Budokon positively changes the quality of the way you move, the way you think, the way you interact, and the way you play this bigger game we call life." So says Sensei Beko, practitioner and global ambassador for the mixed movement art. It sounds like a hell of a lot to expect from a workout, but consider the fact that Budokon has a long-time fan in , and it begins to look like a bandwagon worth jumping on.
Because when it comes to said game of life, Jen-An is a woman who is winning on all fronts. She just assembled a guest list to rival a bash to celebrate her 50th birthday; think , and Cindy catching up over the buffet. Not to mention, according to reports, a certain ex-husband named . This - plus the outpouring of A-list love on social media on her big day - suggests Aniston is still everybody's best Friend, in addition to looking the same in her signature LBDs as when she was manning the cappuccino machine at Central Perk.
In an effort to see if Budokon could boost her own chances of being hailed as a "ray of sunshine" (as Gwyneth Paltrow said of Jen) by friends on Instagram,'s Kerry McDermott tried it out. Here are five reasons you should, too...
It's not just for yogis
Yes, there are echoes of the few yoga classes I've taken in the past (hello again, warrior two) when I join a Budokon session at Gymbox in Holborn, but the flow is fairly easy to follow, with variations on the poses thrown in to accommodate different skill levels. The class also incorporates elements of calisthenics, martial arts - as I discover when we karate-style kick our way out of a series of down dog leg lifts - and, most interestingly, animal flow.
The animal bit isn't as silly as it sounds
Having feared I was about to relive a Year 7 drama class, I was pleased to discover animal flow doesn't involve any crawling around on all fours or roaring like a lion. Instead, we frog leapt our way to a standing position and giraffe-walked (with straight legs) up and down the mat in a forward fold, no accompanying noises required. For someone whose attention can drift - usually to the clock - in an exercise class, the unusual approach kept things interesting. That said, calling a plank pose a crocodile doesn't make it any more fun.
It can be as intense (or not) as you like
While I found elements of the class tough, the pace was meditative. But Budokon instructor Ryan Carldon, who teaches at the Holborn studio, points out that devotees can explore different aspects of the practice depending on how challenging they want it to be. "If you're going more into the calisthenics or martial arts, it'll become more high intensity," he says. As your technique improves, "you will be pushed to go up the levels to find more in you and your session," he says.
It boosts the mind as well as the body
In addition to its physical benefits, Budokon is said to stimulate the mind and enhance your sense of self. "We have a six pillar system of study of which movement is just one," Sensei Beko explains. The others being thoughts, emotions, relationships, nutrition and environment. According to Beko, the increased ease of movement that comes with mastering Budokon can positively impact your life well beyond the gym. "If you move in a stiff and rigid way, chances are that this is reflected in other aspects of your life," he tells . "If you tend to hold back in your movement and show inhibitions, where else in your life are you not fully expressing yourself? By developing a deeper understanding of ourselves and how skilfully we can move and interact, we in turn develop a better understanding of how to skilfully navigate through life, having better interactions with everyone around us," he adds.
You'll be in good company
Aniston is not Budokon's only high-profile practitioner. Her former co-star Courtney Cox is also said to be a fan, as are Kristen Davis, Meg Ryan and David Arquette. Carldon tells his clients - based in London, LA and Hawaii - include actors and members of royalty.