Had a quiet 8 days, no training, been a little bit under the weather and very busy moving house.
Just after my 1st run since last week, a very tough and hilly 3miles. Felt like giving up a few times but its all about staying outside your comfort zone.
That's really the only way we improve I think. If you don't stretch yourself and your boundaries, both mental & physical we'll never get to know ourselves at all or what we're capable of doing. What good is martial arts training if we're not testing & exploring ourselves. Aside from all that if people in our association wish to last through a grading you better be doing some kind of auxiliary training otherwise you're in big trouble.
I think its a fantastic way to train to help a martial art, not just in terms of cardiovascular endurance, but mentally. In terms of preparation for any real-world altercation outside the dojo. I find after the long run when I'm exhausted - trying to do a kata like tekki shodan or bassai dai, when all your body wants to do is stop - is very very rewarding.
No breaks in a real self defence situation and knowing we can't re-create this environment in training we need to do what we can to get as close as possible. Perform your kata as hard as possible, full speed and power, technique second once again to spirit. (There's that precept number 5 again). When your body is SCREAMING at you to stop, DIG DEEP. You'll discover things about yourself when your in this situation that you can't in most other areas of life.
This I think is as close as I've come to re-creating that feeling of a real-life encounter. I found that when a self-defence situation occurs in the street, I immediately feel sapped of energy, its natural. The more it happened the more I learned to deal with it (luckily). To perform your kata in this state is going to be the toughest, most gruelling thing you can do,(if it's not, you haven't pushed yourself, either in the kata or the run, or both.). You must take yourself outside your comfort zone in order to stretch your boundaries. You are supposed to enjoy your training, but what people mean is you're supposed to enjoy the experience of discomfort & hell that you put yourself through in order to gain in abundance afterwards.
I absolutely love pushing myself physically & not worrying so much about technique because that's what your sensei' are there for. They'll correct your technique when its needed. You just give 100% and everything will fall into place.
Remember your training & how you progress is really all up to you. So whatever you want to gain from any martial art or any physical training really, you must be prepared to work your ass off for it. That way, you'll be sure to achieve it and nobody on the planet can take it away from you or doubt your achievements. That is one of the greatest feelings in any area of life. Personal achievement. Its all in our shotokan just saddens me to see an awful lot of people looking for the easy route, therefore by-passing the very core of karate, & missing the essence of the whole thing.
Remember: nothing in this life worth having comes easy.
Think of this the next time you want to give up during a training session, whether a run or in the dojo.
Rant over :-P