There is a movement towards new and/or unique ways to compete, build strength and athleticism, and basically to separate oneself from the “globo gyms” of the world. The growing interest in barefoot running, alternate martial arts such as kendo, Brazilian jujitsu, or Sambo; all indicate that people who value physical health and growth are looking for something that is special, requires both physical and mental focus, and that can be done for life.
My own passion is kendo and I practice it because it provides the physical and mental exercise that I need as well as having a place within a cultural and historical context that I also find interesting. Donning my gear, facing my opponent in close sport combat, the sights, sounds, and even smells of practice; I sometimes feel a faint connection to the warriors of the past in the sweat and impact of my present.
Beyond that, there is a pure joy in working so hard that you have nothing left but a sense of peaceful exhaustion, knowing that you have given everything and more to your opponents and your self.
Being healthy, finding a connection to our past, and being energized for the future…these are the benefits of these “new” avenues of health and wellness.