Learn your letters with fitness craze

Instructor Paula Walsh takes the Bokwa class.'Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (13745-3)
Instructor Paula Walsh takes the Bokwa class.'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (13745-3)
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It may look complicated to the untrained eye, but Bokwa is literally fitness by numbers.

The new exercise craze uses numbers, letters and symbols to create dance-style routines and is as easy as ABC – once you’ve learned the ropes.

‘If you just watch it, it does look quite difficult. You need to have a go – and then people find they pick it up quite easily,’ says Portsmouth fitness instructor Paula Walsh.

Bokwa participants draw letters and numbers with their feet while performing an energising exercise routine.

Moving together to popular music, they draw the Bokwa L, 3, J, K and dozens of other steps.

Paula runs several classes in Portsmouth and anyone interested can also sign up for a charity event.

The class runs from 12.30pm to 1.30pm on Sunday, April 14 and will raise money for Sam Deakin-Mant, a youngster who has cerebral palsy.

Sam’s family are fundraising so the six-year-old from Cosham can have a life-changing operation in America.

Sam depends on a wheelchair but the procedure and physiotherapy will give him the chance of walking with a frame.

Paula is sports duty manager at Portsmouth University’s gym and runs Bokwa classes there and at the Scarlett Rose School of Dance in North End.

She says Bokwa is relatively new to the UK but has been gathering pace around the world.

It was developed by Los Angeles fitness instructor Paul Mavi and tapped into his South African roots.

The name derives from ‘boxing’ and kwaito dance. Bokwa features punching and kicking moves and some moves are based on symbols.

But generally participants follow the letter and number shapes.

Paula explains: ‘For a capital C, you’d start at the bottom right, move to the left with the left leg, forward with the right leg and right with the right leg.

‘But we’ll add wiggles, slides and bounces to give it a dance feel.’

It gets more complicated and there are many moves to learn but Paula says the fitness class suits different levels.

The session for Sam’s fund at Scarlett Rose School of Dance in London Road costs £4.50 for adults and £3 for children.

Anyone taking part should register on samuelsfund.co.uk.

For information on Bokwa and Paula’s classes, visit facebook.com/paulawalshbokwaandfitness.