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How to Warm Up for Karate

Learn how to warm up for karate from karate instructor Richard Amos in this Howcast video.


Okay, I'm going to do my warm-up that I always begin the class with. It's the only thing in the class that I don't vary because it's got a nice ritual to it. You go through all parts of the body. Normally it takes ten to 15 minutes. I'll try and abbreviate it for you. I like to be quite vigorous when I warm up, including the stretches. So not violent, but vigorous because the body's about to do very sharp moves and if we warm up or stretch very slowly, the reflex of the muscle being stretched is that it's slow, so when you suddenly go fast it's a different feeling.

Anyway, we'll start with just jumping, get the blood going, and flexing the ankles a little bit more, and then adding the arms but really using the gross muscles. In other words you're moving your arms from your shoulders and not moving your arms from your hands. And from there just opening up and then stretching the other side, getting quite vigorous. Some people will really slow it down and really think about it. I prefer to cool down that way until the body is, you know, training's over for the day and you know it's time to calm down. Okay, holding the wrist. Keep your elbows straight on this one so you're really getting a stretch through here. And the same on the other side. Stretch the arm straight.

From here, rather than leaning back you're pushing your hip flexors forward and this needs to be flexible to be able to do many of the stances. Varying this, and again quite vigorously so you're literally telling the muscles you're about to go to work. And all the way around. And from here, this twist we'll use in our karate anyways so this is much more close to the actual movement we're going to do but a little bit more warming up attitude. Then when we come wide for this one, keep your heel on the ground so you're flexing the ankle as well as stretching all through here. And then stretch wide.

Again, don't be too gentle with yourself because our karate movements are not going to be gentle at all. As I say, I do always do the same warm-up so you have this ritual whereby you get yourself in the frame of mind for your karate training. Normally I spend ten to 15 minutes and then after that we usually have about an hour or so of actual karate practice. Finish off just with a couple of knee bends, knees around. Hips around. And off we're getting. Side to side. About the time you get to here you should be certainly breaking a sweat and ready to move. Stretching up and dropping down. Finish off with a deep breath in. Try and link your breath with a body movement, and then if you expand that to three or four times or however long you feel comfortable or able to do, then you should be fully warmed up and ready for your karate class.

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