Posted: Jan 5, 2013 9:53 PM by Dustin Klemann - MTN News
Updated: Jan 5, 2013 9:53 PM
BILLINGS - Upon meeting Koga workout creator Jon Koga, you feel as though you're talking to a walking tree trunk: The man is solid muscle, and looks like he could throw a serious punch.
But Koga is a soft-spoken New Yorker with a big heart. The fitness guru, who was featured on "Dr. Oz" displaying his eponymous workout, is helping a Billings 2-year-old fight neuroblastoma.
Koga caught wind that young Jade Marr was diagnosed with the high-risk cancer and felt he could help. He's now donating some proceeds from his workout DVD to help her.
"It touched my heart, and it's something that needs to be brought into awareness," Koga said.
More than a decade ago, Koga infused kickboxing and yoga to provide a workout for anyone "8 to 80."
"Honestly, when I'm teaching Koga and seeing the energy and seeing people say how the program has changed their lives, but when I can look back and say 'Wow, lives are being changed that are not actually taking the class at the particular time but we're donating good time and focus to these good causes.''"
Jade is currently undergoing her fifth chemotherapy treatment since September.
The workout, like the fight Jade faces, is an intense battle that you constantly need to roll with the punches.
A group of people, both experienced with Koga and newcomers, went through the tough workout at the Billings SportsPlex.
Stephanie Zeis, an avid runner and Koga-er, said it's the workout she can tailor herself, "You never get the same class, it always changes. You're always getting something new."
Beth Hein said the intensity is what she expected, but enjoyed her experience, "It was amazing. I do zumba regularly but this was totally different and intense. I loved it, it was great."
And Susan Mauro, a fitness instructor, said the workout provides the change needed in sustaining a healthier lifestyle, "Variety is very important, without it, you're going to get very bored as an instructor. You get very bored if you're teaching the same thing over and over. And this gives you a lot of variety with the different kickboxing and yoga moves."
Just watching the workout made a reporter sweat, but it's tailored to help those with knee issues or those who aren't fans of high impact workouts or the slow pace of yoga.
For those participating in the Koga workout, they finished after an hour while Jade's fight continues on.
A portion of DVD sales will go to Jade's fight to K.O. her deadly opponent and Koga said he plans to come back again with more sponsors.
The man appears on TV shows and tours the country all the while dealing with his community in New York, who were struck hard by Hurricane Sandy.
Koga said he wants to tour in 2013 from Long Beach, New York to Long Beach, California with celebrities and athletes he has trained.
"If you can count to four, you can do this program. You're not jumping spinning kicking, bouncing around, major coordination. You adjust the program to whatever level you're at," said Koga.
For now, the focus is teaching people to stay healthy in with a workout for everyone and help Jade with one kick, jab, cross at a time.
To donate to Jade, visit her YouCaring donation page by clicking here.