Non-martial training in martial arts

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by AngryHobbit, Jan 3, 2018.

  1. AngryHobbit

    AngryHobbit Master of Arts

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    "She nodded thoughtfully, then poked the air, wrist bent and elbow out. I couldn't stand it, so I took it [the sword] from her, dropped slowly into a foil guard, lunged in high line, recovered - a move so graceful that big hairy men look good in it. It's why ballerinas study fencing." - Robert Heinlein, Glory Road

    Do fencing students take ballet, I wonder? Should they? One of the fellow contributors here shared a fantastically fun dancing video including capoera practitioners and samba/salsa dancers. It looked like really good time and they all kept up with each other very well.

    Seriously speaking, we know being reasonably fit is helpful in training. It's not a panacea. It's not a guaranteed win. But it helps. It's nice to be able to fold up into a compact roll or not go "splat" after an overly enthusiastic shoulder through because you are agile enough to execute a proper side fall. It's nice when your joints don't creak and your muscles don't ache (or ache only slightly), when you try to kick anything above knee level. That is not to say people will never surprise you. The best high kicker I've ever known looked like Santa Claus, complete with the belly and the beard. He could twirl like a dervish and deliver head-level kicks as if his hip joints opened into another dimension. Belly or no belly, there was no question the man was a tremendously strong and skilled martial artist. I wish I had a chance to ask, what else he did for fitness.

    When my doctors made it clear I either had to exercise 4-5 times a week or become disabled and addicted to pain medicine, I crafted my fitness schedule very carefully to be as comprehensive as possible and discovered a delightful side effect - all of it dovetails very nicely with my martial arts training.

    Monday - step. 50 minutes. High intensity cardio. Spending almost an hour constantly going up and down a level - even a level that is only 6-8" tall (a standard step without risers) - means ongoing balancing and being very aware where your weight is. Numerous kicks, leg curls, and knee lifts forward, sideways, and back strengthen lower back and the same muscles that help lift the leg in a kick.

    Tuesday - vinyasa yoga. 60 minutes. High intensity core. Tons of balancing. Tons of stretching. Joint loosening. Coordination. Weight transition and awareness. Plus, you get to take a nap at the end as a reward for your efforts. :)

    Wednesday - strength training - 30 minutes, followed by zumba for 45 - 50 minutes. The strength training focuses on developing muscles I'll need during the next mud run - so, pulling myself up, lifting, pushing, etc. Zumba, of course, is high intensity cardio. Coordination, body memory, getting used to your arms and legs doing different things at the same time, and breaking yourself off the habit of looking at your feet.

    Thursday - aikido. 90 minutes.

    Friday - rest day. Still at least 15 minutes of stretching - have to do it or else I'll be stiff as a board the next day.

    Sautrday - aikido. 90 minutes. Another hour of yoga afterward, if there is any juice left.

    Sunday - another rest day. Stretching and often a lot of of walking around. Staying mobile as much as possible.

    Would love to hear what you do for fun outside the dojo that also comes in helpful at the dojo.
     
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  2. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    I personally dislike lifting weights, so I’ve never had long term success on any of the occasions when I tried to significantly work it in to my habits. I do a moderate amount of pushups and sit-ups, enough to keep a reasonable amount of strength but not enough to make me stop doing it.

    I love to run and swim, but life obligations have prevented it for a few years.

    I enjoy archery, but rarely have time to go to the range and shoot. So I use my bows as a stand-in for my strength training. I have three recurve bows that I use, pulling at 50#, 74# and 110#. I warm up on the lightest and work up to the heaviest, hitting a total of about 50-60 pulls on each side to keep the development even. My first and second fingers on each hand are slightly oversized compared to the others, from pulling on the bowstring.

    This is how I work in strength training. The archery works the arms, shoulders, back, and hands, and it really wears you out. It is also convenient because I can do it while watching TV or otherwise hanging out with the family and I don’t need to schedule a separate time or location to do it. If I fall away from the practice, then I need to work up to it again because you do lose the strength if you don’t use it regularly.

    I realize this is still martial practice, but I think people overlook the usefulness of this kind of training. In a similar fashion, I get useful strength training by training with realistic and heavy weaponry, like swords and spears and staffs. If the weapon is realistic and solid and weighted appropriately, then it provides for a great workout.
     
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  3. wab25

    wab25 Blue Belt

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    I grew up on a farm, shoveling dirt and rocks, raking sticks and stacking brush. I got a ton of core strength and endurance from all the farm work. This helped out a lot with my martial arts. Now that I work a desk job... I really miss that core strength and endurance.

    In Junior High school I started doing ballroom dance. I continued all the way through high school and college and then a few years of Lindyhop. ( I got to learn Lindyhop from Franky Manning personally...) From ballroom dancing I got to learn how to move correctly and on balance. I learned how to move my partner and how to feel where my partner was. You can feel where their weight is, where they are going, where each part of them is all from a touch. I learned how to lead and respond to how my partner moved. I learned awareness in a group... try leading a complicated movement pattern, with your partner, to the music, on a crowded dance floor, without tripping you, your partner or anyone else... To do that you must be aware of everyone around you and what their intent is.

    There is a lot you can learn in ballroom dance that directly applies to martial arts... but your partner may smell nicer. I learned more about how to blend with, and move another person from ballroom dancing than from any martial art.
     
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  4. AngryHobbit

    AngryHobbit Master of Arts

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    I love ballroom dancing! I danced on and off since I was six - classical ballroom, Latin ballroom, ballet. Wonderful stuff. I also spent five months out of every year between ages six and nineteen helping out around the dacha - digging, planting, weeding, picking the crops, watering, the works. It wasn't quite as big as a farm, but still - lots of work. And there is something to be said in favor of climbing trees to get the best apricots - develops your grip as well as arm and leg flexibility. Good for grappling. :)
     
  5. jobo

    jobo Senior Master

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    that's an impressive work load, which says to me that at only two days rest a week, you are in danger of overdoing it , which slows down your progress!

    if i was you, id have at least one more rest day, specifically id give up the Saturday aikidio and go shopping and then come back to it Monday fully rested
     
  6. AngryHobbit

    AngryHobbit Master of Arts

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    I agree - a good balance is essential. This is where I have to pick and choose. I do add an extra rest day occasionally. But I have to be careful how I do it.

    Here is why. I have a very rare skeletal defect since birth - my spine sits a bit higher than on a regular person. So, that makes it like a badly installed flag pole or fence post - wobbly. It cannot provide the same amount of support as it would, had it been normally position. What this means is - my core muscles and my back muscles have to be strong enough to pick up some of the slack. That is why my doctors and my physical therapists helped me design an exercise schedule to continuously strengthen and maintain my muscles. When I slack off for a few days, the results are immediate and rather disastrous - pain, lack of mobility, stiffness... the works.

    When I take an extra rest day, I still make a point to move around regularly and stretch, stretch, stretch. And maybe do a few core-focused yoga poses - like bird-dogs, planks, side planks, etc. Maybe a few kicks to loosen my hips. Stuff like that. Believe me, there are times I REALLY want to just be a slob - but when I think of what a hell it is to pay the following day, I get up and do something.
     
  7. DaveB

    DaveB 3rd Black Belt

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    Before my back went, badminton. it's exactly like sparring.
     
  8. AngryHobbit

    AngryHobbit Master of Arts

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    Any chance of physical therapy for your back? I am exaggerating only slightly when I say PE saved my life.
     
  9. DaveB

    DaveB 3rd Black Belt

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    It's a lot better now, but not sure it will ever be up to badminton again
     
  10. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    Minus the risk of getting kicked in the head lol
     
  11. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    Yeah, but a shuttlecock to the eye is no laughing matter.

    Well, saying shuttlecock to the eye is a laughing matter :)
     
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  12. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Black Belt

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    Ah that's a cool story to hear AngryHobbit :). Amazing the effect moving the body can have!

    Myself along with karate training, I've lifted weights for hmm maybe 10-12 years now? And absolutely love it.. Definitely complements karate, except any imbalances you develop, so I definitely am hoping to work on incorporating more flexibility and mobility work hehe..

    Also rollerblade occasionally too, just round the streets for fun and also in the 'aggressive' sense (jumps, spins, grinds etc). Reeeeally works the adductors, quads and glutes immensely haha, and is a ton of fun...
     
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  13. 666

    666 Orange Belt

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    Well if you dislike lifting weights you still could go the calisthenics route, working on harder variations like the one arm push up. But I highly suggest you put in some type of rowing movement to prevent imbalances, at least put in some Australian pull ups.
     
  14. jobo

    jobo Senior Master

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    well if you are doing it under medical supervision then I'm not going to try and interfere,

    but for general consideration is the old adage, you can work out hard or you can work out often, but you cant do both.

    i have not so similar issue, which is a congenital back problem, i say its congenital as both my dad did and my sister does suffer from t he same problem.?

    After decades of problems over. Cured it, by regular gentle ish strengthening and stretching exercises.

    of these. I consider that my posture exercises rather than my more extreme strengthening exercise have given the most benefit . Simply walking around consciously maintain good posture has strengthens the muscles considerably.

    that being the case i can do my work out whilst doing almost anything, shopping, walking the dog even sitting and watching telly all count as exercise, i then make sure that i also build in Some cardio flexability and more general strength xcersis, so i always jogg up the,stairs, do flex whilst waiting for a kettle or a bus, carry heavy bags home from the,shop etal, but with out it taking over my life or me becoming obsessive, which I'm prone to do
     
  15. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

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    I would be willing to bet archery handles the imbalance you're talking about, with the drawing motion.
     
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  16. 666

    666 Orange Belt

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    Depends.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
  17. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

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    How so? Either the draw does exercise those muscle groups or it doesn't.
     
  18. 666

    666 Orange Belt

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    I'll make you an example.
    Does a 5 pound dumbbell row hit your rhomboids, rear delts etc? Yes, technically yes.
    But will 5 pounds be enough if you bench press like 300 pounds. No.
    See?
     
  19. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Do I need to bench press 300 pounds?
     
  20. jobo

    jobo Senior Master

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    will 5 lbs be ENOUGH for what?
     

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