It should come with no surprise that Japanese martial arts provide an amazing core strength workout. From judo to karate to aikido, Japanese martial arts build core strength in the abdominal muscles, chest muscles, and leg muscles. However, many do not understand that there is an entire philosophy behind the amazing core strength building powers of martial arts. They channel the body’s natural energy source as a way to build core muscles. This is an amazing philosophy that can be incorporated into daily core strength workouts of any kind.
Japanese martial art philosophy believes that there is a point below the belly button that is the center of your ‘ki.’ Ki is the central energy of the body that can be found in everyone. This point is located about one handspan below the belly button. The center of balance, or hara, is also located in your core area. Japanese athletes believe that strength arises from this point. During a core workout, it is important to focus on these muscles of the lower abdomen. Once the energy is channeled from here, it can radiate out into other muscles, therefore creating a far more productive workout. In martial arts, teachers instruct their students to knock their opponents off of their center of gravity, which is located in the core. For this reason, martial arts teach to focus energy on the core muscles in order to maintain a solid foundation of gravity.
From this foundation in the core muscles, the chain of energy and movement will flow naturally outward. If the foundation is not strong, however, you are far more likely to get trigger points that can allow for an easy defeat. Masters of the martial arts understand the importance of developing core muscles like the lower back, hips, and abdominal muscles. This philosophy should be incorporated into daily workouts for core strength at home. For example, start to focus workouts on sit-ups and burpees. These will strengthen the core muscles, and therefore allow energy to flow freely throughout the body.
Some other exercises that are recommended for building core strength and allowing for the flow of energy include the bridge and the plank. The bridge is a common core strength workout that is sure to build a strong core foundation. Simply put your feet and hands on the floor with the front of your body facing up, then thrust your lower body into the airs, forming a shape like a bridge. For the plank, simply lay face down on the ground and simultaneously elevate your head and lower legs. You will surely feel your abdominal muscles expand and become stronger. Of course the best way to build core strength while being mindful of body energies is through the actual practice of martial arts. Sign up for a local judo, karate, or aikido class today to learn the ways of martial arts and to build a strong core foundation.