Training while in Lockdown

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Training solo can be complex for even the most accomplished martial artist and within the current pandemic our gyms, our dojos and our training spaces have all been closed, quality training has been hard to come by if not impossible. Talking of training solo is also quite taboo within the martial arts community ‘you want to train alone? are you fucking mad mate?, you want to develop shit technique and get sparked at the next sparring session?’ being perfectly honest they do have a point, if all you do is train at home with no guidance from a trained, experienced fighter then you will develop bad habits, poor form and I guarantee you’ll be slapped around more than a beach ball at a festival. The missing input from our coaches that is vital to our development as martial artists, as well as the accompanying routines they provide us with have also been lost. So what can we do? Well I’m going to tell you what has been effective for me as an amateur martial artist training during the pandemic.

a small paper sign on a glass door stating "attention members. the gym is closed due to a possible case of the corona virus"

What I did at the start was set goals that were achievable without constant coaching or partners. What I was left with were mainly goals for my conditioning, weight loss and honing the techniques I already knew. This means unfortunately, no new techniques, train the ones you already know. There is zero point learning some new ELITE 720 SPINNING ELBOW technique if you haven’t been shown it by your coach, because you will learn it wrong and your next sparring partner will simply look at you with disdain when you use it and then punt you off into the horizon like you’re Jesse and James from Team Rocket. It is far better to master the techniques you know all ready, for instance, the main disciplines I study are Muay Thai and Boxing, so I’ve set my technique goals based around them, in short I’m working on developing fast accurate teeps, throwing a solid, powerful round kick for my Muay Thai training and for my Boxing, developing a stiff jab and practising simple 3 and 4 count combinations. That’s all, keeping the goals simple and achievable has been key in my continued solitary training. Remember the old Bruce Lee adage ‘ I fear not the man who has practised 10,000 kicks once, I fear the man who has practised one kick 10,000 times’

Yellow box with a picture of Bruce Lee stood in a fighting pose next to the quote "i fear not the man who has practised ten thousand kicks once, but i fear the man who has practised one kick ten thousand times"

Keeping focused on conditioning should also be in the forefront of your mind, it is a well-known saying that in martial arts, when skills and strength are equal, the fighter with the better cardio will be the winner. The ability to just keep going is perhaps one of the most important aspects of competing at high levels. Developing a bigger and better gas tank is key to becoming a more accomplished martial artist, and in my opinion is one of the easier aspects to train while unable to go the gym, there are a myriad of good cardio training options available, running, cycling, skipping, HIIT training just to name a few. Its all there for you and it can all be done solo, I have found that particularly with my running and HIIT workouts have helped develop a level of mental endurance as well, the ability for me to push myself during my other training. If you are unable to leave your home due to social distancing I would say skipping and HIIT training would be your best bet, when I was in two weeks isolation I found that skipping and HIIT were more than enough for me to keep in shape. Id recommend using some of the myriad of HIIT workout videos that there are on Youtube, The Jump Rope Dudes 10 minute skipping workout is a good fun one to start with and the workout from Precision Striking is the one I’m currently using during training.

I would also say that having a dedicated training space and developing it with a few items will also help you train alone at home, even just a small clear space will suffice, as long as you have enough space to move around freely. My own training space is just indoor space with some mats, a punch bag and some weightlifting equipment. While you can just have an empty space to train in, I would say that it is well worth purchasing some basic equipment to really get the most out of your space, Free standing Punch bags, heavy bags, double ended bags, makiwaras, exercise bands and weight lifting equipment are just some the options available and all can be valuable additions to a training space that can help take your home training to the next level.

a room with orange mats on the floor, a punch bag in the front right fore ground, weightlifting equipment in the back left and a thumbs up in the left fore ground
My own training space

Keeping in contact with your coach can also help you train your martial arts at home. My Muay Thai coach has even started offering zoom Muay Thai classes which admittedly is an odd one but one that I have found relatively useful while in lock down, find out if your instructor or coach is willing to give you a guided zoom lesson, or even just filming your own training session and sending it to your coach for feedback and where to improve your technique, while not as good as actually being there with your coach, it could been very helpful for you to receive some helpful feedback from your coaches.

To Summarise!

  • Don’t try and learn any new techniques, focus on honing the ones you already know how to do.
  • Work on improving your conditioning,
  • Develop a training space
  • Keep in contact with your coach

Remember above all else, keep training!