Here are 10 good ideas to improve your Martial arts training, I have used them all and each one has helped improved my own training, wellbeing and general confidence. They have not all been practiced during the same time period as there is a time and place for each idea. However no1 is manditory.
- Warm up and cool down
Most injuries occur from a lack of proper preparation. Its the most obvious bit of advice but so few people do it properly, if at all. Proper warm up, proper stretching, proper cooldown and water at hand.
- 100 Burpees
A Burpee is essentially a squat thrust exercise followed by a jump. This sounds easy but the secret is not to stop. Keep going or at least take as least amount of recovery time as possible. This is a good fat burner and done once per day will get a real result if maintained for a few weeks whilst incorporated into regular training as well. . People usually start fatiguing around 40 to 60 repartitions.
- Stretching challenge
Want to improve your ability doing the splits? Well suppleness is not straight forward as some people are much more predisposed to it but everyone can improve it. Make an agreement with a loved one , friend or even for charity that you will be able to either be able to do the splits or to drop 6 inches over a period of time for some kind of reward. This is a hard goal to achieve as its not easy for some people but the incentive scheme works. Measure progress and use what ever modern or traditional equipment that will keep you interested and focused on the task. Practice it 6 times a day if possible, this will get a result.
- Meditation & Mental planning
Mediation and mental direction is often forgotten about and many martial arts classes do not start with meditation. In some cases people go straight from warm up to sparring without any thought as to the task and the risks involved, then the instructor wonders why someone gets hurt. Mental planning and preparation gets the perspective of control in sparring or any task. It also calms children as the start of a session, it is a critical tool for every instructor and a form of goal setting and progress gain for students.
- Try a vegan diet
The dreaded vegan diet works! You can not go wrong as long as you research it right and remain disciplined. My friend on you tube ‘Hench Herbivore’ has some really good advice and ideas as well as some great training ideas. I did one and lost 5lbs in two weeks, this helped me make some serious healthy changes to my diet. I am not saying anyone has to change their dietary pattern but small changes over time can really have a huge health impact. The vegan diet can really give you a boost as you get a quick result and gives you the option to make some changes if you feel its right for you.
- Start setting goals and scientifically measuring them
Most peoples study of their own progress usually involves the age scientific technique of “how does it look?”. To really understand something you really have to accurately measure progress. Use stop watches, tape measures, etc to get accurate data. Record and keep copies of data.
- Dynamic Tension training
Dynamic tension training involves doing all the normal martial arts moves you do but at a fraction of the speed, tensing every muscle hard as if you pushing each punch, block, kick against a strong invisible force. 10 minuets of this kind of training done hard will break a sweat and regular practice will result in some muscle development and improved technique.
- Take up weapon training
Weapon training often has less injury rates due to lower impact stress and pressure on the body. Some styles like Toyama Ryu are suitable for beginners and veterans alike of any age and is a good investment for the future when you can not do hard conditioning based training. People often cross train but they usually look for techniques or martial arts styles that are unarmed style. Many weapons styles fit with traditional arts. For example Kubudo (Okinawan weapons) and karate.
- Do what you do, but try it softer
Do not be afraid to do things slow and soft to perfect technique, especially when injured. This allows you to explore a technique in more detail and reduce stress on the body. You can get real insight consciously and unconsciously into the art you are studying this way.
10. Film yourself
Film yourself regularly as a personal development tool as this allows you to really observe yourself and examine your strengths and weaknesses and improve yourself. It is also a record of your martial arts history and you will never know what you might learn about yourself.