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The Importance of Athleticism

 
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niitsu kakunoshin
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2007 10:15 am    Post subject: The Importance of Athleticism Reply with quote
I was just watching a tournament video where the winner of the tournament won first prize because he did a bunch of very beautiful flips and spinning kicks with little or no real combat martial arts value and it got me thinking. I have studied under different types of teachers at different types of martial arts schools. The first martial arts school I ever went to was a karate mcdojo when I was six years old. I moved a year later and started at a tae kwon do mcdojo until I was eight. I remember the test for a new belt one time included being able to jump over a stack of foam tablets. I was the second tallest kid being tested. It came down to me and the first tallest kid who beat me by one tablet. I promptly kicked over the stack and never came back. A few months later I started traditional shaolin kung fu, which I did till, I moved once again at thirteen. I was surprised that in traditional kung fu there weren’t any flips, or jumping and running. The training was to fight and didn't focus on athleticism. When I moved at 13 I found what I thought was another traditional kung fu school but it was actually a wushu school that concentrated on forms, flips, and other flowered tournament style martial arts. At 13 I enjoyed the fun atmosphere of the school and athletic style training but was puzzled by the complete lack of real combat value to the training. I learned how to do excellent back flips but I felt like that really wasn't good for anything. A year later I moved out of state again and found another traditional shaolin long fist teacher. My new teacher basically spit on all the stuff I had learned the previous year before. I once again focused on combat and disregarded athletic training in favor of a workout of only martial arts exercise such as drills, forms and combat. Two years later I moved to NY where I began practicing Japanese martial arts with a similar emphasis on combat and not flowery athletic type training involved. I have always been athletic and played sports. I jog and lift weights everyday just about. My question to other martial artists is how important do you believe athletic training is to your practice of martial arts? I have met many skilled martial artists and teachers that have very different opinions about how to train. My last kung fu teacher lifted weights heavily but he said that his teacher frowned upon it and said that the best way to stay strong is through intense practice in qigong and other strenuous exercises. I believe that athleticism is very important but I have met many martial artists that are very skilled but are out of shape and inflexible. I guess I'm just curious what other people think or how they train. Since I've been doing martial arts from a young age, I have been able to maintain high flexibility and athleticism. I know many martial artists got started much older than I did so they have trouble building endurance or flexibility and others don't care as much about those physical traits as they do about mastering new techniques. Anyway...I'm sort of rambling my train of thought. My goal is simply to ask other martial artists on this forum how important they think being in top shape is to their practice of martial arts.
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rikoseishin
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2007 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Well for me, I have always kept the two things seperate. When I first started iai, I was playing sports in highscholl and I was working out for those. So I guess I was in shape then which probably aided me in training and self discipline. And now I try and stay in shape, but my main goal is training in iai. I try and do two hours of training each day, at least. I feel that having a healthy body helps, but if your goal is to progres in your ryu, then you should focus on the parts of your body that will help with that. But still I do not think it is that important. I rember the old story of Musashi, and one day a man came to him and asked him which lenght of bamboo would be good to use for a banner. Musashi, this was when he was around 60, picked up the 15-20 ft lenghts of green bamboo and hit them over the ground, and broke them at the joints. TYhe ones that broke off cleanly where the ones that would be good.
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niitsu kakunoshin
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2007 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
rikoseishin wrote:
Well for me, I have always kept the two things seperate. When I first started iai, I was playing sports in highscholl and I was working out for those. So I guess I was in shape then which probably aided me in training and self discipline. And now I try and stay in shape, but my main goal is training in iai. I try and do two hours of training each day, at least. I feel that having a healthy body helps, but if your goal is to progres in your ryu, then you should focus on the parts of your body that will help with that. But still I do not think it is that important. I rember the old story of Musashi, and one day a man came to him and asked him which lenght of bamboo would be good to use for a banner. Musashi, this was when he was around 60, picked up the 15-20 ft lenghts of green bamboo and hit them over the ground, and broke them at the joints. TYhe ones that broke off cleanly where the ones that would be good.


Thanks for your input. I actually hate jogging and lifting weights. It's funny, everyday when I stretch out to get started, I always complain to my wife and she says, "well then why don't you stop?" I just laugh. Practicing martial arts is so much fun but I feel like I can't let my body get out of shape or I won't be able to practice martial arts as well as I want to. I don't practice martial arts until I put in a workout first when I'm at home. When I have class it's always directly after work so I have to workout after. It's tiring but I feel like I'm at least accomplishing something instead of just watching tv(which I usually do while lift anyway). My wife is actaully happy that I lift weights everyday... not because I'll be more buff or anything, but because she get's to watch tv shows she wants to on the big tv. Laughing
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2007 4:41 pm    Post subject: training Reply with quote
Hi All, One of the greatest attributes a martial artist can have is flexibility. I am in my 50's now and the greatest loss I am noticing is my flexibility. Second is endurance. Being able to sustain ones self in extended kumite will often tell over a strong opponent with no stamina. Thirdly, strength is important as long as the first two are in place. Stretching followed by endurance training, eg. light weight high rep weight training, bicycle, running can keep up athletic requirements.
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niitsu kakunoshin
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 4:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
One of my old kung fu teachers used to make us where these heavy rings when we would do certain forms and drills on our wrists which were designed to help not only build strength and endurance but also to help develop a specific kind of technique used in shaolin martial arts. I used to hate them because they made a loud noise when the banged together and they pinched the skin on my arms when the knocked together. One day I was at my local sports store and I saw these weights that are designed to be worn on the ankles. They have weights from 3 lbs to 20 lbs each. I bought the 5 and 10 lb sets for my arms and legs to wear when I jog or do forms. I have found that they are the best way to incorporate weights into martial arts practice. After I take them off I practice a bit more and I am suprised how crisp and strong every movement is.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 5:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
niitsu kakunoshin,

Athleticism is highly important, but that does not mean the same thing as being able to be a ninjamonkey. Cardiomuscular endurance is the greatest attribute that can be harnessed. Granted, the ability to be a ninjamonkey does bring with it certain levels of endurance, strength, and skill. It all depends on what you are going for. You can be a good fighter and be acrobatic as long as that is your focus and your style is effective.
I prefer to be grounded with my fighting (as one would guess from my size) but I do have some ability to go minorly airborne if the need arises (the benefits of starting my career with a Mu Duk Kwan influence).


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niitsu kakunoshin
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 6:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
msr.iaidoka wrote:
niitsu kakunoshin,

Athleticism is highly important, but that does not mean the same thing as being able to be a ninjamonkey. Cardiomuscular endurance is the greatest attribute that can be harnessed. Granted, the ability to be a ninjamonkey does bring with it certain levels of endurance, strength, and skill. It all depends on what you are going for. You can be a good fighter and be acrobatic as long as that is your focus and your style is effective.
I prefer to be grounded with my fighting (as one would guess from my size) but I do have some ability to go minorly airborne if the need arises (the benefits of starting my career with a Mu Duk Kwan influence).


平和,

マット


When I referenced wushu and the flips done in commercialized mcdojo martial arts I wasn't suggesting that, that is what I meant by athleticism in martial arts. The only reason I mentioned it is because it made me think about the differences between why people do martial arts and more importantly how they train to practice martial arts. I just thought to myself about my own background and how it encouraged me to take a more athletic approach to training for real martial arts. I don't think being able to flip or do amazing acrobatic kicks really has anything to do with real martial arts personally. Martial arts are about combat and being able to do jumping kicks and flips has absolutely nothing to do with fighting. People that think they are excellent martial artists because they can do gymnastics should seriously go a few rounds with a real fighter before they go around flashing a card that says theyr'e a black belt from some mcdojo. Sorry for the confusion.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 6:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
niitsu kakunoshin,

No problem. Nothing sparks more interesting (and heated) debates than martial arts.


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niitsu kakunoshin
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
msr.iaidoka wrote:
niitsu kakunoshin,

No problem. Nothing sparks more interesting (and heated) debates than martial arts.


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So true. It's hard to believe a bunch of people interested in hand to hand combat would argue. What a strange world. Cool Laughing
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
niitsu kakunoshin,

Oh yeah. Since we are all fledgling Buddhists who embrace peace above all else...


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rikoseishin
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
We can not know peace until we experience war, so.... MORTAL COMBAT!
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