I May Not Know Karate, But I Know Crazy

KimonoI borrowed the title from a 70’s movie or TV show, but I don’t remember which one. The premise of the scene is that the man may not know how to fight but if he just acts crazy he’ll be left alone. There are many forms of martial arts, karate being only one but probably the best known. Martial arts is really a collection of various types of combat, some use weapons such as swords, nunchuks, or sticks. Before there were automatic weapons, people had to fight each other hand-to-hand. Various types of martial arts practices were borne out of that necessity. Some are more defensive arts while others are more offensive. Aikido for example is about using the aggressors energy against them so that you can get away to safety.

Martial Arts are mostly associated with the Asian culture but it has been widely spread throughout all ancient civilizations. Not all martial arts is about fighting. Some of it is about healing mentally and physically, similar to the practice of yoga. Regardless of the type of arts studied they all have the benefit of focus and discipline. The sensei, teacher, instructor, (insert whatever word you like) provides guidance and support to the student. We’re familiar with Mr. Miyagi’s wax on/wax off approach (if you’ve seen the Karate Kid). Unlike other sports, most forms of martial arts are taught through a teacher/student relationship. There is reverence for the teacher and most students are quiet while awaiting their next command.

I love martial arts. I studied kempo karate. I would spend a great deal of time in the horse stance. If my sensei saw me floating up too much he would come put his hand on my shoulders and push me further down into my stance which is essentially standing in the squat position for however long he or she says. Ugh. I was doing it to learn how to fight but there are health benefits to doing martial arts. Kick boxing was created to combine the cardio of boxing and the stances of martial arts, especially for those who weren’t interested in the fighting component.

Try martial arts to give your routine a kick. Classes are common and economically priced that almost anyone can participate. Find a club or dojo suited to your needs with beginners classes if you’re looking to learn to fight or for self defense. If you want more of the cardio aspect look for kick boxing classes. Unless you’re really looking for specific self defense techniques, self defense classes won’t give you the cardio boost you’re looking to achieve. Other benefits of practicing martial arts are stress relief, focus, agility and flexibility. Along with the practice comes great discipline if you stick with it long enough. Remember that silence I mentioned? There is no talking or chit-chatting while you’re waiting for your next command. This also helps with listening. One of the first lessons I learned was to not anticipate an action or response. Rather, make unbreakable eye contact with your opponent. Whatever they’re about to do will show in their eyes. Try something new, you would be surprised at the applications it will have in your life.

Do you practice a martial art? If so, what? Any tips for those looking to get started? Comment, like and share. We want to hear from you.


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