To become a real black belt, not just one in name only, you must train in your martial art continuously but you must also train properly. Here are some common mistakes martial artists make in their training.
Overtraining. Some martial artists train hard EVERY day. I am guilty of having done this. When you love to do something, you want to do it every day. However, for your body to learn complex skills and develop speed, strength, and endurance, it must have some time off to absorb the training and recover from any damage the training may have done to it. In addition, if you are cross training, extensive strength training or cardio training will limit your body’s ability to perfect intricate martial art techniques. Overtraining may cause you to develop poor muscle memory and learn bad habits. Remember, you do not build muscle during training sessions; you build muscle during the days between training sessions while you are eating, sleeping, and resting. While training, muscles develop microscopic tears. During the recovery periods between training sessions, the muscles heal and grow bigger and stronger. If you never let your muscles rest, then you never give them an opportunity to grow.
When you train too long each session or for too many sessions, your body starts to adapt to just completing the workout session, rather than committing itself to perfecting technical skills and building muscle memory. Rather than trying to do everything during a workout, concentrate each workout on perfecting a specific technique or movement.
Bodybuilding. Some martial artists follow a bodybuilder’s training regimen. They work a different muscle group each day of the week and they work these muscles to exhaustion. This type of training is designed to increase your muscle body mass and make you look big and strong. However, as a martial artist, you do not want big muscles; they weigh too much, are slow to react, and are slow to move. A martial artist wants strength but also wants to move gracefully and quickly, with explosive power. Martial art training should concentrate on movement, and each exercise should complement your techniques.
Lack of Core Strength. There are hundreds of exercises and training regimes, each claiming to make you super human. Most are a waste of time, but some are effective. Although they may be fun to do and may help your overall fitness, for them to make you a better martial artist, training exercises must contribute directly to bettering your martial art techniques. The best way to train your body for the martial arts is to train your core strength. The core refers to the muscles deep within the abs and back that attach to the spine or pelvis. These muscles are where movement originates and are also the source of stability. Core strength helps ensure you will have fewer injuries, better techniques, and the muscular endurance needed during training sessions or in competitions.
Not having a plan and sticking to it. Many martial artists just workout when they feel like it and for as long as they feel like it. When training to become a great martial artist, you must have a structured program with an exact plan of how to get to where you want to be. The plan should describe exactly what exercises to perform, the amount of weight to use, the number of reps to perform, the type and number of kicks to perform, etc., and you should strictly adhere to the plan. Every workout should be tracked and logged; any type of spreadsheet software will make this easy to do. By tracking your workouts, you will be able to see where you need to tweak your plan to maximize your gains. Tracking also helps keep you motivated since you may see they days when you missed training.
Train hard, but train smart, and you will see better results and will be able to keep training for many years to come.