Costs of Choosing the Wrong Martial Arts Style

A lot of people nowadays are getting into the martial arts and choosing a school without even knowing which style of martial arts the school teaches. Some schools are not totally clear on what their style is as many are practicing and teaching a hybrid mix of multiple arts. Is this a problem? Should you know which style you practice? Are clearly lineated styles even important? The easy answer to all of these questions is yes and no. Unfortunately there are hidden costs involved in choosing the wrong style of martial arts.

Here's why:
Choosing a style based on popularity rather than something that fits your personal strengths
Just because a style is the most popular thing going doesn't mean that it is right for you. Taekwondo has held the interest of many a young person due to its dynamic and spectacular kicks. If you are athletic and flexible then this might be the art for you but if you have bad knees and worse hamstrings, then think twice.

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What is Traditional Karate?

By Iain Abernethy

The title of this article is ‘What is Traditional Karate?’ And that may seem like a strange question for a traditional karateka to ask! But it is my view that we often do not think what ‘traditional’ actually means, and how that impacts upon the art we practice. The dictionary definition of ‘traditional’ is, “adhering to a long established procedure.” To play devil’s advocate for a moment, I’d suggest that the majority of karate practised in this country today is not traditional! My reasoning is that much of today’s karate is not “adhering to a long established procedure” but is in fact only a few decades old.

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The 10 Precepts of Anko Itosu

By Iain Abernethy

What we refer to as “traditional” in the martial arts often isn't traditional at all. Mention traditional karate today and people immediately think of white gis, coloured belts and marching up and down the hall in lines. All of which are modern practises and none of which would be recognisable to founders of the art.

itosu_ten_preceptsAll of the past masters were innovators and none of them went on to teach the art exactly as it was taught to them. The true tradition has been one of constant change and it was only ever the core concepts that were supposed to remain constant. So what were the core concepts upon which the traditional art of karate was based?

There are not many written records on the history of karate due in no small part to the secrecy that originally surrounded the art and the bombing of Okinawa during World War Two. One important document we do have access to is Anko Itosu's 10 precepts of karate.

Anko Itosu (1832–1915) was one of karate's true innovators; he was the creator of the Pinan (Heian) kata and was responsible for introducing karate onto the Okinawan school system. To make karate suitable for children, Itosu watered down the karate he taught to them. As part of this, he started teaching kata without their applications so that the children could gain the physical benefits of kata training without irresponsibly giving them knowledge of the violent and brutal methods the kata were created to record.

It is my view that Itosu intend to foster two types of karate: the original combative karate and the new children's version. However, as we now know, it was the children's version that really took off and the ramifications of that are still being felt today. Itosu's modifications enabled the art to spread – it is arguable that karate would never have spread to mainland Japan and from there to the west without his modifications – but they undoubtedly meant it was a “de-clawed” version of karate that was popularised.

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Health & Fitness - Benefits of Wushu

Training in Wushu offers practitioners many health and fitness benefits. 

STRENGTH
The many stances of Wushu build leg and core muscle (abdominal & lower back) strength and the necessity of holding poses while training builds strong stabilizing muscles. Weapons practice works like weight-bearing exercises, to build good arm and back strength as well. A Wushu practitioner who practices t art on a regular basis, with no other supplemental exercise programme can develop a lean toned muscular look similar to that of a dancer.he

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