Like Karate Kid learning the discipline of the spirit through that of the body. It is one of the principles of martial arts, a practice that is spreading more and more in the Western world and seen not only as a defense but also as an approach, differently meditative than yoga, to achieve mental well-being. Whether it’s kicks and punches against a bag, or simulating an opponent, or even imitating or drawing inspiration from ancient forms of combat, including Karate, Judo, Aikido, martial arts workouts help channel negative energies by transforming them into strength and positivity . Martial arts movements and workouts have also infected the world of fitness for several years, becoming the secret to having a strong, healthy and fit body. “Discipline and concentration help to create inner, as well as outer, strength to face life’s hardships and difficult moments – explained to ANSA the fitness guru and martial artist Ilaria Montagnani, a Florentine who moved to New York for about thirty years and top fitness instructor of the Equinox gym chain – My workouts in the gym always have a double background, and very often people don’t realize it right away, only after having faced the ‘suffering’, understood as a deep commitment, in the gym, they realize their inner strength, which can then be applied to various aspects of life outside the gym”. In 1995, inspired by the idea of going beyond her physical limits to strengthen herself internally, Ilaria created ‘Powerstrike’, bringing martial arts, her personal practice of karate and kickboxing into group workouts. All to the rhythm of music. “The brain shuts down for 45 minutes – continues Ilaria, among other things a black belt in karate -. My workouts accompanied by music take mind and body. They require concentration, physical commitment and in the end, in addition to the body, the spirit too. comes out stronger.” Ilaria is also the mastermind behind the ‘Strength’ training, done with ‘bokken’, the typical wooden swords, to replicate the blows and movements of samurai sword practice. “With Strength – explains Ilaria – we obtain the development of character due to the constant practice of discipline and concentration required when we have to learn to practice with the sword, one of the most noble, beautiful but also lethal weapons in martial arts. Even if we don’t contact or combat, the lessons are created with rhythm and strokes that require constant presence, full attention and concentration”. (HANDLE).