Kyoshi's Technique of the Week

Technique of the Week (June 13th, 2010)

Kyoshi David Baker, Chief Administrator, Ueshiro Shorin-Ryu Karate USA


Karate training is an excellent, all-around system of exercise. It works all major muscle groups as well as the cardio-respiratory system. It conditions the entire body.

However, there are at least three specific muscles that get little attention and therefore you may wish to supplement them on your own, especially because the three also happen to be antagonistic muscles to those that we train a lot*.

We punch and block outward, we do pushups, all of which develop our triceps; but we do not pull weight toward ourselves as they do in jujutsu for instance. Even our grabs in kata and yakusoku kumite involve no pulling. Therefore, our biceps are not worked, save for statically holding our fist in the pocket during class.

We squat throughout class and also do knee bends that develop our quadriceps but, other than the return movement in our kick, we do not train our hamstrings much.

Back muscles:
We use our abdominal muscles when we move our hip, by twisting and tilting the pelvis, as well as when we do abdominal exercises on the floor; but our back muscles are relaxed throughout our training, as the back remains straight and still throughout each technique.

Therefore, everyone is different and you should learn what works best for your body, in consultation with your Shihan. However, you might keep these three muscles in mind for occasional supplemental training, during your lifetime marathon.

“You must research this thoroughly” – Miyamoto Musashi

Domo arigato gozaimasu,
Kyoshi David Baker,
Chief Administrator,
Ueshiro Shorin-Ryu Karate USA
founded by Grand Master Ansei Ueshiro
under the direction of Hanshi Robert Scaglione

* See also “Balance opposing muscles”: especially for specific exercises.