Martial Arts & Health Blog

Fujiyama Dojo
P.O. Box 20003
Thorold, ON, Canada
L2V 5B3
(905) 680-6389
Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Importance of Stretching

Stretching is a preventative habit that should be performed before martial arts training begins. Stretching helps to increase flexibility thus reducing the risk of injury from joint locks, pins and throws. During the cold months of winter, warm-up exercises are even more necessary than usual and we must remember to increase our stretching routines as well. Stretching prior to and after practice will prevent injuries and will benefit the performance of our techniques. Stretching increases the range of motion of the muscles, making them more resistant to pulls and tears and it reduces the risk of injuries caused by sudden pressure on the joints. Stretching produces a progressive loosening of the ligaments. The colder months during winter make us more susceptible to injury. It is wise to perform some sort of stretching routine before your regular training.

Be sure to also avoid overstretching. Stretching to the point of pain is detrimental to training and may even cause injuries instead of preventing them.

posted by C. Crichton at 7:00am EST

Monday, September 5, 2011

Welcome To My New Blog!

My first introduction to the martial arts, like many, came through the movies. I was eight years old when I saw my first kung fu film and was immediately hooked. At the time I was impressed by men and women of great skill, great moral stature and great medical ability. These larger than life characters took on the powers of evil and through great commitment were able to overcome personal hurdles to win the day. Like so many before me I naively set out to receive formal instruction with the hope of one day achieving the ideal of a 'martial arts movie character'.

After just a few short weeks I came to the realization that this was going to be much harder than I had originally anticipated. My muscles were sore, bruises lined my forearms and shins and I had blisters on the bottom of my feet from sliding to and fro across a dojo floor. All I could do at night to ease the pain of those first few weeks was to eat, rub sore muscles while soaking in a tub and get a good night sleep. Little did I realize that this nightly ritual (born from an instinct of survival) was one of the biggest lessons I could learn as a budoka- training and self- care must always go hand in hand.

Unfortunately, I didn't see this pattern that quickly. As weeks, months, and even years went by I just hoped that one day someone somewhere would come along and introduce me to the healing potions and modalities of my TV heroes. If it worked for them it could work for me. In the meantime, I had added Epson salts to my baths, tiger balm for my bruises, hot water bottles to an aching back and a number of wooden trinkets to dig out sore muscles. And yet, I still did not get it.

Self-care for a budoka is not about simply using Band-Aid methods to put a person back together so that they can get in there to punch one more day. Self-care is as much preventative in nature as it is curative. In fact, the methods a budoka either formally learns or instinctually applies are the other side of one coin. One side teaches us how to focus our energy in technique to ensure the best chances of survival in a conflict. The other teaches us to never take that opportunity for learning martial skills for granted. The body and the mind must be cared for to ensure optimal performance and longevity.

The coin I speak of here is life itself. Life must be fought for, cared for, appreciated, and valued if it is to have meaning. The samurai of long ago understood this well. Their morning training and purification rituals were seen as a way of appreciating the gift of the day and likewise the harsh reality that to receive that gift fully it needs to be fought for through hard work and perseverance on our side and grace and blessing on the side of the divine.

In the days ahead I have been given the task and privilege of contributing articles to this site which look at the role of Oriental medicine in the life of a budoka. Some of that knowledge will be textbook in nature while some will be experiential. All, I hope, will give some of you a little more insight into self-care between classes when the body aches, the mind is fatigued and the spirit failing. Feel free to contact me with your questions and comments.

posted by C. Crichton at 9:00am EST

Dr. Calvin Crichton, Dip. Dr. TCM, M.Div, received a Diploma of Acupuncture from the Ontario College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in 2008 and a Diploma of Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine from the Canadian College of Acupuncture and Natural Medicine in 2010. He also received a Master of Auricular Medicine certificate from Dr. Lichun Huang and studies traditional Japanese medicine under Dr. Isamu Sato, M.D. & G. M. Del Cueto, Menkyo Kaiden Isshinho. Dr. Crichton currently practices at his clinic in St. Catharines, Ontario and he can be contacted at (905) 321-5458 or via e-mail


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