Studying the martial arts is a fantastic way to pair the physical and mental strengthening you’re pursuing. Not only do you acquire incredible physical expertise, but you’re given a boost in strategizing as well as mental dexterity.
Formalized in Okinawa, karate is one of the most popular forms when it comes to martial arts. In karate, you’re unarmed except for your hands and feet, which you use to block attacks and counter attack.
Karate has been referred to as “weaponless defense.” When practicing karate, it’s divided into three parts: kihon or the basics, kata or the forms, and kumite or the sparring.
With Kihon, you learn basic drills such as blocking, kicking, and striking. With Kata, you learn pre-arranged forms of defense, such as combat situations that are simulated. With Kumite, you put all of your focus on sparring.
Karate is useful in achieving extreme fitness because of how it trains both your body and your mind simultaneously. Those who study karate and are trained highly in it can learn how to coordinate both the body and the mind as one unit, which allows them to achieve intense physical power.
Karate can be taught relatively anywhere, but the surface and the room that you’re learning in should always be clear of heavy or sharp objects whenever you’re engaged in sparring.
When learning karate, you should always start at the beginning with the basics. It may look more appealing to start immediately with the kicks and punches, but without the basics, you won’t have the balance or training you need.
Meditating for about five minutes before each karate session can also help you with balance and fighting. Meditating clears your mind and allows you to focus on the forms and drills rather than the stress.
Warming up is also important for the safety of your muscles. You want to do at least twenty reps of sit-ups, push-ups, and leg lifts. These will help strengthen your muscles and warm them up before you start working out.
As you start learning karate from a professional source, you’ll earn your levels of achievement (belts). Display them proudly and marvel at how far you’ve come in this particular martial art.
Another important martial art for elite fitness is called Wing Chun. Often compared to karate, it’s another form of self-defense using just your hands and feet.
It specializes in close-range combat situations. Wing Chun is about balance, stance, and structure. Balance is often seen as the most important characteristic of Wing Chun to learn because a body that’s well balanced can come back from an attack and counter better than an unbalanced body can.
Another fundament part to Wing Chun is relaxation. You must learn how to relax and focus your energy before beginning Wing Chun. When your body has tension in it, your punches and thrusts won’t be as loaded for effect.
Wing Chun teaches you to move quickly and attack at close range. This is done by teaching “entry techniques” which is getting past an opponent’s defense in order to strike close to the body.
There are six basic forms of Wing Chun and each one builds on to the next one. Once the six forms have been mastered, you can move on to using Wing Chun with weapons such as butterfly knives and long poles.
Tae Kwon Do
Another martial art similar to karate is Tae Kwon Do. This Korean martial art has a lot of focus on fast hand techniques and high kicks. Tae Kwon Do builds up balance, speed, flexibility, and strength.
One of the best martial arts to learn for elite fitness, Tae Kwon Do teaches both physical and mental discipline. When physical and mental discipline unite, Tae Kwon Do practitioners are able to break boards, bricks, and more.
Those who practice Tae Kwon Do often do so barefoot, but there are special shoes you can wear. When practicing Tae Kwon Do, it’s important that you put a lot of focus on strengthening your legs so that you don’t injure yourself.
Kicks are especially common in this martial art. Like karate, when you spar with an opponent, make sure the area is clear of objects. You can get bruises on your body when you’re hit by an opponent, but if you’re kicked by one and you fall into a foreign object, you can experience a greater injury.
If you’re looking for a martial art that combines acrobatics, music, and dance, Capoeira is one that you might enjoy learning. This Brazilian martial art focuses on fighting when outnumbered or if you have a disadvantage.
The most important move to learn is the fundamental one called the ginga. This keeps you in a constant state of motion, making it hard for your opponent to get in for a close-range attack.
With Capoeira, you remain defensive instead of offensive. You use evasive moves to guard yourself against attacks. While all of these are good for learning for self-defense, they’re also working your body into great shape.
With Capoeira, you learn acrobatics such as rolling and cartwheeling, which can help you recover from a kick or loss of balance. This is especially important because kicks are the main attack moves in Capoeira.
A big part of Capoeira is feigning attacks or feigning friendly gestures. Opponents will feign attacks and when you move to defend that area of your body, you unintentionally leave other parts of your body unprotected.
The attacks done in Capoeira are very quick and decisive, using many of the major muscle groups. While kicks are common, punches and elbow strikes are also popular.
Those who practice Capoeira can also use the leg sweep. During this attack, the person uses one leg to “sweep” underneath an opponent, knocking him to his back.
If you’re going to be practicing this move, you must have the right amount of leg strength to take a properly balanced person down. When practicing Capoeira, you should use a rubber mat.
Because the attacks rely a lot on kicks, you will lose your balance more with this kind of martial arts than you would with ones such as karate and Wing Chun. Practicing on a hardwood floor isn’t advised, but make sure where you practice is clean and allows you to safely go barefoot.
Another popular form of martial arts is kickboxing. It can be used for contact sport, self-defense, and fitness. Kickboxing stemmed from karate, but it uses punches more than karate does.
Kickboxing is unique in the fact that it has no standard forms. It’s often considered a hybrid martial art because it has combined elements of various styles.
When practicing kickboxing, you’ll learn several techniques for punching - such as the jab, uppercut, hook, and cross. All four are similar to the techniques used in traditional boxing.
There are also several kicking techniques like the side kick, roundhouse kick, and front kick. These are standard kicking techniques that are used widely. With kickboxing, you’ll also need to learn the defensive positions.
Again, there isn’t a standard technique. There are a few different defensive positions you can take. The most commonly used positions are bobbing and weaving and parrying or blocking.
With bobbing and weaving, the fighter bobs the head down from an incoming punch before weaving back up to original position. With parrying or blocking, the fighter uses his hands for defense, blocking every punch with his hands.
The reason why kickboxing is great for elite fitness is because it doesn’t just focus on one part of your body. It focuses on your body as a whole and pays special attention to your legs, arms, and core.
Kickboxing can be practiced pretty much anywhere, especially at gyms where a punching bag is available. You can even find gyms dedicated solely to this particular martial art form.
Another martial art to use for elite fitness is Jujutsu. This is a Japanese martial art that focuses on using close combat to defeat an armed opponent. When practicing Jujutsu, you either have no weapon or just a short weapon - so you have to depend on your skill level.
With Jujutsu, you use your opponent’s energy against him instead of attempting to beat it. This was developed on the principle that an opponent who is well protected with armor is almost impossible to hit without damaging your arms and hands.
To combat this, Jujutsu teaches how to defeat an opponent using choking, pinning and immobilizing, strangling, and joint-locking. These techniques aren’t often used in other martial arts.
Jujutsu doesn’t focus on any part of your body in particular because it’s done on the basis that you use your entire body to protect yourself from an opponent. The big reason why it’s recommended for elite fitness is how you learn to focus your mental and physical energy at the same time.
Aikido is another Japanese martial art that can be used for elite fitness. Aikido is frequently translated to mean “the way of unifying with life energy.” It was developed as a way for someone to defend themselves against an attacker without hurting their opponent.
It’s a way of self-defense that protects both you and your attacker. With aikido, you learn to train both your mind and your body. While it has a lot of focus on special techniques, aikido teaches your body physical fitness and conditioning.
It’s been compared to yoga because it teaches full body coordination instead of focusing on one group of muscles. To excel at this form of martial art, you’ll want to work on your stamina exercises for endurance. Gymnastics can assist you with the flexibility you’ll need in order to beat your opponent.
Another Japanese martial art and sport is Kendo. Practitioners of Kendo wear protective armor and use bamboo swords. This martial art is challenging both physically and mentally.
When doing Kendo, you must always wear clothing and pads to protect your face, arms and legs. There are several techniques that are taught in Kendo. They’re divided into two separate categories; one is for initiating a strike and the other is to respond to an attempted strike.
Kendo is great for elite fitness because it also trains both your mind and your body. You learn how to hone in on your opponent’s weaknesses and strike at opportunities.
Bushido is from Japan. It comes from the samurai moral values. It stresses loyalty and honor until death. It originated from the Bushido code with the eight virtues of Samurai.
The eight virtues are justice, courage, mercy, politeness, honesty and sincerity, honor, loyalty, and character and self-control. These eight virtues are all taught along with Bushido, making it perfect for elite fitness routine.