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And now for something completely differentFrom yoga to power-lifting; United Clubs offer pastimes with a twist
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승인 2009.10.05  11:44:28
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Capoeira students show off their moves. Photo courtesy Phil Hacker

“Let’s warm-up by running,” suggests Phil Hacker, Capoeira Instructor at Jeju United Clubs. The class, comprised of first-timers and veterans, follows his lead as they progress through the warm-up and stretching components into moves more specific to the Brazilian martial art.

“Capoeira is most often described as a dance-like fight but, it’s much more dynamic than that. It’s musical, playful, physical, and combative,” says Hacker, who first became intrigued with the discipline about eight years ago after attending his first class in Los Angeles, California.
Hacker has taught in India as well as in the U.S. and he now brings his teaching to Jeju, where he has been working with United Clubs for approximately one year. He holds classes on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Oh, Min-Young, a first-time participant, who found out about the class via a foreign ESL teacher says: “That was unique; it made me sweat a lot. It’s good exercise and I think it’s good for my brain too - to remember certain body positions and moves.”

Capoeira is one of several socio-educational opportunities available to those who are interested in meeting other foreigners on Jeju Island. Sports and fitness-related activities, French and Spanish, martial arts, yoga, salsa classes, “Vegetarian Meat-Ups”, and musical groups are enjoyed by many club participants. Frequently, participants decide to make an afternoon or evening of it and often groups will go to lunch or dinner together after class; consequently they may opt to go to the beach or see a movie together as well.

In addition, various workshops and parties are held throughout the year, explains Plaskin, coordinator of United Clubs and manager of Milana Hall. “The ‘Small Word, Small Island’ dance parties were beautiful events organized by Sasha Shepherd in April and June of this year and have been the only organized foreign dance parties on the island.” He says.

Milana Hall hosts many classes offered by United Clubs and is located in Shin Jeju, two blocks south of the Jeju Grand Hotel. Groups also meet at various restaurants, schools, cafes, beaches and parks. Power-lifting participants meet at Jeju National University’s gymnasium.

Karissa Bryant, Yoga Instructor and ESL teacher originally from Seattle, Washington, believes that United Clubs provides people with “a great opportunity to experience a variety of classes on a drop-in basis without having to pay much money and allows one the opportunity to network with other foreigners.” Bryant teaches a blended style of yoga derived from the Kripalu, Ashtanga and Hatha Schools. “I tend to teach from a spiritual emphasis focusing on being with the breaths, being present in the moment and finding meditation through movement.” She encourages anyone to come to class, regardless of their physical ability, noting that she demonstrates options and modifications for those who are new to yoga and provides more challenging positions for those who are seasoned at practicing yoga. She teaches classes on Monday evenings and Thursday mornings; her colleagues, Lana Sizemore and Laura Simons, also teach classes on Friday mornings.

“It’s a place of friendship where people share their knowledge, skills, abilities and efforts,” says Plaskin. New classes are added as new instructors want to share their skills and as more and more people become aware of United Clubs. Plaskin adds that United Clubs are valuable if “you’d like to make life more versatile, more interesting; if you’d like to try something new that you’ve never tried before or if you’d like to continue activities that you like very much.” Indeed, this is what Jeju United Clubs are all about.

The cost to participate in United Clubs is 15,000W per month and allows unlimited access to any of the classes offered.

For more information, contact Vadim Plaskin on: 010 9045 0440, or visit:
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (
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