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GYO: Naturalistic Whole Body Physical Health and Conditioning

by Ken Savage [Shidoshi]
Copyright © Boston Martial Arts, July 2002

As in the tradition of the Ninjas of old and their reputation of engaging in the most intense physical training, Gyo will be a series of articles exploring health, fitness and conditioning and how they relate to the modern warrior. Gyo is for practitioners of Budo Taijutsu in particular and martial artist in general. Theory and application will be put into useable form so all may benefit. It has been said, " Enjoying good health may not add years to your life, but can add life to your years."

The ideas have been gleaned from a number of sources and experiences. The information is a synthesis of my studies of the martial arts, health, fitness as well as diet and nutrition. As a twelve-year-old boy in the spring of 1976 I began my studies of the martial arts. I can recall that class began with a rigorous half hour of stretching, calisthenics, and breathing exercises. I remember days later the muscle soreness; and a knew found awareness of my physical body. It wouldn't be until much later in life that I would understand the physiological reasons of why this was so.

Now, as an adult with a few years of experience under my belt, I will attempt to share with you what I have learned. Naturalistic Whole Body Physical Health and Conditioning or Gyo is the name I have giving my method. The program was developed with Budo Taijutsu practitioners in mind, but martial artist or any person interested in the development of the total person will benefit. In other words, this program is for anyone. This first installment will deal with defining Naturalistic Whole Body Physical Health and Conditioning.

~Naturalistic refers to the natural ways in which you and I, the human animal, move. For example, we walk, run, leap, push, pull, and lift objects as well as ourselves. Naturalistic can also refer to using our natural environment to aid and to effect a change upon our bodies. An example of this might be running through the forest to increase cardiovascular fitness.

~Whole Body refers to the development of the whole person and an understanding of the connection between our physical body and how its ease of movement or its dis-ease of movement has a profound effect on how we think and feel.

~Physical Health includes the eleven principles I refer to as the building blocks of total physical health and conditioning. The eleven principles include five health-related and six skill-related principles, [discussed in detail at a later writing].

~Conditioning refers to the methods developed and used to naturally develop our Whole Body and Physical Health.

In addition, other topics and ideas will be discussed during this series. Some of these may include:

~Introduction to my universal seven-step prescription program.
~Taijutsu, and skill specific conditioning tips.
~Answering questions from readers of this site.
~As well as other related health, fitness, and conditioning questions.

I don't claim that the information I put out is the right information or the conventional point of view. These are merely the thoughts and experiences of one person's journey down the warrior path. I encourage every reader to Explore, Challenge and Develop their Warrior Spirit…

Ninpo Ik-kan.

Ken Savage [Shidoshi]