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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Cole's 'ninja sessions' keep Olympic fire burning

Cole's 'ninja sessions' keep Olympic fire burning

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http://www.insideathletics.com.au/news/sprints/3189-coles-ninja-sessions-keep-olympic-fire-burning-coles-ninja-sessions-keep-olympic-fire-burning

Cole's 'ninja sessions' keep Olympic fire burning

By Courtney Rees
Canberra Times
March 25, 2012



400m hurdler Brendan Cole, is using an unusual training regime,
including martial arts, ahead of the London olympics.
Photo: Rohan Thomson


BRENDAN COLE is bound for his first Olympic Games but without some unusual training methods he may not have booked his place.

Cole qualified for the games after winning the Olympic selection trials in Melbourne in an A-qualifying time earlier this month, with part of his training involving combinations of martial arts that the 30-year-old calls his ''ninja sessions''.

Cole has been been working with Ari Takkinen - who has developed the training sessions to combine various forms of martial arts as well as tai chi, pilates and yoga.

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''It is all about being very mindful and body-aware,'' Cole said of his sessions with Takkinen.

''They are not super hard sessions and I wouldn't say I would do fighting anyone or anything like that but it has definitely, without question, been the backbone of keeping my body together and in one piece for the last four or five years.''

One aspect of his sessions involves Cole's ''powerball'' which he uses ''as an external force to focus energy on''.

''You move it around your body and the idea is to stimulate muscles that aren't normally activated and it connects your whole body.''

The pair work together at the AIS where Cole is a soft tissue therapist and Cole believes his experiences working has also helped not only training but his overall health.

''I see a lot of athletes come through the institute here and I think they lack [injury] awareness,'' Cole said.

''I know that for me to stay in the sport for as long as possible I needed to have a strong, resilient body and the exercises and the mentality that I have from these ninja drills has been the reason why I have been able to stay in the sport for as long as I have.''

Cole spends about 25-30 hours a week working at the AIS, while still fitting in two or three training sessions a day but says he likes having a busy schedule to keep him from going ''crazy''.

Cole is philosophical about how he finally made it into an Olympic team, believing learning from the experience gained from his attempts over the last decade has been key.

''If I had those really high performances when I was quite young and early in my career and made teams when I was in my early 20s I may not have got to where I am,'' he said.

London will mark the end of Cole's elite career after deciding to end on a high note.

''For the last couple of years I have always had the intention of making this Olympic cycle my last really serious few years in athletics … [so] London will be the final crescendo, the final pinnacle and the absolute peak of my career,'' he said.

Cole has set himself the task of making the Olympic final but knows his personal best time of 49.35 seconds set in 2009 will need to be significantly lowered for that to occur.

''I think if I ran around my PB I would make it through from the heats to the semi final,'' he said.

''But I think with the environment of the Olympic Games … I think it will definitely be possible.''

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