Martial Arts Body Composition

If we analyze the body structure of the top athletes in every sport, we find certain trends.

For example, it would be unlikely to find a highly accomplished basketball player that is under six feet tall. There will always be some outliers, however, players should take advantage of the "cards they were dealt" and pursue a sport where their body type is preferred. At the same time, body composition can be tailored to an extent through training for the specific sport. Below, I will share some insight related to the martial arts and how the sport karate competitor can utilize their body composition in order to achieve the most success inside the ring.

Everyone is different- it's literally in our DNA. Your DNA can predispose you to certain traits that will express themselves throughout life. Your DNA will determine your skeletal frame. What you're given, you have to work with- so let's use it to the utmost. There are three different body types that exist: ectomorph, endomorph, and mesomorph. Ectomorphs have a long and lean body structure, meaning they hold very little body fat, but also don't possess as much muscle. Endomorphs tend to hold a lot of fat but also a lot of muscle and because of this they can easily put on weight. The last body type, mesomorph is a combination of the two; a solid structure that is not overweight but at the same time is not underweight either. It's important to understand your body type this way you can make adjustments to your training to excel in any sport. Keep in mind that body types look differently not only due to genetics, but also because of the ratio of type I to type II/IIx fibers made from methods of training.

Muscle Types

Briefly breaking this down, type I fibers are smaller in size, they produce a low amount of force, but they don't fatigue quickly. Type II fibers are the largest in size, produce great force, and fatigue at a moderate rate. Type IIx fibers are large, produce the highest amount of force production, but fatigue the greatest. Speed and power are two of the most crucial components to having a fundamentally solid performance in sport karate. It may be easier for some to have greater speed, just as it may be easier for others to generate more power. The smaller framed, ectomorph competitor would have an easier time accumulating speed whether that is through hand combinations, twisting in the air during tricks, or utilizing weapon techniques. They also most likely possess more type I fibers in their musculature. If you find yourself with this body type make sure you focus on speed drills during your practices, because this component in your forms will make you stand out. Some examples of these include fast chop punch drills, plyometric exercises (quick jumping exercises), and spinning your weapon at a significant rate for a specific amount of time. If your body frame is a bit more muscular and solid, you'd want to be going for power in your routines, showing off hard hitting punches and strikes. For this, lifting heavier weights is encouraged as well as other exercises like medicine ball slams and variations of squats (these are just a couple examples). This competitor may also have more type II/IIx fibers which is why even though they may not be as fast, they can punch stronger than someone who is smaller. This is not to say that lean ectomorphs cannot work on building more muscle to generate more power, and that solid mesomorphs cannot train agility drills to work on their speed. (Note that through training you can facilitate fiber types to have some characteristics of both, but the fiber type cannot fully change from one to the other).

Do not be discouraged, this article is meant to inform the martial artist about their individual body type in order to facilitate proper training. Once you understand what works for your body then you can focus in on your forms and have confidence owning your individual style.

Dr. Craig's Martial Arts Movie Lounge

When The Fast and the Furious (2001) sped into the psyche's of illegal street racing enthusiasts, with a penchant for danger and the psychotic insanity of arrant automotive adventure, the brusque bearish, quasi-hero rebel, Dominic "Dom" Toretto was caustic yet salvationally portrayed with the power of a train using a Vin Diesel engine.

Keep Reading Show less
Tamyra Mensah-Stock claimed the United States first wrestling gold medal of these Olympics when she defeated Nigeria's Blessing Oborududu 4-1 in the finals of the women's 68 kg freestyle event Tuesday in Japan. Stock scored on two takedowns during the match to seal the victory. She becomes just the second American woman to capture Olympic gold in wrestling following Helen Maroulis win at 53 kg at the 2016 Rio Games.
Keep Reading Show less
Host country Japan set a record for most gold medals in judo this Olympics with nine but couldn't add a tenth as the Tokyo Olympics closed out their judo competition Saturday with an upset in the first ever mixed team competition. France stormed the mats to knock off the favored Japanese 4-1 in the finals.
Keep Reading Show less