Workout or Class?

When we attend a karate class, are we doing a workout? To me the answer is no but it has become a common term used among many karateka.

The term “workout” is defined as “a session of vigorous physical exercise.”

Okay, Norm, what is your problem!?!

Well, let’s look at the definition of class. “Class” is defined as “a group of students who meet regularly to be taught a subject or activity.”

Yes, karate training is vigorous physical exercise but that is not all. I can go to the gym and lift weights for 2 hours and go home. What did I learn? How much weight I can lift in 2 hours. In a karate class, I learn something every times. This is the case whether I am teaching the class or taking part as a student.

The difference truly is in what you are looking for in your training. Are you a karateka to get exercise and stay healthy or are you a studying karate to achieve something more?

Think about it this way. An Olympic athlete trains for the Olympics. They don’t workout for the Olympics. Yes, working out is part of their training. A marathon runner will go to the gym and lift weights and do other forms of strength and cardio exercises to stay in the utmost physical condition. That is their workout but when it comes to running that is training. They run to shave seconds off of their time. Each time that tie up their laces they are mentally preparing to achieve an improvement of a second on their time from that last run. They are not running for exercise, they are running for an achievement.

But Norm, when you work out, you achieve stuff! Yes, of course, you get better at what you are doing when you work out. You get stronger, faster, leaner, etc. However, you are not achieving the same as you would in if you were training for a specific event. If I am exercising to lose weight and I shed some pounds, I achieved something. I feel better and will continue to exercise. I achieved that personal goal and I will set another personal goal. That is fine. But it is not the same as training for something.

Think about the concept of Shin-Gi-Tai. Shin means Mind, Body and Spirit. Gi means Skill, Technique, Art. Tai means Body, the Physical. When you work out you are developing the body. Truly that is all. You have accomplished the Tai portion. But you have only accomplished one. In a class, you are learning new techniques and improving your skills. You are developing a strong spirit and emotional connection to the other students and to to what you are doing. Growing mentally, physically and spiritually. In a class you are accomplishing all three levels of Shin-Gi-Tai. Which is so important in your training.

When you are preparing for something, trying to achieve something, you are training. You train for a competition, rank promotion, etc. You workout to get healthier. You train to develop Mind, Body and Spirit, to gain, well…Senshin: The Enlightened Mind! (sorry, I had to insert blog promotion, lol.)


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