Drilling Blocks, Speed and HIIT
Daeng has decided I need to be faster. So, instead of running home from the lake four times per week (14 km, including one lap around the lake) he has switched that out for two laps around the lake (7.4 km) followed by sprints. I’m not a huge fan of sprints, but I don know that they work, that they’re great for explosiveness and improved cardio, and generally if you hate doing High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), then you’re doing it right.
In addition to the sprinting, Daeng holds a resistance band around my waist and makes me sprint forward with high knees for what seems like ungodly lengths of time after training. He also developed a fast leg-block drill to improve my speed, efficiency and triggering for that. He knows I can block because there have been times we’ve worked on it and I’ve successfully executed it in fights, but now he’s really chiseling it into the stone instead of letting it sit at the surface.
This drill is really difficult. Not only does it hurt because my legs are already heavy and sore from sprinting and a full training session (which is between 3-4 hours in itself), but getting the “bounce” in your legs to be able to rebound off the floor increases in difficulty by the second. He wants the knees high and my guard not to move. Den wants my left block to always be “out” (the way Master K teaches it, too), so a simple up and down piston action isn’t precisely right. You can see Daeng keeps his guard really high, making a visor with his hands. He’s utterly relaxed, which is what I need to learn to do in order to be faster and more efficient. It’s crazy difficult to relax while doing this, but then you see Daeng do it and obviously it can be done… well.
When Daeng makes me move with it, marching in circles, I drop my right hand a bit on that block. I don’t now what that’s about but when I hold a resistance band it doesn’t happen. So maybe I’ll keep using it to train that hand. Also, look at my jerk-face expression when Daeng makes me hold my hands higher up (chest level) for the high knees that aren’t blocks. Priceless. And nobody else at the gym is working, so I become the circus monkey. Sometimes I pretend I’m break dancing and I’ve carved that circle out of the crowd to bust my power moves, win my rivals’ respect and secure the cash prize that will keep my troupe from losing our practice space. That’s a better story than that I’m just the only one still training.
This clip was shot on Tuesday afternoon, so the second day (fourth session) I’d made any attempt at this. I am so tired, which you can see, but the point is to make it not only automatic but quickly automatic. I’m already getting faster at it and today in sparring with Rodrigo I was blocking a lot, so it’s helping. It’s making a difference so swiftly and so notably that I really have high hopes for how this will look in a week’s time. Incidentally, that’s when I’m fighting, too.
Andy gave me a book to read the last time he was down at the camp. It’s an easy read and I find something that is interesting and affirming, if not also meaningful, in every chapter. The author goes into HIIT training for a chapter, relaying the recent studies and thinking regarding its benefits. I recommend the book if you’re so inclined: The First 20 Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We Can Exercise Better, Train Smarter, Live Longer. by Gretchen Reynolds