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Martial Arts and Body Building

Mar 16, 2008
There can be more to body building than just lifting weights. For variation in your routine you might want to engage in martial arts style activities such as Aikido, Karate, Judo, Qi Gong or any of the other ancient Asian disciplines that are about building muscular strength. The great thing about learning martial arts as well is that you are also taught how to be very spry on your feet.

Martial arts training also teaches you how to focus yourself mentally. In a way you could refer to it as "applied body building" as eventually you end up fighting an opponent in these disciplines. There is a lot more to it than just "pumping iron" which is great for those who want a little bit of variance to the way they work out.

The benefits of martial art training are similar to those of straight muscle building, only the activities are a bit more aerobic as there is lots of jumping, swinging the arms in the air and kicking. In fact most martial arts professionals also weight train. Many people who try Tae Kwon Do and the other Asian disciplines experience many physical and psychological benefits. The physical benefits consist of, but aren't confined to the following: loss of body fat, healthier year round, becoming more energetic, better physical aerobic condition, as well as stronger joints.

However martial arts is directly related to anaerobic exercise because there are many postures and weight bearing type exercises that mimic the holding of a weapon even if there is none in the persons grasp. Also many of the ancient moves are specifically about developing grace and strength. Some of the martial arts forms are more about developing a longer lithe body shape that can help you mimic the movements of certain totem animals like a panther or a crane. This is why studying the martial arts is also ideal for women as it is not as much about developing the truly shiny iron man type muscles that are not necessarily that attractive to females.

The most popular forms of martial art that are currently taught in the Western World as an adjunct program to muscle building are Aikido, Capoeira (a form of dance mixed with street fighting), Kendo, Wing Chun and Wushu. Almost all are based on ancient Asian sword fighting or hand combat techniques except for Capoeira, which is actually a form of martial arts practiced by African slaves in Brazil.

The only drawback to supplementing your weightlifting routine with a martial arts building program is that it can be hard on the joints. This is because there is less stationary exercise than there is with just a straight program of muscle building and therefore more risk of injury. This may be of some concern to you if you are an older muscle trainer or have joint pain. Almost all muscle builders suffer from joint pain or growing pains of some kind sooner or later. This can usually be treated with liniments and calcium magnesium type supplements.
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