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Scrap heap solo training part one

Concept and basic execution

Scrap Heap training 1-

Solo training for anywhere that you need to scrap a session together from a heap of nothing.

For whatever reason one can find themselves in the need to punch out a solo and improvised training session. Whether you are on holiday, trapped at home, on location somewhere that does not allow you access to a relevant gym, in prison, in the midst of winter or whatever the case may be, you will find some times where you simply have to train on your own.

I have spent many hours solo training, most of my training, before and during my professional fight career was done on my own and with less than stellar conditions at hand. One can use their location and isolation as a condemning reality or they can embrace it and make best of what is available.

The training sessions which I am going to provide snippets of are for the OBJECTIVE minded. That meaning that the focus is for conditioning and technical practice relevant to a specific goal or objective. These trainings may have a subjective benefit but this is not the principle focus. It is important that before you train you ask yourself what your determined goal-goals are. If you want to shed some kilograms, get buff or look pretty then move on. The internet and fitness world is full of pills, potions, diets, programs and promises for you. This old war horse’s opinions and experiences are not for you.

Before you train, whether individual sessions, camps or as a general approach you should adhere to some clear objectives. Those that are easily reached and some that are less than tangible. These objectives need for the purpose of what I wish to share to be performance based. That meaning relevant to combat, sport or self-preservation in the heat of violence.

The most important element to those three above mentioned is mind set. You need to accept the savage reality of violence. It is as the name suggests, VIOLENT. In order to survive it and prepare for it you need to be violent. This does not mean being a bully or a brute, one needs a personal philosophy so as to prevent them from being that which they so seek to destroy. You have to cultivate within yourself the mind state and physical ability to react and conduct yourself with assertion should you need to when reality gets vicious. In your training you need to always remind yourself that somewhere, none to distant, lurks those which would defile you, violate you and kill you and your loved ones should a perverse opportunity allow them to do so. It is with this honest intention in mind that you should train with diligence and void of any self-deceptions which pollute the ego and process.

I shall begin with a most basic outline of a home session.

The importance of these sessions is not in general fitness but in one’s own skill and ability. The focus is on developing, refining and maintaining skills and techniques while also reinforcing attributes in the mix such as calisenthics for strength and conditioning, flexibility and mobility as well as working the various energy systems needed.

So when I say that this first session is a basic or elementary one, it is assumed not that you are unfit and have poor fitness. That is not my concern nor consideration. What matters for me is your mind set and SKILL set. This is why it is an introduction to a basic approach-concept while not indulging in anything super complicated or ‘hard’ to drill. It also assumes that you are of general good mobility. I am not discriminating but the bottom session needs to be modified should you have missing limbs, no thorax or missing a head.

The goal while throwing combative techniques is efficiency and not to burn yourself out or to go through the motions for the sake of it. Each one has to be combat effective or as best practiced as possible. Do not view this as a work out or exercise for the sake of moving vigorously. If you want that then please jump up and down and swirl your arms around for an hour. This is TRAINING and as mentioned above it entails specific elements of conditioning and practice.

I personally think that training for an X amount of movements is more important than training for Y period of time. When you train for time you find that surviving the clock and moving with little purpose is the outcome. It is better to perform a fewer actions well and as perfect as possible than to throw yourself about erratically for numerous actions over a specific time period, just to say that you ‘did X many rounds’. It is also handy to have these minor goals within the greater training session. So you can say while you are exhausted, “I just have to do five more perfect kicks before I rest.” As opposed to…”Two more minutes to go ! Oh I guess I will just move around and conserve energy some more.”

It is important that while training with partners that you can spar, wrestle, grapple and drill for rounds of x minutes, according to your sport of to satisfy the realities of a training schedule. But should you do bag work, striking drills, move practice etc it is often better to perform the actions at match winning perfect level for as many times as needed. The goal being to extend the amount of moves you do with as much efficiency. With a mind not merely on power, speed and conditioning but on technical nuances and form.

While a fight may be scheduled for 5 x 5min rounds or what have you, you can win this match inside of a minute. While you may go the full five minute rounds, it is obviously more preferable to go for less than this so you can go home sooner and eat pizza and mud cake. This is why you spar those long rounds and wrestle-grapple for as many rounds as needed to help get you working for this time period with sparring partners and under as relevant conditions as possible. But while performing move practice and drills it is better to practice match-fight winning actions as best as possible for as many realistic repetitions as possible. Do not set too higher reps before a break or switch in drills this is just as it is unrealistic and not necessary to do. Set tight, clean and sharp groupings with as many sets as you need to do.

So an example would be.

Say you have a heavy bag, you wish to throw 1000 punches during the session at fight relevant levels.

Doing 1000 punches in a row is unrealistic and unlikely. So one can pre plan their session by writing down something like this as follows
(assuming you start from orthodox stance ie left side leading)
20 jabs
20 Jab Cross
20 Cross Left Hook
10 jab cross left hook
10 Jab Right Hook Left hook
10 right hook left hook
10 double jab right cross
10 cross left hook right hook
10 right crosses

So one run through of this would be 250 punches. If one was to repeat this three more times, then they would manage the 1000 punches/
Now here is the important part where objectivity and mind-set kicks in. It is not enough to simply stand in front of the bag and spit these out. One must move around the bag, enter into range and blast the bag.

Add to that you should not simply throw all head shots; body punches also need to be added in. While also taking into account defensive movement such as slipping, weaving and blocking. One can also have the objective whereby they decide to set up clinches and body lock after each combination. Or that they wish to stay mobile and avoid the bag touching them other than with their fists.

The mind-set that each one of these strikes and combinations need to be fight relevant. You cannot load up on your punches and make each one a tight exaggerated action, nor can you caress the bag delicately like it’s a lover and especially avoid pushing your fists at it. Punching is its own skill and there exist a dictionary full of different punch intensities and variations.

You can also infuse these punches with switching stances ie doing one set as south paw. One set with kicks in the mix, or elbows and so on and so forth. The training is not simply about fisting the bag one thousand times but is about developing yourself as a better fighter. You are not just getting punches and the conditioning related to heavy bag work out of this, you are also able to improve your footwork, head movement, angles, level changes and so on so long as you treat each action as a segment of a fight.

So with that example in mind here is a basic outline of a home scrap heap training that can be attempted by you or adjusted so as to better fit your needs. Just as you saw in the above example you also can make subtle and extreme changes so as to not recite the same actions over and over again. This is all assuming you have some technical and combative skill and you are not injured.

For this opening scrap heap battle training we simply need you and an open space, whether indoors or outside. A mirror is also ideal but one can use their own shadow or a glassy reflective surface (window, TV screen, glass of picture frame etc) or no reflection at all. It helps to view yourself while throwing strikes or performing techniques so you can pick up your flaws and defects while also observing tells. Such tells may be as common as shaking your fist before punching, pressing gloves together before a combination, lifting a foot before you kick, displacing your weight from one side to the other before an attack as some examples.

Defects and flaws may be such motions as dropping your right hand while throwing a left hook, lifting your chin high mid action, chicken winging your arms before during or after an action, punching from the hip, leaning over one foot and so on and so forth.

This is a general out layer. If you want to focus on just boxing, add more hands and drop the rest. Kick boxing, add more kicks and less sprawls. This is for you to custom according to your basic needs. You are not getting married to it and it is not a religious tome so please adapt it accordingly.

For all of the mentioned combative actions ( ie jab, cross or punch, kick, etc) do not stand still and throw these one after the other. Hit and move, mix up the tempo and cadence. Do not be a robot. There is no rush or best time to complete this session. Certainly execute the actions with speed and precision but do not ejaculate them out with no point of reference. This is about improving and enhancing or at least maintaining skills and attributes.

Scrap Heap Training 1
Warm up with some basic mobility and joint rotations. This I shall leave to you. Leave the heavy stretching for the end. Light motions and range of motion actions are better than static stretching while cold.
The meat of the session.
The numbers of each action is best determined by you. Do more, do less. This is up to your own situation and condition. The number 10 is a starting point.

10 Jab Crosses
-each combination must be battle ready, alternate to southpaw and orthodox if you like.

10 push ups
-make these as exotic or as generic as you please

10 leg Check, rear knee strike

-This can be both a combative action but is mostly done to engage the lower half.

10 Elbow to knee sit ups

-Use your abdominals, don’t cheat yourself.

10 Jab Cross Lead round house kick

-Fast hands and savage kick on this one, take his head, liver or leg. It’s up to you.

10 Push Ups, to hip heist.

-Perform a push up, then switch one hip and legs up to the direction of an arm one arm stays on ground the other lifts (images shall follow but I suggest you check what a wrestlers hip heist looks like to get the idea) This does not need to be a heist it can be a sprawl or some other variant action.

10 Upper cut rear, lead hook, rear straight
— Be violent, up around and through. This can be from breaking the clinch, rarely as a naked lead but indulge in the action of the feet and shoulders more than the specifics of the fists.

10 knee to chest jumps

-basically jump and bring your knees up as high as you can go, make sure your feet go back to the ground before you land.
10 jab rear round house kicks

-Fast jab and a mighty round house kick, preferably high. Take a head off (their head, not yours).

10 Reverse or forward rolls

-Only do this if the ground allows for it. Mobility and grounded agility is important.

10 Sprawls back to feet blast them with three punches.

-Do a real sprawl not a bodycombat spandex fitness industry sprawl. Turn the hip, be fast and sudden, get to your feet with balance and form and engage as quick as possible. Do not be erratic. Erratic is not fast. It is unco on some speed.

10 push ups, turn and sit up

-Basic push up, roll to one side onto your back perform a sit up and repeat.

10 Buzzes

-Buzzing takes some skill and understanding of kinetic linkage. But basically throw 4–6 fast punches while jogging on each one, then at the end throw a kick and repeat so…one would be 4–6 punches 1 kick

Shadow box, move around and throw some basic movements that you want to focus on and repeat the training two more times. This is more about kinetic linkage, balance and bursting the energy systems.
I suggest that you perform each run three times. You can up it to as many as you like while also injecting your own actions. You can increase the number of actions in each set or decrease. This is up to you. For example, do 10 reps for the warm up round, 15 for the main body and decline down to 12 on the home stretch. Or do 20, 16, 4, 8, 22 whatever number tickles your hat.

This is a basic outline. The goal is not to rest between ‘stations’ but to focus on completing each action with combat effectiveness as possible while performing the calisenthics properly and not recklessly. You do not have to sprint every action but at the same time wandering off to make a coffee is also too pedestrian.

After you have gone through it, have a stretch and cool down. Stretch properly and relax those muscles. Have some water and protein. Have a shower and dry off afterwards.


End of Part One.

Kym Robinson, Feb 2016

Published inAll Articles and EssaysCombat Sports and Fighting