Choosing a Heavy Weight Karate Uniform

Is the karate uniform you are currently using a bit worn out? Do you think you need a new outfit? Do you have enough money for a more ‘upmarket’ and heavier canvas attire? Then you would like to read this article on shopping for a heavy weight karate uniform.

Heavyweight karate uniform or karategi weigh 14 ounces and higher. These are called ultimate karate uniforms, dedicated for the serious karateka. Obviously these are more expensive than the two other types of uniform, lightweight and middleweight.

Of course, you should realize that a heavier uniform won’t make you perform better in class. But that said, it is still a good idea to invest in this type of uniform. For one, this should last a long time. It can also absorb a lot of sweat.

When it comes to aesthetics, there’s no denying that heavy weight karategis look very good. You would be proud to be seen wearing one, and it can add to your confidence which is important as you try to progress in the martial arts. It’s not surprising that most karate practitioners prefer a heavy weight GI for more formal events like assessment and competition, while the lighter GIs are used for training and sparring.

You should also realize some of the downsides of wearing a heavier uniform. One is that it would take a longer time to dry the attire. Plus, ironing it can be quite a task except if you buy one that is advertised to be ‘no ironing’ required. Karate uniform made of polyester/cotton blend can also dry fast.

Another reason why many karate practitioners love using a heavy weight karate uniform is because it produces a snap, or an audible sound after a combination of high speed techniques followed by a sudden, crisp stop. Usually, a thick and stiff material of the uniform amplifies the audible snap sound which is why heavy weight karategis are desirable among many karate practitioners. In fact some karate practitioners even use starch to increase stiffness of the material and make the snap sound more audible.

While it appeals to some vain karatekas, many karate instructors discourage snapping because it does not indicate that the technique was correctly performed. So don’t just buy a heavy weight karategi because it can make a snapping sound.


So how much should you allot for a heavy weight karate uniform?

Heavy weigh karate uniforms vary in prices, although the prices usually start at around $60. The price can go as much as $300 depending on the color, quality, and cut.

If you are looking for a good brand of karategi, you can consider the Ronin Brand Shiai which makes canvas karategi from Japan. Shureido and Tokaido are also two other good brands of karate uniform.


When you’re shopping for a heavy weight karategi, chances are you’ll buy a white one because white is the traditional color. But there are also uniforms in various colors like black, blue, and red. Still, you need to clear with your instructor on the color that is acceptable to wear.

There are two styles of expensive, heavyweight karategis—tournament cut and traditional cut. The major difference between the cuts is the length of the jacket and pants. Traditional cut uniforms usually have full length pants and sleeves, while tournament cut uniforms are shorter thus exposing the lower leg and the forearm.


Most manufacturers have their own sizing charts that you can refer to. You need to find your height range in the sizing chart so you can determine the right size for your body type. After finding your height range, then look at the corresponding weight range. In case your weight is not within that range, go down the weight column until your weight fits the right range.

Should your weight put you in a larger uniform than your height, then your pants will end up too long. It will have to be hemmed up. But if your body weight puts you in a smaller size than your height, then you should opt for the uniform that corresponds to your height. The attire may fit a little loose.

It is not uncommon for uniforms to get some tailoring work. So don’t fret if you can’t get the right size as there’s always a tailor who can help you out.

Wearing a heavy weight karate uniform may give you a psychological boost, as you feel that you are closing in to your goal of a karate black belt. But you should also realize that an expensive uniform does not make you an expert right away. You would still have to go through the traditional route, which is to work hard in class and follow the instructions of your master in order to get your goal of a black belt.

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How to Take Care of Your Martial Arts Uniform

Are you excited for your first day of martial arts training?

Whether you’re studying karate, kung fu, or any other martial art, the uniform symbolizes your skill. You don’t want to get caught wearing a uniform with a stain. Keeping your uniforms clean and in excellent condition doesn’t need to be a chore.

Most martial arts uniforms are made of cotton or polyester. These often come in three weights—lightweight, middle weight, and heavyweight. Lightweight uniforms are appropriate for first-timers especially children, as these are light enough for the user to move. Middleweight uniforms are slightly thicker, but aren’t durable for advanced students.

Heavyweight uniforms are usually for instructors, and made of 100 percent cotton. These uniforms feel like canvas and need to be washed several times to soften the fabric. But these are durable enough to last for more than 10 years.

So how can you take good care of your uniform? Here are some tips.

Presoak It

Presoaking your uniform can keep your uniform clean. After an intense training session, don’t wash your uniform immediately. Instead, fill a large bucket with warm water then add a capful of heavy duty laundry detergent plus a cup of baking soda. Soak your uniform for at least an hour. If you can, soak it overnight before washing the uniform.

But before you presoak your uniform, you should check if water in your residence is soft or hard. If it is the latter, it will be harder to clean your uniform because hard water has excess minerals that can make detergents less effective in removing soil. If that’s the case you should add water conditioner to your presoak bucket.


You may be tempted to use chlorine bleach on white uniforms if there’s stain. But don’t use it if you have a polyester or cotton/polyester uniform as it can damage the materials. White polyester fiber has a yellow inner core that can react with chlorine bleach, damaging the material in the process. It can particularly strip away the outer layer of the fiber, permanently making the fabric yellow and dull.

You should also think twice about using chlorine bleach on cotton uniforms. It can weaken the fiber of cotton, causing excess wear in the process. Also, patches and embroidery on a uniform can be destroyed by chlorine bleach.

So what is the best solution to removing stains on your martial arts uniform? Mix oxygen based bleach and cool water. Refer to the package instructions of the bleach on how much bleach you should mix for every gallon of water. Then submerge the uniform on this solution and soak it for a minimum of eight hours.

After that, check the stain and color of the uniform. If the stains have been removed and the color looks whiter and even brighter, then proceed to washing the uniform. If the problem is still there, mix a new solution and do it again. It can take a few soakings more to remove the stains and restore the whiteness of the uniform but stay patient—this solution has been proven effective in removing stains.

When washing the uniform, never wash it with other clothes. This way, you can avoid dye transfer as well as wear and tear from zippers, buttons, and other embellishments.

Once the uniform has been pre-soaked, fill the washer with warm water. Put detergent, but not fabric softener because it can lessen the ability of the uniform to absorb perspiration.

Don’t put hot water as it can cause the uniform to shrink. And when you eventually progress in training and gain a colored belt, don’t wash the belt with your white uniform.

Don’t put your uniform in the dryer as well because high heat can cause it to shrink.
This can also cause the stain to set in. Instead, just let it to hang dry. Sunlight can keep the cotton uniform white because of the bleaching properties of ultraviolet rays.

But what would you do if there are blood stains? To remove blood stains, use cold water instead. Using hot water can only cause blood stains to set in, making it almost impossible to remove.

Presoak the uniform as recommended earlier. If it doesn’t work, inspect the uniform before putting it in the washing machine. Treat the remaining stains with a pre-treater. You can also rub in added detergent.


If you have a martial arts uniform made of pure cotton, it will surely wrinkle after air drying. In ironing the uniform, choose the right setting (cotton setting) and use an ironing board. Start with the trousers and then iron the legs so that the creases will be at the side of the legs, and not the front. Then iron the top or jacket as if it was a t-shirt, with its creases running down the outside of the sleeves.

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The Top 5 Countries for Martial Arts Training

One sport that has gained newfound popularity is the MMA or the Mixed Martial Arts competition. The MMA was initially endorsed as a competition with the intent of discovering the martial art that’s most effective in real, hand-to-hand combat situations.

A martial art is a form of combat practice used in entertainment, competitions, physical fitness, and mental and spiritual development. It is also promoted as a self-defense method. Most martial arts have a ranking system, from beginner level to grandmaster level. The rank is shown through the color of the martial artist’s belt; the color or style of the belt changes as he goes up the rank. This system was made popular by Kan? Jigor?, the Father of Judo.

The excitement brought about by MMA superstars are akin to the heyday of the wrestling era, a couple of decades back. With the popularity of MMA, more and more people became interested in learning martial arts.

They are curious how these martial artists become so versed with their moves. They get curious about the environments where these athletes grew up and honed their skills. With fun movies like Kung Fu Panda and Karate Kid, we could imagine trainings happening on temples of mountains, with grandmasters specializing in powerful fighting techniques.

In no particular order, let us list the top 5 countries that produced the most popular martial arts of today.


If we think about a country related to martial arts, China is foremost in our mind. Not surprising since martial arts is an element in most of their movies, especially the ones packed in action and adventure.

Over the centuries, different fighting styles have been developed in this country. These styles often belong to a family, school, or sect of martial arts. The physical exercises are inspired by legends, religions, and Chinese philosophy. There are styles that focus on the internal, which is a person’s energy flow or life force; other styles focus on the external, which involves cardiovascular fitness and improving muscle functions.

Two of the popular fighting arts in China are the Shaolin Kung Fu and Wushu. The participation of Shaolin in combat was attested during a time when the Shaolin monks had to defend their monastery against bandits, and their succeeding role at the Battle of Hulao. Wushu, on the other hand, was developed in the mid-20th century. It has two disciplines: forms and sparring.


This country is the home of Judo, Karate, and Aikido, along with hundreds of martial arts schools, and thousands of martial arts styles. The history of Japanese martial arts can be found during the time of the caste system and the samurai, as they restricted the use of weapons in the society.

One of the main schools of Martial arts in Japan is kory?. Kory? is considered a traditional form of martial arts, and its main purpose was to be used in war. Some sports under kory? are sumo, jujutsu, and kenjutsu.


Korean martial arts started as a practice in the military. Over time, the fighting methods were adapted by the populace for recreation and personal growth. Among the most popular Korean martial arts are taekwondo, hapkido, ssireum, and taekkyon.

Taekwondo currently holds the title of the most successful Korean martial art. It is said to be practiced by more than 70 million people around the world. It is also one of the major events in the World University Games, the Commonwealth Games, and the Olympics.

Like most martial arts, colored belts are presented to students to show their progress in the art, with the goal gearing towards the black belt. Every belt signifies a level of skill or set of skills.


Two of the most popular martial arts that originated from this country are the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) and Capoeira.  

The concept promoted by BJJ is that a smaller and weaker person could defend himself against a bigger and stronger opponent, with the use of the proper technique and leverage. This can be done by being able to take the fight to the ground, and being able to apply chokeholds and joint-locks to subdue the assailant.

On the other hand, Capoeira has a combination of music, acrobatics, and dance. This form of martial art was influenced by Brazilians descended from their West African ancestors. It is popularized by its complex moves showing speed, power, and kicks and spins.


Israel is the home of Krav Maga, the military-developed, self-defense method. Krav Maga is a combination of judo, aikido, wrestling, and boxing. It gives importance to fighting in real-world situations.

Developed in the mid-20th century by Imi Lichtenfeld, Krav Maga emphasizes neutralization of threats, immediate offense and defense movements, as well as aggression towards the enmy. Different variations of Krav Maga are taught in many countries, and have been adopted and developed by intelligence and law enforcement organizations.

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Helpful Tips When Shopping for Karate Uniform

Martial arts uniforms are a quintessential part of a student or practitioner’s training apparel. The uniform, also known as gi, is usually available in white. However it may also come in other colors. While there are variations in the colors of various martial arts styles, almost all of them are designed to be durable, flexible, and lightweight.

If you’re about to join a karate class, one of the first things you will have to invest in is the uniform.

The karate uniform is called karategi. It is usually made of canvas, and designed to be lightweight and uniform. It is developed from the Judo uniform or judogi which is more fitted and a lot heavier.

It is generally white cotton with a cross over jacket. The upper uniform is called uwagi ad forms a v-neck shaped when it is closed. It matches with the white pants called ‘shibataki’ or ‘zubon.’ Then the uniform is topped by a belt or obi which corresponds to the grading rank of the practitioner.

Shopping Tips

When shopping for the upper uniform, see to it that there is enough room to rotate the arms, twist the waist, and throw a punch. The jacket must be long enough to pass the waist. There must also be enough jacket skirt material hanging under the belt, thus preventing the jacket from becoming un-tucked over the belt when you perform standard movements like kicks and takedowns.

The sleeve cuffs should finish before the wrists, and not too long to pass over the hands. The left side of the uwagi must be on top of the right side of the jacket, so that its front left lapel would run from the top left to the bottom right.

The white pants or zubon should be designed to allow a lot of leg movement, because you’ll be doing a lot of kicks and diverse stances. You’d like to have pants that have a wider cut and with extra material under the groin area. Correct fitting pants won’t cause restrictions around the groin area when you kick.

The bottom of the pants must just be above the feet. In fact some people want them shorter because this would ensure them that they won’t trip on their pants, or catch any part of the foot inside them. The standard measurement of the bottom of the pants is three to five inches smaller than leg length.

Since you’re a beginner, you will start with a white belt. The belt should be long enough for you to wrap it around your waist twice. It should also hang down at the front end, just near the bottom of the jacket. A belt hanging too far down can get in the way of a kick or takedown.

Material Weight, Cut and Quality

Cotton and polyester are the two main materials used for karategi.

Cotton is the more preferred material although it is also more expensive. One advantage of cotton karategi over polyester karategi is that it more durable. It is also lighter, hence, more comfortable than those made of polyester. It is not uncommon for newbies to use polyester karategi as it is more affordable than cotton.

You’d also have to look at the weight of the karategi. Lightweight karate uniforms are between six to eight ounces, and often worn by children and beginners. The material can be a little thin, which offsets the fact that the material’s weight is good for agility.

Middleweight or light heavy weight uniforms are from 10 to 12 ounces. These are more durable than the lightweight ones and more often used by intermediate students. Even advanced students wear them, especially those who like a slightly lighter type of karategi.

Heavy weight uniforms are from 14 to 16 ounces, made from heavy drill cotton or double weave cotton. These are appropriate for advanced students, and are more durable than the other types.

Karetegi Cuts

There are four cuts of karategi—Japanese, European, Kata, and Kumite. The Japanese cut has sorter sleeves and pants but a longer jacket. The Kata is almost the same, although a bit exaggerated. The European and Kumite are the polar opposites, with longer sleeves and pants.

The Kata is often used for sparring, while the Kumite are for competition. The latter’s cuts are also altered depending on the personal preference of the user. Since it is used for competition, Kumite is a lot lighter than the Kata gis.

When purchasing a karate uniform, try it on first so that you can determine whether or not it is a good fit. If you are purchasing online, take your measurements and refer to the online sizing chart.

Bear in mind that your first karate uniform will likely not be your last, so you aren’t really pressured to spend a lot of money. Since you’re just a beginner, you’d rather buy a uniform that is appropriate with your level.

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Your Guide to Martial Arts Belts

For many people who are unfamiliar with martial arts, the belt system is one of the few things they may have a vague idea of. You can ask any man in the street and chances are, he’ll tell you that a black belter is the most skilled martial arts practitioners. But ask him about the other belts, and what each color represents, and you may get a puzzled look.

There’s no denying that when it comes to karate, belts are the most familiar to the general public. But what the ordinary Joe should realize is that the martial arts belt hierarchy is more than the white and black belts.


The colored belt ranking system in the martial arts was conceptualized by Dr. Jigoro Kano, a Japanese who is acknowledged as the founder of modern Juno. He is also credited for other concepts that have provided the foundation of modern martial arts. None of these are as important as the colored belt system that serves as a manifestation of a martial art practitioner’s progress. The first black belts were awarded sometime in the 1880s.

It wasn’t too long that karate adopted this belt ranking system. The founder of modern karate, Gitchin Funakoshi, adopted this system and other philosophical concepts from Dr. Kano, who was a good friend.

In Taekwondo, the belt system was introduced by Byung Jick Ro who is acknowledged as the founder of modern Taekwondo. Coincidentally, Ro was a student of Funakoshi and received his black belt from his teacher in 1939. Ro would then introduce the belt ranking system in Taekwondo in the 1940s.

Urban Legend

Through the years, there have been several urban legends been passed down from generation to generation regarding martial artists and their belts. Perhaps you might have heard the story that martial artists start training with a white belt which would become black after years of being stained with blood, sweat, and dirt.

First of all, there is a standard of cleanliness that is practiced in the martial arts. So any student who arrives with a bloodied uniform will never be allowed to train.

Belt Colors and Their Meaning

The standard belt color system starts with white, then yellow, gold, orange, green, blue. After that, purple is next with brown, red, before the ultimate which is black. Each color represents a certain skill level, how the sparring is handled, and restrictions applied to those who wear belts of higher rank.

Each color signifies a certain level of skill. In addition, it determines how sparring is handled, and what restrictions are applied to those who wear belts of a higher rank.

But you may ask: why would black be the highest level and white, the lowest? In the beginning, the white belt was dyed to a new color as the student progresses. Because of the dying process, it only made sense to use darker colors, hence black being the highest level.

Moreover, the belt system in Korea and Japan became widely practiced after the Second World War. Those countries were poor after the war, so dying new belts to a darker color was not only effective and simple, but also very practical.

The white belt signifies a birth or beginning. As a beginner, the white belt student is being taught the knowledge of the martial art. White also represents the beginning of a life cycle, or a seed that lies beneath the snow in the winter.

Yellow pertains to the first beams of sunlight shining upon the seed. A student who has a yellow belt has been given a ray of knowledge by his instructor. The orange belt, meanwhile, represents the mounting influence of the sun. A student who wears the orange belt is starting to feel his body, and opening his mind to the Art.

Green is representative of the growth of the seed into a new plant. A student who has the green belt is starting to strengthen and refine his skills.

Blue refers to the blue sky, with the plant continuing to grow towards it. A student with the blue belt has additional knowledge of the art that can make his body and mind continue to grow.

The purple belt symbolizes the changing of the sky’s colors, as the student prepares to transition from being a neophyte to an advanced student. Brown belt pertains to the ripening of the seed, as a brown belter is knowledgeable of techniques that are starting to mature.

Red belt symbolizes the heat of the sun, with the plant growing towards it. Red also represents danger, which means that a student who has a red belt should considered dangerous with the amount of knowledge that he has gotten through years of training.

The black belt pertains to darkness beyond the sun. Anyone who wears a black belt has a more profound knowledge of the art. He or she can also begin to teach others so that new seeds will be planted, grown, and matured.

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Krav Maga: Is It Just a Fad Or Is It Here to Stay?

More and more people in the U.S. have been seen signing up for Krav Maga courses recently. Famous Hollywood A-listers that are now known Krav Maga practitioners include Tom Cruise, Jason Statham and Daniel Craig as well as Hillary Swank, Ashton Kutcher, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. So, is it a new fad or does it have something for real to offer?

What It Is and What It Is Good For

Krav Maga is an integrated tactical mixed martial art/combative and self-defense system that was first developed for use by the Israeli Defense Forces. When the progenitor of the system, Imi Lichtenfeld, retired from military service, he developed a version that is more suitable for civilians. He opened the first Krav Maga school in 1971. Soon other schools followed. Krav Maga also started to spread fast beyond the borders of Israel.

Krav Maga, which literally means “contact combat,” is an amalgamation of the most effective techniques of boxing, aikido, judo, wrestling, jujitsu, kickboxing, and street fighting into one fluid, fighting military discipline that stresses continuous motion, simultaneous defense and offense, and focusing attacks on an assailant’s most vulnerable points like his eyes, neck or throat, face, foot, fingers and groin. Being a hybrid system, Krav Maga shares many similar striking and grappling techniques with the other more traditional forms of martial arts. What differentiates it from these other fighting disciplines though is its approach to the mindset, tactics training methodology.

Most traditional martial arts involve practicing certain prescribed “katas” or rituals, observing certain traditions, and abiding by certain sporting rules and point-scoring systems. Krav Maga’s main, if not sole, concern is to neutralize an immediate threat as quickly as possible. Since your aim here is to dominate and incapacitate an attacker as soon as possible, you do whatever you have to do to in order to gain the upper hand. When your life is on the line, you don’t worry that you’d be called for a “foul” when you gauge out the eyes or you of bite off the ears of your attacker.

Krav Maga was also designed to be learned quickly. Even a military-grade Krav Maga instructor course just takes five weeks to complete. It was meant to be kept as simple as possible so that it could be put to use as soon as possible. In Krav Maga, there aren’t any choreographed katas or movement patterns to learn and memorize, only battle-tested strikes, holds, and blocks that have been proven effective in real-life dangerous situations and that can be properly executed within split seconds.

Basic Tactics

Krav Maga encourages students to be constantly aware of their surroundings while dealing with a threat in order to spot potential additional attackers, to look for possible escape routes, and to be ready to pick up any object that can be used as a weapon of opportunity to defend and for offense. It teaches them how to improvise and use any object at their disposal as a weapon, including keys, pens, belts, and chairs, to neutralize opponents as quickly as possible.

Another basic tactical move is to always go for the attacker’s vulnerable soft tissue and pressure points. Many counterattack strikes involve eye gouging, groin attacks, and strikes to the throat. In addition to the strikes, Krav Maga teaches a number of subduing techniques like joint-locks and choke-holds that will allow you to exert control over your attacker and put you in a position to end the threat quickly.

While many martial arts treat defensive and offensive moves as separate and discrete actions, Krav Maga techniques combine every defensive move with a simultaneously executed offensive attack. For example, if an attacker goes for your throat, you’d not only try to deflect his attack, but also simultaneously counter with a strike to his eyes, throat or groin. Krav Maga trains and conditions students to execute defensive and offensive movements in one continuous motion instinctively.


While the Krav Maga techniques are by themselves simple and easy to keep in mind, the ability to execute them properly from instinct alone rather from some memorized pattern has to be ingrained deeply in the students through intensive conditioning training. Your body has to be finely tuned so that it becomes a living lethal weapon. Practitioners are given rigorous drills where they have to execute the techniques from a position of disadvantage. They will be trained how to use simultaneous defensive and offensive movements under mental duress and physical fatigue. There are given exercises that are meant to get the students surprised, disorientated and exhausted that simulate the conditions typically present in real-life dangerous confrontations. During these drills, they can practice the techniques under stress. After all, in real life, no right-thinking bad guy will wait for you to get in your favorite fighting stance before attacking.

Because of the hard physical workout and the full contact practice drills, almost all Krav Maga schools require their students to come with protective gear – hand wraps, groin guard, mouth guard, boxing gloves, grappling gloves, head-guard with grill, forearm guards and Muay Thai shin guards.

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Should Marines Really Have to Learn Karate and Other Martial Arts as Part of Their Training?

Well, yes and no.

Yes, since they all have to learn how to execute some basic Karate kicks and punches and some Brazilian Jiu Jitsu choke-holds and joint-locks properly. And no, since technically they have their own officially prescribed system of martial arts. The U.S. Marine Corps has developed its own unique brand of hand-to-hand and close-quarters combat system using and refining different techniques drawn from different martial arts disciplines, including Boxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Savate, Jujutsu, Karate, Judo, Sambo, Krav Maga, Isshin Ryu or Okinawan Karate, Aikido, Muay Thai, Eskrima, Hapkido, Taekwondo, Kung Fu, Kickboxing and bayonet fighting. Simply dubbed the “Marine Corps Martial Arts Program” or MCMAP, it was issued in 2002 and it “replaces all other close-combat related systems preceding its introduction.” Thus, as far as Marines are concerned, they only have one official martial arts style and that is the MCMAP style as taught in their combat curriculum.

MCMAP Slogan and Progression Structure

The MCMAP slogan is “One Mind, Any Weapon.” Under the MCMAP curriculum, Marines are taught how to use the different fighting techniques in varying degrees of lethality depending on different situations. An MCMAP practitioner can use an unarmed restraint to force compliance with minimal damage or he can use debilitating or lethal force when really necessary. The techniques themselves include a wide range of punches, kicks, strikes, grappling, choke holds, joint locks, throws and ground fighting techniques that can be used both defensively and offensively as well as with or without a weapon of opportunity. MCMAP training is conducted in a variety of conditions simulating real life-or-death combat situations.

Like other martial arts, the MCMAP uses a system of colored belts to delineate the different levels of proficiency of the students. The beginner’s belt is colored tan, the second level is represented by a gray belt, the third by a green belt, the fourth by a brown belt, and the fifth by a black belt. A black belter MCMAP practitioner has also varying levels of marks of proficiency- from first degree at the start to sixth degree at the highest end. Since 2007, earning a tan belt, in addition to passing the standard physical and mental exams, has been a requirement for admission to the Marine Corps. A Marine who wants to advance to fourth degree in the MCMAP must also hold at least a first degree black belt in Karate, Muay Thai or any other civilian martial arts program that has been approved by the Corps.

Physical Conditioning

Aside from the training on the proper use of the fighting techniques, the MCMAP has a rigorous physical conditioning regimen that includes drills and exercises that require either or both coordinated teamwork and competition. Marines as part of their martial arts training do calisthenics, running with full gear, log carries, and similar endurance and strengthening exercises on land and in water as well as in low-light or dark conditions to simulate combat stress. They also regularly hold practice bouts and matches to hone their individual fighting skills.

Since fitness is essential to the day-to-day effectiveness and combat readiness of the Marine Corps, Marines are regularly evaluated using the Physical Fitness Test (PFT) and the Body Composition Program (BCP). The PFT is a semi-annual evaluation consisting of three events – pull-ups for male or flexed-arm hang for females, abdominal crunches, and a 3-mile run. The BCP, also conducted on a semi-annual basis, involves comparing a Marine’s weight with the Marine Corps weight allowance chart. For those who meet the standard weight allowance for your height, no further action will be required. For those who did not, they will be measured for body-fat only. If they exceed the body-fat allowance, they will have to reduce until they meet the body fat standards for Marines – which is not to exceed 18-percent for males and not to exceed 26-percent for females.

Mental Discipline and Warrior Ethos

The MCMAP also entails the holding of classroom-type academic discussions regarding fundamental tactics and methods of the past, studies on combative behavior and interpersonal violence, Rules of Engagement and the concept of Force Continuum which deals with when and how much force can be used in response to a given mission. For some who are aiming for higher belt degrees, some courses in formal Professional Military Education (PME) are required, including those which deals with situational awareness, tactical and strategic decision-making, and operational risk management. Character development involves both on-classroom discussion and off-classroom application of the Marine Corps core values, ethics, good citizenship. A Marine should strive to walk the true warrior’s path, much like a samurai’s Bushido or a knight’s Chivalry.

MCMAP and LINE Combatives

The MCMAP evolved from LINE (Linear Infighting Neural Override Engagement) Combatives, a more lethal form of close-quarters fighting system that was used by the Marine Corps from 1989 to 1998. LINE Combatives was replaced after it was found inflexible and lacking in techniques that are appropriate for peacekeeping and other similar missions that did not require use of deadly force.

Also a hybrid of several martial arts like MCMAP, the LINE Combatives techniques are designed to specifically cause death to an opponent. The techniques are also designed to be easily executable by a soldier even in full battle gear under extreme physical and mental fatigue and under poor visibility conditions. The LINE Combatives system is presently still in use among advanced martial arts students, military officers and personnel throughout the special operations, by high-risk law enforcement government agencies and by professional private security service contractors.

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Aikido Training for Japan’s Police?

In Japan, the birthplace of many of today’s martial arts, Aikido is uniquely the one officially chosen for instruction to the elite Tokyo Metropolitan Riot Police and Secret Police. In fact, those in the riot police and special service units are required to have at least a ‘shodan’ or beginning black belt degree in Yoshinkan Aikido (a ‘hard’ style of aikido) if they want to advance further in their careers as police officers.

Aikido, unlike other martial arts, is extremely flexible. It can be applied at varying levels of severity from the most gentle controlling techniques to the most debilitating, even lethal counter-measures. It is therefore ideal for practical use in a wide range of law enforcement situations. A training in Aikido will prepare police officers to defend themselves and those they vow to serve and protect should the need arise. Aside from the fighting and defensive techniques, the Aikido training will also help them become more physically and mentally fit for the job.

With regular Aikido practice, police officers develop the necessary ability to remain calm, comfortable, unflappable and focused in the face of any crisis they may encounter on the ground. In contrast with the more aggressive martial arts like Karate and Krav Maga, the stance and movements used in Aikido are relaxed and welcoming. Rather than opposing an attacker with force, blocks or strikes, an Aikido practitioner learns to enter and blend with the motion of the attack, redirecting the force and using the attacker’s own momentum in order to gain advantage.

Basic Stance and Movements

Most schools of Aikido use the shapes of the triangle, the circle and the square to illustrate the basic teachings of the art. For instance, the core in Aikido is represented by a circle since the power in a movement comes from circular motion around a stable, energized center. The triangle on the other hand represents the triangular posture predominant in the Aikido stance, as in the triangulation of the arms to the body’s center of gravity and the hips as well as in the basic “triangular offline avoidance” movement. Finally, the square represents solidity of stance, or the principle of “weight-underside” or “being grounded.”

“Hanmi,” the ideal stance for stability, has the feet in a close triangle. A practitioner in this stance can execute proper movements at remarkable speed and stability while appearing completely relaxed. The alignment of the hips and the circular arcs of movement allow for the generation of significant power, much like the winding and uncoiling of a spring.

Properly executed from a correct stance, Aikido moves can be at once graceful and effective.  Attacks seem to deflect themselves and attackers are thrown with what appears to be the most minimal of effort. However, not all of Aikido’s power may be explained by the leverage that comes with the stance nor from the bio-mechanical efficiency of circular movements. The Japanese, like most Asian cultures, believe that there is a “ki” or life-force that can be experienced, cultivated, and directed.

Harnessing the “Ki” in Aikido

In Aikido, students are taught early on to develop a feel for ki, or the life-force energy, through a progression series of exercises that usually starts, continues and ends with proper breathing and relaxation techniques. Students are taught to be aware of their ki while executing the pushing and extending movements that are integral to the Aikido drills. Some practitioners describe experiencing ki as the “feeling of perfect timing and coincidental breathing” while in the process of executing an Aikido move. Over time and with regular practice, the experience of ki energy becomes so palpably real and available to the practitioner that little to no muscular resistance is required blend with the attack or to perform a technique.

“Irimi” or Entering with Right Timing

“Irimi” in Aikido is the act of entering deeply around or behind an attack to defuse or neutralize that attack. Here students are taught to blend with the attack by becoming one with the opponent’s movement and leaving the opponent with nowhere to strike. This movement is executed starting with stepping straight in the direction of the attack then fluidly moving out of the way and into the opponent’s blind spot. When executed properly, one can strike an opponent with great force using his own momentum. Irimi redirects the opponent’s movement in an arcing or circular way so that the force of the attack can be diffused or used as counter-strike with minimum effort. To get a feel of how to enter with right timing, students are taught early on how to look with “soft eyes,” that is to use their peripheral vision detect movements in their surroundings, much like basketball players and other athletes do when in a live playing field.

Learning to Listen with the Body

Aside from having “soft eyes,” an Aikido practitioner also learns to use his entire body, especially his “hara” or guts, to feel, scan or scope his surroundings. Being able to listen with the body will come over time and with regular Aikido practice, especially with “randori” or defending against multiple attackers. Needless to say, this is a useful skill to have for a police officer who’s on crowd control duty or who has to deal with a mob situation on the streets.

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Kung Fu Is Still The Best Martial Art

It is not a surprise that kung fu is fading away today. This is because of the surfacing of many martial art disciplines that are more appealing to the younger generation. The mixed martial arts or MMA is leading the way in today’s world of combat sports. And while there is no doubt that this is more entertaining to watch, kung fu remains to be a force to be reckoned with when it comes to significance and holistic appeal. What makes kung fu still one of the best even today?

Kung Fu Produced Great Army Generals

Kung Fu is not just a martial art but a way of life and this way of life has made great leaders in China’s history especially in the military. Yuan Zhong, Chi Ji Guang, and Yuan Zhong are some of the few military greats in China that came from the school of Kung Fu. This historical truth also revealed one more important legacy of Kung Fu. It bred empire founders, leaders who are considered pioneers in the Kumintang rule and later in the establishment of the Communist government.

The ability and motivation to build great empires is rooted in the Kung Fu tradition of overthrowing oppressive governments and replacing it with a good one. Kung Fu teaches something more than fighting but also discipline that transcends into action. As history would have it, these actions gave way to great victories in battles and the establishment of China’s most important national leadership eras.

Kung Fu Has The Largest Group of Masters

Kung Fu simply had the most significant impact on Chinese culture and history as it was able to raise the most numbers of masters and trained a greater number of students in the Kung Fu discipline. This legacy is however not limited in China as many masters were able to spread Kung Fu throughout the world.

The greatest masters of Kung Fu that ever lived include Wang Tze Ping, Ku Ru Zhang, Wong Fei Hoong, and Huo Yuan Jia. These masters were all proponents of the fighting arts of Kung Fu and were able to win against foreign masters of other countries who came to China to test what Kung Fu is really made of. The foreign masters came from all over the world like Europe, Japan, and Russia. All of these masters failed to defeat the Kung Fu masters of China proving yet again the superiority of this martial art.

This exemplary record of Kung Fu paved the way for today’s respect of the same. It does not matter where a Kung Fu master is from, the truth stands that in the annals of Chinese history, Kung Fu was proven to be the best and is still the best until today because Kung Fu is yet to be defeated by other martial art disciplines.

Kung Fu Enriches The Lives of its Practitioners

All martial arts have philosophical backgrounds and this holds the key to its transformational value to the one who practices it. Kung Fu is above other martial arts when it comes to this aspect. The Kung Fu masters and their students are great fighters, but they have mastered well the need to seek out diplomacy and seeking a more peaceful course of action.

The form of many existing martial arts today like Karate, Taekwondo, Aikido, wrestling, western boxing, judo and many others can also be found in Kung Fu. This underlines the fact that Kung Fu is ahead and well advanced than all the other disciplines of combat sports.

The power of Kung Fu is also quite unique and proven to be really above other martial arts. For one Kung Fu masters are quite strong and even limitless in so many ways. The power of Kung Fu is never dependent on one’s age or size but in its innate empowering elements. What is really amazing about it is that Kung Fu is not just used for hurting people but also in healing them. These dual qualities allow Kung Fu to be regarded much more in the martial arts community.

Kung Fu is not just about fighting or defense but also tending to injuries. This requires a more holistic approach, a comprehensive coverage of needed skills that address the physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual needs of Kung Fu practitioners. This makes it more enriching not just to the one who is engaged with it but also the people around who gets touched by the power of Kung Fu.

Kung Fu is Defined by the Training of its Practitioner

Kung Fu students are not just to learn fighting techniques. They are instructed with the same passion and intensity to being courteous and considerate with the others. It teaches courage and righteousness, ability to assess problems and situations with calm and clarity of thought. Students of Kung Fu are also taught to be sold out to their daily duties and responsibilities, doing it with enthusiasm at all times. Kung Fu teaches love for life thus it is well known to be a peace-seeking discipline.

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Why Women Should Learn the Art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or BJJ is now one of the most popular martial arts in the world thanks to its eager followers who keep on advocating for the said combat sport. The applicability of BJJ for all ages, gender and motivation is also making it more appealing to many. BJJ is centered on grappling techniques and also widely known for its ground fighting elements. What makes it very ideal for women is that it allows them to learn the techniques NOT to be pinned down to the ground helplessly. But there is more about BJJ that women might love. Read on!

BJJ is a Great Workout

There is no doubt that rolling on the ground and figuring out ways to leverage quickness and weight to overcome your opponent can be exhausting and strains different muscle groups in your body. This makes BJJ a very challenging and sweaty undertaking.

Jiu Jitsu can provide for the ideal mix of cardio and conditioning exercises for women. Called the “gentle” fighting art, the sport is not as rigorous compared to other martial arts and can inflict lesser direct physical pain but it can subject the body to sustained physical exertion.

Jiu-jitsu’s kind of exercise is great for women who are suffering from insomnia. By doing Jiu Jitsu often the body can have the exercise it needs to relax the body and make it more primed for sleeping. It is also important to note that BJJ also helps in flooding the body with endorphins. This enzyme, produced by the pituitary gland is released when the right amount of physical exertion is achieved.

What women get is euphoria. Endorphins are related with better work performance. This makes women sharper, more productive at work and able to overcome stress easier. By doing BJJ women can have the exercise they need, the better sleep they deserve, and the happiness they can squeeze out from their domestic and professional lives.

Jiu-Jitsu Can Help with Abdominal Cramps During Menstrual Periods

Dysmenorrhea is a source of suffering for many women which can go as high as 6 in the pain scale. Half of women suffer from the condition while a few suffer from extreme cases wherein the pain incapacitates them completely. BJJ can provide for the right kind of exercise – not too vigorous yet not too light to ward of the pain from dysmenorrhea. BJJ can effectively reduce estrogen levels in the woman’s blood which is seen to be the cause of dysmenorrhea.

BJJ Can Keep Women Safe

Studies reveal that 1 in 4 women are subjected to physical assault at least once in their lives. This is mainly because of the belief of many people that women are weak and are easily subjected to abuse. BJJ training can give women situational awareness, understand the anatomy of an attack, and acquire some skills to subdue the attacker. In Jiu Jitsu size is not as important as understanding how you can leverage your position to be in control when fighting on the ground. Assault will inevitably lead to the ground and BJJ can help women get used to maneuvering their weight lying down and while being squashed by someone heavier than them. Without Jiu Jitsu training, being pinned to the ground can induce panic but with BJJ training women can actively think of an escape and even overpower their attacker simply because they are used to the stress associated with ground fighting and they also have some basic techniques they can use against the attacker.

BJJ Allows Women to be Part of a Community

Women can enjoy Brazilian Jiu Jitsu because of the other people who are also into the sport. They can meet other women who share their passion for this martial art. They can have a group where they can form friendships. This community can help them gain the confidence they need to apply BJJ principles and techniques. This confidence allows them to perform better with the combat sport. Women need this kind of support to embrace Jiu Jitsu best and make it a lifestyle for them, not just something they do once in a while.

Jiu Jitsu Can Teach Women Important Life Lessons

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu even with its gentler qualities compared to other martial arts, is still challenging physically and mentally. Women can learn some key lessons like accepting standing truths such you cannot win it all the time. There will be some rounds where you will be forced to tap out. But this is okay because every failure gives you insights on what not to do next time. BJJ can also reveal their weaknesses and the realization that these weaknesses are meant to be conquered. Jiu Jitsu teaches women to push forward always, defying limitations thus giving women the confidence boost they need not to be pushed around and treated as someone weak and defenseless. This does not mean they are now more aggressive, this just means they now understand better what they are capable of doing.

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