Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Limit

I want to take a moment to reflect on something:  What is the limit of human capability? What is the limit of one, single human's ability?  How far can we take it?  

When humans devote themselves fully to something, it is absolutely astounding the feats of which we are capable: speed, strength, endurance, skill, etc. We've been lucky to witness the rise of sports medicine and the science of performance, which has allowed the creation of the modern athlete, a marvel of physical ability.

For the most part, if you took any modern-day athlete and stuck him with his counterparts from a previous era, it is more than likely the case that he would completely dominate his opponents. This is for numerous reasons and the level of training we currently possess is more informed and the technical prowess exhibited by each of these athletes is generally on a much higher level than their predecessor are two of the majors ones. However, what we have done with the modern athlete, especially the modern combat athlete, is just a portion of what I would like to consider. We'll dub this portion: Athletic Ability

Next, I think it's important to take a look at how much has changed with the advent of the information age. The communication of ideas and concepts takes things that were secret or unknown for perhaps hundreds of years and throws them right out there for everyone to see. Imagine being a kung fu practitioner or a wandering samurai back in the Golden Age of ass-kicking. You carefully guarded your skills, honed them in secret, and every new discovery was like finding a precious gem. If you lost a fight, it could mean the loss of your personal reputation, your schools name, or your own life. It doesn't get much more serious than that. However, due to the nature of the combat of this era, martial ability was in the hands of a select few individuals, who only showed their skills when it was time to fight and, sometimes, because people seriously could die in these matches, another Master or fighter could just be wiped off the map, all of his experience and knowledge just gone, leaving nothing but a memory for his opponent to dwell upon. On top of this, sometimes fighters would only master a single skill, because you would rarely meet the same opponent twice, so the need for diversifying your skill-set was almost non-existent. If you met someone who you matched badly against, oh well!

Counter to this, you can find Karate kata, kung fu forms, kickboxing matches, and instructional videos on just about anything you could want from Judo to BJJ to Silat to Sanda to fictional martial arts from Star Trek (yes, that shit is real!). It is an information overload. And that is fan-freaking-tastic, because it allows for the free-flow of ideas, the transmission of skills to many, and the evolution of particular arts and techniques to new heights. There exist, today, things that, in my opinion, never existed before in combat. This evolution is very important, because it helps us to weed out things that are not as useful to us in our training and help us to more quickly achieve our goals. This is a living evolution of combat theory and is practical application and it is how we find the next game-changer. So, we'll call this portion: Immersive Education.

But there is one more thing that stretches back far into human history. These are secret things that are transmitted only through countless hours of training. They are things we may write off as worthless or fiction, at least as Westerners. I am not so quick to discard ideas that seem outside the scope of our current understanding. There are people who exhibit incredible abilities with things such as internal martial arts, mediation, and even willpower. Some may be tricks and some not, but to toss them aside without properly trying to understand them does ourselves a disservice and the practitioners of those skills a dishonor. The burden of proof lies with them, no doubt, but at least let them attempt provide the evidence. In seeking these things out, cataloguing them, and understanding them, we can understand more about the human body and its limits, even if those limits initially seem outside the bounds of our current understanding. Eventually, perhaps we will be more open-minded about what is possible. We can call this: Hidden Abilities.

If we hold each of these things to be important and seek the limit of human ability without unfounded bias of training methodology, I am confident that something magnificent is possible. The combination of science, art, and history; body, mind and spirit; and intelligence, emotion, and intuition can shine a little more light on the Super, the Ultimate, the Limit. In short, what it means to be strong.

I didn't mean for this to come off so grandiose, but it just makes such sense to me. Let me know what you guys think.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

1/19/2012 Training

-Iyengar Yoga Poses: (5 breaths each)

  • Utthita Trikonasana
  • Utthita Parsvakonasana
  • Ardha Chandrasana
  • Prasarita Padottanasana
  • Adhomukha Svanasana
  • Uttanasana
-30 Minute Run
-50 Push-ups
  • Hung Gar Horse Stance Training
  • "Earthbending" Scroll Moves (The first "Earthbending" move)
  • Isometric Fist Holds
  • "Iron Wire" Practice

Today's training is surrounding my research for completing some workouts for Avatar: The Last Airbender, for which I've had a few requests. Initially, I wasn't going to do it, because it's technically not anime, but it's Amer-ime, so I figured I'd go ahead and give it a go. Since it's going to take a while to do the research, I figured I'd keep you guys updated on my progress. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Takamura's Beginning Boxing Routine

This is a request from a reader who wanted to see more training from secondary characters in Hajime no Ippo. So, I figured, let's start with Takamura Mamoru, arguably the strongest fighter in the series. The training we see here is from Takamura's pre-debut time. It is very simple, but is designed to do some very necessary things: give Takamura the speed to chase his opponent, the lead punch to set the pace and make way for his dynamite right punch. And if this seems a bit much, you do need to remember that this is Takamura we're talking about here, so feel free to tone it down a bit.

Here we go!

Takamura's Beginning Boxing Routine

Run 4.5 Miles

4-6 Hours Later

  1. 1000 Jabs to Heavy Bag
  2. "Scooter Pull"- 5 x 50 Yards
  3. Run 4.5 Miles

  • The running might seem a bit excessive, but I put it at 4.5 miles, because it was listed that Takamura ran the course in less than 30 minutes and the gym crew seemed impressed with this, but not overly shocked, which lets me know it's probably more than 3 miles and less than 5, so I just went with this. Also, Coach Kamogawa had Takamura run the course in the morning and evening. 
  • You can do the jabs all at once, in sets of 100, in rounds of 3 minutes, or however you want to do them. Just do 1000 and don't use your other hand. 
  • For the "Scooter Pull," I imagine if might be difficult to find someone who will let you pull them up a hill while they sit on a scooter, but I'll give you some options. You can go authentic and have somebody (or two) sit on a scooter while your drag them up a steep hill or you can use one of these options: a grocery cart with someone in it (plus 45lbs to mimic the scooter's weight), a weight sled, a few smaller tires or one big tire. The point of it is, you want to have a difficult time pulling the weight up the hill. You don't want to be able to run it at all. 
  • Like I said before, you are more than welcome to rein this back a little if needed. Perhaps cut the mileage and reps in half or do whatever you need to do to make it through. 
  • This workout allowed Takamura to chase his opponent down and use his jab to set up his ultra-powerful right straight. Very simple workout, but it was simple for a reason. 

That's all for today. It's exceedingly good to be back writing again. I've missed it thoroughly. Until next time, good luck and train hard guys!

Training Update

Training is going pretty well. I've been experimenting with a few different training methods and what not for research. Looking to try to do a lot more in 2012, hopefully.

Have been studying some kung fu training for Avatar: The Last Airbender workouts (which should be a little bit later) and also a really great manga called Kenji. Gonna go back and rework some of the workouts with some better alternatives. Gonna try to start doing some regular videos, too. Gonna try to be a little bit more open with the content on this blog in order to make sure that you guys have a steady supply of of information and stuff to gawk at. :P

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