Brooklyn youth are doing it again! Straight out of the YMCA’s Bedford-Stuyvesant branch are the Bedford Piranhas. They’ve got swagger, a style, and are executing their aquatic skills for all to see. Ranging from the ages of 7 to 17, these piranhas are taking no refuge, and are out full swing and taking the city by storm.
Say it LOUD! spent some time with the team. Check out the video to get the 411:
By Andre Awon and Danielle Blaize
He showed us the moves as Bruce Leroy in the 80′s Motown film classic, The Last Dragon, but Taimak recently spent some time with SIL to talk about his new fitness video, Taimak Fit. Read first hand how to get that body fit just in time for the summer.
Danielle: What inspired you to do the fitness video,Taimak Fit?
Taimak: While I was training different people, I noticed that the same questions would always come up like, “How do I start?” “How much should I do?” “How long should a workout be?” How many repetitions, sets should I do?” All of those questions came up, so I decided to answer them on my fitness DVD.
Danielle: What type of exercises are featured on the DVD?
Taimak: I geared the DVD to people who were interested in working out and those who don’t work out. I advise them to not let not working out get too far away from them because you don’t have to work out everyday if you’re just trying to be healthy. You could do three times a week for a half our or for forty five minutes and that’s fine. A lot of people start working out and then they just stop cold forever, so I advise them to just try it for one to three days a week, or if they want to get in incredible shape then they can work out everyday.
Danielle: How does nutrition play a part in an exercise routine?
Taimak: Nutrition plays an integral part of exercise because whatever you are putting into your system is giving your muscles energy. So, if you are putting the wrong things into your body, then your muscles won’t be fortified with energy, nutrients, minerals and vitamins, and so forth.
Danielle: In the DVD, do you teach martial arts along with your work out methods?
Taimak: I have a martial arts philosophy in it, however, I’m not teaching martial arts in the DVD. I’ll be doing that in another DVD.
Andre: Growing up in New York, what inspired you to get into martial arts?
Taimak: Well, New York was a tough area when I was growing up as a kid. I grew up in uptown. When my father was a little kid, he used to get picked on a lot, so he put my brother and I in martial arts when we were little kids. I took to it more than the rest of my siblings.
Andre: What schools did you go to?
Taimak: I went to Brandeis High School. I also took some courses in college. When I was out in L.A., I took classes at UCLA and Santa Monica College.
Andre: What different styles of martial arts have you learned?
Taimak: As a young boy, I was doing Japanese Gojo. From there, I started doing Akido, Judo, and then I started doing Tae Kwan Do and I stayed with that for a while. When I was fifteen, I began to study Chinese Gojo for about ten years. I then went into a Japenese style that was a mixture of Jujitsu and Akido, and developing your inner power and inner Chi, that was called DoJitsu. I got into Brazillian Jujitsu, which I liked and I’d say that’s where I’m at now.
Andre: Have you ever practiced Capoiera?
Taimak: Capoiera was very acrobatic and I was trying to do some other things, so I wasn’t that deep into it.
Andre: What martial artists would you say have inspired you?
Taimak: Bruce Lee, of course. Many of the Shaw Brothers movie stars. The Shaw Brothers were a group of guys from China who used to do movies like the Five Deadly Venoms. I liked the Asian martial art stars the most.
Andre: Have you met Tony Ja?
Taimak: Yes, I met Tony Ja.
Danielle: Would you say that Bruce Lee was a role model for you?
Taimak: Sure! Bruce Lee had a lot of powerful and deep things that he put out there, not only about martial arts, but about life itself, which he was able to put in his books as well as his movies. He was the guy to follow when I was a kid.
Danielle: How did getting the role as Bruce LeRoy in “The Last Dragon”, change your life?
Taimak: Well, really… I would say it made me more self conscious. I was always self conscious as a high school student, because different guys want to look good, or they want to be liked in school, so that’s one level of self consciousness, but then when you star in a film, then everybody, not only the people in your school, but everybody is looking at you. I started thinking more about my behavior and more about what I wanted to put out there.
Danielle: Have you been able to travel the world as a martial artist and a fitness expert?
Taimak: I’ve taught a few seminars in Turkey and in Europe. I’ve met a lot of different martial artists too.
Andre: How can a young person like myself benefit from your fitness DVD?
Taimak: Well, a fitness DVD basically takes you and puts you in the driver’s seat for your own body. Most people, especially when you are young, you don’t relate to yourself as someone who needs to take care of your health because you are young and you don’t have the aches that a lot of older people do. I just think that young people should educate themselves more on health and fitness, and eating properly.
Danielle: How does the discipline in martial arts spill over to the other areas of someone’s life?
Taimak: Discipline is related to practice. Practice is not for the purpose of anything other than just practice. Your mind, your body and life, is life. Life doesn’t exist unless it is being done. In life, if you do things always to try and get to a place other than where you are at, it’s sort of like a dog that’s chasing its own tail. So practice is connected to discipline. It’s a good, consistent discipline for life to work well. It’s actually more interesting. If you practice, then you will get to enjoy it.
Want to find out more about Taimak’s fitness program? Check out www.taimak.tv for the latest 411.
SIL: How long have you been practicing and teaching yoga, and how did you become interested in it?
Brianna: I first practiced yoga in high school. My mother had freinds into yoga and I was introduced to Iyengar Yoga through them. I did not get really serioud about yoga until about 10-12 years ago.
SIL: What type of training is required to become a yoga instructor?
Brianna: Now a days, you can just go online and do a course or take one of those two month to six month courses to get certification. That does not make you a real yoga teacher though. Just one in name only. Many yoga teachers realize that if you are not practicing, then you are not teaching. That being said, a yoga teacher ‘s training never stops. You practice regularly, you study with your teacher regularly, and you teach regularly. In the west, we tend to only practice one part of yoga (poses), but yoga is an eight limb process and many teachers and students do not realize this. If you don’t know, teach or endeavor to love the other seven limbs, then nine times out of ten, you are just an aerobics teacher.
SIL: What are some of the benefits that teens can receive by practicing yoga? (both spiritual and physical)
Brianna: First and foremost, calmness, concentration and good health. Needless to say, teens can be a bit hyper and their daily sugar intake is staggering at times. Yoga helps teens maximize their studying by helping them concentrate better, which really helps in the test taking process which can be a bit stressful. Also, many studies have shown that yoga benefits a whole gang of health problems, weight, and psychological issues.
SIL: How do you get your students motivated and interested in the practice?
Brianna: Well, when I teach in schools, it is a part of their grade and GPA, so I guess the threat of failing and taking PE in summer school is the biggest incentive. But really, they get to choose it, which is great, because it’s hard to teach someone a practice like this when they really have no interest in it. Boys realize from the many professional athletes who are into the practice that yoga helps to reduce injuries, heal faster and stay focused. Often, competitive sports are a mond game and when an athlete is strong and calm in their own mind, it is almost impossible for others to get into their head.
SIL: What are some exercises that you can recommend to our SIL readers?
Brianna: The most important exercise that I can get across here is simply meditation. The mind controls many things; how to deal with others, ourselves and our health, so it’s important to keep it strong and focused. A simple meditation is sitting in an easy crossed legged position with the back against the wall or some other flat surface. Close the eyes and with them closed, turn them up an in toward what we call the third eye center. Bring the wrists to the knees with the thumb and index finger touching.
1. BEGIN TO BREATHE LONG AND DEEP SO THAT YOU CAN HEAR AND FEEL THE BREATH.
2. LISTEN INTENTLY ON THE BREATH. MANY THOUGHTS AND DISTRACTIONS WILL COME UP – INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL DISTRACTIONS. JUST
KEEP PUSHING THEM ASIDE AND TAKE THE AWARENESS DEEP INTO THE SOUND OF THE BREATH UNTIL THE THOUGHTS NO LONGER COME AND YOU CAN FOCUS SOLELY ON THE BREATH OF LIFE.
3. START BY TRYING TO DO THIS 3-5 MINUTES PER DAY, THEN WORK YOURSELF UP TO 10-15. THIS ALONE WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.
SIL: Are there any books that teens can read to learn more about incorporating yoga in
their daily routine?
Brianna: Yes, one really good book is Yoga For Teens, by Mary Kaye Chryssicas. It’s simple, but effective. Also, The Yoga Bible, Light on Yoga, by B.K.S. Iyengar.
This book takes one through most of the poses in Hatha yoga. The author discusses what yoga is about; it’s lineage, how to do the poses, the effects of the poses and then, gives many series that one can do at home.
SIL: Any final words for SIL readers?
Brianna: Stay healthy, positive, compassionate and kind. Live fully and laugh a lot.
TIPS for TEENS to STAY
FIT and HEALTHY
By Kinetta Ellis
Bally’s Fitness Trainer Kevin Mathieu a.k.a The MATRIX which stands for Muscle Activation Training Exercises, designs trainings for people who
want to live a fit and healthy life. Let’s see what Kevin has to say.
Teenage obesity has multiple causes centering on an imbalance between energy in (calories obtained from food) and energy out (calories burned through physical activity). Poor nutrition such as excessive fast food & junk food consumption can cause obesity and other health issues such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
Avoiding & Combating Obesity…
Early and appropriate intervention is vital to teenagers. It’s easier for teenagers to control eating and exercise habits than adults, so start now.
HERE ARE SOME TIPS:
Set Goals for Weight Loss
These goals should be obtainable and should allow for normal growth. Goals should initially be small, so that you don’t become overwhelmed.
Adopting a formal exercise program, or simply become active. Play sports, walk often, take a dance class, join a gym like the YWCA or the Boys & Girls Club (if over 13).
Maintain a balanced diet with moderate caloric restrictions, reduce dietary fat intake.
Educate yourself about what you are eating, read labels for fat and sugar content. Keep a personal diary to monitor your physical activity. Reward yourself for keeping on track.
If you are concerned that you may be facing obesity, get your family involved. Have your parents prepare healthier meals, accompany them when they go food shopping.
Diabetes begins in the pancreas. Special cells in the pancreas, make a hormone called insulin (“in-SUH-lin”).
Insulin helps feed your cells. Cells eat glucose is sugar. Insulin allows your cells to digest sugar. People with diabetes have a problem producing insulin and therefore the cells don’t get the sugar that they need.
There are 2 main types of diabetes: Type 1 & Type 2. Type 1 (insolent-dependent or juvenile), can occur at any age, but usually occurs during childhood or adolescence or before age 30.
The triggers according to research can be an event or series of events occurring months before any symptoms appear; there is a combination of environmental and genetic factors that begin a process in which the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.
There are an estimated 850,000 to 1.7 million people with type 1 diabetes in the U.S. today. Type 2 (non-insulin-dependent or adult-onset), the most common form of this disease usually occurs after age 45, but is increasingly being
diagnosed in children and adolescents who are obese and have strong family history of the disease. Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder, in this form of diabetes the pancreas still produces insulin, but the body does not produce
enough or properly use the insulin. Treatment includes diet control, exercise, self-monitoring of blood glucose and, in a few cases, oral drugs to promote insulin usage or slow glucose absorption) or insulin.
There are an estimated 17 million people with type 2 diabetes in the U.S.
Gestational Diabetes – Diabetes that occurs in pregnant women (2 – 5 percent of pregnant women develop high blood sugar during pregnancy). This type usually disappears after the birth of the baby. Women who have had gestational diabetes are at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life.
Symptoms of Type 1 & 2 Diabetes Type 1 Symptoms usually develop suddenly…
• Extreme thirst
• Frequent urination
• Drowsiness, lethargy
• Sugar in urine
• Sudden vision changes
• Increased appetite
• Sudden weight loss
• Fruity, sweet, or wine-like odor on breath
• Heavy, labored breathing
• Stupor, unconsciousness
Type 2 Symptoms usually develop gradually…
• Any of the symptoms listed for Type 1
• Recurring or slow healing skin, gum,
or urinary tract infections
• Tingling or numbness in hands or feet
• Itching of the skin or genitals
Type 1 Diabetes in Youth
• Peak incidence occurs during puberty, around
10 to 12 years of age in girls and 12-14 years of
age in boys.
• Type 1 tends to run in families. Brothers and sisters
of children with type 1 diabetes have about a
105 chance of developing the disease by age 50.
• The identical twin of a person with type 1
diabetes has a 25-50% higher chance of
developing type 1 diabetes than a child in an
• There is a higher incidence of type 1 diabetes
in Caucasians than in other racial groups.
• The symptoms of type 1 diabetes can mimic
the flu in children
Type 2 Diabetes in Youth commonly occur in
children who are:
• Older than 10 years of age and are in middle
to late puberty; but cases documented have
included children as young as 4 years of age.
• Have a family history of type 2.
• Is a member of a certain racial/ethnic group
(African Americans, Hispanic/Latino and
Native American descent).
What are the complications of diabetes?
The complications of diabetes include heart disease, stroke, vision loss/blindness, amputation, and kidney disease.
Awareness, diet control, exercise and monitoring of blood glucose (consult your doctor). For the children, encourage active play, physical activity, and healthy meals. In addition, for kids who are overweight, try the following: limit television
and video games to less than 4 hours a day, drink less regular sodas, sports drinks, and juice and drink more water instead; limit fast foods, or eat smaller portion sizes.
Contact the American Diabetes Association (ADA) via
www.diabetes.org or 1-800-DIABETES (342-2383)
Contact the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
International (JDRF) via www.jdrf.org or 1-800-533-CURE (2873)
Information compiled by
Benjamin W. Hunter
Program Manager, Diversity Outreach
American Diabetes Association – Maryland office
800 Wyman Park Drive, Suite 110
Baltimore, Maryland 21211
410-265-0075, Ext. 4679 / 410-235-4048 (Fax)