Monday, August 2, 2021

Budo and the Body

 Did you know knowledge of anatomy, physiology, relaxation, and physics is essential for martial arts training?

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Studying the Japanese martial arts is a physical and mental endeavor. We sometimes get so wrapped up in training in the dojo that we ignore basics such as anatomy, physiology, relaxation, and physics, each of which is essential to the development of high-level skills.


Learning the basic karate-do horizontal front punch illustrates the need for understanding at least a little anatomy. The knuckles of the index and middle fingers of the fisted hand, the part of the hand that transmits energy to the target, must move just a tiny bit to the outside just before impact with the target. This allows the alignment of these two knuckles and the metacarpals behind them with the radius and ulna in the forearm, thus enabling the delivery of the kinetic energy generated by your body mass and the punch’s velocity to the target. If these bones are not properly aligned, the punch will deliver less energy and be less effective. You will also be at increased risk of injuring your hand.

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Correct Form


Physiology is also important. Your muscles must have energy to function. If your muscles and liver are, due to fatigue, depleted of glycogen, a precursor of glucose that is the basic fuel of skeletal muscle and most other tissues, you simply cannot deliver an effective blow. You have heard of marathoners and triathletes who “hit the wall.” They “hit the wall” because their muscle and liver stores of glycogen were too low to sustain prolonged exercise. They may quit, or often they struggle to finish, sometimes collapsing either physically, mentally, or both during the struggle. Nausea, cramps, and mental disorientation can result. The same thing can happen to martial artists who do not understand the need to fuel their muscles. While martial artists are not generally thought of as endurance athletes, even moderate glycogen depletion with the resultant reduction in blood glucose levels can reduce mental acuity, reduce reaction time, reduce coordination, and decrease strength.

To see how relaxation and physics play a role in budo, visit our website!

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