Combat Conditioning (diary entry)

ANNAPOLIS, MD - MAY 17:  Members of the United...

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The summer time brings a certain laziness to training. The minority train as hard as they have ever did, but those who have done this for a long time will know that lethargy that sneaks in when the days are long, the weather is hot and the holidays have just been or are around the corner. So, what better time to look at the overall conditioning of the class. Class attendance is usually very flaky at this time of year, so working too much at length at technical work can be a bit pointless. Better to keep everyone's physical maintenance up to an acceptable level and also provide students with plenty of simple training to take home. We began with a specific warm-up, as is the norm. This training is a combination of traditional shadow kickboxing and movements inspired by ginastica natural, and an excellent way to warm up and warm down if performed sensibly. We also combined this with a series of partner drills that were a hybrid of conventional calisthenic exercises and combat techniques such as press-ups/run/straight punching partner or sprawls/knees to partner. Next we moved onto a series of rounds to develop straight punching from different ranges and to develop muscle groups directly related to hand strikes – 2 minutes rapid jab/cross to the pad, 2 minutes rapid jab/cross from a kneeling position striking up and 2 minutes rapid jab/cross from a guard position. The latter two exercises develop specific shoulder strength and core abdominal muscle strength. The class finished with a warm-down that mirrored the specific work at the beginning. The subject for this week was developing mental fortitude through physical conditioning. I like my students to be able to leave a lesson with physical information they can train back home with no or minimum equipment. This means there are no excuses for retaining many of the movements learnt in class. Combination work are suggestions for developing sensible tactics. For example, a common exercise combination might be sprawl and knee. These are compound muscle exercises that will condition and stretch the legs, core muscles, back and even shoulders. They will also develop neural pathways to counter a low leg takedown (the sprawl) and respond with the most available follow-on technique (the knee strike to the head) . Areas for research: Muscle memory and neural pathways, specific training, shadow boxing, ginastica natural and mental toughness.

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