I have about a week’s worth of enforced solo training ahead of me, which is not really a problem as I have a lot of solo work to draw from. Today’s session was a mixture of Sera jurus, Karbi Krabong modified for my stick fighting and some sword strokes combined with footwork.
Yes, before anyone emails me, I know that solo training is part of a total training system that includes partner work and free play.
There are many ways to set your mind for solo work; you can imagine you are in a fight with your opponent(s), you can also imagine demonstrating in front of your teacher as if he is present and watching. I have tried both these over the years, with very mixed results.
When I first started out with some long-distance training, my teacher would show me a motion, sometimes on video, and I would perform it on my own in front of a mirror to make sure it looked at least correct regarding the basic motions. Whilst this is a great way to start long-distance learning, it’s my experience that you need to move away from a mirror as soon as you have the basic motion down.
The reason to move away from the mirror is that you need to develop a body feel inside you when performing solo movements. This is the ideal time to get it just right for solo body feel with only gravity and your own body to fight against. Every now and again, I check out the motion in a mirror or video it to review it later, but for the most part, my solo training is just me in a training place, much like a yoga practice.
The challenge for me is staying in the correct flow state and not daydreaming because it’s easy to drift off as you flow along. I need to be in the room and very present.
Today staying in the room was a struggle. I actually felt like throwing my training sword away at points but persevered and now have that clear mind that you get post solo training.
So be in the room and keep at it until you are happy.