Just when I think that I am an old martial artist has-been, I see things that say otherwise. Like the young guys, with all of the fancy gym wear, who thrown these ridiculously slow roundhouse kicks at the heavy punching bag. Before you get your head handed to you in a match or scuffle please:
1. Keep your hands up. A good boxer or puncher can step inside of your kick and knock you o-u-t out, when you drop your hands.
2. Kick a lighter bag around 40 pounds. Something with give. I was constantly going to a chiropractor when training heavy and, 30 years later, I still get hip problems.
3. Work the bag, do not let the bag work you. Kick and punch to develop your hitting power. Do not just keep hitting the heavy bag until exhaustion. You will just get sloppy.
4. If your coach is not watching you, try not to train to exhaustion. When you get too tired. You get sloppy. Sloppy practice makes sloppy technique. While you have to be able to train while under stress or fatigue, make sure that you are not making sloppy mistakes. I used to train wrong for weeks and then have to untrain myself. Better to train less properly than too much improperly.
5. Avoid over-training. You will know when you cannot sleep well, have a poor appetite and an accelerated heart rate. Underweight, skinny guys take note.
6. Train patiently. The whole idea of martial arts is to develop the person. When you train intelligently, consistently and patiently, you will make more progress. The guy who is in a big hurry to just “bust heads” always takes longer.
7. Practise some humility. The genuine martial artists do not strut around town with “cage fighter” t-shirts and attitudes to boot. The skinny guy will just attract the attention of bullies and the blow-hard will get taken down a notch or two. I have met world-class martial artists who do not flaunt their abilities. (One 19 year old insisted that he had won 48 bare knuckle matches. He also failed a simple fitness test, so it makes you wonder.)
8. Nail down one technique at a time. Some methods, like Hapkido, practice dozens of kicks and hand strikes every session. This works after a couple of years. I found that becoming proficient at a couple of punches put me ahead of most other beginners. One good technique beats a dozen sloppy ones.
9. If you are going to train, TRAIN. I get tired of the guy claiming to train 3 hours a day, when he mostly hangs around the gym flapping his gums. Have fun, socialize, but get some serious training in.
10. Jogging is not road work. Road work, as described by champion grappler, Matt Furey, is running while imagining that you are fighting. If kick-boxing, practice punches while running. If too many people are around, practice footwork and wind sprints. Kick-boxing matches are not at the jogging intensity.
11. Most of all, enjoy your training. If you do not like the workouts, try something else. Just remember that professionalism does not come easy.
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by Doug Setter