Sometimes it just goes blank.
You’re standing there, ready to do a warm-up for the whole class, but it’s totally empty inside your head. You’re out of ideas! When the old masters said “empty your mind” they obviously weren’t thinking about these types of situations!
I know, I’ve been there too.
It’s a horrible feeling.
Of course, you could always do the same old usual running around, knuckle push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks and so on, but anybody can do that! That’s passé. In a competitive world like ours, you need to be a little more creative if you want to get somewhere.
After all, that 1400 g lump of meat inside your head isn’t for decoration.
But still, sometimes our brain just seems to stand still.
And it’s in times like these that we could use some help. Imagine if there was some sort of database that you could access. A free database with thousands of functional exercises tailored for martial arts – so that you could just go in there and pick a few when you feel a little “dried out”? That would be great, right?!
So, please let me know when you’ve made such a database.
In the meantime, I’ve successfully tricked two of my loyal colleagues, sempai Jesper and sempai Vincent into showing you a couple of pretty functional (not to mention fun!) two-person exercises, in the photos below. Believe me when I say that these guys will do anything (anything!) for some Karate cookies, so I actually managed to get them to show a whopping 23 exercises!
But… before you scroll down and (hopefully) get some fresh ideas for your classes, be aware of one thing. These two-person exercises are not for everyone. Your usual ultra-orthodox-one-punch-kill Karate class would probably frown upon some of these exercises, since they all rely on the principle that Karate is a martial art which works exceptionally well within grappling range.
Gripping, flipping, rolling, throwing, breaking, shaking… “it’s all there baby!”.
At least I believe it should be.
So, with that being said, if you feel somewhat open-minded about what a ‘traditional’ warm-up should look like, and don’t mind a little violent intimacy, here we go:
1. The Drunken Centipede
Explanation: Grab each others ankles, and simply roll sideways. Try to maintain a stable core.
2. The Brutal Bench
Explanation: The pictures pretty much say it all. Using the knuckles is preferred (elbows pointing back).
3. Sumos Gone Wild
Explanation: Squat down, jump around, and try to push your opponent over (only touching hands). If your knees hurt, do it in shiko dachi, without jumping.
4. The Fork Truck Flip
Explanation: Place your arms on your friend’s belly, flip over (landing silently) and crawl under. Lather, rinse and repeat.
5. The Wooden Dummy
Explanation: Be straight like a log. Tense your whole body. Do it slowly with control. Up and down again.
6. The Crazy Frog Dance
Explanation: Hook your arms together and sit down, 90 degrees angle. Spin around in a circle a few times, then change direction. Without bouncing up.
7. The Pregnant Panda
Explanation: Move forward on all four with your partner hanging like a backpack on your front. Notice that your knees should be in the air, legs as straight as possible. Your partner must hold tightly!
Explanation: Hold each others hands. You may not release this grip. Now, with your free hand, try to spank your opponent. If this feels inappropriate, just touch each other on the back instead. This is a wild one!
9. Scissors of Death
Explanation: The person on the floor opens and closes his/her legs, while the other jumps in and out, nonstop. Start slowly to learn the rhythm, and then build up speed.
10. Hanging Kama Sutra Sit-Ups
Explanation: Hook your legs firmly around your friend. Do sit-ups. Add some punches in the stomach if you want to be more macho.
11. The Human Snake Push-Ups
Explanation: Try to remain straight at all times. Do a couple and then switch places.
12. Neck Rodeo
Explanation: As the name implies, this is not for everyone. Actually, most of these exercises are pretty dangerous when I think about it, so be careful! Anyway, the goal here is to break your opponents balance by moving him around (holding his neck), while he tries to stand straight. No cheap knees to the groin, okay?
13. Magical Standup
Explanation: Push against each others backs, and stand up. Sit down immediately. And don’t use your hands! The faster you are, the harder it is.
14. Alternating Super Push-Ups
Explanation: You stand facing each other, both in push-up position. One lowers himself down, so that the other can step up on his back (with his hands). Do a push-up with your partner on your back, and come down. Your partner steps off, then you change. Alternate until somebody gives up.
15. Climbing Mount Karate
Explanation: Climb up on your friend’s back, and then climb around him/her. Without touching the floor!
16. Okinawan Bench Press
Explanation: Involves basically every muscle. Triceps, biceps, shoulders, breast, back, stomach, you name it. If it’s too hard, the person on top can be on his/her knees instead.
17. Hikite Mania
Explanation: Cross your arms and pull, alternating left and right arm. Rotate your upper body. Feel free to let your heel lift off the floor if you feel pain in your knees or anything. Try to relax, and gradually build up speed.
18. The Nasty Feet Kisser
Explanation: The goal is to kiss your feet, without bending your legs!
19. “Hiding-The-Corpse” Squat
Explanation: Your opponent tries to make himself/herself ‘heavy’, and you squat up and down, standing behind.
20. Hypnotizing Feet
Explanation: With your legs in the air (preferably straight) do circles around each others feet (open and close your legs in a circular fashion). Change direction after a while.
21. The Concrete Backpack
Explanation: With your friend on your back, lie down, and (here’s the hard part) stand up again.
22. Back Breaker Sip-Ups
Explanation: Hook your feet inside your friend’s thighs, and slowly lean back. Try to go below 90 degrees. Then slooowly go back up.
23. The Face Plant
Explanation: Assume push-up position, facing each other. Now try to pull your opponents arm from under him/her. Back must be held straight!
And that’s it.
That was the last one for now.
Let me know how (if?) they worked out!