Feb 2 2015

New Boxing Program at the Yards

By: Elise Chretien
We are excited to announce the start of a new small group program at our Yards location – boxing! This six week program will be taught by professional veteran MMA fighter with 20+ years of martial arts experience, Siyam “Sam” Yousefi.

The hour-long class will meet in our small group studio Wednesdays at 7:30pm and Saturdays at 9:45am. Expect a full-body cardio workout that will start with the basics of boxing and gradually get more advanced during the span of six weeks.

“The first thing you have to learn is how to punch, and how to use your hands to defend yourself,” says Sam.

In the class demo I attended last week, he explained that the class will eventually cover three main areas of boxing – striking (punching, kicking, headbutting, etc.), clinching (holding your opponent in place and restricting their movement) and techniques for defending yourself when on the ground. In the demo we learned the proper stances and correct form for throwing punches while keeping your face protected, and got to practice our moves on the bags.

Not only are these valuable skills for any individual to have – it’s also a great workout! Fifteen minutes of hitting the bag actually burns more calories than your average cardio session due to the type of body movement it requires. Sam explains that in most cardio exercises (such as a treadmill or elliptical) your body is only moving either left to right, using what’s called your Frontal plane, or front to back, using your Sagittal plane. These back and forth movements are comparable to setting your body on cruise-control. Boxing, however, incorporates twisting motions (using your Transverse plane) with a combination of back and forth and side to side motions so your body doesn’t get used to it and your heart rate stays up. It’s also a great upper body workout and your shoulders will feel it the next day!
“Boxing takes half the time and burns more calories than regular cardio,” says Sam. “Especially when we start throwing kicks in there.”

Sam has been coaching martial arts for several years and has many awards in his name to show for it. These include the FFAA State Muay Thai Champion in 2003, WKA World’s Bronze Medalist in 2006, WKA Regional MMA
Featherweight Champion in 2007 and the GCA Eastern Regional MMA Featherweight Champion in 2008. He also has a 4 stripe blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and a black belt in Eshin Karate, so you could say he knows his stuff!

Sam hopes that this boxing program will lay the groundwork for an all-encompassing self defense program here at VIDA. He stresses that these skills are essential for people of all fitness levels, especially women, and encourages beginners to try the new class.

“Most attacks are targeted towards women – so it’s very important for women to know how to defend themselves. Especially here, when you’re walking in the city all the time,” he says.

The six week program begins Wednesday, February 11th at 7:30pm. Contact Chris Parkison at or Sam Yousefi at to sign up!