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“Taekwondo fitness” is a term associated with the type and level of physical fitness one would expect a practitioner of taekwondo to have achieved. Just as there's a certain type and level of fitness associated with swimming, tennis and other athletic pursuits, practitioners of taekwondo and other martial arts enthusiasts achieve a type and level of fitness that reflects their conditioning and workouts. Taekwondo fitness generally includes a capacity for bursts of high-energy movement like kicks and punches, as well as low-level but constant motion and a relatively even development of musculature across the different parts of the body.
There are many reasons people will take up taekwondo or any of the other martial arts. The ability to defend oneself under any circumstances, without weapons, is certainly a major reason. Others will get involved because of the spiritual component, the self-discipline and respect for life. Many others, though, want to enhance their physical fitness. Thus, while it's a fringe benefit for many, taekwondo fitness is the goal for some.
Scientific studies of taekwondo fitness indicate that its practitioners exhibit high levels of aerobic, as well as anaerobic, power attributable to their martial arts conditioning. More specifically, an analysis of a typical martial arts workout shows the athlete in constant motion; sometimes low-level movement around the competition area, bouncing, feinting and seeking an opening while denying an opening to the opponent. These movements require a good level of aerobic power &emdash; literally, power produced in the presence of oxygen. At times during a match, though, there will be a flurry of activity – a series of punches or kicks, or a combination of both, and the blocks necessary to defend against the opponents kicks and punches. The power that drives these movements is anaerobic &emdash that is, produced without oxygen being present. The aerobic power is produced by aerobic exercising in the practitioner's martial arts conditioning routines; the anaerobic power is developed through anaerobic training such as strength training.
Other athletes will have high levels both of aerobic and anaerobic power, but in different ratios relative to the demands of their sports. In addition, the requirements of each sport tend to lead to different emphases on muscle development. Swimmers, for example, have higher levels of aerobic than anaerobic power, and their upper body musculature is generally more highly developed, although massive muscle development, such as one might find in a weightlifter, is discouraged in swimmers.
Taekwondo fitness, then, like the fitness one would develop from proficiency in any of the martial arts and leads to a relatively even distribution of muscle strength and mass, as well as evenly distributed aerobic and anaerobic power.
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