Isshin-Ryu karate was created on the Japanese island of Okinawa, which is home to more people over 100 years old than anywhere else in the world. Japanese people can now expect to live longer than people anywhere else on the globe. Life expectancy has stood at 75 years for males and 81 for females since 1985, according to government surveys. Although many factors are responsible for this, karate is recognized by the government as a cultural treasure and a contributing factor of the inherited longevity of some Okinawans.
The Japanese term “karate” refers to the oriental art which utilizes the hands, feet, and other parts of the human body for fighting attackers. Advantages of karate as a means of self-defense are: no weapons are necessary; the old or sick, men, women, and children are able to apply it; and one can protect themselves effectively even with little natural strength. These points combine to make karate a form of self-defense without equal.
The nature of karate is such that there is uniform physical development of the body. That is, left and right side, upper and lower body. There is no need for concern about one-sided development, or development of the legs only, or development of the upper body only.
Due to the nature of karate an individual can get ample exercise in a relatively short period of time. As the individual continues to practice, their movements become quicker and the training becomes more vigorous. It is the ideal form of exercise for those who do not have the time.
Many physical fitness activities, require a large area, equipment, or a training partner. Karate can be performed at any time or place desired – in a hallway, a garden, a living room, a hotel room when traveling, etc. because the exercises can be performed in a small area.
Practicing with another person or persons with a mutual interest can provide the needed encouragement when the student might otherwise quit. Additionally, the social interaction often brings about lifelong friendships. At the same time other individuals may prefer to practice alone.
Breathing techniques are a significant component of Karate – both for self-defense and for vigorous health. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, breath control alone can achieve remarkable results; lowering blood pressure, ending heart arrhythmia’s, improving long-standing patterns of poor digestion, increasing blood circulation throughout the body, decreasing anxiety and improving sleep/energy cycles. It is also the surest route for stress reduction. Many karate instructors believe that if a person uses proper breath control, it will add 20 years to their life.
Karate can be practiced by physically weak individuals, by men, women, children, and by elderly people because each individual may adjust the exercise to suit his or her own capacity. Because each portion of karate exercises are one to two minutes’ in duration, there is no danger of overexertion or physical exhaustion. As the body is built up – movements become more powerful and more skillful, so that the amount of exercise becomes sufficient even for the healthy adult in their prime.
Mental imagery and visualization, mental focusing, and other mental aspects needed to successfully cope with crisis situations are important components of karate study. The many variations of the individual hand or foot movements, each with its own meaning, are challenging to learn. The individual can become engrossed in study and actually accrue the benefits of karate almost without realizing it.
The Japanese term “Do”, as in the term karate-do, translates to a way, a path. It refers to the journey that an individual takes through life, and how the path is traveled. An individual studying karate-do fosters the character traits of courage, integrity, courtesy, self-control, humility, respect and many others.
Classes meet on Monday and Thursday evenings:
Adult & Family
7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Please contact us at 717-469-0881, by email at Gyodojin@verizon.net, or through the contact form to schedule a class observation.