Martial Arts Training for Stability
A mountain, snowcapped, reaching for the heavens but rooted down to Earth all the same. That is the image I visualize as the pinnacle of martial arts stability. This level of stability is something that marks mastery of the power in your craft. To be a martial artist, stability training is critical; to be a warrior, stability training is indispensable. Stability means being in a position of firmness; being able to combine that stability with mobility requires as much recovery as it does intensity.
Intensity will be the most important factor in overall stability. Stability means “the strength to stand or endure”. You must have strength and endurance to have true stability, and the best way to obtain both is through intensity, like an ore refined under extreme heat. When it comes to endurance, mental and physical endurance are key. The greatest benefits of long distance running are in the mental benefits in endurance you’ll get from driving your body to the brink of its functionality. Nevertheless, I feel like interval cardio training is more advantageous for consistent cardio training as a martial artist.
Interval Training for Martial Arts
Interval cardio training allows you to train your spurts of intensity while increasing your recovery times overall. In a fight, there are often periods of ferocious exchanges followed by lulls to observe the opponent or recover; by training those intervals, you can get your heartbeat back near resting in a much quicker time than were you to solely train long distance. For instance, set your week up so that you perform 20-30 second sprints (it’ll be better to practice sprinting for time instead of sprinting for distance) throughout the week in sets, then perform a longer distance run toward the end of the week to test overall physical and mental endurance.
Remember that training your breathing is just as, if not more important for training your physical and mental endurance as cardio, so adopt a powerful breathing component into your training to help your stability and health.
You Must Train for Strength
Alas, strength seems to be a given to have when it comes to martial arts. People can say that a martial artist does not need strength, just technique, and they’d be enabling the weakness of people in the pursuit of a war art by doing so. Strength training is critical to being a martial artist; karatekas and the Shaolin have had their own weight training implements for centuries, so whoever promoted the idea that martial artists should not weight train was jaded. However, traditional martial arts have just as many methods to build strength using your bodyweight, so a lack of weight shouldn’t be an excuse.
There are hordes of thoughts about the best method of strength training; what I will say is that your regimen should include something that builds your body from the inside out. For me, isometric exercises build strength from the tendons, ligaments, and nerves out to the muscles. I do training that isolates individual muscles for maximal muscle fatigue, and training that involves large muscle groups for fatigue of the central nervous system. As long as your training does not neglect internal principles of strength (like bodybuilding training that focuses solely on muscle without long-term development of the tendons), it can be a part of what gives you stability. Overall, intensity is key, so finding ways to progressively increase your intensity will progressively increase your stability. Coupled with mobility training that can prevent your powerful tendons from being overly rigid, your martial arts can reach an advanced level comparable to the legends of old.