In August 2016, Nele walked through the doors at Xen-Do without the foggiest idea that her life was about to change forever. Of course, whilst she unsuspectingly slipped off her shoes before entering the Dojo before her first trial kickboxing class, everyone else was fully aware of the journey Nele was about to embark on. This may all sound a little dramatic but with a moto like Fit For Life, it is hard to feel anything but inspired once you step out onto the mats and begin your class… and Nele was no different.
Let us rewind somewhat however, to before that fateful day. Nele had tried every fitness craze going: the gym, pilates, aerobics, and whatever else she came across, but they were just not cutting it. She was tired of the monotony of the hamster wheel at the gym and the hype initially shown at the other fads she tried just did not keep her interested after the novelty wore off. It was time to find something more meaningful. It was time to find Xen-Do.
We caught up with Nele and she explained to us that she instantly fell in love with the atmosphere and discipline at her first kickboxing class in London. Nele said:
“What I love about Xen-Do is the structure of the classes and the personalised style. There are always Senseis to look after ALL of the students, you never feel left alone. Another huge aspect for me is that the club is always tidy.”
Before starting, Nele had felt intimidated by the idea of kickboxing. She explained that the the stereotype for her was a male-dominated warzone filled with aggression but this could not be further from the truth. Soon after her first class she realised how much fun the classes are and she became addicted to the high of the workout. This instant sense of euphoria, coupled with an ongoing sense of achievement as she progressed through the curriculum towards the revered Black Belt meant that the days of losing interest in her fitness regime quickly became a thing of the past. Two years of hard work and determination has led her to be a senior student, training four times a week, by choice! By choice! If you don’t believe us, ask her.
“I know that if I had a bad day as soon as I step into the Dojo I will feel better. Everyone is super friendly, and you feel better straight away. I feel happier after the class because Xen-do doesn’t just give you great fitness, strength and self-confidence but it also gives you the chance to interact with people and make new friends. The question isn’t why would I go four times a week, it is ‘why wouldn’t I go four times a week!”
We made a bold statement at the start of this article: Xen-Do had changed Nele’s life. It wouldn’t be just for us to assert this within some proof and what better proof is there than straight from the horse’s mouth:
“When I started at Xen-Do I was unfit; I used to get tired after 5 minutes. Now I feel much stronger and my fitness level has improved dramatically. Most of my friends can no longer keep up with me when it comes to physical activity and before it was always me dragging them back at whatever exercise class we had attended. Also, knowing some self-defence techniques makes me feel more confident when I walk alone at night around London. With its holistic approach, Xen-do has also helped me to get rid of bad habits. With the rapid rate of improvement you feel with your fitness, the last thing you want to do is ruining it all by drinking, smoking or eating unhealthily.
I would encourage anyone to take up Xen-Do. It is so much more than just a kickboxing club. It is a place to discover your strength. Whether that is physical strength or strength of character, Xen-Do will bring it out in you.”
Recently, Nele succeeded in attaining her Black Belt from Dai Master Raf – a high honour in anyone’s book. She described the achievement as almost unreal, feeling rewarded for the hard yards she had put in thus far and motivated to work even harder.
So there you have it folks. Xen-do has been life changing for Nele and she is determined to continue her journey to stay fit and healthy. We have given her the confidence to live by the Xen-Do motto ‘If my mind can conceive it and my heart can believe it, then I can achieve it.’