People have the 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM grind mentality all wrong. It's all about how you're spending the 5:00 AM - 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM. Dedicating time during the day can be tough with all the usual distractions.
So much of martial arts centers around community. Although we compete individually, we are nothing without our coaches, pad holders and sparring partners. Quarantine left many of us, myself included, clueless as to how to adapt our training.
Fortunately, my training has taught me nothing, if not how to adapt. I quickly reverted to using the warm up of my very first gym: 3 rounds of skipping, separated by stretching and plyometrics, followed by 3 rounds of shadowboxing. Shadowboxing is such a crucial part of striking sports, but is often overlooked. I made sure to stay present during it, rather than going through the motions. I envisioned different types of attacks, defenses and played out fight scenarios in my head to keep my brain thinking like a fighter. Some days I would add weights to develop my power, and on others I would focus more on speed drills. I credit much of my lockdown progress to my focus on shadowboxing.
I also used the time off to focus on areas that are commonly neglected during regular training, especially as a professional athlete with a full time job. This included bodyweight exercises concentrated mostly on my rotator cuffs, core and knees. Boxers can often suffer from shoulder injuries, while the core is where all of your power is generated from so both areas need more attention than they are usually given.
My most important revelation and lesson during this quarantine has been that training alone is actually an important aspect of development, especially in areas that I am less confident in. It has allowed me to slow or break things down as needed, self correct and measure my own progress. I’m enjoying my solo training, but I still can’t wait to be back in class with my teammates!