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HindustanTimes Thu,28 Aug 2014

Saif Ali Khan learns from the best

Priyanka Jain, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, January 14, 2011
First Published: 13:17 IST(14/1/2011) | Last Updated: 13:55 IST(14/1/2011)

Saif Ali Khan is leaving no stone unturned to prepare for his second home production Agent Vinod, after Love Aaj Kal. The actor plays a suave secret agent in this action packed spy thriller, which has been directed by Sriram Raghavan. And to perfect his physique to look the part, Khan trained in kickboxing for three months with World Kickboxing Champion Ziauddin Khatib.

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On the film’s mahurat (inauguration), Khan had injured himself while doing high jumps and rolling down a staircase, but he now seems to be in better shape. Says Khatib, “I was required to work on Saif’s overall attitude and not just the fight design. We trained for over three months for his martial arts sequences. I had to concentrate on improving his flexibility so he could kick better. The training was not for a competitive event. We worked on him to get the right body language and improve his body co-ordination while delivering punches and kicks.”

SaifPart of the film will be shot in Casablanca in Morocco, and some perhaps in Amsterdam and Pakistan. Since Khan plays the role of a spy, Khatib didn’t have to train the actor for hardcore action, but for subtle and sleek sequences. He adds, “Saif had to go slow on other physical training during these three months, as kickboxing is a tough workout. It is much like cardio and increases strength and metabolism. It also causes the body to get dehydrated. So besides this, he was only advised light exercises.”

Talking about Khan as a student, Khatib says, “He is extremely dedicated, and tremendously focused. Kickboxing requires a more than just a fit and flexible body. It is an extension of one’s inner personality. It, like all sports, brings out a sporting nature and a winner’s attitude. Saif imbibed all these qualities.”

Starting kickboxing
Start slowly and don’t overdo it. The key to a good kickboxing workout is controlled movement. Don’t overextend yourself by kicking too high. Start with low kicks and learn the proper technique. Beginners must be careful, as they are prone to getting injured while attempting quick complicated moves.

Current fitness level
You have to know this before you start your program. Kickboxing is an intense form of exercise, so try preparing yourself with a low intensity workout and then gradually work your way up to a higher level of endurance. Allow yourself to be a beginner by working at your own pace and not overexerting yourself to the point of exhaustion.

Training programs
Classes usually start after a 15 to 20 minute warm up. That is followed by a 30-minute kickboxing session that includes movements such as punches, kicking and knee strikes. Many instructors also use equipment like punching bags or skipping ropes for the same. After this, at least five minutes should be devoted to cooling down, followed by about 10 minutes of stretching and muscle conditioning. Stretching is very important because beginners can strain their muscles and get body cramps.

Precautions
Safety is important. Kickboxing is classified as a high intensity and high impact workout. So to be physically fit for the programs always remember to warm up, stretch and cool down. Do not overextend your kicks and punches or you stand a chance of pulling a muscle or tendon.

Equipment required
Kickboxing is best done where there is plenty of room around you. Clear space allows extended kicks and punches. Instructors may add punching bags, resistance bands or a jump rope to the regime also. A full-length mirror will be helpful to see if you are using the proper form when you are shadow boxing.

Benefits
Kickboxing has many benefits. It’s a great way to lose weight. The estimates may vary, but fitness professionals generally guess that between 500 to 600 calories are burned per hour. As most of your muscles are in use, kickboxing exercises your entire body; it makes you flexible and agile. It also teaches you some self-defence skills that help build confidence and strength. Furthermore, all the kicking, punching and the occasional yelling can also relieve stress. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids before, during and after your kickboxing session.

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