Friday to Sunday we went to Bielatal for the annual training camp of our Karate Club. Through contacts we had the chance to stay in a small house with a fire place in the woods. We put up our heavy bag between two trees, settled down our gear, got a snack and got started with our first training unit.
After some warming up with exercises from Tai Chi Chuan and Xingyi, Peter showed us a Tai Chi Chuan form called “sparrow’s tail” and we tried our best to follow his commands. The “standing tree” though, was the most memorable exercise in the training session (for the most part the next morning).
Especially for us in full contact, such a glance into the inner martial arts and the physically relaxing balance is always really enjoyable and interesting. After all a fighter needs to train not only his body but also his mind.
On saturday morning we did some combination training with heavy bag and pads; in the afternoon street fight and knife defense were addressed. On sunday morning we finished the training camp with some joint locks and Kyusho as well as a small fitness part to burn off the rest of our energy.
There are some key points that cannot come up short in a training camp. The first are food and rest. If you want the students to give it their all, the food needs to be good and plenty. And of course there has to be enough time to digest. Happy, replete and well rested you can expect the best results. Because training units follow shortly one after another, it is hard to give the body all the nutrients it needs to regenerate only through the normal food. Therefore we provide protein shake as nutritional supplement. Since our training camp in Brasil we love to make a simple but delicous shake. You simply put the following ingredients into your blender and let it run for about 1 minute: 1 litre of low fat milk, 5 bananas and 4 tablespoons of chocolate protein powder. Bon appétit!
The second key point is a well planned, well communicated and hard enforced organization. When a schedule is not communicated and/ or not adhered to, everyone will start to let their thoughts wander off in the middle of training since nobody knows what is next. If the schedule fits, concentration on the training comes easily to everyone.
The third key point are thematically cohered training units. During a training camp you should not, like during regular training, work on details or sessions that build on one another with time. It is important that the whole process from basic technique through partner exercise, form and application to the reality based situation is addressed. That way students are able to see the bigger picture of a topic, while the coaches can evaluate the biggest training needs in the different elements for future training sessions.
One possibility might also be to see a training camp as conclusion of the previous training year. So you can test here how much the students were able to adopt from the training and see how the exercises influenced their free work for example street fight or Kumite.
Which key points do you stress at your training camps? Which treats do you create to lift the spirits despite demanding training sessions?
Here is a little video of Hannes and I playing around between training sessions. (Aldo tried his best as a drone pilot and camera man)