Martial Arts Strength is what It Is All About!
Let’s talk about Martial Arts strength. My first introduction to the importance of strength was through reading comic book ads. Charles Atlas, the bully kicking sand in your face at the beach, and the need to lift big chunks of iron. Why, lift enough of that thar metal and you suddenly could do the bully to the bad guy, win the girl, and life would be super.
Then, as time passed, I found out that people who lifted weights were sometimes considered stupid. They were the new bullies. Heck, they even took steroids and all that drug type of stuff!
The truth of lifting iron is, of course, not in the first two paragraphs here. It is true that you have to lift weights; you have use your muscles if you want them big and strong. But, there are alternatives to lifting chunks of metal that are much more efficient,less dangerous, and, in this writers opinion, much more fun.
I discovered the martial arts in the sixties, and I didn’t know that I was, in truth, lifting weights. The fact was I was lifting the weight of my body, and throwing it around in a manner that simple weight lifting could never hope to copy. The ranges of motion in martial arts were something thatI had never experienced in weight lifting.
A few decades into my study of the martial arts, already coming to know an enduring health and physical conditioning that was far beyond my walker using, oxygen tank toting compatriots I heard of body calisthenics. This brought home the theories I had been practicing without realizing it. Furthermore, I wasn’t experiencing health problems and injuries to muscles and joints that unreal stress can achieve.
I had started doing Tai Chi some years previous, and had figured out that what i was doing could be called Suspended Strength. When you hold an arm up for a while, moving it slowly, you are suspending weight, and this increases strength without increasing bulk, which is a good thing in the martial arts. So I was doing Extreme Suspended Weight Body Calisthenics, to coin a cool phrase.
The significance of it all, however, eluded me until I injured myself. A separated shoulder, and I was reduced to recovering, and I turned to light Yoga exercise. Here was something slower than Tai Chi, something that moved me into ever higher realms of fitness and martial arts ability. I realized that martial arts strength, the kind of strength I had been pursuing, is increased more by awareness than anything else.
This is the key to it all, because for most people the body is a contraption in which energy is stopped, blocked, not flowing, no matter how much weight they lift. By doing yoga exercises, and realizing how increased awareness unblocked energy flows, I began to experience the true strength and physical wellness that the body is designed for. Karate and Shaolin Kung Fu, Tai Chi and Yoga, life is made whole by the increase of awareness, and I recommend this sequence of practice to all if they want to experience true martial arts strength.