In a world where crash diets are tantamount to healthy living, a world where exercise is considered an obligation rather than a privilege, Alex Armour is relying on an age-old tradition to reinvent contemporary ideas surrounding health and fitness. Alex, a Fourth Dan black belt, is the founder and owner of ShotokanFit, a Gold Coast karate club that teaches discipline, respect, and the indeterminable link between mind and body.

Alex first started learning martial arts when she was seven years old, in the hopes of becoming a Ninja Turtle or Power Ranger. Alex quickly fell in love with the sport and the challenges it presented, and she was awarded Goshin Ryu Karate‘s Most Spirited Black Belt trophy upon achieving her black belt in 2002.  “Martial arts is a skill; it’s not easy and it takes time to perfect,” Alex said. “But half the fun is continuing to learn how to be better at a skill, or to learn something harder or completely out of your comfort zone,” she continued. Alex’s father was particularly influential in kick-starting Alex’s martial arts journey, as he paid for her first classes and steadfastly supervised the progression of her training. “My dad is my rock,” Alex explained, “He supports and encourages me to continue to grow and develop myself. We are a team on this journey.”

In 2017, after twenty-two years of martial arts training, Alex established ShotokanFit. Martial arts extols humility and persistence, and Alex sought to re-imagine these virtues within the realm of fitness. “I had a vision for what I wanted for my athletes and myself. I wanted to create an environment that embodied development and success in life, not just karate,” Alex explained. She added, “ShotokanFit focuses on the development of the art and to learn to respect it, but, as the name suggests, fitness is a big factor. The students in my school learn to enjoy the journey and to celebrate one another’s success.”

Alex hopes to transform ShotokanFit into a full-time dojo, a place where martial arts becomes a culture for success rather than just a sport. As for young women wrangling with the stigmas surrounding diet and exercise, Alex reassures them that comparisons are the bane of good health and happiness. “To be fit is not a fad; it’s a way of living. You don’t have to be the strongest or the fastest. Good things take time, and your health is your richest asset. Don’t compare yourself to anyone, just let go of your ego, your fear, and do it,” she concluded.

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