Last Updated on September 3, 2014.
“Eyes up! Body low! Reach!” Sensei Jose Montes shouts to 15 year old Malik Jones during sidesquats of the strength training portion of his kickboxing workout. At six foot, three inches, and weighing 220 pounds, no one would ever imagine that Malik is starting his junior year of high school. He stands physically taller than the majority of the students at Tiger Schulmann’s Mixed Martial Arts (TSMMA) at Vails Gate, but measures equally in discipline, motivation and non-quitting spirit.
Malik is among the masses of students in Orange County, NY getting ready to head back to school this fall. As a multi-sport athlete, kickboxing classes at TSMMA have become an important part of supplementing physical fitness and academics to become a well rounded, successful student athlete. Malik credits his 2 years with the TSMMA program for improving his ability to become a better football player now that practice has started for the school year. “I feel stronger and more focused when I play, and Tiger Schulmann’s has helped me prepare for football camp.” As defensive end, Malik is responsible for ensuring that speed and power are his ally on the field. Sensei Montes understands how important it is to push his students, especially those who partake in other sports. “I am here to motivate my students to raise the bar for themselves. I teach them how to listen to their bodies and respond. Your body will tell you when you need a break, and when you should push through the pain.”
Instructors Sensei Montes and Joshu Shane Burgos are extremely vocal during each kickboxing class to increase the positive vibe in the room and create a pumped up atmosphere filled with adrenaline and excitement. ” When your lungs burn and your heart feels like it will pop out of your chest, that is how you know you are pushing yourself! I want them to hit you and not realize what happened because you are a tank! I want them to look at you and see that you don’t know how to quit!” Malik responds to Montes’ words as he begins to breathe heavier and his skin begins to glisten during kickboxing. By the end of the workout, Malik is clearly exhausted as he bends forward resting his hands on his thighs, but he is visibly inspired by the enthusiastic coaching during kickboxing class.
Several student-athletes like Malik have benefited from kickboxing classes with TSMMA under the direction of Sensei Montes. In addition to what the program itself offers, Sensei Montes has been a source of motivation, education and authority on making sure all of his students are getting the most out of their kickboxing workout.
By Lauren Rose