We’ve all seen that kind of martial artist, you know, the one that gases out right away and couldn’t do 20 sit-ups if their life depended on it. The kind that makes excuses for their lack of fitness.
Let’s be real. If you’re not suffering an injury or from a disability or you’re just old, then you should be physically fit as a martial artist.
Have you ever sparred or fought a young, healthy and muscular person? Chances are that if you have you may have noticed that despite the skill level of that person, their physical fitness alone can make them a formidable opponent.
I’ve known quite a few people who are in the military and they all tell me horror stories about the PT they’ve been forced though. Some of them even said that basic training is more PT then it is anything else. I guess that goes to show you that having a strong body is the basic requirement of a warrior and should never be neglected.
My sensei used to tell me that without physical conditioning your technique will be weak and ineffective, and I know he is right. However, it wasn’t until I got my butt kicked sparring a man much stronger then me that I really took his advice to heart.
I felt powerless against that guy. I’m confidence when it comes to sparring but this guy humbled me and I guess that was what I needed to happen so that I would listen to good advice. That sparring match made me realize I had been neglecting my physical conditioning.
My neck was sore for a week and I couldn’t turn my head to the right without pain. I spent that week looking like an idiot having to turn my whole body to interact with anyone on my right side because I couldn’t turn my neck. All that guy had to do was grab me and the fight was his. I don’t want to imagine what would’ve happened if he had hit me with all of his strength.
So don’t fool yourself into thinking that you can get away with not doing your PT, or you could end up being dealt a tough slice of reality like I was.
Fighting is unpredictable and I’m not undermining the importance of good technique. What I’m trying to impress upon the reader is that technique alone is not enough to be a good martial artist. There should be a balance of technique and physical fitness.
I take my PT more seriously now. I see stretching and PT as a rite of passage that earns you the privilege of practicing technique. And by doing so, my technique hasn’t become weaker because I’m using more training time for stretching and PT. In fact, my technique has only improved now that my body is being strengthened.
The primary weapon of the martial artist is his or her own body. Just as a samurai sharpens his sword to ensure his blade will cut effortlessly, so should you strengthen your body as if it were your sword.
Going out onto the battlefield with a low quality sword that is brittle and weak is a sure way to get killed. Likewise, going into a fight with a weak and brittle body is a sure way to be defeated or injured or even killed.
Strengthen your body as you would sharpen your blade for battle, and your tools will not fail you in your time of need. Put in your PT.