Monday, 24 January 2011

Black belt training

This post is in response to Sue's question about my preparation for Shorinji Kempo shodan grading. Check out her full blog 'Countdown to Shodan', here.

I wanted to outline my approach to my impending dan grade exam. The way I'm looking at it I need to follow two broad aspects of training which then break down into more categories.

The main aspects for focusing my preparation are:
- body
- mind

Seems a bit noddy doesn't it but I then break this down further:

* Physical fitness: am I fit enough in key areas of stamina, aerobic capacity and strength.
* Technique fitness: I define this as being fit enough to execute the techniques themselves well enough without flaking out.

I think these two are subtly different. I want to work on general fitness by running (especially fartlek to exploit explosive energy) and light weights / stretching for general toning. Technique fitness will be the ability to execute techniques over and over again and I will be practicing this in this manner.

Of course doing so also helps me remember my techniques which brings me on to the next section of 'Mind':

* memorize techniques (repetitive training)
* train on memory recall
* examine in great detail techniques I haven't done for a while: which stance is it? which pin is used?
* Breathe! More meditation and deep breathing to help my blood oxygenate and yoga for relaxation and flexibility.

Shorinji kempo is very different from Tang Soo Do in that rather than learn mostly kata the emphasis is on learning lots of paired techniques which means (for me) in depth learning and memorizing of details....


Sue C said...

Sounds like a good plan! I think that maybe I should give more attention to the preparation of my mind too - I'll have to think about that one. Thanks for the link :-)

Littlefair said...

It's *all* in the mind...isn't it?

Did you get the comment I made on your blog (the above article but as a comment)?

Sue C said...

No! I've checked both my blogs - can't find any comments from you, something must have gone wrong when you posted it!

Littlefair said...

Boo! get the credit in the article here :-)

Preparation going well?

Sue C said...

Yeah it's going okay - it's just finding the time! You?

Littlefair said...


SenseiMattKlein said...

Your plan looks very well organized, Littlefair. What helped me a lot during my training for black belt were: wind sprints to develop anaerobic/lung capacity, frog jumps for explosiveness, doing the kata at high speed and someone to yell out the techniques super fast, giving me almost no time to think. It worked for me.

Littlefair said...

Thanks Matt, good points!

Forrest E. Morgan makes a similar point about physical training for martial arts. Like you he advocates explosiveness and dynamic runs rather than long distance...

Only 6 more weeks!