continues to grow in interest.

Arnold AFB Fitness Center employee, Ryan Clark, serves as the instructor for the kickboxing class and states that the class came about as way to offer more fitness options to base personnel.

“I began working at the Fitness Center and they were looking to add on more class offerings,” Clark said. “We decided that kick boxing would be a good fit. I taught martial arts growing up and I thought it was something we could do well out here. We had the right space for it.”

According to the Miriam-Webster Dictionary, kickboxing is a form of martial art which combines boxing with elements of karate, in particular kicking with bare feet. Clark stated the class welcomes all levels of fitness with no prior knowledge or skill of kickboxing required.

“Most of my students here are all beginners,” Clark explained. “They range in ages from mid 20's to early 50's. No specific skills or knowledge of kickboxing is required. There is also no need to sign-up prior; just show up for class.”

Base personnel such as Lukas Motykowski has been with the class for eight months and states that he chose the class as a way to better spend time in the gym.

 “As someone who started with no experience in kickboxing, the class is structured in a way where I can learn and get comfortable with the fundamentals, which is something I enjoy,” Motykowski stated. “Now that I have been going for some time, I enjoy learning new technical skills and mastering the basics.”

Motykoski added that he recommends the class for others to engage with and meet other base personnel.

Arnold AFB employee Dylan Baker also participates regularly with the class.

“I was interested in learning some form of martial arts for a while, so I figured this was a good place to start since the class fits with my schedule and was free,” Baker said. “I’ve been with the class for 10 months now, and I enjoy learning the art of fighting and getting more comfortable in a high-stress environment.  Learning to keep your composure under these conditions translates to many areas of life.

 “I would highly recommend this class to anyone interested in learning martial arts, self-defense, or someone just trying to find a new way to get in better shape. Kickboxing is a fun and engaging activity, and Ryan is excellent at transitioning between some of the newer members and the more experienced. It is a fantastic class all around.”

 Clark stated that the response to the class overall has been positive, and he looks forward to showcasing the benefit of kickboxing to base personnel.

 “The response has been good. I'm happy that I have a consistent 4 to 6 students and it seems that we are growing,” Clark said. “Recently, we've had as many as 10 in attendance. It gives anyone the opportunity to come in and learn a valuable skill. We're not just beating up the air, we're learning to take care of ourselves a bit. Most people get bit by the bug, and they decide to come back. It's engaging in a way that leaves you wanting to try a little bit more.”

 Classes are held from 3:45 to 4:30 p.m. each Tuesday and Thursday. 

 The Arnold AFB Fitness Center is open to all DOD employees and retirees, active-duty service members from all military branches, military retirees, and civilian contractors across Arnold AFB. The facility is also open to dependents of the aforementioned except for civilian contractors.