Yoga Is for Wimps

Learning how to kick butt in the world of Japanese martial arts, or budo, has its price. Bruised bottoms and foot soles throbbing with tatami-mat burns are standard badges of honor. But persevere, and these disciplines can boost mental alertness and physical strength, as well as relieve tension.

For the novice, the variety of budo can be bewildering. Judo focuses on neutralizing opponents by throwing and pinning them to the floor. Karate emphasizes the concentration of all one's strength into a devastating blow. Jujitsu, a system devised by samurai, uses painful holds to force an opponent into submission....

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