What are you training for ?


I like a good “piss take” as much as the next bloke. Even though I’m not a bloke…..I sometimes like a giggle at someone’s expense, even if that person is myself .Cuz I’m an Aussie…..and that’s how we roll. We aren’t afraid to laugh at ourselves. Now perhaps it’s just the circles that I am involved in, but it does feel like at the moment, there is a lot of ‘memes’ circulating the social media traps about different types of training within both the martial arts, and fitness industries. I of course have shared more than a couple of these ‘memes’ as they are often what I think are quite funny, and very witty.  Sometimes however, I stop and look and think….now hang on a minute – fair suck of the sav mate (wicked expression don’t ya think ! )

One of those such times was during training a couple of weekends ago. Something I had seen recently on Facebook came to mind while I was lunging backwards down a ramp I had just sprinted up for the 6th time, and I got to thinking. It’s all about work ethic. Every training style must have merit or nobody would do it. Each individual chooses that particular method of defence, fighting, self improvement or fitness regime for their own particular reason. And that reason may not be it’s makers original intention, but important and valid for this person nonetheless. So we must not judge that person or that training style before we know what these reasons are, and then again, perhaps we shouldn’t be judging at all anyway.

Unless we ourselves are involved in that particular sport or training type…how we can possibly hope to judge the level of another persons training. Of course, there are always going to be the extreme examples…….like a Facebook post I saw recently with a young man thrusting an ezicurl bar fwd and back with dance like footwork. It looked like he was training to get more power in his rave…and see this is what I mean….if that’s what he was doing…then hey…..maybe that’s the best way !  Of course this video did make laugh and I didn’t think what he was doing was safe to say the least. In terms of body building or any hopes of Hypertrophy it was a waste of time, He didn’t do it long enough to reap any significant cardiovascular or stamina gains and well….I can’t really see the what or the why…but does that really matter  ? If he is getting what he wants out of training, who am I to judge ?

And then comes the sticky part. The grey area. That bit where the Crossfitters bag out the Body Builders , the Gymnasts pick on the power lifters, the Karateka’s judge the Kickboxers, the Boxers the Muay Thai, The boot campers v’s the obstacle racers and the Marathon runners the Ironmen and  MMA versus the world and Vice Versa.  I’m not trying to settle any arguments here because really I don’t think there is one.  No one style of training can be right.  An easy example is the Kipping V’s the Clean Full Form Pull Up. Now, if you are training to achieve not only high rep ranges to max out your Aerobic (and maybe even anaerobic) systems then the cross fit style of kipping pull-ups is definitely going to help you achieve that aim. Of course, the muscles don’t quite work the same way they do with a full form pull up, but well….that’s not the goal here is it. Nope, Max gains are not going to happen and yeah….it might be considered cheating by old school enthusiasts’, but have the nay sayer’s tried the Kipping ?  I have- and I suck at it. There is a certain amount of rhythm you must develop and I think different muscles are recruited through your core to do this. So maybe there are gains to be had after all, albeit not perhaps those intended for targeting with a pullup. Then I think of thing’s like maybe Move Nat &  Parkour (free running) and that type of training .  If you need to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible – or run away from an attacker say….and you knew how to kip……then maybe when you needed to run and jump and climb a tree it would be far easier. Then…..when you needed to scale a wall or a fence….perhaps a static dead hang pull up would be your best training. I just think that before a training style is attacked, then end goal must be considered.

So now….fighting. In reality, there is one goal. To beat the opponent and win. There are so many styles here and MMA has come a way’s in bringing this argument to the fore. It has however also shown no doubt that it’s the people behind the styles and their own abilities and strengths which come into play too. Not every BJJ practitioner wins all fights . Some great stand up competitors dominate rounds over Grapplers and the like.  It’s my belief that good MMA fighters must have knowledge of other styles, but they need that one that they are great at. The one which makes them who they are as a fighter and that is what they focus their training on. So……can anyone really say one training style over another is better ? I think a lot of it comes down to the person. There are millions of Kung Fu students, but none of them are Bruce Lee. So….you can’t judge the style by grabbing Joe Bloggs from the local Wing Chun School and put them up against Manny Pacquiao and say that will settle the argument between which is better. Kung Fu or Boxing. The only way to really know this…..is if say Mohammed Ali was equally a good Karate student as he was Boxer. Then …pit him against himself. Maybe then we’d know !

And then, one must consider that Martial Arts in a controlled environment is much more different than the street. I’m not for one minute going to pretend that I’ve ever been in a really dangerous situation in the street. I’ve never had a bar brawl or been attacked…but I have had times where I have had to defend myself and or use some real life skills and the game changes. Dramatically. Now you are going to need some street smarts, and some knowledge that you will never find in a dojo or gym. You are also going to have to know what fear feels like , or perhaps even rage and what that does to your perception and will. Hmmm…….so what are we training for again ?

But….I digress slightly from my original topic. We cannot judge another’s training. There is no way to measure their “how” against their  “why” because will we ever really know ? and also…we first must know their abilities and limits. And that brings me to my conclusion in a way. I think the only thing we an analyse is a person’s training ethic. Are they doing the best they can ? Are they giving it their all ? Are they asking the right questions of themselves whilst training? Are they researching their why and adjusting their how ? Now these thing’s we can look at and pass judgement if we wish…however….before we do that…..maybe we should do the same to ourselves.

This really could have been a more indepth look at this topic…but seriously I’m not trying to write a thesis.  I just like to provoke thought by telling you some of my own.  I hope it resonates with you.