The Toronto Pro SuperShow is about to get a glimpse of Wongmania.
Steven J. Wong will be taking to the main stage Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre to lead a one-hour strength and conditioning class that has been dubbed Wongmania. It is one of the staples of Battle Arts Academy, of which Steven is one of the three owners. Battle Arts recently was voted the top fitness facility in Mississauga in the Top Choice Awards.
About a month ago, organizers of the SuperShow contacted Wong to ask if he’d like to lead a class, which will be one of many featured at the two-day health and fitness exposition that is the largest in Canada. It will feature seminars and presentations from prominent people in the industry in addition to various competitions.
Steven is a third-degree black belt in Taekwondo, Hung Gar style Kung Fu Master and a renowned filmmaker whose documentary, The Striking Truth, about champion UFC competitors Georges St-Pierre and David Loiseau, received acclaim in the mixed martial arts community. He has also created a site, Anti-Ageme.com, that reveals the secrets to living longer and better. He is currently working on a documentary, Anti-Age Me, and some of the footage that is being accumulated is available on the site.
Last September, Battle Arts Academy opened because of a vision of Steven and partners Anthony Carelli (whose character Santino Marella is among the featured talent in the World Wrestling Enterainment roster) and Inside Fitness publisher Terry Frendo. Collectively the trio wanted to have an athletic facility that featured world-class instructors in boxing, pro wrestling and mixed martial arts, in addition to strength and conditioning classes. Battle Arts’ popularity is growing, and Steven feels fortunate to have the opportunity to present Wongmania at the SuperShow.
“It’s a privilege and an honour to lead a master class on the main stage,” he says. “There’s some very high-profiled trainers out there that are doing seminars and classes in the conference rooms, which are a much smaller scale and yet these are huge, huge trainers. For us to have the Battle Arts/Wongmania class up on the main stage is something I never even dreamed of.”
“It’s going to be a very general introduction to Wongmania,” Steven adds.
Whereas he uses stability balls, medicine balls, free weights and other apparatus in his classes and has a full facility specifically equipped for exercising, Steven will modify his specific form of physical fitness. Inherent in that will be the principles of training to properly achieve maximum physical fitness.
“A lot of it is preventative,” he says. “It’s about quality of life. It’s about corrective health. I’ll introduce people to some prehab movements and work on movement patterns, making sure everyone’s doing things properly. I don’t know until I actually see (the stage) what I’m going to do. I’ll give people an understanding of my principles by incorporating isometrics, some sub maximal plyometric work, do a lot of core stuff and make it fun for everyone.”
He will also explain the meaning behind the movements, as opposed to just showing how to do it. In other words, it’s the psychology and the physiology because it’s as much about the mind as it is about the body.
“My whole objective is to educate people and create awareness that some of the conventional training that’s being done out there is a little outdated and is not necessarily creating the highest quality of life,” he says. “As a matter of fact a lot of training that is being done out there is detrimental to quality of life. It may be very sports specific, but it does not look at the whole picture. That’s why I started in my training to try to make sure your spine is protected; you do things safely; that your movement patterns are good; your fundamentals are good.
“I don’t think people understand Wongmania at all,” he adds. “The only people that understand it are people who have experienced it. It’s definitely something you have to try before you will really understand it because this is a system I have developed over the past 25 years of experience. That comes from a background of very traditional, very intense, very high-level martial arts. It comes from training with a lot of pro athletes. It comes from a lot of sports-specific training and a lot of research and exposure to top doctors, top movement-pattern experts, top chiropractors, top physiotherapists, top kinesiologists. I’ve had the privilege of working with a lot of these people through my film career. They’ve opened their doors and given me the secret weapons to what they do and I’ve taken all the knowledge and put it together and have created Wongmania.”
People who will participate in Wongmania at the Supershow will experience something Steven calls The Breakfast Table, which is an exercise in which you squat down with your knees bent at 90 degrees, putting the weight on your heels and fully extending both arms fully forward parallel to the knees. It could run anywhere from one to three minutes.
“It’s something that a lot of people have not done,” he says. “I didn’t invent the actual mechanic, but I’ve given it a name in the ways that it’s applied in our class. I decided to call it The Breakfast Table and modify from traditional martial arts and transfer it something I can apply to any high-level sport. The bottom line is it is something that improves your quality of life and can actually improve the joint stability. There’s so many benefits of it.”
People who have tried it, know all about The Breakfast Table and the whole Wongmania experience. And as someone who has been involved in the Wongmania classes since they began, I can say firsthand they are challenging but also fun. It works to increase strength and conditioning while minimizing injury. There is pain, but there is also plenty of gain.
Editor’s notes: Here’s a clip from last year’s Toronto Pro Show
ABOUT PERRY LEFKO
Perry Lefko is an award-winning journalist and best-selling author living in Mississauga. He has worked in the media for more than 30 years, including 21 for the Toronto Sun, in which he was a runnerup twice for the Dunlop Award for outstanding sports writing in the Sun Media Newspaper chain, and voted writer of the year by the Ontario Curling Association. He has also had articles published in The Toronto Star, Trot Magazine and is currently a frequently contributor to Goodlife Mississauga Magazine and Goodlife Brampton Magazine. He is also a contributor to Sportsnet.ca. He writes about sports, health and fitness, business, entertainment, arts and politics. He is passionate about writing personality profiles, in particular the human condition and overcoming the odds. He has had seven books published, including two that were national bestsellers: Sandra Schmirler, The Queen of Curling; and Bret Hart: The Best There Is, The Best There Was, The Best There Ever Will Be. He has also written books about Doug Flutie, Michael (Pinball) Clemons and Sandy Hawley. He has been contracted by Penguin Publishing to help broadcaster/athlete Colleen Jones write her life story. He also reviews books for Quill and Quire Magazine. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.