KARATE: The Ultimate Work Out
Get into Sexy Shape and Learn Self Defense at the Same Time with Karate!
by Paul Ace Diamond "Huggy" Blow
I first got into karate at my local community college - I needed some P.E. credits, so I signed up for the Karate class, and I loved it so much I took it for 6 quarters. When I finished school, I missed the classes so much I enrolled at the local community center for some very affordable Tae Kwan Do lessons. I've since then also studied many other martial arts styles at other local community centers, but Karate has been my favorite. With Karate, I have gotten myself in the best shape of my life, toned up and strengthened muscles, got rid of the nagging lower back pain I used to have, and my hands and feet are now registered with the local police as lethal weapons. Here's how the typical Karate class runs... (at least, the ones I've taken)...
First off, we'd spend the first 15 minutes stretching (necks, arms, legs, back muscles, etc.), followed by 15 minutes of exercises (pushups, situps, jumping jacks, and lots and lots of leg lifts). Next comes the basics training -- the stances, punches, blocks, and kicks. After this, we'd practice our kata (basic form) which is an arranged pattern of attack and defense techniques against multiple imaginary opponents. After this, perhaps a little sparring (no blows are actually landed, except by accident). To close the class, a little meditation to clear the mind.
At the Karate dojos I've been to, the sensei would run us through all these things FAST, giving us no time to rest - these 50 minute sessions blew by very quickly, and got my heart pumping like a locomotive - very good for the cardiovascular system. I've learned many good stretches by taking Karate, and have really limbered up. The situps and leglifts will give you that "six-pack" stomach, and the roundhouse and sidekicks will give you buns of steel! I swear, the first 2 weeks I took karate, my butt muscles were sore - I didn't realize my butt HAD muscles!
Besides getting you in shape, Karate will teach you grace, balance, and of course, very effective self defense techniques. There are many different styles to choose from (I have studied Hayashi-ha Shito-ryu-kai, Tae Kwan Do, Butukokan karate, and even a little kung fu), but they all are very similar and all are effective. If you can't afford to join a regular dojo (training place), you can always look for a class at your local community center or YMCA - these are usually VERY inexpensive ($30-$70 per quarter on average), and usually are run by very qualified instructors who enjoy teaching the martial arts.
So go ahead and check it out. Not only do you get to wear a cool uniform and learn some super-cool moves (like the jump kick featured in "Karate Kid"), but Karate will get your baggy buns in shape! I recommend it greatly for men and women of all ages!