There are four phases that combine to create a training cycle when preparing for Beimo. These involve the physical and psychological preparation of the athlete, factors crucial to Beimo preparation.
Phase 1. Core Skills and Conditioning
The first phase is the Core Skills and Conditioning Phase which should last up to 16 weeks. This is the foundation period in which you are developing your aerobic conditioning in addition to acquiring new fighting skills or addressing any technical weaknesses in the application of your Wing Chun. This phase could include developing your footwork or boxing skills in addition to Chi Sao and Gwor Sao. It is important to note that during this phase your Chi Sao and Gwor Sao practice should be focused more on the practical aspects of sticking and striking when your hands are free (Lat Sao).
This is essentially a development and maintenance cycle in which physical conditioning is key. Regular, if not daily conditioning training is important, however these sessions should last between 20 and 60 minutes. Training longer does not necessarily provide any noticeable benefit to your overall training regime. However, we have found that scheduling physical training separate to skills training to be more beneficial. It is not advised to have extreme conditioning sessions unless you involve this aspect in a differing training session in the day.
Phase 2. Intensive Fight Camp
Once there is a contest date, then your intensive preparation phase begins. This involves physical and psychological fight preparation for the specific demands of your contest. It is essentially the fight preparation period that should last no more than 6 weeks. Often referred to as a ‘Fight Camp’ there is a much higher level of physical intensity that does not involve development of new skills. This is not the time to learn new skills rather develop and hone the ones that you already have. The intensity is measured by a greater degree of anaerobic conditioning training sessions combined with lots of sparring or San Da training.
Physical and psychological intensity is key. During this phase your workouts should be anaerobic lasting around 20 minutes. Functional fitness exercises trained in high intensity intervals are the focus at this stage. There should also be an enhanced degree of physical intensity during your sparring sessions in which you face a fresh training partner every 3 to 5 minutes. Of course, the nature of your contest would dictate how you train, whether with bare fist, boxing or mma gloves. However, if you are preparing for a bare fist contest then it is still advisable to also train with gloves especially closer to the date of your contest. Chi Sao and Gwor Sao at this stage of a fight camp have rare applicability because these exercises lack the degree of physical intensity required. However, heavy bag training combined with conditioning your hands on a Wing Chun wall bag is vital.
Phase 3. Pre-Fight Training
The Pre fight phase is the last phase of a fight camp and requires that you taper down the intensity of your training so your body can re absorb energy in preparation for your fight. In fact, this phase also allows you to prepare psychologically for the ensuring event. This pre fight phase requires that you do not engage in sparring one week before your Beimo contest. Instead, you should focus on shadow sparring and visualisation fight training in addition to footwork. Perhaps take the opportunity to do some light Chi Sao focusing more on the concepts of sticking and hitting when the hands are free. However, pad work and live movement drills are more productive during this phase.
Phase 4. Active Recovery
The final phase in the cycle has little to do with preparation for Beimo, rather recovering from the actual contest. After the event it is important to take an active rest from conditioning and high intensity training for up to two weeks. Instead, the focus at this stage is on your forms and training on the Wooden Dummy. Of course, you could involve some more elaborate Chi Sao practice or simplistic training, but almost certainly at this stage it is important to revisit your basic Wing Chun skill sets to ensure that they have not been diluted by the pre fight phase.
Once you have completed the post contest phase, then you return to the original Core Skills and Conditioning phase and then the cycle repeats itself. However, each time the cycle becomes more refined as you physically and psychologically get used to the process of fight preparation. Remember training scientifically means having a methodology that can be controlled and replicated.
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