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n Rocco Oppedisano

Ask anyone what things are most important


to them and one answer that willcommonly
come up is Health. To many GKR
Students, one of the most talked about
reasons for attending karate classes each
week is just that; to improve or maintain
the quality of their health.

hese health conscious reasons may


vary from losing weight, to enhancing
fitness and energy levels, developing
strength and/or flexibility or just to feel better
about themselves.
Although many people in GKR are well read
on the topic of health, we thought if we are
going to bring you constant articles on this
topic we wanted them to be the most up
to date information from a most credible
source. This I believe we have done.
Rocco Oppedisano is one of Australias
most successful authors on the topic of
health. Not only has Rocco published over
100 books, he also published 34 issues
of Australias first muscle magazine called
Muscle Australia.
Upon speaking with Rocco about GKR and
the relationship between training in karate
and staying healthy, we were delighted
when he agreed to help us with our goal

12 | SHIMBUN

of passing out great information on how to


stay healthy.
Rocco has researched Physical and Mental
health for over 25 years, travelling North
America, Europe, the Middle East and
other countries in search of this knowledge.
Rocco also researches for information from
the worlds best minds that have contributed
to mans knowledge on physical and mental
health.
In 1982 he formulated a health food range
of athletic and naturopathic supplement
formulas which were sold internationally.
Due to its great reputation and success it
was sought after by a larger company, so in
1987 he sold his company to focus on his
research and writing.
In future issues of Shimbun we will
be sharing with you some of Roccos
research. For those readers who want
more information on the subjects we cover,

we will also include Roccos details where


you can request or order a number of his
books. This issue we bring you an interview
with Rocco himself.
GKR: Firstly, on behalf of our health
conscious readers, thankyou for
sharing you wealth of knowledge on
the subject of health and fitness with
the students of GKR.
RO: My pleasure!
GKR: When and why did you decide
to dedicate much of your life to the
research of physical and mental
health?
RO: It all started through wanting to improve
myself. As a teenager I was skinny. I wanted
to develop a much fitter, healthier and
stronger body so I joined a gym. I wanted
to build myself up the natural way (avoiding
all drugs) so I read many books on the
subject and asked a lot of questions to the
right people. 21 months later I won the Mr.
Australia bodybuilding contest. From that
day on I would be constantly approached
and asked questions so I decided to write
a journal of my training and nutrition. This
became a best seller, so I wrote a book
and that also became a best seller. I was
told that my books were popular because
I had the ability to take something that is
often printed in a complicated way and
put it across in a way where anyone could
understand it. This inspired me to continue
writing and start researching all areas
relating to health.

Our ancestors who


reached 60 could actually
expect to continue living
longer than the 60 year
olds of today

Compare us to the
Japanese who eat well, they
live into their 90s and still
have healthy organs, strong
bones and are probably still
going to karate training!
GKR: Most authors usually focus on
writing about one subject, such as
nutrition, or exercise etc. Yet you have
published books on a wide range of
health related issues. Why is that?
RO: There is a lot more to health than a
strong body, or balanced diet. Exercise,
nutrition, avoiding disease and having a
healthy mind are all important to overall
health. I have written books on subjects
such as; building muscle, eating well,
avoiding cancer, lowering cholesterol,
arthritis, diabetes, beating stress, building
confidence, developing better people skills,
vitamins, the list goes on.
GKR:
What do you believe most
peoples misconceptions are on the
topic of health?
RO: Most peoples biggest misconception
on the topic of health would be their own
health! Most Americans for example (and
note that Australia, New Zealand and
England are not far behind) buy their food
in supermarkets. With natures bounty so
plentiful one might assume as many of
them often do, that they are the healthiest
people in the world. Unfortunately this is
not true. At least half the population suffers
from some form of chronic illness
such as cancer, heart disease, kidney
disease, diabetes, high blood pressure,
digestive problems, headaches, allergies
and low resistance to infections. According
to the World Health Organization, countries
like the United States, England, Australia,
New Zealand and other western countries

dont rank too high in general health. The


United States for example ranked 12th.
A shockingly low rating that indicates
the people of poorer nations feel and look
better than we do.
How can this happen to the most fertile
countries on earth? Despite abundance,
most people dont eat well. An example is
to take something as Bran Fibre. Basically
this simple substance provides bulk that
absorbs moisture and helps your digestive
system keep clean and self regulate. It
appears to hasten the removal of waste
matter and thereby protect the body of
digestive problems, bacteria and disease.
Yet despite most people being aware of
this they eat white bread (high in sugar and
additives) and then cover it with butter and
eat this for breakfast instead.
A recent study found that many people
who are overweight are literally dying of
malnutrition. Just because we eat a lot
doesnt mean our bodies are receiving
essential nutrients. Compare us to the
Japanese who eat well, they live into their
90s and still have healthy organs, strong
bones and are probably still going to
karate training!
Health agencies may often point out with
pride that the average westerner has a life
expectancy in their 70s which is double that
of our ancestors of a century ago. You have
probably heard this fact. But this statistic is
misleading and becomes less impressive
under close examination. One hundred
years ago more infants died than do today,
which reduced the statistical average life

span of the entire population, not the life


span of the individual adults. The truth is a
nineteenth century westerner who survived
to the age of 40 had a life expectancy of
only two years less than todays. And our
ancestors who reached 60 could actually
expect to continue living longer than the 60
year olds of today. In other words we have
increased our average life span through
the excellent work done by the medical
profession in delivering more babies and
conquering common childhood diseases.
That we have been able to increase a
mature individuals actual life span by only
two years in a century- a century of amazing
advances in surgical techniques, public
health measures and drugs that can pull
seriously ill people from deaths door points
to a great failure in keeping our general
health at a high level to commensurate
with the technological means available to
us. During the years while that average
life span was increasing, adult death rate
from degenerating diseases was rising
dramatically. In an examination of 10,000
highly placed business executives, Doctors
found only one in ten in good health. It
has also been found that the number of
patients admitted to hospitals increased at
a rate 5 times higher than the growth of the
population.
GKR: So for people understanding all
this, what is the best plan of attack for
them?
RO: They dont need to go all out. Just small
basic improvements in their diet, exercise
plan and time out for themselves (to relax
and reflect) can make all the difference. But
it is important to look after your body so it in
turn looks after you. In countries like ours
with so many tasty treats, entertaining TV
programs, and high pressure jobs it can be
easy to fall into the trap of neglecting your
body and its overall health. It is essential
that we all take responsibility for our
bodies, not just for our own sake, but for
those around us we love so we can enjoy
a quality of life together. This is why I write
on a range wide of topics, as to achieve real
health, a number of things must be working
in balance.
GKR: For people who are aiming to get
the most out of their karate training,
what foods do you feel would most
enable them to achieve this?
RO: Having trained in martial arts when I
was younger I know it is excellent exercise.
For someone aiming to get the most out of
their training I imagine their training would be
very strenuous. So the better your body is
fuelled for training, the better it will perform.
Martial arts are great because they involve

SHIMBUN | 13

It is essential that we all


take responsibility for our
bodies, not just for our
own sake, but for those
around us we love so
we can enjoy a quality of
life together
For The Body There Are
Three Laws To Follow
About What You Eat.

the brain as much as the body.


Two of the best things you can feed your
brain so it will function at its peak are the
amino acids Valine and Taurine. They feed
it and also help build its immune system (as
the brain has a separate immune system
to the rest of the body). The foods that
have the highest content of these two are
red meat and fish (fish has slightly less
but has many other essential nutrients
red meat lacks). If you are going to have
red meat, accompany it with red wine as
it helps kill any bacteria in red meat and
also helps break down the amino acids (not
encouraged for children obviously).
Another essential ingredient for anyone
wishing to get the most out of their training
is the word Negativity. This essentially
involves looking after your stomach. You
see, the stomach is the most important
organ to look after for anyone wishing to
achieve the most out of training. This is
because most illnesses and reasons for
feeling fatigued begin at the stomach.
The human immune system requires energy
to work, so when it is working overtime the
whole body may feel tired and lethargic. A
good example of this is when you have a
cold and your energy levels are very low.
What about when youre not ill, and still feel
tired? You dont have to show physical
signs to be ill. In most cases, just simply
feeling tired or fatigued in the middle of the
day may mean that your immune system
is working overtimein your stomach.
Similarly, when you have a cold but are not
getting better quick enough, it is often that
your immune system is busy elsewherein
your stomach.
Puzzled? You see, in the stomach there
are friendly bacteria and unfriendly bacteria.
When theres too much unfriendly bacteria,
the immune system has to go to work
drawing the bodys energy sources to do
its job.
So this is where negativity comes into play.
Negativity is the killing off of the unfriendly
bacteria, and like most things, the answers
can be very simple.

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Eat plenty of protein for the


flesh and skin.

Eat plenty of vegetables for


the organs.

Eat plenty of fruit for the


immune system.

Try To Have Each Area


Covered Every Time You Eat.

Three of the best things that kill off bacteria


are fresh lemon juice, vinegar and as already
mentioned, red wine.
If you would prefer not drinking freshly
squeezes lemon juice, try adding fresh
lemon juice to freshly cooked chicken of
fish. Alternatively, try pouring lemon juice
over tinned tuna. Some lemon juice with
water will also be effective. When it comes
to vinegar, if you spilt vinegar over worms,
within seconds theyd turn grey and die. If
vinegar can do this to giant worms, imagine
what it can do to the microscopic ones in
your stomach!! Having vinegar on every
salad not only tastes nice, it will also help
your energy levels enormously.
So lets recap. Firstly, when youre eating
right your immune system is boosted
enormously and so are your fuel sources.
Secondly, when youre keeping your
immune system from having to work
overtime in the stomach all day, your body
can keep its energy levels for when it needs
itduring karate training!
GKR: Most people dont seem to get
off with a great start to the day. They
may miss breakfast, and therefore
complain about lacking energy and
feeling tired throughout the day. What
would be your recommended breakfast
to a person who wants to live with more
energy?
RO: Hmmm. Oat bran for cereal, as the
fibre cleanses the body and provides plenty
of Vitamin B (which is essential for anyone
who does plenty of exercise). If possible,
eat three different fruits. These may be
three pieces of fruit you eat on your way

out the door like apples, bananas, dried


apricots etc, or they may be fruit you chop
up and put over your oat bran.
GKR: Athletes (and in our case Karatekas) are often prone to picking up colds
and flus due to a persons immune
system dropping substantially shortly
after strenuous exercise. Is vitamin
C really the best immune system
builder?
RO: The best thing to keep your immune
system up is to eat a well balanced diet,
but Vitamin C is definitely crucial as it has
powerful effects in building the immune
system. It also helps heal wounds and
helps in the formation of collagen (which
holds cells together).
When the body trains hard and calorie
intake is low it tends to crank up its freeradical production and decreases its natural
antioxidant protection. It also increases
the excretion rate of Vitamin C. All this
combined may explain why many people
are susceptible to picking up a cold or flu
after training.
Vitamin C may also well prevent cancer.
Scientists know that it can block the
chemical reaction called oxidation. This is
the process that causes food to become
rancid. Scientists now believe that many
chemicals only cause cancer if oxidised,
so by preventing oxidation, vitamin C may
cut down our exposure to cancer causing
chemicals.
The best source for vitamin C are fruits and
vegetables. Those richest in vitamin C in
order are 1. Red peppers (with 7 times that
of oranges), 2. Black currants, 3. Parsley, 4.
Guava, 5. Green peppers, 6. Kiwi fruit, 7.
Turnip greens, 8. Strawberries, 9. Spinach,
10. Lychee, 11. Papaya, 12. Oranges, 13.
Lamb (liver), 14. Beef (liver), 15. Tomato.
Thank you Rocco! This is great information
that were sure everyone will benefit from.
Anyone wishing to find out more about
Roccos books, you may contact Rocco
Enterprises on +61 (03) 9596 5513.