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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Why else jurus, forms and Kata are good for you

Beyond mood, jurus and forms could be of benefit is related to the link between exercise and mental health.

Here is an extract taken from a report: Physical Activity and Mental Health: the role of physical activity in promoting mental wellbeing and preventing mental health problems - An Evidence Briefing May 2008, (Whitelaw et al. 2008).

"The notion of there being a range of possible explanatory mechanisms that explain the nature of the association between physical activity and mental health was introduced in outline earlier. In more detail, these are:

biochemical & physiological: improved mental health is linked to increased core body temperature; increases in endorphins; changes in the serotonergic systems and effects on neurotransmitters;

improvements in fitness and weight loss: improved mental wellbeing is associated with the feeling that the body is fitter or more ‘toned’;

‘mastery’: effects are linked to increases in self worth and personal control that come with the mastering of new physical activity tasks;

‘distraction’: positive outcomes are associated with the tendency for physical activity to take us away from stressful parts of our lives;

social interaction and sense of belonging: mental wellbeing benefits can arise from the collective experience of being active as a group38;

social and cultural value: physical activity is largely seen as socially and culturally ‘virtuous’ and therefore has the potential in itself to increase self-esteem"

(Source: Whitelaw et al, 2008,section 3.6.1).

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Forms and jurus are good for your mood

Generally when I train solo, I feel better for it.

 A reason for this is a change in mood state. This link between exercise and mood has been noted in the sports psychology and exercise literature and I wanted to share one or two points I came across.

  • Rhythmic abdominal breathing: Both aerobic and anaerobic can be useful here. (Previously only the former was seen, as beneficial). This means thinks like Tai Chi swimming and yoga count here ! The particular juru, that I use, emphasises breaking in for some moves and out for other moves. This may explain why I feel better in my solo training. The rhythmic effect of the breathing is at play. (NB not much in the Wing Chun literature emphasises breathing patterns during the forms. One notable exception if Randy Williams' work - he does place emphasis on this in his videos, I recall). 
  • Rhythmic and repetitive movements. This is tied to the above as well. It is obvious forms and jurus rely on this. My book says this frees the mind to focus on more important issues - but I am not totally sure I do this in forms. Although, going for a 'walk in the rain', is often an activity cited when inverters have eureka moments. The rain clears the air from dust and maybe purer oxygen gets to the brain ? (Same in the shower ?).
  • Closed and predicable activities : where the environment is controllable (in the exercise activity) distractions can be ruled out and you have control over your circumstances. You can pace yourself. The jurus are contained activities and no novelty enters into this. 116 movements too on the dummy - same thing. No novelty involved in that cycle of rhythmic repetition.
(Source: Weinberg and Gould 2008,p.404. Foundations of Sport and Exercise Psychology).