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Thread: Getting In Shape

  1. #1
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    Default Getting In Shape

    Since I started working desk jobs two-and-a-half years ago, I went from a lean and endurance-test ready 175 pounds to....well, about 15 or more pounds heavier. I'm looking in to getting in to a Koryu style, which I realize aren't as fitness centered as things like MMA or Krav Maga (seriously, people who make a career out of that blow me away with the conditioning they do) but I don't want to be caught off guard.

    Can anyone recommend to me a good work out for those types of martial arts? Any info would be hugely helpful.

    -Lucas Yochum

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    Default Walk your dog

    Lucas,

    ...Walk your dog. I do it and it lowered my blood pressure more than anything else I tried.

    Well, seriously, most koryu aren't all that strenuous compared to MMA training for semi-pro or pro bouts. Or even compared to judo, unless you're doing a koryu jujutsu. If you want to prep for koryu, and also augment your koryu training for just general health, I'd recommend what I like to do: add training in weight-bearing exercises (weights), cardio exercises such as jogging, walking, aerobics, bicycling, etc. and stretching. Having that regime should keep you in general good health. Koryu training gives you mostly balance, stability, good body movement, a certain amount of strength, conditioning, mental focus, etc., but not, IMHO, enough to compensate for what you can get out of a vigorous randori session in judo or kendo, for example. So you need to cross train for more vigorous physical conditioning. On the other hand, because of that you can do the koryu well into your senior years because they don't pound your body into the ground.

    Wayne Muromoto

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    I've found that the koryu that I train in is, in fact, the best conditioning for the koryu that I train in. Running helps with building up endurance, but that doesn't always transfer over-- running tends to be aerobic, and our kata tend to be extremely anaerobic. Weights also help with giving me a baseline of strength, but they don't necessarily prepare me for holding an extremely beefy bokken in static poses for long periods of time. Also, the way that I use my body to curl a dumbbell doesn't correspond at all to the way that I'm supposed to use my body to swing a sword, and sometimes weightlifting even leads to a bad habit of trying to use tense shoulders to muscle something that should come from an entirely different area.
    David Sims

    "Cuius testiculos habes, habeas cardia et cerebellum." - Terry Pratchet

    My opinion is, in all likelihood, worth exactly what you are paying for it.

  4. #4
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    Default Yep...

    Agreed, David. I think what I was stressing was overall general health, upon which you can build your specific training physical strength. I emphasize this because several of my own students lack general good health. So their stances are weak due to poor hip and leg strength, they tense their arms and use too much shoulder because their back and arm muscles are too weak and uncoordinated, their wrists aren't strong or flexible enough, and they rely on brute force when tired when better technique (requiring balance, stability and smoothness of movement) are all that's needed.

    What I see it boiling down to is that they don't have strength in the torso, hips and legs, they don't have flexibility in the arms and wrists, and they lack good balance and coordination. Short of repeating the basics of the system 24/7, the only thing I could recommend is a general regime of physical conditioning covering weight-bearing, aerobics and balance/coordination to develop those areas.

    In my own case, I did find that doing tai chi ch'uan really helped me to understand linkages between parts of my body, coordination, and lower body strength. I remember Donn Draeger encouraging us when I was much, much younger, to go beyond Japanese budo/bujutsu to at least take a look at some Chinese martial arts, if only to get a very different handle on things and bring things into focus. Tai chi ch'uan made me more graceful, perhaps. Didn't help much in upper body strength much, but it was great at developing coordination and impacting movements, etc. for Asian martial arts. Same basic theory of movement, but very different ways of expressing it. Or Hsing-i? Pakua? I loved what little I learned of Pakua, and it was darned hard. And as I tell people, tea ceremony may be the "hardest" martial art I ever tried. It's a killer to do seiza that long.

    Wayne Muromoto

  5. #5
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lucas Yochum View Post
    ...Can anyone recommend to me a good work out for those types of martial arts? Any info would be hugely helpful.
    One of my sensei once said, "Don't do Budo to get in shape. Get in shape to do Budo." I agree with that sentiment.

    I recommend a wide-variety training program combining resistance training (free weights or machines), cardiovascualr conditioning (stationary bikes, running, stair climbing, swimming, etc.), and flexibility/stability training (Pilates, yoga, tai chi, ballet, etc.)

    In other words, pick activities that you like that will increase your activity level in many different ways. Join a gym or a fitness club if you want extra motivation and a variety of equipment choices and activities.
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

  6. #6
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lucas Yochum View Post
    Since I started working desk jobs two-and-a-half years ago, I went from a lean and endurance-test ready 175 pounds to....well, about 15 or more pounds heavier. I'm looking in to getting in to a Koryu style, which I realize aren't as fitness centered as things like MMA or Krav Maga (seriously, people who make a career out of that blow me away with the conditioning they do) but I don't want to be caught off guard.

    Can anyone recommend to me a good work out for those types of martial arts? Any info would be hugely helpful.

    -Lucas Yochum
    cross train (for example at a kick boxing gym) as well as koryu.

    kicking/punching a heavy bag is well recommended.
    Indar Picton-Howell
    印打
    Abujavol

  7. #7
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    A lot of athletes, martial artists, military and police personnel are following the CrossFit method as a means of achieving General Physical Preparedness, ie fit enough to do what their job/sport requires of them.

    I've been doing it for a couple of years and I've thoroughly enjoyed the process (the high variety of training) and the end result (the increased strength and conditioning).

    www.crossfit.com

    With respect
    Dean Whittle
    Sydney, Australia
    www.ninjutsuaustralia.com

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    Default Wow, thanks!

    Thanks for the link Dean - spent the best part of last weekend exploring the CrossFit site - an excellent source of inspiration and fresh ideas. The video clips of various exercises are extremely useful as well.

    Many thanks,
    Olly Catford
    Southampton University Dojo

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    Default

    I would like to add that the koryu can be very mentally demanding, and that physical fitness is actually important in managing those demands. For instance kata when properly performed can induce high stress, high stress releases neurochemicals (i.e. adrenaline, cortisol, and glucocorticoids). Even if your koryu training does not induce a state of high enough stress to cause this chemical cascade, you still need to train for it. Bottom line is that being physically fit not only helps you to manage this biochemical response, it will also speed your recovery time, post event.

    If nothing else, if you are in shape you can train longer and harder with lower risk of injury, so it is well worth the extra effort. You will also be able to mentally focus better throughout class if you are less physically tired. I personally like the idea of training your mind for koryu and your body as if you were doing MMA, since a lot of MMA programs focus on dynamic, explosive strength and flexibility that is more broadly applicable to martial arts than many other programs (and if play-write David Mamet can do it at 63, then most of us are equally capable).
    Best regards,
    Bruce Mitchell

  10. #10
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    Default

    Oh, one more quick idea, read Ellis Amdur's new book (available here: http://www.ellisamdur.com/buy.html), he has some intriguing ideas on physical training.
    Best regards,
    Bruce Mitchell

  11. #11
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    Oily,

    Glad it was useful, hopefully there's a CF box near you and you can let us know how you go.

    With respect
    Dean Whittle
    Sydney, Australia
    www.ninjutsuaustralia.com

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