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Can't do martial arts, but want to start getting in shape for when I can

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Hi, folks.


I live in an area where I am unable to join a martial arts school.  The only option near me is Tae-Kwon-Do, I'm just not very interested in that variety.


However, I'll likely be moving in the next 2 or 3 years to a more urban setting, where there's more variety... bjj, aikido, judo, etc.


I was wondering what I could be doing now to get in better shape for when I inevitably move?


I'm 6'0", 285 (down from 330 in the last year or so), and my current routine is running (5K, hoping to work up to 10K, 1/2m, m, etc.), and powerlifting.


I want to incorporate yoga in, but just don't even know where to start.


Any suggestions?

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 Sounds like youre off to a great start! And great job on the weightloss so far!  The cardio from running will be a great benefit.  I'd suggest adding in some good bodyweight\flexibility work.  Specifics will depend on what style you want to practice, but all of them benefit from cardio, flexibility, and general mobility work.

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While I understand TKD isn't really your interest, I was in it as a kid and a young adult (late teens to early 20s).  I have since moved onto much different things, but I think there is something to be said for a regular class, and the community/group friendships you can get from it - it was my friends I made there as much as the activity that kept me going.  Also - if it's a decent school, you'll definitely be getting some good workouts in, get some side training in pressure (tests, sparring, etc.), and depending on the teacher, might get some jujitsu or other close-in work (my last teacher incorporated some Aikido and BJJ to round out his class).  And of course, there will be flexibility and balance work.  Of course, I have a bit of a 'when in Rome...' kind of mentality, and I understand not everyone does. 


Otherwise, all the conditioning you mentioned it great.  For Yoga, you might check out the Yoga section in the forums, and the Druids, including challenge threads.  If you're going to a gym for power lifting,you might check with a trainer or coach about mobility work (or/and check out the Warriors sections on the forums) - talk about your eventual goals (arts you're interested in, etc.) and see what they may have to say.  The core and stability work from the lifting, not to mention solid legs, will do you a lot of good in what ever art you end up in. 


@Kishi and some other Monks have many good things to say about kettle bell training, namely swings and getups, for both conditioning, core stability, and body coordination.  Simple&Sinister is a decent start (or any of the older books on KBs by Pavel, really... just be super careful with snatches, you can jack up your thumbs and wrists).  Of course, the vast majority of KB work can also be done with dumb bells, if that's what your lifting gym has.   

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You're actually doing a really great job right now as it is. If you don't want to get on the mats with the art that's there, the next best thing is what you're doing right now - building a base of strength and conditioning.


One thing I would point out is that this can be a trap. You have plenty of room to lift as much weight and run as many miles as you want, but when you do move and wind up with more options, you're going to feel the pull to do both martial arts and strength/conditioning. This will be tough. What I would recommend is get something that's relatively small in terms of investment that pays off with big results.


My two recommendations would be:

  • Simple and Sinister, a kettlebell general physical prep program based around the one armed swing and the get up; and
  • Gymnastic Bodies, an integrated bodyweight conditioning/mobility program that focuses on building strength across a wide variety of motions.

Either one works on its own; they can be combined as well for a modular kind of look although that gets complicated and I would err toward simplicity and focused effort.

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