, ,

Martial Arts Training at Home, Part III

Martial arts training at home can be a valuable supplement to class training. The benefits of martial arts training at home include fitness training, correction of technical details, and increased repetitions for quality technique.

Training at home requires discipline and a jumping ahead of one’s desire to just sit and watch television or surf the web. The beginning is, by far the most difficult. The actual task is not nearly as difficult as beginning to do the training. If you can get past this point, the rewards are great.

Repetition is the most important ingredient in home training. If you are a beginner or you are working on a new technique, it may feel like you are not even close to doing it correctly for the first few hundred repetitions. In fact that may be true. Your brain is gathering information on every incorrect move and comparing it to what you been told. Quite often your brain will produce the correct answer and the movement becomes clear in a sudden flash about 20-40 minutes into your repetitions of just one technique! If you quit too soon, you may never get it! If it doesn’t become ‘perfect’ the first time, it may be because your fitness level is not quite there. In any case, one should follow-up on this training in a few days.

The problem with modern culture is that when training by oneself it is often looked at as a selfish activity. After all, shouldn’t you be looking after the spouse or the kids or working at your computer or putting some extra hours in at work? If one looks at this logically, if one were to work a horse without food or recreation twelve hours per day, can you expect that horse to be loyal, efficient, and even tempered? What happens to your pets when you refuse to play with them? Do they behave in the way you would like? I would think not. In the same way, it is your responsibility to maintain and improve your health and mental fitness so you can be of help to others.

The single biggest mistake for those training without guidance is the push to advance to quickly. The second biggest mistake is to devise exercises that are too difficult or too boring. One should seek some guidance if necessary. Short of that, one can make the workout more interesting by putting on mood music. If your workout is going to be a fight scene, put on some “Kung-fu Fighting” music. If it is going to be a Siu Nim Tau session, stretching or other slower exercise and breathing techniques, put on some meditation, Indian, Chinese, or Native American flute music.

To round out the experience and for safety, obtain the requisite floor mats and other gear. Wear loose clothing as a custom. This way you do not have the excuse that changing into workout clothes is too much of an inconvenience. You can try to time your sessions before your normal shower or bathing time.

To conclude, martial arts training at home is not a substitute for training in class. At classes, you get guidance and instruction. You get interaction with classmates and partner training. After all, it is martial arts – self-defense and combat arts!

-Sifu Keith Sonnenberg