Monday, 7 September 2009

Solo Training for Martial Artists

There are two types of martial artists. The first type go to there regular classes, they listen to there teacher, train hard whilst in class and feel good afterwards, awaiting the next time they don a gi or training clothes for another session. Then there are the second type who train hard in class but do not feel good afterwards because they cant seem to perform the certain techniques during class time which they have been working on alone. Because of this they go away and until the next class perform many hours of solo training.

Although it may not seem it, but it is the second type of martial artist that after a few years will prove to be more competent, for it is them that puts in the extra hours of solo training in order to find there weaknesses and develop them into strengths. It is them that learns to fight uniquely and specific for them, instead of trying to copy the movements of there teacher. It is them that have learnt how to push themselves when the going gets tough and it is probably through many hours of solo training that they have developed these vital skills.

During my first few years of martial arts training, I used to finish school and then start training straight away. It was my life at that time and all I thought about. If I was not training at the dojo, then I was at home, either training in my bedroom, running over punches, kicks and combinations or training at a local park.

The benefits that one can receive from solo training include,

Greater efficiency in technique – Obviously, by carrying out extra practise, one can always better themselves.

Train a certain area – You can concentrate on a certain kick which you can’t seem to get right or a combination which you can’t find the correct balance with.

Develop unique training methods – This is the time when you can develop training methods and routines that are tailored to be specific for you. Other peoples training methods may not be.

One can work fighting spirit – As you are training solo, you learn how to push yourself to achieve greater results, which is the most important aspect of solo training.

Solo training will however, at one time or another get boring for some. There is no doubt, that spending hours by oneself can seem pretty boring and that too much solo training or performing it without certain conditions can actually de detrimental for the martial artist and can bring about some bad habits. In order to combat this use the following recommendations,

Train with music – Blast the songs which get you motivated.

Use a mirror – By using a mirror, you will be able to see your progress and bad habits which may be forming.

Still train at the dojo/gym – Still regularly attend training at your dojo/gym at least three times a week. Some people sometimes disregard this for there solo training.

Bring in a training partner – By bringing in a training partner, although you are still able to train what you want, you can also combine some other types of training like ground grappling, focus pad work, sparring or any other partner work.

Occasionally take a break – As soon as you feel boredom creep in, take a week or so off from all training in order to start missing it again and to work back up motivation.

Solo training is needed if one wants to become a martial artist that has there own way of doing things and is not just trying to mimic there teacher. By training alone one is able to find there unique fighting style which suits them and is also able to test there own limits in order to raise them. It should be something that all martial artists carry out from day one.


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Bob Patterson said...

Generally speaking I have to train at home to stay average. At least that's the joke I tell my wife! When I was in taekwondo and now in kung fu there's always that 10% that were exceptional. They seem to pick everything up automatically and NEVER practice outside of class. Then there's the other 40% who are 20 years younger than me. That group also gets it quicker that I usually did. My only compensation was to train at home.

I've been thinking a lot about those experiences because a job change may be on the horizon. If that comes to pass I'll have no recourse but to train at home and take a break from formal training.

Anyhow, you've given me an excuse to post about this in greater detail!


Admin said...

This is one of the most underestimated aspects of martial arts training! Class training, solo training, training with a partner outside of class and some private tuition. Tick all the boxes and you'll be progressing at a rate of knots no one can match.

I definately agree that it can get boring so I quite like to have a theme - so for one week or month I might concentrate on xyz and then change. That way there is also an end in sight before moving on. The other thing is to make sure that your solo training becomes a habbit so that you do it without fail (and feel guilty for getting lazy)!

MARKS said...

BOB PATTERSON - Glad to be of service. If you do change jobs, im sure you shall see how solo training can be of great benefit to the martial artist. Good luck

MARKS said...

ADMIN - Thats right. Using solo training to concentrate on a certain part of ones training is excellent.

I think if one gets used to training at home and it becomes part of ones weekly routine, there must be ways to keep onself of getting bored. As mentioned in the article taking an occasional break is good. It is something that some people find hard, as you say, they feel guilty, but it is definitly worth it. After a break one will always feel better for it.

Neal Martin said...

Good advice, Mark. I'd just like to add that having a good idea of what you want to do in the solo session will help you focus more during it. If I just make things up as I go along I tend to loose interest quite quickly because I don't feel motivated enough. If I have a set routine to follow or at least a good idea of what I want to do then I find it easier to stay focused and I feel more motivated to complete the session.

Matt "Ikigai" said...

Great post here - you touch on an important aspect of training. One thing I would add to the list - every now and again train in complete silence and isolation. Give yourself no room to run away from yourself. Confront the tough questions about your abilities and frailties.

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