How have you been training during this Virus Time?
With most of us under stay-at-home orders, we are probably finding that we how have an abundance of time for training – but nowhere to train, and no one to train with. Or, in some cases, no more discretionary funds to spend on training.
Solo training at home has always been a staple for me. I hate gyms, I hate running on streets, and am not particularly thrilled even with the more popular academy-style spaces that jiujitsu is usually trained. So that has been only a minor adjustment for me.
I ‘d already been training in an old gas mask, for the extra work on my lungs and because we seem to be in them more during operations lately. It’s great training especially when you get to that point that you feel you just HAVE to pull that mask off and take a breath – and then don’t do it. Adds psychological pressure, and its always good to train under mental pressure. You can do almost anything you would do without a gas mask on. If you don’t have said mask, just do what you’d normally do. Don’t really have to expand much on that. Heck, now you can probably run trails with a mask on and no one would bat an eye, which I am sure they would have done before. So consider that a plus! Disclaimer: I have no idea whether the mask will protect you from transmission of COVID 19, so don’t even go there with me. I know what I’ve been told but I don’t take it as gospel. Assume it won’t and maintain standard distancing practices.
Flexibility has also been something I’ve been paying more attention to lately. I think it has made a real difference in my ability to continue to do what I do at the rather – ahem – advanced, now eligible-to-retire – age I have achieved. I’ve been helping to instruct a new batch of tactical guys and telling them to pay attention to staying flexible, and that this will have a greater effect on their longevity as tacticians than throwing a lot of heavy weight around will. By all means, get as strong as you can, but being strong AND flexible is FAR better than being strong and tight.
Flexibility work naturally transitions to hand-to-hand combat arts. Particularly jiujitsu. Jiujitsu is a Weaponized Yoga, and it is very easy to practice all the fundamental basic movements by oneself, with a minimum of space. We can expand from there and combine the movements into “Shadow Rolling” at whatever intensity we’d like. Don’t forget, jiujitsu guys, that more than half the art used to be standing – solo uchikomi (look it up, you have the time…) is critical to the footwork and body organization needed for good entries and fitting in and throwing. If you aren’t super comfortable with your standing game, just do the moves of the most basic throws.
Maybe you have access to equipment that let’s you train. Heavy bags and Sponge Pros and Grappling Dummies can be used for both striking and grappling applications.
As you can see, you can even shoot some of them….
Since we’ve segued to Weapons Work, solo training with weapons is also fundamental to skill development. Almost all blade work, from draw to cuts and thrusts, should be routinely done “dry.” It should be done dry with Live Blades as well, which tends to create the greater sense of concentration necessary to safe but realistic weapons handling. Training with rebated/blunted, wooden, or synthetic facsimile weapons has application (I train with all of them), but it is not the same. The first time you deploy a live blade should not be under the stress of an actual encounter. The Functional Tactician does not “fear” their own weapon, but respects it’s capabilities. Only in training with live weapons, with realism, does this come together.
With Firearms it should go without saying – the only appropriate place for practice with loaded guns is on a range. Maybe you are lucky and have access to one during lockdown. If not, Dry Fire and Dry Manipulations are always available; you must still treat the weapon as if it is loaded, which will improve your base level safe operation of firearms in general. Remember when we actually use a gun, not just for shooting but structure clearing, challenging threats, etc. whether in the course of our work or in a self-protection situation, it isn’t going to be on a range. Having Weapon’s Discipline nailed down is crucial when gun handling out in the public, or in an environment with partners that you don’t want to be flagging. Respect for the weapon – once again, rather than fear of it – starts with learning how to manipulate it properly and move with it.
Which brings to mind Positional Skills with weapons. Assuming that most readers here are multi-disciplinary, or striving toward that end. Positional skill is much more than prone shooting at 100 meters. It’s weapons manipulation and management in and through all postions. If you pretty much only thing of standing, squatting, kneeling and lying on a range, you have to expand your repertoire. Try drawing and presenting from seated positions – from the couch and in your car. Try lying on your back and drawing and presenting to the target. On your stomach. Side to side from your back or stomach…. If you have some grappling, consider moving through those positions with the weapon out, and then drawing the weapon somewhere in the movement. Following proper dry fire protocols, Virus Time is an excellent opportunity to put yourself in some of these positions and get practice that you wouldn’t normally be able to, or even are prohibited from doing. Try doing these with long guns as well. For a real treat, figure out falling with a gun in your hand – can you do a forward roll? A back fall?
We are limited only by our imaginations.