The most important element to improving in your chosen martial arts discipline is the hours of focused practice that can be dedicated to the craft.
There are times, however, when you cannot make it to the gym — you might finish work too late to make a class, or have a certain injury you need to work around. Maybe you have already trained earlier in the day and want something related to do at home. Or it could just be that you need a change in scenery.
Whatever the reason may be, for the times when the gym is not an option, there are other things you can to do supplement your martial arts training, and keep your development moving forward.
Strength And Conditioning
Quite often, regular gyms are open for a significantly longer window than a martial arts dojo, and they are much more readily available. Most people have easier access to the weights and cardio machines than their martial arts instructor. You can use this to your advantage, as strength and conditioning are huge elements in martial arts.
Being stronger and fitter works well for everybody, regardless of skill level, and although we try to focus on technique when we are acquiring new skills, the ability to render the techniques more powerfully, or for longer without fading, makes them even more dangerous. Do Olympic lifts for power, pile on the plates for strength, and use the rower or treadmill for those lung-burning cardio blasts.
You can even work on your strength and conditioning with no gym at all, and no equipment necessary. Roadwork, sprints, body weight circuits, calisthenics, and much more are all beneficial as well.
Watching Martial Arts Videos
There are literally millions of hours of resources at our fingertips.
You can invest in DVDs or online subscriptions to watch videos pertaining to your favorite athletes and coaches. But there are also masses of quality free content available on streaming sites such as ONE Championship’s Facebook page. Also, you are able to watch at home, on your commute to work, or even on the school bus, thus making this otherwise fruitless time productive to your martial arts journey.
Conscious practice under the watchful eye of your coach is the ideal scenario, but if you want to peak through some new techniques, find fresh ideas, or look for an answer to a position or scenario that you keep getting caught in, then videos can be a vital resource.
In early days when martial arts resources were not as easy to come by, many great athletes were partially self-taught, using just the instructional videos and footage they could acquire, which shows how useful it can be.
There are many great martial arts instructional guides that come in written format, with text and images to help you learn. Much like the aforementioned videos, they can be useful additions to your repertoire and help you gain new solutions to problems you may be experiencing on the mats.
That is not their only use, however. Autobiographies from your favorite athletes can inspire you, and give you an insight into how they achieved what they did.
A great example would be the stirring story of Eduard Folayang, who overcame more than anyone could have imagined to capture the ONE Lightweight World Championship.
As well as strength and conditioning, yoga can be another great addition to your regime.
You will improve your flexibility through yoga, but also help with injury prevention and rehabilitation. If you have been training hard all week, and need to stretch out those sore muscles and slow down the pace, then yoga could become your best friend.
Often we are guilty of neglecting our overall well-being simply to get in as many hours on the mat as possible. But in the long run, activities like this will only increase your ability to keep training later into life.
This may sound counter-intuitive, but sometimes the best thing to do is nothing at all.
We are fitting in a lot of things during the day, and not giving ourselves much respite. Martial arts training is intense on the body and the mind, strength and conditioning is draining, and taking in more knowledge can overload us mentally.
Sleep helps us to recover physically to train again, helps our muscles to grow and get stronger, relieves stress, and it helps with memory. Only with plenty of sleep can we fully commit ourselves to a demanding training schedule without the wheels falling off.