There will be times when you will not be able to train as much as you would like. This may be due to injuries, illness, work, vacation or other factors that conspire to keep you away from martial arts classes. Never fear! 

Here are a number of ways that you can train without training:

(1) Watch class: If you are injured and not able to participate in class, there is the option of watching the class. Much can be learned through observation.

(2) Read a martial arts book. It can be on any martial related topic ranging from biographies,  books on kata, various martial arts and weapons. Check out Amazon. They have a vast collection of martial arts books and videos.


My favorite book on FMAs. Image found here.

(3) YouTube: pull up videos of your particular martial art. While video cannot replace training, you can find some good ideas. Oftentimes, I will see an interesting variation of a technique that I hadn’t thought of and say “hmm, let’s play with this.” My personal preference is to look for Filipino Martial Arts and Small Circle Jiu Jitsu videos as both would fit into Modern Arnis. You just never know what interesting ideas you may encounter in YouTube.

Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 2.11.21 PM

A great source of martial wisdom. 🙂

(4) Martial Arts forums/group pages/Communities: There are a number of martial arts “communities” on G+, group pages on Facebook, and various martial arts forums such as MartialTalk where you can participate in discussions revolving around martial arts.

(5) Blog: You can subscribe to or read martial arts blogs. Some are thought provoking or provide different perspectives on the martial arts. You can even start a blog and it’s a great way of advancing yourself as a martial artist. I’ve used my blog as a way of polishing teaching points that have really helped me teach or to think through martial concepts.


Bruce wrote this book while recovering from a severe back injury. Image found here.

(6) Instructional DVDs: if you have instructional DVDs, watch them! When you’re out of action for whatever reason, this is a good way of keeping your mind sharp and bone up on the techniques and concepts of your art or a related art. Many times I’ll watch a DVD that I’ve seen several times and say to myself “wait a minute, let’s see that one again!”


Frequently watched Modern Arnis DVD. Image found here.

(7) Train within parameters: let’s say that you are not able to use your right arm. Why not practice with your left hand? For example, a Modern Arnis player can engage in solo practice with the stick in the left hand. That player can practice the twelve angles of attack, the traditionals, and left-handed versions of the cane forms. If you’re a Wing Chun player, practice the Mook Jong forms with one arm.  Use your imagination! When I was recovering from both eye surgeries, I practiced a lot of anyos at slow to moderate speed. Whatever is hobbling you, train around it!

Over to you, do you have any suggestions to add to this list?

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2 thoughts on “How to Train without Training!

  • November 26, 2015 at 8:46 am

    I’ve heard that closing one’s eyes and visualizing helps – i.e. mentally going through a form, drill, or even a specific technique.

    • November 27, 2015 at 8:14 am

      I use visualisation a lot – especially for kata. In fact I try and visualise my kata last thing at night and when I first wake. Depending on how tired I am when I go to be though I may only get through half a kata – hehehe…..

      Also when at work I stretch and do a few basics when I need to get up.


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