Why there is no better full body workout than this
How do you define a full body workout? The most common definition implies that it must involve all joints and muscles. That is one way to describe it. Others might say that a full body workout must increase strength and power, train explosiveness, speed, agility, endurance and so on. These are all true as well.
Crossfit has exploded in its popularity over the last ten years, and rightfully they claim to produce the fittest man or woman on earth. And yet, even Crossfit comes short by a long shot of delivering what I would call a full body workout.
Most workouts that you can do in the gym will get you strong, fast or help you lose weight- but those are not truly full body workouts.
Why? Those workouts reduce your body to just its ligaments, muscles and cardiovascular system. However, I hope that there is more to you and your body than just that.
What about your mind, spirit, and soul? Are those not part of your body? Are those not the MOST precious parts of your being? So how about picking up an activity that delivers on being a true full body workout- not just the looks of your body but your inner well-being, mental health, spiritual health, and internal growth? Is there an activity that truly delivers on all aspects of your body? The answer is yes- it does exist and has a rich history of hundreds of years. It has all been figured out for us already with ancient knowledge that has sustained the tests of time.
What is it?
Karate, a traditional Japanese martial art, delivers on this concept, beyond your imagination. It has many advantages over anything that you might get from a gym workout, P90X or Crossfit. While traditional Karate does not only deliver on engaging all muscles and joints, it will also challenge you when it comes to strength, endurance, stamina, power, speed agility and more. Since Karate is based on the spirit and traditions of the Japanese Warrior Class- the Samurai- it offers its practitioners two essential factors that no other activity can: Urgency and the self-cultivation of spirit and soul.
1) The Urgency of Life and Death
Traditional martial arts have hundreds of years of battlefield-tested knowledge and depth. The gained insight was paid for with bloodshed and human lives. Through painful lessons, the experiences and inside of self-defense and survival have been packaged into martial arts. Thus realistic martial arts training always reflects on life and death scenarios reminding the practitioners that any error, lack or slack would lead in consequence to one's death.
With the possibility of death as permanent companion martial arts training is on a unique level of urgency and seriousness that can never be compared to other sports activities. More so the samurai realized that violence and force could never be the answer. Therefore they tied martial arts training to strict etiquettes, ethics and hard training, sparking in its practitioner's self-cultivation and internal growth which eliminates conflict in the first place.
This leads us to the next point:
2) The self-cultivation of the mind
There are two ways to finish conflict. One is through the use of terminal force while the second one is through understanding, love, peace, and forgiveness. Terminal force is the fastest route, however, it will always leave behind negative emotions which in consequence will commence new conflict again. The way of understanding, love, and forgiveness is a harder method but the only lasting way. Martial artists are guided over time not only to an intellectual knowledge of this but an embodied understanding of this philosophy. Libraries could be filled with the intellectual understanding of one's emotions and how to be peaceful. Yet the world is exposed to much more violence and inhibits us as a species that is supposedly evolving.
In contrary, enter a martial arts school were students charge full force at each other. From the view of an outside spectator, it must look like the practitioners hate each other and yet once the instructor says "stop", everyone bows respectfully towards the opponent and moves on as nothing has happened. This is how an embodiment of peacefulness looks like.
This is possible because the practitioners have learned to resolve the inner conflict that leads to external conflict. A practitioner that has learned to keep one's ego in check and controls one's own emotions has no need for any fight. Fights break out because there is inner conflict such as a hurt ego, fear, anger, anxiety, stress, superiority complex or inferiority complex to name a few.
Through the martial arts etiquettes, hard training and the guidance of a Sensei or a mentor, the student learns to explore this inner conflict and finds peace within himself/herself first. A person that has gained this inner strength and peace can never be an aggressor. This is why a martial arts dojo that leads people to this point is such a peaceful place. Combine this with the student's confidence that he or she could defend himself/herself and you get a powerful combination of inner and outer strength.
However, those hidden secrets and those epiphanies only enlighten the practitioner after at least a decade of intense training, exploring and experiencing one's body, mind, and soul to its core.
A decade of training is usually longer than any professional sports career might last. Knowing that in traditional Karate you are still only at the beginning of the “full body workout” after a decade of training requires a much higher and more profound level of endurance and its understanding.
Do you want speed, agility, quickness, coordination, flexibility, strength, power? Do you want a true full body workout? Do you want a true test of your stamina, perseverance, and endurance? Are you tired of reducing in your workout your body just to its outer shell? Then find a traditional Karate dojo.
Be aware that Karate is not for the weak minded.
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