Ladies, if you’re getting bored of the usual offerings of Zumba or piloxing classes, why not consider karate classes that not just keep you in good shape, but also teach you valuable self-defence skills that you can use in real life?
Many people may not instinctively think of karate when they look for self-defence classes for women, or as an option for women to get fit. Karate, despite the movies made about it, is still better known as a male-dominated sport.
While that may be true in the past, today, women are making a mark in the sport, especially in Japan.
Don’t believe us?
Check out this awesome kata demonstration by an all-women karate master team from Japan at the World Karate Championships.
Size doesn’t make a difference. See Ashihara Karate Japan’s own champion, Kikukawa Yui, who despite her 148cm height, towers over her competition with grit and technique.
Why should more women pick up karate, and why Ashihara Karate?
Karate Practice Comes With Health Benefits
Karate, like many combat sports, builds up your fitness and cardiovascular health. We’ve covered this before in this earlier post.
As we spend longer and longer hours in the office for work, both men and women need to find ways to regularly exercise to maintain their wellbeing. Karate is a gender-neutral activity that gives you a great workout, regardless of your fitness level.
Karate Practice Is Good For Your Soul
There’s a direct correlation between exercise and mental health too. This Thrive article debunks the stereotype of destressing by doing things that are not stressful.
In fact, mindfulness practice is such a fundamental aspect of karate that we’ve been calling it a different thing for decades!
Ashihara Karate emphasises concepts like Zanshin (often means a person’s readiness for any reaction from their opponent) during our regular sabaki practice and sparring rounds.
Such mindfulness techniques are easy to transfer to other non-combat situations we are all familiar with. Think presentations at school or work, or managing your stress level during a hectic period of your life.
Karate Practice Teaches Self-Defence
While Singapore is a fairly safe country for women to live in, learning self-defence helps us to be more self-sufficient when it comes to protecting ourselves and our loved ones. This is especially true when we travel overseas, to places we are less familiar with or when we are on our own.
Ashihara Karate, whose basic tenets focus on circular movements and techniques that effectively neutralise an opponent, places strong importance on enabling smaller learners like children or women to redirect the force of a larger opponent away from themselves.
Karate is Fun!
Of course, no one wants to be slogging through training if it's hard AND boring. Fortunately, karate is not just a useful way of getting fit, but also really fun - if you like the idea of being able to kick butt and look cool doing it!
Is karate only for strong women?
Not at all! You don’t need to be heavily muscled or built like a tank to take up karate, and certainly not so for Ashihara Karate, where you will learn about effective counters and train in Ashihara Karate’s original sabaki movements.
Ladies’ Classes Led by Female Instructor Now Available!
If you (or your female friends) are keen to explore karate as a martial art, for self-defence, or just to improve your flexibility and health, consider our all-new Ashihara Karate ladies’ classes! We welcome ladies of any backgrounds and fitness levels. This class is led by a female instructor, Cheryl.
Sessions are held on Tuesday evenings at Upper Bukit Timah (JK Building), near the Beauty World MRT Station (Downtown Line). Click here to find out more.
Following the creation of the A-Baton, the Founder designed the "handguard", a portable self-defence implement.
Combining the functionality of other well-known portable implements like the kubotan and knuckle duster/ brass knuckle, it acts as a force-multiplier to supplement the user's basic self-defence skills.
For self-defence training, the handguard's design and user concepts provides an excellent bridge to employing common everyday items such as the pen and house keys into implements to escape a violent altercation.
Karate draws people from all walks of life – young and not-so-young, students and retirees, men and women, of all shapes and sizes. But why take our word for it? In this series, we hold a quick Q&A with our students to find out about them.
We catch up with one of our students, Li Qian, 30, who joined in 2016 and is a brown belt at the time of this post!
1. Why did you join Ashihara Karate?
I grew up with watching TV shows of Jin Yong’s martial art novels, and Jet Li and Jackie Chan’s action movies, I always had a dream of learning martial arts and becoming a “fighting hero”. However, this dream only came true after I started to work and gained more independence.
As to why I picked Ashihara Karate, it was because I thought the Gi and the whole culture of karate looks pretty cool, and Ashihara Karate was said to be very practical (which makes it even cooler for me).
Practising Karate as a martial art can provide health benefits in a complete workout, with some intrinsic benefits not likely found in trending regiments like HIIT or other fitness workouts.
Whether you’re still in school or working, time is a commodity that is harder to come by. As everyone gets more time-strapped, you are probably looking for the most efficient form of exercise that can “do it all” – whether it’s to burn fat, gain muscle, or just improve health to reduce your chances of falling sick.
You’re on a karate blog, so the question here is obvious – how can karate, as a form of martial art, boost your health?
We’ll talk about the differences between static and dynamic stretching, and how doing it properly in our classes can not only help you kick higher, but also reduce your risk of injury!
We need to stretch properly to improve our technique and form.
Some common misunderstandings
First off, there is a lot of different opinions out there about stretches. Some people believe they should only do one type of stretching (dynamic stretching), that static stretching is bad, or confuse the type of stretching they’ve been doing all along. Worse, many don’t even warm-up at all before they start exercising!
Why do we need to warm-up and stretch?
The main reason is physiological. You need your body temperature to reach a higher level, and your heart rate to increase, so that your heart is pumping more blood to various parts of your body that will need the oxygen and nutrients to do the intensive exercise your karate instructor demands.
What does kiai mean and why must I keep yelling it during karate class? Learn how the power of kiai makes a difference not just in the dojo, but outside of it too.
Why are karate students always yelling, anyway?
All that “yelling” is actually called “kiai” (pronounced like “key-eye”).
More sabaki, focus on basics, and challenge yourself!
These points summarized the advice and pointers given by the grading panel at the second grading event of 2019.
The last 2 years have seen a decrease in Grading participants, for good reason.
~ excerpt from 'Karate: Technique & Spirit' by Tadashi Nakamura
Why is this? I seem to remember that when I first began to study karate, I felt the same way, but I told myself that kata were the essence of karate technique, simplified and perfected by many experts before, so naturally they were bound to prove useful in a real fight.
Unfortunately, after all these years of study, if you asked me whether kata did prove of any use, I would honestly be at a loss to give a positive answer.
With this in mind, I re-examined traditional kata in the light of the rationale I first explained in the preface of this book; that is, the continuing improvement in martial arts techniques.
Up till now, the theory behind kata (and karate in general) seems to have been to move faster than the opponent; even if you got hurt, it was acceptable as long as you could inflict more damage on the other person.
Taking this into consideration, it is no wonder that traditional kata can be thought of as worthless for real fighting. I believe that what the karate masters of old left us is fine, and should be preserved, but it is the martial arts and karate experts of our day who are responsible for studying, thinking, and practicing in order to create new techniques which are suited to our age and useful in real fighting."
~ Excerpt from 'Fighting Karate', by Ashihara Hideyuki