A safe way to kick the stress

With any job comes stress -- the stress of doing your work well, the stress of pleasing your boss and the stress of completing projects by the time they are due. But in some professions, stress can reach an even higher level, one that can take a toll on your body.

This type of stress is familiar to many law enforcement officials, emergency medical volunteers and other safety service positions.

Some turn to the gym to relieve stress; others try yoga or tai chi. In the Town of Colonie, many are turning to martial arts to relieve stress and better prepare themselves for difficult situations they may experience on the job.

Alan Condon, senior instructor of Empire Martial Arts on Walker Way in Colonie, said there are two main reasons people train at his studio. The first is to get in shape, and the second is to become more aware of their surroundings.

Condon said that in terms of a workout, martial arts can offer more than an hour of cardio at the gym.

In a regular workout, [a person is] able to exercise maybe one or two parts of the body, but in [martial arts] they are able to exercise every muscle in their body. It also helps you let your everyday woes kind of go to the side, and helps them sleep better, and get in great shape, he said.

At Empire Martial Arts, students can train in Muay Thai kick boxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Youth programs include Thai Jitsu.

The other aspect of Empire's martial arts classes prepares people for more unconventional situations.

"A lot of what the people are doing in class has a lot of defense mechanism," said Condon

Condon said that at one point, outside of the class, one of his students was in a situation with a police officer who was in the process of making an arrest.

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