4 secrets for perfect martial training (intermediate level)

4 simple secrets to design a high-quality training plan (intermediate level)

As 6 Dragons Kung Fu’s practitioners, we must learn to plan our training to avoid the classical stagnation of the skills after the initial leap.

Note – This article has been asked by one of our Core Course practitioners on Patreon (see how to attend our home study classes here Learn Kung Fu online: a beginner-to-expert course).

It is important that the quality of the martial practice constantly continue to improve and to do this: let’s see these 4 extremely useful tips.

1. Be always functional to your goals

It doesn’t matter if we practice for health, sports competitions or self-defense: everything we do must look toward the long-term final results we are working for (read also A relentless pursuit).

For example, if we want to learn to fight:

  • Each gesture must be connected to fighting movements
  • Each possible activity must be imagined related to a reactive opponent
  • Each action we do must be optimized in terms of combat speed, power, effectiveness and economy of effort
  • Each exercise must be balanced on the 2 sides of our body but as little as possible in a linearly symmetrical or too repetitive way

A note by Master Kongling – Regarding the last point: there is nothing less intelligent in the study of combat to educate our muscle memory to be consequential (and therefore predictable, read Same exercises, different execution).

2. Slightly increase the difficulty of execution periodically

In relation to our exercises, not every day we are in the right conditions to increase variables like:

But on a monthly (or weekly) planning, we have to make even small steps forward because, even if it is sad to say: to try to remain where we are means, automatically, to decrease.

A note by Master Kongling – We have to learn to know our limits to always be ready to drive them away. On one side we do not have to exaggerate but on the other: we must understand that there is nothing more nonsense than train below our real possibilities.

3. Try to work as much as possible on very high and very low speeds of execution

In terms of speed and pace of execution, we always have to try to (rationally) avoid the intermediate levels.

The reason is that:

  • Low speed allows us to build precision, understanding, etc. but we will never get used to fight at this pace
  • High speed allows us to build combat capability, resistance, etc. and if we get used to it, it will become our automatic fighting pace
  • Intermediate speed ha certainly its fitness advantages but is a bad attitude for combat

A note by Master Kongling – Tactics, timing, pace, speed, mobility (etc.) are extremely wide topics but remaining on a general plan we could say that (in most cases): it is better to fight at a slow pace being able to explode rather than uselessly maintain the same middling gear. Why? Because low speed allows to economize energies, high speed allows to annihilate the opponent’s action / reaction, intermediate speed is a middle step that cannot do either task.

A few example of application of what we are saying:

  • If we are weak, let’s reduce the activities that require speed and timing; depending on the cases we can focus on aspects like precision, strength, endurance (etc.); it is not about performing easy, non-demanding or non-strenuous practices, we have to simply stay away from everything related to explosiveness and reactivity (there is nothing worse than conditioning our body to frustration, slowness, awkward movement, etc.)
  • If we are exploding of energies let’s do not waste the occasion to bring our body to the next level of speed and reactivity (and to condition it to the idea that there is only one way to give the maximum performance); let’s limit slow activities and let’s put the accent on instinctive high-speed tasks

A note by Master Kongling – Naturally this does not mean to forget what our limits are, what our level is, the recovery periods (etc.): it is simply a direction, something to aim at (eg. there are exercises that must be forcibly executed at a precise speed).

4. Always customize your workouts

To train in a group is useful but this does not mean to forcibly level our skills and potential with the one of the training partners that (more or less fortuitously) we may have found.

Let’s be clear, sometimes it is absolutely positive to train at a different level but to do it constantly, it is simply an error (it means leaving our martial growth to chance):

  • If our training partners are too far ahead of us, we will easily abandon the practice or at least risk subjecting ourselves to deleterious and counterproductive efforts
  • On the other side (the worst one), if we train at a level too low (in relation to the one we could sustain), we are simply wasting our martial life (perhaps there is a potential in us that not even we imagine and we are wasting it, what could be more frustrating?)

A note by Master Kongling – I’ve been there countless times. Do not think that I do not understand that it is not easy, within a training group, to set different parameters without being targeted by catechized companions and / or by the obtuse instructor on duty (he has neither desire nor time to personalize the lesson but he feels dispossessed if you try to do it yourself, read Recognize a good / bad master: 5 characteristics). What is the solution? It is actually very simple: we have to learn to flank a periodic group training to a daily individual one. This way you can really proceed at your speed and start achieving real results (so it was for me, so it is for anyone who wants to seriously study martial arts). The best teachers are those who (seeing that you are capable of it) urge you to do more, never those who try to slow you down (unfortunately these are very difficult people to identify).

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Reply in the comments and share your experience:

  • Have you ever faced the classical stagnation of skills’ improvement?

Author: Master Kongling

Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.

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