In an Okinawan karate dojo, Junbi Undō are known as warm-up exercises. Within many Western schools of karate today, the warm-up exercises often have little in common with the mental activity that follows, neither do they always relate particularly well to the physical demands placed upon the specific muscle. In my first period of Kyokushin training (1980's) I have practiced the traditional workouts, learned from Henny Ruberg sensei. Nowadays I train with shihan Jan Vleesenbeek and he often starts his training with this 'old-school' warming-up and coupling them with some good old fashioned hard work (stamina training). So I will follow this tradition and want to introduce this way of warming-up again, not only because it is the best way for my body, but also because it has a lot to do with the Martial (Budo) approach of Kyokushin karate in the spirit of Sosai Masutatsu Oyama.
So my Kyokushin training always starts with a progressive warm-up for a smooth transition from rest to vigorous activity, where each individual part of my body is exercised systematically. Then dynamic stretching exercises are performed to develop stamina and strengthen my muscles. Each practice will then be concluded with the same exercises, as my breathing is regulated and become calm again (Junbi). Before starting with my Kihon, Kata and Kumite training these preliminary exercises are sometimes folowed by supporting exercises to develope endurance, strength, speed and posture (Hojo). In my opinion this part of the training (warm-up in general) should be at least 10 to 20 minutes long to prepare the body for the type of martial arts that lies ahead. My Kyokushin workout finally will be concluded with gradually cool down exercises to restore normal blood circulation and resting metabolism (Seiro). This is also a good time for adding a few static stretches to finish my workout feeling loose and relaxed.
In this chapter I will explain my approach to Junbi, Hojo and Seiro Undō in general, but also take notice of every part of it, so you can train it seperately.
In general my method of Junbi Undō will work as long as i use the following functions:
- increase my body temperature and stretching,
- conditioning of my main muscle groups, and
To do so I start with a short period of running (stir my blood and raise my body’s temperature), then tendons and loosens up the joints from the feet to the head (to promote suppleness), followed by dynamic stretching the muscles (which helps and increase the range of motion in the moving parts of the body). Then I build strength and stamina in the major muscle groups of the body and to increase your mental powers of endurance (push ups, sit ups and squats).
Another method which I alternately use, is to dynamic stretch the area then work, strengthen and condition it. After the whole body has been worked, then strength building and spirit exercises like push ups, sit ups and squats can be performed.
An example of Junbi Undō:
Over time, this combination of Junbi Undō enabled me to improve continuously the techniques of karate within the range and limits of my mental strength and physical suppleness (and allows me to move more freely and without the stress imposed on a less supple or healthy body). My mind as well, familiar with the limits of the body, is more calm and able to achieve that relaxed state of concentration needed to deal successfully with conflict. The stretching exercises also strengthen my body and develop stamina. I conclude every practice with the same exercises or one of the fundamental kata's: Sanchin, Tensho and Naifanchi, so my breathing is regulated and become calm.
Hojo Undō are supporting exercises and designed to develop physical strength, stamina, muscle coordination, speed, and posture. Although sometimes seen as basic techniques in the martial art, however, it normally refers to the training equipment which are developed in Okinawa. The appearance of this equipment looks primitive and basic, being made from wood, stone and metal. For example makiwara (padded striking post), makiage kigu (wrist roller; weight, rope, wooden handle) and chi shi (weighted levers; concrete weights attached to wooden poles). Nevertheless, it is extremely good at developing strength, speed and posture that is required in Karate and Kobudo.
My 'translation' or emphasis of Hojo Undō will be on strenght exercises on Nautilus equipment (Kigu), the agility exercises of the Bodyweight Warrioir Program of Tom Merrick and the Zen, breathing and Ki exercises within my Tai Ki training from Jan Kallenbach sensei. For me it strengthens and toughens my body, develops Qigong (practice of internal and external universal energy) and Kokyu-Ho (inhale/exhale breathing method).
During the week, on my rest days of karate, my emphasis wil on my translation of Hojo Undō. They consists of:
Finally, at the end of a training session, after training Kihon, Kata and Kumite, cooling down exercises (Seiro Undō) are done with a view to restoring heart-rate, breathing and circulation to normal rates and to relax and stretch the muscles to minimise post-exercise stiffness and soreness.
My example of Seiri Undō:
Feet / Toes
Hips / Shoulders
Hamstrings and Open Legs
Nautilus at Budokai Vleesenbeek
Bodyweight Warrior Program (Tom Merrick)