This is part one in a series on strength training specifically for KSW and other martial arts. If you want to be notified when new blog posts, including the next part of this series, subscribe to our blog.

I have been training in Kuk Sool Won consistently for the past 15 years, and even longer if I count my less committed years as a child. For most of that time I was somewhat against the idea of going to the gym as I always found it boring compared to going to classes or just training Kuk Sool on my own. My idea for how to improve in Kuk Sool was always just do it more, harder, better etc… Every kick had to be as high as I could manage, every stance as low as possible. This approach seemed to work ok in my early twenties but by the time I was 30, I had started getting injured fairly often.

Train Smarter, Not Harder

I started looking for ways to learn a bit of anatomy so that I could try to work out why I was always injured and hopefully optimise my training and I ended up stumbling across a combined level 2 gym instructor and level 3 personal trainer course. It wasn’t really what I was looking for but I decided to take the plunge anyway since it was mostly online and suited my schedule.

Upon completing the course I had a new found love for weight training. It has taken me some time and further learning to optimise my own program and I now think I have a pretty good idea of how to efficiently improve strength for KSW, and while you are at it become more flexible too!

Changing your training can help push you past plateaus and barriers in your training

Since starting strength training I feel that my Kuk Sool performance has improved at a higher pace than it has done for the last 10 years! This is also largely thanks to my instructor PKJN Graeme, whose style of teaching has really helped me absorb and integrate my new knowledge as well as learn how to apply it to Kuk Sool effectively.

The best thing about all of this is that you don’t need a lot of time or to learn elaborate exercises, just a couple hours per week, some simple movement patterns and weightlifting basics will get you a long way.

Where to Begin

If this is enough to convince you to start strength training, I have some tips for getting started:

  1. Be safe! If you are new to free weights, learn lifting technique with a much lighter weight than you think you can lift. It is a really good idea to get a personal trainer or fitness professional to teach you safe lifting technique.
  2. Always use a full range of motion, especially at the most stretched position. Flexibility as well as strength are both vitally important for martial arts and training in this way will help improve your mobility, instead of making you stiffer.
  3. Choose exercises which replicate positions you need in your training, I’ll give you some examples of my favourite exercises in future blog posts.
  4. Progressive overload! You should aim to regularly increase the demands of each exercise. This can be by performing an extra rep or two, adding some extra weight or by going deeper into the exercises as your mobility improves. Make sure you keep the increments fairly small to ensure you aren’t jumping up too much and risking injury. If you are performing fewer and fewer reps each session it can be a sign of overtraining or another issue with your program that needs to be addressed.
  5. Probably the most important of all, be consistent! You will gain nothing from just doing a little here and there whenever you feel like training. You need a structured program which you can stick to every single week and track your progress so that you can figure out what is working for you and what isn’t.

If this article has convinced you that you need to start strength training but don’t know how to get started, get in touch! I offer personal training sessions so that we can discuss your goals and tailor your training to suit your needs. 

We are also holding an introduction to strength training workshop for our members at KSW Glasgow. If you would like to join this workshop, sign up through the Spond app.