Posted on | October 15, 2007 | 2 Comments
THERE IS NO OFF-SEASON
By: Charles Ward, CMIT – The MMA Professor © 2007
Athletes in most sports, professional and amateur, usually have a particular part of the year that is dedicated to competition. This period of time is commonly referred to as that sports’ season. The rest of the year is referred to as the off-season. Competitors are urged to train on their own time during the off-season so that when training officially starts up again, they are better prepared for it.
Combat sports athletes, however, do not have the luxury of an off-season. Professional fighters may have several fights scheduled throughout the course of a year that they need to properly prepare for. Therefore, it is imperative that they constantly train to maintain, and improve, their physical conditioning and combative performance training. A true fighter, a real warrior, doesn’t look at his or her art form as just a sport. To these athletes, their training and development in their martial arts is a way of life. A true warrior’s training never stops, and should continue with ever-increasing endeavor – throughout their lives.
The average recreational martial arts practitioner trains for about 4 to 5 hours per week, under qualified supervision and instruction. Put quite simply, that is not enough to qualify as a competitive combat athlete. Competitive fighters, both professional and amateur, need to spend at least 4 to 5 hours per day in training. Just because a combat athlete might only be able to receive a few hours of training and instruction per week from a qualified source, doesn’t mean that that’s the only method of training available. A dedicated warrior will self-train in many areas throughout any given week to increase his or her performance level. Fighters can work on their lesson material on their own, everyday, to improve movements and maneuvers, and hone their reflexes by repetitive reinforcement. They should physically condition themselves, everyday, to increase their levels of strength, stamina, and athletic ability. They should actively stretch, everyday, to keep their bodies flexible and pliable. They should study, read, and research materials that pertain to their sport (and art forms) to increase their knowledge and understanding of what they do. These areas of self-training can only be done by the individual athlete. Those that self-train religiously are the ones that end up being truly great, as opposed to the others who are merely average, or good at what they do. Fighters meet with their instructors and coaches to receive new information, new challenges, new material, and to review and critique existing knowledge and skills. To expect the instructor and/or coach to hold their hands through every facet of training is basically an insult. It is up to the fighters, as dedicated warriors, to train and push themselves in those areas so that when they are with qualified supervision, they can progress further, learn more, and go beyond what they did before. That will not happen if the fighters don’t self-train seriously, and rigorously.
Make no mistake, this is not an easy lifestyle to embrace. To a large degree, any rewards these athletes might receive will most likely not be vast recognition, fame, or wealth. The true rewards from choosing this life are far more personal and subtle than that. Making the commitment to the warrior lifestyle is nothing short of answering a calling from deep within oneself. Warriors are warriors not just by occupation, but by disposition. The ones who lack that true disposition might visit that world for a little while, but they will never stand the test of time. When making this commitment, one should consider the following quote, “See to it that you temper yourself with one thousand days of practice, and refine yourself with ten thousand days of training.” – Miyamoto Musashi
Real warriors will always hold themselves to a higher standard. This is how champions train – everyday! It isn’t easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is. If you want to be the best at something, you have to be a fanatic about it. You have to love it – completely, because just liking it won’t get you through the day!
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