Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Solo Training Regimens

While teaching at the Hung Sing Martial Arts Association I sometimes talk to students individually about their feelings in regards to their training progress. While happy with the class and instruction they receive often student’s comment that they don’t feel they are progressing fast enough. A simple solution to the problem is usually found when looking at both the composition and frequency of their training program. These students usually only attend a 1 hour class 1-2x per week. They also do no supplementary training outside of these class times. Training in Kung Fu is different form a typical western style weight training regimen. While strength training, it is essential to have rest days between workouts and many programs advocate changing workouts frequently to “confuse” the muscle and promote continued gains. In training Choy Lay Fut the main concern is skill acquisition. This is done through daily training of the same movements in order to build familiarity with the movement. Learning Choy Lay Fut is similar to learning to drive a car. At first you may need to think about every action you take but though many hours of countless repetition of the same actions a season driver acts instinctively to whatever situation they may find themselves in. It’s this kind of familiarity we seek to gain through daily training.

Part of a video record of the training at the Hung Sing Martial Arts Association

Year round training with no rest, even during the hottest days of summer and coldest days of winter, hard training and perseverance are the way to learn real kung fu
The key to gaining progress in the practice of Choy Lay Fut is a consistent and well thought out approach to training. With good planning and even the busiest person can make steady gains in their training and learn the entire curriculum we teach. The 1st step is personal training regimen that can be practiced at home on the days you can’t attend your regular class. The school I’ve trained at for over 10 years, The Ng Family Chinese Martial Arts Association, according to Google maps is 58.4 miles from my home. This has meant that through the years I have only been able to attend 1 class a week on average. Yet despite this distance and low attendance I have been able to become one of the schools top instructors and have kept pace with my training brothers. The way I was able to do this lies in my approach to training. The one day a week I am able to attend class I focus not so much on “getting a workout” as I do learning and absorbing new information. That information I acquired is then trained throughout the week in my own personal daily training regimen.
Beginner’s regimen
When my students express concern that they aren’t making progress I always ask them if they train at home. Usually the answer will be to the effect of “I don’t know what to practice”. Each student has different weak points that need work or different goals. With that in mind realize that no 2 student’s regimen should be the same, also over time a student’s needs change with the progress they make in their training. That said, a good guideline for what you need to practice in our system is by following your place in the curriculum and designing your training regimen based on that place and you personal needs.
Below is a sample base program that can be followed by a new student who is a 1st level yellow sash
Warm up
1.     Joint rotations from head to toe
2.     One Circuit of jumping jacks, pushups, sit ups and squats (number depends on personal best)
3.     Stances 1 min each
Technique Training
1.     10 Elements- 10x each
2.     5 kicks- 10x each
3.     Ng Lun Ma 3x each
Cool Down
1.     Stretching routine
To be followed daily
Following this basic base routine should take roughly 25 minutes and will cover all the basic needs of a student at this level. As a student’s needs change techniques can be added or exercises changed to reflect the current needs of the student.
Current Training Regimen
Below is my current daily training regimen. This regimen is an example of what a workout regimen will look like at the advanced stages of our curriculum. One thing to take note of, though i have been training in this system for more than 10 years, the fundamentals of this system are practiced 2x per day. This is done to underscore the importance of these basic movements in everything else done in this system. No practitioner of Choy Lay Fut no matter how seasoned is above training the fundamentals
Morning Training
Warm up
1.     Cycling 30 min
2.     Joint rotation
Technique Training
1.     10 elements 10x each, for time
2.     5 kicks 10x each, for time
3.     Ng Lun Ma (original long form)
4.     Ng Lun Choi (original long form)
Cool Down
1.     Stance training 1 min each
2.     Stretch routine
Afternoon Training
Warm up
1.     Joint rotation
2.     Jumping jacks
Technique Training
1.     10 elements 10x each with weight
2.     5 kicks 10x each high variations
Wall Bag/ Jong work
1.     Horse stance punch/ Chuen kiu  10x each
2.     Arrow stance punch/ chuen chop 10x each
3.     High low punch/ CLF chut sing 10 x each
4.     Yerng/yum chop combo(on heavy bag)/ Gwa Sau combo (arrow to arrow) 10x each
5.     Bein choi/ pak choi 10x each
Asterisk Footwork Training
1.     Replacement step 10x each direction
2.     Sliding step 10x each direction
Forms Training
Each empty hand form is paired with a weapon from(except #1 which is 3 empty hand forms) and done with no rest. There is a 30 second rest between pairs
1.     Ng Lun Ma- Ng Lun Choi- Siu Ching Kuen
2.     Siu moi fah kuen- ng long bat gwa gwun
3.     Lohan kuen- moi fah dan dao
4.     Siu kau da kuen- moi fah cheung
5.     Lin wan kuen- serng sap jai
6.     Dai kau da kuen- wu dip serng do
7.     Che sin kuen- hung jia pang
8.     Fut jerng- dai dao
9.     Gum pau ping jang kuen- moi fah serng dao
When a performance is coming up I focus this portion of training on 1 form and break it into sections. I train each section 10x then practice the entire form 3x. This is done 2 weeks prior to the performance
Strength training
Forearm routine
1.     Upside down sit ups- 3 sets of 10
2.     Wrist curl- 3 sets of 10
3.     Reverse wrist curl- 3 sets of 10
4.     Reverse curl- 3 sets of 10
5.     Leverage bar- 3 sets of 10
6.     Leverage bar twist- 3 sets of 10
7.     Wrist roller- 3 windings
General Developments Routine
1.     Upside down sit up- 3 sets of 10
2.     Clean and press- 2 sets of 10
3.     Curl- 2 sets of 10
4.     Overhead press- 2 sets of 10
5.     Upright row- 2 sets of 10
6.     Squat- 2 sets of 15
7.     Pull up- 2 sets of 10
8.     Bench press- 2 sets of 10
9.     Hanging row- 2 sets of 10
 Though this program seems like a lot of volume the morning session takes roughly an hour and the afternoon session roughly takes 1 hr 45min to 2hrs. In addition to this program which I follow Monday through Thursday Teach my students a minimum of 2 hrs per day during which I drill and spar with them. Friday is my day of rest, Saturdays I train at NFMA and Sunday I train students for 3 hours.

The Sifu can only lead you to the door, you must enter it yourself

As a martial artist it is important that you assess your goals and take the proper steps to achieve them. With proper planning your can take advantage of whatever time you have available to you and make the most out of it.



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