Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Aerobic Benefit of Martial Arts

Tang Soo Do Sa Bom Nim Joseph Bruno says that according to studies done in recent years, fitness and nutrition experts have found that a person can burn up to 720 calories during an hour martial arts session. This is an extremely uplifting fact in an era of weight watchers and carb counters. Burning off nearly a third of your daily allotment of calories (based on a 2000 calorie-a-day diet) will help you get in shape and help you stay in shape. The sad realism in all of this is that, more often than not, martial arts classes are divided into different "sections" of time. In some cases, the aerobic portion is first, followed by "form" or "pattern" practice, followed then by some sparring. By the end of the sparring section, it's almost time for the end of class, and depending on the kind of combat that is practiced, (one-step-sparring, wrist grabs, etc), the practitioner can leave the dojo feeling unfulfilled and ultimately, that they need more aerobic exercise.

So how do we avoid this empty feeling? I think the solution is easy to accomplish. First and foremost, consider your practitioners. What is the age demographic? What is the gender demographic? These and other similar questions can help you tailor a schedule that everyone will be able to remember and one that they will enjoy. I would designate three nights a week (let's say Monday, Wednesday, and Friday), as strictly aerobic classes. In these classes, you want to focus on fighting techniques, sparring, as well as the other aerobic areas of the martial art. This will help those practitioners looking to get and stay in shape to complete their goal. On the other nights (Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday), focus on the non-aerobic portions of the martial art, such as the basic movements, forms or patterns, and wrist-grab techniques.

The difficult part in all of this is to stick to this schedule. It can be difficult at times to stick to a schedule due to belt tests, tournaments, and other aspects of the martial art. This is why you must stress that a "regular weekly schedule" includes three aerobic days and three non-aerobic days.

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