I love traveling solo. And one of my biggest dilemmas when I travel for more than a week, is having no one to train with. I need and want to train at least once a week. It drives me nuts sometimes when I don’t.
In Filipino martial arts, it’s important to have a training partner so you can practice drills and techniques more effectively. Usually, one acts as a feeder (teacher role) and the other, a receiver (student role). That’s why I find it difficult when I have to be away from my teacher and teammates for a long time.
So what does Eskrimadora the explorer (Hint hint: me!) do when she’s got no one to train with? Suck it up and practice solo! It’s surely not as fun as training with a partner. Often, it’s boring AF. But these blah things like solo training are essential to progress further—whether or not you’re a frequent traveler.
I typically train inside my hotel room. Lucky me if there’s a huge vanity mirror so I can see what I’m doing. I don’t train when I’m staying at a hostel/dorm. I also haven’t tried solo training in a more public area like a park or plaza yet. Well, I could. But I imagine there will be curious and odd stares. Not sure if I’m ready for that. Let’s add that to my bucket list!
Before I get to my training routine when traveling, check out this insightful video by Guro Mike Pana on how he trains Kali in a hotel room.
And here’s how I train martial arts when I’m out wandering:
Practice solo drills from Applied Eskrima Module 1
I first check my fighting stance/forms, then practice defending/blocking upper and lower body strikes—making sure I twist my body from side to side without losing balance. Squat when blocking lower strikes. This is important because I hate squatting! Therefore, I need to do it more. Finally, I add footwork while doing these solo drills.
Shadow stick fighting
I start by quickly reviewing the various quadrants then move on to shadow stick fighting or sparring. This is like shadow boxing only stick fighting. This involves a lot of imagination. That I have a partner. That he/she’s delivering different strikes. I also practice disarms, combinations, etc. while my imaginary partner beats me. It’s sometimes frustrating but better than not training at all.
Review my training notebook
First off, note-taking is important for jotting down key lessons and seemingly trivial details. This is especially indispensable for someone forgetful like me. Though, I think everyone should keep a training journal to also monitor progress—unless you have a photographic memory like Mike Ross of Suits, which you don’t. Or have an elephant’s extraordinary recall ability, which you don’t. When I’m on the road, I re-read my notes and check what I need to focus more on or formulate questions/clarifications to ask my teacher later on.
Try out the country’s national or popular martial art
Another chance to cross train! Ok, frankly, I haven’t done this. But I’ve been meaning to, just never had the time and enough determination (yet) to do so. And because I’m usually occupied gorging on local food, sightseeing, people watching and chilling out with locals. When I was in Bali last year, I was supposed to train in Silat but because of terrible traffic in Kuta, I didn’t make it on time to meet with my teacher. When I come to Thailand, I’ll definitely try a Muay Thai class.
Just do something physical
Probably not the physical thing that you’re thinking. No judgment, though! JK. When I’m on a beach destination, well, I swim or even surf if there’s a surf spot. I’m not much of a hiker, but I’m trying to change that because I want to climb mountains as well. Traveling presents many opportunities to train and wonderful activities to try. Exhaust them. Don’t forget you can also do many bodyweight exercises like burpees, push-ups, crunches etc.
Of course, there are days when I just want to relax and enjoy my getaway, which is fine. I just make sure I get back on track as soon as I return home.
How about you? How do you train in your specific martial art when you’re traveling? I’d love to know. Please share in the comments section below. Cheers and happy training! 😉