Good Posture: Kata for Standing Tall

Martial Arts Kata provides a framework for improving posture. Martial Arts Kata movements and postures can strengthen the back muscles and stabilize the core. The core supports stable positioning of the pelvis and relieves pressure in the lower spine. The back muscles attach to back of the pelvis. The attaching leverages the spine into good posture. Martial Arts Kata, properly practiced, can be effective in developing better posture.

Good movement is a function that supports good posture. Modern society has developed along lines that degrade the quality and amount of movement that people engage in. People sit, ride in cars, and are inactive when they have free time. Lack of  movement leads to muscles not being fully engaged. This brings about loss of muscle tone and functionality. The back muscles consist of the larger muscles that move the arms and raise the torso, those that move and stabilize the spine and those that hold the spinal column in place.

Good posture.
There are various applications for this form. Core is engaged and posture is good from the feet up to the head.

The execution of kata involves specified movement patterns combined with various leg and arm techniques (i.e. strikes, takedowns, locks). These are designed to minimize, through alignment and posture, the amount effort needed to generate maximal power for a technique. Kata trains the spine to be mobile and stable, in relation to the movements being performed. This has beneficial effects on posture.

The core imparts a major influence on good posture. The core is comprised of several different muscles but we will focus on a few of them in this article. The function of the transversus abdominis (TrA) is to stabilize the low back and pelvis BEFORE movement of the arms and/or legs occurs. The TrA, along with the quadratus lumborum (QL) and the multifidus (MF) are some of the deep core muscles often targeted by for treating musculoskeletal injuries primarily associated with the spine. These muscles are critical for lumbar-pelvic-hip stability; of particular interest is spinal stability.

Cat Stance
Weight distribution requires core to be engaged and the spine to be stable. Shoulders pulled back. Posture is good.

Performing kata in series, from basic to advanced, develops the proper sequencing of muscle activation. A person’s ability to engage the core and stabilize the spine will add to the benefits obtained from kata for postural improvement. Stabilizing the core adds to spinal stabilization. The executing of various techniques increases the demand for postural integrity. One does not need to execute a cinematic level of athletic ability to achieve postural improvement from kata practice.

Studies have been conducted that reveal the levels of postural control required for kata performance.   Karate practice may enhance postural integrity due to a greater control of steadiness and a greater stance precision despite the weakness of sensory contexts. In other words, in kata practice, develops the internal body communications that contribute to postural control, i.e. visual cues are enhanced by tactile cues and lend to overall balance as relates to postural improvement. The eyes communicate what looks good and the rest of the body (feet, legs, core, arms, back) communicate what feels good.

Good posture
The core is engaged. The shoulders are strongly pulled back.

Consider that posture, along with balance, deteriorates with age. However, these abilities can be maintained. Practices and modalities are available that aid in the enhancement of posture.  Kata is a modality that has been utilized for years. It has self-defense applications as well as having advantages that can be accessed by the general population. Posture does not have to deteriorate, nor does it need to succumb to poor muscle tone or patterns of improper activation.  Kata is a modality that can help in the improving and maintaining postural integrity.

For more information of ways to improve posture, contact the trainers at “Ab-Sutra Wellness and Fitness

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