Bokwa – Ireland’s Newest Fitness Craze


Bokwa is a new group fitness programme that is steadily gaining in popularity both globally and in Ireland.

Bokwa was invented by Paul Mavi in 2000.   Paul, a South African and leading fitness instructor based in California, developed the classes over an 8 year period. He then partnered with Johann Verheem to bring it to a global audience in 2012. The Bokwa trademark is made up of ‘Bo’ from ‘Boxing’ and ‘Kwa’ from ‘Kwaito’, a 1990s South African music genre.

Bokwa differs from contemporary aerobics and Zumba classes in that it is not considered a dance workout. There is no choreography involved. The group essentially draws letters and numbers with their feet in time to music. Letters like L, J and K and numbers like 3 and 5 represent particular steps for example. The moves are inspired by South African war dance, Brazilian martial arts, aerobics and kickboxing.

Bokwa fills the gap for people who may not necessarily see themselves as being adept at dance, but who still want to find a fun way to workout outside of the gym, aerobics class or running club.  Participants vary from children as young as four years old, to marathon runners, to people who have never exercised for pleasure before. All fitness levels and ages are represented in the classes and everyone is able to train at their own intensity in the same session. The saying goes that ‘if you move and you can spell, then you can Bokwa!’.

Vikki McNamara has been a Bokwa instructor running classes in Balbriggan for the past year. She is one of Ireland’s only two Bokwa BESTS (Bokwa educational specialist trainers). Having spent most of her life ‘very overweight’, she lost a total of 8 and a half stone prior to becoming a fitness instructor. She states that ‘I have massive empathy for anyone who is embarking on a weight loss plan or lifestyle change as I’ve been through it all myself’.

Vikki explains that ‘the feel good fun factor is highly addictive and participants crave their next Bokwa fix, which is why it’s understandable that Bokwa is the world’s fastest growing fitness trend’.  The background hip-hop music is always upbeat and contemporary and this adds to the enjoyment of the workout.

Vikki has enormous drive and is aiming to get Bokwa into every town in Ireland with Master Classes and Instructor Certifications set to be made available all over the country.  The fact that the numbers of people attending her classes in Balbriggan have been growing rapidly is testament to her energy and enthusiasm. This has spurred her on to expand outside of Balbriggan into Swords.

Dervla Murphy has been attending Vikki’s classes for the past year and has been inspired to become a Bokwa instructor herself. ‘I was hooked by the second class! Within a few weeks I became familiar with the steps in Level 1 and found the class very easy to follow. Most importantly I have a lot of fun and have met a lot of amazing people attending these classes. I would highly recommend trying Bokwa for anyone.’

Anna Murphy

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    • annamurphy75
    • April 1st, 2014

    Bokwa is growing in popularity in Ireland. Check out for details!

    • Dearbhail
    • April 1st, 2014

    Bokwa has to be the most fun exercise I have ever tried…..prepare to become addicted! This is a must to try, lots of classes available in Balbriggan, Swords & now Drogheda

    • Laura Quinlan
    • April 1st, 2014

    Vikki is one of the most amazing inspirational people I have met. Bokwa is amazing and very addictive but I’ve met so many wonderful people through it. The army Vikki has behind her is amazing and I am happy she introduced me to Bokwa. If u haven’t tried it it’s a must x

  1. We love BOKWA …..YES WE DO…….this is a AWESOME Fitness class lots of fun and 100% Sweat ……you will love it…….whoop whoop 🙂

    • Susan McDevitt
    • April 2nd, 2014

    Quite simply the most addictive and fun thing I’ve ever done. Vikki our instructor has the most unbelievable energy and love of bokwa that u just can’t help enjoy every single minute. I would highly recommend to anyone to give it a go, you won’t regret it. We love bokwa, yes we do!

    • Vicky
    • April 2nd, 2014

    I can’t convey how much Bokwa has changed my life. This is the happiest, feel good fitness class I have EVER participated in. It can take a couple of classes to find your Bokwa feet but the fun is there from the get go. Brilliant music, fantastic steps & awesome instructors. It’s hard to not get bitten by the “Bokwa buzz”. Everyone should definitely give it a go. 🙂

    • Liz Gough
    • April 2nd, 2014

    OMG what can I say. I have never fell in love with an excercise like this. I can never get enough classes in each week if I could I would go every day. U don’t have to be able dance to do bokwa it is surprisingly easy and very addictive. Vikki is an absolute gem and such a brilliant motivator. And now she has shared that with new instructors to give us even more classes to choose from wen we can’t make Our normal times. So go on give it a go and join the hottest fitness classes xx

    • pauline o’donnell
    • April 2nd, 2014

    Tat is brill well done every1 I truly love bokwa xx

  2. we love bokwa,,,,yes we do,,whoop whoop 🙂

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