There is a lot of bad noise banging around out there in the karate-sphere about the need to train ourselves to the limit at all possible training opportunities, work in deep stances at all times to strengthen our legs (to which I can’t help but reply, ever heard of squats?), punch makiwara until our knuckles are raw or bleed just like Yoshitaka, etc. I admit, when I first started training these ideas all held some appeal, they seemed like an intrinsic part of the “path” that must be taken to really improve in karate. If some is good, then more, harder training must be better! Give me that heavy-ass chi’ishi and never mind the shoulder pain! Do another 500 front kicks into air, Mas Oyama had nothing on me!! Sensei X did it like this his whole life , and look how he turned out! No pain no gain, right?
Wrong, actually. Constantly pursuing more and harder training with no changes in methods, routine or intensity has a negative effect on our bodies, and subsequently, our ability to train productively. All of us have our own physiological quirks, gifts and weaknesses. What is safe for my body to do might not be safe for yours, and vice versa. Even the most useful exercise or implement can have a negative impact on our bodies and abilities if done too much, too heavy or too hard. Well-trained trainers and coaches understand this, and it would behoove all of us who teach or train in a martial art to recognize it as well. Too much, too hard too often results in a diminished state of health known as over-training. Martial artists are not necessarily athletes, but that doesn’t mean that the same physiological principles that apply to athletic training do not apply to our own training.