How to go about MA Solo Training programs?

MattofSilat

Orange Belt
Joined
Jun 15, 2014
Messages
92
Reaction score
9
Location
Guernsey, Channel Islands
I recently picked up a really good book, called 'Solo Training: The Martial Artists Guide to Training Alone'.

It basically gives an idea of all different sorts of strikes (No Grappling) and how to train them. Simple as that. It contains multiple methods per strike type, and includes strikes such as but not limited to:

Front Kick, Side Kick, Back Kick, Roundhouse, Reverse Punch, Footwork, Hammerfist, Palm Strike, Knifehand, Various Elbow Strikes, Backfist, Forearm Strike, Knee Strikes, U-Punch and Slapping.

So it appears to be rather comprehensive. It also teaches, for example, when to strike with the Ball of the foot, Top of the foot or lower shin on the standard front kick, which is my current favorite technique to train. It also contains other techniques such as 'Broken Rhythm', where you make movements to trick opponent into thinking you're in a rythm, then feinting another similar movement so you can take advantage of their failed prediction. It also covers cross-training, warm-ups, cool-downs, mental aspects, different ways of training non-striking aspects (Such as Reactions or Dodging) and drills/combinations that you can practice. I can't really get the picture across properly without showing you pictures, but given how the Kindle App drags out the contents, that is too much hassle for anybody to read. I just put this there to confirm to you guys that this isn't a bad book, so that's no issue here.

My current favorite training tool is that Squat Thrust. It's training for the front kick, and involves getting into stance, squatting until quads are parallel with the floor, then pushing up into an Angled Front Kick (Chamber the kick at about a 45 degrees angle towards your side, then go into a front kick). It teaches strength and explosiveness, as well as killing your legs the next day. I trained the Squat Thrust yesterday a bit too much, since I can't even do one full squat and my legs feel sore when I run/try to do any form of kick/fast movement.

Basically, with so many techniques, I simply do not know how to train in order to take the maximum amount I can in. Would you reccomend going through the techniques until I find some I like, then focusing on them til mastery? Currenly, I am liking the Front Kick and Palm Strike, so those are my current two training priorities. The Reverse Punch and Backfist also seem useful as the backfist can be used from unorthadox positons to cause major damage, and the Reverse punch is a standard way to knock somebody on their ***. Gah, so many techniques! I don't know what to do!

How would you recommend sorting such a comprehensive list of strikes into some sort of training routine?
 

Kung Fu Wang

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Sep 26, 2012
Messages
10,430
Reaction score
2,610
Location
Austin, Tx/Shell Beach, Ca
How would you recommend sorting such a comprehensive list of strikes into some sort of training routine?
You will need to have the following tools in your toolbox.

- jab, cross, hook, uppercut, back fist, hammer fist, palm strike, ...
- front kick, roundhouse kick, side kick, back kick, hook kick, ...
- finger lock, wrist lock, elbow lock, shoulder lock, head lock, spine lock, leg lock, ankle lock, ...
- single leg, double legs, hip throw, leg twist, leg lift, leg block, slant cut, inner hook, ...
- side mount, full mount, arm bar, leg bar, choke, ...

I will suggest to train combo instead of single move. Not only you can utilize your training time better, it won't be too boring, it also forces you to understand how to use one move to set up another move.

Some combo can be trained as:

- hook, back fist, uppercut,
- front kick, roundhouse kick, side kick,
- groin kick, face punch,
- elbow lock, shoulder lock,
- shin bite, reverse shin bite, foot sweep,
- leg twist, leg lift, leg block,
- single leg, neck wipe,
- ...
 
Last edited:

K-man

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
6,193
Reaction score
1,221
Location
Australia
I'm not sure from your post if you are attending classes as well or just training alone. In my opinion, training alone without someone experienced helping you is doomed to fail.

Even the first part of the book spells it out ...

My purpose in writing Solo Training was not to replace your regular class instruction, but rather give you a valuable training concept that complements what your teacher is giving you. My intention was to not only cram the book with lots of training ideas that you can do by yourself when you can’t make it to class, or when you want to train extra on material specific to your needs, but also to introduce you to some things that might be new to you.
:asian:
 
OP
M

MattofSilat

Orange Belt
Joined
Jun 15, 2014
Messages
92
Reaction score
9
Location
Guernsey, Channel Islands
I'm not sure from your post if you are attending classes as well or just training alone. In my opinion, training alone without someone experienced helping you is doomed to fail.

Even the first part of the book spells it out ...


:asian:

Sorry if I didn't make that clear. I currently only train in my style of ecclectic Jujitsu, featuring Japanese Jujitsu, Judo and Aikido techniques rolled into one Martial Art. Sadly, this leaves little room for a rather key component: Striking. We do no striking apart from to set up our combo, which paired with the fact that you never actually connect with the strike (It's theoretical) and we don't do any sparring at my age group, my striking is doomed to be lacking.

I plan to take up another art including striking soon, but I'd like to train in my own time too. The book is very thorough on the details of the basics, such as the 4 kicks and Reverse punch, which is all I aim to be focusing on for now. Everyone knows that mastery of the basics is one of the most important skills in Martial Arts, probably the most important. Even if I decide, through the assistance of you guys, that I shouldn't train any strikes at all solo, there are plenty of drills that train other things which can seemingly only be learned by repetition, such as dodging (It's no just Shadow Boxing Dodging, it's drills).

EDIT: We're taking a bit summer break at the moment, and we're back in action at the beginning of September. I am still a white belt and extreme novice at my art, but I'll ask my instructor what he thinks I should do when I next attend class.
 

K-man

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
6,193
Reaction score
1,221
Location
Australia
Sorry if I didn't make that clear. I currently only train in my style of ecclectic Jujitsu, featuring Japanese Jujitsu, Judo and Aikido techniques rolled into one Martial Art. Sadly, this leaves little room for a rather key component: Striking. We do no striking apart from to set up our combo, which paired with the fact that you never actually connect with the strike (It's theoretical) and we don't do any sparring at my age group, my striking is doomed to be lacking.

I plan to take up another art including striking soon, but I'd like to train in my own time too. The book is very thorough on the details of the basics, such as the 4 kicks and Reverse punch, which is all I aim to be focusing on for now. Everyone knows that mastery of the basics is one of the most important skills in Martial Arts, probably the most important. Even if I decide, through the assistance of you guys, that I shouldn't train any strikes at all solo, there are plenty of drills that train other things which can seemingly only be learned by repetition, such as dodging (It's no just Shadow Boxing Dodging, it's drills).

EDIT: We're taking a bit summer break at the moment, and we're back in action at the beginning of September. I am still a white belt and extreme novice at my art, but I'll ask my instructor what he thinks I should do when I next attend class.
I'm not a great fan of sparring as it is generally done so I can take it or leave it. But striking is a key element in any MA in my opinion. Even in reputable schools strikes can be taught badly. The only reason they get away with that is that very few people actually have to use their skills in real life.

So having said that what you might consider is buying a heavy bag to practise on. (A 'Bob' would be better but a lot more expensive.) Then I would get a few private lessons from a good karate instructor, purely working on the various strikes and ensuring you have the right structure and alignment. Then you could practise them at home.
:asian:
 

Reedone816

Blue Belt
Joined
Apr 27, 2014
Messages
291
Reaction score
66
Location
Indonesia
Training on your own right away might not be recommended since you don't know if what you do is right or not or worse can harm your body.
So at last learn it first from the competent instructor, know the concept of right striking then you can train alone to help build muscle memory etc...
Of course based on my own experience, which is miniscule, I tend to over estimate the power of the striking, so to avoid that doing real full contact sparring is needed to gauge your own strikes limitation.
And like the above advices, combo training is encourage with the same reason above, to add the odds that at least one can connect, just keep check of your balance and limit big flashy moves...
 
OP
M

MattofSilat

Orange Belt
Joined
Jun 15, 2014
Messages
92
Reaction score
9
Location
Guernsey, Channel Islands
I'm not a great fan of sparring as it is generally done so I can take it or leave it. But striking is a key element in any MA in my opinion. Even in reputable schools strikes can be taught badly. The only reason they get away with that is that very few people actually have to use their skills in real life.

So having said that what you might consider is buying a heavy bag to practise on. (A 'Bob' would be better but a lot more expensive.) Then I would get a few private lessons from a good karate instructor, purely working on the various strikes and ensuring you have the right structure and alignment. Then you could practise them at home.
:asian:

So would you say that getting a Heavy Bag/BoB is a bad idea until I consult somebody who can teach me the basics of striking? I can still train without it (Specifically in Strength and Non-Technique Attributes), and my legs still ache and give way sometimes from my Squat Thrusts on Sunday, so it sure as hell isn't easy training. Still, I feel that I should continue if it will benefit me, which brings up the question. Is it worth it, in your opinion?
 

K-man

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
6,193
Reaction score
1,221
Location
Australia
So would you say that getting a Heavy Bag/BoB is a bad idea until I consult somebody who can teach me the basics of striking? I can still train without it (Specifically in Strength and Non-Technique Attributes), and my legs still ache and give way sometimes from my Squat Thrusts on Sunday, so it sure as hell isn't easy training. Still, I feel that I should continue if it will benefit me, which brings up the question. Is it worth it, in your opinion?
I would get a Bob straight up if you can afford one. I got my Bob when the MA supplier had a sale so I saved over $100. That made it worthwhile. Bob is good because you can deliver realistic strikes to a realistic target. There are other training aids that give you various adjustments to practise various strikes but Bob provides those as a natural target. A heavy bag is also good and as a cheaper substitute is a reasonable option. The disadvantage is if you want to practise combinations. Another issue for me when I am sweating I tend to skin my knuckles on the heavy bag. I don't use gloves on Bob or the bag.

It it doesn't really matter what comes first and if you use bag gloves you can't get into too much trouble. I would get some specialist training before going bare knuckle.
:asian:
 

Bill Mattocks

Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Feb 8, 2009
Messages
14,720
Reaction score
2,814
Location
Michigan
Training self defense techniques alone is useless. You can train many things alone, including cardio, strength, kata/forms, and basic exercises. You cannot learn to fight in a vacuum.

Last night in my dojo, we practiced a particular move that involved an overhead block and then a punch/hammerfist into the chest of the opponent. You cannot learn that blocking an invisible punch and then dropping the hammer on an invisible chest. And it's not that easy with a real, cooperating, uki who is trying to help you find the proper body mechanics. When you find it, you feel it, and the uki feels it too; hard and painful. Centimeters off and nothing. Improper mechanics and nothing.

You cannot train hitting without hitting. You cannot train blocking without blocking. With real partners. Bob does not hit back, and he can't tell you how effective your strike was. He's a useful tool, nothing more.

All solo training does is teaches confidence in skills that do not actually exist. My opinion.
 

Dirty Dog

MT Senior Moderator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2009
Messages
17,723
Reaction score
4,572
Location
Pueblo West, CO
Bag work is useful, but it's not all THAT useful until you have learned proper technique. And you cannot learn that technique from a book.
Here's the thing... different systems generate power in different ways. So here you go, learning (as one example) a front snap kick from a book. Yu work hard, and it starts to become ingrained in your muscle memory. Then your instructor teaches you the "same" technique, and it turns out your body mechanics are totally wrong. Even IF (and that is a giant IF) you do the kick exactly the way the author teaches, there is a significant chance that the body mechanics of your art won't be the same as what the book teaches. Add in the simple fact that you're really quite unlikely to correctly mimic the body mechanics of the author, and the odds against learning the kick correctly (for your art) from that book are astronomical.
I've written two textbooks on taekwondo, and one of the first things I tried to get across is that not only are these books only intended to supplement, not replace, a real qualified instructor, but that they are only truly useful to a student of Moo Duk Kwan Taekwondo. I strongly discourage students from trying to use these texts to "learn" anything they've not already been taught in class.
Yes, by all means get a bag or a BOB (I personally prefer BOB), but you need to learn how to use it from a Real Person.
And as Bill said, you will also need to find a partner. Static training is one thing, but you need a skilled, moving and resisting partner to really understand the balance, timing, distancing, and precision that make up a properly executed technique.
 
OP
M

MattofSilat

Orange Belt
Joined
Jun 15, 2014
Messages
92
Reaction score
9
Location
Guernsey, Channel Islands
Would you guys reccomend phrasing the question to my Sensei in a straight-up way or what? Should I ask what he thinks of me doing the book then see what his response is (If he says Yes, I'll voice concerns) or just go and ask if I should take another MA for Striking or if he can teach me basic striking or what?

He seems quite open, but I'm quite new to class so I don't really know.
 

Bill Mattocks

Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Feb 8, 2009
Messages
14,720
Reaction score
2,814
Location
Michigan
Would you guys reccomend phrasing the question to my Sensei in a straight-up way or what? Should I ask what he thinks of me doing the book then see what his response is (If he says Yes, I'll voice concerns) or just go and ask if I should take another MA for Striking or if he can teach me basic striking or what?

He seems quite open, but I'm quite new to class so I don't really know.

Informing your instructor of what you're planning or doing in the way of training is always a good idea. Beyond that, I cannot advise you. In very general terms, I think training in multiple martial arts as a beginner is not the best way to learn any of them. You may want to ask yourself why you are training in your current style if it does not give you what you want. But open and honest conversation with your instructor is never a bad place to start.
 
OP
M

MattofSilat

Orange Belt
Joined
Jun 15, 2014
Messages
92
Reaction score
9
Location
Guernsey, Channel Islands
Informing your instructor of what you're planning or doing in the way of training is always a good idea. Beyond that, I cannot advise you. In very general terms, I think training in multiple martial arts as a beginner is not the best way to learn any of them. You may want to ask yourself why you are training in your current style if it does not give you what you want. But open and honest conversation with your instructor is never a bad place to start.

I enjoy my current school and I get a lot of benefit out of what I learn there. The issue is, there is no school that teaches everything. We only have two Karate (Striking Only), A Boxing (Striking Only) and a Judo (Grappling Only) school(s) on my island. Note that I am on an island, so travelling a few times per week is not an option. Jujutsu seems to be by-far the most balanced school out of the ones we learn, as atleast it combines the two elements (Even if only in theory).

Bill, what would your view on me starting to do Boxing alongside by Jujitsu? Since Jujitsu teaches no striking, and Boxing teaches no grappling, I do not believe there should be too many issues. Then again, I am also a big fan of kicks, which no art I have access to supplies. I guess Boxing is better than nothing though, given that it has Sparring unlike the other arts shown (Judo is already solely grappling) and should also help my physical condition more than other MAs.

Ah, one additional unrelated concern. It's to do with my Calisthenics Workout program that I'm doing. I started it yesterday, but a problem has already arisen. I am consulting two books on my workout, Convict Conditioning and Complete Calisthenics. I am following an edited version of the 'Fundamentals' (I am training Push-Ups twice a week, Pull-Ups twice a week, Squats twice a week, Core twice a week, Dips twice a week and Bridges once a week), with which my aims are a set of 'goals' that the workout has set before moving on. These are basically one set of what I suppose could be called the most advanced form of basic. 20 Full Push-Ups, 25 Full Squats, 10 Tricep Dips, 10 Chin Ups, 10 Hanging Knee Raises. Complete Conditioning states that I should work on a much quicker speed than Convict Conditioning. The progression of, for example, Squats states that I should begin with 3 sets of 10 Full Squats, then advance to 25 from there. Convict Conditioning, on the other hand, places Squats at step 5 of the 10 step series, meaning you have to go through all the other steps before getting to full squats.

I am currently leaning strongly towards the 'Complete Conditioning' way of doing things, as Convict Conditioning seems to be starting at too basic of a level for me currently, given that I can already do 3 sets of 10 full squats on my first shot. 'Complete Conditioning' is also written by a a man who seems to be much more physically fit (He does all the images in the book, and he can be seen doing two finger pull-ups, Human Flags, Dragon Flags, Planches, etc, etc). Convict Conditioning has far more reviews and positive feedback (On the grounds that Complete Conditioning has little feedback at all), but do you think that I should just go with the 3 sets of 10 full squats if I can?
 

Bill Mattocks

Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Feb 8, 2009
Messages
14,720
Reaction score
2,814
Location
Michigan
I enjoy my current school and I get a lot of benefit out of what I learn there. The issue is, there is no school that teaches everything. We only have two Karate (Striking Only), A Boxing (Striking Only) and a Judo (Grappling Only) school(s) on my island. Note that I am on an island, so travelling a few times per week is not an option. Jujutsu seems to be by-far the most balanced school out of the ones we learn, as atleast it combines the two elements (Even if only in theory).

Bill, what would your view on me starting to do Boxing alongside by Jujitsu? Since Jujitsu teaches no striking, and Boxing teaches no grappling, I do not believe there should be too many issues. Then again, I am also a big fan of kicks, which no art I have access to supplies. I guess Boxing is better than nothing though, given that it has Sparring unlike the other arts shown (Judo is already solely grappling) and should also help my physical condition more than other MAs.

Ah, one additional unrelated concern. It's to do with my Calisthenics Workout program that I'm doing. I started it yesterday, but a problem has already arisen. I am consulting two books on my workout, Convict Conditioning and Complete Calisthenics. I am following an edited version of the 'Fundamentals' (I am training Push-Ups twice a week, Pull-Ups twice a week, Squats twice a week, Core twice a week, Dips twice a week and Bridges once a week), with which my aims are a set of 'goals' that the workout has set before moving on. These are basically one set of what I suppose could be called the most advanced form of basic. 20 Full Push-Ups, 25 Full Squats, 10 Tricep Dips, 10 Chin Ups, 10 Hanging Knee Raises. Complete Conditioning states that I should work on a much quicker speed than Convict Conditioning. The progression of, for example, Squats states that I should begin with 3 sets of 10 Full Squats, then advance to 25 from there. Convict Conditioning, on the other hand, places Squats at step 5 of the 10 step series, meaning you have to go through all the other steps before getting to full squats.

I am currently leaning strongly towards the 'Complete Conditioning' way of doing things, as Convict Conditioning seems to be starting at too basic of a level for me currently, given that I can already do 3 sets of 10 full squats on my first shot. 'Complete Conditioning' is also written by a a man who seems to be much more physically fit (He does all the images in the book, and he can be seen doing two finger pull-ups, Human Flags, Dragon Flags, Planches, etc, etc). Convict Conditioning has far more reviews and positive feedback (On the grounds that Complete Conditioning has little feedback at all), but do you think that I should just go with the 3 sets of 10 full squats if I can?

My opinions are just that, opinions. I am not an authority on any subject. However, since you asked, this is my response.

1) Don't try to learn two styles at once. Pick one. If it's not the 'full deal' that you want, too bad. Learn one well, and by that I mean put ten years into it. Then think about something else.
2) Calisthenics? Get a jump rope and use it. Lots. Do pushups. Lots. Done. Crunches if you want to toughen your core. If you still have energy for the other stuff after you're done doing rope work and pushups, then you need more rope work and pushups and perhaps crunches.

Don't take this the wrong way; it's commendable that you're spending time doing research and that you care about your training. But in reality, martial arts is mostly a lot of repetition; not sexy, not cool, not scientific, just good basics practiced until you want to (and sometimes do) puke, and then practiced some more. That's the reality. In the meantime, fitness for martial arts can be reduced to simple things. Flexibility, core strength, stamina, and durability. The speed and power will come with your training and are not as important as you think going in. You can have it all with situps or crunches, rope work, and pushups. No books required. Just sweat and a hunk of rope.
 
Top