Can Karate Training help Fight Disease?

Posted by: John W. Zimmer
Under: karate
22 Feb 2014


I came across a story about a woman that was a student of karate, who got diagnosed with cancer, fought it, and earned her black belt! That got me thinking about the obvious benefits of karate but does it also include fighting disease? I’ve heard many strange things attributed to karate lessons but normally the accepted wisdom is gaining self-confidence and increasing fighting ability.


I know nowadays dog are thought to help the healing process just by making people happy in the hospital. Heck I’ve heard of a new twist on the age old tried and true method of praying to God – meditation and visualization. But to many people if you cannot see it, touch it, quantify it and prove it with a double blind study – it does not exist.


Here is the article: Karate Helen kicks cancer, winning black belt months after chemo ends


In this article I will explore why karate might be one good option in addition to other methods to help combat disease.



Reading this article warmed my heart because it is just one more recount of a person with goals and a good reason to life – surmounting a huge obstacle, cancer in this case.


While it is true that medical science has given us more wins fighting disease – any doctor will tell you that there are other factors that can help his/her job such as the willingness to fight to be free of disease! I know you cannot quantify that but the will to survive is important.


I would argue that any healthy mental, physical, and spiritual health regime would contribute to the wellness process. Frankly put if a person believes he or she is going to beat the disease – then chances improve. So if you buy into my argument – here is why I think karate is one good option.


  • Karate training improves ones strength
  • Karate training improves ones cardio-vascular health
  • Karate training improves ones agility
  • Karate training improves ones reflexes
  • Karate training improves ones ability to concentrate
  • Karate training improves ones sense of self (confidence, achievement, awareness)
  • Karate training improves ones sense of community responsibility
  • Karate training helps one believe they can achieve anything they put their mind to doing


To most karate practitioners karate has helped them immeasurably in their lives in ways they cannot even  know. When one becomes proficient at karate – it puts most things in perspective. I would equate karate to the physical and mental  as I would religion to the spiritual and mental.


Truth be told there are other physical disciplines that would give many of the same benefits to some degree. I just think because of how most karate students start there karate life as underdogs and have to live a process to progress to the point where they too are proficient – I think karate is one of the better physical disciplines.


So if you find yourself facing a major disease – go to the doctor and then consider a visit to the dojo as part of your healing process!

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2 Responses to “Can Karate Training help Fight Disease?”

  1. Dr. J Says:

    There are many studies that support the benefits of exercise for our health and for improving our ability to fight disease. There are also many studies that support the benefits of things that improve our less tangible mental health such as yoga, meditation, and prayer, for examples. Certainly your suggestion that karate would positively impact these areas is a very good one!

    People have often asked me is I have had to use my karate training.

    “Every day!” is my grateful answer!

  2. Dion Riccardo Says:

    This is all in mind development. So when you get in shape with full of optimism. Anything is possible.