Budokon, made in America, mixes yoga with martial arts

Mon Dec 24, 2012 10:10am EST
 
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Budokon, a workout program developed in 21st century America, blends the ancient mind-body practices of yoga and martial arts into a program that aims to reward followers with conditioning, mindful meditation and progressively colored karate-type belts.

"Budokon is a yoga, martial arts and meditation trifecta," said Mimi Rieger, who teaches the not-so-ancient practice in gyms, studios and workshops in the Washington, DC area.

An instructor in the 3,000-year-old practice of yoga since 2003, Rieger, founder of Pure Fitness DC, is one of approximately 400 teachers worldwide who are trained in Budokon, which did not exist before 2002.

Although mainly done in the United States, Rieger said she will teach Budokon in Turkey, Denmark and Sweden next year and workshops are also scheduled in London, Germany, Korea and Japan.

She says the hybrid offers the student an intense, full-body workout as it blends the integrity of the martial arts movement with the fluidity of yoga.

"It's like a beautiful symphony of the two," said Rieger, who is among the first women to get a brown belt in the Budokon sequence of six belts: white, red, blue, purple, brown and black.

Budokon, which is Japanese for "the way of the warrior spirit," began in 2000 as the brainchild of Cameron Shayne, a martial arts expert and yoga enthusiast originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, looking to solve a dilemma faced in his own practice.

"Through martial arts I experienced meditation; both yoga and martial arts share self-reflection, but both suffered from the same disease of being stripped down to a westernized workout," said Shayne, founder of Budokon University in Miami, Florida.   Continued...

 
People participate in a Budokon Yoga Class, in New York, in November 2012. Budokon, a workout program developed in 21st century America, blends the ancient mind-body practices of yoga and martial arts into a program that aims to reward followers with conditioning, mindful meditation and progressively colored karate-type belts. REUTERS/Cameron Shayne/Handout