Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ippo on the Beach

Ippo prepares for the next stage of the Japan East Rookie Tournament by going on a week long training camp with Takamura, Aoki, and Kimura. It's a brutal week in which Ippo builds his ability to turn on a dime. Ideally, you should have access to a beach or at least a long stretch of sand to do this workout. So, here it is. It really is hell, so scale it back a little if you have to.

Ippo on the Beach

Morning
  1. Run 3 Miles in sand, with 7 sprints
  2. 3 x 3 Minute Rounds Sparring or Mitt Hitting (if partner available)
  3. Tennis Ball Catching- 100 Balls
4-6 hours later
  1. Run 3 Miles in sand, with 7 sprints
  2. 3 x 3 Minute Rounds Sparring or Mitt Hitting (if partner available)
  3. 5 Sets of 5 x 3 Minute Rounds (Yes, that's 25 Rounds)

Notes:
  • When running in the sand, make sure to really push off with your toes. Otherwise, you won't be able to run as fast and you'll miss out on an important part of the training: making your big toes stronger. You can jog a little slower than normal if you like, because you'll have seven sets of sprints throughout the run. Really push it on the sprints! Remember: Toes, toes, toes!
  • When catching the tennis balls, stay on your toes. Have your training partner throw the tennis balls to either side of you (doesn't have to alternate) and you must catch them. Try to keep an even pace at first, but then you can speed up after some time.
  • There is a LOT of shadowboxing in this workout. Your rest periods should be from 30 seconds to 1 minute in between rounds and 2 to 3 minutes in between sets. It will look like this. 5 x 3 Min Rounds with 1 Min rest in between rounds. After the fifth round, take a 2 to 3 minute rest and then start the next set of 5 rounds. Although there are rest periods, this is almost 2 hours long.
  • You can tone this workout down if you need to. If you take a vacation to the beach, and you are in shape enough, give this workout a try for 5 days in a row or as long as you are there.
That's all for today. Sorry for the lack of posts. I've been busy with work and home life. Hopefully will have some more stuff up tomorrow or the next day. Until then, good luck and train hard.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Martial Arts and Fighting

What is the purpose of the martial arts? What do the parents who sign their bullied 11-year old up for Tae Kwon Do want to gain from the training? What is sold, day in and day out, across the country as the purpose of the martial arts?

Discipline? Confidence? The instilling of virtue in the next generation? Health and fitness? Art, maybe? Sure. I'll allow all those things to be listed as the purpose of a martial art. However, all (and I do mean all) of these things take a back seat to the granddaddy purpose of them all:

Fighting.

Yes, fighting. Fighting is what martial arts is, for God's sake. Think about it for a moment: Self defense without fighting is learning to stay indoors and praying no one breaks in. All real martial arts have their roots in fighting. This may seem like a truism, but with the way many martial artists treat their training, you might be surprised.

I'm not here to tell you what style you should practice. I don't care what style you practice or if you practice one at all. What I am here to tell you is that if you are a martial artist and are not sparring or competing in some type of fighting event, you are missing a vital part of your training. There are valuable tools that are built in sparring, such as timing, distance, and the ability to not curl into a ball when someone attempts to rearrange your face.

A martial arts master who has never fought another human being (even in sparring) is NOT a martial arts master, regardless of the level of skill he or she possesses in breaking boards, doing kata, or what-have-you. How can I say that? Because in fighting another human being, you gain real world experience about combat that you can't gain through other means. You may have gained immense power/speed/technique from your martial arts training, but until you spar/fight with another person, there is no application to what you are doing. Sure, you may be able to drop a guy in one shot with your amazing, super special punching technique, but you don't really know that until you fight someone. You also don't know what will happen if that person just so happens to dodge.

I'm sure there are many who will disagree with me. "Oh, no! My master has been training for 30 years and has never fought with anyone!" --- Then, how do you know if anything he's teaching you works? Because that's what's important. If your style fails you when you need it the most, you might not be able to correct your mistake. You might be dead.

Whatever style you practice-- you need to spar. That means you need to spar using safety gear, so you and your partner aren't seriously injured. Minimum is gloves, mouthpiece and a cup. If you're just grappling or doing a Kyokushin spar, you can drop the gloves. You should also spar against different styles. If you are a stand up fighter, spar with grapplers. It'll let you know the limits of both your styles when matched against one another. If you're a Judo player, try a wrestler. Spar against anyone you can from any style you can. You and your partner will learn a lot.

If you want to say that sparring isn't realistic, I have two retorts. 1st- It's really the best you've got unless you want to go out picking real fights or venturing into very dangerous areas hoping to get mugged. (Shouldn't have to say this, but DO NOT DO THIS!) 2nd- Self-defense techniques where you defend a single lunge punch you know is coming and then hit your immobile opponent three times or just wailing on your Body Opponent Bag doesn't really rank up there in terms of realism, either.

Of course, if you've been reading Real Anime Training, I've always been a proponent of sparring. And how could I not be with the countless number of fights that happen in the anime that we cover. Goku spars, Kenichi spars, Ippo spars, Baki spars, and a lot of guys just pick fights, but the point is the same. If you are practicing a martial art and you are not fighting-- start now.

That's all for today guys. Until next time, good luck and train hard!