Sunday, February 01, 2009

Urban Training: Part II

I would love to train every day, but at the moment my life is very full, with a young family and career taking up the majority of my waking hours.  Martial arts is what I do in "my time" and other interests take a back seat.

While I am working on breeding my own regular training partners they are both still too young for serious practice.

So what to do?  
Most weekday mornings I get up at 5.30 am and practice some of my hung gar kug fu sets (kata), before breakfast and work.  But I am also on the lookout for mini-training opportunities throughout my work-day.  This has the following benefits:
  • It's exercise, fun and relaxing
  • It offsets an otherwise sedentary chunk of the day, giving me energy and de-stressing
  • It helps me in my quest to apply what I learn in the martial arts elsewhere in my life
  • It helps me to rack up more "training hours"
How I do it
Each morning I drive to the local train station.  If I have to wait a while I get to do some loosening exercises.  Alternatively, if I haven't done my early morning work out I might wait until the train comes in horse stance.  Then I take the morning train into town:
I like to catch an early train so that I can get a seat and do some reading, but if I miss out on a seat standing up on the train is a good way to test my balance.  Inside the 7.10 am train:

I always walk up the long escalators from the underground city loop.

I have read that some of the Olympic Judo guys find themselves compelled to  go up the down escalator, but that's a bit demonstrative for me!  Stairs are also good:

There's also a pleasant walk to the office, downhill in the morning, but pleasingly uphill on the way home:

Because I get in so early I rarely have to share the lift (elevator in American) to the 9th floor:

I am in the habit of using the 40 seconds of privacy to practice either horse stance punching or circular punching. The mirrors help me to check my alignment.

But wait, there's more ...

Roof-top practice
Withour doubt, the training highlight of my day is roof-top practice.  Having obtained the code for access to the roof of the office building:

I was delighted to find an area ideal for a spot of lunchtime practice:

The views of the city of Melbourne are terrific:

so on most days I take 10 minutes before my lunch-break to do a couple of runs through the 1st set of hung gar kung fu, plus a few minutes of standing relaxation.  Some more views / stances: 

These photos were taken on a hot sunny day, hence the sun-glasses, shorts, sandals, and shadows.  

Among my colleagues this time when I disappear is known as "going off to fight ninjas on the roof".  Actually I am yet to spot any ninjas, or Spiderman, for that matter.  Occasionally I have also had resting window-cleaners as an (appreciative) audience.

I find that doing the set in the middle of the day results in extra energy in the early afternoon, where in the past I found I would often find my energy levels flagging.

Also: Before I go to bed at night I also try to do this set two more times.  The routine suits me, and adds up to a little bit of extra training every day, in addition to formal training in-class, even on those days when I sleep in and miss my morning work-out.

Over to you
So that's how I do it.  What do you do to weave some extra training into your day?


Michele said...

Roof-top training...awesome!

I am going to look for opportunities to incorporate mini-training sessions in my day.

Littlefair said...

(Neat and inspirational post)

For somewhat different weather conditions...

Littlefair said...

PS. Well done for getting up at 5.30! It's great to see others forging a martial arts routine in life's busy schedule...

Mark Cook said...

I spend a good portion of my day standing on one foot. Each day at lunch I do a seated meditation and progressive relaxation. When I first started doing the relaxation 12 years ago, people would stan outside my office and say "pssssst is he OK? Should we call someone?"

thinkfeldie said...

Ah: so I'm not the only nut in the pack. Good, good :P

I'll try to dig it up later, but I seem to recall reading about a kenpo guy who for his upper Dan rank was required to (a) devise ways to defend himself using just the items in his kitchen (sans cutlery) (b) Modify a kata so that it could be done using a folding chair (c) create a workout routine using just the things in his lounge-room.