Fitness \ Diversions

Forza Class: A Samurai Workout for Modern Exercisers

These sword wielding swashbucklers might look like extras in training for a new samurai movie.

But Hollywood isn't the draw at this sports club in Manhattan.

Welcome to Forza, a class based on ancient Japanese sword fighting techniques.

With Forza I wanted to bring the benefit of working out with sword which to me is the ultimate way of training. Three half cuts.

Ilaria Montagnani, who has a background in martial arts, developed the Forza workout. Forza means "power" or "strength" in her native Italian.

"it comes from the Japanese way of training with a sword, like a samurai. So all the movements are very, very elegant, there is no rounding or chopping, the idea is to express your body through your cuts, your movements."

This sword play might seem dangerous but it's not. There's no combat, just controlled, repetitive movements. Students use wooden swords instead of the metal versions wielded by martial artists.

"This is the replica in wood. This is the handle and this is the blade, where you cut."

Montagnani says Forza has several benefits. It's an aerobic workout that can burn up to 500 calories a class. It also builds muscle mass and strengthens the upper and lower body.

"You are doing movement with your arms when you cut, but you do those movements either in a lunge, or squat or a deep step. So your legs and glutes and core is always working."

"I find it to be incredibly empowering, i find it to be incredibly sculpting, and also very cardiovascular. I find it strengthens me in ways that other exercise classes don't, or using machines don't."

"You got two more times. Two more."

There's no jumping, which can stress the joints. And because the movements can be executed with a light touch, you don't have to be a musketeer to try it.

"It was great. Very different, good workout, we'll see how I feel tomorrow."

"Again, again, one and two and right and left."

"Beautiful, beautiful!"

This entry last modified on: November 11, 2014 7:52 PM

Comments: (4)

I would love to be able to get more info on forza. Is there a DVD I can get to do this at home? Where do I get a sword to work out with? Thank you so much for your help.

I saw the film in my doctor's office. Are there any classes in Nashville, TN or are there any dvd and equipment sales. Thanks!!

You might try calling this center:

They list classes on their website, but I don't know if they actually have a schedule of them or are still teaching them.


There is a DVD available, its about 30 dollars from Amazon.

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About the Video

Samurai sword fighting meets fitness training to create the ultimate workout.


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