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Frazatto
Frazatto's picture
What is your "training alone" routine?

As the title suggests, I was wandering, whats your routine when training alone? What you do and why you do it?

I always struggled to train alone at home, tried to start many times, keep a rhythm going and failed just as many. It was boring, unmotivational and showed no results what so ever.

That is, until this year!

Once I started borderline obsessing about the Gekisai-dai kata (yes yes, I'm still working on that), the constant repetitions, the moments of epiphanies looking for the connections....it's like something clicked!

It's a completely different experience from the dojo grinding!

I can go by all my shortcomings, I can focus on details and passages it would be impractical to go through with a mix group of experienced people. I don't even have to get tired to feel like I'm actually making some progress (although I will, because it's so fun you don't even notice!).

I even started jumping rope for warmup, something I would never in a million Mondays have even bothered to start before.

My routine so far is a little short, but I'm adding stuff as things progress and I feel the need to.

A quick joints warmup followed by just a couple of static stretching on muscle groups that are naturally stiff and need some encouragement to get going; I than make some pushups, because I have the strength of a toddler from the stomach up, followed by some falling and getting up exercises suggested by Lyoto Machida on his channel; And to end the warmup, 4 sets of 1x1min rope jumping.

I than will make a karate session or "boxing" session depending on the mood. Karate will be some repetitions of the individual section of Gekisai-dai ichi and as many Sanchin as I can handle (usually two or three); For "boxing", I train just the foot work and go true slipping, side stepping, ducking and specially retreating to counter.

And that is it.... now I have to understand "shadow boxing", that is still a mystery to my brain and a real roadblock for my creativity and imagination.

Jesus Pineda
Jesus Pineda's picture

Well, the whole pandemic thing really changed training for me... just as I was getting back in the saddle after many years.

My lockdown routine goes more or less like this: 2 days of weight training with bands and dumbbells, one day of kata training and one with the double end bag. All sessions are of around 1h45m including stretching.

I approached kata by modifying them to fit my training space (a 4m x 60cm hallway), mostly by just "switchblading" the embusen (changing the angles of the turns and positions as necessary). I was inspired by Goju Ryu practitioners who do something similar with their kata, I've seen "Chokusen Gekisai dai Ichi/Ni" that are the Gekisai but adapted to be practiced in a straight line.

I usually perform each kata 6 times:

-2 times slowly, focusing on each movement, taking care of the placement of the scapula, the knees and feet and proper stances.

-2 times with proper timing, more or less as I would perform the kata in a grading or competition.

-2 times concentrating on the bunkai: I relax the stances to something closer to what I would use in a self protection situation, removing the more stylised elements (e.g. jumps, high kicks, flowery setups or motion changes). Visualising drilling the movements with a partner or an attacker. Funnily enough, when done this way my kata end up looking a lot like Shorin Ryu... maybe something I'll look into one day.

Since throughout my journey I've learned some 30 odd kata (I was a "kata collector" as a young man), I've had to split them in groups and switch up my training to keep it interesting. Some of the splits I've used are:

-By style: my home style practices 15 and I've collected another 15 (3 Shotokan, 5 Goju Ryu, 3 Shito Ryu, and the rest from other styles) so this was the first and easiest split.

-By related movements: say starting with Pinan Sandan (that has 3 consecutive arm bar/hip throw combinations near the end), moving to Jion (because of the 3 throws in shiko dachi movements), then to Naihanchi (the combination uchi uke / gedan barai), and then to Seienchin or Wansu and so on. In this way I try to connect different kata and their applications. It's a fun way to work on similar movement patterns. 

-By objective: Some kata strike me as being "general purpose" (e.g. Seisan, the Pinans, Kusanku), others focus more on clinching (Naihanchi, Jion, Seienchin), others defend attempted takedowns (Saifa, Rohai, Bassai) and others touch more "advanced or special topics" (Chinto, Wansu). This is the grouping I find most fun, because it is the one you can change the most depending on how *you* specifically view each kata.

What I'm struggling with at the moment is a way to train some throws and grappling without becoming the most hated neighbour at my apartment complex.

Frazatto
Frazatto's picture

Jesus Pineda wrote:

-By style: my home style practices 15 and I've collected another 15 (3 Shotokan, 5 Goju Ryu, 3 Shito Ryu, and the rest from other styles) so this was the first and easiest split.

What I'm struggling with at the moment is a way to train some throws and grappling without becoming the most hated neighbour at my apartment complex.

How can you keep up with so many??? If I stay a month without practicing I can barely remember the few I know!

May I suggest you take a look at Iain's solo throws training?

If you have a place to sturdy hookup some heavy duty bands, you can practice all the setups and entrances without actually throwing something.

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Hi All,

I am a great believer in solo training (as a means to support partner training). I think we can generally divide solo training into two broad categories:

1) Martial arts solo training: kata, kihon, shadow sparring, bag work, solo pad drills, etc

2) Supplementary fitness training: weights, stretching, cardiovascular training, etc.

Without the motivation of a coach / training partner, training alone can be harder for some. I therefore think it is important to make it as fun as possible such that people do it consistently. Personally, I like the wide range of various training options that solo training gives. Whist I have a schedule that changes every couple of months (to keep it fresh), I am not averse to switching things up on a given day if I’m not in the right mental or physical state for what I had planned. Better to do something well than something you are not able to fully commit to, and either is better than nothing at all.

This old podcast on kata solo training may be of interest:

https://iainabernethy.co.uk/content/solo-kata-solo-training-podcast

As may this video on supplementary fitness training: https://youtu.be/l30JtgaZSio

Jesus Pineda wrote:
What I'm struggling with at the moment is a way to train some throws and grappling without becoming the most hated neighbour at my apartment complex.

Frazatto wrote:
May I suggest you take a look at Iain's solo throws training?

That video can be found here: https://youtu.be/cbIgcG5pe9o

There are quite a few solo training workouts in my app; including one that uses a kick shield on the floor for ground fighting transitions. That may also be of interest.

All the best,

Iain

Frazatto
Frazatto's picture

Iain Abernethy wrote:

Personally, I like the wide range of various training options that solo training gives. Whist I have a schedule that changes every couple of months (to keep it fresh), I am not averse to switching things up on a given day if I’m not in the right mental or physical state for what I had planned. Better to do something well than something you are not able to fully commit to, and either is better than nothing at all.

This old podcast on kata solo training may be of interest:

https://iainabernethy.co.uk/content/solo-kata-solo-training-podcast

Exactly! We can easily tailor it to our wants and needs ounce you get the proper mindset and it will end being very personal as one keeps mixing and mashing.

I just finished watching all the YouTube videos (the opening sequence with the roiling dices is very satisfying on headphones) and will start going through the podcasts soon.

By the way Iain, will we have an end of the year special podcast this year??

Jesus Pineda
Jesus Pineda's picture

Keeping up with that many kata... Well I don't really: I focus on a few to *really* practice, namely Kushanku, Naihanchi Shodan, Bassai and Chinto, the others I just practice mostly to keep track with my style and to keep practice interesting when I want another perspective in training. Since I'm currently training alone, preservation (i.e. not forgetting what I've learned) has gotten precedence. However, as soon as I can return to live practice, that will quickly change.

I have seen Iain's throws training... I'll try that as soon as my heavy bag arrives (yay for Black Friday deals!)

colby
colby's picture

So for me i know that i am not a professional fighter, teacher, influencer, or youtuber so i will never have 40 hours a week to train. Therefore, i need to train with specific goals in mind and implement the training into everything that i do.

What i want to develop is to live a long time and be able to practice a long time. Therefore, I try and do some quigong to in order to do that and to help develop my tendons and fascia to begin to develop "old man" power. Eventually getting to the point of quigong cycles as i get older but that involves being particular with what you eat and drink that i don't want to do

i want an high understanding of karate so i work on specific kata bankai and trying to make that seemless and flowy. Which will help with the self defense and that kind of mindset.

I also want to move very efficient and in a unique way so I have been working on some bagua recently in order to do that.

Heath White
Heath White's picture

Just want to add that there is a pretty good book about this:  _Solo Training: The Martial Artist's Home Training Guide_ by Loren Christensen.

https://www.amazon.com/Solo-Training-Martial-Artists-Guide-ebook/dp/B01LWON5PZ/

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Heath White wrote:
Just want to add that there is a pretty good book about this:  Solo Training: The Martial Artist's Home Training Guide by Loren Christensen.

I love that book! I got the first version as a teenager, and it really got me fired up for solo training. So many good ideas in it that are both fun and productive. Highly recommended!

There’s also this great book from one of the regular contributors here:

https://iainabernethy.co.uk/content/training-ronin-style-david-hogsette

Again, it’s full of great ideas and well worth a read!

All the best,

Iain