Finally, the gap between intense martial arts aerobics and soft soothing exercise programs which elongate the muscles, such as yoga and Pilate’s, has been bridged. A martial arts aerobic has been created that has the intensity and an extreme workout like the popular kick boxing type programs but with a soft fluid motion that is natural to the body.
With the popularity of Tae Bo, Cardio Kickbox, Cardio Karate, and lots of other similar programs there has been an increase in injuries. Exercisers are turning up with muscle strains, painful hips, back injuries, and overextended knees and elbows. The routines in these programs require that the practitioner is already flexible and conditioned for that type of activity. They use a lot of ballistic type stretching which specialists in the field have deemed unsafe. Even a few professional athletes have been injured.
These programs, however, have some great benefits also. Mainly, they focus on the larger muscle groups giving a more intense cardiovascular workout. They have a mental intensity; i.e. you can visualize an opponent and what you’re doing to him. Also, they are more likely to attract men, who have shied away from traditional aerobics. They really are a great exercise.
With all of the injuries related to these systems, the softer programs have seen a resurgence. Yoga has once again become popular. Pilate’s, which was designed for injured dancers, is on the upswing. But these can’t give the workout that martial arts aerobics can.
A new program, Cardio Karaticise is filling the gap. Cardio Karaticise is based upon a rare soft style Kung Fu instead of the hard style karate and boxing. Martial arts are separated into two main categories, hard and soft. Prior to Cardio Karaticise, kick boxing type programs have all been based upon hard style martial arts and boxing. Hard style motion requires the elbows and knees to go to full extension. Boxing requires a high impact, bouncing jerky motion. Both of these can be hard on the body. Cardio Karaticise is based upon one of the softest martial arts known, Shou’ Shu. Shou’ Shu’ is a royal Mandarin Kung Fu, which is a true fighting art, has largely been unchanged since its days on the battlefield. It is a very soft fluid motion, yet it is extremely powerful. Cardio Karaticise is based upon this soft yet powerful motion. It gives the practitioner an incredible workout without the jerky motion and ballistic stretching. “We have people in our classes that have preexisting knee injuries and they are able to do the class without problems”, says Liz Weaver, martial artist, Cardio Karaticise instructor and co-developer of the program. The program is also easily modified for intensity level and to compensate for preexisting conditions. This is all covered in the instructional section at the end of the tape. The program is a fifty minute workout with a 20 minute instructional section.