After our Blackroll class we caught up with Jing and Yichy, co-founders of Chimosa, to find out more about the philosophy behind their studio and how tea and martial arts make the perfect pairing…
USC: Why did you decide to launch Chimosa?
Yichy: I was looking for a job and I wanted to find something that I could do forever – I didn’t want to just change jobs, I wanted to do something I love. My passion has always been sports and martial arts. That’s when I came up with the idea of mixing yoga, martial arts and fitness. I had a lot of female friends who wanted to try martial arts but they hadn’t found the right environment. I wanted to make martial arts more female-friendly because lots of martial arts studios are very male oriented.
Jing: At the time I was a consultant and I wanted to change my job. Originally I wanted to open a tea shop because I’m very passionate about tea. But then Yichy told me about this idea and how he wanted to open up martial arts for women. I thought it was a great concept. I told Yichy about my plans to work with tea and we realised tea and martial arts are very connected – they share the same philosophy.
USC: How does martial arts and tea work together?
Jing: Martial artists drink tea before a fight. In China we have a tea ceremony called Kung Fu Cha. The Kung Fu is the same as the martial art. And why do they call it Kung Fu in both? Kung Fu means “achievement through effort.” And this applies to both tea and martial arts.
USC: So is that the philosophy behind Chimosa?
Yichy: It’s all about Yin and Yang – about finding balance. If you go to one extreme you must go to another extreme. It’s our mission to connect the east and the west. A lot of Westerners don’t understand the culture of Asia and vice versa. As a result there’s a lot of prejudice on both sides. With Chimosa I want to build a bridge. Our teachers are from all over the world and we mix up our sports, too. Yoga, martial arts and tea. It all fits together.
USC: What classes do you offer here?
Yichy: We offer many martial arts classes – Kung Fu and Muay Thai from Asia and MMA and boxing from the west. We have different styles of yoga, fitness classes like boxing and wellbeing classes like blackroll. So martial arts, fitness and yoga are our three pillars.
USC: How did you become interested in tea?
Jing: I’m Chinese so I grew up with tea. It started when I was small – my parents drank tea all the time and discussed which teas were good and which were bad.
When I was 17 I lived with an uncle in Shanghai who worked in a Chinese office. He was given a lot of good tea. One day he showed me some and said “Jing – this tea is worth 200 euros.” I was totally shocked – how could tea be so expensive? That was when he introduced me to tea and the quality of it.
Tea in China is another world. Here in the west we drink mostly water but in China you drink mostly tea. Everywhere you go they offer you tea. Sometimes they don’t even offer they just give it to you. So you drink all kinds – very good and very bad. I became totally fascinated.
USC: How do you incorporate your tea knowledge into Chimosa?
We offer tea for all our members – so you can drink it before or after a class. And then we have a very small selection of tea that we sell here. We choose them according to quality and character. Usually you go to a tea shop and there are 200 teas and you don’t know which to buy. Here we just have ten kinds and every tea has its own character.
USC: Yichy, what’s your background with sports?
Yichy: I grew up with sports. I started with swimming, then tennis, basketball, soccer. When I was 12 I started martial arts. I did all kinds – Kung Fu, Boxing, Muay Thai, wrestling, MMA, Jiu Jitsu. I’m always learning. I’m still a student and I still train. It’s a never-ending process, you’re never done.
USC: What do you like about martial arts?
Yichy: Exactly that – you are never done. It’s endless. Most people think that you achieve a black belt and you’re finished. But it’s not true – there will always be more to learn.
Martial arts is about movement, expression, philosophy and history. The martial arts are ancient. We’ve been fighting since we were apes; it’s a very natural thing. We fight all the time, but the biggest fight is with ourselves, against our egos.
Jing: And this is why Bruce Lee is such a legend. He wasn’t just a movie star and a martial artist but he was a philosopher. A lot of people forget that it’s not just about fighting. Real martial artists talk about the philosophy behind it.
USC: What advice would you give to Urban Sports Club members who are looking to begin training?
Yichy: Everyone should try martial arts. Just be open, be tolerant – try everything out. That’s the cool thing with Urban Sports Club you can try loads of different sports. It’s a great concept.
USC: Do you have any news or workshops you would like to share?
Jing: On Sunday May 27th we have an open house day. All our classes are free and everyone gets a goody bag – it’s all day and the classes are 45 minutes each. It’s very fun and a good way to try something new.
For a full list of classes and workshops go to Chimosa’s website.