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One of the most disturbing aspects of the martial arts is the lack of adequate sports safety training among martial arts instructors. Deference to tradition regarding training methods and expectations of performance often blinds instructors to the intrinsic dangers associated with fight training. While it is probably impossible to ameliorate all of the dangers associated with fight training responsible instructors should make every effort to be aware of the symptoms of training related injuries, and related conditions.
Rhabdomylosis is potentially fatal condition coaches and trainers of all sorts should be aware of. It can be caused by excessive exercise, and other activities that traumatize skeletal muscle tissue like katakite, tanren, or even pummeling drills. When pounding and crushing activities are combined with intense physical activity the danger is probably greatest.
Here are a couple of links to articles of rhabdomylosys that may be useful for both instructors and trainees:
Rhabdomyolysis ( /ræbdoʊmaɪoʊlɪsɪs/ or /ræbdoʊmaɪoʊlaɪsɪs/) is a condition in which damaged skeletal muscle (Ancient Greek: rhabdomyo-) tissue breaks down rapidly (Greek: –lysis). Breakdown products of damaged muscle cells are released into the bloodstream; some of these, such as the protein myoglobin, are harmful to the kidneys and may lead to kidney failure.
You have seen them, the rows and rows of expensive cardio machines upon which so may people rack up countless hours. Most martial artists are more drawn to the kettlebells or dumbbells then they are to these behemoths. Few of the folks perched on theme look very fit anyway.
So why should you consider including them in your fitness program? There are a couple of good reasons actually. First, if used correctly they can provide a good cardio workout while reducing the pounding your joints take. Second, some machines, like ellipticals are designed to reduce the opportunities for you move in ways that can be harmful to your body.
Most martial artists have serious movement impairments at some time in their careers. Usually these stem from poor training programs that result in muscular recruitment patterns that are less than ideal.
I can’t tell you the number of martial artists I have talked to who complain about their knees popping and grinding, yet they never even consider that all of the thigh kicks they receive, all of the sumo squats they do, all of the crazy exaggerated stances they practice might contribute anything at all to their knee problems.
Once a pattern is loaded in, almost anything you do can reinforce that same pattern. If it is causing problems it takes dedicated intervention strategies to correct. Machines, like ellipticals reduce the opportunity to hyper-pronate by forcing your feet to stay on the platforms and move in a pre-established fashion. This can be helpful in reinforcing correct muscle action.
Every couple of months it is a good idea for all athletes to spend some time allowing their bodies to recover from all the abuse it has suffered. This should be a period of lighter activity, in which the joints are not subject to the same amount of pounding as they have received during the previous training cycles. As we age it is more and more important that we allow our bodies adequate recovery time.
Of course there are some true believers out there in the martial arts world who think they get everything they need from their kata, kihon, and kumite. For these folks this a matter of faith, and apparently nothing will disabuse them of this craziness. More rational souls will realize that their karate will benefit substantially from a more targeted approach to addressing fitness concerns that bear on their performance and health. To these people I would like to recommend giving those funny looking machines a try once in a while.
Take a break from jumping around, lifting people, and pounding stuff for a couple of weeks every now and then. During this time these machines can help you get a sufficient cardio workout without inflicting as much pounding on your feet, knees, and back (almost sounds too good to be true to many of us old timers).
I usually impress the hell out of myself when I switch over from running on grass and pavement to running on the treadmill. The treadmill is so cushy, and it always feels like I can run twice as far. Well the truth is that running on a treadmill is easier than running on either pavement or grass. There is much less to adapt to on a treadmill, so all your effort goes into the run.
Keep in mind that you will not be doing yourself much good at all if you use your arms to hold yourself up while using ellipticals, stairclimbers or treadmills. Hypertonic lats, shoulder problems (actually these are closely related), and back pain are all ubiquitous in karate. Spending thirty minutes propped up with your elbows locked, your lats tight, pretending that you are actually using the machines the way they were intended is a sure way to make your lower back creakier, and your shoulders tighter.
If you can’t keep up without bracing yourself with your arms, turn the machine down. You will burn more calories, and feel better for it.
Now go ahead and give that treadmill a go.
The weather is getting nicer so the St. Louis group will resume regularly scheduled Fight Training and Conditioning classes beginning the 26th of March, 2011.
The class schedule will be:
Anyone who knows how to play well with others, is respectful, wants to improve, and takes training seriously is welcome to join us as we roll around in the mud-regardless of affiliation, style, experience, or ability.
Contact Robert Miller at robertmillerattkridotnet for additional information.
Interesting little article on the pretentiousness and sanctimonious affectations of some yoga teachers. Draw what parallels you will to martial arts.
Marco, the tattooed instructor at the front of the room, is all charisma. He stalks; he pounces; he perches on my back as he corrects my Janu Sirsasana pose (otherwise known as a forward bend). “If you tell it to me from your mind, I’m not interested,” he announces, to begin the class. “That’s just drama. I’ve got my own drama.”
Read the rest here.
Readers may have noticed that our focus has evolved over the last couple of years. Initially most of our content was related to karate and other closely related topics. As time has gone by our focus has broadened to include information on a variety of fight training related topics. This has been reflective of our training and interests as an organization as well.
In order to more accurately represent our focus and practice we are changing our name from ‘The Karate Research Institute’ to the ‘Fight Sciences Research Institute’. It will take us a while to change everything over, but we have now begun. For the time being we will keep the name of this blog the same. Wish us luck on this new chapter in our development.
It is always a good exercise to take account of our motivations as karate teachers and practitioners. Why do we continue on, year after year, teaching and practicing karate? Yes there are a lot of easy, canned answers: cultivation of character, preserving the traditions of the past, to learn to be able to defend oneself, to confront our responses to violence, force of habit. I am sure I am leaving many out.
I don’t think most people scrutinize this carefully. For a variety of reasons, answering this requires us to consider who makes up the community of people to whom we are responsible towards. When the answer is ambiguous it becomes nearly impossible to understand the extent of our responsibilities, and thus what it is we should be doing. The ‘why’ question becomes easier to address when we are clear about what we are doing, and equally important, about what we are not/ should not be doing.
There are those who regard themselves as hard-core ‘traditionalists’ for whom preserving tradition seems to be the ultimate objective. To these people the most important obligation is to ones predecessors in these arts. Of course it is useful and proper to give credit where it is due. We have an obligation to make sure our historical claims are accurate, but that seems like the extent of our obligation to the dead.
Many times in the thirty-plus years I have been involved with martial arts, I have seen abusive and insensitive behavior justified by appeals to tradition.
As a younger black-belt level instructor, I remember struggling with ethical dilemmas that should not have been complicated, however, my judgment was clouded by the imagined relevance of some mumbo jumbo associated with tradition.
If you watch closely you will see two short clips from the TKRI demonstrations at the Missouri Botanical Gardens this year. Nice job guys.
From the Orlando Sentinel:
A kickboxer who took a strong blow during a fight on Sunday has died.
Adrienne Simmons received a left hook during the third and final round of a bout at the Marriott Orlando World Center Marriott resort, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
Click here for the rest of the article.
Our condolences to Ms. Simmon’s friends and family.
Whether you are kicking a lot, standing in stances (either inside or outside tension stances) for long periods, or conditioning your outer thighs to check kicks, you should probably be stretching your IT bands to prevent gait problems, and associated foot, ankle, knee, and lower back problems. Kicks like round, side thrust, and side snap (just say NO), especially involve the iliotibial band.
Here’s the video:
Hip and back issues seem to plague karate people. Back pain can be particularly frustrating for karate people because it is so easy to set off. Sometimes very little activity can result in seemingly disproportionate pain. Measures, such as conditioning for the core often seem to just further aggravate the condition.
At the Fitness for the Fighting Arts Seminar in Rocky Mount Virginia, and again at the recent TKRI summer camp in Ferrum Virginia I led classes in which I presented some ideas, and exercises that may be helpful for karate people who are already struggling with back pain, and for those who would like to avoid such problems altogether.
After the class at our recent summer camp I was approached by several people who asked me to elaborate, and if I could send them some notes related to the issues I discussed. It occurred to me that I could respond to the requests for information all at once by sending people a link to an article here on the TKRIBlog, so here goes.