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The modern understanding of “the core” and the need to properly condition it has become well known among athletic and active people, including martial artists (yes, the importance of the hips has been belabored for centuries, but the modern anatomically based concept is not necessarily the same thing). The core refers to the muscles, connective tissues and bones of the torso, yet to many it’s just the rectus abdominis (the “6-pack’).  However, the core can be more accurately thought of as the support, stabilization and movement system for the spinal column. This stack of 33 vertebrae (24 moving and 9 fixed) is connected by many ligaments and muscles, which provide oppositional tension akin to the guy wires on a tall tower.

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There is a lot of bad noise banging around out there in the karate-sphere about the need to train ourselves to the limit at all possible training opportunities,  work in deep stances at all times to strengthen our legs (to which I can’t help but reply, ever heard of squats?), punch makiwara until our knuckles are raw or bleed just like Yoshitaka,  etc.  I admit, when I first started training these ideas all held some appeal, they seemed like an intrinsic part of the “path” that must be taken to really improve in karate. If some is good, then more, harder training must be better! Give me that heavy-ass chi’ishi and never mind the shoulder pain! Do another 500 front kicks into air, Mas Oyama had nothing on me!!  Sensei X did it like this his whole life , and look how he turned out! No pain no gain, right?

Wrong, actually. Constantly pursuing more and harder training with no changes in methods, routine or intensity has a negative effect on our bodies, and subsequently, our ability to train productively.  All of us have our own physiological quirks, gifts and weaknesses. What is safe for my body to do might not be safe for yours, and vice versa. Even the most useful exercise or implement can have a negative impact on our bodies and abilities if done too much, too heavy or too hard. Well-trained trainers and coaches understand this, and it would behoove all of us who teach or train in a martial art to recognize it as well. Too much, too hard too often results in a diminished state of health known as over-training. Martial artists are not necessarily athletes, but that doesn’t mean that the same physiological principles that apply to athletic training do not apply to our own training.

Are you over-training?

Overtraining syndrome

Published on the Sports Injury Bulletin Web Site

by Heidi Meehan


At some point during their career, a number of endurance athletes report experiencing a suppressed athletic performance, often in conjunction with one or more other physiological and/or psychological symptoms. Among others, these symptoms may include chronic fatigue, disturbed mood states, increased susceptibility to upper respiratory tract infections, changes in resting heart rate and disturbances in sleep patterns. Athletes experiencing such symptoms may be suffering from, or are at increased risk of developing, the overtraining syndrome.

Perfect Peaking Part 1: Overtraining and Its Prevention In Mixed Martial Arts Conditioning

Published on Grapple Arts web site

By Stephan Kesting


Many fighters find that they always come down with a cold or injury before a competition. This is often attributed to bad luck, but luck actually has very little to do with it. Most of the time these setbacks are due to overtraining, which is defined as a systemic deficit resulting from the stress of excessive training. In plain English this means that training is breaking your body down faster than you can recover from it. The pernicious pre-competition flu, therefore, is due to overly severe training and/or insufficient recovery, reducing the body’s ability to repel infections.

The purpose of this article is to investigate and summarize the phenomenon of overtraining, particularly with regard to combat athletics. One important goal is to alert you to some important signs and symptoms of overtraining, allowing you to cut back on your training before it is too late.

How to Prevent the Negative Effects of Overreaching and Overtraining in Athletes

Published on SIRC web site

By Craig Angle ME.d ME.d ATC, CSCS


A major sports challenge for coaches today involves helping their athletes develop an effective balance, between their training, competition, recovery, rest cycles. The balance challenge consists of determining the amount and type of training stress, competition stress, recovery, and rest away from a sport, an athlete experiences. An imbalance in the cycles described above, in combination with non-athletic stress, such as that experienced at home, work and/or school life, can lead to overreaching and eventually overtraining.

Click on the titles for the remainder of the articles.

"Try to see yourself as you truly are and try to adopt what is meritorious in the work of others. As a karateka you will of course often watch others practice. When you do and you see strong points in the performance of others, try to incorporate them into your own technique. At the same time, if the trainee you are watching seems to be doing less than his best ask yourself whether you too may not be failing to practice with diligence. Each of us has good qualities and bad; the wise man seeks to emulate the good he perceives in others and avoid the bad."
Funakoshi Gichin


September 2019
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