Previously I have explained why running is not an appropriate method of training nor warming up for
martial athletes. With this post I explain how a training session should look like to be as specific
as possible to teaching and practicing Shisakuteki karate or other mixed martial arts.
A training session for Shisakuteki karate should focus on teaching and developing the technical skills
and tactical abilities related to fighting.
During these training sessions, nothing but techniques and tactics are to be developed and taught:
the taching of the scientific principles and philosophy associated with Shisakuteki karate do not belong
to these sessions, and neither do the development of strength and conditioning for fighting.
This is because every student has individual prior knowldge and physical capabilities, each student
deserves and requires individualized teaching and training. Both teaching and training can be given
during strength and conditioning training sessions, but these sessions are not discussed in this post.
A training session should be divided in the following parts:
- Main part
The ideal training session should last between 60 and 120 minutes. Novices should train closer to the
lower end of the range and advanced athletes should trainer closer to the upper end. The amount of time
dedicated to each part of the training session must be proportionate and appropriate for to the level
of the trainees.
Introduction (about 10 minutes)
During the introduction the training objective and structure is mentioned by the coach, students should
be encouraged to ask qustions regarding these topics. It is an important part of the training session
but often overlooked.
Warm-up (about 30 minutes)
The duration of the warm-up should reflect the conditioning of the trainee, a novice requires less time
to warm-up than an advanced athlete.
As explained previously, a general warm-up has the main
objective to raise body temperature, while a specific warm-up has the aim to loosen the joints that
will be used during the training session.
A general warm-up should be made of sport-specific movements such as technique drills, shadow boxing
at the mirror, shadow boxing with partners, sparring. These movements should be performed at moderate
intensity, and sparring should be particularly light - more resembling of shadow boxing - than actual
sparring. The duration of the general warm-up should be of about 10 minutes.
A specific warm-up should be made of dynamic stretching of the joints that are involved in the main
part of the training session, technique drills, shadow boxing, sparring. The movements should resemble
those that will be performed during the main part of the training session, and the intensity should be
higher compared to the general warm-up. The duration of the specific warm-up should be of about 20 minutes.
Main part (from 30 to 80 minutes)
The main part of a training session is dedicated to teaching and developing technical skills and tactical
abilities. These skills and abilities should be explained, demonstrated and then practiced. Novices require
a lot of time spent in explanations and demonstrations, while advanced trainees require more time practicing.
During this part, tools such as pads and heavy bags are used, as well as specialized training techniques
such as sparring with special rules. These are necessary to develop the required skills and abilities.
These techniques are required mostly by novices and intermediate trainees, while advanced trainees only
Cool-down (about 20 minutes)
This part of the training session should be up to 20 minutes long and should include low intensity exercises
and static stretching to improve flexibility, which is particularly important for fighters.
The cool-down after exercise is not as beneficial as it is traditionally thought to be, and it even may
affect negatively the performance of the athlete were he to perform further training sessions in the
same day (van Hooren & Peake, 2018).
Novices may need guidance on how to improve their flexibility and can benefit from supervision during
static stretching training, it is also unlikely that novices will participate in more than a single
training session in the same day. More advanced athletes may not need any cool-down strategy, and their
training sessions may lack the cool-down entirely.
More information on training structure and methods
Hard and soft sparring
The majority of sparring should be soft contact, which is identified by purposely slower strikes
with the objective to practice and learn without causing or suffering injures. Hard contact sparring,
which resembles actual fights more, should be limited not not completely eliminated as it also serves
different essential purposes.
Sparring hard has a much higher risk of injury, and any injury caused or received will compromise the
ability to continue practicing. Sparring light does not mean that the intensity should be low, it can
and should be high.