Cross training in martial arts

Cross training in martial arts

Fitness and martial arts, in some shape or form have been always been practiced together. The basic stance work that every beginner learns is building the structure and strengthening their bodies for the training to come.

Cross training between the two disciples should be aimed towards a unity and ultimately a perfection of the two.

Little can be said in combining martial arts and fitness training without coming back to Bruce Lee. His fitness training was the stuff of legend and born out of a single minded dedication to improving his art. But Bruce knew one thing that many do not. The ultimate goal is balance, not over development of one to the detriment of the other. A unity of yin yang not yin or yang.
Strength is tool, a good one but so are endurance, mobility, flexibility and speed. Does your fitness training actually relate to what you do in the dojo, or help you if that moment comes when the chips are down and you have to fight?
Remember that Bruce’s fitness training came about after his fight with Wong Jack man. In his book ‘The art of expressing the human body’ Bruce wrote that despite winning the fight he was upset, because he felt his fitness had let him down.
This started a lifelong obsession with his physicality and fitness as he felt that martial training alone was not enough to properly and progressively strengthen his body.

Sparta, Rome, The Knights of Europe, the Samurai… They worshiped strength, because it is strength that makes all other values possible. Nothing survives without it. Who knows what delicate wonders have died out of the world, for want of the strength to survive.
Han – Enter the Dragon 1973

As a martial artist and full time personal trainer it’s my job to train people. Along the way I’ve experimented with many different methods in pursuit of my own training. More than ever these days I look towards training tools that fit in with Filipino Kyusho principles of movement. If the principles work for the martial arts then they must also work for fitness. The body only moves in certain ways.
So in a sense I’m practicing my Martial Arts all the time, the principles are non-negotiable.
For example the first principle is POSTURE. When looking at what you do think a moment on that one, are you maintaining good posture when you exercise? Have you already broken that principle the moment you start the treadmill or lean into your first set?

Train hard, train safe,

Guro Dan Bartlett