Unlike the usual music, art and literary events that take place in Goa in December, not many would be aware of an unusual fight night that took place in Baga on December 21. The event witnessed twelve fighters from India and around the world compete in combat cage fighting, which is a regulated, safe and a competitive sport format that involves a combination of martial arts techniques.
The idea behind hosting such an event was to show how martial arts is moving beyond the realms of professional fighters and is becoming accessible to all. In fact, the sport has become a favoured fitness technique and is now taught with specialised gear in an informal atmosphere.
Today, judo, karate and taekwondo are not the only martial art forms available. Rather, a surfeit of Modern Martial Arts (MMA) from around the world like Filipino fighting, ninja-style bone breaking, moving meditation, Japanese zen archery have now surfaced.
"Martial arts work as fitness option because they make fitness interesting, help break the monotony of regular exercising and control stress. These are not just exercise routines, they also teach and help you to stay alert and gain immense self confidence to tackle today's rough world," says Kruttika Ranjane, trainer and owner, The Hive Gym, Mumbai.
"Martial arts offers health benefits over and beyond most sports as it not only unifies the mind, body and spirit, but also teaches self-defence, makes the body flexible and helps discipline oneself," says Soshihan Mehul Vora seventh degree black belt and president, Nippon budo sogo international, India.
According to Soke Cyrus Rustomji, 10 degree black belt and founder-director of Combative School of Martial Arts (CSMA), Mumbai, martial arts are a perfect tool for fitness. "Though various forms differ in terms of physical techniques and application, they all teach the same philosophy. So whether you study various kung fu, karate, savate, judo, aikido, jujitsu, eskrima, kenjutsu, capoiera, krav maga, boxing, wrestling, mix martial arts or even ninjutsu, the underlying purpose is to keep you fit," says Rustomji.
Martial arts not only help in physical agility, but also help sharpen the mind and Kyudo - an ancient Japanese bow and arrow martial art - is perfect for it. "It helps the mind calm down, increases awareness and teaches you to be in the present moment," says Ronak Gandhi, founder of a Kyudo organisation in Ahmadabad that organises workshops in Mumbai too. Besides strengthening your core muscles, Iaido, also known as moving meditation, helps improve concentration.
Benefits of combat training
* Improves skill, agility, reflexes and consciousness of one's surrounding.
* High-intensity endurance workout are ideal for fat loss and muscle gain.
* Helps increase flexibility.
* An excellent stress buster.
* Boosts self confidence and keeps you on guard.
* Can be practised by all age groups.
* Improves body balance by honing mind and body coordination.