Final touch before competition – Realization Period

After completing the accumulation period where the primary focus is on the development of aerobic endurance and maximal strength together with technical improvement, we proceed toward transmutation period. During the transmutation period, the activities become more specific, karate oriented, where the primary focus is on developing the anaerobic glycolic power and capacity.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT), which is a Key workout for this period, is training modality where the intensity goes above lactate threshold. Due to the extreme efforts and fatigue accumulation, adequate recovery techniques should be taken into consideration.

Now, it’s time for the final step, the realization period.  It’s time to polish everything up and prepare (taper) for the upcoming competition. This is a period where most of the time you spend on karate. Realization phase is a pre-competition period that can last from 1-3 weeks, and where sport specific simulation (SSS) workouts and training modalities for improving the maximum speed (ALA) are the primary training modalities.

This period is also referred to as the tapering phase. Tapering means manipulation with the training load and frequency so we can reach our pick performance right before the competition. The need for adequate recovery is the reason why monitoring your progress together with the use of recovery techniques is of great importance. Unlike the transmutation period, where the onset of fatigue was expected and to some extent desired, complete restoration and freshness before every exercise are one of the characteristics of the realization period. Remember, full recovery and freshness before every workout.

Maximal speed and good technical performance require fresh and good reactivity of the central nervous system. The is the reason the load and the frequency decreases.

However, the intensity stays high and varies from workout to workout. Sports specific simulation workout (SSS) are karate specific with an intensity you will experience during competition. SSS workouts are here to prepare you physically and more important, mentally and emotionally for the experience you are going to have on the day of the competition.

Below you can see an example of micro-cycle as part of the realization period.


Activities in the realization period

Sport-specific simulation workout (SSS)

If you’ve noticed the primary focus is on the key workouts (SSS) that take place on the tatami in a fashion, you are going to find yourself in during competition. This means you start and finish each workout (SSS – key exercises) as it is a real competition. This will simulate not only the physical exertion but also the emotional and mental one that is usually experienced during actual matches, which is entirely different comparing to the one during a regular workout.

One thing that you might want to address is expending the “simulation” outside of your workout. Activities that precede and those that follow after a workout can affect the actual workout positively or negatively. By this I mean you should try to establish a routine which later will become a habit. These are routines regarding the time when you wake-up; what’s the first thing you do in the morning; what do you have for breakfast; how much time before a workout; do you have coffee or maybe take any other supplement;

These routines should come as natural as possible, so when the big day comes, you do not stress about things not related directly to your performance. You put all your mental power only to the performance.

During a regular workout, repeat the same warm up over and over again. This warm-up routine is the one you are going to use at the competition. This is obvious, I understand. However, something that is not so obvious for many karatekas is that the things are not quite the same during regular training, and competition, no matter how specific it is.

What do I mean by this?

Usually, the time spent on warmup and rest between each performance differs during an actual workout and competition. What I’m saying is that we typically spend more time on warmup during competition comparing to a regular workout. Furthermore, the time between each match during competition is more extended, whereas during usual workout way shorter.

How many of you had found in a situation where you need to ways 30-40 minutes for your next match? How many of you’ve been in a position where you have warmed up and cooled down a couple of time before you even get a chance to show them what you got? And when you get a chance, you are mentally and physically exhausted.

This shows the importance of proper planning of your training and using appropriate strategies to keep the body in an optimal state for performance in-between matches, whether that is 15, 30 or 45 minutes.

If you are interested in nitty-gritty stuff, you can have a look at this study where different physiological responses and performance have been compared between official and simulated karate combat conditions.

Speed and explosive strength exercises (ALA)

The workouts for developing speed and explosive strength can be easily incorporated in the technical training or performed or their own. The activities for improving your speed qualities should be sport specific, related to kata and kumite performance, and should not last more than 10-12 seconds. To benefit as much as possible from the speed and explosive exercises the work to rest ratio should be carefully planned. It is necessary for each set to be separated by rest period long enough to allow full recovery of the central nervous systems and avoid any lactate accumulation.

Remember, speed, and explosive strength workouts should improve the efficiency of the central nervous systems, which requires more time for recovery compared to the muscular system. So, make sure to avoid any temptation to cut the rest periods just because you do not feel tired. Speed and explosive exercises require fresh, well-rested muscular and central nervous system.

Often used training modality for improving speed and explosive strength is the plyometric training.

How your speed and explosive strength workout looks like depends on your creativity and whether you are competing in kata or kumite. If you do not know where to start from or want some fresh ideas, have a look at the video that the guys form TeamKi posted recently. This video shows excellent exercises for developing explosive strength and speed in karate.

You can also have a look at this database where you have great plyometric exercises put in categories according to the body part they affect and the intensity.

Wrapping it up


What about you

Did you find useful the information shared in this post? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

If you’ve missed the previous posts related to Block Periodisation, and you do not know where to start from, you might want to check the post where I introduce the accumulation and transmutation period. Enjoy.

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