My day job has taken me out of town quite a bit lately. This means some good things like airplane reading time, meeting up with friends in NYC repeatedly and so much good food. However, it throws my Krav Maga training schedule off. Add that to a two-week holiday hiatus, and you have three weeks without an instructor-led workout.

Last Wednesday’s class was the first back for our group. I expected the January 2 class to be brimming with New Year’s resolution makers. (Our Level One class was, indeed, full of new Kravers.) However, when it came to our FASST (force aerobic strike strengthening training) class, it was all advanced students. Our instructor did not take it easy on us.

I don’t just mean the cardio came hard and fast. That’s how the workout goes. We’re trying to build up endurance to stay in a fight as long as we need to. It’s also core-intensive. No, Wednesday’s training class for the advanced cardio kids included body work. As in tighten up those obliques because your partner is going to smack them while wearing boxing gloves. Add in more squats than I could count, plenty of cross fit exercises and holding The Cross too many times.

My body hurt the next day. Badly. My quads were still insanely tight the day after that when I returned for more FASST ass-kicking.

What does this have to do with writing fight scenes? Regular training matters. Yes, my punches were still precise and powerful, because I knew how to throw them correctly. (It’s all in the hips.) However, if I had done a proper cross fit style workout or a simple burst training round every other day during the break, I wouldn’t have felt like death the day after that workout.

Repeated training scenes would likely wreck the pacing of your story, unless you work it in well. Julie Kagawa did a wonderful job of incorporating Kili (a martial art with swords!) in The Lost Prince. Most of the time though, it’s worth knowing what your character is doing off page.

Remember your character isn’t just magically good at fighting. (Unless that’s a plot point, I suppose.) It’s a skill that one hones. It requires practice. At the very least, basic cardio would be a part of their regular day. You don’t need to go all Rocky montage, but give your character the depth of training. The bonus here is you can illustrate a way your character is disciplined in this facet, whether that mirrors the other order in their life or juxtaposes the chaos.