Posts Tagged ‘martial arts’

Kid's Karate

Kid’s Karate: What You Need To Know

Kid’s karate classes first gained popularity in the 80’s after the the movie The Karate Kid was released in theaters. Every kid wanted to be Daniel and every parent wanted their kids to be able to defend themselves against Kobra Kai bullies. As karate dojos began seeing more enrollment of youth members, other traditional martial arts began to follow suit. Now, almost 40 year later, there is no shortage of martial arts styles and school, from traditional to modern, that kids can train in.

Needless to say, shopping for a kid’s karate program can be overwhelming to parents who have no experience with martial arts.

So how do you make an educated decision?

Knowing what you want your child to learn from the martial arts is a great place to start.

Here’s a list of the most common reasons we hear from parents when it comes to why they sign their kids up for karate:

I Want My Kid To Be Able To Protect Themselves:

You may be wondering, which martial arts style is best for self-defense? While traditional styles like karate, taekwondo, and kung fu have a wealth of history and knowledge, they can miss the mark when it comes to practical application in a modern world. Modern styles like K-1 kickboxing, Muay Thai, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu offer a more practical approach to self-defense focusing on applied physics and body mechanics rather than choreographed movement. Look for a program that doesn’t just teach self-defense techniques, but also explains how the techniques works.

I Want My Kid To Be More Confident:

The key to developing confidence through the martial arts is less about the style and more about the school and instructors. Look for a place that offers a FREE trial class to get an idea of what the culture is like before you commit to long-term training. A training environment with enthusiastic and supportive instructors and other kids that genuinely look happy to be there are great indication of a healthy training environment. Also, find a place that offers smaller class sizes as larger classes can be intimidating to kids struggling with feeling confident.

I Want My Kid To Be Better Disciplined:

Most martial arts schools will implement several exercises to encourage discipline such as saying “yes, sir” or “yes, ma’am” and bowing to instructors and training partners. But not all schools have programs in place that teach accountability and self-discipline. Look for a program that has clearly communicated requirements for belt rank advancement that includes more than just class attendance. Clearly communicating benchmarks is a great way to teach kids the importance of setting goals and putting in the work to achieve them.

I Want My Kid To Get Fit:

Contrary to what you may think, not all martial arts programs are created equal when it comes to fitness. Traditional styles can put a lot of emphasis on developing low stances and high kicks, but can lack intentionality when it comes to developing cardiovascular stamina and full-body strength development. Modern styles tend to focus more on developing upper body as well as lower body strength. While sparring is a great way to develop stronger cardio, programs that incorporate regular bag and pad drills tend to develop more well-rounded students. Look for a program that is intentional about including physical conditioning drills into every training session, not just sessions leading up to belt tests.

Ready to get your kids training? Register her for a free training session today to discover how we help develop strong and confident kids.

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five secret benefits of martial arts

Five Secret Benefits Of Martial Arts

If you’re like us, you LOVE finding secret benefits to ethically hack more results from your life.

Let’s be real: we all have the same 24-hours in a day. But some people seem to get more from every hour than us. The same is true of martial arts training. Have you ever noticed some people get better results than us at the gym… but we’re doing the same kind of training?

Which makes us wonder: what’s their secret?

Today, we’re going to give you five secret benefits of martial arts that no one else is talking about… but really should be!

1) Better Insulin Sensitivity

Experts agree that exercise helps improve your cells and muscles’ sensitivity to insulin. This is a really good thing! Because that means your body doesn’t need as much insulin to work effectively. And even better, it means less belly fat.

2) Less Stress

Experience shows that working out with martial arts quickly reduces a person’s stress. That’s because exercise like martial arts reduces cortisol (the stress hormone). Why does that matter? Too much cortisol triggers the body to become insulin resistant (that’s bad) and signals the body to store belly fat. Additionally, elevated cortisol stress makes you crave sugar and carbs… a vicious cycle. Break free of the stress-eat cycle with a quick 45-min strength and cardio session at Invictus (BTW, it’s always FREE to try)!

3) Better Brain Health

Our brains perform better in everyday life when we exercise! Martial arts exercise improves memory, enhances learning, and boosts concentration. In fact, vigorous exercise (like a training session at Invictus) is known to even be a great antidepressant working just as effective as common prescription drugs. Exercise helps to improve your mood (we wrote about it HERE), boost your energy, and reduce mental fog and fatigue.

4) Reduced Risk For Chronic Disease

Exercise protects your heart and reduces your risk of heart attack and stroke. In fact, we’ve written extensively about this in previous posts HERE and HERE. Martial arts exercise can reduce inflammation which is the cause of almost every disease associated with aging. Furthermore, it balances hormones that contribute to reducing breast and other common cancers.

5) Enhanced Detoxification

Intense exercise is known to assist your body with releasing toxins through your skin. Now, before you get all grossed out, this is a very common way our bodies naturally detox. Vigorous exercise helps you work up a great sweat (a great detoxifier), but a gentle exercise session will keep your circulation going. This flushes out all the toxic fluids that build up in your lymphatic system.

With benefits like these what’s not to like? Now that you know these five secret benefits of martial arts, perhaps it’s time for you to give it a try for FREE! And best of all you just might like feeling better, feeling stronger, and feeling healthier!

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Isn't all martial arts fitness?

Isn’t All Martial Arts Fitness?

Have you ever wondered: isn’t all martial arts fitness? Or all martial arts essentially do the same thing, right? Sadly, no. In fact, some martial arts styles are great for fitness! But, martial arts styles aren’t all created equally.

And this is particularly true regarding fitness and conditioning.

We believe that all martial arts styles have merit and value. They’re all beneficial in some way. And what you receive from training really depends on your goal. If your goal is fitness and conditioning, you truly need to understand the philosophy of the instructors and coaches.

Why? Because our experience has found that some martial arts styles are better equipped than others when it comes to fitness and conditioning. This becomes even more apparent when you want to develop strength, stamina, agility, power, leverage, efficiency, and durability.

So, if you’re like us and want to truly receive all the fitness benefits that martial arts has to offer, here are three things to consider:

Tradition vs Innovation

Every martial art in existence today has a rich history of lineage with some dating back thousands of years. But to truly be beneficial to you today, it HAS to adapt. No exceptions.

A typical solution to a traditional martial art that has found itself slowly becoming less and less relevant is to add a combative style of training to the base curriculum. This can look like a very traditional style deciding to add Krav Maga for self-defense or even a cardio-based class to the schedule. This “add-on” approach is a great choice for some but doesn’t genuinely create a habit of a fitness-focused lifestyle.

In recent years, a more innovative approach to martial arts has been widely adopted in professional competitive sports. Modern martial arts styles understand that every session needs to smartly incorporate a mindset of practice and even create accountability to help you achieve your goals.

It should come as no surprise that most if not all professionals today choose these modern styles of martial arts when performing competitively. Additionally, you don’t have to want to compete professionally or even want to fight at all to benefit from training like Conor McGregor, Buakaw Banchamek, or Gordon Ryan. As a matter of fact, you can’t go wrong finding a good instructor or coach to help you learn a more modern fitness-based martial art. So, go try a class for FREE and see if you like it!

Isolation vs Integration

Traditional martial arts are well known for isolated movements which only target one primary muscle group at a time. So, if your goal is to develop ridiculously amazing psoas muscles (also known as your hip flexors), then a more traditional martial art may be right for you! Additionally, seniors may find it more challenging since these more isolated movements can put undue stress on joints.

Fortunately, modern martial arts put more emphasis on total-body synergistics for complete muscle integration. Modern martial arts comprehensive training always gives you more benefit and value by targeting muscular kinetic chains. In fact, during a typical training session at Invictus, you can expect to effectively condition your calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes, abdominals, lats, delts, traps, pecs, and more.

Choreography vs Performance

Everyone knows that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There is so much to be admired in the fluid, choreographed sequences of patterns of martial arts. It really is beauty in motion!

But in today’s world, choreographed movements like katas/forms have little if anything to do with real-world application. Today, people like you want to know, “Will this protect me?”

Modern martial arts help condition us for chaos and give us the power to do something about it.

Fitness is your potential for performance. Conditioning is putting your potential to work with the physical and mental ability to perform. By focusing on fitness in training then conditioning for unpredictability, you’re not only making yourself more metabolically resilient but cognitively flexible as well.

As you can see, all martial arts have value but AREN’T the same. This is especially true with fitness goals. What matters most is that you find a solution to help you accomplish your goals and coaches who are as committed to your success as you are. So, when you’re ready, come TRY A CLASS FOR FREE and we’ll be happy to partner with you to help you accomplish your goals!

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mental health and martial arts

Improving Mental Health With Martial Arts

May is Mental Health Awareness Month so we’re taking a minute to showcase how martial arts can help. For several years, Mental Health America has acknowledged and advocated for fitness as a tool to help those who live with mental illness find pathways to wellness and ultimately thrive in life.

It is well-known that people who live with mental health issues can benefit from physical exercise like martial arts.

In fact, recent scientific publications in the American Journal Of Men’s Health and BMC Psychology support these claims. Experts agree that training in the martial arts can be a transformative experience offering many benefits to those who live with mental illness including mentorship, a sense of achievement, and increased confidence.

Here are three ways we improve mental health with martial arts…

Manage And Reduce Stress

It is well known that training in martial arts is a great way to get in shape, raise your metabolism, build muscle strength, increases flexibility, and improve immune system responses. But did you know that all of these aspects also play a role in reducing areas of potential stress?

As you train your body to become stronger, physically, you are also training it to better handle future stressors.

Of course, practicing martial arts also naturally releases endorphins, the “feel-good” hormone, into your body. These endorphins can help relieve pain and reduce emotional stress. In fact, the neuron receptors that endorphins bind to are the same ones that bind to some common prescription pain medications. That means you can experience the same relief from martial arts training without the possibility of addiction or dependency. Research out of Harvard Health has also shown that exercise, like martial arts, is an effective but often underutilized all-natural treatment for mild to moderate depression. 

Develop Self-Control

Being able to manage and regulate our emotions is something we practice every day, but for those who live with mental illness, this can be a significant challenge. A common strategy used for regulating emotions is attentional deployment, or redirecting attention. For people who struggle with managing anger or anxiety, martial arts can be a positive channel to redirect their energy. Training in the martial arts can also help redirect feelings of powerlessness and encourage feelings of self-confidence. Specifically, learning self-protection skills helps shift feelings of victimization to feelings of self-control. Sparring under adrenaline stress helps develop skills to manage adrenaline and learn to control fight or flight responses. Ultimately, martial arts training helps people develop improved self-control, form healthier habits, and reduce impulsivity.

Increase Self-Esteem

Because strong social support is important for those with depression, participating in a small group martial arts class may be beneficial. In fact, martial arts group classes can improve self-esteem through consistent positive verbal reinforcement from peers, instructors, and coaches. Additionally, when a person masters a new skill or earns a higher belt rank, their sense of achievement automatically boosts their self-confidence and they learn to feel good about themselves and their accomplishments.

So, when you’re ready to experience how martial arts can transform your life, SCHEDULE YOUR FREE SESSION with us today! We love helping REAL people like you get REAL results for the REAL world.

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girls martial arts

Why Martial Arts Isn’t Just For Boys

While martial arts is still largely a male-dominated industry, it’s important to recognize that martial arts isn’t just for boys. In fact, there are more and more young girls and women turning to martial arts training for its many unique benefits.

From an increasingly young age, through media and bullying, girls are taught to feel self-conscious about their bodies, fear for their safety, and even view themselves differently from their male peers. Martial arts offers a solution to many of these concerns young girls struggle with.

Here are four critically important lessons all girls learn when they train in the martial arts:

1. She’ll Learn To Love Herself:

Unfortunately, most young girls will struggle with low self-esteem before the age of 12. This is in-part due to negative messages delivered by others whether through social media and the recent increase in cyber-bullying, or “mean girls” lashing out due to their own lack of self-confidence. Regardless of the source, young girls are constantly bombarded with negative cultural messages about everything they should be critical of about themselves. And so she quickly learns: her body is ugly, she is weak, she is stupid, she is incapable.

Fortunately, martial arts delivers an important opposing message helping her realize everything that is amazing about her: she is worthy of respect, she is strong, and she can achieve amazing things through hard work and commitment. With a focus on self-respect, she will quickly learn that as a martial artist, she must respect herself and others and expect that others respect her in return.

Training in the martial arts will also improve her body image. Rather than seeing her body in terms of what it looks like, while training in the martial arts, she will get to experience what her body can do. Whether it’s kicking through a board or holding her own in a sparring match, she’ll realize that her body is strong and capable of doing incredible things, regardless of how it looks. This will develop her self-confidence and sense of self-worth and will help fortify her against attempted bullying.

2. She’ll Learn To Protect Herself:

The unfortunate reality of the world is that girls and women face a significantly higher risk of assault. On average, 1 in 6 women will experience sexual assault in her lifetime. While most martial arts instructors teach techniques that can be used for self-defense, simply learning self-defense isn’t enough. At Invictus Martial Arts, we educate all of our members on the importance of understanding the distinction between self-defense and self-protection. With a focus on informed awareness, she will learn to identify potentially violent behavior that can help her avoid ever becoming a target.

When it comes to self-protection, the best self-defense techniques are simple, easy to use, and effective. With consistent training in the martial arts, she will learn how to use her body to protect herself, even from larger and seemingly more powerful opponents.

3. She’ll Learn To Trust Herself:

There are so many opportunities for developing self-confidence through martial arts training. Imagine her experience the first time she breaks a board, or scores her first point in a sparring match, or wins her first medal at a tournament, or earns her first new belt rank. Each new achievement reinforces the idea that she can trust in her developing abilities and through hard work, time, and dedication, she can truly achieve anything she puts her mind to.

4. She’ll Learn That She Is An Equal:

While most youth sports are not coed, martial arts training provides a unique opportunity for girls and boys to train together and even compete with each other. In fact, girls who train in the martial arts benefit from interacting and partnering with boys in an environment where mutual respect is expected and enforced. These coed interactions reinforce the idea that she is no different than her male peers when it comes to her ability to perform and achieve. This experience will set her up for success in other areas of her life, including academic and professional endeavors.

Ready to empower a young girl in your life? Register her for a free training session today to discover how we help develop strong and confident girls.

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Top 5 Martial Arts Exercises

To maximize their performance and build overall endurance and stamina, serious martial artists know that they need to add conditioning exercises to their training regime. Experience shows that there are five basic martial arts exercises that are best for targeting the specific muscle groups martial artists use most.

Here Are Our Top 5 Martial Arts Exercises:

Squats

Martial artists rely heavily on their legs for stable stances and powerful kicks. Squats target the quadriceps and hamstrings which are used for common martial arts techniques such as evasions from punches, body and leg kicks, takedowns, and ground control. It is well understood that a powerful punch starts with a push-off from the ground by a leg. Want to have stronger punches? Develop stronger legs. 

Sit-ups

Sit-ups are a fantastic martial arts exercise. The abdominal muscles are critical for stability and balance. Stable stances and good balance are critical for maintaining body control during a fight.  In fact, much of the force in your kicks, punches, and submission are powered through the obliques. While it is true that a powerful punch starts with a push-off from the ground by a leg, the force generated from that push then travels through the legs to the abdominals, shoulder, arm, and finally fist. Training the abdominal muscles with sit-up variations (such as bicycle sit-ups or butterfly sit-ups) will ensure that the force generated from the push-off from the ground is fortified as it travels through the body.

Push-ups

Designed to target the pectorals, deltoids, and triceps, push-ups are the go-to exercise martial artists use to strengthen their upper body. While it’s true that punches are generated from the ground up, developing strong arms and shoulders is critical to maximizing power.  Additionally, a strong upper body is required for the push-pull movement used in grappling and clinching in MMA training. 

Running

Developing a strong cardiovascular system is key for maximizing endurance. When it comes to sparring during a training session or having to protect yourself in everyday life, cardio is key. A typical street fight or sparring match lasts about two minutes while a professional fight can last five minutes. The best martial artists understand that during a fight, someone will get tired first, giving the other person the clear advantage.  The ultimate goal is to be able to sustain a high-level of performance for a prolonged period of time.

Incorporating running into your training is a great place to start. In addition to improving cardiovascular health, running has also been linked to lowering rates of stroke, cancer, and diabetes. Even better, a 2014 study conducted by Iowa State University, determined that running is actually linked to a 45% drop in risk of death due to cardiovascular disease. Incorporating running into your martial arts training regime can actually make you harder to kill

Burpees

This full-body workout mixes cardio with strength training and agility. This exercise targets it all…quads, hip flexors, glutes, delts, and shoulders just to name a few muscle groups.  Incorporating burpees into some high intensity interval training is a great way to maximize your cardio and build stronger muscles. 

Ready to take your training to the next level? Discover how Invictus Conditioning: Garage Gym Athlete can help you feel more powerful and confident.

 
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Stay Safe: Why Learning Self-Defense Isn’t Enough

“Stay safe” has become one of the most popular sentiments recently offered to friends and family alike. But how often do we consider exactly what that means?

Everyone wants to experience the comfort of knowing that they are doing everything they can to protect themselves and the ones they love. But how can we take action to ensure that is true? An obvious answer would be to take a self-defense class to learn some basic techniques. Most people would consider this is a great solution. Unfortunately, experts agree that a person who attends a single self-defense class is no more prepared to protect themselves against targeted violence than a person who has no training at all.

Surprised? Here’s how we think about it…

Self-Defense Is Reactive

Self-defense is used in response to an unprovoked attack. This means that, by definition, self-defense is reactionary. Unfortunately, reacting appropriately to an attack isn’t as easy as the movies may portray. When a person feels threatened, fine motor skills are compromised and critical thinking is challenged due to a spike in adrenaline. It is extremely rare that a person will “rise to the occasion” and successfully ward off an attack with ease. What’s more likely, in fact, is that a person will default to the level of their training, especially under the influence of adrenaline stress. Often, the best self-defense moves are simple, fast, and easy to recall. Understandably, any self-defense techniques must be consistently practiced to be utilized successfully.

Comprehensive training is critical to being prepared to save a life. The American Heart Association requires at least four hours of CPR training in order to be considered certified to practice this life-saving activity successfully. Likewise, investing several hours a year in training how to properly defend yourself in the event of a violent attack is imperative.

A common misconception is that once you’ve successfully defended yourself and escaped the violent encounter, it’s over. However, it’s important to consider the legal, ethical, and moral implications of using self-defense. Because of this, understanding reasonable force and developing self-control through continuous training is absolutely critical.

Self-Protection Is Proactive

At Invictus Martial Arts, we educate our members on the importance of understanding the distinction between self-defense and self-protection. Unlike self-defense, an attack does not have to occur in order to practice self-protection, making it proactive. For example, we’ve all applied protective sunscreen before hitting the beach, right? Of course! There are ways to proactively stay safe before a threat of violence presents itself.

It all starts with informed awareness. Becoming more situationally aware is a great first step. Most of us have heard well-intending people advise us not to leave our drink unattended at a party or to always travel in (at least) pairs. We wholeheartedly agree! However, a person with violent intent isn’t limited to a stranger in a bar. Acts of violence can happen anytime, anywhere, and in any location. In fact, victims of violence are often attacked in a familiar place by someone they know. Yes, you read that correctly! Most victims KNOW their attacker. Learning to identify potentially violent behavior can also help you avoid becoming a target.

An Undefeated Mindset

Ultimately, staying safe starts with developing an undefeated mindset. We’ve all known someone who has passionately exclaimed, “if it ever came down to it, I would die for my child/spouse/family member/friend.” Perhaps you have even personally uttered this sentiment. Realistically, if you ever found yourself in a life-threatening situation with your loved one, making the decision to lay down your own life will not protect them. We’ve likely all heard our flight attendants remind us, “in the event that the cabin loses air pressure, place the oxygen mask on yourself before helping the person next to you”. You serve your loved ones best when you make the decision to protect yourself first.

Former Green Beret Sniper, Army Ranger, and Retired UFC Fighter, Tim Kennedy says, “Every time you train, train with the motivation and purpose that you will be the hardest person someone ever tries to kill.” Coupling self-protection strategies with consistent self-defense training helps develop an undefeated mindset making you feel prepared, confident, and safe.

Ready to become harder to kill?  Join us for one of our upcoming seminars or learn more about how you can become a member of Invictus Martial Arts.

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Family Martial Arts

Building Stronger Families Through Martial Arts

Experts agree that family-based fitness has a greater likelihood of becoming lifelong fitness. In fact, our experience shows that training as a family in the martial arts has countless physical, cognitive, and social benefits and is an excellent way to build stronger families.

Here are three ways martial arts builds strong families:

Establish Lifelong Fitness Habits

According to SHAPE America it is recommended that children get 60 minutes of daily physical activity. Learning to be physically active is a habit that must be developed. Children learn best through observation, and establishing strong fitness habits during early childhood can yield positive results for years to come. Experience shows that regularly training in the martial arts not only increases physical strength and promotes good heart health, but it can also improve sleep, and boost your immune system.

Increase Family Bonding

Many times, the family is a child’s first example of what a team can look like. Training in the martial arts as a family is a great team-building activity where parents and children can work together towards the common goal of becoming black belts. Along with making progress in their training together, families also experience a sense of growth and accomplishment that will build stronger bonds and promote closer relationship with one another.

Build A Happier Family

Experts agree that families who train in the martial arts develop improved confidence and self-esteem. Moreover, martial arts training can also lower levels of stress, anxiety, and depression by raising serotonin levels. Finally, by training together, families also learn important problem-solving skills, including conflict resolution. Developing these skills creates an all around stronger and happier family. And who doesn’t want that?

Ready to get your family training? CONTACT US today to discover more ways we help develop strong families.

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