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Establishing Your Own Training Patterns

Training is the preparation of a martial artist for the highest levels of performance. In order to reach those levels you need to develop and establish your own pattern(s) for training. I say your own because there is no “one-size-fits-all” formulaic approach that will work for everyone. How you do this is up to you. You may develop your own training regimen or choose to follow an established program developed by someone else, such as a professional martial arts teacher or coach. Some people like to go to classes (group or private) to receive knowledge and instruction from a teacher, whereas some people are what are known as “auto-didacts,” meaning they like to teach themselves rather than be spoon-fed information or knowledge in standard educational settings. Auto-didactic people prefer to learn on their own and become very adept at teaching themselves using a method that has come to be referred to in some circles as “hack schooling” -- using such tools as books and videos and dvds, or scanning the internet to learn and to find and contact people with knowledge specific to what they are doing or want to do.

Training patterns can also be developed around:

a) Your particular learning style -- The visual learner learns primarily by watching and observing -- The auditory learner responds to verbal instruction -- The kinesthetic learner learns by doing something over and over and getting the feel for it. Most people have a primary and secondary learning style so you can establish patterns that work with both of them.

b) Your physical and psychological natures -- When it comes to work, some people are sprinters, whereas other people are long-distance runners. The sprinter likes short but highly intense bursts of activity. The long-distances runner, on the other hand, likes to spread their work out periods that are long in time but lower in intensity.

You can establish training patterns for both skill conditioning and physical conditioning. Skill conditioning (technical work) is a neurological event that readies you to perform technical actions, or betters your performance at it. Physical conditioning (non-technical work) is developing and stimulating the body’s systems (strength, power, endurance, etc.) So for example, with regard to skill conditioning, when it comes to working on their striking skills, one person might choose to work their arms and legs on alternate days (Arms on Monday/Legs on Tuesday, etc.) whereas another individual might choose to work various elements of both everyday day they train. The same goes for non-technical work such as developing strength. Person A might work upper body one day and lower body the following day, whereas Person B might work all pushing actions one day and all pulling actions on the following day.

When it comes to developing pattern(s) for training pattern for yourself, experiment and research to discover what suits you and works best for you. Looking around and drawing from outside sources is fine. However, don’t arbitrarily follow someone else’s pattern or patterns regardless who they are or how proficient they may be at what they do. Bear in mind that there is a whole set of constructs involved for them that are different from you. In addition, maintain fluidity and be ready and willing to change a pattern of training if you find it fails to work or stops working for you.

Expertise never comes easily (nothing truly worthwhile does). As martial artists, there will never come a point for us when training will end; the path goes on forever. Sometimes the amount of work that we need to do to get where we want to be or the complexity of it can seem overwhelming, which in turn can cause us to procrastinate. As a result we end up spinning our wheels and doing nothing. If procrastination becomes a issue for you, there is a solution to get you moving. Ask yourself, ”How little can I tolerate doing right now? What’s the least I can do to get started?” Then do that, and the following day do the same thing, and keep doing it every day. If you do, in no time you will find yourself moving, and gradually doing more and more.

As I said at the beginning of this blog, there is no one set formulaic pattern for training that will fit or suit everyone. You need to take the time do find and develop your own. Finally, remember that in Jeet Kune Do, when it comes to developing and utilizing training methods, you are only limited by your own imagination and creativity.

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