The Top Health Benefits Of Karate

The Top Health Benefits Of Karate, Dr. Michael Chin

People continue to talk about karate at increasing rates, especially as the practice has become more popular in recent years. Known as a type of martial arts, karate originates back to China. With more knowledge and understanding of what karate is and the health benefits that it has, people around the world are trying the practice out at higher rates. With this in mind, let’s examine some of the top benefits of practicing karate.

More Active Lifestyle
One of the most obvious benefits of karate is the positive influence it can have on one’s health. In karate, a person is trained on striking moves, which can include punches, kicks, and knee strikes, and typically requires a sustainable fitness level. Because of this, karate continues to be highly recommended for helping to maintain an active, healthy lifestyle.

To best prepare for a season, many professional athletes have found that incorporating karate can help them achieve their peak fitness levels, as the physical discipline and training that one gets from karate continues to be nearly unmatched. According to an article from Evolve, karate can burn up to 1,000 calories per hour, providing an efficient and heart-pumping workout. By incorporating karate and martial arts into their training, not only can it help professional athletes to attain their physical goals, but anyone who wants to begin practicing a more active lifestyle.

Improved Mental Health
In addition to helping keeping your body in physical shape, it is also considered a highly beneficial practice for one’s mental health. How exactly can karate help with one’s mental health? To begin, karate and martial arts as a whole are a practice that is meant to be approached as a way to get the most out of your life physically, but mentally and spiritually as well. Because of the more intricate, difficult approach to karate, individuals who practice karate often find that their mental health has improved as a result of the discipline that is required. As one practices karate over a longer period, they may find that their overall mood and energy levels have improved.

The mental and physical benefits not only make karate a great practice to think about implementing in one’s life, but it can also help you find an active lifestyle that works best for you.

The Difference Between Kung Fu And Karate

The Difference Between Kung Fu And Karate-min

As karate has continued to evolve overtime, people have become more interested in what karate is. Many times, they may actually confuse karate with kung fu. While there are similarities between karate and kung fu, they do differ quite a bit as well. Let’s examine what exactly karate and kung fu are, and how they differ from one another.

What Are Karate & Kung Fu?
As most people will know, karate is a form of unarmed combat that uses various forms of block blows. Karate is originally from Japan, and is a form of martial arts. The main goal of karate is to become trained in defensive and counterattack movements using only one’s body. On the other hand, kung fu is a form of martial arts that originated from China, unlike karate, which originates in Japan. Like karate, the concept of kung fu comes from martial arts, as both carry similar traits.

How Do They Differ?
Although karate and kung fu draw from similar concepts from martial arts, they differ in several ways. To begin, the movements that are used in kung fu are known for their smooth techniques and movements. The smooth transitions between moves comes from the circular movements that are used throughout. Karate, on the other hand, is known to use quicker movements and follow a stop and go pattern with their movements. Unlike kung fu, karate movements do not have smooth transitions in between movements, with less graceful transitions from one move to the next.

Another difference between karate and kung fu is the length of time that each set takes. While karate’s movements come fast and hard, kung fu’s movements often take more time in an effort to make smooth transitions. Additionally, most kung fu forms are longer, and generally more complicated movements. While karate closely resembles the moves that are found in kung fu, they may not be as long.

In general, the best way to describe how karate and kung fu differ are through their techniques, styles, weapons and uniforms worn during any routine. It is important to note that while they have many differences, neither kung fu or karate are more difficult than the other, especially knowing that they both come from martial arts. Karate and kung fu continue to be staples in the martial arts spectrum, and will only continue to progress in the coming years.

Karate: You Didn’t Know You Needed It Until Now

Karate_ You Didn't Know You Needed It Until Now

Karate is a fantastic opportunity for a kid to both enjoy themselves plentifully, as well as learn important life lessons. Karate teaches the values of patience, self-discipline and hard work, which are the staples of what makes a successful, well-rounded person’s character. Yohji Yamamoto, of the New York Times, described Karate as, “It’s a discipline, an art and, at the very least, an entertainment.”

Who Can Benefit from Karate?

Karate has such a wide-range of expansive benefits that the truthful answer to the question is to say that karate can benefit everyone. It benefits a person’s physical health in a number of ways. The practice teaches the user self-discipline as well as benefiting a person’s mental health.

The truth is that anyone both, children and adults alike, can benefit from Karate. Both mentally and physically, anyone can gain better health if they fully commit to it. You can even turn this into a habit for the whole family!

How Does a Person Benefit from Karate?

The basic, overall health benefits are vast. According to the University of Houston, they result in the “balancing blood pressure and circulation, lowering the cholesterol level, and reducing the number of visits to the doctor and all medical expenses.”. It’s a great cardio workout that also does a great job of working out a person’s core and interconnected muscle groups.

The positive benefits of Karate are not only the benefits which affect the overall physical health, but rather, they also pertain to the mind. The act gives a person a feeling of presence in the moment, similar to the effects of yoga. As the University of Houston describes it, Karate gives the user a sense that “at that moment you feel the freedom to sense the beautiful things in life.” Karate, yoga, and other physical art forms are often all categorized as forms of meditation, which is thought to provide clarity and a sense of oneness with the universe.

The University of Houston believes that Karate even produces benefits for a child in the classroom. Karate teaches a person to focus on handling one task at time, rather than allowing themselves to be distracted by all the other tasks. They state that, “only 100% concentration and focus on the task at hand is the best use of your energy – anything else is just a waste of your time and energy.”

The History of Jujutsu

The origins of jujutsu can be traced back to the Muromachi period in Japan between 1333 and 1573. It was developed as a form of unarmed combat during the era of the Samurai, during which nearly every warrior was heavily armed and armored. Since this early form of what would become jujutsu was intended to used against an armed opponent wearing heavy armor, it incorporated grapples, throws, holds, and techniques that were designed to disarm an enemy. Strikes were rarely used since Samurai armor negated their usefulness.

The goal of jujutsu was and still is to use an opponent’s momentum against them to control, disarm, restrain, or kill them, depending on the situation at hand. Samurai who used jujutsu on the battlefield would attempt to kill their enemies, while today’s self-defense jujutsu schools and combat sports are based around holds and takedowns.

The term “jujutsu” was first coined in the 17th Century and can be freely translated as “the art of gaining victory by yielding or pliancy.” This term began to be used to describe nearly all forms of grappling in Japan around this time.

Jujutsu evolved over the years and changed with the times into what we know today. The current form of jujutsu that is practiced is most closely related to Edo jujutsu, since it was mostly developed during the Edo period between 1603 and 1868. Strict laws during this period discouraged the use of many weapons, so unarmed combat became more common as a form of self-defense. Since weapons and armor weren’t as widely used during the Edo period, jujutsu evolved to incorporate more strikes in addition to the holds and takedowns that had been used before. Strikes were often aimed at the eyes, the throat, the back of the neck, and other vulnerable areas.

Today, modern jujutsu is still taught as a form of self-defense and in combat sports. It is no longer intended to be used against armed or armored opponents; modern jujutsu styles are taught to be used against opponents in normal light clothing. The principles of Japanese jujutsu have also spread to other parts of the world, most notably Brazil. Brazilian jujutsu was developed by Helio Gracie based on concepts that he learned from the jujutsu master Mitsuy Maeda and involves fighting from one’s back in a guard position.


Why Kids Benefit From Martial Arts

Michael Chin Worcester MA Martial Arts

Children often clamor to sign up for classes in the martial arts. It can be wise to indulge that desire because studying martial arts offers a few concrete benefits that can help them both as children and later in life.

Health and Fitness

Exercise is vital for children and adolescents. It helps to prevent obesity, which is a common health problem among young people that can cause many other diseases to develop. It also helps to manage mental health by reducing stress levels, helping to prevent anxiety and depression, and even by boosting energy.

A few factors contribute to making martial arts a good way to get that exercise. Most people practice them in a class, which makes it easy to stick to a regular schedule and ensures frequent exercise. They also provide a steady level of exercise over relatively long classes, which tends to be easier on the body than working out in short bursts.

Social Bonding

Shared activities are the best ways to make new friends. Kids who take part in martial arts have plenty of opportunities to meet people with shared interests. As they spend time with the other people in the class, they will tend to build new friendships.

Strong friendships tend to boost happiness and help form good memories, but they also form a cornerstone of good health. The psychological benefits are overwhelmingly positive, with strong social bonds reducing the risk of most mental problems in all age groups. To a lesser extent, these friendships also help to maintain physical health by giving people a reason to stay active and interact with the world. That means that anything that helps people to make friends will greatly improve their lives.


Martial arts did not begin as sports. This practice developed naturally as practical tools for warriors and only became traditional sports during a period of extended peace. Many of them still see some use in military forces and law enforcement agencies all over the world.

Taking classes in the martial arts won’t turn kids into soldiers, but it will give them tools and the confidence that they need to defend themselves in an emergency. It is always best if they never need to use those skills, but it is better to be prepared for an emergency that never happens than to be unprepared for one that does.

New to Martial Arts? Here is What You Need to Know

Michael Chin- New to Martial Arts (1)

So, your curiosity about martial arts has finally gotten the better of you. You have decided to roll up your sleeves and perform some research. If you want to know what to expect out of martial arts, you have come to the right place. I’m going to list out several things that you will learn very quickly when it comes to starting your martial arts journey.

1) Do your research. Whether you want to try Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Capoeira, Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Muay Thai, Judo, Kickboxing or MMA, you will want to figure out which art is right for you. More than likely, you will begin one, and adopt another and another. You will want to visit the gyms in your area to meet their instructors and see what they have to offer. Most places offer a free trial ranging from one to two weeks. You may want to sign a long-term contract or go month-to-month. Trust me, take advantage of the free week or two and try as many types of classes as you can. This will help you narrow down where you want to focus.

2) Once you decide which types of classes you want to take, you will need to purchase gear. If you take jiu jitsu or judo, you will need a gi and a white belt to start. Kickboxing and Muay Thai will require gloves, shin pads and a mouth guard. There are “start-up” costs to any sport and martial arts is no exception. Ask what your professor recommends and see if you can find affordable items online. The gym may also sell them for a little over cost.

3) No matter which martial art you choose, one thing is for certain, you will quickly replace bad habits with new ones. I will be honest here, I still struggle with some of my non-training related bad habits (cookies and ice cream), but I have knocked most of them out. Once you get started, you will begin to recognize your training bad habits and begin to correct them. The journey is a constant learning process.

4) Martial arts will give you much more than a physical workout. I personally go train over my lunch hour. I go back to work with a clear head. It’s like hitting a reset button. If you are stressed, you will leave the gym feeling better. Whatever you choose will not only help your physical health, but it will teach you problem solving, stress management, and enable you to keep a clear head. Martial arts is the ultimate meditation.

5) I am saving the best for last. The number one reason I love martial arts is because when you enter the gym you decide to call home, you are not just entering a workout facility, you are joining a family. You will enter a place where your training partners care about you on and off the mats. The camaraderie is like none I have experienced before.

Go visit your local martial arts academies. Visit several. Pay attention to how the members treat each other. You will know when you have found the right place for you.

Martial Arts and Mental Health: Therapeutic Benefits

Michael Chin- Martial arts & Mental health

If you want to improve your mental health, and you’re not getting as much out of that therapy session or yoga class as you wanted, there’s another option: martial arts. Martial arts has been shown to improve mental health as both a spiritual and physical exercise.

First of all, martial arts are a physical activity. Participants train to improve their strength, balance, flexibility, and agility. It’s a full-body workout that can really get your heart going. And like any other physical activity, martial arts provides both physical and mental health benefits, reducing stress, releasing endorphins, and developing healthy habits and coping mechanisms. Additionally, martial arts improve physical self-confidence. By knowing that they are in good health and physically powerful, participants may feel better prepared to cope with all sorts of stressors.

But martial arts has other, more specific, benefits, separate from those of regular physical activity. The depiction of martial arts in the Western world has often featured a lot of flashy hand-to-hand combat and impressive demonstrations of physical power, such as breaking wood or bricks with bare hands, feet, or foreheads. However, martial arts has its roots as a spiritual movement, with many of its concepts drawn from Taoism or Zen Buddhism. The spiritual emphasis of martial arts can be best seen in so-called “soft” martial arts, such as tai-chi, which focuses on the direction of energy inwards, rather than outwards, resulting in a pattern of graceful dance-like movements, rather than fighting. However, even “hard” martial arts often involve “soft” aspects, such as meditation, and some forms of martial arts, such as Shaolin Kung Fu and Goju Ryu, are neither hard nor soft, but rather a combination of the two.

Thus, counter to what pop culture might suggest, martial arts –even those that emphasize combat– have been shown to reduce aggressiveness in participants. Mastering the complicated body movements required in the various forms of martial arts requires a great deal of self-awareness, and that attention to detail translates to improved self-regulation and reduced impulsiveness. Additionally, martial arts forms come with various ethical codes or ideals. While the contents of these codes varies between forms, some common values include respect, sincerity, and integrity. A successful martial arts program will help participants how to live up to these ideals.

These advantages have made some mental health experts consider martial arts a form of somatopsychic therapy. This is therapy that takes advantage of the body’s effect on the mind in order to improve the mind by improving the way a patient uses the body.


The Importance of Self-Defense

kung-fu-2198043_1280People take up their studies of the martial arts for various reasons and the benefits are many. Some may wish to make new friends. Others may want to boost their confidence. Others still may want to manage their stress. These are all valid reasons for taking a martial arts class, but one of the most obvious advantages one can derive from the martial arts is self-defense. In fact, self-defense is often used interchangeably with martial arts. One of the definitions of “martial” is “characteristic of or befitting a warrior.” A true warrior never lets down their guard and knows how to defend himself in an attack, and this is the core value of the martial arts.

You never know when you may be in a situation where your self-defense skills will be put to the test. Many statistics cite reasons it’s important for women to learn self-defense, such as the fact that a 21-year-old woman has a 1 in 4 chance of experiencing a violent crime in their lifetime or that in 2010, women aged 12 or over were the victims of 270,00 rape or sexual assault cases in the United States. But really everyone, man or woman, should possess a set of basic self-defense skills. Anyone could find themselves in a dangerous situation at some point in their lives so everyone should be able to physically defend themselves if needed.

The obvious reason self-defense is important is to ward off an attacker and be prepared for dangerous and unforeseen circumstances. Let me break it down and explain just how and why self-defense skills would come in handy in the event of an attack.

It teaches you to plan your next move in advance

Anyone who’s had something stolen from them or been physically attacked in the streets will take measures to ensure it doesn’t happen again- not that these kinds of things can be actively avoided, but one will be more on their guard. Don’t let it come to that. Self-defense classes will teach you how to always be one step ahead of an attacker and to be more aware of your surroundings. No one plans to be attacked, but you can prepare for it in the event that you find yourself in a dangerous situation. Master Olson, a 6th degree black belt and owner of a karate studio, teaches his students to think as the attacker would, about where you could be attacked (where you’re most vulnerable) and where an attacker could be hiding.

It helps you to develop a warrior spirit

As I shared above, the meaning of the word “martial” relates to the qualities of a warrior. Learning self-defense skills will teach you to think and fight like a warrior. In addition to being fierce and strong, a warrior is a survivor. A warrior will not surrender to the attacker. In certain situations, it makes more sense to run for help or surrender your belongings over to your attacker. However, if you are attacked, you should be able to defend yourself on the spot to avoid being taken away or injured by your attacker.

It teaches you to be more aware

Learning self-defense will give you a greater sense of self-awareness, as well as awareness of your surroundings. You will develop quicker reflexes and be able to make fast and intelligent moves against an opponent. Being prepared in a fight just may save your life.

Systema Triple Threat Event!


Five Books That Will Give You a Deeper Understanding of Martial Arts


The martial arts are unlike many other sports in that honing your mind is just as important, if not even more important, than training your body. You’ll never master the movements of martial arts if you don’t commit to understanding the art as a whole and realize the vital role your mind plays. If you want to truly master the martial arts and make progress by moving up belt levels, then training doesn’t stop when class ends. When you have some down time, be sure to pick up one of these books to further your studies. You won’t regret it!

1. The Anatomy of Martial Arts: An Illustrated Guide to the Muscles Used for Each Strike, Kick, and Throw by Dr. Norman Link and Lily Chou

This is a great book for beginners to the martial arts that want a better understanding of the muscles used in key movements. The martial arts involve so many precise movements that one can assume they deliver great health benefits, but this book actually illustrates with colorful drawings and photos the specific muscles that are being exercised. By knowing which muscles go into the key movements, you can tailor your training to focus on those muscles for maximum strength and accuracy.

2. The Unfettered Mind: Takuan Soho

Written by zen master Takuan Soho in seventeenth century Japan, this classic samurai guide is definitely the oldest on the list-probably one of the oldest continuously-circulated martial arts texts in existence, actually. Despite its age, this is a timeless read that is not the least bit archaic. Soho wrote the book as a swordsmanship guide for the samurai Yagyu Munenori and its lessons are just as applicable to the modern martial arts students. The Unfettered Mind teaches the valuable lesson of how to connect the body with the mind, and the lessons it teaches were so valuable that his work inspired other classic martial arts works such as Miyamoto Mushashi’s Book of Five Rings and Yagyu Munenori’s Life-Giving Sword.

3. Zen in the Martial Arts: Joe Hyams

This 1979 memoir from martial artist and Hollywood columnist Joe Hyams, who trained under legends like Bruce Lee and Ed Parker, is “about life and philosophy, and how to turn a negative into a positive, how to defuse a situation by the way you handle it” and less about martial arts. It’s about how practicing the martial arts gave Hyams a greater appreciation for and deeper understanding of life. By reading this book you too will learn the value of martial arts- how it is so much more than just a sport and rather a way of life.

4. Research of Martial Arts: Jonathan Bluestein

This book professes to be a study of the true essence of martial arts. One can practice the movements of martial arts and its origins without ever arriving at the true meaning of the subject. The goal of this book, published in 2014, was to surpass all other martial arts literary offerings in the market and offer readers a unique experience. The aim, according to Goodreads, is to “present the reader a coherent, clear-cut, and in-depth view of some of the most perplexing and controversial subjects in the world of martial arts, as well as providing a healthy dose of philosophical outlook on these subjects (from various individuals).” Based on the book’s 5-star rating and rave reviews, I think it’s safe to say it delivers on that promise.

5. 25 Principles of Martial Arts: Kambiz Mostofizadeh

The 25 main principles outlined in this book will teach you how to succeed not only in the martial arts, but in life. Some of the key principles crucial to the martial arts, such as The Principle of Apprenticeship and The Principle of Shifting Power, translate just as easily to business and relationships. If you commit yourself to studying and applying these principles, you will undoubtedly become a better martial artist, and if you expand your mind and weave these principles into the rest of your life, you could become a better person as well.