Training consistently is the only way to improve your karate skills over the long haul. We try and encourage all our students to attend class consistently because we know that is how you will get better and move up in rank. But, for many reasons, it is unreasonable for most people to come to class as many times a week as classes are offered. So, practicing on your own is a must for students who want to keep progressing towards their goals.
There are many workouts you could do to work on your karate skills, as there are also many workouts available to work on your conditioning. However, most people have limited time to spend in their busy lives, so maximizing your efficiency with respect to working out makes good sense. Furthermore, now that we are in the heart of winter, it is often hard (if not impossible) to get to the gym or to class. To that end, I have developed a workout that I like to do in my home that I am going to share. It is designed to work on conditioning as well as your overall master form kata, and doesn’t require a lot in the way of resources.
Things you will need:
1 Deck of Cards
1 Water bottle (optional)
1 Heavy bag or Bob (optional)
You start with a 5-minute warm-up. I like to do jumping jacks, and only a few pushups and sit-ups, to get my body ready for what it is about to do. I also do some dynamic stretches and then some shadow boxing to get loose.
The heart of the workout is the following process:
You will perform each section of master form (1 section at a time) 4 times each, changing your starting position by 90 degrees each time. If it is a section of master form that you know well, you can go at normal speed. If it is a section of master form that you are learning or working on, you should start out by going tae-chi speed (very slowly). If you are doing the first section, make sure to include the salute before you start. If you are doing the very last section, make sure to include the salute at the finish. Before you start the 1st and 3rd set of each section, you will draw random cards from the deck of cards until you get the 1st black and 1st red cards you draw. In other words, the first card you draw will be either red or black and you will use that. You will also draw an additional card until you get the other color than the first one selected.
For the black card, do this many pushups:
Card # of pushups
2-9 The number on the card
For the red card, do the following abdominal work:
Card Ab Work
2-5 10 times the number on the card seconds of side planks (both sides)
6-9 3 times the number on the card mason twist combos
10-King 2 times the number on the card crunches (face card = 10)
Ace 30 crunches
Joker 50 crunches
After you do the pushups and ab work, put the cards aside so you can count the total at the end.
Before the start of the 2nd and 4th set of each section, you will shadow box and/or hit the heavy bag or Bob dummy for about 30 seconds.
As you know more of master form, the workout gets longer and harder. You can make it a lot harder by not just moving 90 degrees, but by moving 45 degrees instead. On a typical workout that includes all 6 sections of master form (24 sets), be prepared to do more than 100 pushups and 200 crunches. If this is too much, then play with the numbers to come up with something that works for you.
This is a very fun and challenging workout, but it will definitely help you work on your skills and work on your conditioning. Please make sure you are in good physical shape to do this workout, which you should do before performing any exercise routine. Also, please make sure that you are only practicing those sections of master form that you have been approved to practice.
This year, make it a point to find reasons to practice, even when conditions are not perfect. Make this the year you will take a huge step forward and make big gains.