One of the biggest parts of my life since I saw Karate Kid in 1986 and discovering Bruce Lee shortly after has been Martial Arts.
I started my formal training in the mid 90s doing a mix of Shito Ryu and Goju Ryu karate. After a short layoff after graduation I began training in a style based in American Kenpo with a bit of street mixed in. I’ve had the opportunity to train with some amazing people and was looking to spread my wings into BJJ and then, the world stopped.
So what do you do when you suddenly have to stay six feet away from everyone not in your immediate household? Here’s some things I’ve been doing.
This is a perfect time to develop your physical attributes. Find an area or two that you want to improve on and focus on those things. It can be general things like strength, weight loss, and flexibility or specific techniques (kicks, punches or movements) that you want to improve on. Take your overall goal, divide it into smaller, less daunting chunks and attack that goal every day. If you have a weight loss goal like I do (another blog series upcoming…), don’t look at the final number. Take it in 5 or 10 lbs increments and focus on that. Same with flexibility, don’t go all out Van Damme on your first day. Focus on small, gradual improvements to avoid injury and discouragement.
Forms and Techniques
A lot of styles have forms. This is the time to learn the next one or perfect the ones you do know. Wing Chun has the Wooden Dummy Sets along with three empty hand forms, Kali has a number of patterns and flows, Karate has Kata, Tae Kwon Do has Poomsae. You get the idea. Once you’ve got the patterns down, break them down. Look at what the movements are trying to teach you.
Expand Your Knowledge
Many martial arts schools are holding classes online now using video conferencing platforms like Zoom. There is also tons of content online for learning new ideas and techniques. YouTube has great videos if you know what you’re looking for, but also some downright awful ones. I’ll post some of my favorite channels in another update this week.
Budo Brothers has some online seminars that are relatively inexpensive in areas like JKD, Kali and BJJ.
Ron Balicki’s MARS curriculum is available online with a free month trial. Ron is a world renowned martial artist and the son in law of Dan Inosanto. Seemingly a walking encyclopedia of the arts, I can’t recommend he and his wife Diana’s courses enough.
This is a perfect time to leave your comfort zone and explore new ideas and styles.
Bruce Lee injured his back doing a weightlifting exercise called ‘good mornings’ and was immobilized for more than 6 months. Out of that time he developed his art of JKD by researching and exercising his mind, jotting down notes that would later be compiled into the Tao of Jeet Kune Do. Turn this into your own oppertunity to grow.