WHAT! No boxing in the martial arts?
We have enough boxes as it is. I am only asking that you take your physical training outside.
When focused on a healthy diet, I usually tell students to focus on making 70-80% of their meals healthy and then giving yourself 20-30% freedom to indulge. I believe you could use the same strategy for training in the outdoors. This is of course if you are not currently on an outdoor training program. Although it might be hard to spend 70% of your day outside, so for you hard-core boxers, you can flip the strategy and get 30% of your day, week, month or year – OUTSIDE. The quick-fix solution is to attend one of our camps if your year is full of boxes.
Most martial artists train indoors in a dojo (training hall) type of environment. I too have spent many years enjoying the benefits of a well-equipped martial arts box. Nevertheless, let’s think about the reality that we already have quite a few boxes taking control of our lives as it is:
Fact is, if you live a normal life, you migrate from one type of box to another. It is part of how we prefer to manage our level of comfort. When you go to Starbucks, you like the fact that this particular box, has what you are looking for. The same goes for going to the movie theater, the mall, a hotel or even a martial arts school. We are traveling from one empty box to another. What is in that box determines its value and level of importance in our now traditionally trained materialistic lives.
My point is that we already have enough boxes in our lives that we could bring more balance (while adding a few years to your life) if we had a few locations to visit that were outside the boxes. Moreover, since this is a martial arts website – we are going to be talking about taking your kicks outside.
You probably get some time in the outdoors if you travel from one box to another. However, this is not going to be enough time for you to truly benefit from an outdoor training experience. It might help if you fully understand the primary benefits of training in the outdoors:
Fresh Air Comparison
You are more than the skin that shapes your face. Inside of that shell, you have over a trillion cells that require oxygen. The healthier the cells (the parts of you), the stronger and healthier you will be as a whole. This is perfect synergy and the foundational philosophy of the Mental Martial Art System of Winjitsu. The parts combined together equal to a stronger whole. Consider your finger (a part of the hand) as compared to the fist (combined fingers).
We need oxygen to survive, but we also need a fresh supply of oxygen. If you lock yourself in a box without new air coming in, you would die from a lack of oxygen (and over consumption of carbon dioxide). Therefore, common sense would state that the bigger your box, the safer you are. Now consider removing the box altogether and you provide the body with more oxygen. So training outside, is amazing for your health.
Every single one of your cells needs fresh air to survive. Therefore, in truth, if you are not serious about your fresh air, you are killing off parts of you. The math is simply – healthy cells = healthy body.
Now a cell is very much like a box. So let us say, healthy boxes = healthy bodies. Moreover, before I mix metaphors and confuse the heck out of you, remember this article is about removing the box altogether.
What can you do to have a healthier box? You can take a step closer to being outside. For example, does your training center have windows and are they open? Does your training center have airflow? You need a window / open door on one side of the room as well as the other.
When you breathe, you are cleansing the body. Clean air in, toxins out. However, if you are breathing old used air, this process is less effective. Just as if you were to feed your body old, stale food with no nutrients. Your cells need to be fed the right air too.
When you breathe out – you are releasing carbon dioxide and other wastes. Therefore, if you are in a room sharing oxygen with others, you are all essentially breathing in all this garbage over and over again. Breathing air that is old will not provide your cells with enough oxygen to function at an optimal level.
The more consistent your air flow the better. Your body, brain and cells will function at a higher level when given fresh air. Therefore, you can see how important this is for your education and training in the martial arts. When you train outside, you are maximizing the overall benefits of the experience.
Exercise gets your circulation going and floods your body with oxygen; this is why it is very important to do any long-term training outside (and one of the reasons I founded the long term martial arts training camps in Thailand and California). Are you spending more time in the gym on a treadmill killing your cells when you could be running outside at the park near the trees, by a lake or through a river?
Outer Space and why we need it
If fresh air is not enough to get you outside, consider the abundant amount of space that an outdoor training location can provide. Most of our martial art classes make use of a large park. Space is key for Martial Science students, as we like to have room for sparring and weapons training. Put 30 people in a room with a long staff and you will begin to understand the limitations of even a large dojo.
With a park setting, you have the best martial arts training center one could ask for. You have grass, which is a perfect natural martial arts training mat. You have of course fresh air in abundance without the risk of sharing old oxygen. You get an almost unlimited amount of space. You get room to run and warm up or play games that would be a challenge to do in a dojo. We play a sport called “Grapple Ball” that works best with more space.
As kids, we played a lot outside, but as we grew older, we are conditioned to spend more time inside or on a box. Everything from computer boxes to televisions. The typical life of an adult is simply transferring from one box to another; sleep in the bed box, take a shower in a box, drive to work in a box, sit in a box behind a box inside an even larger box, go to dinner in a box, go back to the big box home to sit on a box in front of the visual box. Rinse and repeat.
Sure, the above changes a bit as we challenge the system – we fly in a unique box, we call our friends with a cool new box and I am writing this article on a tiny multi-box.
Face it – we love our boxes and we are not going to be getting rid of them any time soon. If anything, we will probably add more. I am looking forward to going to the book box today and sit in a movie box eating a snack from a junk box.
However, I will balance it all out with a year full of outside the box Martial Arts Training Camps and Adventure and I invite you to do the same.