Thursday, June 11, 2015

Bokwa Level 1 Instructor Training

Think you're good at Bokwa? Try instructor training. 

Here I am pumped for Bokwa level 1 instructor training. It's early Sunday morning. I've barely recovered from flashmobbing around London.

If you've not done Bokwa, please excuse the jargon. The purpose of this post is to explain my experience and offer tips for budding Bokwa instructors. 

My reasons for doing the training are here. But I was naive to think that instructor training is "levelling up" on Bokwa. There are parallel differences between a participant and an instructor. If you've never taught fitness classes before, get into the frame of mind of an instructor long before you do the training. Observe your fitness instructors and watch how they cue and motivate the class.

The day started with a masterclass which is part of the training. The participants were from the flashmob group from yesterday. We were in a huge studio with a view of the trees and sunshine. 

Our instructor was the eloquent, funny and accomplished Akile Alexander. Her fitness company Latin Vibes runs the Bokwa and Zumba classes at my gym.

Akile pushed us out of our comfort zone. My most nerve wrecking exercise was leading my own routine of 1 x 8 count letter, 2 x 6 count letters, 2 remixes and attach them to the letters. We had fifteen minutes to plan it. 

Two people in the class performed before me. Not only did they cue, they were vocal! I was barely getting cueing right-how the heck was I going to lead a class?

When it was my turn, I asked Akile if there was anyway I could get out of it. She said it's not assessable but I'd be kicking myself if I didn't try. She was right. I'd regret whimping out.

So the music came on and I started, one on one, C, etc. I was sheeeeet-petrified, silent but at least on-time and cueing. 

My first Bokwa routine on paper. I had to lay this on the floor and check it as I went along.

Midway I lost the beat and sent a panicked look to Akile who egged me on to continue. This set off encouraging "whoop whoops" from the others behind me. Suddenly I threw my fears out the window and found my instructor voice. 

I started yelling throughout the rest of routine and when I was done, everyone had a smile on their face and gave positive feedback. I was elated!

I CAN DO THIS. I could do it all along.

There was plenty of practical teaching advice in the training. The Bokwa manual has most of the detail. You have to do an easy online test to receive your pdf certificate. I am now a certified instructor!

Here are my top 5 out takes from the training:

1) It is crucial to start a new move on the first beat of the bar of music. This is what makes the routine feel right. There's a bit of math in fitting 6 beat moves as each bar is 4 beats. The easiest way is to do 4 sets of those and then your next move will start on beat 1. 

2) If you lose the beat, don't be afraid to bring back the class to bounce-bounce so you can start on the first beat again.

3) Always try to fit at least one remix in the class to keep routines interesting. 

4) You have to cater for everyone in the class. Keep the moves simple for beginners and the advanced can "flavour it up". Ask at the start of the class who the beginners are. If there are quite a few newbies learning a difficult move, split them on one side of the room. Have the beginners watch you guide the experienced participants and when they've picked it up, you can move on to the beginners and break it down with them. 

5) Cue at the top of the move. That means for the 1 on 1, cue at the kick. It's like learning the Bokwa moves all over again to include the cue.

The customised outtakes from the training was feedback on my "report card" from Akile. This stuff is critical. She went through it with me and it's stuff I've been aching to know as a Bokwa participant as well. 

At the end of a day's training. It wasn't easy but still a lot of fun. I'm pleased to have Akile as a teacher.

I WILL teach Bokwa. It might just be in my friend's living rooms but I will do it! :)

Saturday, June 6, 2015

5 Reasons Why I'm Doing Zumba And Bowka Instructor Training

Something's possessed me to sweat up a storm for 6 hours on a Sunday.

I'm referring to Zumba and Bokwa, my two sweet obsessions. A few weeks ago my group of instructors held a dance fitness event and although I was hesitant to go, I decided at the last minute to just do it. And I don't regret a thing. It was one of the best Sundays I've ever had.

I was wrecked after clocking up 15, yup fifteen dance fitness classes that week. I was back at Zumba the next Monday ready for more. And I was inspired to do what I've been dreaming about for a long while.

That day I signed up to Zumba instructor training. My friends were supportive when I told them the news. Later I found out my Bokwa instructor was doing instructor training so I signed up for that too.

I'm not having a career change but I would be thrilled to be qualified to teach. Here are the reasons why.

1) Levelling up and challenging myself.
I'm an impulsive person and hobbies come and go. I haven't heart-racing hobby in years. When I was younger I wanted to be a part time makeup artist. I did the training, marketed myself, spent a lot of money, did a few paid and unpaid jobs and gave up. Now I barely know what's going on in the makeup world but that's OK. I gave a good go of it and can say I did it. 

It's been two years since I started doing Zumba and Bokwa. I have raging ambitions to get to the next level and I feel like I'm ready.

2) To create what I wish existed.
I wish more people would get into Zumba and Bokwa. Maybe there is a class out there where I fit their training style. 

I believe that the goal is not nailing every move, but to enjoy every moment of them. And I want to create a class I can spread that message to, be that commercially or just with friends.

3) Making the most of the momentum.
I consider myself lucky to have instructors that inspire me and my work allows me to go to all classes at the gym. But I can't do this forever.

I've done a lot of Zumba and Bokwa but where am I going with all of this? With qualifications, I'll have to have something tangible to show for what I've learnt. 

4) To put it on my CV and talk to people about it.
How many people in banking and finance are Zumba and Bokwa instructors? I'm guessing not alot. Most people have not heard of Bokwa-perhaps they will ask me or google it when they see it on my CV.

5) If I was an instructor, doing Zumba and Bokwa would be my job.
You can be paid to do Zumba and Bokwa-as a job! How terrific is that.  Life is sweet if you are paid for doing what you love.

Want It, Wish It, Do It!

At the fitness event with our lovely instructor. Loved every second and sweated buckets!

Bokwa Flashmob in London

It's my first flashmob! We performed Bokwa in four locations this afternoon. We started at Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square. 

I never thought I'd be in a flashmob but doing Bokwa feels natural and free to me. We're spreading the word on Bokwa since not many people have heard of it. We were all under the wing of amazing instructors, one who will be teaching me level 1 instructor training tomorrow.

At Piccadilly Circus where we muscled in on the street dancing busker's spot. 

There was a lot of waiting around in Trafalgar  Square because of buskers performing. And one fervently religious person who was yelling at everyone outside The National Gallery that they're all "going to hell." 

It was a sunny and warm day, which made all the walking worthwhile. We got to see a lot of central London. The o2 arena was our final location. I started my day doing Zumba and Bokwa so it I was back east side the same day. Phew!

 Our last performances at the o2 were the best. Lots of space to move. 

It started at 3pm and ended at 7.30pm. What a long tiring but super fun day! 

Glasses of bubbly to celebrate our flashmobbing. 

When I got home I was ravenous. Half of my weekend was gone in flash and I have a full day of instructor training tomorrow!