There are reasons I’m addicted to martial arts. It’s an awesome workout. I don’t know about you, but I’m awfully busy. I don’t have a lot of time to spend exercising. The movements in karate require use of the entire body, making the workout an efficient all-over toner. Joints are kept flexible with regular stretching. Plus, hitting bags and pads releases stress better than any other exercise or sport I’ve ever tried.
The sport is as mentally engaging as it is physically challenging. Not only do students learn self-defense skills, but they also develop confidence that makes them less apt to attract the attention of bullies and other predators. The self discipline foster by martial arts benefits students in all areas of their lives.
It’s beautiful thing to see a timid, unfit person gain self-confidence as her body hardens and her skills sharpen. The student who wouldn’t say a word in her first class is belting out Kias (the spirit shout that adds core power to blows and kicks) with everyone else six months later.
Despite its physical nature, martial arts can be adapted for injuries and age. I’ve worked out with people aged 12 to 70. Perhaps because of the strength,flexibility, and mental acuity honed by their style, I’ve seen aged martial artists who looked nowhere near their actual ages. The Phillippino Arnis masters that visit our school are still lethal well into their 80s. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Master and creator Helio Gracie (photo) was on the mat, teaching and training, 10 days before his death at age 95.
I’ve no doubt martial arts is healthy and helps lead to a longer and fitter life for those who practice it. I leave you with a short video of Helio giving a lesson at age 91.