We've also got lots of new people. And they seem to be younger, and less Republican. There is much muttering from the old timers in the locker room about how things have changed for the worst.
But they're wrong, because with new ownership and new people has come a new class, and it goes by the name of Aussie Kickboxing. It's run by Monica, who is short and scary (those things go hand-in-hand with gym instructors) and antipodean. Last night Hannah and I attended our first class.
I had, actually, done one other kickboxing fitness class, with Elliot. That was a cardio exercise thing, with a (short and scary) Iranian instructor and lots of loud music. It was good, but unless I'm mugged by someone pumping out 80s disco I don't feel it taught me any real moves.
This one was very different.
It seemed to start out tamely enough, with some skipping rope work, squats, etc. but then the gloves and pads were handed out, and we were told to pair off. I made the foolhardy decision to partner with my wife.
Keep your hands up and your chin down, Monica told us, as she demonstrated the right jab and the left cross. You have to keep one leg forward, and bounce around menacingly at the same time. Trying to control all my limbs at once was more than I could take, but then we actually had to do it to someone.
It would have been easier to hit the "focus mitts" if Hannah could have held them up, but she was laughing so hard at my attempts to look cool and a bit fierce that the targets kept moving. We got through it, and swapped over, and there is something rather unnerving about standing there while the one you love is, you know, trying to kickbox you. Especially if she's baring her teeth at the same time, like Hannah does.
The night continued with left and right hooks, and then forward kicks. Monica praised us for our precision, although I'm not sure why. Five seconds into any exercise my coordination abandoned me and my martial prowess descended into some kind of strange slapfest. Still, my gloves were a very fetching shade of blue.
During the stretch and warm down, Monica introduced us to Aussie slang. "Tucker" was this week's word. Please - if you've been brought up on a diet of Neighbours, Flying Doctors, Home & Away and other Oz soaps of which British television is so fond, then you know very well that tucker means food, even if you don't know that the jolly swagman put a jumbuck in his tuckerbag. I didn't show my disdain to Monica, however, because she might have hurt me.
I left feeling pretty beat up anyway. This kickboxing, Aussie or otherwise, is not for wimps. As Hannah commented, it's taken 15 years of marriage for us to finally come to blows. I think that's a pretty good record, but I may be too old and knackered to try again.
Me, after next week's class.