Working Out on the Go

By Hali Serrian

There are times in every martial artist’s life when they can’t be at the dojo. Maybe you’re Athens Yoshukai Exerciseon vacation, interviewing for a job in another state, or just away for whatever reason. You can still practice karate, even in a hotel room! And it’s good to keep up your practice so when you return you’ll be able to jump back in right where you left off. In this post, I’ll be focusing on some exercises you can do in a hotel room, or anywhere there’s not as much space as we have in the dojo.

Kata

You can run forms in a small space, it just takes creativity and a bit of flexibility. Try to find the most open space you can and get started. Once you reach a wall (if you’re doing the I-Forms this will probably happen somewhere going up or down the “I”), just scoot back a couple steps and keep going. It can be a bit weird at first, but you’re still getting practice for the form in.

Kicks

Kicks are fairly easy to practice on the go because they don’t take up much space. The same applies for punches and blocks. If you’re looking for a different way to work on yourhttps://i1.wp.com/amkorkarate.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Aston-Wall-Kicks.jpg kicks, try the exercise where you hold one hand on a wall, chamber for your kick, and extend out and in without putting your foot down 10 times. Then on the last extension, hold your leg out for a 10-count. This can be quite a workout, and it helps you with your kicking form without having to worry about balance.

 

Balance

You can work on balance while you’re away, like the drills that you do while practicing at home. Stand on one leg (Ippon Ashi Dachi) while you watch T.V., brush your teeth, or talk on the phone. For a tougher version, try moving your leg up and down, side to side, or in a circle, all while keeping the 90 degree bend in your knee. Then try straightening the leg without setting it down. Lean forward and backward on one leg, and then shift your weight side to side. If it gets too tough, focus your gaze on one spot. If it gets to easy, let your gaze wander or close your eyes completely.

Calisthenics

If you don’t feel like working karate specifically, you can simply do some basic exercises, most of which don’t take up a lot of room. Pushups, bodyweight squats, lunges, crunches, dead cockroaches, jumping jacks, shadow boxing; the possibilities are endless. Anything that gets your heart pumping and your blood moving can help you in your martial arts training.

There is plenty to do for your training even when you’re not in the dojo. Keeping up your practice is what helps you continue along a steady path even if you can’t always have steady attendance.

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Body Conditioning: Toughening Up

Body conditioning is a part of traditional Okinawan karate. Body https://i1.wp.com/i.ytimg.com/vi/RZjQ1WOTUBA/hqdefault.jpgconditioning is the practice of taking hits to the body or hitting something fairly tough in order to strengthen one’s ability to “take a hit”. It is supposed to make the body stronger, but often it’s mostly the fighter getting used to being hit. When fighting, blows don’t hurt as much because they’re used to it through body conditioning.

In our dojo, we typically introduce the idea of body conditioning around blue belt. We might have blue belts work their targeting by punching their partner in the stomach instead of a pad. Both partners would alternate. Obviously, we wouldn’t be using our hardest punches right off the bat. As with any new exercise, we start slow and easy and work our way up.

My first experience with body conditioning was with me acting as the conditioner to some black belts. They were working conditioning by being punched in the stomach by yellow belts. We yellow belts were working on being able to hit people with some actual force.

https://i1.wp.com/iainabernethy.com/articles/images/makiwaralk-1.jpgIn Okinawan tradition, makiwara, or punching boards, are used to toughen up striking surfaces. These are exactly what they sound like: boards that you hit in order to toughen up. Trees and poles are acceptable makiwara substitutes.

Working with our heavy bag is akin to working with a makiwara. It’s tough against the hands, and can hurt the wrists if you aren’t punching properly. Proper technique is absolutely necessary before you attempt to condition that body part.

Body conditioning sounds a bit scary and intimidating as a concept when you’re a white belt, and even when you’re a blue belt. But body conditioning is built into training. Sparring is a form of body conditioning. The more you punch, the tougher you’ll get, even if you’re not consciously focusing on it. However, focusing on body conditioning helps it get that much better.

Fighting

By Dala Griffeth

I don’t want to fight you, but we can spar!

Any time I tell someone for the first time that I practice karate, they always start talking about how I must be able to beat people up, or I must love to fight. The truth is that while we all know fighting is part of our traditional training, it is not who we are. I believe sparring as well as kumite to be incredibly valuable in martial arts training to help develop the reflexes, strength and stamina necessary to practice our art at the highest level. However, your attitude and intentions regarding this training and its use are equally, if not more important.

Through my years training with the WYKKO, I have met and fought some incredible fighters, and I have learned something from every single one. And while many of these incredibly talented individuals spend a majority of their training time developing their fighting skills, there is not one of them that I would consider violent. This is something that I love about training with the WYKKO, and particularly Athens Yoshukai. We, as martial artists, understand that we are participating in a combative, contact sport, but I feel that we emphasize the sport aspect more than the combat. We never go into the ring attempting to injure our opponent, or hoping to cause any lasting damage. We instead focus on improving our own skills and fitness levels, as well as helping our training partners improve themselves and develop new skills. As a result, we build an incredibly tight network of, not just training partners or teachers and students, but true friends.

My personal philosophy regarding fighting and sparring can be summed up pretty simply by the title of this post: I don’t want to fight you, but we can spar! When I think of fighting, I think of a situation where there are no rules, and I am in a struggle to protect myself or my loved ones from an opponent that wants to cause real harm. And while we practice full contact kumite, there are guidelines in place to ensure the safety of participants. And that, I think, is the big difference, the intent. In a real-life situation, I would do whatever is necessary to protect myself or my loved ones. But in general, I don’t want to hurt anyone, I just want to improve myself. So please, to anyone out there who wants to teach me something, or would like to learn from my experience, I don’t want to fight you, but we can spar! Osu!