Karate Teaches Fitness: A Before and After Portrait

Although I have always enjoyed the outdoors, I was not a very active child. Especially if compared to other children of the ‘80s, when video games were rudimentary and kids’ TV shows were on for a limited time during the day. Sports, riding bikes around the neighborhood and active games were the norm then. But not for couch-potato kids like me. Too bad I didn’t have a martial arts based childhood because karate teaches fitness.

Before I learned how Karate Teaches Fitness

Before I started karate as a young adult, my main and regular physical activities were limited. I didn’t work out and my exercise was any movement I did in parenting full time and working part time, sporadic jobs. Depending on the job description, I might get a little more exercise on some days than others. I wasn’t overweight, but I wasn’t strong either.

Karate Teaches Fitness with Prescribed Calisthenics

There are certain exercises in a traditional karate warm up, so we start out classes by moving and getting our muscles working. Most teachers also add in a few calisthenics in most classes after the warm up. When I first started classes, it felt good to get into a routine of physical activity. That’s when I was introduced to how karate teaches fitness.

sparring activities are one way that karate teaches fitness

Karate Teaches Fitness with Class Activities

One reason we warm up in karate is because classes involve moving and the warm up prepares us physically for a good, safe workout. A lower impact workout would be a kata-based class. But most classes also include other movement such as hitting targets, partner work or sparring. One thing I loved then as a beginner and still love about how karate teaches fitness is that it does so while teaching useful life skills. In other words, I have fun and learn neat stuff while working out.

How a Mentor in Karate Teaches Fitness

My fitness improved considerably just by going to class and advancing through the ranks. I was consistently challenged, but not too much so. As I became an advanced student, I realized the importance of practicing my moves at home and on my own time. That helped me to remember the material and get better at it. After I was an instructor, I realized that in order to meet my own (now elevated) fitness goals, I would need to work on them on my own time. But my self discipline had grown through karate so that was something I could now do on my own, while still helping to teach others at a lower level than me.

Karate teaches fitness by helping someone like me go from couch potato, to trying and enjoying, to advancing and aspiring, to working on my own and mentoring others to do the same. And the best part is, that’s all while having fun and meeting new, positive people who are also working on bettering themselves and their skills too.

-Jenifer Tull-Gauger

karate teaches fitness for all levels

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