Benefits Of Karate

Karate is the classical art of weaponless self-defense; it literally translates as " The method of the empty hands". Traditional Karate uses mental focus and discipline to develop physical skills such as speed, strength, and agility. Training the mind and body together results in more productive benefits as opposed to monotonous exercise routines found in most fitness gyms. Fitness and Overall Health: Karate training improves flexibility, strength, coordination, and endurance of an individual. Karate's punches, thrust, kicks, blocks, sweeps and throws tones the whole body in an explosive and dynamic workout. Stress Reduction: In addition to the stress reducing benefits of any physical activity, Karate also improves concentration and awareness of mental attitudes that can cause stress. Self-Confidence: While all physical activities improves feelings of well-being, Traditional Karate places special emphasis on building character, and focuses on increasing self-confidence, awareness, and perseverance through repetitive physical and mental exercises. Self-Defense: Traditional Karate is the best martial art for self-defense because it focuses on actual defense skills rather than sport oriented techniques that are found to be impractical and inefficient in actual combative situations. Physical benefits include: *Cardiovascular Exercise * Coordination * Flexibility * Practical Self-Defense Techniques * Stree Relief * Aerobic and Anaerobic Activity * Develop Quicker Reflexes * Plyometric Explosiveness Mental benefits include: * Discipline * Perseverance * Humility * Responsibility * Self Esteem * Confidence * Awareness * Practicality in Judgement

What Is Karate?

  "True karate is this: that in daily life one's mind and body be trained and developed in a spirit of humility, and that in critical times, one be devoted utterly to the cause of justice."   --Gichin Funakoshi  

Karate can also be described as a martial art, or fighting method, involving a variety of techniques, including blocks, strikes, evasions, throws, and joint manipulations. Karate practice is divided into three aspects: kihon (basics), kata (forms), and kumite (sparring).

The word karate is a combination of two Japanese characters: kara, meaning empty, and te, meaning hand; thus, karate means "empty hand." Adding the suffix "-do" (pronounced "doe"), meaning "way," i.e., karate-do, implies karate as a total way of life that goes well beyond the self-defense applications. In traditional karate-do, we always keep in mind that the true opponent is oneself.

Shotokan founder Gichin Funakoshi has said that "mind and technique become one in true karate." We strive to make our physical techniques pure expressions of our mind's intention, and to improve our mind's focus by understanding the essence of the physical techniques. By polishing our karate practice we are polishing our own spirit or our own mentality. For example, eliminating weak and indecisive movements in our karate helps to eliminate weakness and indecision in our minds--and vice versa.

It is in this sense that karate becomes a way of life, as we try to become very strong but happy and peaceful people. As Tsutomu Ohshima, chief instructor or shihan of Shotokan Karate of America, has put it, "We must be strong enough to express our true minds to any opponent, anytime, in any circumstance. We must be calm enough to express ourselves humbly."

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