Training to Perfection

If we are feeling fit we have more confidence in our abilities, we have more energy to do the things we want to do in our training, work and at home, and we can live a healthier life. Don’t forget the along with the training comes the diet as well because it is true; you are what you eat.


BY WEBSTER: able to bend without breaking; not stiff or rigid; easily bent; pliant.

Understanding that warming up the muscles and ensure they are flexible before class and right after class (during the cool down phase) is critical to preventing injury. Stretching is the way we ensure that the muscles are ready to perform. When stretching ensure that you work slowly and never bounce. Bouncing can expand the muscle past its limitations a possibly injure the muscle. For more information on flexibility and how to stretch in detail go to Stretching to your full potential!


1. The state or quality of being strong: force; power; vigor;
2. The power to resist strain, stress, etc.; toughness; durability;
3. The power to resist attack; impregnability.

Just practicing your blocks, punches and kicks in the air alone does not build up the strength of an individual. You must work strength building exercises to increase your ability. for example:


Do pushups in a variety of ways. Do knuckles, finger tip, arms wide, arms equal to your shoulders, diamond pushups (that is when you form a diamond with your 2 index fingers touching and your 2 thumbs touching, and your hands should be on the floor right below your mid section). If advanced you may want to do handstand pushups or put your feet up on a chair and do your pushups (a training partner on his hands and knees may be used to replace a chair).

Pull ups and Chin ups:

Pull-ups are done with your palms of your hands away from you and chin ups are done with your palms toward you. When doing either you should work sets of 10 or what is called pyramids. Pyramids are done by first doing one pull-up, then two, then three working your way up to 10 and then back down. You can also do pushups in between each set of pull ups or chin ups. Don’t expect to be able to do 10 right away. If you only make it to 5 and then back down to 1 you are doing good and with work you can make it up to 10.


Dips can be done either with dip bars at the gym, by using chairs, or by using a bench with the feet on the ground. When using the dip bars try to go all the way down and then back up and try to do sets of 10. If you can not do dips on the bars then to increase your strength so that you can increase your ability either do them on 3 chairs ( 1 chair for the feet and one chair for each hand), or use a bench and have your feet on the floor. Remember try to work sets of 10 or 20 as you can handle it.


When you work squats ensure that you don’t go to far down so as to have you thighs go below horizontal with the knees. This puts excessive pressure on the knee and can cause problems in the future. Try to do sets of 25 to 50. Do them in a shoulder width stance and also in a wide stance (horse stance).

Weight Lifting:

Weight training will definitely help you increase your strength. Ensure you take precautions when lifting and ask for help at your local gym from a qualified instructor if you have never lifted before. When lifting it is important to work slow and do each repetition (reps) correctly. Work lots of reps and sets ( 4 or 5 sets of 10) of each exercise. This will actually work both Strength and Endurance and definitely will help your training. Always ensure that you stretch before and after lifting just like any other training that you do.

Abdominal (The Stomach):

Don’t forget that your strength in your techniques comes from the center of your body. This means it is important to have strong abdominal muscles. Spend time every class working crunches and other related ab exercises. It will help increase the strength of all of your techniques and not to mention if you take a good kick or punch to the midsection it will cause a lot less damage.


1. Ability to last, continue, or remain.
2. Ability to stand pain, distress fatigue, etc.; fortitude.

To gain endurance one must work special training. Here are some examples.


Running is an excellent way to start. When running you should vary your distances and speeds. Work wind sprints to increase your capability to burst with power and speed as well as increase your endurance.

Kick Sprints:

You can also work sprints in to your karate training by working kick sprints. Start on one side of the dojo and kick across the dojo using all different types of kicks. Stop do some pushups (10 – 20 or more) get up and kick across the other way. Increase your time as you can. Start at 5 minutes and work up to 20 minutes.

Modified Basics:
One training method that I like to use is the modified basics. This training method is where you do the 25 basics with pushups (when working the kicking portion) or kicks (when working punching or blocking portion) in between each one of the 25 basic techniques. Mix up the types of kicks you do; front, side, roundhouse, spinning back, front 45, etc. and mix up the types of pushups; knuckles, hands, diamond, close grip, wide grip, finger tip, etc.. Remember in this workout you want to keep things moving so don’t try to correct every mistake your student is making because that will slow down the effectiveness of the workout and you are trying to keep the heart rate up.

Bo Hops:

A good way to develop endurance in the legs for kicking is to have 2 students or some sort of support hold a BO about knee height. Keeping the feet no wider than shoulder width apart jump over the BO. You can do these in repetitions of 10 or 20 and 3 to 5 sets depending on how advanced one is.

There are many other techniques for building the overall Karateka and I will continue to add items that I use as time goes on. The key is continually working on your Flexibility, Strength and Endurance to get the most out of your physical abilities, but don’t forget you must also incorporate the true spirit into your training combining the heart, mind, and body as one a you will attain true perfection in your art.