Do you want to Fight, then here’s what you need to do. ‘Train hard fight easy’ Well, that’s an old saying but I never believe or say a fight was easy because the fight is the end result of all the weeks and in some cases even months or years of hard work and sacrifice. It’s important not to forget the hard work – blood, sweat and in some cases tears that helped achieve you the victory! But remember, also be smart about your training, what works for you, what doesn’t, rest, diet, knowledge all go towards the honing of a great athlete (yes fighters need to think of themselves as athletes). It’s not just hard graft, guts, determination and selflessness, although without these you’re not going to go far either!
For any martial artists or fighter regardless of the art form, it is important in each evolution of training to know what you are doing, and why. You should change your training routine to match the specific challenge that lies ahead.
Cardio is the basic foundation of everything you do in a fight. If you have no or poor cardiovascular capacity, you can’t fight or for that matter be able to train properly either. Bottom line is the more hours you spend on your preparation for example; techniques, cardio, sparring and conditioning the better your fight will go. So, you will need cardio to carry you through your training sessions. The better your cardio, the more you will be able to train in a day. The more you train, the better you will be. Most knock-outs or stoppages, believe it or not, come from a lack of cardio and poor fitness. That is why you rarely see knockouts in the early part of a fight (unless it is a clean shot). When a fighter is fresh and has great fitness, he/she can withstand a tremendous amount of blows.
Without cardio a fighter also can’t defend himself. When you can’t breathe, it is hard to move out of the way of a kick or punch. Maybe you see it coming, but you are just too tired to do anything about it. ‘Fail to prepare, prepare to Fail’
There are many ingredients needed to make a fighter, here’s a few more parts required to ‘Fight’
Many students believe they are training for a fight when they practice kicking or punching a bag. But kicking and punching are only two of the many aspects of fighting which have to be trained.
The focus pads is an excellent training method, because it gives the instructor an opportunity to watch every single technique which is thrown and gives the coach the opportunity to improve the fighter.
Shadow boxing is where the student goes through the fight in his head, attacking and defending against his imagined adversary. Shadow boxing involves movement, footwork, combinations, and creativity. Do shadow boxing as part of a warm up to help develop these, particularly creativity!
Sparring is one of the least used yet most trainers believe is the key to success and the most important providing the above is fulfilled. The Sparring is sometimes the most abused training of the training methods. Many gyms have Friday night fights, or sparring, just once a week. Most students tend to think sparring is a mini fight, which will have a winner and a looser. This is completely wrong. Sparring is a chance for you to practice your combinations on a live opponent, without worrying about getting hurt. There should be no injuries in sparring. And there should be two winners. Always try to spar with people better than you. Spar easy. Don’t injure your opponent. Spar cleanly and have respect and you will both benefit.
Fighting has so many aspects. Fight technique, timing, rhythm, movement, strategy and ring technique must be taught and practiced. Nothing should be left to chance.
Training in Brief
Cardio: It is nearly impossible to lose a fight if you have better cardio than your opponent. For a three-round fight, you should train to do five to six hard rounds.
Combinations: throwing isolated punches or kicks will not win a fight. You must practice throwing a series of kicks and punches together, in disciplined combinations.
Bag Work: The heavy bag is good for building strength and power.
Shadow boxing: The student goes through the fight in his head, attacking and defending against his imagined adversary.
Sparring: is not a fight. And there should be no winner or loser. Sparring is an opportunity to practice more difficult and complicated manoeuvres on a real person, without having to worry about getting injured.
Fight technique: Timing, rhythm, movement, strategy and ring technique must be taught and practiced. We all plan our holidays to where ever in detail. Plan your preparation and fight the same way. The only surprise should be when you win in the first round, instead of in the third.
‘Train hard and smart, fight easy’ Is and adaptation of the old saying, so think about it, practice it, train appropriately for it and you may just achieve what you want.
The mental and the state-of-mind of a fighter, is just as important as the physical – Body and Mind must be one. What is meant by this is to be prepared without distractions. Remember you will have run through drills thousands of times, this leads to muscle memory, it becomes an automatic reaction or movement. When this happens you can think more freely in a fight, your reactive nature becomes faster, but without fitness you will have to think harder, work harder and you’ll move slower, giving your opponent an advantage.
Sample workout for a three-round fight – 3- to 5-mile run – 3 to 4 times a week, alternative days from classes – Sprints to help explosive speed – 4 by laps of the gym with 45 seconds rest or 10 x 100 meter sprints, your jog back is your rest repeat 10 times. – 2 nights training at your normal class – 1 night in sparring class – 45 minute of lightweights but fast or floor conditioning once or twice a week – on a day you are not kickboxing training
Typical session Warm-up 3×2 minutes of shadow boxing, 30 second rest 6 minutes skipping rope, no rest Working to improving your technique, syllabus work with class 4 rounds of pads (two of just hands, two of hands and feet together) Some basic technique 2 minutes conditioning full speed various exercise Warm-down
Whilst the above sessions are a suggestion, your training should change through a season or competition routine. You have to vary it to challenge yourself both physically and mentally. Think about why you move the way you do, identify your weaknesses and work to improve them. Cardio is the base line, but doing a 30 min jog does not cut it. Repeating fast movements with short rest periods will help improve these base line cardio abilities, so train specifically. Also not, sprints and runs are done outside of class time. Commit, go out Strong and WIN!
Finally, Listen to your body it will tell you when to slow-up if fatigue starts to creep in or if injury presents itself get the right advice and rest. Although it is a fight you are preparing for, there’s No gain without some pain in the fight game!
This article has been written by adapting several articles and combining them with my own thoughts on training for sports, and Kickboxing, Jase.