Karate is a martial art that benefits the body and mind. It is worth training to improve your well-being, gain positive energy and self-confidence.
Karate is a martial art created on the island of Okinawa. Initially, its purpose was to fight, but over the years the emphasis has shifted to the aspect of personal development, continuous improvement of body and character.
Traditional karate is an ancient and beautiful art of unarmed self-defense. It relies more on the use of whole-body capabilities (synchronization of breathing, muscle tension and relaxation, and whole-body dynamics) than on the strength of the arm and leg muscles.
Types of karate
Currently, several varieties of this martial art can be distinguished:
- traditional karate, which focuses on fighting and choosing the winner;
- Karate as a sport, where the emphasis is on self-defense and competition according to prescribed rules;
- karate as a process of improvement, where the combat aspect is minimized while maintaining technical accuracy.
How karate affects your health?
Many people may think that this sport has a negative effect on their health. They are afraid of injury or damage to their body when they come into contact with the other player. Contrary to such opinions, karate has a very beneficial effect on the body.
Like any regular physical activity, it allows you to maintain a proper weight and physical condition. In addition, the exercises performed during training stimulate the foot muscles, which are trapped in shoes on a daily basis, and thus become lazy.
Karate training makes the muscles of the whole body more flexible and strengthens them. It also improves the sense of balance, speed and endurance. Regular exercise has a positive effect on the cardiovascular system – it can reduce the risk of heart attack by up to 64%.
Improved fighting techniques also teach concentration, hand-eye coordination, motor memory, quick decision making, and logical thinking.
Karate and well-being
In karate, you cannot separate the physical and mental spheres – they are both harmoniously combined. The practitioner gains self-confidence, self-control, and a clear judgment of the situation, thanks to which the body always reacts in the right way.
The practice of karate allows to:
- self-confidence increases,
- the ability to concentrate increases,
- the ability to constantly pursue goals increases,
- the ability to control emotions improves,
- patience is trained.
An important benefit of karate training is also increased self-acceptance. This is due to both the contact with people who share the same passion. In turn, self-confidence is linked to the self-confidence and sense of security provided by the defense techniques learned.
Who can practice karate?
At the recreational level? Everyone, regardless of age and physical condition. In the sport, people who train in karate since childhood have the greatest chance of success, so for years, they shape the necessary fighting techniques and character traits.
It should be noted that karate is popular among people with disabilities. It is a form suitable for both people with motor system dysfunctions and mentally disabled people. The beneficial effects of karate on people with autism have also been observed.
In the beginning, the practitioner only needs a karatega, that is to say, a white outfit composed of a sweatshirt tied at the waist with a belt and wide pants. The clothes are made of thick cotton because they must resist a not always delicate contact with the opponent.
When the stage of fighting arrives, during which the opponents come into contact, the protectors for the head, hands, and lower legs will be useful.
Other equipment, such as mats, is included in karate schools. Very often, you can also rent protectors there. However, everyone who practices this sport regularly has their own.
The most popular karate styles
Most often, styles are named after their creator. The most popular are.
The characteristic features of this style are low stance, hands held at hip level, and smooth movements.
The style is largely based on muscular strength. It is also important to be able to withstand pain, breathe well and tighten your muscles.
The style is based on Shotokan. The most important thing is the kicks and punches, not the holds. Kyokushin consists of 5 elements:
- kihon – basic techniques of kicks, punches, and blocks;
- kata – methods of attack and defense;
- kumite – direct combat;
- iken – mental training;
- ido geiko – to move.
Here, agility and precision as well as avoidance of blows count. Beginners in this style are offered less intense exercises than in other styles of karate.
It is one of the most contacted styles. Techniques include punches, kicks, and blocks, but also holds to bring the opponent to the ground. Develops the body completely, fitness: speed, endurance (also for pain), flexibility, and strength.
Each style has its own rules for the attribution of initiation grades. They are marked with the colors of the stripes and the so-called bars. Student grades are called kyu and master grades are called dan. Most often the highest degree is marked with a black belt, and the next higher degrees of initiation are marked with the next number of dan.
Philosophy of karate
One of the masters formulated 20 rules that should be followed by the practitioners of this martial art. We will not list them all, but we will mention the most important ones.
- Karate cannot be used for aggression.
- Action follows the spirit, not the other way around.
- Karate does not always mean victory, but it is always an idea by which you can win.
- The methods of attack and defense are mainly used to practice proper technique, its use in combat is of secondary importance.
- Karateka always aims for excellence.