Flips and Kicks Plus specialize in providing gymnastics and martial arts sports coaching, for the international community of Beijing. Through their programs, kids can improve their physical condition, co-ordination, concentration, and confidence in a challenging, safe, and fun environment. Programs are taught in English by qualified international staff. Their summer camp has been running for the past two summers, with rave reviews from parents and kids alike. This year’s camp was a gymnastics and multi-sport camp, giving over 50 kids the chance to try different sports. All led by qualified coaches, they included football, basketball, track and field, tennis, and karate. I recently met up with Fredrik Yderström from Flips and Kicks Plus, to talk karate and stunt movies.
Yderström joined Tallkrogens Karate Club in Sweden in 1991 and got his 1 Dan Black belt in 1996. In 1998 he began studying wushu at Beijing Sports University, becoming the first foreigner to take a degree in China full contact. He is now one of the top athletes for martial arts in China. As a martial art, karate is an all-in fighting system, where everything is allowed. In karate, you can use every means available in order to overcome your opponent by technique, conditioning, and training. “At Flips and Kicks our karate program focuses on a traditional karate style called Goju, which literally means the hard and soft way,” explains Yderström. The hard is the physical and mental conditioning, enabling students to become strong in both body and mind. The soft is the inner strength, concentration, evasion, and balance. The Goju style of karate is self-defense orientated and techniques can be adapted to each individual. As far as Yderström knows, “We’re one of only two Japanese karate dojos in Beijing, a dojo being a school for training in karate and judo.”
After the success of their summer camp last year, Yderström had some time on his hands, so what better way to keep busy than try out for a part in an action movie. The market for international movies has recently opened up in China. “Outcast” is a Chinese-themed action movie starring American actor Nicolas Cage, Canadian actor Hayden Christensen, and Chinese actress Liu Yifei. The film is the directorial debut of British stunt director Nick Powell, who has won five Taurus awards for his stunt escapades and was action choreographer on “The Bourne Identity.” It is one of few martial-arts period pieces to be shot in English and targeted at a global market. Locations include several in Beijing, Hebei province, and Yunnan. The film’s action follows a mysterious warrior who teams with the daughter and son of a deposed Chinese emperor to defeat their cruel uncle, who seeks their deaths.
Having studied a number of martial arts, Powell was a member of the British wushu team and began his stunt work in the UK in 1986. Yderström was part of the stunt team on the film, one of six selected from China. Most of the stunt team came from Canada, with a few from Europe and Thailand. The casting involved photos, fighting one on one, then three on one, all of which was great fun to do. “It was a real privilege to be part of the film and a great experience”, says Yderström. “Outcast” was slated for release in September 2014 in China, but was postponed indefinitely. Its US release date is February 27.
As if all of that doesn’t keep him busy enough, Yderström also has the company Wesing Sports Scandinavia, exclusive agents for the Wesing sports brand. Wesing (Weizhixing Sports goods Co Ltd) is a Chinese company that manufactures martial arts equipment. They are the market leader in Asia, and an international sponsor for all the major unions and federations in the martial arts world, and major competitions such as the Asian Games.
You only have to speak to parents and kids, that are part of the gymnastics or karate programs, to know that all of the coaches at Flips and Kicks Plus truly love what they do. They are 100% committed to their students, helping them achieve the best they can. Coaches also take time to listen to and work with the parents. “We recognize the importance of positive reinforcement, making the kids feel good about themselves. Not all our students will go on to have a career as a gymnast, for example, but what’s important for us is to encourage them all to take part, stay fit, and have fun.”
Flips and Kicks Plus Programs are run at ISB, BSB, and WAB. For more information visit their website www.flipsandkicksplus.com
For more information on Wesing Sports www.wesingsports.se, www.facebook.com/wesingsports
beijingkids Shunyi Correspondent Sally Wilson moved to Beijing in 2010 from the UK with her husband and son. Her daughter was born here in 2011 and both her kids keep her happily busy. In her spare time, Sally loves to stroll through Beijing’s hutongs and parks. She is a (most of the time) keen runner and loves reading: books, magazines, news, and celeb websites – anything really. Sally is also a bit of a foodie and loves trying out new restaurants.
Photos: courtesy of Flips and Kicks Plus