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You may think that training to be a Kung Fu master has little or nothing to do with playing football, but you would be wrong! Kung Fu is an ancient form of martial arts which gives dedicated practitioners of the discipline extremely high levels of fitness, strength, speed, and agility, all of which are perfect physical traits for a football player. Now obviously becoming hard as nails and learning how to chop through a brick wall is not your intended outcome, and would take years of hard work and endless training, but you can utilize some of the timeless training methods to increase your physicality and to gain an edge over the opposition.
Kung Fu training is split down into a number of different disciplines known as kungs, and through years of intense training at each individual kung, ninjas have been known to carry out almost sub-human feats. The martial art was originally developed in china and was used for training soldiers to gain an edge over the enemy. Jumping Kung was intended to give fighters the ability to jump up to unbelievable heights and dismount the enemy from their horses with a kick. Although this kind of maneuver would likely end up getting you sent off, the ability to jump super high would be great for your aerial ability.
This age old training method is designed to improve body composition, timing and muscle conditioning, ultimately leading to a greater ability to thrust your body into the air. This is a skill that is not only useful for heading the ball, but also for speed and agility.
Body Composition – This relates to the weight and size of your body, which can be altered through training. The ideal physical composition for an athlete is to be strong and lightweight, but we are all at varying places along the spectrum. Through training it is possible to build muscle and turn ‘excess weight’ into muscle which will enable you to become a much more powerful player.
Timing – timing and coordination are key to being able to jump higher, and improving on this will also be great for your ball skills. Through dedicated training exercises you will be able to hone in to your bodies best rhythm and excel when it comes to aerial ability. You may think that teaching you to jump is a little elementary, but when you see what is possible when you learn to use your entire body to jump you will be desperate to learn!
Muscle Conditioning – Much of the training involves the development of fast twitch muscle fibres in your legs, and these are invaluable to football players as these are the muscle fibres used for jumping, sprinting and kicking.
This has to be one of the most ‘old school’ routines ever, and it may even have been used by the great karate kid during one of his training montages, but you can be sure that the reason it has been around for so long is because it works! The original drill was to dig a hole nearly waist height, and then practice jumping from the bottom of the hole to the edge and back in again, being as light on your feet as possible. This is done morning and night every single day for a month, at which time the hole is dug deeper. You are supposed to continue jumping in and out of the hole until you cannot make it back out again, at which point the session is over. If you do not have a suitable place to dig a large hole for this purpose, you can build a tire wall, adding an extra tire at the end of each month.
There are plenty of other superb physical training methods used in Kung Fu, but this is not the full story as mental strength also plays a vital role in getting results. Martial arts training is a great way of improving self discipline and improving mental strength, which is also extremely important if you wish to improve as a footballer. Learning to put mind over matter is what will keep you chasing down the ball in the last 10 minutes when your legs want to give up, and this is what could ultimately make the difference to the result of the game. Apart from the in-game mental strength required to perform well, it is also important for personal struggles such as keeping in shape, staying motivated or dealing with withdrawal in Pennsylvania or with alcohol addiction in Peterborough the discipline gained from martial arts training will be beneficial to all parts of your life. Finding the mental strength and discipline to carry out a long term exercise program can play an important role in overcoming addiction and withdrawal symptoms as it gives you something to focus on and strive towards, and the exercise actually releases hormones into the body that improve mood and overall health and flush the body of toxins.