At the start of training as discussed in the ‘Health and Fitness’ blog our objective is to gradually reach our optimum aerobic training zone. This mobilizes the body’s fatty acids into the bloodstream so that they will be burned up rather than sugar. This is achieved by starting up with light exercises and gradually building up so that the body will distribute the blood flow to the areas that need it rather than immediately diverting it from vital organs when sudden intense demands are made on the system.
In Krav Maga we generally start with a light combative drill where we attempt to touch each others shoulders. When the shoulder gets touched the corresponding arm goes behind the back so only one arm is used to attack and block. If both shoulders get tagged we start again. We build up on the drill by using the feet to stomp down on top of the opponent’s foot. Once the foot has been stomped the player has to get down on the corresponding knee and defend and attack from the ground. Again if both shoulders get tagged we start all over again. Finally we add another twist to the drill where tagging the top of the head results in an instant kill where we start the drill again.
We continue warming up with light shadow boxing focusing on changing directions and footwork and attacking and defending from different directions, gradually incorporate elbows and knees as well as the punches and finally adding kicks to the drill. These are fun and easy drills to get the cardio system working. On reaching the aerobic zone we limber the joints and muscles paying careful attention to the joints that are injury prone such as the neck, wrists, knees and ankles and stretching the upper body and the legs.
In my Taekwondo classes the drills that are used to reach the aerobic zone are things like star jumps, knee pitching, side-stepping and cross-over stepping, footwork drills and gentle dynamic stretching using front and side leg raising. This is followed by some light static stretching and anaerobic body conditioning work using push-ups, sit-ups, crunches and bridging. Immediately this is followed by our schools set of hand techniques which are a series of blocking and striking executed in a horse riding stance working initially on executing the techniques slowly and then at full speed.
Once we have optimized the aerobic zone we can then focus on power training and anaerobic drills such as pad and bag work, sparring, aggression drills. It has been shown that explosive exercise induces the release of the Human Growth Hormone which stimulates tissue growth, muscle tone, lean mass, flexibility, bones and organs and helps maintain healthy tissue. I believe by using the correct training methodology it is possible for a man in his 60’s and 70’s to be as strong as a man in his 20’s or 30’s. This is a phenomenon seen time and again in martial arts masters who have continued with balanced training practices of building the endurance factor as well as using short explosive anaerobic bursts well into their advanced years.
This should be great news in New Zealanders in the 21st century where a quarter of the population is expected to be over the age of 65. If we take control of our bodies now one in four New Zealanders will not be a drain on society, but a strong and vital member who will make valuable contributions and enjoy life to the utmost!