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The Karate Tournament Competitor's Guide to Success : Part TWO

August 3, 2011 08:00 PM

Gary Music Article
In Part One we looked at the relationship between the kettlebell and kata. This time we’ll look at how to structure your training for tournament success.
The Schedule
You have four workouts performed on separate days; shoot for at least 5 workouts a week, up to six is fine as long as you are not lifting to failure. Give yourself at least one day to rest your mind and body.
How you schedule the workouts depends totally on the tournament date. We will look at a year; I will use my normal tournament season. AAU nationals is always near July 4th weekend, the state qualifier will usually be early to late spring. For our schedule let’s call the state championship 1 May. I will run the schedule up to the state championship, simply back off the national competition day and apply the same schedule.
To make this easy let’s start training on August 1st.
Look at the following periods of time as sharpening a knife. Off season training is using the grinding wheel, pre-season training is using the sharpening stones, in season training is using the leather strap to make yourself razor sharp. Pre-tournament rest, put the knife in the scabbard, and you are ready to fight.
August – Jan 1st = Off season training
Jan 1st – April 7th = pre season
April 15th – April 28th = in season preparation
April 29, 30 = Pre – tournament rest
May 1st = State championship
Off Season Training Per Week
2 Strength practice sessions
2 Speed practice sessions
1 Explosive practice session
1 Sparring practice session
1 rest day
Do not do two identical practice session two days in a row. Alternate the sessions. Here is an example using Sunday as your off day. I would cycle the workouts this way using the following:
First week 6 practice sessions; second week 5 practice sessions. Drop the speed session on the 5 day work week. This will prevent burn out. Also use your instincts, if you need rest take it. Only drop the sparring day if you are injured and cannot spar.
Sunday: rest day
Monday: Sparring
Tuesday: Strength
Wednesday: Speed
Thursday: Explosive
Friday: Speed
Saturday: Strength
Pre Season Training
Now it is time to increase the sparring and maintain the strength. You will actually continue to get stronger during pre-season on this program.
We will now be doing 2 sparring workouts per week, everything is scheduled around sparring. This will also give you extra kata training if you compete in kata.
You may still follow the 6 day/5 day/2 week cycling strategy. If you drop a day on week two drop the strength day.
Week 1
Sunday: rest day
Monday: Sparring
Tuesday: Strength day
Wednesday: Speed day
Thursday: Explosive day
Friday: Sparring
Saturday: Explosive day
Week 2
Sunday: rest day
Monday: Sparring
Tuesday: Strength
Wednesday: Speed day
Thursday: Explosive
Friday: Sparring
Saturday: Speed day
In Season Preparation
In season preparation should be at least two weeks but no longer than 3 weeks. We drop back to a 5 day work week with two rest days. We are doing this to peak in skill, agility, strength, and power. You will now completely drop strength day. Pavel tells us in "Return of the Kettlebell we will retain grind strength for approximately 30 days. We will use this knowledge to free up time for specific sport training and still retain the strength we have been building all year.
Now we have to look at the tournament date and work backwards. Most tournaments are on Saturday.
Let’s run a three week cycle so you can see at least two full weeks of scheduling. I realize this does not line up with our schedule exactly but just use your common sense to adapt it to your particular situation.
Sunday: Rest
Monday: Sparring
Tuesday: Explosive
Wednesday: Sparring
Thursday: Speed
Friday: Sparring
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Rest
Monday: Sparring
Tuesday: Explosive
Wednesday: Sparring
Thursday: Speed
Friday: Sparring
Saturday: Rest
Tournament week
Sunday: Rest
Monday: Sparring
Tuesday: Explosive
Wednesday: Sparring
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Compete and take home your gold medal!
Words of wisdom from those who have been there--
"Your competition is probably working just as hard" Gary Harris, Taekwondo Master
"First make yourself unbeatable then go to war" Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Good luck and "Power to You" as Pavel would say.
Note 1. Always practice a backup kata in case of a tie in scoring. Most tournaments will require you to perform a different kata. Even if they don't, you will usually score better if you have an alternate kata to perform. Even if you don't compete in kata still practice kata at the beginning of the sparring practice session this will increase your coordination, speed and focus.
Note 2. Round length of the workouts is 1 minute longer than your competition rounds. The last week prior to the competition, practice rounds the same length as your next competition. This will help you peak physically and improve your ring sense. Don't worry about losing your conditioning during the last two weeks, as Pavel states in "Return of the Kettlebell" endurance strength will last 15 days + or – three days.
Note 3. Why shadow box on speed day? When you hit the different bags you rarely will miss. However, when you spar an opponent of equal or greater ability you will miss often. Shadow boxing helps you to recover from a miss, improves balance, increases speed and also enables you to work around the ring improving ring sense and footwork. Hitting bags with no shadow boxing will make the fighter tight, off balance and slow.
Note 4. Most karate tournaments simply tape off a ring on the floor. You will do the same thing for your training.
Note 5. During explosive practice day if you know how to do the one arm snatch alternate this with swings.
Note 6. This workout will provide a good base for conditioning for the HKC and RKC. Check the Dragon Door forum for specific strength tests and testing lifts. If you are training for a challenge, change to an appropriate kettlebell workout no later than 2 months out from the challenge or certification. This is a specific workout for tournament karate or taekwondo preparation. However, it is strenuous enough to prepare you for an HKC or RKC.
Note 7. Use your instincts to cycle, I have appropriate rest days built in. But if you feel the need, take a day off.
Note 8. On your rest day once or twice per week I suggest 5 minutes of cossacks or goblet squats. Go easy this is rest day. These exercises are simply for active recovery.
Note 9. Advanced kettlebell men may substitute things like pistols, double snatches and jerk presses where appropriate. I recommend only using ballistics when super setting with rounds. I recommend strikers stick to one arm lifts, grappler's two arm lifts, if you do both mix it up.
Note 10. If you compete in weapons competition I would practice my weapons kata on rest day. You could also add several reps of weapons kata at the beginning of sparring day.
Recommended Books and Articles for proper completion of this program.
I don't recommend trying to read all this literature before you start this program, but the following books will enable you to properly implement many of the concepts used to structure the Cheese and Wine tournament strategy.
Gary Music: 36 Principles of Shurite Kempo, this is a handout available through the Shurite Kempo Technique Association. It is only sold to members of this association. Contact Gary Music for details.
Bill Wallace: Karate Basic Concepts and Skills, Dynamic Kicking & Stretching and The Ultimate Kick.
RKCs' and HKCs' may also want to refer to their training manual.

Sensei Gary Music began training in Sang Moo Kwan Taekwondo in 1973 at the age of 13. Sang Moo Kwan Taekwondo is an offshoot of Shotokan Karate-do. Sensei Music attained a rank of first Dan in 1976 at the Gary Harris Taekwondo Institute in Mansfield Ohio. Gary began weight training at this time with his father, James Commodore Music, (101’st Airborne WWII and Korean war Vet) who also taught Mr. Music boxing, shooting and survival skills. These skills were later honed in the military as a USAF aviator and parachute rigger specialist, Officer Music retired in 2002.
During Sensei Music's 22 years in the military he traveled worldwide searching out instructors in Japan, Okinawa, Korea, Philippines and Thailand honing his hard style striking skills and becoming one of the countries leading authorities on old style kata training and advanced bunkai. Sensei Music also holds a black belt in Ju-jitsu, training with notable instructors such as Dr. Don Smith (taught by Don Dreager at the Kodokan) and John Saylor founder of Shin Gi Tai Ju-jitsu. Sensei Music’s primary instructors are the noted Aikido and Karate Master Vic Louis, Kempo Master the late Stan Hart, kicking master and fighter the legendary Bill Wallace.
Sensei Music continued his study of Karate-Do to this day attaining 6th Dan ranking in Shotokan Karate-Do and Taekwondo. He also is ranked at 6th Dan in Shurite Kempo, and is the Chief Instructor for the Shurite Kempo Technique Association and the Ohio Kettlebell Club in Shiloh, Ohio. Sensei Music began studying Shurite Kempo with the late Sensei Stan Hart in 1984. All of Sensei Music’s rank is certified through the AIKA.
Mr. Music’s kettlebell training began 6 years ago in his basement as a self training hobby. In 2009 Sensei Music decided to search out the leading authority on kettlebells and receive formal training from Pavel Tsatsouline and the RKC staff. He is now a cert I instructor in hardstyle kettlebell training, and training for a cert II level.