Wednesday, July 18, 2012

How I'm Training for a Knockdown Karate Tournament

I'm itching to do a little competition.

Don't get me wrong, doing my normal routine with pad drills, sparring, and bag work is great. However, nothing really points out your weaknesses like full contact competition.

To "scratch" that itch I have recently signed up to compete in Shidokan Atlanta's upcoming Knockdown Karate tournament (August 18th).

It's been a while since I've done a full contact event and I've never done Knockdown Karate. So, I'm really gonna have to make sure I prepare myself both physically and mentally. And with only 4 weeks to prepare, this might be a little tough.

Here's how I'm gonna do it:

My Plan - 

The first thing you have to understand about Knockdown Karate is that, more than anything else, it is a test of mental and physical toughness.

While you don't have to worry about getting punched in the face (though, you can get kicked in the head) you do have to worry about full force punches and kicks to the body and legs.

So, my main focus will be to improve my anaerobic endurance, increasing my level of "physical toughness", and mentally prepare myself for what I'm about to go through.

Anaerobic Endurance -

I'm lucky in that I'm already in pretty good shape going into this training cycle. My strength and conditioning levels are already pretty high (for me).

At this point, my main focus will be on improving specific levels of anaerobic endurance. Since I know the length of the round this will be fairly simple.

The heavybag and Thai pads are going to be my best friends here. I'll be varying the lengths of my rounds when working the bag or the pads between 3 minutes to as low as 30 seconds.

When working at the low end (1 minute - 30 seconds) my primary focus will be on speed and explosive power in my strikes. At the upper end (2-3 minutes) I'll still be concerned with speed, power, and "strike output" but I'll have more time to focus on technique, footwork, and movement.

Bag and pad work will be a daily staple of my training for the next 4 weeks. I'll be mixing up my round/interval times so as to provide a good balance between technique, power, speed, and anaerobic endurance.

Physical Toughness Training - 

I'm gonna need to make sure I can both take and dish out maximum damage if I want to do well in this tournament.

The best way to train for this is with actual knockdown karate style sparring with little or no equipment (except a mouth guard and a cup). I've got several training partners more than willing to help me with this :) . Working this style of sparring as often as possible will be crucial. 4-5 days a week would be best.

In addition to regular knockdown sparring, I'll also be doing a good bit of callusing/iron body training. This means lots of taking punches and kicks from a partner, medicine ball drops to the torso, knuckle conditioning (glove-less heavybag work and knuckle pushups), shin conditioning (mainly on the heavybag), and dynamic tension drills.

Since I still have to worry about being kicked in the head, I'll be doing a good bit of neck training as well. I'll be throwing bridging and neck isometrics into every workout.

Mental Toughness Training -

For me, the foundation of any "mental toughness program" should be regular meditation since meditation significantly improves your ability to deal with both mental/emotional stress and physical stress.

For a fighter or martial artist standing meditation/zhan zhuang/ritsu-zen gives you the most "bang for your buck".

Not only will I continue doing zhan zhuang during my morning "wake up" routine but I'll be making sure to do the "Creating a Sense of Enemy" drill from the LKJ series as often as possible - like during all rest periods.

Regular visualization practice will be very useful. Simply spending time visualizing myself, in vivid detail, fighting at the tournament will be incredibly helpful. By the time I actually physically step on the mat I'll have done it in my head hundreds of times. Pretty powerful tool.

I'm also a big fan of "finishers" to improve mental toughness. One drill I'm particularly fond of is the "5 Minutes of Hell" drill.

"5 Minutes of Hell" is pretty simple:

1. Pick a fairly tough, full body drill - Burpees, thrusters, 8 Counts, Kettlebell/Dumbbell Snatch, Renegade row, Turkish Getup, etc...

2. Do as many reps for that drill as you can in 5 minutes.

See? Simple. But it's pretty tough since it happens at the end of your training session and you have to muster all your willpower to force through those last 5 minutes.

I have six drills I like use (those listed above). I just toss a regular six sided die to decide which drill I do for the day.

Let's See What Happens -

Like I said, this'll be my first knockdown tournament so I'm not 100% sure what to expect. But I'm gonna go in there with humility and give it my all.

Expect pictures and video after the event.

Train Hard,
Josh Skinner

1 comment:

  1. In karate training you have to learn all those things that you have to help to win at any karate event. Karate in Connecticut