Finding a guan: the place where we will train
One of the questions most often asked to us (by e-mail, [email protected]) is the one related to the choosing of the training area (the “guan”):
- How big should it be?
- Where can it be located and where not?
In general terms, we have already replied to these questions in the video Training area and external people [ Free video course ] but this time we want to go deeper making some more specific and useful example.
Always training in the same place is wrong
The first things to say are that:
- It is wrong to always train in the same place – As it is important to vary the exercises (read Same exercises, different execution), in the same way, sometimes, it is necessary to change the training scenario
- The best solution is the variation – There are no training areas good for everyone or every type of practice but each one can offer specific advantages and disadvantages to exploit and face
- A small area, one with a lot of obstacles, fragile objects (etc.) is not good for a beginner but could be the correct level of challenge for an advanced / expert practitioner
- If we are not conditioned and able to correctly manage the fallings (read Everything you should know about breakfalls), a too rigid surface could be very dangerous if we want to practice heavy throws (read also The 3 phases of a throw)
- A public environment is not recommended for training with weapons (especially the real ones, read also Learning the use of real weapons)
- To realistically simulate self-defense situations (read How to simulate realistic self-defense scenarios), after a certain level, the street becomes a must
- If we want to exceed the level of amateurs, even a gym can impose incredible limitations on the equipment (read for example All the training dummies), type of practice, time (etc.) we truly need
A note by Master Kongling – Let’s be clear: it is not a question of searching for dangers or forcing a continuous variety, often it is a matter of seizing the right opportunities. Once a stable point (where it is possible to carry out our normal sessions) has been identified, it is useful to insert a few variations on the theme (eg. weekly). Nothing more, nothing less.
What are the variables that influence the choice of training areas?
We have found that it is not at all necessary that the training area remains always the same; now, without going too much in the detail of the various practices, let’s see based on what we should choose it:
- Our level of preparation – Spatial intelligence, balance, precision, etc.; we must always take care of our safety; during training (unless a specific exercise requires it), we must not be forced to focus too much attention on the environment around us, it must simply go hand in hand with our ability to manage it instinctively
- Our (current) psychophysical conditions – Being excellent practitioners does not guarantee that we can always train at 100% of our abilities; let’s trust ourselves, if we have doubts, the best thing is to opt for the least dangerous choice
- The type of practice – Let’s opt for a place where the exercises and the tools we will implement will not cause any kind of problem to us, to the others and to the environment
- The useful spaces – While it is true that 90% of our Kung Fu exercises can be performed even in extremely restricted environments (eg. 1x2m) it is equally true that the same practices take on a totally different value in larger spaces (not better / worse but simply different and in combat we must be able to exploit both narrow and broader areas)
- The necessary spaces – 10% of our practices need forcibly a larger space (at least 5x5m); we are talking about things like forms, acrobatics, obstacle paths, etc.
- The necessary equipment – Although it may appear secondary, the place we choose must allow us to carry, prepare, preserve, cram and use the right equipment in a reasonable time and manner (start reading The basic equipment for training in 6DKF)
Some ideas for a basic training area (the one we will use most)
Everything we have said does not exclude the need to have 1-2 recurring training areas:
- Every day at our disposal (at the time we choose)
- Without excessive costs (better if free)
- Usable without being the target of disturbances
- Without fixed obstacles / dangers
- Not far from where we live / work (better if attached)
- Already basically set up for training (equipment, protections, etc.)
- Such as not to disturb third parties (eg. using music, making noise, etc.)
- Protected from the elements (at least covered)
- That even when we are tired and unmotivated, are immediately and easily ready for use
What we “probably” do not need is:
- A perfectly air-conditioned area
- A gym with futuristic equipment
- Places with special design features
- Areas cleaned 10 times a day
- All the possible environmental protections
A note by Master Kongling – The more we get used to workout away from useless comforts, the higher the quality of our martial growth will be.
Let’s compile a list of possible training areas and let’s analyze them according to these criteria: the place(s) that will pass the exam will be our basic guan.
A small list of suitable or adaptable places
A few ideas:
- A cellar
- A garage
- A living room
- A bedroom
- An attic
- A courtyard
- A non-traffic road
- A meadow in the countryside
- A closed restaurant
- A small personal gym
- A terrace
- An area rented by a gym
- An area rented by a school
- A corridor
- A public square
- A sports field
- A beach
- A large jetty
- A shed
- A warehouse
- A closed shop
- A closed club
- A small forest
- A large pedestrian gallery
- Under a bridge
- Next to a pool
A note by Master Kongling – Naturally, some of these places are hard choices and each of them has pro, cons, rules to respect and limits to address but making our guan a variable place (and getting organized in advance), we should always be able to have a suitable training area.
To laugh a little…
Be careful! The worst enemies of a good daily training are: neighbors, fathers, mothers, children, husbands, wives and relatives in general! They will always find original ways to disturb…
In-depth video courses
- Basic 6 Dragons Kung Fu Exercises – The most important exercises of 6 Dragons Kung Fu
- How to train without risks – A mini-guide to plan an effective and safe home workout
- 6 Dragons Kung Fu training sessions’ structure – The core principles of a perfect training session
Reply in the comments and share your experience:
- Where are you planning to train?
Author: Master KonglingFounder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.
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