Monday, September 7, 2009

Hajime no Ippo- Part IV

Three Months to Counter

Ippo is training like a madman for his sparring rematch with Miyata. He only has three months to gain the skills necessary to match a fighter train since he was child. Kamogawa has a plan to deal with Miyata's counter: "Irritation Tactic." The plan is to move in circles around Miyata in order to eliminate the use of the counter entirely (because the counter uses the force of the opponent's power against him). Taking away your opponent's greatest weapon through your own movements or techniques is a very smart way to fight... but Ippo's not the smartest guy. More on this in a moment.

While buying boxing shoes (read: "getting swindled"), Ippo runs into Miyata, who helps him out a little by saving Ippo from buying the most expensive pair of shoes the store owner had, instead suggesting he buy a pair of shoes made for inboxers (at a much lower price, no less!). In return, Ippo offers Miyata a can of juice, which the other fighter reluctantly takes.

It is important to buy the proper equipment for training and competition. Do not just assume that because something is expensive that it is automatically the best. Read reviews, talk to people in your gym or dojo, and ask plenty of questions if you are buying from a local dealer. The quality and usefulness of your training and competition equipment can mean the difference between winning and losing, so just keep that in mind.

Ippo bombards Miyata with a torrent of questions about boxing, before settling on Miyata's father as a topic of conversation. Miyata's father was a very good technical boxer: fast and precise, but his jaw and spirit were shattered in an OPBF title match by a "lucky punch." Miyata promises that he is going to prove that his father's boxing is not wrong and Ippo makes his own decision...

In the next training session with Coach Kamogawa, Ippo tells the Coach that he wants to fight Miyata's counter head-on, which fits in with his love of fighting spirit and courage. You can almost see the joyous masochism in his eyes as he tells Ippo of the impending training schedule. Kamogawa tells Ippo he needs to increase his dashing speed in order to get close enough to Miyata to cut the power of his counter in half, by intercepting it before it is fully extended. The exercises' explanations are listed below the workout. Here's the workout:

(Please note: The exercises are not listed in the same order shown in the anime, but in an order best suited for training.)

Ippo Prepares for Miyata

  • Push-ups- 25 Reps
  • Sit-ups- 25 Reps
  • Hindu Squats- 25 Reps
--3 Rounds, then
  • Neck Bridging- 3 Minutes (Keep the clock running if you have to rest)
  • Headstand- 15 Reps Side to Side, 15 Reps Front to Back (Use hands for support/balance)
  • Roadwork with Sprints- 3 Miles with 5 Sets of Sprints throughout
  • Hill Sprints- 5 Sets (The steeper the hill, the less distance required. Use own judgement.)
  • Pulling Big Tires- 3 x 2 Minute Rounds (1 Minute Rest)
  • Jump Rope- 3 x 3 Minute Rounds (1 Minute Rest)
Choose one of the following:
  • Mitt Hitting- 3 x 3 Minute Rounds (1 Minute Rest)
  • Bag Work- 3 x 3 Minute Rounds (1 Minute Rest)
  • Shadowboxing- 3 x 3 Minute Rounds (1 Minute Rest)

Explanations:

  • Push-ups and Sit-ups we've covered so far, but not Hindu Squats.
  • The Hindu Squat (or baithak) is an exercise utilized by Indian Wrestler's for conditioning purposes. It has made it's way to Japan and is used by many athletes. The Hindu Squat is performed by placing your feet at just about shoulder width, toes facing forward. The bend is from the knees and, as you go down, your back should remain as straight as possible, you will come up onto your toes and, after going all the way down, exploding back up. This exercise is best done at a fairly quick pace. You may do it with your hands behind your head, but it is easier to get a rhythm down if you swing your arms during the movement. As you begin, your arms will be fully extended in front of you at shoulder height, but as you start to go down, pull your arms in like you are rowing, and allow them to pass beyond your body and going down as you go down, finally swinging down at the bottom and coming back up to the front at your starting position. Also, breath out as you go down and in as you come up. Make sure your breath is forceful. You should be able to find a video on Youtube if you need further explanation.
  • Neck Bridging is a very useful exercise for the developing the strength in the neck, spinal erectors, glutes, and hamstrings. In the anime, it show Ippo doing the neck bridge on the top of his head. It has come to my attention that this is improper form and the bridge should actually be done on the forehead, with the nose touching the ground. This may look easy, but it is not. You will probably need your hands for support at the beginning and I bet you won't be able to hold it for more than 15 or 20 seconds with any considerable amount of your bodyweight on your neck. When you can go a full 3 minutes without rest, it's time to add weight. Please, no more than ten or so pounds at a time. You will not be starting with a guy sitting on your chest, but you may be able to hold two 5lb dumbbells up in each hand. Go easy, but rest assured, this is essential for amazing core strength.
  • Headstands are great for neck strength, but please be careful. Use your hands for support and always use a wall for support, as well. You won't stay just straight up and down; instead, you will lean as far as you comfortably can to the left and right for the rep count listed and then front and back for the rep count. BE CAREFUL!
  • Roadwork with Sprints- First off, start with an all-out sprint (after a quick warm-up and stretch, of course) to start out your run. Then, continue running. When you feel your breath returning to a steady pace (for running, that is), throw out another sprint. Do so, until you get to five. I recommend saving your final sprint for the last leg of your mileage.
  • Hill Sprints- After you are sufficiently rested (say 15, 20 minutes-- during which you should stretch, and perhaps drink a small protein/recovery drink), find a hill and commence your sprints. Let's say 100 Meters is the base for a flat land sprint, if the hill has a low grade, do 75-100 Meters. Moderate grade, do 50-75 Meters. High grade, do 25-50 Meters. Use your own judgement. If you're feeling up for it, just pick as big a hill you can find and go at it. Rest in between sets the amount of time it takes for your breathing to return to about a normal rate.
  • Pulling a Big Tire- Ok, it doesn't have to be a big tire. You can pull an SUV for all I care. The point is, you are going to use a rope, a harness, a chain, or whatever to drag a very heavy object. If you have big tires, use 'em. If you have a weight sled, good for you. If you are struggling to find big tires, use one normal tire, put some boards on the inside of it, preferrably bolted on, and load some weights on it. Hell, you can even pull logs. Just pull something heavy for the time and rounds listed in the workout.
  • Jump Rope- Jumping or skipping rope is a very useful tool for developing rhythm, timing, footwork, and endurance. If you are beginner rope jumper, take the following into account: 1) Don't jump too high, you only need to clear the rope. 2) The jumps should be mainly from the lower portion of the legs, with a very slight bend in the knees, unless you are doing fancy footowork or something. 3) The jumps should be quick and on time with the rotation of the rope. 4) If you have never jumped rope before, try just jumping on one foot for awhile (alternate every now and then, or course). This will help keep you from "double jumping," which is jumping twice for every one revolution of the rope.
  • We've covered shadowboxing and mittwork, but I just want to say one thing about heavy bag work. Remember to move around the bag as you hit. You should be imagining an opponent as you work the bag, so it's like you are blending shadowboxing into another exercise. You may also, however, just hit the bag as hard and as fast as you can for the time duration (still try to move, though), in order to build stamina.
Honestly, this is a KILLER workout, so I understand if you think you may not be up for it. If you feel a little overwhelmed, try just doing the workout up to the sprints a couple of times and then, when you're feeling a little more confident in your fitness, try the whole thing. However, this is not something you're going to do every day. Try to change up your training by jumping in between Anime Training workouts. Dragonball one day, Baki another, then Naruto, Ippo, DBZ, Ippo, you get the idea.

Thanks guys. Until next time, have fun and train hard!
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