Each system and/or style of martial art requires it's own level and/or amount of physical conditioning. Irregardless of the style though, the martial artist should be conditioned well enough to accept an unseen or unexpected strike or blow that would otherwise "drop" or injure the untrained. Other than the art of the Sumo, all other martial artist should be well trimmed and toned. After all we are not involved in a sewing circle, but the business of self-defense. I have read and heard of some styles whereas the practitioner never gets struck. Bull! No one is always that alert, good or lucky. Especially against true master grade practitioners and even some street smart individuals. The dreaded "sucker punch" is always present, waiting to be executed. Without dwelling on the why's and wherefores of these circumstances, the proper conditioning is a necessity. You must be able to absorb and rebound from the unforeseen. The problem with a good many of the regimented classes is class time. Classes of less than two hours in length are unable to, even halfway, condition the participants properly. Our classes of three hours plus allow enough time for mediocre conditioning at best. We utilize approximately one to one and a half hours for conditioning only, prior to the regular class instruction. If weights were desired in the training, much more time would have to be utilized.
I don't profess at being an expert at conditioning but it takes a certain amount of time to work the legs, arms, midsection, etc. to accomplish the required amount of conditioning. The theory in some systems, is that the practitioner is to work on their own, on their own time for the conditioning. This might be acceptable for a slight few, but not for the majority. It takes being driven by a well conditioned and respected instructor for most individuals to work with the required intensity. The amount of conditioning has to be dependent upon the individuals you are working with. When it comes to the beginner, the required level has to be attainable. If you told a beginner, who had a pot gut hanging over his belt, that his first requirement of a situp type of exercise was 100, they would either not show up for the next class or injure themselves with the effort. Then again, the master instructor must be in a condition themselves that they are able to drive their senior people to their maximum. As I stated before, most people have to be driven, to attain maximum and desirable results. If you don't work for the best out of people, they will feel that they are inferior or not up to the "job".
A good example, of which there are many, is of a young, fresh new Shodan (of a major system) who visited one of our regular short classes of two and one half hours. An individual at this time in their martial arts career should have excellent focus and power with super control. The sad thing that resulted from his visit and participation in our class of that evening, was his embarrassment when his power was proven to be no more than white belt (street beginner) and his usable flexibility was only waist high, although he was able to perform perfect splits. I realize what some of the comments are from the readers of the above scenario, but I won't comment about the usual ones at this time. The lack of stamina was extremely frustrating. Now this man had just received his first degree black-belt which he had to travel hundreds of miles and pay $1000.00 for his testing fee. It got worse when he asked what our Shodan testing fee was and told that it was $65.00. Now I have no problem with the $1000.00 fee, but the participant should have been a $1000.00 martial artist and at least have been able to match or better a green belt! The brown belts "blew" him away.
The problem with the aforementioned situation is, shouldn't this individual graduated as a new Shodan worthy of being a martial artist? Otherwise, what is the point? Sad to say, he probably had participated in a class, that is so dependent upon the monies received, that this was the schools primary purpose and priority. It shouldn't be the "priority" of the school for the individuals money, but for the individuals need of the school for their betterment and development of a controlled forward attitude. I often wondered if the above individual, after spending thousands of dollars on his training and witnessing his embarrassment during our class participation, continued his martial arts career. He was truly cheated without his knowledge. He didn't learn until stepping "outside" of his controllers, that he was only a "green belt" wishing to be otherwise. There are a great many of these "money machines" out there, taking advantage of the unwary and trusting individuals.
If only his conditioning had been executed fully and properly, he might have been one of the top martial artist in the world, but now we'll never know.