I was talking with one of my students the other day, and we were discussing condensing body calisthenics into maybe a half dozen simple motions. Think about it, five martial arts exercises that help you be stronger, faster and more powerful. All you need to do is these five exercises!
So I thought about it, researched a bunch of things having to do with Yoga, Tibetian exercises and even American things like Matt Furey. Here’s my initial five exercises, and while I will probably work on them a bit, hone them further, I think they fit the bill. The extra bonus is that they’ll be good martial arts class warm ups, no matter whether you do Karate, kung fu, aikido, or whatever.
First, and most important, is stretching. Most body injuries result from the body being compacted, so to stretch the body, whether it be splits or just hanging from a tree or over the side of a bed, should start the blood flowing and awake the body. No set exercise for this, I just recommend reading up on a little yoga, isolating the movements you aren’t flexible in, and concentrating on them.
Next, would be an exercise I call snaking. This includes such things as worming style push ups, and covers the front bending motion of the body. There are a whole series of yoga poses, from dog looks up to plank position to rabbits pose, that could fit in this particular exercise.
Third would be bridging. This can be a whole series of stretches, but should probably be done on a gradient. Bridging from the back, the neck, the hands, over a stool, all this covers the whole back bend of the body.
You may have realized that I am trying to explore every range of motion for the body, and that is exactly what I am doing. After bending the body to the front and and then backwards, we have twisting the body. While there are many yoga poses that twist the body, you can cover most of them by just sit cross legged and looking over your shoulder, then twist all the way up and then down to cross legged and looking over the shoulder on the other side.
The final exercise would be being upside down. This should reverse gravity for your internal organs, and should be very good for you. This would include frog stands, head stands (start out against the wall), and eventually handstands.
So that’s it, my quick fix for whole body health through five simple body calisthenic, martial arts exercises. These calisthenics are fairly common, and you should find them in a variety of programs. At any rate, try them out for a month or two, and watch yourself get nothing but better and strong and faster.
I do recommend a study of all body motion potentials if you want to get the most out of these exercises. Mouse over over to my Yogata page (The Yoga Kata), and get even more data on getting stronger, faster and more powerful through the martial arts.