Marjolein Blokland is not your everyday run-of-the-mill type of personal trainer, she specialises in two unique activities: Muay Thai and pole dancing. She shares her story how she uses both activities to help her clients lose weight and keep fit.
When Marjolein Blokland first started Muay Thai, a form of kickboxing originating from Thailand, it was to help tackle her own personal struggles with weight and self-esteem.
“I started training in 2005 when I was 14, doing it as a form of exercise to lose weight. I quickly fell in love and wanted to know the art of it. So, I started to take it more seriously and put in more time and effort to learn all that I could about it.”
She describes Muay Thai as the art of eight limbs, “It utilises the whole body and turns it into a weapon. It can be used to possibly fatally injure someone else in a fight, but at the same time, when taught by the right coaches, it teaches someone discipline and control. In realising the potential damage one can do to someone else, one is more likely to refrain from doing so.”
Blokland states that Muay Thai is not something new; it has been in Kenya for many years.
“The Colosseum Gym in Adams Arcade, which is owned by Andries Leenheer, was the first gym to start teaching Muay Thai. It gives fighters an opportunity to fight, and potential clients a place to train. Over the years, Muay Thai has become increasingly popular and more and more people want to do it as a form of exercise and self-defence. Whereas before it was seen only as a sport for fighters and for those who want to go into the ring and fight,” she says.
Then, ten years after discovering Muay Thai, Blokland discovered pole dancing. “I started teaching myself pole dancing tricks, inversions and spins using YouTube videos. My background as a personal trainer really came in handy. What drew me to it as a form of exercise is its utilisation of strength and creativity. Pole dancing not only utilises choreographed moves and tricks on the pole, but like other forms of dancing, allows someone to fully express themselves.”
She continues that although Kenyans are accepting Muay Thai, there is a general lack of understanding about pole dancing, and as a consequence, a lot of misconceptions out there.
“Pole dancing is still seen as a sexual dance by many. They believe it should not be taught. This is mostly by people who are narrow-minded, and don’t do their homework before placing judgement. At times I get silly remarks like, ‘Are you a stripper?’ or ‘You teach women to be slutty?'”
“Nevertheless, if one sees what I teach or even ask my clients, they will realise that there is more than one form of pole dancing. There are many styles of pole dance, because it’s just that, a form of dance utilising a pole. It is a form of dance that can be interpreted in a variety of ways. From exotic pole dance, to what I teach, which is more fitness oriented to full-on acrobatics on the pole. I’m trying, through social media, to grow my clientele and create awareness in order to change the narrative about it.”
What does her training schedule look like? She says, “I train in the gym (weight lifting), at least three times a week, and pole dancing and Muay Thai twice a week. This schedule isn’t fixed because at times I get a lot of bookings from clients and sometimes have to sacrifice my own time.”
Blokland continues that she has benefited greatly from both activities beyond just being fit.
“Muay Thai has given me a lot of confidence in terms of what I can physically do and the potential damage I can deal to someone else. Over the years, my punches and kicks have become harder, faster and stronger. I wasn’t gifted with an athletic body or insane skills; I’ve had to start from nothing and build my body into something that I am proud of. While pole dancing has made me more graceful with my movement. It has also drastically improved my flexibility, strength and bodily awareness. All in all, both practices have made me, over the years, a very patient and understanding teacher.”
Nonetheless, she says it is not all a bed of roses, that both activities come with its share of challenges. “Firstly, there is the issue of injuries. Recovery takes time and patience. Secondly, one needs to stay focused and committed because training can become routine and boring at time. I’m constantly finding new challenges and ways to stay active. I love what I do and intend to practise Muay Thai and pole dancing till my body no longer physically allows me to do so.”
But never in a million years did Blokland imagine that she would be a personal trainer as her childhood dream was to be everything from a lawyer to a psychiatrist.
“I fell in love with staying active and building myself physically and mentally. Subsequently, I wanted to teach and help people learn and become better versions of themselves through exercise because I realised the benefits for myself. This is how I choose personal training as a career. I love what I do, I love to interact with my different clients from different walks of life. Plus, I am blessed to have very supportive and open-minded parents. They fully support my career,” says Blokland, who is the only child to a Kenyan mother and Dutch father.
Blokland does not compete in Muay Thai or pole dancing. Instead, she hopes to continue to harness her skills first.
“For now, I am enjoying teaching and improving on my own skills. Maybe one day I will step into the ring or take part in a pole dance competition.”
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The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Evewoman.co.ke
Singer speaks after attacking lover at WCB signee Zuchu’s star-studded concert
56 minutes ago
On 18 July, there was fanfare at the Mlimani City Hall in Dar es Salaam as WCB signee Zuchu held a thanksgiving concert months after her debut EP, I Am Zuchu. The event dubbed ‘Ahsante Nashukuru’ mainly featured performances by artistes from the WCB stable and attracted the whos-who in the Tanzanian entertainment and political scenes.
However, singer Gigy Money who also performed made the headlines for the wrong reasons after getting into a scuffle with her lover during the much-publicised concert.
READ ALSO: I was bewitched by a friend – Gigy Money
Peaceful arrival, later chaos
Moments earlier, Gigy and her Nigerian man were seen arriving arm in arm at the event whose highlight featured Zuchu receiving a brand new car from WCB head honcho Diamond Platnumz. Donning matching outfits, the couple was spotted on the red carpet as the paparazzi scrambled to capture the moment. However, all hell breaks loose later and viral videos depict the visibly angered Nigerian arguing with a bouncer at the entrance. After a tense confrontation, Gigy’s man is seen being led by the screaming bouncer towards the exit. Shortly after, a similarly irritated Gigy emerges and follows the pair.
“Gigy! Wewe Gigy wewe!” a woman in the background is heard dissuading the singer from pursuing them but the singer pays no heed and heads for the pair.
“You want to beat me?” the boyfriend is heard asking an approaching Gigy as the bouncer acts as a barrier between them. The bouncer manages to steer the incensed man towards the exit as Gigy follows behind, hurling obscenities.
At some point, a barefoot Gigy turns into a sprint before throwing one of her shoes which hits the man who then responds with an insult. Another bouncer finally intervenes and the two are separated. Gigy then asks for her vehicle so she can head home before warning the press against sharing videos of the incident.
Though the cause of their tiff is still unknown Gigy later made reference to the shocking incident in a social media post, hinting that alcohol had a part to play in the fracas. In another post, Gigy shared a photo alongside her estranged lover writing: “My mad man looked handsome before his demons arose and mine arose too.”
‘Running over Ali Kiba’
Gigy is not new controversy and recently said she’d run over her ex, singer Ali Kiba for breaking her heart.
“I will knock all of them down, I mean I will kill them. In fact, I will flatten them like chapatis. The first person I will knock down and kill is Ali Kiba. Actually, I don’t need a weak car, I need a Fuso so that when I knock him down I will be sure he doesn’t survive,” Gigy told Ayo TV.
Dating Kiba brothers
Gigy had in the past admitted to dating both Ali Kiba and his younger brother, Abdu Kiba. She solely laid the blame on Chekecha singer for pursuing her despite knowing that she’d been with his younger brother. Abdu expressed being heartbroken after learning the two had a fling, prompting him to marry.
“I was very hurt on hearing that Ali was dating Gigy Money because I dated her first before she became famous. But it’s alleged that Ali didn’t know. It hurt me for a while till when I married,” said Abdu.
Defunct Nairobi County Council Nurses Go On Strike, Citing Discrimination By The Government
Why Jahmby Kokai is happy her TV anchor dream never came true
37 minutes ago
Popular media personality Jahmby Koikai narrated how her first attempt at auditioning as a TV host backfired and she was sent home on the first day of the audition. Reliving her prime days, Jahmby narrated how she was determined to follow her dream of becoming a news anchor after completing her degree.
“There was a reality show that was running on one major TV channel here in Kenya, searching for the next top news anchor. I’ve always had the knack for news. At the time, I was working at Metro FM. Walked to my boss and asked him if he was ok with me participating in this competition. He agreed to it.
“Auditions were at Film Studios. The queue stretched all the way to the showground. I was at the back kabisa. Imagine 300 people before you. Then we got the briefing paper and it indicated, ‘no persons with experience in a media house allowed to participate in this audition’. Mimi Jahmby Koikai, nirudi home after watu 300 kukuwa mbele yangu?” she posed.
According to the endometriosis survivor, she went ahead to audition for the position despite the warning and was the first contestant to be sent packing.
“So I stayed in line until I got to the audition room. The judges were a few people I was in campus with. I felt a wave of despair. Like I’m here auditioning, yet my classmates will be judging me? I did my thing and I was considered. We got into the house and we were assigned to different groups. I was the group leader and we won the challenge. Later that evening, we were driven back to Film Studios for a briefing. The presenter of the show said some of us have to go home.
“My name was called out first amongst other great people. We were dropped home. I cried. It felt like I’d lost such a great opportunity. My mom and late grandma were so sad cos they loved to watch me do the news,” she narrated.
Later, Jahmby auditioned for another TV opportunity only to miss out as well.
“Then came another opportunity over 10 years ago, I saw a TV ad and decided to apply for the news anchor position. I didn’t get the job.”
However, due to endometriosis, Jahmby was forced to put her dreams on hold and concentrate on getting better. According to her, it is as though God had better plans for her and is grateful to not have gotten the jobs.
“I battled severe endometriosis in silence for over 19 years. I think of how engaging the newsroom is and I’m grateful I wasn’t in that space. I’d have utilized all my sick-leaves and off-days and just declared redundant.”
There was a reality show that was running on one major TV channel here in Kenya, searching for the next top news anchor. I’ve always had the knack for news. At the time, I was working at Metro Fm. Walked to my boss and asked him if he was ok with me participating in this competition. He agreed to it. Auditions were at Film Studios. The queue stretched all the way to the showground. I was at the back kabisa. Imagine 300 people before you. Then we got the briefing paper and it indicated, ‘no persons with experience in a media house allowed to participate in this audition’. Mimi Jahmby Koikai, nirudi home after watu 300 kukuwa mbele yangu? Nikasema zi. So I stayed in line until I got to the audition room. The judges were a few people I was in campus with. I felt a wave of despair. Like I’m here auditioning, yet my classmates will be judging me? I did my thing and I was considered. We got into the house and we were assigned to different groups. I was the group leader and we won the challenge. Later that evening, we were driven back to Film Studios for a briefing. The presenter of the show said, some of us have to go home. My name was called out first amongst other great people. We were dropped home. I cried. It felt like I’d lost such a great opportunity. My mom and late grandma were so sad cos they loved to watch me do the news. Then came another opportunity over 10years ago, I saw a TV ad and decided to apply for the news anchor position. As you see in this pic, I got my hair done at Ralph’s Hair Salon, new suit etc. I didn’t get the job. After KBC, I never got to anchor the news again. I’m grateful I did not get the job even though I felt dejected at the time. I battled severe Endometriosis in silence for over 19years. I think of how engaging the newsroom is and I’m grateful I wasn’t in that space. I’d have utilised all my sick-leaves and off-days and just declared redundant. There are many people like me who are bound by chronic illness and cannot do the things they love. I share your pain. But there’s hope. I’m grateful to God for His reminder that He will restore to you all the years that the locusts have eaten. Also Jer 29:11