Ani Nazari has always dreamed of learning kickboxing with world-champion Farinaz Lari. After following her on Instagram for years and admiring her workouts, Ani, a 34-year old PhD student based in Scottsdale, Arizona, hoped to one day travel to Vancouver to take her classes. With the release of Farinaz’s NM program and her move to online classes, Ani finally got her chance.
Tell us about your experience starting kickboxing.
When Farinaz and her husband Ali brought their District Warrior classes online last year, I started with her MuayFit class and attended a few of Ali’s MuayThai sessions and I immediately fell in love. But I was not familiar with the fundamentals, which made it hard to keep up.
I reached out to Farinaz and she told me about this amazing program with NM that was going to be released soon. When the A Killer Stance class came out, I practiced it twice per day until I was able to master it. After learning the fundamentals, I felt more confident in the moves and ready to continue my training. It’s been almost nine months of steady training and I couldn’t be more grateful to have this practice in my daily life. I even have my own heavy bag at home now!
What types of movement were you doing before kickboxing?
For most of my life, swimming has been my go-to sport for staying active. When I was growing up in Iran, I spent years training with a female coach who was on Iran’s national swimming team. I also love to travel and explore new places around the world with my husband. We’re both certified scuba divers and often choose destinations where we can scuba and explore the ocean.
Why is spending time moving important to you?
Working out and being active helps keep my chronic stress under control. As a University student, there are so many things that I have to juggle on a daily basis and working out helps me to release that built-up tension and clear my mind.
How has learning and training in kickboxing impacted your health and your life?
Kickboxing gives me a level of confidence that no other workout has ever given me. With every kick and punch, I feel stronger and more capable. It’s also made me more appreciative and humble.
What has it been like training with Farinaz?
I have had other private training sessions, but none compare to what Farinaz has done for me. She is one of the nicest people and although we haven’t met in person, I feel like I’ve known her for many years. We meet every week on Zoom for one hour of intense workout. She carefully checks every single move I do to ensure that I’m doing them correctly and safely. Her encouragement goes beyond our training sessions. I communicate with her about my daily workouts. If I try to skip one, she will hold me accountable and push me to keep going.
What have been the biggest lessons you’ve learned from her?
I refer to Farinaz as my Sensei. Sensei is someone who is experienced, skilled, and knowledgeable, and that is who Farinaz is. She’s taught me to have self-discipline in life. This sounds simple, but the truth is it’s one of the most difficult things for me. There is a learning curve to it, but it’s one of my biggest goals to master it.
What advice would you give someone who is intimidated to learn kickboxing?
Learn the fundamentals first! Using the Movement by NM classes helped me get comfortable with the movements. Then, find a trainer that makes you feel comfortable and confident. And trust me, if you’re feeling intimidated by the sport, after that first kick there will be no intimidation left in your mind and body.