Andree asked me to write a blog on physical conditioning, since this is a subject near and dear to me.

First, I would like to emphasize, that as martial artists interested in being the best we can be in terms of our basics, techniques, fighting, and mental toughness, while encouraging our students and peer group to be the best that they can be, we must be physically strong ourselves.

When it comes to basic self-defense, our survival skills are enhanced when we are well conditioned.According to research, aerobic conditioning occurs when our heart and lung provides the oxygen needed to meet the demands of our muscles. It is less intense and you can go for a longer period of time in this state before becoming fatigued.  Anaerobic conditioning is broken down into two types of systems, and gets a bit complex. The best way to understand this is that it is all out effort, lasting from seconds to about 2 minutes. Examples of aerobic exercise are jogging, walking, marathon running, and more leisure activity. Examples of anaerobic are sprints, interval training, heavy weight lifting, or anything that involves short bursts and intensity.  Anaerobic conditioning is what you need if you are running away from potential danger.

There are benefits to both types of conditioning, however, scientific literature sites that anaerobic builds more muscle, and improves overall endurance and recovery following an intense activity, than does aerobic.

Most of my training contains some form of anaerobic work.  Recently, my husband and I have been going to the track a couple of evenings per week.  I don’t run a long distance, and instead, run a mile at an uncomfortable speed, so that I am out of breath at the end of the run.  Afterward, I sprint the straights and jog or walk the curves.  I believe that my speed has improved, as has my endurance. I am able to recover better following the sprints and have added more sprints to my routine.  The next step would be to time the sprints and see if I am getting faster.

I like what CrossFit has done in educating the general public about the importance of constantly varying our workouts and adding high intensity and functional movements.  Kenpo, is based on logic, and it seems like CrossFit is also based on logic. There is a lot of information out there about training, and CrossFit is a good place to learn more.

I attempt to make my training varied and interesting. I don’t do heavy weight lifting, but I do work on strength training via pull-ups, push-ups, squats, dumbbell and medicine ball work. As a result, I feel I am stronger and can actually do a few pull-ups on my own. Some years ago I couldn’t even do one without assistance. I have very long arms, which require me to travel a longer distance for a simple pull-up, and it was a challenge for me. I am also a member of the over 50 group, but will not let that be my excuse for slowing down. If I ever reach for that card, I hope that friends will call me on it.  Let not your age nor physical limitations prevent you from trying new challenges. As John Wooden said, “don’t let what you cannot do get in the way of what you can do”.

I have a challenge board at the studio for our kids, in an attempt to add some fun to training.  An example of a challenge is, “complete as many rounds as you can in 2 minutes of 5 push-ups, 5 squats, 5 sit-ups”.  Each child has a record book and keeps track of their progress. Try this particular challenge for yourself.  It’s exhausting. When a child breaks a record, they get something from the incentive box.  The difficulty comes in keeping up with what kids like these days.  Another recent challenge was to complete as many burpees as possible in 30 seconds. This was met with much enthusiasm!

If anyone has a particular workout that they love, please let me know.  I am constantly on the web looking for new routines, education, and ideas. Let’s make this blog interactive and encourage one another in this aspect of our training.

Have fun!!  Thank you for your time in reading this long blog.