Angela Gougeon – Second Degree Black Belt – Central Brampton Academy of Martial Arts
What do Michael Marson, Zdeno Chara and Alexei Yashin all have in common? For one, they’re all great hockey players. What divides these successful players from the rest? Marson is a student of Shotokan Karate. Chara is a former Olympic Wrestler. Yashin has a Dan ranking (black belt) in Karate. All three have experienced the positive effect Martial Arts has on other activities, especially hockey.
The Martial Arts is not restricted to learning self-defense. It’s a transferable skill that enforces proper body movement and focus for everyday life. Here’s a brief list:
- Karate teaches muscles awareness and control. You learn how to maximize kinetic energy while striking, not only using limbs for power, but putting your whole body behind each move. Chara has an incredibly long stick. Watching him take a shot is mesmerizing. His muscles move together, swooping down and launching the puck towards the net:
- Balance. Balance. Balance is important for any athlete, but even more so in hockey. Stability keeps your blades on the ice when you’re checked into the boards or shoved on open ice.
- Mental focus is the prime bonus Karate offers compared to other physical activities. It teaches the ability to concentrate when the pressure’s high. With hockey being such a physical sport, it crucial to stay tough when you’re bumped. This makes a good player great.
- That sentence we’ve all heard: Patience is a virtue. Martial Arts teaches that practice and dedication lead to new belts. Just like those god awful, early morning speed skate lessons lead to reaching the puck first.
Being Canadian, we have many students who do both hockey and karate. Parents constantly tell us how Martial Arts has improved their child’s focus and skill on the ice. I don’t play much hockey, but when I’m at my cottage during the winter, I always lace on my skates and clear off a rink on the lake. Even though I have no training in hockey, I find my karate lets me hold my own when I battle my brothers for the puck. If you’re really into hockey, I recommend trying out a Martial art on the side!
If you want more information, check out the article below.