It’s All About The Core

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Recovering from a sports injury can be hard. Difficult as in all you want to do is get back out there and train. As healing progresses and the pain recedes, you think “I can do this.” That is when you find out you are wrong. You have to take it easy on your body. The reminders that healing takes time, especially when bones are involved are constant, at least for me.

Another visit to the Chiropractor highlighted the need to strengthen my core. It was pure luck, at least as far as I know, that the chiropractor I was assigned specializes in sports injuries. He started me out with four exercises designed to work the muscles without further damaging my lower back. He wants my core strengthened before letting me back onto the dojo mats. That is reasonable, I guess.

As my appointment was ending and just before I walked out the door, the Chiropractor looked me straight in the eye and said, “I want you to do these exercises hundreds of times every day. Hundreds and hundreds of reps. Endless.” He smiled at me. I believe that was a chiropractic joke. I returned his smile and walked out the door. He has no idea that I intend to take him literally.

I have learned many things while on my sabbatical from the dojo mats. The lesson most relevant at this moment are the benefits of core strength. Every martial artist, including myself, should know that a strong core = a strong body. As my chiropractor puts it, “Having strong muscles built up around your spine will protect it from further injury.” I should know this. Eleven years ago my brother, who is a body builder, fell off the third story of an unfinished building. He landed on his upper shoulder and neck area. He stood up, walked over to his truck and packed up his tools before he had a co-worker drive him to the hospital. Yes, he had broken his spine in a couple of places. The doctors were baffled as to why he wasn’t paralyzed or dead. They could only attribute his survival to the muscle mass he had built. It saved his life. There is a valuable lesson to that story, one that I need to take to heart. Moving on.

Last night at class (yes, I still go and take notes.), I was watching one of the senior students teach punching techniques to a girl who has little to no experience. My experience in punching people is about the same. I can truthfully say that I have never been in a real fight out on the streets or anywhere for that matter. I am not that kind of girl. The super-sized ego and anger needed to fuel a fight are just not in me. Don’t get me wrong, if I needed to bring it, I could.

Let’s get back to punching at the dojo. In our red belt class, we learn a combination of six strikes. As I was watching the senior student, I noticed he was punching from the core, moving his hips and pivoting on his back foot. Many of you may already know this, however, for me, it highlighted the need to strengthen my midsection. Strikes have more oomph if you punch from the torso. It would seem it is all about the core.

There is no way around it. In the past, I have shied away from core strength training. Let’s be real. Strengthening the torso is hard work. It hurts. However, the me that is embracing all the new changes in my life wants to hit it and hit it hard. Of course, I will be careful of my injuries. I have a Sensei and a Chiropractor who will yell at me if I don’t. It is nice when people care. Remember, core. It is all about the core.

Thank you for reading.

J. R. Lowe

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