We’ve all been in the position where we want to practice our martial art, but we don’t have a training partner to hand. Of course, practice makes perfect. So, how do you train a martial art when on you are on your own? Here is our advice in a two part article on ‘How to Train on Your Own’. The first article will briefly outline what you should practice in the gym for Boxing, Kickboxing, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, while the second in the series will focus on how to train Wing Chun out of class.
Why Should you Practice on Your Own?
Improvement comes from self practice and not necessarily time spent in a martial arts class or gym. There is a common misconception that the more classes you take the better you will become. Whether you take a class in Kickboxing or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu your improvement may not exponentially improve if you train every day in the gym. In general, martial arts classes are designed to give you the information required to learn that specific martial art. However, the reality is that the more you physically train a specific movement the better your muscle memory for that action, and therefore the more unconscious your self defence or combat behaviour becomes.
Combat sports such as Boxing, Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or Mixed Martial Arts are absent of forms or katas found in traditional martial arts. Therefore the option to fine tune technique in isolation differs when practising Kickboxing, or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. In these martial arts the fine tuning comes in application. Therefore, a range of martial arts specific training is required to develop muscle memory for combat or competition.
Practicing in the gym on your own (solo practice or drilling) may be better for you in the long term. In fact, we have often noticed drastic improvements in athletes that do self train at our gym. Of course, the first step of self practice is to find a suitable space and environment in which you can train. We strongly recommend that you train a martial arts or boxing gym and not at home. Apart from the obvious distractions, training at home is likely to soften your psychological mindset for combat or competition.
So what are the best solo exercises for each martial art?
In Kickboxing self (solo) training relies on a combination of shadow boxing, footwork drills, heavy bag and speed ball work. In this sense, you are developing the actions required for kickboxing or boxing as directly applied. So you should spend an equal amount of time on each of these areas. We suggest between 30 and 45mins on each kickboxing or boxing skill set in a single session. These sessions should be spread evenly over a week or a month. Alternatively, you could combine these kickboxing (or boxing) elements into an hour session. However, our advice is to focus specifically on one skill set for a period of time before moving on to the next.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu It is difficult to shadow box in the same manner as in kickboxing or boxing, although you can rehearse certain escapes from side control or footwork for passing the guard in solo practice. However, there is still a great deal of exercises that you can do without a training partner.
Solo drill training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu should focus on the key range of floor exercises that improve your mobility and core strength on the ground. Focus on bridging (the Upa), hip escapes, backwards, forwards, and sideways rolls. You should also practice your footwork for Judo throws, Wrestling, and Guard Passing.
The amount of time you devote to each skill set will be restricted by your strength and conditioning. However, this will improve with practice. Ideally, you should spend 20 minutes on the key floor exercises mentioned above. Slowly combining them in to a range of free movements that connect together. Footwork could be trained in the same gym session; however we would advice that you practice these skills on a different day for at least 20 minutes.
There is also a small range of equipment in our gym that may be useful. Grappling dummies, heavy bags (to use on the ground), and swiss balls are all excellent tools to help simulate movement on the ground. So you should spend as much time as possible on this equipment and if possible combine with either Bjj floor or footwork exercises.
Solo training is vital to improving your martial arts ability regardless of what martial art you may train. The rate of improvement far exceeds training in a class because you are focusing your body on a particular action. Hence, the more hours you put in to that action the better you will be compared to simply turning up to a class at your gym. What a gym class does is provide you with the information to take away to train on your own.
When selecting a martial arts gym to train make sure you find a place that will give you the skills to train on your own. Better yet, even provide you the space and the opportunity in the gym to self practice. That’s why we feel that you are better off training in a full time gym rather than a local club in a church hall because you’ll have the time to practice before or after the class. The London Wing Chun Academy not only provides a range of classes but plenty of opportunities to come in on your own to self practice. After all, that’s where you get the bulk of your improvement.
Now go train…
The London Wing Chun Academy is a martial arts and functional fitness gym based in North London. Open 7 days a week with gym and functional fitness equipment. Our gym provides group fitness and martial arts classes in Wing Chun, San Shou Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, WC4 Self Defence, Yoga, Functional Fitness, and non contact Fitness kick Boxing. Membership starts from £25 per month. Visit our gym today for a taster class. Get Started Now >>