A Balanced Fighter – More Than Just Self Defense

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Many of my teachers have told me that I should be a balanced fighter, meaning that I should train my left side as hard as I train my right side. Most times the reason given was that I should be able to defend myself even if I am disabled on one side.

This has been useful advice for me. I had broken my hand defending myself when I was younger and have broken toes in competition and needed to switch my strategy to continue. More recently I have found health reasons for being a balanced fighter.

This is not medical advice. I am just giving my opinion of experiences I have had and you should consult a professional if you have injuries you need addressed. I am in my late forties and have a commute and job that requires a lot of sitting. Over the last year I found that I lost some flexibility and have some back pain.

I had heard about type of physical therapy and I thought I would check it out to see if it would help me. When I went to the practitioner, we found an abnormality in how I held my hips. It caused my stiffness and affected my flexibility. We talked about my sitting and my martial arts. He has worked with other martial artists and asked me about my kicking techniques.

As we discussed it, I saw that I was favoring one side in my point sparring training to the point that I was sacrificing strength and flexibility on the other side and that started affecting my whole body. We are working through the kinks now and I will let you know how it works out when I am through with the therapy.

Your body has bilateral symmetry. To maintain balance and overall strength and flexibility you need to train both sides. Don’t make the mistakes I made and train one side too hard. Self-defense includes staying healthy and uninjured.

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