I apologise for the lack of new material on this blog over the past few Months. I could write an elaborate excuse as to why I haven't posted anything, but I don't want to be dishonest with my readers. The truth is I have not been inspired to write over these past few Months. I have been in a bit of a slump and my training and quality of life was affected by this slump. I sat down at my computer quite a few times, going back over the older unpublished posts in hopes that revisiting a topic would inspire me to begin writing again. I even began re-writing some of those older posts, but the feeling just wasn't there and after a few attempts I simply wasn't satisfied with the content enough to press the publish button and put it out there. Then, I finally got fed up with the way things were and decided to make some changes in my life style. I was looking for that ever illusive spark of inspiration as well, but I knew what I really needed to do was get in better shape.
So, in this article I'm going to share with you the number one thing that I think can improve our karate. The inspiration to write this article hit me rather suddenly, but the information I am sharing with you and my opinions on this topic were not formed lightly or quickly. It has taken me years, even decades of research and trial and error.
that said, now let's get right into it. The advice I am going to give you is simple in nature and straight forward, but realising this changes everything no matter what level you are at in your training. If you really want to improve your karate, I mean if you are really serious about taking your karate to the next level, no matter what that next level may be, my advice is now the same across the board. Here it is: To make our Karate Better, we have to get into better shape physically. Simple, right! Nothing new here. Well, not really. I'd like to share with you what I am doing to get into better shape. I hope that the information I share with you here can help you get in better shape, too and take your karate training to the next level.
Did you ever notice in your personal training that at some point, the older you get, the impact of the exercises that you are doing result in one of two things if you continue to go at the same intensity or try to increase the intensity. They result in either injury or exhaustion. After a certain point the impact of the same exercises on our body begins to decrease. Our bodies adjust as they become accustomed to the movements and our physical improvement begins to slow. In order to progress at this point we need to change things up. There are countless options to choose from and a good Sensei will, upon noticing this stagnation in their students, do just that and change the pace and or the routine. This is great and will stimulate the young healthy bodies nicely. But, what about the older non-athletic students? At this point the potential for the above mentioned outcomes; injury and rapid loss of energy are surely to occur. Therefore, it is also at this point when the amount of breaks taken by the older non-athletic students begins to increase or they assume the role of supervisor to the younger athletic students. they observe such things as the form of the younger fitter students as they go through these intense drills. I cannot speak for every Dojo, of course, but I bet that this is a common condition in most. At some point in each training session the senior students step back rather than jump in and perform the high intensity drills.
So, my advice is to take the time and put in the work outside of the Dojo to get into better shape, improve our health so that we can better enjoy the benefits of Dojo training. By doing so I am confident that we can all improve our quality of Karate and continue to make gains in the Dojo.
What I am doing to get into better shape
I am not a registered nutritionist, but I have tried my fair share of popular and crazy diets especially when I was competing. I wrote about this in a previous post (How Can We Train Longer and Get Better Results?). I need to make it perfectly clear that I didn't like any of them! And almost every time I was dieting I lost energy, strength, and stamina along with the weight resulting in poorer performance rather than better. Diets are not fun and they can be dangerous if you are not sure about what you are doing. I strongly suggest that you research this thoroughly before taking action. Consulting a nutritionist would be ideal, but most of us don't have the money or time to do so. We just look for what we want to see and hear on the Internet. The important thing to have is experience that can help you recognise the garbage from the gems of information out there. There is a lot to choose from and most of it is garbage. That is why I am so excited about finding the gems that I did by coming across the information I am going to share with you today.
I used to run everyday. I got slightly leaner, but never had the thin muscular physique I was looking for. Leading up to last Year's Chito-Ryu Karate-do National Championships I ran a lot! So much that my Achilles tendons began to swell and hurt about two weeks before the tournament. I reduced my running time, but was still sore the day of competition. I have not trained intensly after that championships until about 1 Month ago when I changed my whole approach to training. That is what I'm going to share with you now.
I am 38 years old and have a full-time job as a high school teacher, not as active as I used to be and after the age of 35 I noticed drastic changes in my body beginning to take place. My shape and condition has gotten progressively worse and worse during this time and it is harder and harder to maintain a good physique. Although I could still keep up with the high school training in the first year or two after my 35th birthday, it got progressively harder to keep up. A couple of years ago I began taking more breaks because a couple of years before that my injuries began to increase. Just as I wrote in the beginning of this post.
This year I finally reached my breaking point where I new that I had to make some real life changes in order to continue to enjoy my karate training. Coincidentally, this happened after the Kumamoto earthquake. It shook up more than just the land and buildings, it caused us to take pause and reassess the things that we hold dear. Many here reassessed their health as I did. This is when I began seriously looking at how to loose weight, effective diets, and training programs that would get me lean but allow me to maintain and even improve my muscle strength.
About a Month ago I changed my eating habits and began practising intermittent fasting as well as lifting weights 3 to 4 times a week. After just 3 weeks I have began to see noticeable changes in my body physique, energy levels, motivation, flexibility, and strength. My physique is changing and it is not hindering my karate. It is actually improving it. Recently I practised Kata for the first time since beginning this new routine and it felt Great!