The BoxingYoga™ Story
The concept for BoxingYoga™ was conceived at Matt Garcia's Get FIT Not HIT™ boxing club, Total Boxer, in 2011. He wanted to offer both recreational and competitive boxers a method for whole body conditioning and felt that yoga would be ideal; improving strength, coordination, physical awareness and posture.
However, none of the yoga disciplines he researched nor classes he attended effectively targeted the areas that boxers needed. Matt wanted to create something specifically for fighters and needed the help of a yoga expert to develop his concept.
At a local café, Matt got chatting with yoga practitioner, martial artist and former international dancer, Kajza Ekberg and explained his idea of ‘yoga for boxers’.
Kajza’s career as a dancer had been curtailed by a cycling injury and she was considering her next step. It was clear to Matt that Kajza was the person he’d been looking for.
An intense development period followed with Kajza, Matt and Total Boxer Head Coach Deniz Ates creating postures and transitions with the help of physiotherapists, osteopaths and other sports therapists.
Total Boxer members who tested ‘BoxingYoga’ gave overwhelmingly positive feedback and classes soon filled up. Endorsements came from early adopters such as boxing champion Yassine El Maachi, mixed martial artist Charlie Watts and super-bantamweight world boxing champion Scott Quigg, who said, “A lot of fighters don't know how to stretch properly. BoxingYoga has everything they need.”
In 2013, at Europe's biggest Yoga Show, Matt and Kajza introduced BoxingYoga™ to the wider yoga community, and their training method was met with great interest. The value to boxers was evident, but it was clear that BoxingYoga™ could also introduce yoga to men and athletes who wouldn’t ordinarily try it.
Interest continued to spread, leading to enquiries from boxing clubs, yoga studios, and health centres throughout the UK as well as diverse sporting groups including Chelsea FC, the Swiss Olympic judo team and Saracens RFC, whose performance director Philip Morrow said“We couldn't be happier with the effect BoxingYoga is having on the players and their ability to consistently perform at the highest level. I strongly recommend BoxingYoga to everyone.”.
Increasing demand required more coaches and led to the development of the BoxingYoga™ Teacher Training Course. The programme is accredited by SkillsActiveUK and in 2014 the first BoxingYoga™ training course took place at Chelsea Football Club.
To accommodate the global demand for courses, the BoxingYoga™ Online Teacher Training Course was introduced, enabling trainees to study at home via video link to a head coach and in 2015 the BoxingYoga™ Coaches Association (BYCA) was established to provide ongoing business, marketing and technical support to the growing global community.
In less than three years BoxingYoga™ grew from a standing start to what Forever Sports Magazine called ‘a fitness phenomenon’.
Matt Garcia - Founder & CEO
Matt competed nationally in athletics for Queen Elizabeth's Boys, one of the UK's leading grammar schools, and in rugby for Saracens Colts. In his 20s he trained extensively in Krav Maga and proved a skillful boxer at Islington Boxing Club.
Mentored by ex-British Super Middleweight Enzo Giordano and taught by GB Olympic Boxing Coach Dave Pocknall, Matt became a popular coach for his hardcore, motivating style.
In 2011, Matt created the UK's first Get Fit Not Hit™ boutique boxing club, Total Boxer; so that the thrills and benefits of real boxing training could be enjoyed in a welcoming, non-threatening environment.
Matt sees BoxingYoga™ as a cutting-edge method to improve strength and flexibility, prevent injury, maximise power and maintain fitness.
Kajza Ekberg - Co-FOUNDER and Master Coach
Although Swedish born, Kajza spent her childhood in India where her mother was an Ashtanga Yoga teacher, performing daily asanas and headstands before bed.
As a gymnast Kajza competed at national level in Sweden, followed by years of boxing and martial arts training, before embarking on her classical dance studies.
A highly-respected international contemporary dancer and teacher, Kajza performed with leading companies and taught extensively in Europe and America.
Kajza brought her lifelong knowledge and experience to the development of BoxingYoga™ and was pivotal in developing the training system.