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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.
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”).
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