Rock Steady Boxing for people with Parkinson’s comes to Kona

  • HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald Marlene Goodwin throws a left during Rock Steady Boxing at Waiakea Recreation Center Boxing Gym in Hilo.

  • Parkinson's patient Herb Kiyabu spars with wife, June, as part of the Rock Steady Boxing therapy to help slow the progress of the disease. Photo credit: Ash Tsuji

  • HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald Dave Cronister boxes with gym recreation director Shannon Ochi Friday during Rock Steady Boxing at Waiakea Recreation Center Boxing Gym in Hilo.

  • Herb Kiyabu boxes with wife June earlier this season during Rock Steady Boxing at Waiakea Recreation Center Boxing Gym in Hilo. (Hollyn Johnson/Hawaii Tribune-Herald)

Rock Steady Boxing, a unique exercise program, based on training used by boxing pros, and adapted to people with Parkinson’s disease, is now available in the Kona area.

The program involves intense exercises, such as stretching, running, jump-roping, push-ups, balancing and lots of non-contact boxing, led by experienced trainers/coaches. Rock Steady Boxing serves both men and women of all ages and levels of ability.

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“We are fortunate, with the help of the Hawaiian Parkinson’s Association, to be able to bring this program to Kona,” said Natalie Bisnow, owner of Pacific Island Fitness, who successfully completed the Rock Steady Boxing Certification Training, and is certified to offer Rock Steady Boxing training classes to individuals with Parkinson’s disease who live in the area.

Classes started April 1 at Pacific Island Fitness.

The Rock Steady Boxing Method was developed in Indianapolis over the course of seven years. In 2012, the Training was launched to share the Rock Steady Boxing Method with other people who are fighting back against Parkinson’s. Today, there are over 900 Rock Steady Boxing affiliate programs around the world, initiated by certified Rock Steady Boxing “Coaches.” The Big Island has one in Hilo and now one in Kona! All completed the requirements of Rock Steady Boxing and have been officially certified.“We have always believed in the Rock Steady Boxing Method,” said Rock Steady Boxing, Inc. Executive Director Joyce Johnson. “When evidence began to emerge that our program had a very positive impact on the ‘boxers’, our mission became clear — to share our knowledge and experience with all people with Parkinson’s. That is why we decided to make our training available worldwide — to train as many as we can so together we can improve the care of people with Parkinson’s everywhere.”

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Rock Steady Boxing, Inc., a nonprofit organization, was founded in Indianapolis in 2006 with six participants. Participation has steadily increased to more than 55,000 members today, including men and women ranging in age from 35 to 90. Classes are geared to people at all stages of Parkinson’s disease. Multiple volunteers contribute their time and talents to assist with the classes.

Additional information about Rock Steady Boxing Inc. and Parkinson’s disease is available at http://kona.rsbaffiliate.com.