Monday, September 24, 2012

Discussing "Locked On"

For those that don't know, for the last year I've been working on a book for the modern martial artists out there. "Locked On: Focused Training for the Modern Warrior" is designed to help practitioners get the most out of their training. For most of us, we don't all have the 10 000 hours it takes to reach the professional standard, and in my case I would like to cut that time down even if I did! The process of writing this book was both rewarding and challenging. It was nice to relive how much I've grown as a human being from training, but on the other hand there were some demons that I had to confront again as well. There is residual post-traumatic stress, of course, but it is out-weighed by the incredible experiences that I've had and will continue to have for a long time. Here is a quick breakdown of what you can expect to find in the pages of "Locked On":

Identifying the Targets
By identifying what we hope to achieve in our training, we can focus our time in the dojo more intelligently. Training needs and motivations change all the time and through a strong support network and regular meditation, we can always make sure that we're working toward that goal. In these chapters, we discuss meditation techniques and exercises to identify what is giving us the most results in our training so that we can focus all of our time on them properly. Stick to what works. Also, with a clear vision and proper exercises we can also learn who is playing the role of supporters and non-supporters in our lives. Sometimes the truth can be shocking, so it's even more important to stop certain people from having an effect on us, while we encourage others to have more.

Just Showing Up Isn't Enough
There's no punch-card to becoming the martial artist, or even person, that we want. It's not an easy process and we can't expect to just stumble our way into enlightenment by accident. Aimless training methods just create a sense of entitlement to those who follow them. Working hard is good, but working smart is better. Taking the time breakdown the learning process of each technique will allow us to master them even faster. Physical delivery, rehearsal and pressure testing are stages of learning that should be isolated and ingrained so that all our techniques measure up to even the toughest resistance. "Steel forges steel" is the only approach that will yield honest results. If something doesn't survive this process, it's probably not worth keeping. Much of this ebook is dedicated to specific training methods that will test your entire arsenal, from casual training enthusiasts, to professional athletes, to fitness experts and even law enforcement.

Put Into Context
I also share some personal experiences of when these principals have been tested in violent crises. By working in the field of private security, I've often found myself neck-deep in chaos and finding focus isn't always easy. In some cases my life was at risk. In others, it was the life of a friend or client. In all cases there is very little time to think. Clear focus is crucial to your survival and a lot of that will come from how you train. There's no time to think, so when your training takes over the wheel, you better hope that it's been carefully tested. I wouldn't recommend a method or principal to anyone unless I've experienced it first hand. After 16 years of training, 8 years of teaching and 7 years of working in private security, I have assembled the most common survival habits that I like to focus on in my training. There are over a dozen personal stories of my experiences with violence and several case studies as well.

"Locked On" is something that I can say I'm very proud of. Early feedback from readers seems to be very positive and I'm happy to share what I've found over the years. Martial arts communities tend to get distracted with labels and traditional loyalties to certain methods, while forgetting that survival and growth are the real reasons we all train. This is reinforced early on, in the foreword that my sensei of 16 years Kevin Secours was kind enough to contribute. The ebook is about 120 pages and includes over a dozen chapters, each with a case example of that chapter's focus point. The case examples were not easy to share, but I felt they were necessary for the purpose of the book. During the outline process, my editor had to witness me fight through two anxiety attacks, so I guess it was good for me to acknowledge these events also!

I sincerely hope that reading this ebook helps you in your training as much as it did for me to write it!

Note from Jordan: For one week only, this link will give you access to a discounted version of "Locked On". Act now, click here!

Jordan Bill
Fight or Die

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

High Intensity Interval Training

This summer I've incorporated High Intensity Interval Training (H.I.I.T.) into my regular workouts and I've experienced positive results in record time! I didn't know much about it, but after a little bit of homework I started to understand how essential this kind of training really is. As a bonus, by switching from aerobic to anaerobic training, I was also able to train twice as hard in half the time! Those who know me or follow this blog regularly know that maximizing the use of my time is a huge priority for me.
My long cardio sessions have been changed to shorter and more intense sprinting sessions. Instead of a slow and steady long term run, going to full capacity for a time and then a rest period increases my resting metabolic rate for much longer after my workout, so I'm literally burning calories in my sleep! A 60 minute cardio session will burn more calories and elevate my metabolic rate for an hour or two after my workout, but by doing sprint intervals my metabolic rate stays high for one to two days! So in the long run, by keeping a high metabolic rate for longer periods, I burn more calories in the long run (pun intended).
So the idea behind this is that you push yourself into a sprint for a short period of time, followed by a rest period, then back to a sprint. This circuit continues for as many sets as you can take. I've been experimenting with how many sets I can do and how long each phase should be. Still playing with it, so no real tips on that for now. What I can tell you is that I started with a full 1 minute sprint with a 1 minute rest (jog) and tried for 10 sets like this and that was way too much for my first time. I almost got it, but paid dearly for it! I spent the rest of that day trying not to throw up and then the next three days on my couch, sore from head to toe. Don't be like me and bite off more than you can chew.
After a little more research, the experts seem to all agree on a gradual build up. Here's a simple guideline that could help you get started or step your game up.

1:3 Ratio
This is the most recommended way to start and I wish I had done the right amount of homework before starting. The 1:3 ratio refers to your sprint to rest times. I recommend going for shorter times and make your rest periods a light job, that way you never stop moving. I tried with higher sprint times, but spent most of the rest periods trying not to fall over. On your first set, you'll have the same evil thoughts I did: "man this isn't that hard". Just wait....
So an example for this ratio would be to sprint for 20 seconds and then jog for 60 seconds. That's one set and you should aim to repeat that 4 to 6 times.

1:2 Ratio
So when you start to get comfortable with the earlier ratio, you can adjust the rest time. I've personally found this to be more intense than adding sprint time. You're still going all-out in your sprint, but with less time to recover before the next set. Very difficult at first, no matter how comfortable you were with the previous ratio, as it shocks the system and sends it into panic mode. Lots of fun.
So to keep with the sample times, you'd be sprinting for 20 seconds and jogging (resting) for 40.

1:1 Ratio
This is the ratio I foolishly tried to start with, which I later found out is a goal for even very experienced runners. Back in my rugby days, we had been doing these kinds of sprint/rest drills, but I was too busy trying to survive to take note of how long we were running for. I'm now starting to suspect that we were training at a 1:1 ratio...
This is very intense and make sure to take the time to build yourself up to this.
In this case, you'd be sprinting for 20 seconds and then resting for 20 seconds each set.

The most dreaded of any kind of sprints I've ever tried or heard of. This will take your sets into a 2:1 ratio! This is a vomit-inducing killer workout that will build more lean muscle mass and burn more calories that anything else I know in only 4 minutes! Very difficult, but the results are amazing and will leave you feeling like a warrior...after a few days of recovery.
This method means you sprint for 20 seconds, rest for 10 and complete 8 sets without a break for a total of 4 minutes.

By pushing myself into H.I.I.T. I was able to lose about twenty pounds without losing any muscle mass and even dropped my body fat percentage by 6% almost instantly! Of course, not healthy workout or diet will show you results overnight, but this has been by far the fastest I've seen improvements in training! Hope this helps and good luck!

Jordan Bill
Fight or Die

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