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"Our second heart"

Submitted by Kyoshi David Baker, Chief Administrator Ueshiro Shorin-Ryu Karate USA

Under the Direction of Hanshi Robert Scaglione

Methaphorically, the calf muscles are like a “second heart” because they help move the blue, oxygen-depleted blood back to the heart, through the system of veins in our legs, similar to how the real heart pumps the red, oxygen-rich blood through the arteries to all regions of our body.

Therefore, exercising our legs promotes overall health and, in particular, prevents pooling of blood in our lower legs, which can cause varicose veins, spider veins, and heart-related issues such as chronic venous insufficiency. It also helps move lymph back toward the heart, so it does not pool in the legs, which can cause edema.

This may help explain why people in mountainous regions—which requires walking up and down—live longer. (These areas of the world where people live longer than normal) “all have an unusually large number of people over the age of 100, and they all are also hilly country where the people walk instead of ride.”

Karate, of course, exercises our legs in kata, squatting, and stepping; and our calves in particular when jumping in place and during our heels-up, deep knee bends.

In addition, Hanshi created a series of exercises in his Building Warrior Spirit (the Green Book) that target the feet, ankles, and leg muscles, on pages 46 – 52.

Domo arigato gozaimasu,

Kyoshi David Baker, Chief Administrator Ueshiro Shorin-Ryu Karate USA founded by Grand Master Ansei Ueshiro,

Under the direction of Hanshi Robert Scaglione

New York, NY • USA

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