The title hooked you, right? Well, this quarantine imposed on many of us around the world affects each of us differently.
The effect depends on our profession, where we live and many other factors.
I, for example, do not have to go to work during my quarantine.
I work in the security sector. The main responsibility of my work is my physical presence and my mental awareness. I don't have to do office work.
My main obligation these days is to do some quick grocery shopping and prepare meals for my two sons and I who live with me at the moment.
This situation, as you may have guessed by now, gives me a lot of free time. And it will last at least as long as this public health crisis lasts. Sounds awesome, doesn't it?
Not enough. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu dojo where I trained 3 or 4 times a week before all this madness started has suspended training indefinitely.
(Tackling an opponent both bathed in sweat - and possible unintentional blood and spit - doesn't seem like part of a pandemic security protocol, does it?)
It is true.
We have all experienced it.
There are those days when mustering enough willpower to make it to the dojo or the gym itself is a struggle.
But, the moment the first step came through the door of our house, we began the process. We are in the area.
We'll have our gym buddies there to motivate us through the good old friendly competition.
And it goes without saying that our sensei (or master or instructor) will make a point of letting us know that we are not there to let go.
But what if there is no Dojo or Gym to go to?
How long will this crisis last? Two more weeks? Well, I really don't have a clue, it's really not my area of expertise.
But suppose it's two more weeks… It could be a lot more. Much more.
What the hell are we going to do?
And that's where the toughest opponent in our lives comes in ...
If you were Rocky, this would be your Ivan Drago moment.
If you were Bruce Lee, this would be your Chuck Norris moment.
If you were ... Well, you get the analogy.
And who happens to be the formidable rival I'm talking about?
It's true my friend. You guessed it correctly: it's none other than you.
Because if you want to keep up with your training or at least minimize the diminishing effect that this interruption might have on your development as a martial artist, it won't be enough to do your push-ups and squats or the other bodyweight exercises that you can do at home.
You will have to stand in front of the mirror and do the discipline specific Things.
I mean the intense rounds of shadow boxing and the kicking up if you like to hit.
I mean the shrimp or different assembly rotation exercises if you are into grappling. (Or both if you feel like mixing it up!)
And this dear reader does a lot of "you against you."
It takes a lot of mental strength.
And mental toughness is a great friend that you always want to have by your side on this exciting journey of practicing the combat arts.
Well, I'm sure none of what I've written here will strike you as a great find.
I mean, if you're serious about martial arts and you're one of us guys and girls who after a day at our full time job can still muster the energy to go to the training, chances are you will understand me.
If you're one of us martial artists with full-time jobs, you also know that this whole solo training epiphany is easier said than done.
This is why I would like to think that by reading this article I can become the little push you need to stop checking Instagram on your cell phone ...
And I become that little voice in your head that interrupts the marathon of the series you broadcast on Netflix ...
… And you start to get things done.
Contributed by Pablo Petroselli.
For just over 3 years I have been training in Kung Fu and Muay Thai. Learning any martial art is a physically and mentally challenging process that takes years of practice to master. Here are 4 tips I wish I had known that can improve your training and reduce the time it takes between novice and grandmaster.
Flexibility is a fundamental trait of any good martial artist. Having this early on in your training will help boost you ahead for many reasons. Firstly, the more advanced techniques in martial arts require you to be extremely souple, it’s impossible to begin learning them without the required flexibility to do so, and thus you will be learning advanced moves earlier in your training if you’re already performing a perfect split. Secondly, you need to kick high, sometimes higher than your own head. If you’re training in a martial art that is fight orientated, such as kickboxing, being able to kick your opponent in the head is one of the best moves you have in your arsenal of attacks. If you are studying an art such as Kung Fu, flexibility will dramatically improve your technique in forms, helping you to score those extra points in competitions for your technical ability.
One of the best ways to learn, I have found, is directly from the horse’s mouth, in this case your master. Typically, in your classes, your master will demonstrate a technique that they want you to practice with a partner. If they don’t ask for volunteers before performing each technique, go ahead and tell them before the class starts that you would like to be involved in the demonstrations. This will help you get a real feel for what they’re trying to show you, as you can miss subtle techniques that may be out of your vision. Volunteering to be demonstrated on can seem scary, but remember that they are a master of what they do, and they won’t actually be performing the move with the intent to hurt you.
Hitting pads is good for when you’re learning a new move, but you will find you begin performing the technique in a much different way when faced with something that will hit back. Simple things like remembering to cover your head when throwing a kick or punch will become deuxième nature after being punished for dropping your guard, even for a split deuxième. You may be asked or required to participate in a fighting tournament at some point of your martial arts journey, and the best way you can prepare for this is sparring. Remember that it is for the purpose of learning, not knocking each other out as quick as you can. You will begin to learn how to spot and react to your opponent’s openings, and how to defend against different moves. Forget being stronger or faster than your opponent, being an compréhensif fighter is what will give you the advantage come fight night.
Your training doesn’t begin and end when you enter and leave the doors. My Kung Fu master always told us that “practice is good, but perfect practice makes perfect”. When you train at home make sure you are performing each technique properly, as if you were in chic, bad habits form fast and are extremely hard to be undone. Purchasing a grande mirror is a great investment so you can analyse yourself at home. Also watching films of other people performing techniques will help you to see how different techniques should look when you’re not at class.
Did you set a new year resolution this year ? If so, do they happen to be martial arts related ? Do you think you will actually achieve them ?
Statistics for failed New Year’s resolutions run anywhere between 45-80%. Now that another new year is here, it’s time to focus and set our eyes back on the prize in order to not become part of this rather bleak data. to help you, on this post, I’ll be highlighting a couple personal tips that may help make both your short-term and long-term goals stick
Focusing on small milestones, following your motivation, challenging yourself, and finding what inspires you can help you make improvements for the rest year and meet or even surpass your martial arts goals and beyond !
You’re much more likely to stay motivated and make improvements if you’re doing something you enjoy. What is your absolute favorite thing to do at your martial arts school ? If you love to spar find ways to push yourself harder. Ask your instructor for pointers. Train with higher-ranking students. Seek out tournaments in your area for a challenge.
What if you’re doing what you love, and you’re already good at it, but you don’t know how to improve ? Avoid stagnation by digging deeper into your favorite activity. Find ways to go out of your comfort zone. Ask for help and feedback even in areas where you feel you are at your best. For example, if you enjoy doing forms, ask your instructor to work with you on finer details.
Play around with timing and emphasis. Enter or at least attend a tournament to see how other martial artists practice forms and see what you can learn from them. Seek out master classes, seminars, and clinics in your area. If you want some fun and relaxation while you practice consider taking a martial arts holiday.
Alternatively, you can also work on your training from the comfort of your own home by joining an online martial arts training. As you won’t even have to step foot outside, there’s simply no excuse not to keep up your practice !
Think about your long-term goals and then break it down into small milestones. Do you want to be able to do fifty push-ups in one set, but right now you can only do ten ? Don’t burn yourself out on day one trying to do all fifty. You may injure yourself or simply become discouraged that you can’t reach your goal immediately.
Slow down. Scale back. Try adding five extra push-ups per week, and over time you’ll build up the strength and stamina you need to meet your goal.
Maybe you have transferred schools and need to relearn the particular forms or self-defense techniques practiced at your new school. I have seen this happen with black belts and higher-ranking color belts who have transferred to my dojang. For example, a fellow black belt practiced Taeguk taekwondo forms at her old dojang, but now she needs to learn the Palgwe forms that we practice.
Rather than trying to learn everything at once, which will likely feel overwhelming, start with one technique or one form. Ask an instructor or another black belt for help. Watch scènes online. Move on to the next technique when you are able to perform the first one without any guidance or prompts.
Sometimes you have to do things in martial arts that you don’t enjoy as much but you still have to do due to tradition, class schedules, and keeping your practice well-rounded. Martial arts may be the hardest thing you do, but it shouldn’t feel like drudgery. Think about what you don’t enjoy as much in class or what you dread doing, and try to figure out why you avoid it. Perhaps you don’t like it because you’re not very skilled ( yet ), you don’t do it very often, you find it stressful, or you simply find it boring.
Challenge yourself. Find the “fun” in something that has simply felt like work. It’s easy to get better at something you enjoy and you’re naturally good at doing. Just think of how it will feel when you make improvements in an area where you have continuously struggled.
Leveraging your strengths can help you develop skills in areas where you struggle. For example, if sparring is particularly challenging, be mindful of other times when you use blocks or strikes such as in forms or self-defense. Make them as sharp and powerful as you would in a faster-paced sparring match. Ask your instructor to incorporate quick reaction drills into classes. Attend extra sparring classes, and if you are a black belt or higher ranking, attend lower ranking sparring classes and offer to coach or referee. Teaching a skill can help you make vast improvements in your own practice.