Yoga & Karate

By Susan Elrod

My first time teaching yoga was to Sensei Hofmeister’s karate students.  This was years before I started training in karate myself, and I assumed the students would find my curriculum unchallenging and even boring.  Thirty minutes into class, these extremely capable martial artists where puffing, sweating and in serious need of a break.

Once I started training in Yoshukai myself, I was surprised at how much my yoga practice had prepared me for traditional karate.  As I continued teaching yoga in our dojo, I began to select particular poses and stretches that I found to be especially helpful to karate training.  The series of posts below are some of those poses, grouped by the karate techniques I find they best correspond to.

Yoga for Beginner/Intermediate Kicks

Yoga for Intermediate/Advanced Kicks

Yoga for Stances

Yoga for Hip Stretches

Yoga Philosophy and Yoshukai

A couple things to remember if you decide to try these poses for yourself: 1. If anything you try causes sharp pain, especially in the joints, stop.  Every body is different, and some of these poses might not be helpful for you.  2. These poses are by no means comprehensive.  If you’re interested in trying yoga on your own, you’ll find almost all yoga practices develop the strength, flexibility, and body control that are beneficial to martial arts.  Finally, if you have any questions or want any more information, please feel free to contact me through the athensy.com website or find me at our next Yoshukai event.  Osu and namaste!

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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.