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Interview By: Sara Thurman for ESPN

The first time Indiana Fever forward Tamika Catchings saw a Buda Khi class, she knew she had to try it. Today, she does one-on-one sessions with the creator of the workout, martial arts expert and 1998 Goodwill Games gold medalist Lester “L.J.” Easley. He explains the high-intensity program to Sarah Thurmond, and how it’s helped Catchings with her game.

Q. What is Buda Khi?

Easley: It’s a different kind of workout. You’re using your hands and feet 50-50. It’s boxing, cardio, karate, tai chi, yoga. There are 650 combinations [of moves], and in a one-hour class you’ll do about 30 to 40 combinations. You’ll do 500 to 1,000 kicks in a class. There are crunches and push-ups. You’re constantly moving your feet forwards, backwards, side to side. Every six minutes you do [the equivalent] of one mile. You’re going to burn 600 or more calories. It’s total body conditioning. If you do a workout three times a week, you should see results in six to eight weeks.

Q. Can you only do the workout through a class with an instructor?

Easley: You can do it on your own. I have a DVD with instructors doing the moves slowly. You should be able to do the techniques correctly. It’s not as complicated as karate.

Q. Can anyone do Buda Khi?

Easley: Yes, we have classes for 7- to 14-year-olds, and I’ve had classes with 60-year-olds. You go at your own pace. We [tend to] have more women in our classes because there’s flexibility work, which intimidates guys.

Q. What’s your background in martial arts?

Easley: I didn’t start until I was 19. [Easley turns 48 on Dec. 29.] I’m now a third-degree black belt in Schotokan, the kind of karate Jean-Claude Van Damme does.

Q. How did you and Tamika start working out together?

Easley: In the martial arts scene, you get to meet a lot of people, especially athletes. I knew her dad [former NBA player Harvey Catchings], and I met her about two years ago through her Catch the Stars foundation. I volunteered at one of her events. She wanted to get in shape and learn karate, but then she saw the [Buda Khi] class and saw that it was good for cardio.

Q. How has Buda Khi helped her with her game?

Easley: We worked on things that would make her more explosive, and also get the muscles and hip flexors moving faster. She’s now a little bit faster going in different directions, and her jump shot is easier for her.

Q. Where does the name Buda Khi come from?

Easley: I created the name. Well, my youngest son, Travis, came up with it. He said it, and we thought it was catchy. But each letter stands for something:

B — Believe in yourself.
U — Understanding is everything.
D — Discipline first.
A — Attitude, always respond to things positively.
K — Karate, which means “way of the empty hand,” always ready to give and always ready to receive.
H — Happiness and humble; have fun every day.
I — Improve your life daily.