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Karate Has Several Physical and Mental Health Benefits

That karate is one of the best forms of self-defence and fitness needs no elaboration. However, the martial art form is also an excellent means of selfdevelopment with several physical and mental health benefits that have rarely been highlighted. What’s more you do not need to be a master or have years of practice to experience its benefits. Just sign up for a class once a week at a centre near you and learn the callisthenic drills, stretching exercises, basics of attack, block, punch and kicks. 12-14 sessions of an hour or two each in a month are good enough to get you on the road to health.


Karate has a number of callisthenic drills (warm up moves) that loosen up your body and act as stress busters. To understand how they work, know these three aspects:
» Kihon: Techniques of moving forward, backward, sideward and various postures
» Kata: Imaginary fight sequences in which a person is surrounded by enemies and has to counter-attack using various stances
» Kumite: The lessons of kihon and kata are combined but they are executed with an opponent.

These three aspects not only sharpen your skills, reflexes and your ability to cope with stress during a fight or combat situation, but also aid you in everyday tasks.

For instance in kata, you learn to make split-second decisions on when to fight, punch or block. Over a period, these movements help you be more in control of your reflexes, keep your mind cool and increase your decision-making ability.



This martial art is a great exercise for asthmatics as the movements involve a lot of inhalation and exhalation. In kata, during an attack, one needs to exhale correctly as the power goes from your body to that of the opponent’s.

On the contrary, if you are blocking an attacker, you need to inhale properly in order to absorb the opponent’s strength. This inhalation and exhalation increases lung capacity. It’s believed that if you do kata 10 times, it’s equivalent to 10 kms of jogging. Once you practise the moves, they can also be performed in a confined space, say at home or in your office.

Kata is beneficial for asthmatics who can practise them under a doctor’s guidance as these movements help lessen their burden on the inhaler. Mild asthma can be controlled and possibly cured too with these exercises.


Karate helps restore the balance to metabolism rates. Just in the case of any other form of exercise, when you train, toxins are flushed out as you tend to sweat a lot. Moreover, since lung capacity improves, your immunity against viral diseases such as coughs and colds increases too. Now this is something which you can do with, this malaria season.

More importantly, since karate works on your mind, it boosts your mental ability to deal with illnesses. Visualisation plays a big role in karate and it helps develop a positive attitude against diseases.


The calisthenic drills stretch the joints to the maximum. Practising karate for a long time makes your body lean and supple and can add a few centimetres to your height.


Certain kata movements and the drills that emphasise on stretching and maintaining the balance of the spine help cure minor back pain problems. But to get the maximum benefits, one must train regularly for at least six months.


Certain katas concentrate solely on breathing while power and focus are secondary. These can help people with high blood pressure bring their BP to normal levels.


Those with mild joint pains find karate very useful, especially stances that strengthen particular joints and reduce the burden on others. For example, a popular stance is one where one knee is bent to a side shifting the weight of the body to it. This reduces pressure on the other knee.

The best thing about karate is that you don’t need to be the right age or weight to start learning karate. The only criteria needed? A bit of discipline and regular practise. The movements and exercise take care of the rest.

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