Published: 10/02/2015 - Updated: 10/06/2015
Author: Miriam Reyes
We’ve all heard about this martial art before. It’s one of the most popular ones around the world. At first glance, however, for people that don’t practice it, it’s seem like all they do is scream, hit and kick.
Karate provides a lot of health benefits, however; this is an art that has been practiced for centuries.
One of the first benefits an individual may experience after a few months of practicing this martial art, is the amazing improvement in posture, without even focusing on it. This is because in karate, one practices all sorts of attack and defense positions, even those that are designed solely for standing and sitting. They all require a straight back.
Poor posture and health problems
Although it might seem like poor posture would never lead to health problems, the truth is that it is related with light to severe muscle pains, as well as spinal injuries.
Poor posture, on the other hand, could also cause digestive problems, by compromising the organs involved in digestion. It could even affect your ability to breath.
Correcting your posture is preventive, but it is often times a solution to several of the muscular pains associated in the back and neck.
Karate katas to improve posture
Whenever a sensei asks a new student to perform some kind of hit, the first thing they always correct is the position of their spine. It is absolutely necessary that one cultivates strength for the attack. But the most effective posture correctors are undoubtedly the KATAS.
Katas are a combination of movements that are performed one after another, in an established order, so that the karateka can always practice without needing gymnastics exercises. A kata can be performed in a space measuring 5 square meters.
Teaching katas is a very complex process at which time the student is asked to strictly perform the movements as correctly as possible. This of course includes the position of the back.
Let’s take, for example, on of karate’s most basic kata, known as: junino kata.
Junino Kata is comprised of 3 movements: an attack, a high defense and a low defense.
For the novice, however, this will be one of the most complicated katas to master, as learning a series of such simple movements will also require much correction of back posture.
When performing a kata, it is absolutely necessary that you always keep your back straight. Be it walking, attacking, or defending, your back must always form a straight line.
At first it will be an incredible feat to keep your back straight, because in addition to this, you are required to keep your legs in exhausting positions that support your body’s weight in ways that you’re not used to.
In the karate field, a novice will be required to learn as a minimum, 2 katas, in order to be able to get his/her white belt. Afterwards, upon advancing, comes the yellow belt. In this way, it is nearly impossible that an individual practices karate for a few months without noticing an improvement in posture.
Once you have grown used to keeping your back straight, in conjunction with the difficult leg and arm postures, you will be able to walk with a straight back, every day, without forcing it and feeling completely natural. This will be a result of your training.
The longer time you practice karate, the student is demanded to learn more and more complex katas in order to advance to the next level.
Other benefits of Katas
The level of complexity in the more advanced katas goes farther and farther beyond just keeping your back straight in conjunction with legs and arms. For example, the eienchin kata: not only does it require that the practitioner keeps his/her back straight, in a very complicated posture, if also requires one to breathe slowly and deeply while performing the kata, thereby greatly increasing the difficulty.
The sanchin kata requires the legs and arms to be positioned in a very complicated fashion which hardens all the muscles in the body, simply by standing.
Once the karate practitioner is performing the previously described katas, he no longer thinks about the position his back is in. This is something that was corrected at the beginning of training and is now natural.
This is how katas not only correct posture, but they also help improve breathing and concentration in the karate practitioner. We all know how important these factors are for a healthier life.
Karate isn’t the only martial art around the world that practices katas, but it is definitely one of the martial arts that places the most emphasis on them.
There are a lot of benefits that come hand in hand with practicing such ancient martial arts, like karate. Correct posture is just one of these benefits. If you have poor posture, and you want to correct it, try practicing a bit of karate. You might be surprised at the results you achieve after just a short amount of time.
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