Karaté - Budo

Eléments essentiels à la compréhension du karaté

Karate Budo
Aggression and stress

Stress is a natural and automatic reaction of the body as it prepares to face a problem or danger. Under the effects of tension, the autonomic (non-conscious) nervous system increases the secretion of stress hormones (adrenaline, cortisol, etc.) by the adrenal glands (the endocrine glands at the upper pole of the two kidneys). The resulting stress is felt by means of various events, such as muscle tension, tremors, palpitations, hyperventilation, sweating, intestinal disorders, impatience, irritability, aggressiveness, confused thoughts, difficulty in concentrating and remembering, etc. During stress or exertion, the body also secretes endorphins (a type of morphine) that have an analgesic effect and generate a state of well-being. These might also explain a relative dependence on sport or stress (among marathon runners, for example).

The manifestations of stress may prove troublesome in various circumstances (in the event of palpitations, for example, of excessive sweating during an exam). But, when faced with danger, stress increases aggressiveness, and boosts strength and speed, which can be crucial. Stress may be considered as an adaptive mechanism that enabled our ancestors to survive when they were in danger. However, thinking skills and fine motor skills are often altered. A defence system must integrate these factors if it is to be effective in stressful situations. It must consist of simple movements that are natural, fast and limited in number. Ten to twenty techniques are usually considered sufficient for dealing with most forms of aggression. There is little point in trying to master hundreds of complicated techniques, as it is highly unlikely that you will be able to use them if attacked. It is much better to keep repeating a handful of techniques until they become effective and automatic. It falls to each individual to find his or her favourite techniques and drills in the compendium of karate katas.

We can never claim to be able to prepare an individual to face a real assault. However, here are three areas that should not be overlooked:

1. Repeating simple and effective techniques until they become automatic and reflex actions.
2. Increasing body muscle to boost mass and speed of execution in order to augment the kinetic energy of blows.
3. At the same time, work should be done on psychological preparation by multiplying stress situations in training in order to develop self-control and the fighting spirit.

Various facets of karate make it possible to work on these three elements. The main areas are outlined below.

Read more in the book "Karate: more than the move" ...

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