It has been a couple of years since the last time I practiced any kind of martial arts. About four years ago I was selected to attend and graduated the Marine Corps Instructor of Martial Arts program. This 8 week long course was, one of the hardest physical feats I have ever managed. Even though the purpose of the course was to teach a particular fighting technique, it is fair to say that this was a purely a physical endurance course and I thrived in this ultra-intense environment. We had little sleep, little food and as much running, climbing and fighting you could handle from sun up to sun down. Now that I’m in the civilian world, opportunities like this are hard to come by, so I jump at the chance to challenge myself. I’m in police academy right now and one of my fellow students, Stacey (who is a man,) is a retired pro-fighter and still runs a martial arts gym. He extended an open invitation to us to come to his gym and get some follow on training and personal attention. I jumped at the opportunity.
I got there about 30 minutes earlier than we were expected. Part of that is the whole Marines are painfully early for everything, but the other part of it was the typical Cro-magnum man in me that wanted to size up my competition. At first I watched a couple of sparing sessions, with both female and male fighters training. I loved it, who wouldn’t? Eye of the Tiger immediately started playing in my head. Before you know it I felt like Bruce Buffer was calling my name and I was about to make my UFC debut. This quickly was greatly intensified as Stacey brought us into the other room and grabbed a set of hand wraps and starts wrapping my hands. All this positive energy came to an abrupt end when we actually started training.
We started off simple a basic 1, 2 punch, and then we threw in a rear leg kick. Hey, no worries I was slaying this 150lb bag. In a fighting gym you train for how you are going to fight, so you spar, lift, run, jump rope, box jump, sledge hammer slams, wall ball shots….whatever it is you put out maximum effort for three minutes and get one minute rest. All of this is controlled by a buzzer and a series of beeps; you also get a 30 second warning, before your 3 minute push is over. I learned to loathe these beeps. After a few rounds of this we coved basic knee strikes, push kick and elbow strike. Then we were turned to our own devices to try to work in our own combo’s of everything we have learned that day. The room we were training in was about 20 feet wide and 100 feet long there are heavy bags evenly placed in two rows from front to back with about 5 feet in-between each bag. There are two other classmates of mine who decided to come as well and on the bag next to me is one of his female fighters.
Compared to my classmates I am more than holding my own, however the girl behind me is making me look like I am playing patty cake. The more I struggle to compete with her, the worse I am getting. I consider myself to be in great shape, but in no way am I in fighting shape. Each strike pulls more and more oxygen out of me and each combo is a cause to bend at the waist, and put my hands on my knees pleading for air. I look at the clock and realized that I am only 25 minutes into the workout. We go for another 20 minutes or so, by the end it looks like I am giving the heavy bag some form of Swedish massage. I covered in sweat, my legs and arms are burning, and it feels like I just ran a 10 k. We ended, with hand cuffing techniques and noncompliance take downs.
This is not for everybody I understand that, but if you ever want to try a new work out or just enjoy being completely useless for the rest of the day, give a martial arts gym a try. Do any of you do any training like this or practice a fighting discipline? If so what kind and what is your routine like?