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ARTICLE | SOLO LOCKDOWN TRAINING | by Orjan Pettersen

Many Krav Maga or self defence students limit themselves to the regular classes each week, maybe supplementing these with the occasional seminar, and find this is an adequate investment into self defence learning for them.


After all, life is full of demands from modern and busy lifestyles. Family, work and a plethora of leisure activities will always occupy the majority of time for most people. If it aids their personal safety and protection, their weekly sessions are a worthwhile pursuit, even if they at times maybe wish to do more, but circumstances prevent it.


For others, they may have further goals, a particular driven personality or time permits them to expand the hours and energy they can put into their training.


Whatever your goal, when Covid-19 and lockdowns closes your dojo or group training for a longer period, it’s easy to think you’ve got a severe set back on your hands.


I am in the latter category above, by then way. From day one of Krav Maga, I started to drive hundreds of miles each week to attend classes in different cities or weekend training away across the UK. I also went on every organised trip abroad, having invaluable and diverse training across Romania, Greece, Poland, France, Israel and the USA on many occasions. I also structured my own personal training to Krav Maga to optimise my health and fitness around it.


I was fortunate. My professional life has permitted the time investment and my family supported the return they saw in me from the travel away.


This embrace by them, particularly from my wife, has been a foundation behind my development as a student and instructor. In recent times, especially as an Expert level instructor and the Esteemed Modern Warrior 2020 from the US Martial Arts Hall of Fame, I have chosen to create an even bigger reach by expanding into writing and publishing on self defence related topics, another time-demanding activity.


Although each person have different circumstances, I’d like to share my current approach to my training, including how to approach solo training during a Covid-19 lockdown, hopefully to inspire or generate ideas to how others can approach their own development and goals.


My weekly priority will always be the 2-3 two-hour classes I teach across different UK locations. I’m also fortunate to supplement this teaching - which other instructors will also recognise as a personal development tool, as having to demonstrate something will always add a deeper understanding of it - with one or two training sessions per week together with other students or instructors.


This provides up to a handful of opportunities to work on my Krav Maga together with the community I’m training and teaching within.


Those who practice self defence will know that physical conditioning, strength and flexibility is an advantage in any combat situation, so I recognise this must be taken care of in a structured and dedicated fashion, too.


This becomes super-important during a lockdown, as the collective teaching and training ceases due to governmental and public health restrictions.


To achieve the right results, I dedicate a further three 60-75 mins sessions per week to strength and resistance training. Working as much as possible with functional fitness moves, I split my body into three different sections with dedicated dates to each and each effort is finalised with a longer stretching session to aid flexibility.


This programme will support my basic Krav Maga training, however I’ve found that to progress even more, further effort is needed.


To this effect, I’ve added an additional Krav Maga sessions to my weekly programme, each around 60-90 minutes and structured in specific quartile themes to cover my needs.


The first quarter of the session is focusing on movement. This will always start with fluid fighting stance movement, supported by light and relaxed striking combinations.


Once my heart rate and body heats up, I conduct the same footwork movement but with joint-lubricating body parts moves, before doing dynamic stretching such as straight-legged upwards or circular ‘stretching kicks’.


The second quarter is dedicated to rapidly building striking combinations, again conducted as in a fight. Visualisation of multiple attackers, initially slower then with more speed, will generate the relevant strikes and moves.


This is only limited by your imagination. Add rolls and falls, kicks from the floor and standing up techniques to make it even more real. I let the imagination flow and I fight on inside my head.


The third quarter is about power and speed. This will take place on a hanging heavy bag. It can be either working on a specific strike, a certain combination, a kicking skill or just all out-aggression with anything I’ve got for up to a minute, in repeated cycles.


The final quarter slows things down. It’s technical training on something I want to work on. Maybe something I feel wants specific improvement or just the latest techniques from this or last week’s (online) class. These type of ‘dry drills’ are effective to embed mind-to-muscle learning.


Training solo, either just to supplement your own training or maybe for some because no schools or training partners are available, is invaluable to rapid progression and development.


It requires some discipline and dedication, but pays back in a speedy and visible improvement cycle. The key? View the lockdown as an opportunity. Carpe diem and come out strong at the end.

What’s your way to enhance your skills?

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