Anybody who trains in martial arts knows the constant struggle to improve their game. A martial artist is always thinking about the best way to attack their opponent more powerfully, defend themselves more swiftly and remain light on their feet. But how do you actually improve these qualities? There are 5 things that a martial artist can do to improve their ability.
1. Strength train, more effectively. Becoming stronger is obviously an important part of training, however many martial artists don’t know that there is a wrong and right way of pumping weights. Sure, strength can be improved by simply lifting and lowering a weight. You’ll get more definition and bigger muscles, but this isn’t what you really want. To strength train more effectively for martial arts, you want to build power. Power is acquired through lifting a weight fast, holding for a bit at the top, and then lowering slowly (usually lower for 4 seconds and lifting in one). Explosive power is built by exerting all your effort into lifting the weight, then strength is built from lowering it slowly. Try it and see the difference.
2. Sparring more effectively. Sparring is the opportunity to practically apply all the techniques you’ve learned against a real live opponent. To improve your game, try focusing on one technique or part of the body. For example, focus on punching better in one bout, then switch to the legs in the other. Spar against a wide variety of opponents from different levels, since every bout can help improve your physical and mental perceptions in the ring.
3. Eat better. This is really a no-brainer, but many martial artists neglect the impact of nutrition (and lifestyle) on their physical and mental state. Eating crap will weaken you, since your body won’t be getting the nutrients it needs to function properly and build muscle.
4. Eat the right food before a match. Certain foods can give you more energy and alertness. For example, coffee can help keep energy levels up. Avoid overeating or heavy, fatty foods that will simply weigh you down and make you feel sluggish.
5. Let your body rest. Training everyday is fine, but don’t go hardcore or train the same muscles on a daily basis, unless you’re being closely monitored by a professional trainer. Doing so won’t let your muscles or body recover from the day before, and this may cause serious damage.