Martial arts are systems of offensive and defensive combat movements which includes proper punching, kicking, blocking, and other combative skills. Many people often associate martial arts to violence and brutality. Even though this form of art was developed for self defense, this craft is just about throwing punches or performing high kicks. Martial arts are seen as expressions of valor, chivalry, and self-sacrifice. It is a philosophy which stresses that people should live in peace and harmony. Martial arts philosophy emphasizes on the essence of self-control, respect for others, and positive perspective to strive for the best in life. Martial arts are part of an Eastern tradition that gives emphasis on the fortification of the mind, body, and spirit. Its teachings emphasize that a true martial artist must become physically, mentally, and emotionally strong enough to avoid fighting. The many forms of martial arts include Karate, Kung-Fu, Muay Thai, Tae Kwon Do, Judo, Yaw-Yan, and Jiu Jitsu.
Martial arts include high-energy training that can improve strength, speed, flexibility, and cardiovascular health. However, just like other sports or physical activities, there are injuries that can be encountered in martial arts training or competition. Quite surprisingly, the risk of injury from martial arts is lower compared to other contact sports. A research conducted at George Washington University in the United States concluded that the injury rate in martial arts training is lower than other contact sports like rugby, American football, basketball, and hockey. Most injuries associated with martial arts are aching limbs and lower back pain, which are usually mild to moderate injuries.
Common injuries in martial arts may include:
Skin damage — such as cuts and bruises.
Sprains — Many sprains occur in the ankles, elbows, and other joint areas. Many ankle sprains develop because of improper weight distribution while kicking.
Strains — injury to the muscle or tendon. Some muscles may tear from rapid stops that occurs when forceful contact is made with an opponent or object.
Knee pain injuries — caused by the bent-knee stance typical of most martial arts and the use of forceful kicks that can injure the joint if not done properly.
Head injuries head injuries can occur during training or competition because of heavy impacts of kicks and punches in the head area. Wearing high quality helmet and mouth guards is advised among martial artists
Dislocations and fractures — particularly of the hand, finger, foot and toe.
Overuse injuries — any part of the body can be injured by sheer repetition of movement.
Martial arts training involve strenuous movements that may put high stress on muscles and joints. To avoid injuries, it is very important to give special attention to stretching. Stretching regularly helps maintain or increase flexibility and lower the risk of injuries. In addition to stretching, martial arts training should also include exercises meant to improve overall conditioning and muscle training before undertaking any comprehensive martial arts training. By strengthening the muscles, joints, and coordination, athletes will be able to make martial arts training safer and more injury-free. Breathing techniques are also important as part of the practice of martial arts. Exhaling while contracting muscles and inhaling while resting the muscles may help prevent injuries.
By warming-up properly, breathing extensively, and wearing necessary equipment, martial artists and athletes can avoid injuries that may hamper the progress of their training and level of competitiveness.