Daily Workouts

One of the more scary moments as a teacher is the one where you realize your students will more frequently imitate you, than perform the way you teach them to. I’m full of bad habits, quirks from injuries and a malformed body that result in me doing odd things that shouldn’t work but sometimes do. Mostly the athletes at Valkyrie WMAA have their own styles, and perform the skills they are supposed to perform, but part of being a school is the subtle formation of a school style. A school style transcends technique and is a thing that is formed organically from the athletes competing amongst themselves. I see hints of my bad habits showing up in the school style and it bothers me. I have to clean my style up. If I admit…confess…that I am an influence on the athletes, then I have to be the best role model…

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Iron and Speed

The Valkyrie workout took a long time to develop, with a lot of stumbles on the way. Until I had a recent discussion with someone online about the relative value of bodyweight training vs weight training for martial arts, I’d sort of forgotten how I got to where I am in my fitness thinking. Thinking back on it, it all kind of flooded back to me. The books, the notes, the endless plotting and charting, trying to wrap my head around sport science concepts that were far deeper than I ever expected. Bodybuilding was the only form of weight training when I was in my teens. As martial artists, we tried to avoid weigh training, because, as everyone knew, weights just made you stiff and slow. And yet…I discovered I had an affinity for them. There was something atavistic in the appeal. Nothing complex, just move a heavy weight up…

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Fit School

Let’s suppose for a minute that you run a study group for WMA…Western Martial Arts. And by the way, I’d don’t follow the weird convention of splitting WMA into those with a sport focus, HEMA a historical focus. I use WMA because it’s shorter and sounds catchier to me. I’ve been told this has been confusing some people, but bluntly…that’s what you get for relying on labels to do the thinking for you. Moving on. You run or are part of a study group that doesn’t work out, or you are a teacher at a school that doesn’t want to waste valuable class time on exercise, so you only do technical training. For whatever reason you’ve decided that you would like to start an exercise program. Only now that you’ve decided, you aren’t really sure how to do so. Your initial problems are time…you still only have so much time…

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Building a Workout Plan

It’s Thursday morning, which means I have a little over ten hours until I’m back in class. I’m already getting excited. It’s hard to sit down and write, because I want to run around and shadow box. I want to hit my L-sits. I want to move. I don’t want to wait til tonight for class. It doesn’t seem fair that I have to wait…I’m bursting with energy now. A good workout program manages your energy levels, and keeps you excited for more work all the time. It also keeps you steadily improving. It doesn’t make any sense, though. If you don’t understand the science behind it, it can feel kind of weak. It’s not the workout you think you should be doing, and it’s not as challenging as you feel it should be. We want the montage. We want an incredible few weeks of mind-bending effort that magically transforms…

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Sticks and Stony Hands

My hands seem to be more callous that anything else. I suppose it’s a side effect of so much weapons work, and all the movement work. My hands are on the ground a lot. It’s inevitable that the body will change and adapt to the circumstances I choose to put it in. We’ve been doing a lot of cane work lately, derived from the modern French sport cane fighting. My chest really feels the work. Adaption hurts. Working on such an athletic style, you’d think my legs would hurt the most, as low strikes are done with a drop of the body and bounce back up. The correct mechanics make that a fairly smooth action, once you’ve put in a little practice. It’s a bit odd at first. You get used to it. The forehand strike should be the easiest part. I’ve had a lifetime of striking arts, after all.…

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