MARTIAL ARTS: A WELL ROUNDED WORKOUT
“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” – Bruce Lee
THE MARTIAL ARTS ARE A SOLID CHOICE FOR PHYSICAL FITNESS
By Donald KimThere are many approaches to body science, or body and mind fitness. Which system you choose depends entirely on your personality and what your focus needs to be. The Martial Arts provide great options. If it’s weight loss, some cardio without a lot of heavy lifting might be a direction. To build bulk, generally a high protein diet with heavy weight resistance and strength training. To build tone, lighter weights with more reps, etc. The methods and routines are infinite.
One way to stay in shape is the martial arts. Not only does it strengthen the body but also the mind and spirit. And while you’re achieving all that stamina and agility, why not gain a few extra perks as well? Not only are you getting great exercise, but through it all you also gain the ability to defend yourself. This is a major benefit for men and women. While you burn those calories, you’ll also build self-esteem and confidence while you learn how to feel intimidated in not so comfortable situations.
The martial arts is very much a total body science. A great cardio stimulator, it also builds strength and agility. Unless you’re a body builder, lean and mean is the way to go. Just ask the Marines. Seriously, the more bulk you have the less flexibility you have. There are always exceptions to that rule, but in general flexibility is just as important as strength.
For those of you who want a less aggressive work out, Tai Chi might be a good fit. Very slow and deliberate techniques building strength, balance and coordination. For seniors not wanting a high impact workout, this is a great way to stay fit. Tai Chi through steady practice, releases chi energy through relaxing the tensions of the body. In addition, the meditative quality of this subtle art helps to maintain your concentration and mind fitness.
There are many different styles of martial arts and the popularity has grown a great deal with the free-style, full contact competitions like Ultimate Fighting, etc. Bruce Lee had much to do with influencing mixed martial arts due to his tailoring of different styles to create his own form, Jeet Kune Do, an evolution of Chinese Kung Fu known as Wing Chun along with adaptations from Korean Hapkido and other styles.
To simplify, there are two basic categories of the traditional martial arts; hard style and soft style. Tai Chi for example is a soft style where as Japanese Karate might be considered a hard style. Meeting force with force for example is a hard approach, with forceful blocks and strikes. Kung Fu and Aikido for example use the attacker’s energy combined with the defender’s or “sum” energy to accelerate the technique. Each martial art has its own beauty and elegance and should be respected. Your technique is only as good as your master’s teaching, so it doesn’t matter which martial art is the best. It’s the dynamic between teacher and student that means the most.
Taekkyeon is Korea’s oldest martial art. Now recognized as one of South Korea’s national treasures, this lesser known style has some footwork that may remind you of the dance like moves of Brazilian Capoeira. Both styles have some cultural roots in dance that have been choreographed into their footwork.
One martial art or Body Science that’s been gaining popularity over the years is Korean Hapkido. Hapkido is a sister to Taekwondo and taught to the military. Combat Hapkido and Jujitsu are devastating. Some instructors have studied both so you may get some harder kicking and punching techniques along with the softer self-defense techniques. Hapkido is eclectic and versatile. Pressure points, joint locks and throws are big components of the art, as you will see in the featured video.
The martial arts provide one of the widest variety of exercise choices by far. They incorporate breathing, stretching, cardio, strength and speed training. They help you lose weight, build agility, balance and give you the muscle tone of a gymnast. It’s a great way to relieve stress or depression. If you’re having a hard time choosing a suitable course of action for physical fitness, you can get a well rounded workout for the body and mind with the martial arts.