Hiddens gems of karate

2015-05-21 06:00
PHOTO: supplied
Karate gives full mastery of the body.

PHOTO: supplied Karate gives full mastery of the body.

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USUALLY the astronomers are very heavenly minded, but not earthly good. Not so with me. Practicing karate for years has been a blessing to me and I would like to share it with our readers.

Karate gives full mastery of the body, awareness of the environment, being able to defend yourself with bare hands and feet when necessary.

Shotokan Karate’s rules exclude violent behavior, aim at perfection, respect others, endeavour and promote faithfulness. Pushing yourself beyond limits fosters the spirit of overcoming and forges iron will. When others indulge in movie orgies, gluttony, smoking, alcohol and drugs, the karateka (karate practitioner) avoids these and other dependencies. The dignity of the quiet awareness of being able to defend yourself gives humble confidence in all other spheres of life.

While patient and avoiding fights, the karateka doesn’t tolerate physical or any other violence against his person and reacts with lightning speed when so required. The bully needs a victim and if he can’t find one in you he will learn a rememberable lesson. The reluctance of the karateka to get involved in fights is dictated by the clear knowledge of the damage being able to inflict on the intruder.

One 70-year-old sensei shared his experience with me. “My wife and I were driving a scooter. We stopped at the traffic light, and five guys came out of the bush and pulled my wife’s handbag. I asked them to return it, they laughed. Then, I climbed off the scooter and next thing you know was the ambulance siren.”

I asked him how you did it – he said: “I allowed only one at a time near me.” Every detail of the training develops different part of the physical ability of the karateka. Strange, but even in the kindergarten I wasn’t as supple as I am now, and that thanks to daily stretching. Stretching is very strange exercise, because if you overdo it you will damage yourself, but if you underdo it you do nothing. True, it is better to start early, but if you are 50 and never did the splits before, I assure you that after two years of consistent and intelligent training you will be able to.

I believe that even the busiest people should include at least minimal amount of stretching to avoid back pains, knee troubles and shoulder damage. Stretching is fundamental in karate, because the karateka’s power depends on the speed, accuracy and timing, not on the massive muscles.

If you are serious – and karate will teach you to be serious – in eight to nine months of good training you will be able to defend yourself. I do respect all martial arts, having been training MMA and wrestling, but I personally prefer Shotokan karate.

My wife and my first child share my enthusiasm and also train daily. My daily routine involves first power training – 11 times one leg squat, 15 times one-arm push-ups, then kata and kumite – training against someone and self-defence.

Afterwards, extensive kick training – the leg is stronger and longer than the arm and can inflict much more damage. High kicks are dangerous because if blocked or countered successfully could be very damaging, but when mastered sufficiently is the fastest way to stop any attack by permanently neutralising the intruder. So, get out of your comfort zone.


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