Adding self defence techniques into your fitness programmes
The combination of cardio and fitness in martial arts and self defence has been an increase to the industry. The popularity of such programs has greatly promoted public awareness and participation. Unfortunately, despite the positive aspects of these fitness trends, there has also produced some potentially dangerous side effects too
If you watch any of the infomercials for martial arts fitness systems, you will invariably see interviews with people who have successfully gotten into shape and the compulsory before-and-after photos testifying to improved health and confidence. However, you’ll sometimes also hear comments like, Thanks to this great program, I can now take care of myself in any self-defence situation.
Although it is encouraging to see how these programs can increase a person’s self-confidence, there is a tremendous difference between confidence in one’s actual proficiency in self-defence techniques and false confidence in the movements of an exercise program that only resemble an actual fighting technique.
As a Krav Maga Instructor and a former student of a certain Japanese martial art, I have found that the best way to maximize fitness benefits without compromising your defensive skills is to base your exercise routines on realistic self-defence techniques. This way, your training is consistent and you can use the exact same motor skills for both activities. This synergy also helps refine the form and the resulting function of your techniques. By relating all your movements to realistic self-defence techniques, you will also find it much easier to stay focused and motivated in your fitness training.
Here are some guidelines that maintained the self-defence orientation of these fitness routines. Although the routines you practice may be very different, in most cases, they still contain the basic functional self-defence techniques. By applying these same guidelines to your training fitness programme, you can find the “fight within the fitness” of your routines and use it to greatly enhance your defensive skills.
1: Adapt your punching motions to practical self-defence moves.
Punching with full power on the street is a dangerous proposition. Unless you train your fists and wrists to punch without the support of hand wraps and boxing gloves, you are better off using more practical striking surfaces. Using the same movements of your standard jab, cross, hook and uppercut and hammer fists in your fitness routines, this will allow you to practice the same striking combinations while ingraining the habit of hitting with practical tools.
2: Focus on practical movements that can be done in regular clothing.
Try to alter your routines to emphasize practical movements that do not require an extensive warm-up or exceptionally loose clothing to perform. This will get you used to operating within normal ranges of motion and keep you focused on practical techniques. As you begin to understand the defensive applications of these movements, you will begin to appreciate them more and be less concerned with doing the unnecessary and impractical movements.
3: Developing cardiovascular fitness obviously requires that you move constantly.
However, make a point of identifying the difference between functional fighting movement and meaningless jumping around. By using correct stances and movements as the basis for your routines, you will ultimately develop better balance and more power in your techniques
4: Add other useful moves and strikes to your routines.
Also include hook punches, elbows, kicks and knee strikes don’t be afraid to add stomp kicks, hammer fists, blocks, grabs, locks and any other useful movements to your routines. By providing different types of range close or long range techniques to your training programme it will help with different strikes to use depending on the distance you are from your training partner/kick bag
5: practice realistic self defence techniques.
By practicing combinations that follow the flow of realistic defensive techniques, you develop muscle memory and functional conditioned reflexes. To do this, you may have to alter your performance of the routine and do things slightly different. Focus on your personal goals, and make your training relevant to your needs and what you’re practicing at that time
6: Don’t be content by performing half hearted techniques.
Realize that every movement is important and that good form is the only way to achieve real power. Visualizing actual strikes on an opponent is an excellent way to motivate yourself and give meaning to the movements of your routine.
7: add short sprints to your routine to simulate evading the threat after defending yourself.
You will fight the way you train. Because realistic self-defence moves are usually about incapacitating an attacker to create an opening for you to evade the situation, make that part of your training. Rather than just moving to another place between attackers, break out of line and run a short distance, then reset to your position and continue. This improves your cardiovascular and self defence techniques also its more meaningful, if you feel uncomfortable about doing this, talk to the instructor
8: use verbal skills to power movements and develop breathing patterns.
Cardio training and self-defence moves require breathing control also known as exhaling. If you incorporate verbal commands into your routines, you will learn to exhale at appropriate times, creating greater power in your techniques while developing a good breathing rhythm. This also helps you to either to scan for next threat exit area or to prepare yourself to defend yourself while in the verbal part of the physical intervention stage
9: pads and kick shields in your training to get used to striking something.
Once you have developed good striking techniques, learn to appreciate that power by actually hitting something. Focus pads/kick shields and Thai pads are excellent for this because they allow you and your training partner to stay in motion and maintain a good fighting stance and correct movements.
benefits of self-defence fitness programs go far beyond getting in shape and losing weight. With the proper mindset and the willingness to alter your technique to emphasize practical function, you can use your self defence fitness routines to develop extremely powerful techniques that have direct situational application.
South West Krav Maga- Swindon Kennie Gould