Martial Arts Training TipsBy Jennifer Shipp
Not all martial arts are the same, but they all do have some things in common. The most obvious of these is the use of the core to create powerful strikes or to pin an opponent. Core strength is an integral part of martial arts training. Most of our training tips center on activating this essential part of the body.
One of my favorite training activities is Parkour, otherwise known as free-running. Parkour activates the core of the body and it also liberates the mind, which is what makes it such an excellent supplement to doing kicks and punches. I like to warm up with Parkour to keep my core in good shape. Then, I move on other training activities.
Doing kicks slowly is an excellent training exercise. Most kicks feel completely different when they’re done slowly. Doing a front kick quickly is all about momentum and speed, but when you do it slowly, the top of your legs do all the heavy lifting. The movement has an entirely different flavor. Side kicks and rounds kicks are similar. Learning to do kicks slowly gives you much more control over them and it will ultimately give you lift to get them higher than they were before.
I like to spend fifteen to thirty minutes a day working on spinning while practicing martial arts. Spins take practice and when I’m out of practice, I miss my target. Taking some time to do plenty of spins, from reverse side kicks to spinning crescent kicks can help you maintain your equilibrium when you execute circular movements during sparring.
Precision-based activities make up the rest of my martial arts workout routine. Take time to focus on hitting a target with different moves. Do combination movements and check to make sure that you’re hitting the target you’re aiming for. This practice may not be as strenuous as some of the other training exercises, but it’s just as valuable. Precision practice will give your movements finesse.
And finally, I always end my workout with a long period of stretching. Actually, I do yoga because stretching seems to have a negative, competitive connotation. Yoga is more about being with your body while stretching is more about pushing further. In my experience, stretching doesn’t progress very quickly when people push themselves. It’s better to sit with your body and accept whatever limitations it has in order to go farther into a particular pose. A good period of yoga (with lots of focus on breathwork) is a good way to lessen resistance in the body that you’ll notice the next time your practice your martial arts routine.