4 ways to get the best experience from training martial arts at home or online
It’s going to be a little while before we’re back in the gyms and dojo’s training together again.
But the good news is that we’ll be back! Martial artists are resilient folks, it’s in our DNA, so we’ve been innovating new ways to train online, study at home and keep progressing.
For most of us, training is non-negotiable. We find a way to sharpen our skills.
So the question I keep asking myself is, what more can I do to make the time I spend home training more valuable?
Here’s what I’ve come up with.
#1 The 10'000 hours rule
Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours rule is commonly cited as the benchmark for mastery. The hours you spend training all count.
BUT, it’s the type of practice that makes the difference.
If you’re practising random skills, kick one day, blocks another, the ground escapes the next. Mixing up all the different martial arts skills may help you with the retention of the knowledge. But without any specific focus, your technique is unlikely to progress.
Similarly, this type of training and lesson planning is unlikely to help you perform well under stressful condition.
This is why having a deliberate training plan matters. Knowing the outcome you want matters.
So even more important than just training everything for 10’000 hours, is having a goal in mind for each training session.
This is a big step towards making consistent progress.
If you’re training online in a martial arts class. Then the instructor has prepared the lesson.
There’s usually still scope to train towards your goal, if you have some clarity on your outcome objectives.
Is it possible to integrate your own training goal into the lesson plan
Are there dynamic parts to the class where you can fit this in, maybe as a part of your finishing mode?
When I was learning to box combinations, I liked to get the first 4 combos I learned into every class and would use them in shadowboxing all the time.
Is your goal to pass a graduation and earn your next patch.
Then you can have a goal of getting to 2 classes per week.
Is it a performance goal? You need to be able to execute a skill that you find challenging?
Perform more repetitions on this technique, here the 10’000 rule can make a difference.
#2 Mixing it up
# 2 Mixing it up
If you’re designing your own training plan, you can always include a freestyle section to reduce skill fade but enable yourself to continue making progress.
Perhaps some repetition too, where you practise one skill multiple times, like a straight punch with your less dominant hand to improve upon a weakness.
This makes the skill progress more consistent.
Training skills at home is not always easy, it’s definitely more comfortable in a martial arts centre with a padded floor, clear lighting and without pets.
But we find a way.
For me, the bigger challenge with home training has been helping the skills become effective under stressful conditions (other than internet buffering!)
#3 To make this happen you have to think, what have you "put on the line?"
When training at home, what’re the consequences if something does not go to plan.
With self defence training, a little stress is a good thing.
With home training, how you can ‘safely!’ incorporate this into your routine.
Can you make a bet with a family member watching that you can complete a skill?
Can you use a timer, so you have a counter going down?
Could you make the training competitive against another family member?
We play a game in our kid’s classes where the parents hold a pillow at home for the kids and after ever punch the parent runs to another part of
the room and turns in a new direction.
The child has to punch the target 10 times in 30 seconds.
The parent is constantly moving and turning. Making it more difficult to complete the challenge.
There are penalties for the parents and child if the other party is successful with their mission.
It gets very competitive and there’s usually cheating.
We love cheating in self defence classes!
#4 How can you get uncomfortable training at home and make this your comfort zone?
Training at home is still a good opportunity to try something new out, you’re not being watched by a class of people.
If it goes wrong, who cares 🙂 Plus you’re less likely to hurt someone else accidentally.
Keep it realistic and safe, but stretch yourself a little.
We need to avoid injury, we also want to compliment our existing skill stack if possible too.
But seek out these opportunities, they are out there!
Last Thoughts on martial arts home training
The temptation with home training is to binge at first then make it scarce.
Or knowing that you’ll soon be going back to a gym, dojo…. you binge again in preparation.
Be realistic and consistent. Burn out is real, injuries are real.
Set yourself easy achievable training goals and go from there.
Plus keep hydrated and use this time as an opportunity to get better sleeping habits too.