Five Ideas To Make Solo Training More Interesting

By Lena Varuolo
Published on Jan 15th, 2012

Recently, I moved from my comfy little apartment in a small town to a major metropolitan city. This move posed a number of challenges for me; first and foremost, it moved me 2 1/2 hours from my marital arts coach and training partners. Twice a month, I make the trip back to my old home town to get a lesson from my coach, but this isn't enough to keep my skills fresh. I've searched for local schools that teach the art I study, but to no avail. So, now I do the majority of my training on my own. Training on my own was once a supplement to my lessons and partner training, not the meat and potatoes of my practice, that it is now.

As I've journeyed down this solo training path, I discovered a few things that helped inspire me to train. Maybe these ideas can aid you too.

  1. Grab training time whenever you can! I've found that with my new job and long commute, it can be difficult to set time aside in the evening to train; so I train everywhere. Seriously, in the car, in the bathroom, at my desk, walking the dog --- you get the picture. Take an idea or principle and work on it. For instance, at a stoplight, I'll work on Method Set, working on proximal movement. Walking down stairs, I'll work on maneuvering (a wonderful way to work on constant head level and crossovers). On the street, I constantly look for viable targets on passing strangers, and in my mind's eye, I’ll go through a series of defensive moves. I've been known to go through a form or set in the bathroom at work. The idea is to get as much training in throughout the day, just in case I can't get to train in a block of time at home.
  2. Let the music move you! For me, nothing will keep me moving more than playing music while I train. The style, tempo and volume of the music will vary depending on what my focus is for the training session
  3. Get inspired! A little inspiration goes a long way in maintaining your motivation. People find inspiration for their art from many sources. I'm lucky. I have a group of friends that relate to this passion. I can always talk about my art with them whether by phone, e-mail, Facebook, etc. Discussing an idea, principle, or just how training is going inspires me and makes me want to train more. I also find watching a kick-butt, action flick or a martial arts movie inspires me. This is especially helpful during those times when it takes a lot of effort to get myself off the couch and motivated.
  4. Train using a mirror. This can help you catch potential bad habits and let you see where you are improving.
  5. Take a break. Everyone needs to rest the body to keep that inner fire from burning out. I find after I’ve taken a break, when I come back to training; I have more energy and an increase in motivation. Remember though, just because your body is resting, doesn't mean you’re required to shut off your brain. I read, research, or write on my days off. I always have a martial arts book or self defense book with me at all times. You never know when you can read a few more pages.

These are just some tools I use to keep myself training. If you have any methods that work for you, I'd love to hear them.

Filed under Techniques and Tutorials

Author Bio :: Lena Varuolo

Lena Varuolo has studied the martial arts for over a decade. She began competing internationally in 2006 at the International Karate Championships in Holland. Lena earned her black belt in Ed Parker's Kenpo in October of 2007. Since then, she has taught seminars in Ireland, as well as Bethany Beach, Delaware. Ms. Varuolo is a member of the Association of Women Martial Arts Instructors and National Women's Martial Arts Federation.

When Lena is not training or teaching, she is the director of Information Technology for the Martial Arts Learning Community.

She is the owner of Eclipse Web Service. As liaison for her business, Lena has taught over a dozen seminars on various types of computer software. Lena holds a degree in music, specializing in classical and jazz trombone and has been performing for 30 years. In addition to her martial arts teaching, Lena teaches both computer skills and trombone privately. Lena believes her music training compliments her martial arts

Lena is also the founder of Defense Awareness and regularly conducts Defense Awareness seminars. She works to empower people - especially women and others targeted for abuse and assault.

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