Taekwondo, according to ‘World Taekwondo Online’, originated in Korea over 2,000 years ago and means “the way of kicking and punching.” The art form has over 60 million practitioners in 184 countries, including the Virgin Islands.
Olanzo A. Boynes, 3rd Dan Taekwondo, is the owner of Boynes Taekwondo Academy in Kingston, Tortola. He’s practiced Taekwondo for 15 years. VI Life & Style spoke with Olanzo about his martial arts practice, his passion for fitness and his views on men’s health.
How did you get into martial arts?
As a boy, I was introduced to Taekwondo but stopped early in my lessons. Later in life, as my son full-body grew, I recognised that he needed a sport that could keep up with his high energy level. His mother and I also wanted discipline to be a part of his life from a young age so we started Geromy in Taekwondo when he was 5 years old. A year later I was on the mats training too.
You’re also a personal trainer. How many persons have you trained thus far and how many are men?
I have been fortunate to have trained over 20 residents here in the Virgin Islands and five persons in the United States. Only five have been men.
Should men’s health be treated differently to women’s health?
Yes, there’s a difference between training men versus women. [However], there are no [specific] exercises for men or women — there are just exercises. Although gender differs, bones, connective tissues, nerves, and muscle fibers are all made up of the same raw material and function in the exact same way, regardless of gender. Training an individual within the same gender can differ based on the person’s goals, conditioning, and other fitness variables.
What would be your advice in bringing more awareness to men’s health issues?
First of all, go visit your physician. Share with them your concerns, both physical and mental. Tell them about your diet and request a full-body check-up so you can be more aware of how you are really ticking inside. What we see on the outside can sometimes hide what is really going on. Once you have a better idea of your body, you can have a better understanding of how you can get healthier.
What are some areas that need attention when it comes to men’s health?
Men should focus on attaining a better diet and cutting down excess fatty foods and excess alcohol. They should seek out more physical activities like casual sports, swimming, walking, running and biking. Also, they need to have a better relationship with their physician so they know what’s going on in the inside.
Any particular observances you’ve had since training individuals that you’d like to bring to the fore?
Men at times appear to be physically superior to women when going through the same routines. However, men’s threshold for fatigue and pain is lower than that of some women. Also, as men, we seek immediate results when attempting to get in shape. I think that’s why it is easier for us to go to the gym. Because our physical structure is most times bigger than women’s, we are able to lift heavier weight giving us mass a lot quicker.
Why should men take their health seriously?
Because we don’t. Sadly, the stereotype is true: we are much too casual about and disinterested in our own health. We talk about work, other events, sports, relationships but rarely do we have conversations about our health, both physical and mental. In the UK, one in five men dies before age 65. Men over 50 have a higher chance of issues with our prostate. And more men are developing diabetes earlier.
What would you tell a man who wants to begin his own health journey – how can he start?
Have an honest talk with your doctor about your goals, including a discussion about your diet. Take your time and start slow. Not because we are men and appear to be strong means that we are. We can really injure ourselves when we put that machismo pride over patience.
Why should persons train with you (and like you)?
I would prefer to say this. TRAIN, whether it’s with me at Boynes Taekwondo Academy or at any other outlet that you can find. The bottom line is more aware of your health, so we can break the status quo that when we’re over 50, we go downhill.
Boynes Taekwondo Academy is open Monday to Saturday. To contact Olanzo, call 284-542-2334 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interview condensed by April Glasgow.