Saturday, July 27, 2013

Ogata Isshinsai's Martial Arts Conditioning

Ogata is amazingly versatile in his martial arts. He can grapple just as well as he strikes and he possesses all manner of inventive techniques in each type of discipline he engages in.  This workout, while not giving you the martial skills of Kensei, will help cultivate the attributes that he possesses as a martial artist: balance, toughness, flexibility, and strength.

Ogata Isshinsai's Martial Arts Conditioning

  1. Round Kicks for Balance- 100 each side
  2. Nukite (Spear Hand) into Sand*- 100 each side
  3. Side Kicks for Balance- 100 each side
  4. Short Power Strikes- 100 each side (see notes)
  5. Back Kicks for Balance- 100 each side
  6. Tree Striking- 200 Strikes, as is comfortable
  7. Front Kicks for Balance- 100 each side
  8. Diamond Finger- 100 Strikes each side
  9. Side Split Stretch- 3 x 2 Minutes
  10. Gliding Step Foowork- 5 Minutes
  11. Front Split Stretch- 3 x 1 Minute each side
  12. 40-100# Sand Bag Throwing- 15 Minutes
  13. Heavy Bag Work- 15 Minutes
  14. Seikuuken Training- 30 Minutes
  15. Sparring

Notes:
  • You may do the kicks for balance with support to begin with, but ideally you should not use support for all 100 kicks. Your goal should be to not put your foot down at all during any of the balance kicking.
  • For the spear hand strikes, it's best to fill a 5 gallon bucket or a big blue wash bin with sand for the strikes. After 100 workouts, remove a cup of sand and add one cup of steel shot and mix it all together. Continue to remove one cup of sand and add one cup of steel shot every other workout after that. In order to not dump out any of your steel shot, you should dump the scoop of sand into a strainer atop another bucket to make sure you catch any shot you may have picked up. There are 16 cups in a gallon, so once you start the process of removing a cup of sand every other workout (after the first 100), you should be completely steel shot somewhere around workout 260, if you were using the 5-gallon bucket. This should be long enough for you to build up a good base for your hand training and a gradual enough increase to keep you from hurting yourself.
  • Short power strikes means that you will practice hitting a target from 3 or less inches away. You are working to activate all of your muscles involved in the strike as quickly as possible. Eventually, you should work up to being able to strike the target from point-blank range. If you're looking for an example of this power, check out a demonstration I did with a friend of mine a couple of years back. 
  • For tree striking, you may use any strike you like-- punches, kicks, knees, elbows, shoulder bumps, chops or whatever. Do them as comfortably as you can and you will be able to build upon that later. This will take time, so be patient and don't get overzealous, because injury is a very real possibility if you hit the tree to hard. It's best if you start on softer, flatter trees. 
  • For the side split stretch, you will spread your legs as wide as possible and reach forward for 30 seconds. Then reach to the left for 30 seconds. Then reach to the right for 30 seconds. Then reach back to the the center, trying to stretch just a little farther for 30 seconds. Rest by walking around and shaking your legs out for 1 minute. Repeat for the listed sets.
  • For the front split stretch, you will put one foot forward as far as possible and one foot back as far as possible. You will place the back of your heel down on the front foot and the knee down on the opposite leg behind you. You will lean forward, the heel of your front foot sliding away from you, while your opposite hip is moving toward the ground. Stretch this way for 1 minute, then switch sides. Rest for 1 minute by walking around and shaking out your legs. Repeat for the listed sets.
  • The footwork for the gliding step is not very clear in the manga, however, what you should practice is shuffling your feet to one side or the other as quickly as you can. One foot will reach out to the side in a step, the other foot will slide to meet it and you will repeat the motion as quickly as possible. You can also do this movement in a circle or change directions abruptly as well.
  • For the sand bag throws, you can fill a canvas laundry bag with sand (it leaks, though), rubberized mulch or real wood chips, pea gravel, or steel shot. I think your best option is rubberized mulch, because it is the middle ground for cost, as well as not being super messy. You'll want to secure the bag with a good line or rope or even have it sewn up with fishing line. The actual technique of the exercise is up to you. You can throw the bag overhead, you can pick it up and throw it down, you can try to spin and toss it for distance, or you can practice any body throws from Judo or Wrestling that you may know. 
  • The heavy bag work is time for you to play with your techniques. Throw whatever you like as fast or as slow or as soft or hard as you like. You can use it as a cardio or strength session or purely just to play with new strikes. I recommend bag gloves if you are not used to hitting a heavy bag, to save the skin on your knuckles. Eventually, you may remove the gloves as your hands toughen up from the other training, but always err on the side of caution with training, because injuries can sideline you for extended periods of time.
  • Reference Kenichi's Seikuuken Training for the Seikuuken portion of this workout. 
  • There are no limits or rules for your sparring. You may do no contact, full contact, just grappling or striking, multi-person sparring or whatever you feel. Just be careful and work up to more difficult things as you feel comfortable. I recommend wearing gloves, a cup, and a mouthpiece in order to keep yourself safe. The sparring sessions are really about skill. You've toughened yourself up with the rest of your training.
That's all for today! Good luck and train hard!
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