I Write this post with the awareness that I’m going to blow the lid off a lot of people … but I don’t really care. Let the criticisms, comments and insults come. Just remember we practice with wood sticks, we practice to hit to the body and usually, without protections.

For me, this is the question of the day for those who decide to play sports and are undecided about going to a gym or a martial art.

If your goal is to have a body for selfies, to show at the beach or gym, martial arts and combat sports are not for you …

Sign up for a gym, preferably with a “PT” whom you can refer to as “My PT”, and run up stairs, run on fixed walking machines while listening to a music channel, lift iron, etc … You will have your leg days, arms, back, etc … And, to avoid being monotonous, you can even choose a variety of class in which loud music and screams of encouragement rival the sound level of any Boeing 747.

Do this and you will be happy forever, gyms even provide the mirror wall designed to allow you to take 3 selfies before each exercise.

Calm down … do not start writing “hate mail” yet, I’m sure that reading a few more lines will not change your mind and you’ll still find more reasons to type in All-caps and put up angry smiles.

Notice that I have nothing against the goal of toning the body as a model, this is a valid objective, respectable and with excellent results both in terms of physical form and in terms of muscle mass or even confidence (when you manage to achieve those objectives) …  I even like to follow some of the photos you put on Facebook, Instagram …

To this type of training I call work the form.

Traditioinal Gym View in Esgrima Lusitan Article

Martial arts and/or combat sports, more specifically the Esgrima Lusitana | Jogo do Pau Português (which in my understanding covers both categories, but I will not develop this here, because in itself would generate its own hate mail) , need a different training, need to work on the function.

Let me explain: when you enter a “martial art” class you will find a group of people learning or practising about a teacher’s orientation (teacher, instructor, etc …), and usually no one tells you about going to train legs, arms or other part of the body. You will train to learn a technique, to execute it at the right time, at the right speed, you will train to endure another second of combat, you will train to defend a little faster or to attack more accurately.

This training that aims at the execution of a task, a learning or life strategy, also has its physical component, and as such the result will be more muscle, stronger joints, greater ability to manage physical effort, breathe … And with that improvement of the physical form and the biomechanical performance, besides the constant overcoming of the objectives that you are proposing to yourself, naturally will arise an increase of ego, confidence, health …

However, your physical appearance will be the result of the work you did, the muscle mass and the physical form in general will be the result of the functions you have learned and optimized, and also the art/sport you practised.

To this type of training I call to work for the function.

Esgrima Lusitana practice session at Quiinta da Regaleira, Sintra, Portugal

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