The benefits of traditional karate do training
Training in the martial arts is essentially a process of change. A weak person will become strong, while a strong person will learn to control and harness their strength. An aggressive individual will learn self-control, while the passive person will develop confidence in themselves and their abilities. Many of the benefits of martial arts training become apparent after only a few sessions and they continue to develop over many years.
Health and Fitness
Martial Arts training will see improvement in your strength, stamina and suppleness. At the beginning of class it is common practice to spend 10-15 minutes going through a series of exercises designed to prepare the body for training by warming up the muscles and stretching the joints. These exercises, combined with the effort involved in performing the punches, kicks, locks, throws and other techniques of the martial arts, have the effect of improving the trainee's level of health and fitness.
As well as improving physical well-being, martial arts training develops a positive mental approach. University research indicates that those individuals who exercise regularly seem to show higher levels of emotional maturity, calmness and a greater ability to make accurate judgements when under pressure, than those who do no training of any kind. As your fitness levels increase, so will your imagination, self-sufficiency and confidence, which manifest itself in a more positive attitude to life. This improvement occurs when you overcome difficult physical and psychological tasks. Remember, success comes from personal efforts and hard work.
According to the founders and leading teachers, simply practicing techniques isn't enough to achieve mastery. You must strive to improve the moral and spiritual qualities of your life, constantly facing your own weaknesses and inadequacies with a view to self-improve. This approach is usually known as 'the way' ('do' in Japanese, 'tao' in Chinese). The most famous example of this way of life is known as Bushido (the way of the warrior) which was the code of honor followed by the Japanese samurai. It stresses responsibility for one's actions, respect between seniors and juniors, duty, honesty, obligation, and the development of a strong spirit. Likewise, the European knight had a similar code which stressed the virtues of Gallantry, Observation, Loyalty, Dexterity, Sympathy, Explicitness, Perseverance and Tact. While these values may seem old-fashioned or excessive by modern standards, it is vital to maintain them, as without them there would be little or no morality to the martial arts, allowing self-indulgence and a brutal reign.
Martial Arts will not only improve your ability to defend yourself against physical attacks, but will also improve your speed, timing, awareness, mobility and striking ability. Sparring prepares you for a fight by exposing you to an opponent, so enabling one to experience the nerves or 'adrenaline rush' caused by facing a higher-graded or more skilful person. It is the responsibility of all the instructors to teach not only technique but also the correct attitudes, which are an integral part of the martial arts. It is most important to realize that the martial arts are not about developing well-trained thugs.