Sunday, July 01, 2007

'One Minute Solutions to Your One Hour Problems' - JC Santana

Anyone who has seen Intocombat's SAID range of DVD videos will know the basic philosophy Juan Carlos Santana uses to train fighters for competition. The DVDs are an excellent resource for fighters of all disciplines who are looking for a modern approach to conditioning for combat sports. It seems, though, that JC is dissatisfied with simply providing you a how-to. In the 'One Minute Solutions to Your One Hour Problems' DVD, he lays out the whys and wherefores of Intocombat's methodology.

JC has confidence enough in this product to make it available to me for an independent review. His confidence is well founded. I was very impressed with the content and format of the video. It appealed to me as both a coach and as a largely self-trained athlete. The video provides an in depth look at where training science is taking the combat sports.

Firstly, before I get to the content, I want to make a point of the attention to detail and quality of Intocombat's products. The DVD's cover is professionally designed and printed and the case is a high quality one. Now, there's nothing wrong with home production in this fledgling industry - content trumps flashy production every time. However, when JC talks about quality and attention to detail, you know that he speaks with authority before you even open the case.

The video is well produced and shows JC and Rhadi Ferguson delivering a seminar at Intocombat's headquarters. The sound and video quality is excellent and you don't miss anything. All the slides shown in the seminar are cut into the video, as well, rather than just having a camera pointed at them. The presentation is clear and animated and it is easy to see (and enjoy) the presenters' enthusiasm. The one problem I have with the DVD production is the video border. The picture is cropped with a white border top and bottom and an Intocombat logo in the corner. At times, I found this distracting. It's a ridiculously minor criticism, I know, but I'm a small man in many ways. A small, petty man. (There's a Simpsons reference for everything, isn't there.....)

Content-wise, the video is divided over two disks. The first is the seminar presentation and the second shows the seminar participants demonstrating the protocols discussed earlier. The first disk is where the bulk of the information is and covers needs analysis of the "Gladiator", nutrition, the SAID principle and a Q&A.

The needs analysis section discusses the roles of technique, power and tactics and gives a broad description of how this applies to the conditioning of fighters. There are a couple of eye-openers, here, and some very good explanations for facts you may already know. The discussion includes topics of technical efficiency, speed and power development and the fact that most fighters are already strong enough. They simply require more metabolic conditioning and power. The explanations that illustrate this point are easy to follow and are delivered with enthusiasm. This section will help you understand the basic philosophy of Intocombat and broadly describes how to put your training together.

From here, the seminar moves to nutrition. The Intocombat nutrition philosophy is simple. It's all about quality, quantity and frequency. There's a little discussion on what makes for a good diet here, but the real gold in this section is the weight-cutting discussion. Here, you'll be presented with a strategy for cutting weight which doesn't involve extremes of dehydration or sweating and suits same day weighins.

The next segment of the seminar is the nuts and bolts of the presentation and covers SAID - Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands. Here, the reasoning behind the Intocombat methodology is broken down. In short, interval training designed around sport specific movements not only improves your strength and conditioning for your sport, but decreases the amount of sparring time you need to be in shape for your competition. This, in turn reduces your exposure to injury. For me, realisation of this point alone is worth the investment.

In this segment, you'll also find out the way the guys at Intocombat build circuits through analysis of your sport and your individual game. They'll explain how to break down the phases of a fight into individual sport specific drills. One quote I really like here is "You don't need to be a biomechanist to do a biomechanical analysis". Once the process of analysis is explained, it's really a very simple task.

Following this is a Q&A session with the seminar participants. Nutrition is covered in more detail here and you'll get answers to questions you have and some you didn't think of (ever wondered why the toilet paper always runs out before a tournament? You'll find out here). Some real pearls of wisdom are discussed here. Of particular interest to me were the subjects of practicing to your competition schedule, aligning work in the gym with your technical training and controlling your practices.

I won't go into too much detail with the second disk except to explain that these are a set of one-minute (or thereabouts) protocols you can use in a modular fashion to address specific areas of your preparation. The title of the DVD is 'One Minute Solutions to Your One Hour Problems' and an Intocombat motto is "Minute by minute - That's how we win it'. This section shows the seminar participants demonstrating these pre-arranged sequences. Some will be familiar from the SAID series and others will be new. They're right there to add to your game now, or you can use the knowledge you gained from disk one to create your own modular one minute protocols.

It should be pretty obvious that I like this DVD set. JC's aim seems to be to bring the combats sports training world into the same modern environment that other professional sports enjoy. I really believe this product is a great investment. Not just for strength and conditioning, but for career longevity, as well.

Intocombat Website

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