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As I was reading about Martial Arts and all that it involves, I became very enthralled. I dared to find out what all the excitement was about. The phenomenon of martial arts to be used as a workout regiment for many athletes or even perspective physical fitness fans is growing rapidly. In a nutshell, this is all that I discovered.

What I found to be most interesting is the fact that martial arts is researched and is used for various reasons based on each individual’s goals. Martial arts are simply defined as the systems of practices and traditions of training for combat. The sport is utilized for combat skills, fitness, self- defense, character development and building self-confidence. I feel that the art is commendable in that it strives to enhance moral values and provide guidance for children who become involved with the sport. So, I decided to study further to obtain information on how it may be beneficial as a “workout regiment.” I continued to find measures that could contribute to a successful martial arts workout. Coincidentally, the art has as one of its benefits the exercising of your body and mind so you gain a “good well rounded” workout.

Many forms of martial arts will help you burn calories, along with the structuring of strength and endurance. You would not believe that the appropriate administration of the martial arts techniques helps you burn up 600 calories within an hour. However, it is important that you find the style that will be most accommodating to your lifestyle. Let me discuss with you the different styles in order for you to choose the best fit for you.

For full body training, Judo may be a perfect choice for you. Judo is defined as “the gentle way” and concentrates more on self-defense as opposed to attacking your opponent. Its basic purpose is to throw your component through different techniques to disarm him. It is recommended, however, that you are not physically challenged to perform these movements.

Perhaps Kung Fu may be an option for you. This will definitely add some spice to your workout. Kung Fu is put into two categories, hard and soft. The hard style focuses mainly on impressive strikes and kicks, while the other, soft Kung Fu focuses more on staying balanced and grounded when attacked. At any rate, both styles are prominent for self-defense skills while simultaneously enhancing quickness and agility. If you desire more of a challenge or competitive edge, learn Karate. Different from Kung Fu, Karate displays more combative and focuses on blows with the hands and feet. There are also special breathing and shouting techniques. Karate is a great choice especially for family exercising as classes are offered from the beginner to competitive.

Lastly, Tai Chi is another form of martial arts. During Tai Chi, your goal is to control energy, conveniently known as “Chi.” Its practice is to have slow and controlled movements that vary in the length of performance. Tai Chi is not very advantageous with weight loss, yet it does prove to improve flexibility and reduce stress. More so, it may even lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Since the techniques are slower than other martial art forms, it appears to be a good choice for older exercises or for those of us that suffer from mobility issues because of arthritis, illness or injuries.

From all the information that I have gathered, I hope that it makes it less complicated for you to decide which martial art style that would best meet your objectives. Whichever workout regiment that you try, it is sure to maximize your physical endurance as well as uplift your mental clarity. I encourage you to have a positive attitude from the day you begin on this journey. Always remember that martial arts are equivalent to self-confidence, high moral and ultimate respect first and then the rest will emanate into your everyday life. Finally, I must inform you as well, always get advice from your medical personnel before beginning any of these styles of martial arts. Pay close attention to your body and recognize when you need a break. Remember, martial arts is about improving your life and enhancing your workout regimen, not causing harm to yourself.

Tai Chi is an internal martial art which can be soft and gentle. It can and should be practiced in a flowing way for practitioners of any age. Particularly, in China and the est nowadays, people over 50 are taking up Tai Chi whilst the younger generation in China are not so interested in such a traditional art!

Tai Chi has been proven by the 3000 years of Chinese experience and recent medical studies into the benefits of Qigong [Tai Chi is a complete qigong] to be beneficial to the health of the individual practitioner. Complete recovery of from diseases from cancer to colds has been documented through diligent practice of Tai Chi.

Tai Chi can also be used to control arthritis. It is recommended that you learn under a highly experienced instructor, who has over 10 years of experience and has learned in China or from a well-recognized master with verifiable “lineage”. This is because you want to be learning the real thing and benefiting by clearer mind, healthier body and gradual recovery from any health challenges you may have experienced or be experiencing.

Tai Chi chuan means “supreme ultimate fist”. What does “supreme ultimate” mean to you? Tai Chi is really about the cultivation of mind, body, spirit and also to kinds of energy, which we don’t have a proper concept of in the West. Those are internal energy, or chi which is present in the body from birth and we also get it from air and food. External energy is the energy that is in the universe. We learn to build up the chi in our bodies in Tai Chi and that helps us to improve our health. This is the medical aspect of Tai Chi. We learn to utilize the external energy in Tai Chi which is the martial aspect of the martial art of Tai Chi.

Tai Chi is said to have been invented approximately 5000 years ago, legend has it either by a Taoist priest named Chang Seng Feng or passed to the ancient Chinese people by a group of people reputed to have been 7 ft tall and these people — “the sons of reflected light” are said to have taught the arts to the Chinese which has made their civilization so advanced since as long as 3000 year ago as documented by discoveries of the porcelain and silk items in archaeology.

Chang Seng Feng is reported to have witnessed a fight between a crane and a snake and noticed the yielding and striking qualities of these animals and designed Tai Chi based on observations of nature. Tai Chi is thus performed slowly and changing, “flowing like a river” to promote longevity and health. does the tortoise or the elephant move quickly and fast? And how long do these creatures live for? Is it not possible then that we should slow down in our lives and relax like these long-living creature to improve our own chances of living long lives?

We imitate the movements of many animals in the Tai Chi form — a sequence of movements or postures which flow into each other. These stretching and strengthening exercises have very poetic names, beautiful such as White Crane Spreads Its Wings, Golden cock Stands On one Leg and Fair Lady Weaves The Shuttles.

Tai Chi is a healthy exercise which improves circulation. Tai chi incorporates breathing and movement as well as internal massage of the body’s organs and stretching of muscles, tendons and ligaments. Keeping a clear mind is important and whilst the exercise is anaerobic, i.e. not strenuous, the body feel invigorated after proper practice and one can feel energy circulating in the body after practice -so don’t overdo it. The key is consistent daily practice and taking responsibility for your health 100%.

Are you a busy person trying to do everything? Are you getting so stressed out that it seems like you’re not accomplishing anything? If so, you can use martial arts to combat that stress! Many of the skills and techniques used in martial arts training are the same skills and techniques you can use to rid your body of stress.

So, you might be wondering how a skill that is commonly depicted as a fighting tool can actually reduce stress… Some of these common images of martial arts aren’t completely accurate. The cartoons, video games and movies showing martial arts as a fighting tool are only showing you one small facet of the art. The skills necessary for training martial arts can teach you how to balance your mind and body and give you the confidence you need to face the stressful events in your life.

HOW DO YOU DO IT?

One of the techniques used to create this balance is using breathing and meditation techniques to help you connect and control your mind and body. There are different types of meditation: sitting, standing, kneeling and moving. Find the position that works best for you. Here’s how to start.

1. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.

2. Breathe deeply. To make sure you’re breathing deeply enough, put your hand on your stomach. If your stomach isn’t pushing out as you breath in, you’re not breathing deeply enough. Try to pull the air all the way to your navel before you let it out.

3. When you breathe out, keep your tongue on the roof of your mouth. This keeps helps minimize your saliva and swallowing.

In the Chinese way of thinking, breathing like this is completing a path: The mouth is a gate and the tongue on the roof of the mouth allows your vital energy called “Qi” or “Chi” (both pronounced “chee”) to circulate throughout your body. Chi is what helps your mind and body connect.

After you’ve gotten the physical aspects of breathing down, you can start counting your breaths — this is a form of meditation that many experts teach during stress management courses. Start short and work your way up.

1. Begin with a count of 4 as you breathe in and a count of 6 as you breathe out.

2. As you go along, extend the in and out until you can get a count of 6 as you breathe in and up to 24–30 as you breathe out. Just remember that you want a short, deep breath in and a slow, long breath out.

WHY DOES THIS WORK?

This mind and body connection through breathing works because stress is a mental state that manifests itself as a physical symptom in your body. This physical symptom then acts as a trigger to tell you to do something about it. As you become more aware of your body, you’ll be able to notice the “trigger” before it becomes something unbearable such as a severe neck problem or a migraine headache. Once you notice your trigger, you can stop and do something about it such as practicing a breathing technique. For example, I used to get stress-induced migraines that would leave me out of commission for a whole day. Now, I’ve come to realize that it actually starts in my lower back as a small thing. If I let it go, it works its way up to my head. Now, when I noticed this trigger in my back, I stop and do my breathing. It allows the issue to surface so I can deal with it and I don’t have to deal with a migraine.

We all have those moments from time to time when we experience stress (some more frequently than others). The overall benefits of training martial arts for the mind and body (including self-awareness, self confidence, focus, concentration and physical conditioning) all lead to reducing that stress. You owe it to yourself to start relieving the stress in your life with the skills taught through martial arts. The best place to find these skills is at a fine martial arts school. Why not give it a try? You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

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