Training the body to become stronger, more flexible, agile, fast!
First, you should train anything. You should just use your body, do what you want with it. I am somewhat of a fan of the Ido Portal method: I believe we should move just for the sake of it. I should move. You should move.
It’s not wise to impose limits of what you do to yourself. Limits are just that: limits. They limit your activity and they limit your mind. You learn to think within given frames – exactly the opposite of what you should be doing. Movement is so wide encompassing that it can hardly be called a limit.
In my body training philosophy, martial arts hold a great role. The logic of it is simple: if you want to live (and most of the 7 billion of us want to), it is your obligation to take care of that you live. Maybe not an obligation, but surely the only rational choice. That’s why I call eating junk food irrational. Because it is! If your premise is “I want to live”, and if we take into consideration that eating junk food, or practicing any other kind of a bad lifestyle decision, is something that shortens and/or worsens your health and your LIFE – it’s completely irrational. It doesn’t follow the first premise. It’s not logical. The same way I believe that if you want to live, you should make the rational choice of ensuring that you live, and one of the ways is learning how to protect your life when you are threatened. I’m not saying everybody should be a Shaolin monk or a Samurai warrior, but everyone that wants to live has to learn at least something to help him/herself with prolonging that life. It’s a logical decision.
There is a lot of fighting within the martial arts community in the world. Very often it is “which art is best” or “which art is most effective”. It reminds me somewhat of the scientific community: people usually don’t identify themselves with science in general, they see themselves as nuclear physicists or molecular biologists or comparative linguists. It’s all the same fucking thing. There is no difference between branches of sciences. It is one world we’re talking about, and one scientia, knowledge. Everything is connected. Language is a biological phenomenon, but biology is nothing but chemistry, and chemistry is nothing but physics, and physics just follows mathematics, and mathematics just follows logic. It’s exactly the same as with martial arts. There are no “arts”. There is one martial art. Just one. The art of fighting. The art of waging war. The art of using your body to fight other humans (and animals sometimes). And all the branches are just manifestations of that one martial art, with different aproaches and different ideas and perspectives. But after all, it’s the same human body they all use in their techniques, and that’s why all martial arts are similar to one another.
The question “which martial art works best” is quite simple: the one that you can test and prove in actual combat. That’s the only point of martial arts. Ok, maybe not the only point, but that’s the main idea. Granting the practitioner the ability to fight and not die. That’s what it’s about. This question produces a test: sparring! This test is ruthles and quite often cruel. It’s often not a test of the art but of the practitioner. Sparring makes you use what you learned in a controled violence situation. It exposes your weaknesses in a blink of an eye. That’s why a lot of people don’t do sparring – they can’t face the truth, and the truth is that they better train better.
I said that it’s often not a test of art but of the practitioner: what I mean is that you can take a highly “effective” martial art such as Krav Maga and you can take a soft, internal martial art such as Tai Chi. You confront the practitioners. Now, I firmly believe that the Tai Chi practitioner would destroy the Krava Maga practitioner with the right mindset. You see, it’s like this: you can have a Tai Chi practitioner with such an unsurmountable battle philosophy, the will to survive and win, the toughness that can annihilate a Krav Maga practitioner with a weak mindset, that trains without actually grasping the essence of the art. It’s not at all about the art. It’s about the practitioner. Regardless of the fact that the one training Krav Maga is training in a battle-proven, fast and agressive martial art, he can still be won by someone training in a mystical, energetic, spiritual art. Does this mean that Tai Chi is better than Krav Maga? No. Absolutely no. Well, then, does it mean that Krav Maga is better? No.
There is no better art. There is just you.
That is, if I am not mistaken, the chief concept of Jeet Kune Do. The “non-labeling”. Using what ever you have on hand, be it Karate, Savate or Ameri-do-te. 😀
Right together with martial arts there is parkour. It also follows the same logic. You can’t always fight and win. You can be outnumbered or your attacker can have superior technology (guns). Sometimes you must run, you must get away. Sometimes it’s about saving other people, heroically climbing into burning buildings and saving the children and animals. But whatever the case may be, is it not wise to prepare yourself beforehand? Is it not just that will to prepare in advance what makes us human?
Now, that’s the first motivation, but the fact is that training Parkour is a lot of fun. It’s doing something natural, it’s moving your body, it’s great! It makes you use your body in the most “natural” way possible. It makes you stronger. It tests you as a practitioner and the fact is that everyone can do it! Absolutely everyone. I’ve seen six year-olds, I’ve seen seventy year-olds, I’ve seen a guy with just one arm, I’ve seen a disabled boy. Absolutely everyone.
New skills and conditioning
Parkour and Martial arts are pretty much it, that’s what I do. But I believe that learning new motor skills, new movements, things you can’t do at first, things that scare you: they all build you up as a person. For example, I can’t do flips. I just don’t dare and the questions is if I would even do them correctly. Just that is the reason why I should do them. I’ve read in this article that learning new kinesthetic skills contributes to your overall intelligence and adaptability. So, you’re not training only your body, you’re also training your mind. List of ideas: handbalancing, climbing, acrobatics, yoga, archery, horseback riding, skating, various sports, fencing…
Conditioning is important as a way of rounding your body strength, doing some correctional exercises to equally develop everywhere and it’s also important as a way of strengthening your body for your specific skill. Bodyweigth exercises, heavy lifting, a lot of stretching all contribute to an overall athletic capability.
I don’t care what you train, which martial art, wether you train Parkour or not but just move! Find something you like and try it out today! Move! Go for a run, try some basic breakdancing, roll on the gras, swim – but go move!