A few months ago, I had to replace my old phone and I got the Samsung Galaxy S Plus instead (here’s the review I based my decision upon.) As this was my first Android phone, I went a little crazy with installing all sorts of apps. Some were cool, others not so much. But there were a couple I kept because, well, they were either pretty cool or useful.
So here are the five best free Android apps for martial artists:
This is a very useful timer, especially if you do a lot of interval training or train in a round system. The app lets you set different intervals, distinguishing between prep time before the round, the time you actually work, rest and a cool down period. There are a couple pre-set programs and you can also save your own. I use this app for both my own training, with private clients and in my classes.
The best part of this app is that you can set the sound loud enough. Especially when I’m working on the heavy bag, other timers just didn’t make enough noise to let me know the round was over.
There is a premium version of this one but I haven’t tried it yet. So far, this free version has proven more than plenty good for me.
One of the most effective ways of making sure you keep on making progress is to keep a log of your training and take notes. Now there are many different ways you can go about this and there are some apps out there that offer this functionality. But personally, I don’t like to use those, they just don’t have the right feel or functions for me.
Instead, I just use an Android Office suite, a word processor document and a spreadsheet. That way I can make my training schedules on my PC (which is faster and easier to type) and have them with me wherever I go. If need be, I can quickly edit them on my phone and thanks to Dropbox, the files are always synchronized.
For my own training schedule, I use a spreadsheet with dates, the content of the training, sets and reps, etc. For my notes, I use Word documents for each training topic. I can then quickly look things up on my phone if I’m not sure about a specific detail of a technique or form. I can also add short notes during training when I have some thoughts that I want to explore later on.
Here’s one that works great for both competition and in class. The app offers several options: Tae Kwon Do Sparring, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and the Ten Point Must System. For each one of those, you get a slightly different lay out on your phone, which is hard to explain here but makes sense when you use the app.
Using the app is extremely simple: you pick the type of competition, enter the names of the contestants and you’re good to go. Then it’s just a matter of tapping the screen of your Android phone to keep the score.
I don’t use this app personally because we don’t spar with a need for score keeping in my class, same goes for the competitions my students enter. However, if you teach sports sparring or coach fighters in competitions, it’s a pretty handy tool to use.
I saw this app the first time at a competition I attended, where one of the coaches used it to keep track of the fight. I asked to take a look and he kindly showed it to me. Though it wasn’t directly useful for me, the app is very practical and might just be what you’ve been looking for.
4) Martial Arts Classics
There are several classics in the martial arts, books you just have to read. Not only that, you should study them because the information they provide is timeless. Two of these classics are A Book Of Five Rings by Myamoto Musashi and The Art of War by Sun Tzu. Instead of logging paper books around, you can use these apps to read both books anywhere you want on your phone.
Personally, I like to read small parts of these books whenever I’m waiting somewhere. Check out lines or waiting at the doctor’s office are prime examples of this. I then read a bit and think through all the possible implications of the content of that chapter.
The interesting thing about these classics is how they keep on revealing new information the longer you study them. Even more so if you keep on training in whatever martial art you practice and actively try to apply the knowledge these books contain.
With these two apps, you can keep on studying whenever it suits you best.
This app is all about having fun. It’s useless, it’s not something you really need. But it’s pure, unfiltered, juvenile fun. In short, the app gives you about 20 sounds from kung fu movies. Some of these are:
- Swishing sounds of punches and kicks missing their target.
- Bruce Lee-type shouts.
- The sound of bones breaking.
- Punches and kicks landing.
You get the picture.
My girlfriend always rolls her eyes when I use the app but I can only confess it’s one of my guilty pleasures. Especially when I bust out a couple funky fighting moves while I hold the phone in my hand and tap the buttons in the mean time. Silly, stupid, but fun.
There are obviously lots more Android apps martial artists will find useful but these are the ones I found the most practical for me personally. If you know of some more good ones, drop me a line here in the comments section and I’ll check them out.