A few weeks ago I attended an in-service on sports performance with a very prestigious method that is used by many collegiate and professional sports teams, special forces and professional emergency response organizations and Rehabilitation agencies. Self described “as a leader in applied research and innovation to advance human performance”. This short in service was specific to the warm ups.
We were running through various exercises that were thoroughly studied to provide optimal preparation for maximum sports performance. As we worked through this set of exercises my Physical Therapist co-workers, many of whom were collegiate athletes, noticed how it seems like I do these exercises all the time, which is great since they were very similar to some of the yoga exercises and Junbi undo techniques we employ in the dojo.
Today I am writing about Junbi Undo, one of the cornerstones of Goju Ryu. Created by Miyagi Chojun Sensei after extensive research with medical professionals into the workings of the human body, the junbi undo of Goju-Ryu are more than a warm up but a way of instilling martial movement and building a robust body of good health.
The exercises contained within junbi undo not only loosen the joints they promote mobility and martial movement. Relating specifically to Karate technique, the various methods gradually raise the heart rate, promote circulation, regulate the breathing, massage the internal organs, and boost the immune system. Body-weight exercises designed to improve flexibility and strengthen the muscles and spirit of the practitioner. Breathing exercises introduce the concept of hakkei and how to issue power using the entire body and breath. Also contained within the exercises are elements of Kiko (Qigong), the harvesting and circulation of energy in the human body. Many of the movements transfer directly into Kata demonstrating the link.
My definition of Self-defense has been to protect (my/our-self) from anything that would cause us harm. In modern days it may be complications from inactivity. Regular practice of Junbi Undo helps to ensure we remain active, mentally alert, and energetic throughout the span of our lives.
Our focus for January will preparing the body for our Karate practice. That is not to say we will not practice other things, but we will be paying special attention to Junbi undo and Sanchin as this is the foundation.
If you are looking less to instill Martial Movement but still like the ideas of promoting mobility, increasing circulation, boosting immune function and stabilizing joints with body-weight exercises. Additionally we will work to connect with breath and calm focus the mind in our Yoga classes. We will also begin some dedicated time for supplemental exercises, with implements to help with strength.
Looking forward to a great 2016!