• Brian Fernie

The basics of Karate conditioning with coach Brian Fernie


TOD Combat and Karate coach Brian Fernie discusses the basics of martial arts conditioning:

Traditional and modern styles of Karate share a lot of traits with other combat sports.

Most people struggle to see any variations between the different styles of martial arts and combat sports when it comes to strength and conditioning, however there are certain aspects which are specific to particular disciplines.

The demands of each style or sport need to be specifically addressed.A basic rule of any session is to cover the 5 pillars of human movement:

  • Pull

  • Push

  • Rotational

  • Level change

  • Locomotion

Some coaches say there are 7 inclusive of the above and the following two :

  • Gait

  • Hinge

So what basic steps can you take to help you keep fighting fit when training outside of the gym or dojo?

Mobility - work on movements with kicks and punches, remember mobility is about how freely a joint can move through its full range of motion.

Static movements - good for control and strengthening if done under tension, feeling how the muscles work and move with each movement.

Agility - quite simply having the ability to move and change direction and position of the body quickly and effectively while under control. It requires quick reflexes, coordination, balance, speed, and correct responsive action to the situation at hand, both proactively and reactively.

Power development - Power training typically involves exercises which apply the maximum amount of force as fast as possible; on the basis that strength + speed = power. Utilising power endurance sets in your training will assist with power and later assist in keeping your strength.

For example a power endurance biplex set chest press - double med ball press up, execute 1 set of 6 chest press followed by 10 med ball press ups, 3 sets in total no rest. Same sets and reps for back squat to squat jumps.

Cardio - expected demands are 1-2 minutes at a time, however you may have to fight ten times in a competition day, possibly some back to back with minimum rest in between. Therefore HIIT sprint work with limited LISS is essential.

  • HIIT (High intensity interval training) - work hard for 1 minute, rest for 1 minute

  • LISS (Low intensity steady state) - 5km running 1-2 a week will help with endurance

Coach Brian Fernie

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