Meet ex Spanish Karate Champion: José Luis Castillo

Martial arts and fitness training expert José Luis Castillo has a life-long experience practicing and competing in the fighting arts. Second Karate black belt and multiple champion of Spain and the Balearics and Nunchaku-Do European champion, he now offers his unique talents to the broader health and fitness community at his sporting and massage center SHAMBHALA GYM.

Passionate about all fighting disciplines, such as boxing, kickboxing, K-1, and Muay Thai, José teaches his students how to integrate the various arts to become physically and mentally superior athletes. Thanks to his professional manner and profound knowledge, José Luis has achieved stunning results as a trainer.

At his sport and massage center, Shambhala Gym, a conventional gym experience is combined with other disciplines and techniques. The instructors at Shambhala are also professional competitors. José took a few minutes from his busy schedule to chat with us about his passion and its benefits.

Q. How and why did you get started in the fitness/martial arts industry?

A. I started practicing Karate at the age of 7, and since then, I have always wanted to practice all forms of martial arts. I can’t choose and focus on one; I like them all and still keep learning from each of them, from Karate to Jiu-Jitsu, boxing, and Thai boxing. The only one missing is Kung Fu.

Q. What are some of the misconceptions people have about martial arts?

A. The prevailing perception of mixed martial arts involves violence and danger.  However, they are not just about fighting; it’s a lifestyle; it is about having a deep knowledge of the human body, the mind, and the energies. Moreover, you do not need to fight. In my club, we do not foster a culture of street fighting. I make it very clear to my students that we do not teach martial art in my club, so they can use it to fight in the streets or a disco. We do not accept students here with that kind of mentality.

Q. What are the benefits of incorporating mixed martial arts in regular training programs?

A. Martial Arts are great for improving self-confidence. Confidence grows not only as you progress through the belt ranks but also because you learn to defend yourself and feel more secure; you get to know your limits. Physically speaking, you get stronger, lose weight, and improve your overall condition.

Q. What kind of influence does a good grounding in the martial arts have on a person’s life?

A. It has been proven that a person learns to align the physical with the mind through martial arts training. Thanks to martial arts, you will know the essence of how to breathe and even relax under pressure. Last but not least, you learn to deal with fear and either control or harness it to your advantage.

Q. Of all the martial arts, which ones do you consider the most effective? Is there one martial art that encapsulates all the correct elements?

A. The martial art encompassing all disciplines is the MMA (mixed martial arts). It is a complete sport, as it focuses on a combination of styles that include both upper body and lower body fighting.

Q. Which is your favorite discipline and preferred method of exercise?

A. I love them all, but I prefer to fight K1 (the letter K stands for Karate, kickboxing, and kung fu). K1 is a mix of Thai and Kickboxing; it focuses on striking and clinching techniques. The contact points include punches, elbows, knee strikes, and kicks. A fight typically consists of 3 three-minute rounds; unless it is a championship, you have five games of three minutes. And it is a pure show.

Q. Describe the Shambhala philosophy.

Our philosophy is unique, I think. My center is not just a place to train and work out, and I think the atmosphere is harmonious; people who come here blend regardless of why they come here. We give a lot of support to one another and create the right circumstances so that everyone can get the best out of themselves.

Q. Where do you see yourself in the future?

A. I’d like to keep growing, both personally and professionally. I am delighted with the way things are now because my profession allows me enough freedom and time to devote to my family and friends and allows me to create a solid balance between my personal and professional life. I want to keep competing on an international level as we have done so far, keep preparing fighters to represent the Balearic Islands and Spain, who embody the Shambala philosophy.

Last but not least, at some point, I’d like to expand the center infrastructure to make it available to new members, since people stay with our center once they have tried it. I have worked in several fitness centers and learned that what makes the difference is not the size of the installations but the personal and professional approach. This is what people need, and it is what we offer. We develop a custom training scheme based on individual needs and goals. It is paramount to know each person’s body potential and limitations to design the best fitness program for them.

Q. I understand that massage is a valuable component of Shambhala fitness programs. Why and which techniques are primarily being implemented?

A. Indeed, a wellness/fitness program has to have a multidisciplinary approach. Through massage, we can assess the specific physical condition, locate aches, muscle damage, or imbalance, and design an effective workout routine integrating training and massage tailored to specific individual needs. I created our signature massage, which consists of applying hot stones to different techniques in combination with an oil I developed.

Recently we also started implementing the Rolfing method developed by Ida Rolf. According to her theory, the body’s aches and pains arise from basic imbalances in posture and alignment, which are created and reinforced over time by gravity and learned responses among muscles and fascia. This connective tissue binds muscles together. It is a system of soft tissue manipulation that works with all the layers of the body to repair damage and re-educate movement to ease strain patterns in the entire system.

Q. If you could give every one of your clients one tip or piece of advice, what would it be?

A. Remember that the best results can be achieved when we integrate training, nutrition, and supplements, and training is seen as a practice to enjoy instead of an obligation to meet or some high mountain to climb. We help them to achieve this mindset change.

  • The Best of Mallorca team is made up of people who are in love with Mallorca, each with unique experiences and insights to share with you. From adventure, to gastronomy and lifestyle their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your time in Mallorca into meaningful memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to enjoy this beautiful island.

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