In a recent Huffington Post article, a master of “iron crotch kung fu” was quoted as saying that he believes strong blows to his groin have helped him stay healthier – that he has had fewer colds since beginning this practice at age 67. I doubt anyone reading this blog practices kung fu in quite the same way, or for the same reason. So how and why do you practice martial arts?
Many students practice martial arts at the gym under the watchful eye of an experienced instructor, and then come home and practice between classes in their home studios. This is probably the most common way of practicing martial arts, and it makes sense. An instructor is experienced in teaching the martial arts in a safe, constructive way that will strengthen, motivate, and embolden students to continue their practice. Without an instructor, technique can be mastered incorrectly, injury is more likely to occur, and the practice can be less than fulfilling. Use an instructor to teach the proper technique, the proper martial art for your interest and need, and then practice what you’ve learned between classes on some safe, supportive, textured martial arts mats.
If you practice martial arts for self-defense, well, half of you might benefit from the gentleman’s iron crotch routine, but that’s not really self-defense. Self-defense protects you from many different kinds of threats, not just to your groin. Learning to deflect and redirect an opponent’s power and energy is the best way to defend one’s self. Learning to incapacitate an attacker is equally as important, and both can be learned from a qualified instructor and then practiced at home in a practice space you create with martial arts flooring and any apparatus you choose.
If aspiring to have an iron crotch is not on your bucket list of martial arts practices, stick with the tried-and-true approach of using an experienced instructor in the practice that’s right for you, and extending that practice at home in a perfectly adapted home martial arts studio.