Setting the Balance
We've heard Bob Spour say it and more recently we've heard Rey Diogo mention it and in the past I've heard Ian Guthrie (Peter's old Judo coach) and our very own Pat say it too. What am I talking about? Attribute training of course - or more commonly known as running, weights, Combat Athletics.....
Attribute training is great for the martial artist, it helps them develop further in their chosen system(s) and allows them to compete or perform better. Running for instance is a probably one of the best and quickest ways to get fit. Develop an awesome cardio system and build our endurance. Weights can help too. They can help us first of all get stronger but also gain weight, in a good way rather than the route paved with pies and pizzas!! Also there is Combat Athletics which is a class that has exercises designed to supplement your martial arts training.
However, therein lies the clue. It is supplementary training and should not be mistaken for training in the arts/systems you hope to improve in or compete in. This is a problem though, because what happens to a lot of people is, they start to put more effort into their running or weights training than their martial arts that they are hoping to improve in.
Put it like this, if I were to be given a choice of doing a run or training in say Pat's Jun Fan class, I would train in the Jun Fan class in an instant. I wouldn't even have to think about it. The benefits of that class alone will help me develop my punching, kicking and trapping skills along with other attributes like footwork, balance and head movement. As far as my fitness and strength go, I can hit the pads hard and fast and very quickly be on the way to improving my cardio and strength. But there is one important difference I will become fighting fit, Jun Fan Gung Fu fit rather than being a great runner - which I'm not really interested in becoming.
This short article maybe very obvious to some but I have seen people fall into this trap on a number of occasions and they can't seem to understand why they have good running times but still perform poorly on the mat or on the pads.
The bottom line is, if you want to get fit at doing Muay Thai, Jun Fan Gung Fu or BJJ then train hard in the art firstly and if you have any time left train in your supplementary systems.
I hope this helps to point out one of the many martial arts pitfalls.
Leigh Richardson is a Full Instructor and 2nd degree black belt at AMAG.