Martial Arts Training: The Missing Link in Physical Conditioning
Martial arts training will definitely benefit anyone looking for total body fitness. As a means of cross training the martial arts will enhance balance, strength, flexibility, power, mental focus, strength-endurance and coordination for any athlete looking for an edge.
One great advantage that this type of training offers is that the arms and legs on both left and right sides of the body are trained equally, and independently. In addition, the muscles of the core are always engaged and therefore become stronger and more coordinated, which will result in improved health and posture
At their core, the fighting arts were developed for combat. Their goal was to give the practitioner the ability to protect his family, clan, lord and self. They had to be very “functional” by today’s standards. There were no tournaments and no referees. If you were unsuccessful in battle you were most likely severely injured or severely dead.
In general the martial arts can be divided into internal/soft or external/hard schools. In actuality many systems contain elements of both to some extent. As a way of life the ultimate goal of the practitioner is to develop a high moral character and become a respected member of his or her community.
Internal systems of martial arts are mainly concerned with developing a practitioners Qi(internal energy) and controlling the qi of an attacker. Qi is developed through meditation, sensitivity exercises and slow flowing movements. Examples of internal systems include Tai Qi Chuan, Hsing I, and Aikido.
These types of arts will develop a calm mental state, reduce tension and increase coordination. These traits are especially useful in sports like golf, wrestling, and even football.
External martial arts disciplines develop speed, strength and power through physical exercise, striking and kicking techniques as well as meditation practice. Training focuses on developing all aspects of the body and mind so that the practitioner can defend him or herself in an effective manner.
Training can be extremely challenging and practitioners are often pushed to their physical and mental limits. The result is a body that is extremely strong, powerful and flexible. In addition trainees experience improved reflexes,coordination and balance.
The entire body, in essence becomes a weapon only to be used to protect oneself or one’s loved ones. Examples of external styles include karate, jiu jitsu, tae kwon do, muay thai and kung fu.
Examples of sports that will benefit from this type of training include soccer, baseball, football, rugby and tennis.
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