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Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture
What covid-era changes to training have you made that you intend to keep when normality returns?

Hi All,

We’ve all had to adapt our training because of the pandemic. For our part we have done a lot more solo pad drills, shadow sparring and grappling movement drills. While we first did these out of necessity, we have now seen the benefits these forms of practise can bring; so we are intent on including them when normality resumes, albeit less frequently and as an lower overall percentage of training.

Solo Pad Drills: We always did these, but relatively infrequently. We have now created a solo training kata (Tandoku) which we intent to keep as part of training, but not as a grading requirement. We are also currently doing a lot of open rounds with them for fitness and conditioning.

Shadow Sparring: The distanced “sparring” is proving useful for footwork, movement and fitness. Students like it too. We plan to keep this in warm-ups and as another gentle way to help ease beginners into sparring.

Grappling Movement Drills: These are often integrated with the solo pad drills. These involve shadow throws and core groundwork movements. At first, some of the lower grade students were struggling to get the solo movements to accurately reflect the throwing actions. Prior to the pandemic their throws were looking good, but it’s obviously harder to replicate it when there is no body to lift. Things have moved on and their visualisation and movement have improved a lot. I’m interested to see what influence has on their actual throwing when normality returns. I’m expecting a very positive one due to the increased internal awareness of the body’s movement during the throwing action. I will be continuing this post-pandemic for “repetition by stealth” and to give them more options for home solo-training.

I’m interested to know what others have learnt / adopted during the pandemic that they intend to keep going forward?

All the best,

Iain

Les Bubka
Les Bubka's picture

Hi Iain

For us is pretty much the same, we focus a lot on coordination drills crossing midline and mixing limbs. Some brain stimulating games are included too, I also try to pick brains of my student and ask a lot about their opinion on techniques, kata or self-defence. then they have to explain their point of view, its good way to engage them in club, and it gives me chance to see what people like in training.

Kind regards

Les

Tau
Tau's picture

For us not so much in the in-class changes but I hope that training over the internet will continue to some degree. Back in June I had my 30th anniversary of beginning martial arts training. It was a Thursday evening. I was fortunate enough to have two Zoom sessions with a short gap in between. The first was Karate with a bald Cumbrian chap. The second was Taekwondo and was being taught from Tennerife. Of course there's no substitute for in-person training or getting your hands on someone but to be able to access experts around the world without leaving your living room is phenominal. I would happily engage in it further.

Zach Zinn
Zach Zinn's picture

Shadowboxing, footwork and attribute-building drills, -a lot- more bagwork ( I have learned so much about really using a heavy bag from boxing, it's almost like a new piece of equipment now), and I also plan to restructure my curriculum as far as teaching goes to highly emphasize functional fundamental skills, and only move on to bunkai once the fundamental skills are at a certain level.

I also think my Dojo will probably move to a smaller, more informal setup given our circumstances, and will now be based in my home, which is new.

I also plan on formalizing a series of heavy bag or shadow sparring drills for Goju Ryu bunkai (mostly done with Gekisai!), and possibly making videos of them.

Tau
Tau's picture

The distanced shadow boxing thing. I did that as part of my Taekwondo training. Having ceased regular Taekwondo training I've come to look at the activity with disdain. However in these times I've taken up using it again and concede that it has filled a gap. 

It's no substitute for "proper" sparring and I plan to drop it as soon as I'm able but for now it's served a purpose.

PASmith
PASmith's picture

I have learned so much about really using a heavy bag from boxing, it's almost like a new piece of equipment now

Early in lock-down I added some "arms" to my heavy bag and it's been a revelation. Andy Allen has done it and I basically copied him by plaiting three old belts around my 6ft bag at shoulder height. I can now do arm bars, limb manipulation, etc and with something to grab onto really dig things like knees in. I also have to watch careful targetting on unattached bag work as there are now parts of my bag I really don't want to hit (like the knots!). The line of the belts also delineates the head/body nicely rather than a plain 6ft bag where hitting it can get a bit arbitrary with no divisions or spot targets.

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Hi All,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Greatly appreciated. As awful as this pandemic is, the “enforced necessity” it has provided will definitely influence martial arts going forward.

Tau wrote:
… I hope that training over the internet will continue to some degree … Of course there's no substitute for in-person training or getting your hands on someone but to be able to access experts around the world without leaving your living room is phenomenal. I would happily engage in it further.

Totally agree! Martial arts are definitely something that needs to be “hand on”, but the ability to train and interact with martial artists from all over the globe is a great supplement to that. Like yourself, I do hope that international online training becomes the norm post pandemic.

Les Bubka wrote:
… I also try to pick brains of my student and ask a lot about their opinion on techniques, kata or self-defence. then they have to explain their point of view, its good way to engage them in club, and it gives me chance to see what people like in training.

This has been my experience too. The support of the students and their feedback has been invaluable. The club has never been stronger and closer. I think that is one of the benefits of shared adversity.

Zach Zinn wrote:
I also think my Dojo will probably move to a smaller, more informal setup given our circumstances, and will now be based in my home, which is new.

I’ve been teaching online from my living room a lot during the pandemic, and I intend to continue that. I hope to open that up to all app members once the pandemic recedes. The informal / online training has definitely proved to be more valuable that I would have initially anticipated.

Zach Zinn wrote:
I also plan on formalizing a series of heavy bag or shadow sparring drills for Goju Ryu bunkai (mostly done with Gekisai!), and possibly making videos of them.

Awesome! Do you think you will be sharing those videos publicly? I think I speak for all of us when I say I’d love to see them.

All the best,

Iain

AllyWhytock
AllyWhytock's picture

Hello,

Here in Perthshire, our classes are still off. Our facilities have been acquired by the schools and hence out of bounds. 

In the main, the majority of my club have ignored pretty much everything I've done online. I've a core cadre of Zoom attendees who have had the committment to continue. 

We've been running Zoom classes. After some experimentation we're settled on a 35 minute class on Mondays and Thursdays.  We do Kihon and Kata on a Monday and padwork/partner work on a Thursday. We have several students who are in the same household or parents hold the pads and act as uke. So that works.

We held a junior dan grading recently and our uke was the candidates mum. So that worked.

To keep things fresh for ourselves I've been doing short "lunchtime waza" Facebook videos. 3 to 5 minutes on any aspect of Karate that pops into my head at about 11:30am. I'm working at home so I need a break. I think I'll keep these going. Our last snippets were each one of Motobu's kumite drills. I plan incorporating these drills into our syllabus.

Kindest Regards,

Ally

Zach Zinn
Zach Zinn's picture

Iain Abernethy wrote:
Awesome! Do you think you will be sharing those videos publicly? I think I speak for all of us when I say I’d love to see them.

Yeah, I plan on making a video series of them. They are for my students of course, but I'm also going to try to make the them universal enough that they are useful to a general Karate audience. I will definitely share them here once I start making them.