The bedrock of any Karate athlete should be a solid base of training that gives them a foundation for elite Karate training (Kihon, drill training, pair training, pad/body armour/bag, proprioception drills, line up drills/sparring, point work, scenario and strategy work, combo-drills from all of the above etc. The list can go on and on. The skill is not to know the magnitude of drills and training methods but the ability to develop a Strength & Conditioning programme that complements the Karate Coaches training programme. This will interlink and cross over many times when preparing in a periodised season.

Important Note: The problem with your training programme development is that you will only know if it is truly effective once you delve into the final end of a Championships, Semi-final and Final matches. Training is all about making recovery easier and quicker. Multi-events will also mean you have a even higher level of professionalism in this area. If your National Team has few available fighters or you are ‘main stay’ athlete in the team then this will be important for these key fighters.

This you would think is obvious but this is the key thing that needs to be understood between National level training S&C and International winning training.
So let’s get to it……..

  • Training has to involve vigour and overload. To meet this objective the athlete has to be highly motivated, disciplined and mentally tough. Do not overlook this make-up to achieve the desired results in the gym. 

  • Why do all elite have athletes have a S&C coach if they can afford one? Because it’s so hard to achieve the above without one. Scan the sports and see. Why does a Floyd Mayweather have a army of supporters and helpers in the gym for work outs? Forced motivation, forced pressure and forced checks. Don’t believe this hasn’t been thought about or planned and kept to for years. 

  • You need to find the way that suits a athlete but there is no way to hide from the intensity of sessions. 

  • The question you need to ask your self is, do you know how hard an athlete should train for the top of the this sport? Once you can summarise this then work and rest ratio, variety and multi-factor overload (a combination of overloading different aspects of the systems and sensors) among other things can be put forward.

  • Use what is necessary. I come across many professionals in the area of S&C that have not developed or researched the necessary areas for using and choosing what is necessary. You do not use every available piece of kit or drill in the tool bag. The larger your tool bag then the better you should be at making decisions that are correct and productive for each session, each period and each cycle. This is the true skill of a periodised programmes. Oh, also remember this doesn’t mean anything if you don’t match this with result on the tatami. ‘Training should make prizes’. No silverware means something is wrong. The point in this blog post is make sure it is not your Conditioning!

  • Poor physical conditioning is an indication of poor decision making on the tatami. Also, poor decision making in training. If you cannot make and then execute your offensive and defensive strikes and/or strategy’s then you need to look at your training in the Dojo, BUT YOU HAVE TO BE highly developed in your Conditioning first. NOTE: Their are different levels in everything! Where do we assess your Conditioning level in the Dojo? Sparring but more importantly in point fighting. No clearer can this be seen in sparring/multi-point fighting line-ups. A bedrock of British Karate training in decades gone past. 

  • So why do you do your Fartlek, track work, lifts, endurance circuits, pad and skill acquisition training? So you can endure the sessions the Karate coach sets and develop the mental aptitude, focus, discipline that you need to make decisions in fight training. These decisions need to be made quicker and with more authority when facing a better level of opposition. 

As a coach you need to understand how to assess this and then put together a programme for success at the multi-peak international system we now have. This is the World Ranking World of Series A, Premier League, Continental and World Championships. Any Sport Karate Coach, Kumite or Kata, must have guidelines and principles to work to. If this interests you or you need to develop this area in your coaching toolbox then we will be delving into this at the World Class Sport Karate Conference on Saturday 15th June. I look forward to seeing you there.

Paul Simmons

Former Traditional Karate and Fighters Magazine Columnist

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