Nordic Walking - Rebranded

Mary Tweed
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The recent surge in Nationalism and laws governing protected designation of origin names that determine local identity, have thrown a spanner in the works of the etymology of our fitness form of walking with poles. With the modern trend for using the term ‘Nordic’ to refer to anything a little edgy, cosy or cool, the Scandanavian countries (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark & Iceland?) have decided to reclaim their cultural heritage and trademark the term, meaning that henceforth only products made, or activities taking place, in these countries can be classed as Nordic.  Therefore, with immediate effect, the only places where walking with poles can be termed as Nordic Walking is in one of the aforementioned countries. The Finnish based International Nordic Walking Association (INWA) has issued instructions to its member organisations, urging them to rebrand in accordance with the new regulations.

This has posed two major questions for the organisation that oversees walking with poles in Britain 1) what to call this form of fitness, and 2) How to rebrand themselves.  After much deliberation, it has been decided to adopt a quirk of the english language and apply a silent ‘K’ to the term, which shall be called knordic walking forthwith. This was deemed the simplest way forward, as pronunciation does not change.  The organisation itself considered calling itself Joy Of Knordic Exercise (JOKE), but has settled on being known as the British Association of Training Specialists (BATS, and giving its new strapline – knordic (as in knot) walking - more prominence, so as to avoid confusion with the technique as practised in Scandanavia.  Individual instructors are being encouraged to employ the strapline at the start of each of their sessions in order to inform their clients that they are employing a silent K when speaking, and thus avoid breaking any international regulations relating to terminology. In case clients interpret this strapline as ‘not walking’ it may be necessary to add ‘knot as in knickers’ to clear up any confusion.

Many regional instructors around the country run businesses that used the now banned term in their names and have also had to rebrand.  This is proving a major headache for many, as contracts need updating, merchandise reordering and clients re-educating to use the term knordic walking.  Here in East Anglia, we have undergone hours of brainstorming to capture the essence of the service that we deliver and encapsulate that into a new name.  After much deliberation we have decided to call ourselves Fitness On Our Legs, otherwise known as FOOL.

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