Integrated Martial Arts (IMA) is the integration of several martial arts, with its origin dating back over 1,500 years. Following are the 8 main areas covered in the IMA style, along with a brief explanation of the categories and examples of the associated martial art disciplines.
The student begins to build the foundation of their IMA training by improving on strength, power, and coordination through hard form movements that emphasize strong body structure and mechanics. Learning basic stances, along with general punching and kicking techniques, the individual builds the cornerstones of this foundation.
As the student progresses through their IMA training, soft movements are introduced in a series of fluid forms that develop balance, agility, and explosive energy. Learning soft style blocks and attacks allows the student an increased level of flexibility if faced with a situation in which self-defense becomes necessary. Muscle strength will increase, along with mental focus and self-determination.
The student will be introduced to various methods of joint manipulation, gaining an understanding of not only controlling a joint in to submission, but breaking the joint if needed. Many of these joint manipulations will develop further into take-downs and throws as the student progresses. Increased joint flexibility and strength are additional key benefits to this training.
Different control movements are taught to allow the student to have better control over their body in any situation. A series of falls, rolls, jumps and other elements are introduced for the student to gain an increased ability to protect oneself from serious injury in a fall, push, throw, take-down, or other loss of balance. The student will not only gain confidence, but will also improve their understanding and application of overall body weight distribution and proper balance.
Many of the difficulties people have are associated with a constant loss of energy and feeling of stress. Through breathing exercises and associated form movements, the student practices to maintain a good breathing pattern and calmness. Key benefits include an increased level of focus and concentration, the ability to deal more effectively with stressful situations, along with a capacity to enhance overall stamina.
The student will have the opportunity of incorporating weapons into their training once their basic foundation of movement, along with demonstrated focus and control, have been developed. Using a variety of weaponry, including staffs, swords, knifes, spears, and other traditional elements, the student increases their concentration and awareness to a much higher level than what can be achieved in practicing Karate ('empty hand') movement alone.
ENERGY GENERATION AND CONTAINMENT
At a higher level of training, the student will be able to develop an understanding of generating an internal energy within the body through higher level forms and practices. Once contained, one can learn to distribute this energy to different areas of the body and, eventually, to utilize this energy to help heal oneself and others of, and/or prevent, various aliments. Higher level training also includes a focus on advanced meditation techniques and methods to further develop ones mental capacity, awareness and associated clarity.
ETHICS AND INTEGRITY
Through IMA training, the student will have an opportunity to improve their overall integrity and character through an understanding and application of proven ethical codes dating back centuries. Through understanding proper martial arts etiquette, including the Samurai code, respect, determination, humility, will power, and awareness will all be increased. This can ultimately result in the students ability to truly be comfortable in any situation, including complete comfort in the way in which they live their life.
IMA takes these vast elements and styles and equips the student both mentally and physically to meet any confrontation in life. The student will find a journey full of both downfalls and triumphs as they reach for the goal of 1st Degree Black Belt and beyond. As an end result, the student will gain from their training a willingness and confidence to meet any challenge that is encountered, along with the ability to truly enjoy a comfortable life.