Three posts in a week’s time! I’m spoiling you, children.
Today we’re going to discuss a practical element of working out. Conditioning is an important element of the martial arts – if you don’t have the physical conditioning, you aren’t going to be able to perform. I don’t care how good your technique is, you aren’t going to learn as much if you’re sitting out every third match because you’re winded (I speak from experience).
So here’s a short post with a practical tip – learn to work out in your gear. If you have a gambeson, great. Do your drills each day wearing it. You’ll get used to the way it restricts your motions, be comfortable with the heat buildup that comes from wearing it, and get more used to performing under pressure in equipment.
If you don’t HAVE a gambeson, cheat. Buy a cheap denim jacket (you can get them for under 50 bucks just about anywhere, go do it), and pack the pockets. Fill them with sand or rocks or ice packs or something weighted, and do your workout drills in your new demi-gambeson. Conditioning yourself in this way will give you a definite edge in competition and in practices, and allow you to learn more for longer periods.
If you have access to a fencing mask, practice while wearing that. It will help you get used to judging distances through a mask (trickier than it sounds) and used to the weight of it on your head. Practice with your gloves or gauntlets as well, for the same reason.
Most of us do not feel we are modern day knights, I for one do not. However, we can draw inspiration from them – they trained in their gear so that when the time came for war, they were as used to fighting in it as we are used to breathing. Make your gear a part of yourself, and your sparring and conditioning will improve conmeasurately.
As always, practice proper hydration so you don’t end up explaining to the ER how you got a heat stroke while playing with swords. If this happens to you, I will disavow any knowledge and this post will have mysteriously vanished from the internet.
Kron Martial Arts