Health and Stamina - is it needed?

M

Master of Blades

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I remember my dad telling my class a story about one of his Korean instructors......Now this one was pretty unusual because he didnt believe in Health and Fitness training (This is VERY strange for a Korean Army instructor). Instead of spending the first hour of a two hour lesson doing fitness he spent the whole two hours on technique etc. When asked at the end of the lesson he obliged and answered with something like this....

"I do not believe in wasting precious time on health and fitness. Most people can fight for 5 minutes anyway. If you cannot fight for 5 minutes at this level (It was the Higher Belt class) then you shouldnt be in my class. If I am forced to fight and it is not over in 5 minutes, no matter who wins, then I clearly shouldnt be in it. THAT is why I choose technique over fitness."

So I thought lets ask the friendly all knowing people of Martial Talk what they thought about the importance of health and fitness in MA training......:asian:
 
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khadaji

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I used to be over weight. With intence college studying I realy went down hill, and I did not start out all that well either. However I was still doing fencing. Just this year I completely turned the other face. I completely dedicated to fitness. I slimmed down a lot, need to by all new clothes, and also I became must strunger and have enormos endurance then before.

I have noticed the differnec in practic, particularly with fencing. But the difference is not realy great. simply having a better physique i would estimate gave a 5% overall improvement to everything I do.

However oddly, for a short time, I actualy was realy doing horrible, becasue I was not used to being able to move just slightly faster.

I also have tested it hand to hand, and it seems to add lettle extra oveerall benifit. I would say that it mostly useful for endurance, so you can last that 5 minutes, and to make it easier to do some of the moves.

The last thing I think its useful for is if a time comes where you can uses technique, and just have to stick to shere strength.

I still think fitness is good, it just makes you feel beeter if not anything else...
 

Nightingale

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personally, I'd rather spend my dojo time on technique and training. I think sit-ups and push-ups are a waste of time that I'm paying for. I can (and do) go to the gym on my own.

nothing wrong with doing exercises in lower belt classes... lots of those folks are new to working out and need to learn how... but in the advanced classes, there's just so MUCH to learn, that I'd like to see the entire time spent on technique.
 

Matt Stone

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I have a big issue with this.

Assumption #1 - "I am a student at a commercial school, paying money for martial arts instruction."

If I am paying "you" (hereafter implying only an anonymous instructor, not a specific person) to teach me martial arts (e.g. self-defense, forms, weapons, etc.), then the very last thing I feel I am there for is to do push ups, jumping jacks, sit ups and other sorts of things while you stand there encouraging me. That's what I go to a gym and pay a personal trainer for. :D

Okay. So your style/school/association/grand poobah thinks that I have to be an uberfit monster to participate in your art's training. Fine. Then I should be taught how to exercise in a way that is complimentary to developing the kind of physique that your art believes is needed, and I should exercise on my own time. If I don't, then I fall behind or get injured. Either way, that's not your responsibility.

While I am in a "class" I expect to "learn." If I am spending my hard earned disposable income to wear fancy PJs and sweat to the oldies, then I don't think I am going to feel like I am doing anything that is really martially oriented. Call me crazy, but I'm not going to do crunches when a mugger asks for my wallet... :lol:

Class is for instruction. Instruct them on how they should exercise. Instruct them on technique. But training, both fitness and martially oriented, should occur on their own time, not during class.

Gambarimasu.
:asian:
 
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M

Master of Blades

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Originally posted by Yiliquan1
I have a big issue with this.

Assumption #1 - "I am a student at a commercial school, paying money for martial arts instruction."

If I am paying "you" (hereafter implying only an anonymous instructor, not a specific person) to teach me martial arts (e.g. self-defense, forms, weapons, etc.), then the very last thing I feel I am there for is to do push ups, jumping jacks, sit ups and other sorts of things while you stand there encouraging me. That's what I go to a gym and pay a personal trainer for. :D

Okay. So your style/school/association/grand poobah thinks that I have to be an uberfit monster to participate in your art's training. Fine. Then I should be taught how to exercise in a way that is complimentary to developing the kind of physique that your art believes is needed, and I should exercise on my own time. If I don't, then I fall behind or get injured. Either way, that's not your responsibility.

While I am in a "class" I expect to "learn." If I am spending my hard earned disposable income to wear fancy PJs and sweat to the oldies, then I don't think I am going to feel like I am doing anything that is really martially oriented. Call me crazy, but I'm not going to do crunches when a mugger asks for my wallet... :lol:

Class is for instruction. Instruct them on how they should exercise. Instruct them on technique. But training, both fitness and martially oriented, should occur on their own time, not during class.

Gambarimasu.
:asian:

Great post......couldnt agree with you more
 

Rich Parsons

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While I agree, that paying for instruction requires the instructor to teach techniques, we like to use the first 5 to 10 minutes of a two hour class for some quick warm ups and stretches. Just to get the blood pumping and the body warm.

:asian:
 

Nightingale

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warm ups and stretches are fine, and absolutely necessary. However, I feel that it should be the student's responsibility to get to class on time so they can stretch and warm up before hand. People need different stretches... for me, most arm stretches are a waste of time, because my arms are so limber anyway, yet most of the guys in the class need these... And there are several leg stretches (for example, kneel with your feet at your butt, and your butt on the ground, then lay down, keeping your knees together...) for me, this stretch stretches absolutely nothing... again, waste of time.... I'm sitting there going "can I stand up now? this ain't doing anything" while some of the others really need the stretch. And there are some stretches that really help me (mostly yoga stuff to stretch back and hamstrings and quads and shoulders) that we don't do. so I get there early and stretch myself, because the stuff we do in class don't do jack. Really helps some of the others, but I'm a dancer, so I'm already very limber in some respects.
 

Rich Parsons

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Originally posted by nightingale8472
warm ups and stretches are fine, and absolutely necessary. However, I feel that it should be the student's responsibility to get to class on time so they can stretch and warm up before hand. People need different stretches... for me, most arm stretches are a waste of time, because my arms are so limber anyway, yet most of the guys in the class need these... And there are several leg stretches (for example, kneel with your feet at your butt, and your butt on the ground, then lay down, keeping your knees together...) for me, this stretch stretches absolutely nothing... again, waste of time.... I'm sitting there going "can I stand up now? this ain't doing anything" while some of the others really need the stretch. And there are some stretches that really help me (mostly yoga stuff to stretch back and hamstrings and quads and shoulders) that we don't do. so I get there early and stretch myself, because the stuff we do in class don't do jack. Really helps some of the others, but I'm a dancer, so I'm already very limber in some respects.


Nightingale,

I understand your point, and yes I agree getting to class early to stretch is a good thing. Just If I have a plan to do lots of Wrist throws then I work and warm them up, also for Shoulders if that is an area I will work alot also. This is why I keep the warm ups and stretch short for a two hour class.

Yet not everyone is like you and is already and limber. Yet I say Kudos to you.

:)
 
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RCastillo

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A "Paper Tiger" w/o the other areas as needed.
Considering todays moron you might encounter, they are possibly skilled, and do not ply there trade just becuase they had nothing else to do.

We all need that edge, MA by itself is never enough. But.......as the other posters have said, that needs to be done on your own time, not in class. Show some discipline, and DO IT!:asian:

IMHO
 

jfarnsworth

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Originally posted by RCastillo
... Show some discipline, and DO IT

Finally once again we agree on something. ;) If people show up a little early then that's cool get started on stretching or warming up on your own. Maybe grab a partner and start some tech. to get the blood flowing. As for anyone can fight for 5 minutes I disagree with that anaology. It's nothing personal but actually fighting and hard fighting will be tough to make it 5 minutes without being in some kind of physical shape.
 
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yilisifu

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I always expected senior students to already BE warmed up and stretched by the time their class started. Lower grade students engaged in some warm-ups and stretching before every class.

>>>>>>To fight for 5 minutes continuously, you have to be in pretty ***** good shape!
 
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RCastillo

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Originally posted by jfarnsworth
Finally once again we agree on something. ;) If people show up a little early then that's cool get started on stretching or warming up on your own. Maybe grab a partner and start some tech. to get the blood flowing. As for anyone can fight for 5 minutes I disagree with that anaology. It's nothing personal but actually fighting and hard fighting will be tough to make it 5 minutes without being in some kind of physical shape.

See! We're like 2 peas in a pod!;)
 

Robbo

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I'm not sure why people some people see fitness and being in shape seperate from martial arts training.

For an average person the only time they have intense physical activity is in class, they simply don't have the time to devote to cardio, weight lifting, stretching, etc.

All of these elements should be present in the class while utilizing martial arts techniques.

For those who want the extra edge, have the time, and the ability then go for it by all means, it can only make you better if you approach your training as a complement to your martial arts.

For the average person though, do not discount your training as not making you strong enough, or fast enough, or flexible enough so much that you have to pursue these things seperatly. Everything you need is right in your core training.

Rob
 
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M

MartialArtist

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Originally posted by Master of Blades
I remember my dad telling my class a story about one of his Korean instructors......Now this one was pretty unusual because he didnt believe in Health and Fitness training (This is VERY strange for a Korean Army instructor). Instead of spending the first hour of a two hour lesson doing fitness he spent the whole two hours on technique etc. When asked at the end of the lesson he obliged and answered with something like this....

"I do not believe in wasting precious time on health and fitness. Most people can fight for 5 minutes anyway. If you cannot fight for 5 minutes at this level (It was the Higher Belt class) then you shouldnt be in my class. If I am forced to fight and it is not over in 5 minutes, no matter who wins, then I clearly shouldnt be in it. THAT is why I choose technique over fitness."

So I thought lets ask the friendly all knowing people of Martial Talk what they thought about the importance of health and fitness in MA training......:asian:
What's the point of technique if you can't use it due to your physical condition? Peak physical condition is required. You have to train to be fast, powerful, and have loads of stamina.
 

Robbo

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What's the point of technique if you can't use it due to your physical condition? Peak physical condition is required. You have to train to be fast, powerful, and have loads of stamina.

What if you're sick, tired, injured? You should be able to use your training regardless of your physical condition. You'll just be more effective if you have all your attributes in top shape and in tune.

Just because I get older and less flexible and my stamina decreases doesn't mean I still can't train to be effective.

Rob
 

pesilat

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Yup. IMHO, time in class should be spent training the material, not doing calisthenics. You wanna get in shape, then get off your bum and workout, or go to a gym, take an aerobics class, whatever. But a martial arts class shouldn't be expected to fill that role.

I think fitness is important for self-defense. While it's true that you don't have to be in great shape for a 1-on-1 fight, it will still help. Even a minute of fighting can feel like an hour of hard exertion.

When you start factoring in multiple opponents, the need for fitness increases even more.

When you're looking at "self-defense" though, your number 2 option is and forever shall be running. And fitness is a must if you expect to have any chance of outrunning a bad guy.

Having said all of that, fitness was never something I focused on until recently ... and my focus on it now has nothing to do with self-defense. It has to do with the fact that my weight was indirectly interfering with my training. And since training is the core of my life, something had to change. I couldn't do anything about the hereditary joint problems in my knees and ankles. But I could do something about the weight that was making those problems worse.

The number 1 option in self-defense (cause I know some of you are wondering) is awareness and avoidance. You don't need fitness for this aspect of self-defense. But sometimes this aspect fails (through negligence or bad luck) and you have to resort to option 2. Failing that, you have to resort to fighting.

In short, as I stated in my first paragraph, I think fitness is important to self-defense. Mandatory? No. Not really. But important. I just don't think a martial arts class is where people should look to for fitness.

Mike
 
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M

MartialArtist

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Originally posted by Robbo
What if you're sick, tired, injured? You should be able to use your training regardless of your physical condition. You'll just be more effective if you have all your attributes in top shape and in tune.

Just because I get older and less flexible and my stamina decreases doesn't mean I still can't train to be effective.

Rob
No, what I'm saying is that if you lack physical training, you won't be effective. You will have no muscle memory (not burned into the CNS like instinct) and you won't know whether the moves work or not. Moves working as in that there are a hundreds of body types out of the major three (meso, endo, ecto) and each one requires a slight variation for certain moves. You won't be able to adjust, and if you never trained to use your moves at full speed, then it's going to be like the new age tai chi.

And if you're sick, tired, or injured, then you're out of luck. Your ability goes down drastically. If you have a knee injury, sprained your wrist, etc., then I can't see anyone being able to throw an effective kick or throw a decent punch without getting more seriously injured.

But older, less flexible, etc. isn't my point. As long as you keep on working on it. If you allow yourself to become fat, and can't run up the stairs without collapsing, you won't be able to last in a fight.
 
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Jill666

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Firstly- I have always been quite limber, but as I hit my mid-thirties I notice a decrease in this. Before I didn't need to stretch to kick high, bend etc, now I can still do these things but I have to stretch out first. So saying you are flexible is great, but is it necessary to learn to stretch? No, if you want to lose that as you get older.

Secondly- my instructor used the first few minutes of his beginning classes to teach stretching and warm up. In the intermediate and BB classes he is assuming the students do it on their on. If they do not and get injured they only have themselves to blame. Do you have to warm up? No! But why not minimize your risks?

Thirdly- Stamina does get developed in class, somewhat. But do you want to spend all your time in sparring sucking wind and learning how to breate, or do you want to work on that on your own time, and use the sparring sessions developing your timing and attack/defense?

Fourth- You do need some strength to use your techniques. How much depends on what you plan to do. But if having more strength increases your ability to use your moves effectively, increasing your chance of survival, why not train for strength?

I'm a woman of small build. So I train regularly for strength, flexibility, stamina. In a way being smaller and weaker than ALL my classmates is a good motivator- I underestimate nobody. That concept comes easily to me :D

Also, who doesn't like to look good? Feel good? I know if I train, I feel good physically and mentally. I know I can still pull off string bikini. I'll take any advantage in life I'm given, but face it- how often are we handed an advantage on a silver platter?

Stop shrugging and get out there and WORK!
 
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lvwhitebir

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Nearly all athletic endeavors have some sort of warm-up and calisthenic component. Warm-ups should be done before anything in which you exert yourself. An instructor is wise to do it before classes so that those that didn't do it themselves don't get a pulled muscle. You might say it's their fault then if it happens, but 1) people *will* sue you over it and 2) I'd rather not lose a student over it. If you do it on your own before class, kudos to you, but not everyone will be able to spend the time.

Now, I'm not saying that you should spend your entire class time jogging, but there should be something done to get your body ready for what's to come...

As far as overall conditioning, I think it's a large component of the martial arts. Our goal should be to develop ourselves to the best of our ability in *all* areas. I'd hate to be a 6th degree black belt and get winded when I walk up a flight of stairs, or be able to do 10 pushups. I don't care if I need it to fight, I don't plan on being in a fight. Think of the health risks that has and image that it portrays. You're more likely to die of a heart attack than by someone attacking you.

Part of the class structure should help students towards that goal and provide information that students can use to build their strength, flexibility, and stamina. Most of the work, however, has to be done on their own time.

WhiteBirch
 
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