Friday, October 16, 2009

Karate as an exercise

"A student who trains seriously for at least a year will notice considerable changes in physique". Gichin Funakoshi

Kanazawa sensei - in his youth

Traditional karate training is a great way to keep your body fit and healthy, like swimming it exercises nearly all the muscles in the body and after a couple of years of regular traditional karate training there should be a noticeable change in one’s body shape.

The work out given by traditional karate methods is mostly anaerobic but can be turned into an aerobic exercise simply by reducing the number of breaks, warning this should only be done by experienced karateka.

Traditional karate will not increase your muscle size but will melt away fat with austere training, it strengthens your muscles, ligaments, bones, sinew and loins and in general increases your core strength since you are always working against your own body weight.

Stan Schmidt sensei 8th dan JKA shotokan

I remember reading "Meeting Myself beyond the spirit of the empty hand" by sensei Stan Schmidt, Stan Schmidt is a JKA shotokan karate master from South Africa, he first started as a judoka and was heavily into weight training before taking up  shotokan karate.

I cant recall the book word for word but in his book he says when he took up karate he started to loose his bulk and this freaked him out as he had worked very hard to gain it, so in the mornings he would go and pump weights to get inflated while in the evenings he would train shotokan karate and become deflated.

Traditional karate training is mainly based on plyometric exercises which coupled with isotonic and isometric exercises harden your body like a piece of steel rope.

Stretching and strength training (push ups, sit ups, burpees, bunny hops etc.) are also a big element and generally there is little need to add much else to the routine, unless you are specifically looking to advance in a particular area, e.g. maybe you want to increase your stamina by doing more aerobic type activities like long distance running and sprinting.

Overall a well balanced exercise that works both sides of the body symmetrically.

Traditional Karate Styles
Kyokushin kai.

ryu = school
kai = association