Why is my Karate bad? Why I’m progressing to slow? Why do I get injured so often? Among other questions this are common questions through martial artists and although some of them may be body type problems, the answer to them could also be bad planning of training sessions.
How do I train efficiently? Here are 5 aspects of what I think to be the key to a proper training plan and I will start with what I think is the most important one:
No matter how intense your training session are, you are less likely to see dramatic improvement if you don’t train constantly. For example training one week 5-6 times a week and then taking a break for a week or two will not help you improve your Karate skills. Is better to train 2-4 times per week, every week than overtraining in one week and then taking a long break, as after the brake most likely you will lose the progress made and will have to start all over.
Proper balance of session
Make sure your training session are properly balance between Kihon, Kata and Kumite. Focusing too much on one of them will have bad effects on efficiently applying the technique in a stressing situation.
Some people practice just Kata or just Kumite and they are champions. How’s that possible?
Well, first of all is not hard to be a top practitioner and win tournaments even if your Karate skills are bad. The trick is that you are not trying to cheat yourself. Sports Karate and Budo Karate are two different things. While you may develop great speed and timing practicing just Kumite or Kata will not help in the long term. First of all you will not be able to defend yourself in a real situation and then if you pay attention most of the top athletes that practice this way suffer from different kind of injuries. This is happening because they neglect Kihon practice and proper understanding, development of a technique. There is no secret that practicing the wrong way will cause a lot of injuries. So goes for Kihon also. Focusing too much on Kihon will develop great power and technique, but without good timing, speed and proper appreciation of distance (influences of Kata and Kumite) will be very hard to apply the technique. Also remember that a good martial artist will be in great shape most of the time. So make sure to improve your physical abilities through other activities rather than just martial arts training.
No matter how hard you want to train, remember to always practice each technique both slow and fast. Practicing slow not only gives you time to recover but is also a good way to understand and improve technique. Just remember: When practicing slowly keep the technique and breathing on the same length. Do no finish breathing before technique. Synchronizing both together will improve proper contractions of muscles involved and will help staying focus for a longer period of time, which overall will build real feeling of each technique
If you have difficulties in properly executing a technique try to break it down for better understanding of movement and trajectory. Although at first it will take more time it will prove to be a great benefit on the long term. This is also very good for your health, as multiple repetitions of a technique may cause injuries if the technique does not have good biomechanics. Also changing a habit is much harder than creating one. It will be much harder to correct a bad technique rather than learning a new one from the beginning.
Listen to your body
Is very important to listen to your body and react properly to this. If you are injured find a way of working without stressing the injured part of your body. Here’s an example of what I mean: let’s say you have elbow injury on your right hand. A good way to still train it will be turn the session on a leg day session and practice kicks and stances. Not only that you don’t aggravate your injury but you also get to focus more on other aspects which will prove beneficial later. However if the pain becomes uncomfortable or you have an injury that becomes uncomfortable not matter what type of exercise you do (like a spine injury) is better to avoid stressing it and take a few days off rather than pushing through the pain and aggravate the injury. Just imagine what effect can have over you: instead of staying off for a few days you may end up being off for a couple of weeks or even months. Be careful, there is a thin line between a minor injury and a serious one!!! My personal advice is to stop as soon as the pain kicks in and if the pain does not pass after a few days go and see a doctor. Also when you feel you are tired go for a light session o just take a break. Fatigue increases injury risks and also deforms technique, so just take a brake whenever you will is too much for your body.
If you have other opinion or suggestions about Karate related articles please let me know. I will gladly write a follow up to this article if I feel there is more to add.
Thank you for reading and have a nice day!