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Shake it off. Bokwa is a form of exercise that combines elements of dance and boxing to produce an intense, calorie-burning workout


Bokwa - a combination of boxing (bo) and the traditional cultural dance Kwaito (kwa) - is a fast-paced and energetic cardiovascular workout. Devised by Paul Mavi back in 2000, the programme incorporates South African war dance, step aerobics and martial art moves and aims to improve quality of life and fight diseases and disabilities in a fun, efficient and safe way.

How does it work?

Despite their dance components, Bokwa programmes don't actually contain any choreography or counting steps. Instead, participants draw a succession of letters and numbers with their feet, while moving together to music in free-form rhythm.

Instructors also often use sign language to signal changes in the steps, making Bokwa classes ideal for the hearing impaired. Core signals include a double click of the fingers (‘Shincha’), which prompts a change of direction when performed at the beginning or end of a letter.

Set to lively Latin, African, House and Dance music, Bokwa shares its fun and communal feel with Zumba, but many find its 'dance-by-numbers' approach makes it easier to pick up. Like Zumba, classes involve following instructions given by a group leader, who will be based at the front of the room. However, Bokwa's simple and clear visual and audio cues make the steps easier to follow and beginners rarely find themselves struggling to keep up.

Is it for me?

If you enjoy dancing to music, then Bokwa could help you shake those excess pounds away. You don't need to have any dance experience or worry about counting steps, and can even inject your own style into the standard moves. If you get distracted easily by exercise (or constantly put it off as you don't 'enjoy the burn'), then Bokwa could be your perfect fitness fit.

Good to know

On average, you can burn anywhere between 400 - 1000 calories per hour of dance-based fitness. We can’t think of a better excuse to have another biscuit with our cuppas...

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