Martial arts are a great workout, but it can be easy to forget that we need to do other exercises to ensure total body fitness. That being said, it doesn’t have to take a lot of time or be a miserable experience.
One of my Iaido mentors, 8th Dan Hatekenaka Sensei, does hot yoga when she isn’t practicing Iaido. She practices Iaido every day whether there is class or not.
Now Iaido is great for many things. Swinging a sword about takes *some* strength, so it works the upper body. It’s important to mention that we try to get a sword that is a reasonable weight. Many are only a couple of pounds because they are a giant razor and don’t need to be heavy in order to cut things. Also, a light sword should be able to be swung as thought it were heavy and a heavy one as though it were light. It also is helpful to prevent repetitive strain injuries. We are prone to tennis elbow in this martial art. We also end up lopsided if we don’t take time to swing the sword using the opposite hand regularly.
Iaido also has us regularly go from seated seiza or tate hiza position and move around either in squat/lunge type positions or we might slide about on our knees. Yes, we’re also prone to knee injuries. This means we get a decent lower body workout also.
Sometimes it really makes us sweat, but not usually in the way a cardio workout does unless it’s really hot or Sensei really wants to give us a challenge.
So it’s important to cross-train. For some of us, like me, a weak area is my core. I’ve noticed since I started focusing on my core, my balance is improving.
But planks are god awful things and I hate them.
That brings me to Hip Hop Abs. Yeah, it’s a bit silly, but I had a fantastic time dancing about in my living room. The best way, was to say yes to the louder music option and just try to follow along as much as possible. Without the talking, it’s so much fun. I’m soaked and must shower again, but it was worth it. Also, it only took 30 minutes.
I loved dancing in high school, so I think it’s about time I made time for it in my life again.
I also enjoy doing High Intensity Interval Training as you can get a killer workout in 7 minutes. It’s also customizable, so you can insert things like sidekicks if you want to work on basics. Hey, I should add some suburi to my HIIT routine…
I also like to do some belly-dancing, RushFit, P90X, and the occasional boring thing like crunches, but lately I haven’t had the time. I did a lot of thinking about what was working and wasn’t for months now and I had to make the difficult choice to leave my writing group. I’m a very visual person and not good at hearing problems in stories when read to me. It all just sounds lovely. I need to see things on the printed page. Also, with school, a business, martial arts, a significant other, renovations, and other commitments, meeting weekly was just not working for me. In truth, I wasn’t really looking for a critique-style group either, but more of a casual writing atmosphere where we occasionally talk about something when someone has a question. There is a group like this in Ottawa and I think I’m going to give them a try if I can figure out where to leave my car…
Anyway, I must shower and eat something for supper. Perhaps I’ll put the pork chop in the oven first to make it almost cooked while I quickly clean up.
Oh, I almost forgot the whole point I wanted to make. While I followed along I could feel the same thing that we try for in Iaido, Ki Ken Tai Ichi, which means making the spirit, mind, body, and sword one. Well, minus the sword of course. I thought how cool it will be when I know the dance steps and can actually be in sync with the music and feel the flow.