Because Ryukyu Kenpo Kobujutsu is not, and never was, a sport; injuries are almost unheard of in its learning. Football and basketball, each, cause far more injuries in one year than decades of Kenpo training. And, unlike sports figures, Kenpo masters live well into their 80's and 90's healthy and free from physical discomforts.
In these times, with people naturally living longer, one of the main concerns is with "quality of life". Of what use is an extra twenty or thirty years of life; if, it is to be spent as a prisoner in a broken down disease ridden body, or, lonely and bored? Western science has pushed the boundaries of health and longevity; but is still reaching for the answers that are available, now, through the study of Ryukyu Kenpo. "Ryukyu Kenpo is for life", has been said by generations of Masters. Many Ryukyu Kenpo practitioners have reached the age of 90 and above; and, all are still practicing; as are hundreds in their 80's and 70's, several of whom are today's Master Teachers. In Okinawa, Ryukyu Kenpo is recognized as suitable for all ages. One does not have to change "styles" as one ages; because, Ryukyu Kenpo adapts with the practitioner as his body ages.
The moderate exercises (epitomized by the Ryukyu Kenpo kata routines) strengthen the core body muscles. When the arms, legs, and neck move, these core muscles keep the body stable. This, in turn, allows the extremities to function more efficiently. They, also, provide strength for proper posture, internal organ placement and protection. Core body strength helps stave off balance problems associated with the aging process. By activating the cerebellum, the command center for movement, through the regular and continually changing movements of the kata, Doctors now believe people can keep those nerves alive longer. In addition to all of this, Doctors have begun to link shoulder, knee and ankle injuries to weak core muscles.
The exercises in kata stretch the muscles and nerves, giving suppleness and flexibility to ward off injury. They massage the internal organs, helping in digestion, elimination, and proper functioning of all the bodily systems. They stretch the blood vessels allowing better circulation for oxygenation, removal of waste products, feeding and repair of the body's cells. They strengthen the endocrine system promoting better flow. They cause strengthening of the bones through re-calcification and increased bone density. And all of these cause the brain to function with greater strength and clarity; which, in turn, produces greater disease fighting ability and a higher capacity for intellectual achievement.
Modern research, collectively involving more than 320,000 people, has credited the moderate exercise, such as found in Ryukyu Kenpo exercises, with 18 to 84% reductions in the risk of heart disease and 18 to 50% reductions in the overall mortality rate! A few examples: in a Seattle study, an hour a week appeared to lower the risk of sudden cardiac death by 73%. In the Netherlands, men did it for an hour a week enjoyed a 29% lower mortality rate than sedentary men, and in the United States at least an hour a day reduced the risk of heart disease by 82% over a 10 year period.
These moderate kata exercises can also help fight hypertension, lowering blood pressure as much as 20 points. They are an essential partner with diet for those who need to lose weight. And they can help reduce the risk of stroke (by 21 to 34%), diabetes (16 to 50%), dementia (15 to 50%), fractures (40%), and colon cancer (30 to 40%). If that's not enough for you, consider that it is the only known way to slow the aging process! Finally, splitting the exercise time up: two 15-minute, or three 10-minute sessions are as effective as a single 30-minute session.
In conclusion, Ryukyu Kenpo kata, traditions once veiled in secrecy, improve concentration, coordination, and the functions of various organs of the body. The controlled breathing techniques, twisting of the body, movements of the limbs, and the contraction and expansion of the muscles, help blood and lymphatic vessels, and improve the functions of the skeletal and muscular structures as well as the digestive system. Kata, the vehicles through which the secrets of the ancient masters were classically transmitted over untold generations, are an excellent adjunct for physical training as they provide curative effects for such chronic diseases as high blood pressure, heart trouble, arthritis, and others.