Death by Kata (and resistance training)

This isn't really what I have in mind . . .

At my dojo there’s an old workout we call Death by Kata. The name says it all: we run through our eight katas, three to four times each. It usually takes under 30 minutes, as there’s no break between katas.

Here’s a workout I did on my own today based on the same theme. I ran through the following circuit, and I cycled through the katas between each set.

Max pull-up x4 sets
Max dips x 4 sets
Max Arnold Presses (40lbs bumbbells) x4 sets*
Max flags/push-ups/medicine ball rotation/wrist roller x3 sets

In all, I performed 15 katas, but it’s easy to work in more. I didn’t rest during the workout; instead I used the katas as active rest.

Don’t expect to set any personal records for reps on these exercises because you’ll be fighting physical fatigue the whole time. The best set I completed was my first set of pull-ups; it was all downhill from there!

One of the main benefits of this workout is learning to deal with mental fatigue. By the time I got to dips, I started messing up my katas; by the time I made it through the Arnold Presses, I swear I was doing a different style of karate–one with a lot of flailing about. The important things are to try to keep focus and to try to keep moving! If you’re in a fight, you’re going to get tired.  Like Bruce Lee once said, “A fight is not won by one punch or kick. Either learn to endure or hire a bodyguard.” Workouts like this will help you to keep your wind and your wits.

Feel free to tinker and to share your results. I didn’t do any leg exercises because I thought my katas would cover that. If your style has a lot of low stances, you probably won’t want to add squats or anything.

Do you have any workouts that combine more difficult exercises with traditional forms and skills? I love to combine them for challenge and efficiency. Let us know.

* I do Arnold presses a little differently than demonstrated in this link.  I hang the dumbbells in front of me and lift them outward–like a lateral raise– before lifting them.  I’m not a body builder, and I don’t need to isolate my shoulders with strictly the pushing motion.

About moaimartialarts

Lucky enough to grow up with the martial arts, I have felt their positive influence throughout my life and am especially interested in sharing these experiences with others. I enjoy working with youth and adults to give back some of what I've received. If you would like to learn more about Uechi-Ryu/Shohei-Ryu Karate, or if you want to find people to train with, please contact me. I am the head karate instructor for the Meriden Martial Arts Club.
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