Keeping Karate Safe
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Karate is practiced around the world, and its popularity will probably only continue to grow. Like any martial art, karate does carry some risk of getting hurt. You likely already know that you should wear karate sparring gear to help prevent injury. Here are some other strategies you can use to help practice martial arts safely.
Pre-Participation Medical Exam
Before you begin to train in or practice any strenuous new activity, you should always get a preliminary medical exam. This will help detect any possible underlying problems and will determine whether or not you are healthy enough to safely participate. Getting an exam is especially important if you have any medical conditions or old injuries. If you are diabetic or have a bad knee, for example, you will definitely need a doctor’s advice before you proceed.
Use Common Sense
Use common sense and do not try to push yourself. If you have sudden sharp muscle or joint pain, stop right away and get it checked out. The same applies if you have hit your head and are feeling dizzy, tired or headachy.
Karate sparring gear can prevent many injuries, but you still may get hurt at some point. Stress injuries in particular may present relatively subtle signs at first, but could potentially be made much worse by continued strain. If your body is telling you that something is wrong, you should listen.
Get Good Supervision
Experienced, competent instructors are your best allies. A good instructor can analyze your technique and spot anything you are doing wrong that could cause injury if not corrected. Your instructor will also ensure everyone is wearing sparring gear. Additionally, an instructor should be able to quickly pick up on potential problems, such as a student who is getting too aggressive or using excess force due to poor technique. Try to have an instructor supervise your matches as much as possible, and listen to all offered advice.
When you find something you love, such as martial arts, it is understandable to want to progress as quickly as you can. You may schedule matches and practices as often as possible, while also going over techniques at home. Do try not to push yourself beyond what your body and mind can handle. Sometimes you may find yourself exhausted, in pain or recuperating from an illness. Do not be afraid to take a step back and give your body and mind a break, even if just for a day or two. Pushing yourself too hard is a good way to burn out or get injured.
Be Your Own Advocate
You are your own best advocate. Try to stand up for your own safety. Insist that sparring gear be worn in every match. If you are facing an opponent who is being overly aggressive or using too much force, do not be ashamed to stop that match.
It is possible to practice martial arts safely. If you wear appropriate karate sparring gear, listen to expert instruction and take responsibility for your own wellbeing, you have a good chance of safely enjoying the many benefits of martial arts.