How I Train Alone?

Phil Legare (48 Posts)

Dai-Shihan Legare is the recipient of 4 Bujinkan Gold Dragon Awards and the Bufu Ikkan lifetime award presented by Hatsumi Soke for martial arts excellence. Joanne Legare, Phil’s wife and a Yushu Shihan in the Bujinkan who often co-teaches at his seminars, is also the recipient of a Gold Dragon Award. Dai-Shihan Legare currently resides in Tokyo, Japan and trains with Soke on a weekly basis


Phil AloneI am often asked how to train alone. Training on your own is really important to becoming a better martial artist in any style. This is no different for Bujinkan students. As a general rule, I believe you should train twice as much on your own as you do in your dojo. We like to think we are “always” training, but are we? I wonder about that. I have been training on my own for many years to augment my training between trips to Japan and seminars with really good Shihan friends of mine. I can break my alone training down into two distinct venues: study and practice.
I study by reading Soke’s books, reviewing notes from past trainings, attending and hosting webinars, watching training dvds and of course, reviewing film from the TakaSeigi website. I enjoy pulling together threads of techniques from these sources to compare and contrast them to what I already know. I then prepare a short training outline or set of notes to run through in practice and to refer back to later. Sometimes I will write articles about certain weapons or techniques and use the references I find in my studies to benefit others. See my article on the bo for an example.
I practice by starting out with warm ups and ukemi, then progress to the Kihon Happo and Go Gyo. Then I like to do strikes to my padded pole or a free standing heavy bag. Punch, elbow, ura shuto, omote shuto, punch, elbow, ura shuto, omote shuto, etc., etc. Add in Sokuyaku keri, sampo keri, mawashi keri, yoko keri, ushiro keri, etc., etc. Then I grab a bo and strike the pole and do bo furi. Then a fundo. Then a metal sword and practice draw and cutting. Then I might grab a heavy bokken or tsuburito to do cutting drills for a few minutes. If I am outside I will throw shuriken, bo shuriken, knives and axes at the standing targets I have. Adding rolling to my throwing practice is always fun. I also like to swing a metal fundo and Kyoketsu Shoge at a wooden shoge man target for realism. I add in ukemi with weapons striking to develop a dynamic response.
I used to stand in front of the TV and practice deep Ichimonji a lot. I don’t do that anymore, but this is great training to develop hip flexibility and stamina for staying in deep Ichimonji. I also used to practice my rolls and falls on concrete. I don’t do that anymore either. I am getting older and prefer to roll on a nice soft mat these days. I know I can do it on concrete if I have to in part because I have put the time in over the years to practice it that way. Realistic training. Do you have to train for real in order to learn it well enough to be able to use it in combat?  That’s the topic for a future article.
So how do you train outside the dojo? How do you train alone?
About The Author

Phil Legare

Dai-Shihan Legare is the recipient of 4 Bujinkan Gold Dragon Awards and the Bufu Ikkan lifetime award presented by Hatsumi Soke for martial arts excellence. Joanne Legare, Phil’s wife and a Yushu Shihan in the Bujinkan who often co-teaches at his seminars, is also the recipient of a Gold Dragon Award. Dai-Shihan Legare currently resides in Tokyo, Japan and trains with Soke on a weekly basis

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