"Karate-do is not merely a sport that teaches how to strike and kick; it is also a defense against illness and disease."

In Gichin Funakoshi's book Karate-do, My way of life, I read a couple of paragraphs that had me in 2 minds! It reads as follows:

"As I look back over the nine decades of of my life-from childhood to youth to maturity to (making use of an expression that I dislike) old age-I realize that it is thanks to my devotion to Karate-do that I have never once had to consult a physician. I have never in my life taken any medicine.."

"In rercent years my friends have accused me of being immortal; it's just a joke to which I can only reply, seriously but simply, that my body had been so well trained that it repels all sickness and disease."

I have been an athlete from primary school, right through high school and after school. I have always been active in some sort of sport type. I have always managed to get sick every year about 2 times a year.

My initial take on this matter was:
Is the body that is well trained and conditioned against illness and disease through karate / martial arts only or can this be achieved through other sports as well?
Can the body be trained and conditioned to repel illness and disease in the first place?
Is this whole thing of repelling illness and disease perhaps all in the mind, the mind is stronger than anything else after all, or so it is said?
Or is it both training of the body and mind to be able to do this and live this healthy life?

This is what Keigo Abe Sensei had to say in an interview with Thomas A. Casale.:

"Training Karate for health will allow your body to defend against illness and you will live a longer higher quality life."

According to Multi-arts Grand Master Richard Hackworth:

"Of the five categories, only the martial arts cardiovascular or aerobic group changes metabolism and chemistry in enough ways to bring about a wide range of health gains in the martial arts practitioner."

"Martial arts training affects the great majority of the body's tissues, organs and systems to bring about homeostatic stability and normal function. Training at optimal levels of frequency, distance (time) and intensity can markedly reduce the risk of developing many of the chronic diseases commonly seen."

And there are so many other articles about karate / martial arts and the health benefits of training.

My Final take: So now after researching a couple of articles on the body that is able to repel illness and defend itself against diseases through martial art training, I understand it better but still believe that everyone gets ill at some point in their lives, at some or other time your immune system is going to be off gaurd! I am not of the opinion that one can go a whole life time without being ill once or going to a doctor for some sort of sickness or disease.

What is your take on it..??


Chaleira's picture

Great topic. Just a quick post for now. I may drop by again to go more in depth. Studies show that many illnesses and disease are and can be brought on by stress. Could it be that because of his dedication to Karate he was able to repel so much of life's stress to where he didn't get ill from things that he may have if karate wasn't a part of his life? In that, I would say any physical activity that also reduces stress could probably produce similar results. Just my thoughts.
Karate Kitty's picture

I have since this blog been sick (or should I say the start of flu) 3 times. Everytime I have started feeling something coming on, I would go to class and train anyway although everyone said stay in bed at home! And guess what? I walked out of my dojo after training feeling like a million bucks. The next morning I would feel perfect and on my way to work. So all I can say is that Gichin made a believer out of me with regards to avoiding and preventing illness and flu etc through hard training. I am not saying when you are already very sick and half dying to go and run around like a mad man to cure your flu!!! I am simply saying when you feel the very first touches of a flu or illness coming on, then immediately go and train it out of your body!! IT WORKS.
cris donovan's picture

i absolutely agree KK, my training has helped so much with my bipolar; while the lows are much more moderate, i have to be aware that the manic highs can manifest themselves in training over enthusiasm- but at least that is a physical outlet that burns up a bit of the energy. Over all it is all starting to balance out a lot more and be more even... every bp's dream. The best thing is, i stopped taking Lithium a month after getting back into training! No drugs, no worries!