Karate is a fitness regimen that teaches us discipline, self-defense, and concentration—karate benefits all age groups, young or elderly. The benefits of Karate are not only physical, but it provides mental health benefits too.
In Japanese, “Karate” translates to “open hand”. It is an art to use our bodies to defend ourselves. There are various martial art techniques; among them, Karate is one of the most dynamic. Trainees practice developing reflexes, speed, and accuracy. Karate teaches multiple defensive and offensive techniques to help them become proficient fighters. At its core, Karate values respect and honour.
Different Karate Styles
There are different styles of Karate, each of which has other training methods, focuses, and cultures. Gōjū-ryū, Shotokan, Shitō-ryū, and Wadō-ryū are considered the four major styles of Karate. The World Karate Federation also recognised these four styles for international kata competition.
There are other internationally recognised karate styles such as Chitō-ryū, Gosoku-Ryu, Isshin-ryū, Kyokushin, Motobu-Ryu, Shōrin-ryū, Shūkōkai, and Uechi-Ryū.
Karate training is generally divided into Kihon (primary hand and feet movements including stances, strikes, punches, kicks and blocks), Kata (sequence of movements which represent various offensive and defensive postures) and Kumite (fight or sparring – levels of physical contact during sparring vary considerably depending upon Karate style).
Karate training gives you tools and techniques to defend yourself in a dangerous situation. It teaches you to protect yourself by reacting quickly and effectively in dangerous or life-threatening conditions. What one learns in their karate class is applicable in real life. It not only teaches you defence but helps you to learn strategies and attitudes to avoid worst-case scenarios.
Health Benefits of Karate
Regular exercise in Karate gives a healthy, flexible, and agile body. It helps to meet your fitness goal. It comprises dynamic offensive and defensive techniques using all body parts such as fists, hands, elbows, knees, and feet to their maximum advantage. The Karate movements or Kihon can be practised solo, with a partner, or on punching bags or striking pads.
Karate teaches punching, kicking, blocking, evading and evasion techniques that transform your whole body. Many people are unaware of the many karate benefits.
Fitness – karate benefits
Karate teaches a variety of exercises that improves your fitness. It is high-aerobic activity and utilises almost every muscle group of our body. Benefits of Karate include endurance, muscle tone, flexibility, sense of balance, and raw strength.
Full body workout – karate benefits
Karate is a fitness and weight loss program which provides a full-body workout. It targets improvements in cardiovascular capabilities, muscular toning, and stamina. Karate combines cardio, endurance training, and muscle toning while burning excessive fat. It transforms your whole body. An hour of karate training with nonstop punching, kicking, blocking, dodging and moving raises your heart rate and burns calories.
Improve Cardiovascular Health – karate benefits
One of the essential benefits of Karate is that it improves our cardiovascular system. It will get your blood pumping and will put a specific demand on your heart, allowing you to improve your heart health. It improves your heart rate and increases your oxygen intake. Karate benefits your complete cardiovascular system. The chances of heart-related diseases and stroke decrease with karate exercise. Benefits of Karate include lower heart rate, lower blood pressure and more fat burning.
Improves Coordination & Reflexes
The most beneficial aspect of karate training is coordination and muscular communication. The more experienced you become, you develop more outstanding general and hand-eye coordination. Regular practising not only improves your reflexes in the dojo but benefits other daily activities.
Muscle Toning – karate benefits
Karate benefits by toning and improving the muscle mass in your body. It strengthens and develops almost every muscle in your body. You do lots of push-ups, sit-ups, squats etc. and other body stances that help you gain muscle mass. It leads to an increase in your overall agility and reduces the risk as you age.
Improve Strength & Power – karate benefits
Benefits of Karate include developing a strong and healthy physique. Karate benefits functional strength, power, and muscular endurance. Squats, push-ups, crunches etc., increase muscle strength.
Staying in a horse stance and throwing punches for an extended period increases overall power by strengthening the core, shoulders, glutes and quads. In Karate, you do repetitive muscular training. It not only makes your body lean but increases strength and power.
Improve Stamina & Endurance – karate benefits
As it is a full-body workout, therefore it increases stamina and endurance. Training methods such as striking, blocking and body-weight exercises help develop stamina as it requires a lot of zeal.
Karate benefits your body by improving your breathing capacity. Lots of practice and repetition increase endurance. You can easily compare with your previous self after a few weeks of regular training. You become tougher and more resistant than before. With continuous practice, you feel less tired. You can last longer during the training session as it increases your stamina for a healthy lifestyle.
Improves muscle and joint flexibility – karate benefits
During a Karate training session average of 30 minutes are spent on free hand exercises to warm up and stretching exercises. Stretching is essential for all kinds of activities. Stretching exercise, kicking, punching etc., increases muscle and joint flexibility. It helps to do various postures and improve movements better over time.
The fundamental attribute of Karate is agility. Continuous practice helps you to move quickly in several different directions. One will be delighted to learn how fast your hands and feet can execute complicated punches and kicks.
Improve Balance & Mobility
Without proper balance, any Karate techniques can’t be executed appropriately. Balance and mobility are vital in Karate. Kata and Kihon training is the perfect way to improve balance and mobility.
Improve Weight loss – karate benefits
Do you want to lose weight and stay fit? Karate can help you achieve these goals. It helps to get rid of excess weight and helps you in weight management. Karate is an entire body exercise, so that a moderate intensity 1-hour practice can burn around 500 to 600 calories. 90 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise can burn about 900 calories. Therefore, undesired fat essentially dissolves in no time. But remember, you need to stick to a healthy diet plan. You can talk to your dietician about that.
Improve Stability & Posture – karate benefits
A good posture benefits your health, and Karate benefits us by improving posture and balance. Good posture means less back and neck pain and more energy.
Improve Sleep Quality
The benefits of Karate can be observed in our sleep patterns also. The routine practice of Karate contributes to a healthier, more restful and uninterrupted sleep. Karate also benefits by rectifying sleep disorders such as insomnia.
Stress Relief – karate benefits
Regular exercise helps to relieve stress. But your karate dojo also creates a supportive community that can ease your mind. Karate involves several deep breathing and relaxation techniques. These help to reduce stress and anxiety by providing a calming effect.
Improve Energy & Vitality
Karate benefits you by making you more energetic and alert. Karate training requires an increased need for oxygen. It increases our lung capacity and helps release more oxygen to our brain and bloodstream. It makes you more vigilant and energetic.
Mental Health Benefits of Karate
Karate benefits are not only restricted to physical, but it also provides you numerous mental benefits. It teaches meditation, harnesses your spiritual energy, and improves your mental health. These cognitive benefits help you to release stress and become calmer and more well-balanced. Karate builds self-confidence, self-esteem, and mental toughness. These mental benefits will come in handy in everyday life.
Mood Enhancer – Benefits of Karate
Regularly practising Karate releases endorphins like any other regular exercise. Endorphins can be active in our bodies many hours after leaving the dojo. You might be aware that endorphins are feel-good hormones. Therefore regular Karate practice improves your mood. Karate exercise makes you happier as it is an excellent way to relieve stress and frustration.
Emotional & Mental Health – Benefits of Karate
It makes you feel stronger and better mentally and emotionally. Karate helps to fight against anxiety and depression. Karate allows people with mental health issues to reduce their symptoms. People who undergo karate training on a regular basis are less susceptible to depression, anxiety, and panic attacks.
Improve Self-Esteem – Benefits of Karate
It increases self-esteem. It helps to overcome limitations and fear. One feels better about themselves after getting a better physique. Once you start to learn defensive techniques and strategies, it builds confidence and assurance. It hugely influences your self-esteem.
Confidence builder – Benefits of Karate
A healthy body can give you a healthy mind. Various strategic, defensive, and offensive karate style builds confidence. Sparring is an integral part of karate learning. The idea that you can defend yourself in any situation improves your confidence and empowers you.
Practice makes you perfect. In Karate, regular exercise is vital. Repetition is a must to master the method. Once you practice and perfect a specific technique, then only you can advance to the next level of training. This repetition teaches how to be patient to learn something to master it. It is also applicable outside of the dojo in our day-to-day life.
Benefits of Karate – it build Humility
The 10th Degree black belt is awarded to a karateka may at the age of 80 to 90 who has devoted a lifetime to the furtherance of the martial arts and has demonstrated a lifetime of significant achievement. There is always room for improvement, always room to learn something new. It helps you to be humble and leave your ego aside. Karate teaches you humility by emphasising that nobody is perfect, but there is always a possibility to become better.
Excelling in any form of martial art is very difficult and demanding; the same is true for Karate. It requires commitment and continuous dedicated training to overcome challenges and acquire new skills and abilities.
Perfection is achieved with sweat and suffering. There is no alternative to hard work. Through persistence, one can succeed in their practice. Perseverance of spirit and strong determination to keep pushing forward makes one successful.
Respect – Benefits of Karate
Karate teaches the importance of respect through all aspects of the training. Students must respect Sensei (Karate instructor) and other students throughout their training. They are encouraged to apply this outside of their training as well.
Focus and Concentration
Karate increases your ability to focus and allows you to concentrate more. Karate requires a complete focus on the mind and body on a particular task to execute it flawlessly. Punching, kicking, defending etc., all require mental focus and concentration. It improves cognitive control and attention. Kata or forms of Karate involves a lot of attention to memorising the steps and techniques.
Inner Peace/Peace of Mind – Benefits of Karate
‘Mokuso’ (Mokshoo) or meditation helps us to find inner peace or peace of mind. Karate requires concentration, fully present in the here and now. In Karate, victory or no victory is decided in a fraction of a second. Whether solitary practice or training with a partner, one needs to concentrate on your movements. It makes Karate a powerful form of active meditation. Peace of mind or inner peace helps one to fight physical adversity for self-defence.
Self-Discipline – Benefits of Karate
Karate or any other form of martial arts teaches self-discipline. A Self-discipline person can manage and control their behaviour, emotions and impulses. During the training, one learns how to bow, sit, stand, punch, kick, defend, meditate and deep breathe. These are the ways to discipline yourself and control your mind and emotions.
Limits Screen Time
It is a digital world all around us. Therefore, it is highly essential to your screen time for your physical and mental health. But enrolling in a Karate training programme can help you to stay away from your T.V., Laptop, Tablet and mobile screen for some time. Once you break the pattern and start enjoying an activity like Karate, you won’t be quickly drawn into the virtual world.
SUMMARY OF THE BENEFITS OF KARATE
- It burns calories and helps to lose weight.
- Karate builds up strength.
- It improves mental health.
- Enhances problem-solving abilities
- It teaches valuable self-defence techniques.
- It helps to develop discipline, respect for others, and honour.
- Improve Perseverance, respect and focus.
The most common karate injuries are sprains such as torn ACL, UCL injuries, strains, bruises, broken bones etc. These injuries frequently affect the knee joint, ankle joint, shoulder and elbow. Hands are particularly vulnerable to damage during karate sparring.
Therefore following precautions should always be taken before participating in karate practice or sparring.
Physical examination. It is advisable to consult with your doctor about participating in any kind of sports. Your medical history and physical exam will help the doctor alert you regarding any sports injuries you might face. Sports injury could be – Cardiovascular, neurologic or musculoskeletal. Therefore a thorough evaluation by a healthcare professional should be done before beginning any training.
Maintain fitness. One should be physically healthy when one begins martial arts/karate training. Excessive fatigue during exercise can lead to poor technique and sports injury. If one is low on the fitness scale, they should increase activity level gradually to build strength and endurance.
Warm-up. Always warm up before starting your training. Without a warm-up, muscles are prone to injury, therefore takes time to warm up with walking, running, jumping jacks, rotating different joints etc.
Cool down and stretch. Because of a busy schedule cooling down and stretching at the end of exercise are often neglected. Stretching reduces muscle soreness and keeps our muscles long and flexible.
Hydrate. Dehydration can negatively impact your performance. Without enough fluids, our body cannot cool itself through sweat and evaporation.
Ensure Appropriate Equipment
- Groin Guard
- Use of mouthguard.
- Wrap hands with appropriately sized wraps or use gloves.
- Chest Guard
- Shin Guard
- Home. (n.d.). Kio India. Retrieved August 3, 2022, from https://www.karateindia.org
- Home – JKA 公益社団法人日本空手協会. (n.d.). Jka.or.jp. Retrieved August 3, 2022, from https://www.jka.or.jp/en/
- World karate Federation. (n.d.). Wkf.net. Retrieved August 3, 2022, from https://www.wkf.net