Varieties of Martial Arts are practiced all over the world. From Muay Thai in Thailand to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Brazil, the art of self defense is cherished in every corner of the globe. Many times the art is passed through generations of a family tree making martial arts more than just a way to defend yourself and more akin to an integral article of culture, a way to inculcate youth.
The self-defense techniques are often accompanied by a complete system of wellness including diet, stretching, herbal protocols, and internal cultivation techniques like meditation. Unfortunately, the important accompanying pieces are sometimes lost when the art is passed down, leaving only the effective self-defense components of the system.
Lets review some of the easily integrated techniques that can boost and help sustain your practice for years to come.
Dr. Shir's Liniment- For thousands of years martial artists in Asia have used a variety of topicals named Dit Da Jow. Formulas for Dit Da Jows were tightly held secrets that were passed down through generations in oral and written history. Dr. Shir's is one such liniment, this formula was passed on to us by the late Dr. Shi Neng-Yun. It is suitable for joints, tendons, ligaments and other areas where massage is impractical or contraindicated. Excellent for jammed fingers or toes, sprains, and strains where the skin is not broken.
Herbal Muscle and Joint Rub - Training the body to achieve your performance goals takes intensity and habitual training. This is commonly associated with sore muscles and joints. Herbal Muscle and Joint Rub contains powerful traditional herbs to soothe aching, painful joints and muscles. Massage this non-greasy, menthol lotion into arthritic joints, joint sprains, stiff necks, or sore, tired muscles and see why this herb formula was handed down for centuries in China.
Yunnan Baiyao - In 1901 a man named Qu Huanzhang from Yunnan Province traveled the region to try all of its herbs. In 1902, after his voyage, he crafted what is now famously known as Yunnan Baiyao. Quickly adopted by the Chinese military, Yunnan Baiyao is used internally and externally. For deep acute bruising and to promote circulation, mix this with Dr. Shir's to make a paste and apply to bruises daily.
Yan Hu Suo- An important part of all herbalists quiver, Yan Hu Suo (Corydalis) has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine as an analgesic, dealing with pain of all types. A recent study scientifically reinforced what our elders have known for centuries, that the power of Yan Hu Suo is substantial when addressing pain. Next time you are faced with pain, try taking this instead of the drugstore pain killer. From a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, Yan Hu Suo regulates the circulation of Qi and invigorates blood circulation* and removes stasis*
Ginseng - Ren Shen or Panax Ginseng is an internationally known herbal that is commonly used for energy. From a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective Ginseng, tonify's the spleen and lung while replenishing the Qi (vital energy)*. Martial arts are not just about who is the quickest or strongest. Instead, the art depends on concentration and strategy. Studies suggest that Ginseng improves mental performance while also bolstering physical stamina as well.
Turmeric - As your experience in martial arts builds, it is usually accompanied by years of wear and tear on the body. Inflammation commonly follows. Turmeric is a great natural way to address inflammation, while at the same time bolstering your immune system.
Cordyceps - This mushroom is a great way to support your martial arts practice. We have centuries of ethnographic research heralding the benefits of Cordyceps as well as modern scientific studies to drive home how effective Cordyceps Cs-4 is at supporting exercise performance*. There are many stories of high level athletes taking this amazing mushroom to reach their goals. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, cordyceps replenishes the lung and kidney*, . For more info check out our previous blog post
Enzymes - Systemic enzymes are a profound way to deal with soft tissue repair. My personal experience with enzymes has been deeply impactful and can be a game changer when it comes to muscle soreness and general recovery. My go to product is Recovery Support from Theramedix. This is a plant derived pharmaceutical grade enzyme line that tackles various issues.
Protein Supplements - With increased physical activity comes a greater need for muscle building amino acids. Protein supplements are a great way to meet your body's demands without having to eat 5 meals a day. This is especially true for those of us who are eating a plant based diet or are vegetarians (like myself). Amazing Grass makes a great grain, dairy, and soy free protein superfood that pretty much serves everybody's goals. But, if you are looking for the full panel of branch chain amino acids, you will need to use an animal source such as whey. Tera's Whey makes a great grass fed organic product that is super clean and tastes great.
Meditation - Mindful meditation has been able to gain real traction in the business community because it is commonly pointed to as a way to increase focus and productivity. The same methods can be applied to your martial arts practice. The more focus you have, the crisper your movements will be, and we all know that the way we practice is the way we will perform.
Qigong - According to the National Qigong Association, "Qigong is an integration of physical postures, breathing techniques, and focused intentions." In terms of inner cultivation, Qigong is the best way to enhance your practice. It has been practiced for thousands of years by elite martial artist so many practitioners swear by it.
Acupuncture- This time, honored tradition dates back to over 5,000 years ago when evidence of acupuncture points was first recorded. According to Daniel Atchison-Nevel, "If you trace the roots of acupuncture and Asian martial arts they have a common origin. One went into the Healing Arts and the other into martial arts. Acupuncture and TCM have been employed for injuries and enhancement of martial arts since the beginning. When you look at Qigong, you can see the two tracks clearly. Qigong, or master of Qi, has the two rivers of martial arts and healing arts, they are both flowing into the same ocean"
Massage - We all get knots in our shoulders and cramps in our legs. Massage is a great way to loosen up the muscles in our aching back and legs. It is also a great way to move the lymph encouraging detoxification.
Chiropractic - From England to Australia, and back to the United States, Chiropractic work is popular across the world over. Many professional sports teams have a chiropractor working in the locker room. According to Chiropractic Physician, Doctor Shiva Schiff, "Chiropractic care not only helps injuries heal faster, but it can go a long way in preventing them and in keeping the body healthy. Countless professional athletes in every sport rely on chiropractic care to stay in peak physical condition so that they can perform at the highest level. Martial Arts is the mind and movement working in harmony while Chiropractic is the clear communication between the spine and the body. They both are completely complimentary."
Whatever you do we hope that you are able to use some of these methods to bolster your practice. If you want to learn more please use the links in the post or feel free to swing by the shop and continue the conversation. Want more info, don't forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram.
Orion's martial arts journey began with Aikido as a child while living in San Francisco. That experience sparked him to study Boxing, Muay Thai, and Krabi Krabong as an adult.