In order to become good at martial arts (or anything, really) you have to practice – consistently.
Here, we’re going to go over a few things that you should be practicing on a regular basis and improving little by little, day by day.
One of the most important things we can do in martai arts and as a part of a healthy lifestyle is learn to breathe in a way that gives us energy and improves our health.
Here is an exercise to maximize your body’s oxygenation.
- Breathe in through your nose for a slow count of four
- Hold for a count of four
- Exhale for a count of four
- Hold for a count of four
Repeat this several times, for anywhere from a minute to five minutes.
Striking and Blocking
To learn and improve your striking and blocking, you need to regularly punch, kick, and block in a way that makes the movements more and more natural and automatic. Remember what the Marines say – slow is smooth, smooth is fast.
As you practice each strike and block, imagine a real scenario and focus on things like your target, your intent, and your intensity.
Bruce Lee pointed out that we should always practice our techniques as if we were reacting to an actual attacker. We should feel the emotion and move with real purpose.
Here are some of the strikes and block that we go over in class that you can practice at home as part of your routine.
- Front punch (high, middle, low for kids class)
- Vertical punch
- Rising block
- Downward block
- Outward block
- Inward block
- Inward knife hand strike
- Outward knife hand strike
- Downward palm strike
- Front kick
- Round kick
- Side kick
- Inward crescent kick
- Outward crescent kick
Here’s a video that goes over the normal warm up routine we do in class each week:
In order to defend yourself when a fight goes to the ground, you’ll need to both practice and develop your conditioning.
There are three areas to practice for ground work.
- Agility and flexibility
Because there are various ways to practice and condition for ground work, I’m going to include some videos here with some examples of things you can practice.
Regardless of the specific things you go over, make sure you practice principles that include breakfalls, moving on the ground, and aerobic conditioning.
Fluidity and Balance
One of the most important concepts in martial arts, and honestly what I consider a higher level of skill, is fluidity and balance.
Tai chi is great for training in this way.
I’ll put some videos up here to give you some forms and movements to practice, but the most basic one you can start with and do for five miuntes a day is the one we’ve done in class. It’s very simple. It goes like this.
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart
- Bring your left leg up in the air and raise your right hand up, with your left hand down along your left side
- Drop your left leg and reach over to the left while you part the horse’s mane and go up onto your left leg with your right leg up and your left hand in the air and right hand along your right side
- Go back and forth slow and smooth. Up on the right leg, over to the left leg. Hands crossing in front of you ending up with one up and one down.
- Repeat and try to make it all one movement, fluid and balanced
Strength and Flexibility
Not only for martial arts, but for daily life in general, nothing will be as effective for you without you having a certain level of health and fitness.
Part of your training each week should include some strength and flexibility exercise.
Some examples of what you can do include the following
- A series of push ups and sit ups
- Elastic bands
No matter what you do to to keep fit, make sure you listen to your body. Push yourself enough to grow beyond your current limits, and be careful not to cause an injury that would sideline your martial arts and your daily activities.
It’s good to work some weapons training into your routine as weapons can be useful if you ever need to defend yourself.
Another good reason to practice with weapons is that you get to learn a greater sense of the concepts behind all the movements we do with our hands and feet.
Once you learn the underlying concepts, you can turn anything into a weapon when you need it.
Also, throw some meditation in each day to bring it all together and make it more effective.
As you practice your martial skills, you’ll be developing your ability to control yourself and others. Daily practice brings you to the point where you no longer have to think about what to do – you just do it.