T’is that time of year again, SPRING! No more must we train indoors because of snow, sleet, rain, slush and mud from the melting ice. It is time to get outdoors to enjoy some field training. Too often do I meet folks that are too tied up with the idea of training in a studio or dojo. Some of the best training for the practitioner of the fighting arts is in the field, in real world condition. The dojo is too “sanitized” as I like to call it. Too padded and protected. Granted the dojo is a great place to learn the basics and get a grasp for your Art of choice, but at some point you must put what you’ve learnt in the dojo to practice in the real world. That is of course why most of us join a dojo or studio: We usually want to learn something that will have practical application value when it comes time.
Below is a list of a few ideas that you may want to mix into your repertoire to make things a little more interesting or maybe just make the day a little different from every other day.
1. Cross train with someone from another art. It’s always good to have interactions with different arts as you will be exposed to new ideas and will learn stylistic differences so you can anticipate them in the ring or in the street.
2. Go for a run in the woods. Parks and country roads have many variations in the roads and changing terrain to help fine tune that eye-hand-foot coordination. Running through the woods gives you the opportunity to jump over streams, logs, stones, to test your balance, to duck a branch and just make it more interesting. Be careful of snakes, buggies and other things that may be harmful to your health.
3. Mimic boot camp. Create your own boot camp drills and run them. Some Arts already have similar ideas already incorporated. If boot camp type drills are already part of the system, try putting them to use in the field.
4. Run an obstacle course. Some parks or schools have obstacle courses that you might be able to access and run. If one doesn’t exist, maybe you can build one.
5. Don’t be close-minded to only using weights, like at the gym. There are a multitude of things that you can lift to help your musculature. Find pieces of metal, logs, stones, tires, beer kegs, pretty much anything that will give you some resistance. Before the modern gym, you would find something heavy and lift it. Make sure that you use good posture and lifting habits, heavy things can cause injuries if you are not careful.
6. If you are blessed with a beach near by, sand can give lots of resistance when trying to run in it.
7. Run up some hills. This is a no brainer.
8. Check out organized hard-core runs like “Spartan Race”. Talk to folks who have done these type of races; they may have some good training suggestions.
9. Chop wood or do other hard activities.
10. Overall, be creative! Don’t let rain, night, morning, or your own mind stop you. If you feel lazy, force yourself to go work out. The workout will make you feel better and wake you up. That said, make sure you get enough rest in between as the body needs time to heal between hard training bouts.
*** These are only ideas. It is up to the practitioner to decide whether to use them or not, and to make sure that he/she is healthy enough to try them out***