Martial Arts have an impressive number of exercise and health benefits as well as being great forms of self-defence, stress relief and a boost to confidence.
1) Cardiovascular health- high intensity martial arts exercise programs and fights will significantly increase your heart rate and test your rate of recovery.
2) Reflexes– to be a good martial artist, you must have very fast reflexes. Research has found that by participating in martial arts, you not only improve your reflexes while performing the activity, but actually experience faster reaction times in other every day activities.
3) Increased muscle tone- by participating in martial arts, you can greatly improve the amount of muscle mass in your body and consequently look more toned. The higher your muscle mass, the higher your metabolic demands will be which means you will burn more calories each day. High levels of muscle mass also lead to increased agility.
4) Weight Loss- during martial arts classes and fights you will burn a high number of calories with the diverse range of movements and footwork.
5) Improved Mood- you will definitely leave any martial arts class on a high. Performing martial arts is a great way to relieve stress and frustration. The endorphins released by physical activity appear to be active in your body for as many as four hours after exercise.
With so many different types to choose from how do you decide?
Unarmed martial arts can be broadly grouped into techniques focused on strikes and grappling:
1) Strikes: Kickboxing, Muay Thai, Taekwondo, Kickboxing, Karate, Capoeira and Boxing
2) Grappling: Jujutsu, Judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestling etc
It’s also a good idea to decide whether you just want a good workout without learning any intricate moves of techniques. If this is the case then it might be better just to try a Kettle-bell workout class or cardio kickboxing.
If you want to be the next Jade Jones (2012 Olympic gold medallist), then try:
Translated from Korean, “TAE” literally means to jump, kick or smash with the foot, “KWON” means to punch or destroy with the hand or fist and “DO” means art, way or method.
This sport will really improve your co-ordination and flexibility. Many of the moves require core and spinal strength for upright kicking moves. Range of hip and shoulder motion is also important, as is balance. Whether balancing on one foot, performing a front or side kick, or striking, many moves require your legs and arms to work together to either defend or attack.
Taekwondo is all about the kicks, so it is really important to target, strengthen and stretch your hamstrings.
One Leg Dead-lift Balance (from about.com):
- Stand on the left leg with the right foot slightly back, resting on the toe.
- Hold a weight or barbell in front of the thigh and tip from the hips, keeping the back straight and the abs braced, bring the weight towards the floor.
- At the same time, lift the right leg up as you lower the weight, taking the leg up to hip level.
- Squeeze the glutes of the left leg to pull back up and repeat for 8-16 reps before switching sides.
- Keep the move slow and controlled and concentrate on keeping your balance at the same time you keep the core braced. If you feel wobbly, keep the back foot on the floor.
Taekwondo classes in Cardiff:
United Taekwondo International Wales: Wednesday and Fridays at 6:30
St Peter’s RFC, Minster Road, Roath
Cardiff North Taekwondo
Training at Heath Sports and Social Club, Heath Park on Sundays and Wednesdays.
Cardiff Martial Arts
Training at Channel View Leisure Centre, Llanrumney High School and Pontprennau Community Centre
This will really knock out the boredom from your workout and blast body fat fast with a range of toning and body-sculpting moves.
Kick-boxing burns an average of 500 calories an hour, some estimate 810. The exercise targets your arms, shoulders, abs, thighs and bum all in one workout. It is also an incredible form of stress release.
Kickboxing keeps you moving at an intensity that you probably not be able to replicate while doing cardio exercise on your own, so take advantage of the group energy of the workout to get the most out of this form of exercise.
Warning: Do not perform this move without first thoroughly warming up and stretching
The roundhouse move is a as your leg moves in an arc.
- Stand with right foot forward in fighting stance.
- Bend your right knee bringing your heel towards the glutes and pivot on the left foot, turning your hips to the left. This is not shown in the picture.
- Strike from right to left in an arc with right foot, extending kick from knee, toes pointed.
- Retract and return to fighting stance.
Classes in Cardiff
This class will really help you to bring strict discipline to your everyday life.
Cardiff Karate and Kickboxing Academy
These award-winning classes are designed for men and women of all abilities and ages.
Boxing and Boxercise
Boxercise is an addictive exercise class based on the training concepts boxers use to keep fit. A typical class may involve shadow-boxing, skipping, hitting pads, kicking punchbags, press-ups, shuttle-runs and sit-ups. Most boxercise classes are aimed at men and women of all ages and fitness standards. It is a fun, challenging and safe workout because no class actually involves hitting an opponent.
Increased mental agility and decision-making
Improved hand-eye coordination
Increased stamina: High-level boxing boxing is around 70%-80% anaerobic (high-intensity) and 20%-30% aerobic, therefore training increases stamina in heart and lungs
Raised core strength: To take a punch and hold your balance, your abdominals need to be strong and toned – this strong core stability can reduce the risk of back pain and improve posture
Strengthen your upper body and blast those bingo wings with:
- Sit with your back to a bench or chair and have your legs either bent (beginner-shown in picture) or straight (advanced)
- Place hands on the bench so they are pointed towards you
- Raise body up into a seated position
- Bend elbows out behind you to lower your bum to the floor
- Push back up until arms are straight