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Burning Fewer Calories

A positive result of becoming more efficient as you advance is that you can use much less energy to produce much more power. My estimate is that efficient (whole body, koshi driven, whiplike) mechanics requires only 25% as much effort (less in some cases). You will not get as exhausted during training -- however, will not burn as many calories either.

If you were doing 20 kata before using exhausting mechanics, you will not burn as many calories doing the same number of kata using efficient mechanics. To burn as many calories, you will have to do more kata or more exercises.

My observation of my sensei, Professor Katsuhiko Shinzato, is that he does just that -- he trains non-stop during class. Once, I asked him to perform a single kata so that I could film it. After he finished the kata, he kept going. Five or six kata later, he said, "Oh sorry. I was enjoying myself." He simply does not stand around, except when observing or correcting students. At 67, he is a dynamo. He is how I want to be!

Efficient mechanics makes it easier to move. Keeping in shape once you learn efficient mechanics is another challenge. I think that it is helpful to supplement your training with kobudo, weights, and/or exercises to tone your body and work specific muscle groups. Bojutsu is probably the best supplementary excerise possible as it provides a great core workout.

I took my second ballroom dancing class earlier this week and continue to be amazed by the body tone and grace of the instructors, most of whom are in their 70s! I think that their secret is that can dance all night long -- and get an excellent workout in the process. That may be the secret for all of us.


Charles C. Goodin