Is Karate Good For Health

Tuesday, July 10, 2012
I've been practicing karate since the age of 12. Even though my training level has definitely lowed since that early stage, as I chose not to become a professional of martial arts, I still practice regularly at the age of 41. When I was younger my physical condition led me approach karate more like a sport, even though I recognized it was far more than that. But now that I can't expect my body a top level sport performance, my attitude towards karate has changed, making me focus more on all those non-sport aspects that may still give my practice great value and sense.

When practicing martial arts or any other sport, health is a matter that shouldn't be disregarded. After all, many people start practicing a sport with the goal to improve their health condition.

Karate is basically an aerobic training. Unless competitiveness is your goal, before starting to train, a simple physical examination from a sport physician would be enough. If you plan to practice competitiveness, further examinations may be required by the gym, according to federation guidelines.

In karate training we basically distinguish two phases. The first is warm-up and physical conditioning, which is basically a set of exercises to warm-up, stretch and empower muscles, bones and body structure. The goal is to make the practicing body become stronger, harder and more flexible. Exercises may vary from gym to gym, also depending on master, style and federation.

The second phase is the technical training, or the karate training itself. This is the phase in which sequences of repeated attacks and defenses are trained; they may be solo sequences or against a physical opponent.

Karate requires flexibility, force, endurance and agility as physical attributes; mental concentration, patience, strength of will and pain resistance as psychological ones.

Karate training philosophy focuses on stressing the body in order to make it acquire more resistance to blows, while providing more precision, force and speed in performing attacks and defenses. The idea is to stress the body to its limits to eventually go beyond them. It is an inheritance of its glorious past, when people practiced karate for survival reasons.

Karate, when properly practiced, can provide a healthy person even more health and a well-being sensation related to the improved control over his or her body. However, some precautions have to be taken in order to avoid troubles related to over-training and over-stressing . As practice is constantly demanding extra efforts, some more delicate parts of the body such as knees and spine may suffer troubles in the long run. It is essential, in order to limit side effects, to execute movements correctly, to avoid knee joint over-torsions and to stop training when the attention level is very low.