Rest assured, for all you students and other practitioners in your martial arts training at home, you may use equipment or you may do without it. Equipment can be a great help. However, the particular martial arts style or system will have a lot to do with equipment and what kind, if any. Some styles do not believe in using a mirror, for example.

In part one, back in June, we wrote about equipment. This time we will go through the mental aspects of training.

Without a doubt, the hardest part of physical training at home is getting started. There are numerous distractions around one’s own home that compete for attention with your goal of gaining martial art skills and getting in shape. It becomes important to find an area of the dwelling that can be used every day if necessary without a lot of preparation such as moving furniture or items on the floor.

Second on the list might be to eliminate distractions. If you can close a door and turn down the volume in the rest of the house, that would be helpful. Instruct family members not to bother you during your workout. Deciding on a time of day can be helpful if distractions are not present during certain periods. Some people are better than others at mentally screening out noises, smells, interruptions, and so on. This would make it easier to grab a ten or twenty-minute session whenever you can.

Third would be to have a workout plan already in place. Ask your instructor if he or she has such a plan for somebody at your grade or belt level. That way you can get started without having to decide what you are going to work on that day.

If your main goal is joint flexibility, then your exercise program should be geared toward that. If your goal is reaction time and muscle response, gear it that way. Many people in modern world are trying to lose weight. A program should be developed to lose weight gradually and it is often helpful to reduce the time set aside for long meals. The longer one sits at a dinner table, the more calories one consumes. Diet is at least as important as physical training in losing weight, if not more so.

Make sure your time spent in martial arts training at home is fun, rewarding and time well spent.

-Sifu Keith Sonnenberg