Before embarking on your Martial Arts journey there are some important points to consider. Firstly, by the very nature of the fighting arts being a contact sport, injuries can and do happen, therefore we respectfully draw your attention to the following: any person involved with the making of this information resource book will not be held liable for any claim whatsoever as a direct or indirect result of using the information contained herein. Your participation therefore is entirely of your own choice and at your own risk. Always consider the safety of yourself and others. There is a general code of ethics amongst Martial Artists: Any Martial Arts Skills will not be used against anyone, unless as a means of self-defence in the event of an unprovoked attack or to protect others who are the victim of an unprovoked attack. Only the minimum of force should be used to defend oneself or others. Laws relating to self-defence differ from country to country and one should always be aware of adhering to those laws. Thank you for your kind attention to this matter.
Your present fitness levels and points to consider.
The Martial Arts are a great way to build up your fitness. However, as with all sports and fitness training it's important to consider where you stand right now in terms of your personal fitness. For example, if you are 35 years' of age or over, or have not exercised for some time or have a medical condition, it is advisable to seek a professional medical evaluation as to your current health status and suitability for performing vigorous types of fitness training and Martial Arts moves.
Some of you may want to learn these moves and techniques for fitness purposes only and that's fine, there is possibly no finer way to improve flexibility, stamina, strength and hand-eye coordination. The health benefits are massive! It's a tremendous way to burn up calories too, burning unwanted fat and toning the body. Being a total body work-out it's been estimated that you may burn on average anywhere between 400-700 calories per hour.
Moves can be performed at a slower pace if desired, similar to the free-flowing style of Tai Chi. Again, health and well-being is achieved even in this less demanding way of training.
Training Clothing and Equipment.
Training clothing for the Martial Arts largely depends upon the style or discipline. Many classes have their own style of club uniform now, where as the more traditional Martial Arts disciplines continue to use their original style of uniform/Gi which has been used for many years.
When you attend a class you will have the opportunity to find out about the correct dress code from the club coach. Sometimes uniforms are supplied as part of your membership fee. If and when you are training at home, you simply need some loose fitting clothing, i.e. tee shirt and jogging pants.
Footwear for home use would generally consist of a pair of good quality supportive training shoes. Within a class environment, sometimes class lessons are performed in bare feet or with special shoes.
Protective equipment should be considered when sparring and contact is going to take place. Safety and a sensible approach to the fighting arts should always be top of the agenda. There is a wide range of training equipment available for Martial Arts. Again, the choice of equipment relates to the style of Martial Arts training being undertaken.
Total Attitude offers a wide range of training equipment for both Martial Arts and Fitness and more details can be found at: http://www.totalattitude.co.uk
Warming Up/Warming Down.
Prior to any form of intense physical training exercises, it's essential to perform what is known as the "warm-up". Warming up would involve some light training to slowly raise the core temperature of the body and to gently increase the heart rate. Usually, this light training routine would last for approximately 5 minutes. It may involve some boxing footwork, light shadow boxing, skipping rope or a slow jog etc. If you are training outside in cold temperatures, then aim for around 10 minutes.
Once you feel warmed up the next phase would be to carry out some stretching exercises. The aim here is to work through all the muscle groups to prepare them for your training session. A good systematic approach to stretching routines is to start at the top of your body, stretching the various muscles and work down to the feet.
The "warm-down" is performed at the end of your training session. This is a good time to add in a few resistance moves for strength development. Spend approximately 5- 10 minutes on some strength and lower intensity stamina work to gradually bring your heart rate down.
Follow up with a good stretching routine. This will help to flush out what is known as lactic acid. This a by-product of used energy which can remain in the muscles. It is considered to be the cause of muscle aches after exercise.
General fitness training.
The best form of training is that of your Martial Art, because this is how your body will best adapt itself to the rigours and demands of your sport, all other methods and systems should be classed as complementary and supplementary to your fighting art. Many will add value to your overall development though! Routines should cover - stamina, strength & suppleness. "The 3's."
Stamina routines would include - jogging, skipping rope, circuit training, cycling, sparring, aerobics. All types of exercises which involve prolonged periods of activities to condition the heart and the lungs (cardiovascular system).
Strength routines would include - weight training, resistance exercises, press-ups, sit-ups, squats etc. All types of exercises which involve the use of the muscles.
Suppleness routines would include - stretching/flexibility exercises, yoga etc. All types of exercises which will improve what is called the "range of motion" this is a term used to describe overall muscular- skeletal movement.
Good all round fitness is paramount to your success as a martial artist. Weakness in fitness levels can lead to poor performance. A good opponent will exploit your weaknesses!
This is a term for utilising different methods of fitness/martial arts training. Cross training can be part of your overall training regime. Many Martial Artists cross train in other Martial Arts systems and disciplines in order to benefit from the different styles of training and moves for attack and defence.
You could also include running, weight training or circuit training for example, as part of your training schedule. These could all be classed as cross training methods, because each activity requires different levels of effort and body movement. Cross training helps you to grow as a Martial Artist and increases your fitness levels.
Your body is an amazing machine and is capable of adapting very quickly to exercise movement and activity. Cross training is a great way to keep your body guessing what's going to come next. So it will always be in a state of growth and improvement.
These principles can be applied for both physical and mental performance. Look at other training/martial arts methods and how you could benefit from them.
Fuel and performance.
There are many excellent sources of information around about diet and nutrition and It's worth investigating some of the valuable resources available on this subject. Consider the following as a sensible approach: Eat a varied diet which is 'nutrient rich' this simply means foods which are fresh. Avoid or limit processed foods, high sugar foods and alcohol.
Let me put this point to you - if you had a pedigree dog you would ensure that it was fed on the finest cuts of meat and high quality pet food to keep it healthy and in great shape? Why is it then, that often when it comes to our own diet we choose to feed ourselves absolute rubbish?
Think about it. Doesn't it make good sense to eat the very best food sources available? Are you not worthy of a top quality diet? Of course you are! From here on, make a promise to yourself that you are only going to eat the most nutritious food that your money can buy, and this doesn't mean that it has to be expensive.
Read up on the subject and discover which foods are best for performance. Foods high in complex carbohydrates are cereals, grains, bread, pasta, fruit and vegetables etc. These are your best sources for energy and should form the basis of your diet - approximately 65-75% of your food intake. Protein foods such as lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs and low fat dairy products are important for muscle growth, and you should aim to consume around 25-35% as part of your intake. Unsaturated, essential fats provided by fish oils, nuts, seeds & olive oils should form around 15-25% of your diet. This is vital for a healthy heart and the prevention of many diseases.
Supplementation of the diet is sometimes helpful during times of sport, strenuous activity, illness or when a high quality food source is not readily available. A range of vitamins and herbal supplements for general health and well-being can be found at: http://www.goodhealth.totalattitude.co.uk
It is vital that you keep hydrated. Water is required before, during and after your work- out/training. Even the slightest dehydration can significantly affect your performance and at its worst can cause death. DO NOT UNDER ESTIMATE THE AFFECTS OF DEHYDRATION.
There are many sports drinks around which manufacturers claim will help to improve performance and assist with the re-hydration process. Which ever method you choose make sure that you always have your drink with you throughout training and drink fluids throughout the day.
It's worth bearing in mind that alcohol, tea and coffee speed up the process of dehydration! Sugary drinks offer no real nutritional value!
Rest and recovery.
The power of rest and relaxation is often overlooked when it comes to training our bodies. Often we seem to have this mentality that if we keep training harder and harder and more often, we will get better and better. Unfortunately this is not the case. Our bodies need rest and recovery time in order to get stronger.
For example: when it comes to muscular development, the action of lifting weights actually breaks down the muscle fibres. It's during the recovery phase, when we are resting, that the muscles begin to grow, adapt and get stronger.
Sometimes, it is possible to incorporate cross training as part of your rest and recovery phase. For instance, because Martial Arts training is very demanding physically due to the ballistic (bouncing type) nature of the moves, you may be able to use what is called "active recovery" as part of your rest and recovery phase. This means for example, that you could go for a walk. Your body will benefit from this activity whilst allowing the muscles involved in your kickboxing routine, a chance to recover and repair themselves for your next session.
Over-training can be a serious issue that affects many sports people. Injuries become more likely, the immune system can breakdown making you more prone to colds and infections. This obviously means that you will be prevented from training anyway, so adopt a sensible training schedule and plan for periods of rest. This way you will get stronger and progressively fitter.
Martial Arts Training.
A true Martial Artist has the utmost respect for their fellow human beings and would never seek to harm anyone by using his or her skills indiscriminately.
Always seek instruction from a qualified coach or learn from an source of expert training information/resources: Total Attitude Productions for example, has produced a high quality, learn at home DVD series to teach you the Martial Art of Kickboxing where you can learn at your own convenience and at a pace to suit you. Full details can be found at their website: http://www.learnkickboxing.totalattitude.co.u k
Mastering the Martial Arts requires total dedication and discipline. Going into the Martial Arts with a half-hearted approach is doomed to failure. You need a specific reason or purpose if you are to truly fulfil your potential. People have different reasons for wanting to learn the Martial Arts. For example - they may have been bullied, lack confidence or want to learn self-defence. They might want to keep fit or be the next Bruce Lee. There are all sort of reasons or motives. But it's these motives that are really essential, because they drive us towards our personal goals.
Take a moment to consider why you want to learn the Martial Arts. What is your true reason or purpose? Visualize and feel how you see yourself at the very peak as a Martial Artist. Do you feel inspired by what you see and feel? You need to have positive inner vision and a feeling of success in what you see.
The discipline of Martial Arts training has been considered by many over the years, as one of the greatest character and confidence building systems around. The Martial Arts are not just about physical fighting, it's about mental toughness. The ability to overcome whatever may stand in your way. To turn feelings of doubt into resolve and action and appropriately deal with the situation effectively.
The Martial Arts teach you coping strategies. Sometimes when we are confronted by what appears to be a formidable opponent or situation, it's often our own fears that are the real enemy. When we confront and learn to effectively deal with our fears, we can function more efficiently as a human being. For a range of motivational Self-Help CD solutions to improve state of mind, details can be found by visiting: http://www.selfhelp.totalattitude.co.uk
DISCLAIMER: The content within only presents an overview based upon research for informational purposes and does not replace medical advice from a practicing physician or that of a qualified fitness/martial arts instructor. No diagnosis or cures are implied. Further, the information in this article is provided "as is" and without warranties of any kind either express or implied. Under no circumstances, including, but not limited to, negligence, shall the seller/distributor of this information be liable for any special or consequential damages that result from the use of, or the inability to use, the information presented here. The contents herein a subject to copyright - Total Attitude Publications. None of the information in part or whole may be sold, copied or changed without the expressed written consent of Total Attitude Publications: email@example.com This publication can be distributed freely to others without any alteration to content. Thank you.
by: Steve Vickers, http://www.totalattitude.co.uk
Article date: September 2006.