As a martial artist, one of the most important aspects of our lives is how to balance our training properly. Getting the most from our regimens, maintaining our health, getting sufficient rest, and injury avoidance and recovery is paramount. Understanding how to train in a balanced way has to do with a proper attitude, and sound underlying principals of how the body works. After a lot of research, trial and error, I have found in my years of training and teaching, some
basic guidelines that have served me
Training for Martial Power:
There are countless methods for developing power in the Martial Arts. Whatever method you choose, I strongly encourage you to seek out a regimen that emphasizes full body power. They produce results much more quickly than conventional resistance/isolation type exercises. The methods I prefer for this are simple, and require no special equipment. More to the point, what I mean is that you should avoid any kind of exercise that isolates muscle groups, or dynamic tension. The body works as an interconnected whole. Using methods such as weights that focuses on one muscle group over another leads to excesses and deficiencies all over the body. Isolation strength exercises also lead to excessive muscle tension, which should be avoided. If you still feel weight training is beneficial (it can be when done properly), seek out an expert that understands the principal of full body power. Weighted vests that allow you use your whole body while training, or the Russian Kettle Bell are good examples of this.
Training under the 75% rule:
When training, it is best to keep your enthusiasm in check. Proper moderation helps mitigate the possibility of getting injured, therefore it is wise to keep your efforts at 75% of your maximum capacity. This ensures a safe and productive training regimen, without excessive strain on the body. Once you get used to your 75% and it starts feeling like 65%, increase your efforts to what feels like 75% again. Steady progress is accomplished in this manner. If you want to push yourself to maximum performance for a tournament, or just because you want to be at your best, 90% effort is fine. You must first work your way up in strength and endurance, then give it all your effort. You must keep in mind however, that with increased activity that you will need more rest and recovery time. If proper measures are taken, training at 90% for extended periods of time can be quite beneficial.
Qi Gong/ Nei Gong:
Lastly, it is always a good idea to adopt a time proven nei gong system to round out your training. Methods such as the Eight Brocades of Silk, the Tendon Changing Classics, or the Fives Elements work very well. The meditative process they use are particularly beneficial to cool down at the end of a hard training session. They balance out the internal with the external, and enhance the overall relaxation of your body and mind.