I want to talk about the current craze that you have to be stronger to be a good fighter. Let’s get right to the point it’s not true. Anyone who has seen Mrs. Hayes throw me around like a toy should know this. Mrs. Hayes is incredibly fit and healthy and strong for her size but simply stated, I’m stronger. It hasn’t helped me much against her.
Now before you fitness freaks lose your minds on me I am not against physical fitness. I was a division one scholarship athlete in college, I won a couple of lifting contests back then, and spent thousands of hours in the gym with the best strength coaches around.
I learned the principles of how to isolate muscles to work them to failure so that they would rebuild based on the greater demand. The principle is accurate and if done well builds muscle strength and endurance. The problem is people are using those same muscle dynamics to defend themselves.
Why would I want to use a system of movement designed to fail in a fight?
One of the distinctions of taijutsu is often described as not using muscle but this is often very confusing for people. We do use muscle to control our bodies in space and gravity. We do not use muscles to move limbs to do techniques, this type of movement causes you to stop moving for a moment in order to have a base to move the limb (think how difficult it would to do curls with a weight bar and walk). It is slower and less powerful then allowing gravity to move your skeletal structure through space.
They are two different movement systems. One that will fade with age and one that grows and increases awareness the more you use it. I am pro working out to get healthy and strong but I even more adamant about understanding how to turn the ever present potential energy of gravity into kinetic energy to do taijutsu. So go to the gym and work out but spend just as much if not more time at the dojo learning taijutsu. Know the difference.