Sunday, June 24, 2012

Kami-sama's Training

This has been requested by several people and I've put it off and put it off and put it off. The reason for this being that there's really not much different as far as exercises go during this training and, even if there was, we really don't see any, because (in the manga) it just time-skips almost immediately after Kami says Goku can train there.

However, because you guys keep requesting it (and because I feel empty inside for not having it done yet), I'm going to do my best to lay down a workout or something of the sort. You ready?

Here goes!

Kami-sama's Training

The training consists of five parts: Meditation, Strength, Stamina, Elimination of Wasteful Movement and Learning Your Senses. All parts are practiced simultaneously.

Part One: Meditation

Starting with ten minutes a day, find a quiet place where no one will disturb you and sit with your legs crossed, your hands on your knees, back straight, and your eyes closed. Focus on your breathing and the point just below your belly button. Don't try to breathe too deeply or in a particular way. Just breathe. When a thought comes to you, recognize it and let it go. If you find your mind wandering, don't beat yourself up-- come back to your breathing.

After you are able to meditate continuously for ten minutes, increase the time by five minutes, until you reach 30 minutes a day. You don't have to change anything about the way you meditate: it will just come naturally as you focus on your breath.

Later, when you become more in tune with yourself and your meditation, you can start to include background noise or meditate in places where other things are going on. The eventual goal of all this is to be able to achieve the meditative state no matter where you are-- even in the middle of a fight. No anger, no fear-- just action.

Part Two: Weighted Clothing

This is a slightly controversial issue in the fitness world. There are some good studies for and against the use of weighted clothing. In general, I think it's best to remember that weighted clothes are a tool and not a magical, make-me-into-a-Super-Saiyan suit of armor for you to throw on and feel invincible (too much?). For instance, you can wear a weighted vest during most any activities so that's not really an issue. However, things like ankle and wrist weights can often put too much stress on joints in explosive movements like punching and kicking and can create an improper stride in running, although I imagine something like Rock Lee's weights might be a little easier, since it spreads out the weight a little better. Or perhaps something like this:

They don't weigh much, but they don't need to. 

I'd say it would be in your best interest to start with a weighted vest of some sort with no more than 5lbs in it. Wear it all the time, but especially when you're training. I realize that it may limit your range of motion on things like push-ups and sit-ups, so you can use push up bars or blocks or for sit-ups, you can use a decline bench.  You should wear the same amount of weight for at least 12 weeks, so that your joints can properly adapt to it, before you start adding more. And, when you do decide to add more, I wouldn't add anymore than 5lbs at a time. It's your choice if you want to keep adding it to the vest or wear something like the leg weights pictured above. 

At the very maximum, I probably wouldn't go over 50% of your body weight, but that's going to be one of the decisions that you're going to have to make.

If you take small steps, increase when you're ready, and train hard, of course you'll get stronger.

Part Three: Stamina

Obviously, training with your weighted clothing is going to improve your stamina, because you'll be used to wearing it all the time, so when you take it off, you'll be much lighter than you normally are. However, Goku encountered another stamina-increasing factor while training with Kami: the altitude. The high altitude left Goku with much less oxygen to breathe, so his body would have to adapt to the lower levels by increasing red blood cell density. When he comes back down to the ground after being used to the very thin air, his stamina will be greatly improved. 

This training method of training at altitude is used by prominent athletes in a variety of sports. One that is often cited is MMA fighter Tito Ortiz, who had his training camps at Big Bear in California. However, not everyone lives or can reasonably train at altitude. Thus, people invented nifty things like an altitude training mask:
With the added benefit of making you look like a superhero.

(Update 8/24/2014- Recent studies have shown that the Training Mask does not improve performance, but if you want to continue using the device or feel that it is helping you, do as you see fit.)

The altitude training mask is the least expensive route and I think it looks pretty damn cool, personally. By training at altitude, Goku was able to improve his stamina so much that he was hardly winded during the fight with Tien at all. That, though, wasn't the only thing that helped him, which brings us to...

Part Four: Eliminating Wasteful Movement

This is more of philosophy of combat. By eliminating wasteful or unnecessary movement, you conserve energy by moving less and using only the body parts necessary for an action, retain greater balance, and greatly reduce "telegraphing" of movements (meaning that you are letting your opponent know what's coming by preparing to attack instead of attacking).

To incorporate this concept into your training, when you practice your techniques, think about the muscles and body parts involved and use only the ones necessary for that move. Don't get into a habit of smiling or wiggling your fingers or touching your forehead before any particular technique (you'd be surprised the stuff fighters get into the habit of doing).

Training Methods:

  1. Mindful Technique Practice (Mentioned above)
  2. Focusing on the proper execution of strength and conditioning exercises. Mindful lifting or movement. (Related to Mindful Technique Practice)
  3. Videotaping yourself training and watching it to see any wasteful movements
  4. Point Sparring (Good for learning to move only when necessary)
  5. Hard Sparring/Grappling 

Part Five: Learning Your Senses

You can't always see or hear your opponent. Sometimes you have to abandon one sense in favor of the others and sometimes you might have to just rely on instinct alone. There are several training techniques that you can use to develop your sensory skills.
  1. Low Light Fighting: You and your sparring partner will train in varied low light conditions, such as a completely darkened room with Christmas lights on the wall or outside at night. The low light will play tricks on your eyes, which will force you to rely on other senses and improve your focus. This can be dangerous, so please be careful at first and always use gear. 
  2. Blind Fighting: Wearing a blindfold while sparring/grappling. Same rules apply here as they did for Low Light Fighting- wear gear and be careful. Make sure there isn't anything that someone can fall on and hurt themselves and in both Low Light and Blind Fighting, it is best to have a third person as a spotter to make sure everyone is safe. 
  3. Sensitivity Training: Stand in front of your opponent, arms touching and try to touch your opponent using your arms to feel how they are moving. After a while you can get faster, but go slow at first. If you know any chi sao from Wing Chun, you can do that in this case. 
  4. Rave: Loud music of some sort and a strobe light. You will have to sharpen your focus to it's uttermost to train in these conditions, but if you can effectively fight in the slow-motion illusion of strobe lighting and loud music, you can just about fight anywhere. 
  5. Touch and Go: Have your training partner stand behind you while holding a target or pad and tap you somewhere on your body. Your immediate response is to turn around the strike the target as quickly as possible. You can also do this training with increasingly lighter touches or substitute the touching for soft sounds as a signal for attack. 

If you combine all five of these training methods into your existing training, it will keep you from getting bored in your training and it will develop your skills in varied ways. Goku didn't just get stronger and faster with Kami's training, he learned how to use his body efficiently and how to effectively use all of his senses. 


That's all for today. Hope you guys enjoyed it! Until next time, good luck and train hard!

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