December 5th 2015 –
“Training here changes the way you move in general, and movement is everything.”
Breakthrough Spotlight – Janel Barlongo
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Janel Barlongo is our Breakthrough Spotlight for December! We love Janel’s fighting spirit and wanted to share her experience with how her training has helped her unlock her power, speed, endurance and mobility as a martial artist. As Shakespeare said, “And though she be but little, she is fierce.”
Breakthrough: We’re here with Janel and we are excited to have her in before her training to talk with us. We are always looking for different points of view to share cool stories about what our members are accomplishing, and we were interested in your standpoint as a martial artist and how your strength training has impacted that. Because I know you’ve been with us since we opened, March when we first started, and I know that you were already noticing that after a month or so that you were punching harder.
Janel: Yeah, where do I start? So basically yes, the punching power has definitely increased. I would say pound for pound, I think I’m pretty damn strong, haha.
Breakthrough: Yeah! And you’re teeny.
Janel: So yeah, what I’ve noticed in terms of adding in the strength training which I never had before, it was just sporadic like “oh here do some weights here,” but never in a scientific manner that I could essentially chart what the progression was. So after training here, literally after a month I noticed my punching power was definitely different in terms of more power, more speed and accuracy. So the accuracy part I always worked on but the speed and the power was one of those things that I just figured would come in time, and it never came with time because I never did weight training outside of here. And really just the mobility has increased as well. I don’t think I’m very flexible but having to come here and work out all the kinks on the different muscle regions I’ve noticed there are areas I’ve been able to unlock in order to get more mobility from the different movement patterns.
Breakthrough: Well and that’s one of the things that’s really interesting to me because you teach silat, you’re not just a martial artist, but you’re also a teacher. So there’s a lot of mobility required for that art in addition to power, so punching power for boxing is one thing but the type of strength and mobility required to do the Buka Lingkaran silat style is kind of interesting. So how much has this impacted your Buka Lingkaran training?
Janel: So if we roll back to my training, obviously it was JKD and more traditional pencak silat, which is more stand up and based on somebody who is really 5’8 and taller, so that type of style was very difficult for me in terms of 1, not doing any strength training outside of here, because I had to really figure out where does the power come from, and 2, I can’t really move in the way that somebody who is way taller and way stronger and who can really muscle their way in and get through the technique. So a lot of my training had to come from “ok well if I just focus on the technique I can possibly get it,” again yes that’s half the battle. And so when I found this other style of silat which is a little more based on the recruitment of your own bodyweight and being able to use that as your strength to work a technique out, this has impacted it tremendously! Because again, talking about the mobility, when you have to rely on your own bodyweight to pretty much change levels in terms of either doing a pushup or pushing yourself up to a standing position, I was able to do it before like I’d be able to do like one pushup, and ok I’m done, hah! So when you’re doing these long repetitions that require you to change levels from working on the floor to stand up in a thirty minute period, working here has increased my ability to actually be able to last the full thirty minutes, as before at ten minutes I was kind of done with the set.
Breakthrough: So endurance has also increased?
Janel: Extreme endurance, yeah.
Breakthrough: And comfort in those positions because you coil yourself up into these tight positions to get leverage and uncoil, and it seems like the mobility in combination with that endurance is really helping you, which is really cool.
Janel: Yeah and one of the things that I’ve noticed here, yeah the punching power from all the different ballistics that we’ve done here like the swings, but also my core has been tremendously impacted in such a way that it’s harder for other people to bully me around, so when we’re in these tight closed positions whether it’s boxing or trying to move somebody from really close fighting range, they have a harder time moving me now because I know what muscles I can recruit and a lot of that has come from here.
Breakthrough: Fantastic! I’ve found myself as a martial artist in training for JKD, it was pretty cool because Bruce Lee was so athletic and into physical training that my JKD was strongly impacted by starting to do a lot more physical training in addition to martial arts. Did you find the same thing in JKD?
Janel: Haha, uh yeah! Especially since you guys have me on this program thats a little more gymnastic-like which, yeah I asked for it because again, I’ve never been able to do a handstand so being in that position where I can actually hold myself up in that inverted position is awesome.
Janel: But also all these different exercise movements where I’ve really had to rely on my own balance and bodyweight has changed everything.
Breakthrough: That’s very cool, I think you’ve even seen some pictures of Bruce Lee doing exercises that you’re doing and you’ve sent me a few of them, it’s pretty neat to see! I didn’t know those existed until you sent them to me, but yeah, doing a lot of the same stuff which is really cool!
Breakthrough: Since we’re talking about Bruce Lee and JKD, we have some seminars coming up and I know you’ve done some different styles of JKD. With Chinatown JKD being what we teach here at Breakthrough, can you share a little about your experience with that?
Janel: Yeah with the Chinatown JKD curriculum it’s awesome because it’s one of those curriculums that allows someone to go from 0 to 100 mph. It’s kind of like how you guys train here. So usually within the first two or three lessons somebody is able to pick up footwork on how to move and how to defend and how to hit all in one seamless lesson which is very cool because you’re relying on your own mental capacity to pick up something that Bruce Lee literally lived and breathed for every second of his life. So the way the lesson is packaged is that anyone can really work their power, strength and speed usually within one or two classes, and I think the strongpoint is the focus on the fundamentals to a point where it just becomes like breathing.
Breakthrough: That’s good, like water.
Janel: Haha exactly!
Breakthrough: Anything else you would like to share? We’ve covered a lot of cool stuff.
Janel: I mean essentially just training here changes the way you move in general and movement is everything. Just walking down the street, opening a door, opening a jar of pickles! Haha that’s all I can say.
Breakthrough: Well that sums it up! Thanks for sharing your story and let’s get to training!