The legs go first

At longsword practice yesterday E.A. reported that after the Escrima practice I bailed out of, he developed a similar pattern of symptoms: his legs were a little sore the next day but cripplingly sore the day after that, and took a while to bounce back. In both cases the trigger was certain moves that involved deep lunging steps that brought the butt, and one knee, close to the ground. Seeing this as enough to confirm a pattern, I got out the Clubbells and did a modestly challenging routine involving lunging steps, then went to a convenient staircase and did an exercise that I picked up from my physical therapist a couple of years ago. This involves standing sideways at the stop of the staircase, crouching down (with straight spine and booty sticking out) and then descending the stairs slowly with a leg-crossing gait. It is pretty good at setting the gluteals on fire. This morning I have got only moderate thigh and butt soreness and am thinking that such exercises are going to have to be part of the regular routine from now on.

A recent posting gives the best portrait I’ve ever read of how they did things at the Bartitsu Club. In this account it sounds like a circuit-training sort of affair in which members could make the rounds of jiujitsu, boxing, fencing, stick, etc. in the course of a single workout. This sounds like heaven to me and I am wondering how such a thing might be realized in a modern context. The problem being that it would be necessary to get all of the requisite instructors together in the same place at the same time. Barton-Wright was able to pull this off 110 years ago but it would be difficult to achieve today. I could, however, envision doing it as a one-off, which could serve to draw new members into a martial arts organization.

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4 Responses to The legs go first

  1. T.W. says:

    We’re planning rounds of skill/style circuit-training for phases of the international conference in London next year, probably also incorporating physical culture drill. IMO it’s ideal for Bartitsu purposes, especially early in a student’s training, although the practice at the original Bartitsu Club was to have newbies take a series of private prep. lessons first. Later/additionally, you need drills specific to putting the pieces together. That said, and especially for intermediate> students, it isn’t necessary to have a specialist instructor supervising every moment of the work.

    As and when things get underway in Chicago, we’ll operate on a similar model. Picture Indian club swinging in one corner, stick fighting in another, fisticuffs in a third, etc., then the class periodically coming together for “integration” drills and the study of the canonical sequences. Regular guest instructors and/or Bartitsu-flavored skill-sharing between members. ‘Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished.

  2. E. W. says:

    What’s getting underway in Chicago? Sounds great.

  3. T.W. says:

    There are two local offers to set up ongoing Bartitsu classes. I’ve been ambivalent about committing to that idea because I’ve been spoiled by decades of specialising in teaching seminars and short courses, but perhaps the time is right. The most immediate possibility would be setting up a Victorian-style antagonistics/physical culture studio in an annex room attached to a truly extraordinary local dojo, which has recently completed a year-long renovation project.

    Anyway, if it does go ahead, the idea is to run it on the CrossFit/ movement lab. model, including old-school circuit training sessions, so it’s nice to have that sort-of confirmed in a period source.

  4. AndrewS says:

    Some quick comments before I have to go help a friend move some heavy household stuff-

    Aside from the conditioning issues- i.e. what to do to make it so that isn’t work that makes you sore- there are some tricks for recovering after you do a ‘bad thing’ (20 rep breath squats, deadlift for high reps, kettlebell workshop, or other fun)- for sources check the translated russian sports science text on EFS, Siff’s books, or Kurz’s “Science of Sports Training”.

    Immediate stuff- things you can do right after a session that are considered effective at the time and not less effective done immediately:
    -Ice massage- massage the affected area with ice for 15-20 min- very useful, definitely reserved for when you know it’s ugly
    -Contrast showers (1min hot, 1min cold to affected area x 5-10 cycles)
    -Elevate area worked to promote venous return

    Stuff best left until at least 12 hrs after (and if done immediately after, I’ve seen claims that these methods will be less effective if repeated in 12-36 hrs)
    -Hot tub
    -Electrical stimulation

    Stuff to do the next day that may help
    -do a workout using much lower load and intensity but the same muscle groups to promote recovery. Volume should be 30-50% of prior workout’s volume.

    Gotta run,


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