One of the key factors for any athlete is staying injury free. There have been many articles written on the subject and this article will differ in the concentration of three key factors. Preparing the mind, the body and the soul for battle. As martial artist we differ in many respects then other athletes and in that vain this article will focus on the martial artist. The mind is a powerful weapon and as any other part of the whole it must be cultivated in such a manner that failure is not an option. The careful preparation of the mind is key and must be given as much attention as the physical aspect. In training the mind you must be able to reach a state of mushin, which is a tranquil state. This state allows the practitioner a state of calm in which there is no distraction but pin point focus at the task at hand. In this state the body has a specific chemical reactions in which endorphins are released into the blood stream allowing for less chance of injury.
The physical portion is key and proper movement will allow for less chance of injury. When we train and take into consideration that the human body is like a chain link fence. Which means muscles, ligaments, tendons which create a network of attachments to bones and structure are a network. When this network is working in harmony the reaction time is quicker and stronger. When one part is not working correctly it will throw of the rhythm and create a compensatory reaction which will lead to imbalance and injury.
Biomechanics is a term which describes how the kinetic chain is functioning and the key is that proper movement allows for increase function and in proper movement causes overcompensation which results in increase energy expenditure, muscle fatigue and pain. This can influence the brains ability to create a proper memory pattern thus leading into a constant repetitive pattern allowing for an injury to become chronic.
Proper hydration is another key factor to reduce muscle fatigue and injury. As a practitioner of Koei-Kan Karate-Do for 50 years I remember in the early days of going through a three hour workout without any water breaks. It was the warrior mentality and the dog days of the summer, closed door and no air condition on. Many a times students would cramp up, pull hamstrings or get injured. As science has become a part of the martial arts we have come to understand that a healthy student is a productive student. Every 15 minutes you should be sipping 7-10 ounces of water. If you are participating in a vigorous workout which is lasting more then an hour, then you must replace some of the electrolytes you are loosing. Sip on sports drinks which are not high in sugar, coconut water may be an optimal natural replacement.
Many fruits are a great source of both electrolyte replacement and a quick and natural energy booster. Dates, figs and bananas are known for having a high level of potassium and electrolytes, but will not replace the consumption of water. How do I know if I'm hydrating enough? check your urine and make sure it is not a bright yellow. It must be either clear or a pale yellow. Water infused with lemon is a natural diuretic and should be taken in the morning when you first awaken and at night a half hour before you go to bed.
Proper nutrition before and after a workout will help you from suffering muscle breakdown, fatigue and injury. Before a workout the key is to keep your gut from having to work hard to break down a heavy meal. Before a workout you want to eat some form of a complex carbohydrate and a lean protein. Some examples are small sweet potato with cinnamon and some broccolli with a teaspoon of olive oil and lemon, Banana with almond butter, apple with almonds and brown rice with black beans.
After the workout be prepared have a protein drink on hand, a piece of fruit such as a banana, apple or a protein bar. Then plan to eat your regular meal an hour to an hour and a half after the workout. this will give time for your gut to prepare and digest your food properly.
The soul of the martial artist is one which is nurtured through the many hours of arduous training, hours of repetition and sweat. The soul fuels the mind to keep going, to persevere and overcome obstacles. It is that quiet something which says a little longer, you can do it, one more time. It is the power plant that allows us to practice our art and gives us the satisfaction of knowing that our journey is continuous and even though we see the mountain peak and strive to get there, there are many peaks and we will work towards getting there. Train hard, train smart and prepare properly for battle.
About the Contributor
George C. Scordilis, DC, CCSP, DMBPP
Dr. Scordilis is recognized by his peers throughout the entire Chiropractic community as a thought provoking leader in nutrition, exercise physiology and integrative wellness. Has traveled with the USA karate team to Venezuela and Greece as the teams Chiropractor. Has treated elite swimmers at the USA Olympic training center in Colorado Springs with the USA junior national swim team. Has an active practice in Clifton, NJ in which he uses his knowledge and expertise to help his patients. Has trained Koei-Kan Karate-Do for 50 years, has competed nationally and internationally and holds a 7th degree black belt.
To connect with DR. Scordilis directly you can go on to his web site www.njultimatewellness.com