Karate: hojo undo


In most sessions certain supplementary exercises, known as hojo undo, are practised with a view to further building strength and fitness. In fact, the attainment of a certain amount of physical strength, stamina and dynamic flexibility is a pre-requisite for the award of some grades.

Hojo undo exercises performed include such well known exercises as push-ups, various abdominal exercises and other body weight exercises (often partner assisted). In addition, students are encouraged to use the dojo's traditional Okinawan strength training equipment (such as Chi-shi) which is specifically designed to build practical strength rather than muscle bulk.

Thus in combination, the junbi undo and hojo undo exercises help develop flexibility, practical strength, resistance to injury, good circulation, cardiovascular health and fitness and also assist in teaching and improving technique.

Students should understand however that the body adapts slowly and that it is important to train within their body's capacity at all times. As with any exercise routine some stiffness and discomfort will be felt from time to time especially if there is an existing imbalance in the body. However with regular and correct training the body will eventually reach a state of balance that will greatly increase health and vitality.

Fitness benefits

Quite apart from the fact that the martial arts techniques and movements practised in the Academy form the basis for an art of self-defence and self-development, they themselves can produce an enviable level of physical fitness. That they do so in a manner that makes you forget that you are exercising is so much the better. In fact, a very important benefit of the training is that the mental and physical effort required ensures that the student can forget his or her worries for the duration of the class. Of course, those worries do not go away and still have to be faced at some point but even a short period of relief can allow these worries to be seen in a truer perspective. Furthermore, over the long-term, the confidence developed as a result of training in the Academy will assist a person to deal more effectively with external problems thus adding positively to the value of life.

The importance of physical fitness can be established from the words of a former President of the United States of America, John F. Kennedy when he wrote:

Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body; it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity. The relationship between the soundness of the body and the activities of the mind are subtle and complex. Much is not yet understood. But we do know what the Greeks knew: that intelligence and skill can only function at the peak of their capacity when the body is strong: that hardy spirits and tough minds usually inhabit sound bodies.

Unlike many sports where good health is neither an objective, nor essential to the acquisition of skills, the Wu-Wei Dao system is an art dedicated to achieving an ongoing balance in the body. All aspects of the training; the warm-up exercises, the supplementary and conditioning exercises, the cool-down exercises and of course, the martial arts techniques themselves, are designed to promote optimal health and fitness while enabling the practitioner to perform at a physical level far above that of an average person.

Members can proceed to the hojo undo materials page for further information.