Abs and Core training for Martial Arts: a Castle made of stones or mudbricks?

Abs and Core training for Martial Arts

A choice that makes the difference in war. Middle Ages was indeed the period in history where precise strategy decisions, along with strong warfare skills, played a huge role in the outcomes of hundreds of sieges that saw castles of all sizes and shapes being the key player of more than thousand of years of troubled times.

Your Abs like your Castle. Even if you don’t have any passion or curiosity about Castles and Middle Ages like me, it’s easy to think Abs like a castle that can be built – or made stronger – according to specific needs; a castle where each of us – just like a king – has the freedom to make it efficient for upcoming battles, shielding what lies within as well.

A Castle with a broken wall is a conquered castle: once the enemy is in, battle is lost.

Abs and Core training for Martial ArtsAn ongoing enhancement. Have a think about it: when a castle is in peace, a solid structure must be guaranteed as other types of hazards may affect the balance of the castle itself: weather, intrusion of bandits, or just wild animals. Compared to Middle Ages, these “dangers” may be seen as an opportunity for our core to adapt to both situations of quietness and “earthquakes”:

Regardless of what exactly is affecting the balance of your Castle, one rule must be honored: the Castle must stay up.

A lazy Castle is an easy target. A castle that lives in peace for too long is an overpopulated castle, with way too much food supply. In this case, I like to compare this type of Castle to a situation of being “overweight”: if you don’t train properly it’s your choice – perfectly respectable – because probably you are confident enough to think that your castle will always live in peace. However, the forward-looking Commander never lowers his guard, and keeps his castle improved and under constant maintenance, although this may involve a cost in resources, food and laborers.

A Martial Artist never trains during a battle, but before the battle: always  ready, never gets caught unprepared.

Abs and Core training for Martial ArtsYour Stronghold is weak if all its thick walls are built on one side only. Just like this type of Stronghold, a castle can be built telling the engineers to focus on making the front wall massive and with a huge good looking bridge: amazing impact indeed, but only the fool king would think this as the best way to protect the village and everything that lies within.

Don’t you believe it? Ask books. History has proven the above outcome many times, as in the same way you may just train for the wrong purpose: if you think that working on your washboard is the only way to survive a siege – a real fight – well, sorry to disappoint you but don’t forget that even the proudest king ended up being defeated, no matter how good looking was the front wall, together with its main towers.

This metaphor applies to a fight, clearly, but don’t commit the error of thinking that abs and core training for martial arts must be trained just for being used in a fight. The reason is simple, although it’s better if someone wiser and older than me would tell you why: the Tortoise.

The Tortoise is proud to show her washboard, because her back is naturally hard, therefore she can focus on just one side.

We clearly are not tortoises, so we have to train all our abs: front ones, side ones and back abs. Isn’t it annoying..? Not if you consider this: think about an ordinary skyscraper: wouldn’t it be insane for engineers to design a structure that is extremely robust on one side, and average on its opposite..? As a result, during just one of the thousands of daily oscillation occuring throughout its average life-cycle, consequences would be obvious: the stronger part would prevent the opposite one to adapt, and its attempt to maintain the right balance, in order to resist strong winds and ground-movements, would be void.

Abs and Core training for Martial Arts

Same effect happens to your body: it’s completely useless to keep working on that washboard if your back does not get the exact amount of training. If you want your “tower” – your body – to look upright and strong at the same time, you really have to consider working on your core evenly, no matter what style of martial arts you are studying. That’s why we divide Abs and core training for martial arts into three main categories:

  1. Slow Abs Training: slow rhythm workout, as seen in fitness section, is meant to build mass. This type of training makes abs bigger in size. It’s just like building a double-layer thick wall: of course it will be stronger compared to a single layer wall.
  2. Fast Abs Training: abs and core training for martial arts should convince martial athletes that a fast-moving body is a hard-to-reach target: the faster you train your fibers, the quicker you’ll become in your movements. Fast abs training is also an extremely important training in Acrobatics. Please note that back abs should never be performed fast.
  3. Core training: don’t confuse core training with slow abs training: core muscles are different from abs muscles, just like in a Castle where you can tell apart its outsides walls from its internal walls, which have been designed just for protecting the part of the castle that more than anything must be protected: the king’s room and the castle’s treasury.
    Following this example, core training is that type of training that – yes – involves abs, but at the end of your session you will know that there are other muscles getting involved: these muscles are the heart of your castle, and you don’t have to underestimate them just as you wouldn’t leave your king’s room unguarded.

High Performances Shock Absorbers for your Racing Car. Strong abs for martial arts are essential, as not only they provide protection, but they work as the shock-absorber of your off-road car: they prevent your car from feeling the vibrations of a rugged terrain and all types of hurdles, keeping the frame stable, solid, and able to reach the end of the track with minimal consequences in terms of shocks.

You core works the same way: if it’s strong, you don’t have to fear even the hardest exercises and the most demanding acrobatics exercises, as they would work to assist you.

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About the author : Fabio Zambelli

Fabio Zambelli
Fabio has dedicated his life to Martial Arts for more than 20 years and has been teaching since 2005. Extremely committed and passionate to the way of the warrior lifestyle, he lives his days following Martial Arts’ principles: hard work and self-sacrifice. The diplomas he is most proud of are his failures as overcoming these demonstrated that Martial Arts values, along with their code of conduct, have worked on him. His extraordinary determination, concretized in Heart of The Orient, the world's first designed and hand-crafted Dojo for Shaolin Kungfu, is proof that human willpower has no limits.

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