"UNDO", Physical Fitness or Physical Abuse?

April 2006

Volume 9 Issue 4

Aibudo Kanji
Picture of Shihan

Tameshiwara, in my opinion, is a necessary entity within the arts and has it's place.  We use it as a tool to self-test oneself in proper striking technique.  Performed improperly, a resulting "thud" is heard along with a fair amount of discomfort or "pain". Performed properly, the resulting "snap" only exhibits a kind of "pressure" as the "weapon" passes through the material. If you do it wrong and, say fracture a hand, then many individuals consider this "physical conditioning" as physical abuse as it doesn't "prove" anything.  Your call, what do you think?

     If you've been training with individuals about your size and/or stature and your techniques have been working flawlessly, then why would you need to sweat  over pushups, crunches, jumping jacks and the like?  My opinion?  What if you face off with someone who is very physically fit, out weighs you by at least 75 to 100 pounds and is also a training martial artist?  All at once, that "flashy" technique that has never failed you, fails you in gasps, right down to the floor.  What if Ukemi Waza's are not included in your training regimen and you're slammed into the floor like a "side of beef"?  Will physical fitness assist or be inconsequential in this "umphy" experience.  Is the training of breakfalls, physical abuse or physical conditioning?  If you state that you'll never let anyone slam you to the floor, then why is the physical fitness training of Ukemi, necessary?  Well, this may surprise you to hear me say this, but possibly, if you'll never let anyone slam you to the floor, maybe Ukemi training isn't necessary. Then again, maybe you don't have a martial arts member like our "Alan" in your midst.  Being put into the floor, as falling off of a two story building, is a world shattering experience.

What about the "hit me harder" dynamic training?  What does that prove anyway?  Once again, my opinion.  First off, this is a physical conditioning that isn't possible by any number of crunches or the like.  There is no exercise that the muscles are able to react to as that.  Second, there is a mental conditioning that can not be developed by "halo" strikes or mechanical tools.  The facing of an opponent, looking them straight in the eyes, accepting their fist right in the gut and surviving is as good of a mental training as you can get.  The ability to take that strike, while at the same time moving forward into it and the ability to "drop" the attacker a split second later, with no concern of what just occurred, is priceless.  Jumping jacks and squat thrusts, by many are totally worthless.  They see no reasoning behind the value of defending oneself with them.  What do you think?  The major value of jumping jacks in my opinion, is foot speed.  Squat thrusts develop lung capacity out of this world.  If you don't run at all, I would compare 30 squat thrusts as too running 2 to 3 miles.  I know, I know, there are a good many variables here, but never-the-less………  If you don't presently run at all, your lungs and quads won't know the difference.  Is that physical conditioning or physical abuse?  After all, you're probably so good, that a confrontation won't ever last over 15 seconds, so why do your lungs and quads need any extra work?  Just a lot of sweat and discomfort for nothing!  What about heavy bag work that causes your wrists to swell, pains shooting up your forearm or pains in the hip joints?  Physical conditioning or physical abuse?  After all, you're not going to be punching a heavy bag in self-defense, only people and they're "soft"!!!!!!!!!!

     Martial Arts

Physical Fitness

What is martial arts physical fitness? Is it necessary?  Is a martial art, complete without it?  If you believe your technique to be  flawless, why work up a sweat for something you don't need?   When and how will you consider yourself to be physically fit.  Some consider martial arts physical conditioning to be physical and mental abuse.  Many systems don't include "undo" in their class time instruction at all.  If some amount of fitness is required, many systems require their members to "condition" themselves, on their own time.

     Taking into consideration all of the above, I'm going to "spew" my own beliefs on the subject.  You can agree or disagree, as that's your prerogative, but in the system of Aibudo, you don't have any choice.  You either participate in our "undo" and improve your fitness or you're not an Aibudo martial artist. If you wish to have your "belly" hanging over your belt for the rest of your life, then take up sewing or bowling or golf or archery or whatever, but our martial arts aren't for you.

     That said, what is Aibudo martial arts physical fitness?  Is it the ability to bench press 400 pounds?  Is it the ability to perform tameshiwara by breaking boards and/or bricks with your head?  What about the ability to jump straight up about 6 feet and perform double leg split kicks?  What is your idea of martial arts physical fitness?  Right about this time, for members of other systems reading this month's Hoodoo, I probably have them growling at me about now.  My opinion on extreme brick breakers and aerial split kick artists is more like circus performers than martial artist.