Thursday, 31 January 2008

Drawing an Attack in a Fight or Sparring

When two combatants are sparring or fighting and they are well experienced, it can sometimes be very hard to find an opening for a strike. Attacking with single techniques rarely hit and combination striking can sometimes leave you open to be countered. One the best ways to get round this though is if you know what technique your opponent will throw at you, before he/she has even done it.

Now I am not referring to some kind of mystical martial art power. What I am referring to is the old but useful method of drawing. Drawing an attack is something that should not be used constantly as your opponent will be able to read you like a book eventually, but if two people are engaged in a match and neither one has the upper hand, it can be useful.

In order to draw, you must allow your opponent to think that you have left a gap in your tight guard. For instance, usually you have your hands up high, but for a few seconds, you purposely drop them lower, allowing your opponent to think that you have left an opening. Knowing this, you assume that your opponent will attack high, probably with a punch combination so you wait for it. As soon as it comes in, you are ready, and counter with a side kick to the exposed ribs. Another example is that you make you stance slightly longer, exposing your forward leg to a roundhouse kick to the thigh. You wait, and as soon as it comes in, you step forward, grabbing the leg and taking your opponent down.

Of course there are many other ways of drawing an attack, and it is up to you to practice the technique. Drawing is also a useful way to gauge how experienced your opponent is. If he/she falls for the draw, attacks to the exposed target, naively enough without thinking that it’s a set up, you should straight away know that your opponent is not very experienced as a fighter. The draw will not always work, but if it does it can leave you in a very dominating position.


Marks

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The Best Judo Tip for Throwing

A Judo throw requires not much strength at all. Whether it’s a hip throw, a throw to the rear, a pick up, sacrifice or whatever, they all have the same basic principle. YOUR OPPONENTS BALANCE MUST BE BROKE FIRST.

When your opponents balance is broken then a slight push, pull or trip and the opponent will be thrown. Breaking the balance can be done in many ways. The basic way is to push or pull your opponent in any direction. Front, back, sideways and to the corners. When your opponent has been taken in one off these directions, and his/her balance has been broken, then he/she can be thrown. A lot of time nowadays, strength is used to throw, which also works, but when a throw is done in this manner, the thrower can lose balance and also fall to the ground. Balance can also be broken by your opponent’s natural movement. When a foot is taken off the floor (as in to step) his/her balance is naturally broken. An example is if your opponent steps forward towards you, his/her balance has been broken to the front allowing for an easy throw to the front which could include, Uchi Mata, Koshi Guruma, O Goshi or maybe a sacrifice throw like Tomo Nage etc. Again, if your opponent attempts a throw and fails, then moves back to position, as he/she is moving backwards, his balance is being broken to the rear, allowing for maybe O Soto Gari, or Morote Gari. To be able to throw someone with this type of timing requires a lot of practice, but is just an example of how two people sparring or fighting are constantly losing balance.

Kyuzo Mifine is regarded as some, to be the best Judo Fighter ever. His balance was crisp and smooth and could throw many people much taller than him by the exact method detailed above. The best part of his throws, was that he rarely fell whilst throwing, remaining standing. This is the true essence of Judo, and is what all JudoKa should be aiming to achieve.


Marks

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Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Submission Fighting and Submitting

In case anyone does not know, submission fighting refers to grappling, which includes, throws, takedowns, locks, (to most joints on the body) chokes and cranks. It is great for building speed, flexibility, strength and endurance. When learning submission fighting or any type of system that allows these submission techniques, its important that pride does not get in the way.

Many times I have seen fights on TV where fighters would rather be choked unconscious or have one of there joints broke, rather than tap out. Why? If the technique is on and there is no way of escaping, submit. By submitting you are not giving up as some people see. You are merely letting this fight go, to concentrate on the next one. The alternative is to let pride get in the way, have your knee broke through a knee bar or to risk dying because of a strangle hold. Then that would leave you either at home resting for a few months for your knee to heal or maybe in a coffin. I know that sounds extreme but it is not that hard to kill someone with a strangle hold, and could happen.

The awful thing is that young martial artist’s still learning see fighters resist submitting on TV and then get the picture that this is good. WELL ITS NOT! Submitting, especially in training is nothing to be ashamed off. Of course, try your very best to not be caught in a submission hold, but if it happens, learn from how you got caught in that technique and move on, completely healthy to fight again


Marks

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Tuesday, 29 January 2008

What Type of Training for What Type of Goal

In the gym, I have had conversations with many people about training. Some people see me working out on the bag for instance and ask what type of training I do. I also ask the same question to people when I see them working out, weather it’s on the bag, with heavy weights or running like an Olympian. Whatever there training is, if they are working out at high intensity, I always ask why they are working out so hard. But sometimes the answers I get confuse me.

For example, I go into the gym and I see someone with great muscle size, and when asked what training he does, he replies that his training for self defence on the street. I also ask what his training plan usually consists of. I then get the answer of 5 times a week lifting weights with cardio training straight after, and two times a week sparring at a kickboxing school. Well all of that training will definitely make him a good ring fighter, but is it really geared towards street fighting? Firstly, a street fight will rarely go more than 1 minute, so is it necessary to be able to run for 1 whole hour without stopping, or to be able to bench press 500 pounds. Secondly, kickboxing with gloves on is great for learning striking for competition, but wouldn’t a more street self defence system that practises defending from grabs and multiple attackers etc be more beneficial.

Now the above is just an example, but this actually happens. Peoples training regimes become geared towards something that does not meet with there goals. Before starting training it is a good idea to think clearly on what you would like to achieve, and then gain advice from experts in that field on the best way to go about it, otherwise you could be wasting your time.


Marks

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Monday, 28 January 2008

Breaking in the Martial Arts

“Boards don’t hit back!”. One of the most famous sayings by Bruce Lee in the film Enter the Dragon. And of course what he was referring to, is that breaking boards does not automatically mean that a fighter is good. Time can be better spent by sparring with real men or perfecting passing the guard. But is breaking boards always a waste of time?

Some think not. Many things can be leant by breaking boards. First you learn which materials are the strongest and most suitable to put on your house. LOL. Also you learn that in order to break the board etc, you need a certain positive mental attitude. By believing in your own abilities you can sometimes be amazed with things you can do. If you think to yourself that the item being struck will not break then chances are it wont. You must try and block out all thoughts of failure and empty your mind, and when your mind is in this state, then you strike the item. This is the calmness and self belief that you also need in competitions, ring fights and on the streets. You must try and block out thoughts of losing in competition or getting hurt on the street to be successful. If you don’t, the consequences could mean you losing the competition or maybe worse in a self defence encounter, so in this sense breaking practise or Tamashiwara is useful.

Time should not be dedicated solely on this type of training, but every now and then it can sometimes benefit you as a martial artist.


Marks

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Sunday, 27 January 2008

Brock Lesnar in MMA

Brock Lesner, the WWE star turned MMA fighter is one big man! Even for a heavy weight he looks a giant, with his heavy muscled frame and long powerful limbs. But will he live up to his expectations, in the real world combat sport of MMA.

It is a priority that anyone who fights Brock in the future must prepare well. Many people think that technique alone wins fights, and although technique will get you a long way, brute strength and power will always help, and looking at Brock he certainly is not shy of them. Anyone thinking that he would be a walkover because he is inexperienced in MMA will have to think again.

So what does Lesnar offer in the way of fighting ability. Well firstly he is a well rounded wrestler. Having a strong wrestling background from his high school days to his collage days, he has obviously gained a great amount of experience there. And then his time spent in WWE. Although people see this as “fake fighting”, it has to be understood that in order NOT to hurt each other while performing all the acrobatic and movie like techniques, a good understanding of body mechanics and movement must be acquired, and this can definitely help with submission fighting. Then there is his first MMA fight with Min Soo Kim. He dominated him with his size and strength and submitted him (with strikes in under a couple of minutes).

The only thing that maybe could bring Lesnar down is himself. Because he is very strong and powerful, it is very easy for him to rely on his attributes to much, but as long as he continues to train hard and gains a greater understanding of MMA through more fights, we just maybe could see a great future heavyweight. Good luck Brock!


Marks

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Thursday, 24 January 2008

Anderson Silvas Knee Strike

A few days ago, I produced an article entitled BJ Penns elbow strike, in which I talked about how devastating the technique can be. Now I would like to talk to you about Anderson Silvas Knee Strike.

When watching his first fight with Rich Franklin it is clear that he is a master of the technique. Almost every knee is thrown with power, and hits exactly where it is aimed. Rich Franklin is a world class fighter with incredible skill, but he gets dominated because of Silvas extreme knowledge of the knee strike.

The knee strike is one of the best techniques a fighter can employ. Almost every fight will go to clinch and from here knees and elbows can decide the fight. The key to a successful knee strike is control over your opponent. The best grips for the knee strike include, both hands behind your opponents head and cupped together (one hand in the palm of the other) and one hand under your opponents arm pit pressing down on the shoulder and the other hand behind the head. The knee can be aimed to the thighs (inside and out) the torso (front or side) depending on how close they are to you and the head/face area (if they are bending down or not).

The knee should be studied very carefully and also defence of it should be practised as it is a very dangerous weapon.


Marks

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The Best Karate Gi (Suit)

When it comes to karate training, the type of Gi (training suit) can have a significant impact on your training. With lots of different types available in today’s market, and so many types of manufacturers, it can be very hard to pick one that is suitable for YOU.
Basically, there are three main weights of karate gi,
Lightweight
Middleweight
Heavyweight

Depending on your style of training, one gi may be better than the other. For instance, Kyokushinkai students practice constant conditioning and full contact sparring so maybe a middleweight or heavyweight gi would suit them. Fighters who concentrate on point fighting, where the fighters tend to move around much more than full contact fighters, may decide that lightweight suits benefit there style. Then there are some students who practice throws and grappling in there training, like Wado Ryu students, and because of all the pulling and tugging on the gi that comes with this type of training, they may feel that a stronger suit is more ideal.

Then there is the fact of sweating. If you are training hard, then probably you shall be sweating hard. This sweat will then be absorbed by your suit, so if it’s a heavy weight you have, it shall feel extra heavy, and for this reason a light weight suit may be better. But then again, some like the extra weight, and see it as more resistance, which helps in losing weight, and building stronger bodies.

Hopefully you are starting to see that it all depends on your type of training and personal needs, when deciding on what suit weight to buy. Personally I think a middleweight suit is ideal for karate. As long as it’s a good make, it should be strong enough to take grappling without ripping, should not be too heavy when soaked in sweat and should take impact training on the bags and through sparring very well. Quality manufacturers include Meijin, Kamikaze, Shureido and Tokaido, and can be found through searching the Internet or from many martial art magazines throughout the world.


Marks

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Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Martial Artists Training Method of the Past

When it comes to sharpness and quickness in punching, there are many drills incorporated by many world class martial artists in today’s day and age. Nearly all use weights to build strength in the muscles which can help punching speed, lots of people also punch with resistance, be it in water, whilst holding weights or with rubber bands pulling the arms backwards as they punch forwards. But how did great martial artists of the past work speed without some of these pieces of equipment.

They used a piece of equipment that is thousands of years old. This piece of equipment is excellent for the simple facts that it is very easy to find, doses not cost much, and unlike bags, weights, etc, can be used almost anywhere where there’s air. It is the candle. Being OUT of punching range of the lit candle, you punch at it, and the aim is to put the flame out. Because you are out of range of the flame, this could only be achieved by punching fast and powerful, and hoping to push a small amount of air to the candles flame. Once successful in putting out the flame continuously, you then step back slightly so you are a further distance from the candle. In order to put the flame out, obviously you’re punch has to be more powerful and faster than previously.

This exercise teaches you that power in the arm alone is not enough. You must use the whole rotation of the hips and body to create extra speed and power in your punch. Also you must punch directly to the flame, and if you don’t, the air will not be pushed towards the flame, hence it won’t go out, an excellent way to practice picking certain points to hit.

This is not a new exercise, and if there are people out there that already do it, then carry on, if there isn’t then trying it wont hurt.


Marks

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Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Workout Speed

When people train, everyone has a different speed in which they go through there workout routine. After warming up, some like to slowly get into a workout rhythm by performing slow movements whilst stretching, to fully make the muscles ready for the workout to come. Others as soon as they have warmed up, perform there workout at full throttle, working out as hard as they can.

Obviously, both types of workout can and should be employed, so as to shock the body into different types of situations. From a martial artists point of view, when a situation develops in the street and you are forced to defend yourself, you don’t want to have to say to the attacker/s, “please excuse me while I fully warm up”. You must be ready to explode with fast powerful movements. For this reason sometimes starting your training with full speed and power can be a good idea.

Having said that, I think it depends on what type of training you are doing. If you plan on going to the gym and strength training is the order of the day with heavy weights, I fully advise you to start off slow, using light weights and slow movements, then build it up after a few sets. 100 meter runners also start of slowly, stretching and running a few times round the track before doing short sprints then after half an hour or so of the workout, they attempt full 100 meter sprints, and even then, it may not be at there fastest pace.

To save on injury it is always fully advisable to warm up properly before each workout, and start your movements slowly. But to keep your muscles and body always in a growing and developing state, you must shock your body every once in a while. This can be by changing the time you train, weight you use at the gym, different types of cardio training etc. Experiment yourself to see what works best for you.


Marks

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Monday, 21 January 2008

BJ Penn's Elbow Strike

Over the weekend, UFC 80 was aired which pitted legendry BJ Penn versus the young and very talented Joe Stevenson. Although Penn had a seemingly easy victory, what shocked a lot of people about the fight was the cut that was made on Stevensons forehead.

If any one saw the fight they would have noticed that the octagon floor was covered with blood which came from Stevenson. It was made by a very weak looking elbow by Penn. When it was shown in slow motion it was seen to be a grazing type of blow. Although it is not very powerful this is the type of blow that can cause short sharp pain and obviously a big cut. As an example, try elbowing the palm of your hand in a glancing fashion, just skimming your hand. You should notice that it is not particularly powerful but sharp and this same sharpness was delivered by Penn. Although probably not intended to be delivered in this way but as a full power strike, it gave Penn a great edge physically, with blood crawling down Stevenson’s face making it hard for him to see.

The elbow strike is a very powerful and devastating blow. In a professional fight it can help decide the match as seen over the weekend and in the street it can end a fight very quickly, which may be needed when dealing with multiple opponents. It should be studied carefully.


Marks

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Friday, 18 January 2008

The Cheat Chin Up

The chin up is one of the greatest exercises ever thought of. It is seen as one of the greatest upper body exercises and can be done almost anywhere where there is something strong enough to hold above your head.

There are various grips to use when doing chin ups and are thousands of websites available that give good valuable information on this so I won’t bore you. Instead I would like to tell about a special cheat way of doing chin ups for added strength. Normally a chinning movement involves gripping a bar overhead and whilst completing repetitions going up and down, the feet are always off the floor. I have noticed that this is great for building gripping strength but a lot of energy is wasted at the end of each rep when you are hanging from the bar. This energy could be used for a few more reps which will create that little bit more strength in your upper body muscles. To tackle this problem I always do my chin ups on a bar that is high enough for me to be standing relaxed with my feet on the floor at the end of each rep. This enables me to pause and rest for a second before each rep, allowing me to focus all my strength on the pull of each chin up. Alternatively if the bar is to high, I place a box, a board or anything on the floor that will take my weight at the bottom of each rep. Grip strength is worked on other exercises like shrugs and deadlifts so I don’t worry to much about losing out on this when doing chin ups.


Marks

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Thursday, 17 January 2008

Ground Conditioning for Fighting

Most grappling schools nowadays (BJJ, Judo, wrestling) are very well equipped. Most dojos have some very good quality matting from well respected companies. Some even use the same matting that is found at competitions. These allow for fast movements while rolling on the floor, and also when moving whilst performing certain throws and takedowns.

Apart from when I train at certain gyms and dojos, I also train at home in my shed. Unfortunately the shed doesn’t have a luxurious floor. It’s concrete with a very thin carpet on top only. No padding at all. When my training partner came over yesterday for some ground fighting grappling we noticed that at the end of the sparring our elbows, knees, forearms and shins were bruised and battered. Through rolling around on such a hard floor we noticed that it’s a great conditioning exercise. Many people condition themselves by constantly hitting the heavy bag, hitting each others forearms, punching makiwaras and other methods. Although these are all great conditioning methods, they can get rather boring. An alternative from time to time could be to simply grapple on a hard floor like wood or concrete for an hour or so a couple of times a week. Try it to see if you feel a difference.

Marks

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Wednesday, 16 January 2008

A Great Takedown for all Martial Artists

When people see throws and takedowns, the majority of them tend to be double leg pickups, hip throws of some sort, wrestler type suplexes or reaping techniques (O soto gari etc) One of the most underused takedowns which is very quick and requires little energy is the back of the knee press.

It works like this. From the clinch, move to the back of your opponent quickly or pull him round so his back his facing you. Then using the sole of your foot, press through the back of your opponents knee joint whilst pulling him/her backwards (grabbing any part of his/her upper body, including shoulders, arms, upper torso, head, hair etc). As your opponent falls backwards, be sure to move your body out of the way, so he/she does not fall on top of you.

The beauty of this takedown is that it requires very little strength to pull off. The back of the knee is very weak on everyone, no matter how strong they think they are, and a small amount of force is needed to bend the leg. The pull of the upper body then brings the opponent down to the floor. Also unlike most other throws where nearly all of the times there is a strong chance that the person will also fall to the floor, this is not the case with the back of the knee press. It is quite simple to remain standing, without your opponent gaining the ability to pull you down.

The key step to learn with this throw is how to get to a position behind your opponent. This can be achieved through practice and sparring.

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Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Great Karate Biography

Occasionally I like to inform you about certain martial art and training books which I feel are worth there money. Many times I have bought many books that give useless information which is impractical for fighting, or biographies of famous martial artists which portray pointless lives. The book which I shall speak of today fortunately does not belong in that category.

My Journey in Karate by Kancho Joko Ninomiya gives a great insight into the Enshin karate founder’s life. Joko Ninomiya came from Japan to the USA and set up his karate school in Denver. Having a Judo background and from there moving to Ashihara karate, it tells of his story in becoming the All Japan champion, which includes details of his training routines, people he would train with and the hard life which he lived when he first moved to the USA. It also gives information on how he brought students to his school, the success of his school and his work with troubled youths.

I first read this book about 5 years ago, and continue to read it again and again. It is very motivational for any martial artist looking for extra inspiration to there training, and I recommend it to all. It can be found at many book stores or on the Internet.

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Monday, 14 January 2008

Fighting Against the Cage

When watching MMA or grappling fights, most are fought either in a ring, a tournament mat or in a cage. The differences of fighting in the cage, rather than on the mat or in the ring is the fact that there is, a cage.

When both fighters fight on the floor and one is pushed against the cage, it is very hard to perform submissions, to manoeuvre his/her body to secure a dominant position and possibly to defend against strikes coming in from all angles (if strikes are allowed). For people who are used to fighting in rings or on mats, where there are no cage restrictions, this can be very frustrating when they are trapped against the cage. Also from a street fighting point of view, if you are unfortunate enough to find yourself pushed against a wall or up a bar counter, if you are not used to defending from this awkward position it can be very hard to fight back.

For the reasons given above it may be a good idea to sometimes practice ground fighting and stand up fighting being in this awkward position. When sparring, before you begin, start in an awkward position (against the wall on your back, and maybe with your opponent in the mount, or clinched standing, with your opponent having a double under hook grip.) Keep the sparring contact light at first and with relevant experience add the amount of force in the strikes gradually over time.


Marks

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Friday, 11 January 2008

The Mighty Front kick

The front kick is nearly always the first kick taught at many martial arts schools. It is relatively easy to learn, needing only a few minutes of practice to be able to obtain the basic grasp of it. It has different ways of being applied with different areas of the foot for striking. So why is it not seen as a major kick for most fighters. Firstly, let’s analyze the ways of executing the kick,

Snap – After chambering the kicking leg (by bringing the knee to the chest) the kicking foot is snapped towards to the target using the ball of the foot to strike. As the foot is thrust forward the hips are also thrust simultaneously slightly forward, to add power to the strike. After a full contact blow is made penetrating the target, the foot is brought back to the chambered position and dropped to the floor. The preferred targets are the knee joint (front or side), just above the hip joint or the groin using the shin or instep to strike.


Thrust – Again after chambering the kicking leg, the foot is thrust towards the trunk area or thigh of the opponent with a simultaneous hip thrust to add power to the kick. Because of this kicking type being a thrust and not a snap, normally it is to difficult for the foot to be retracted to the chambered position so it is dropped to the floor with the hand held high for possible counters. It is useful as a stop hit. The striking area of the foot for the thrust, is usually the sole or heel.


Above tells us that the snap kick targets (knee, groin) are to dangerous to be used for competition. Hitting these areas need little power to be effective, where the areas for the thrust kick need a lot of power to be effective (trunk, thigh). Also well trained fighters can easily see the kick coming where a sneaky roundhouse comes in from the side and is harder to block. Because the snap is aimed low, it is much harder to see and defend.

So reasons why the front kick is not used by professional fighters could be that because the preferred targets are too dangerous for competition and should be left to the street, and that it is an easy to kick to defend against. Any views on this?


Marks

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Thursday, 10 January 2008

Striking and Breathing

A topic that has been around for many years in the martial arts is the correct way to breathe when striking. Some say that when striking, you should force all your breath out fully on impact, which will create extra strength in your stomach muscles allowing for a more powerful and accurate strike. Although this creates a strong strike, if you force all your breath out on impact, surly if you are doing combination striking, after 2 maybe 3 strikes, you shall be out of breath and shall have to breathe again while striking, and this is extremely difficult. But then there is the argument that if you breathe in and exhale on impact, fast, then this should not be a problem. Walk into a Mauy Thai school and the first thing you shall notice is short fast and sharp grunts, which occur on nearly every strike. The grunts, which are in fact the fighters breathing out, are short and small, and because of this they are able to breath out on each strike even when throwing 5 or 6 strikes in a combination. On the other hand, watching an impressive breaking display by some karate or kung fu fighters will leave you dazzled, not just by the breaking, but with the loud and world renowned kiais. A kiai is a way of releasing tension and adding focus and power to each blow, and it is done by a shout coming from the stomach via a strong exhale of breath. This kiai would not be possible without the exhale.

It seems that there are various ways of breathing out depending on how you strike. In a fight, you are not always going to be throwing combinations, and you are not going to be always looking for the most powerful strike. The story of the fight is constantly changing and because of this the way you breathe should also change depending on the nature of your movements.

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Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Kick Catching for Throws and Takedowns

I’m sure you have seen many times when two people fight, one goes for a kick, and the other defends by hooking the leg/foot with his hand/arm, and then sweeps the supporting foot to take them to the ground. But how do you catch and hook the kicking leg?

The first method is by using an over leg catch. When the kick comes in towards you, you catch the leg by circling your arm around the TOP of his kicking leg/foot. Then as soon as you have control of the leg you sweep the supporting one. This is the quickest method of catching, and requires little training in order to pull it off.
The second method is by using an under leg catch. As the kick is shot in towards you, you circle your arm UNDERNEATH the kicking leg/foot and when you have full control you sweep the supporting leg. This is probably stronger than the over leg catch.

Over Leg Catch
Advantages
It’s the fastest catch.
Good control off the leg once caught.
An Achilles lock can be applied easily with this catch.
Disadvantages
Good control of the leg but not the best, as the arm is not strongest in this position.
Strong possibility of taking the kick when hooking over the kicking leg.
The hooking arm becomes nearly unusable apart from holding the leg/foot.

Under Leg catch
Advantages
Strongest control of the leg when caught.
Because the arm hooks under the kick, the blow of the kick is taken only on the hooking arm.
The hooking arm can also be used to guard even when holding the leg.
The under hook allows for the caught leg to be pushed up, taking the opponent off balance and to the floor.
More leg locks can be applied using this catch.
Disadvantages
It’s slower and harder to catch the kicking leg in this way requiring more practice.
More leg locks can be applied, but are harder to obtain from this position.
There is a chance that the kicking leg can bounce off the hooking arm and towards the head area.

As you can see there are advantages and disadvantages to both methods of catching. The key is to be able to employ both methods in the safest way possible. These methods should be studied vigorously.


Marks

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Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Cross Training for All Martial Artists

I have been training in Judo for many years, and have always kept an open mind, and have included different techniques from different grappling styles into my grappling repertoire. One thing I have noticed with most Judoka in today’s day and age is that they are very sport orientated. Most train 100% for Judo competition. Notice I have said Judo competition. Not MMA style fighting, kickboxing, wrestling or anything else. Just Judo. By doing this they fall into a certain way of fighting that can be applied only to Judo competition. They lose there flexibility in adapting to different situations.

In Judo competition, a win can be achieved by a near perfect throw, by submission (arm locks and choke holds), or by pinning your opponent on the ground for a certain amount of time. When ground fighting, it can be hard to apply a submission to someone who knows how to counter them. It is easier to win by pinning your opponent. Most Judoka know this and train to be able to pin someone only. A few nights ago I took the Judo class where I train. We concentrated on groundwork sparring most of the night, but I told the students that a win could only be achieved through a submission. As the students started sparring, I noticed that they were very good at achieving pins, but from there, even the higher grades where unsure how to apply submission holds, and to completely throw them off course I said leg locks where included. They did not know what to do.

The moral here is for not just Judoka but all martial artists to see and understand the value in cross training. If you are a grappler, visit striking schools, and vice versa. You shall be become a more complete fighter and shall feel comfortable training with people from different styles. This cannot be stressed enough.

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Monday, 7 January 2008

Pressup Variations

Press ups have been used for centuries to build upper body strength but can they be modified to relieve boredom and also to create extra strength and explosiveness in the upper body?

Yes they can. The clap press up, as you have probably guessed is a press up where you clap your hands. In order to do this, you must push your body vigorously off the floor so as you can create time to clap. By doing a press up in this way, you are training in a polymetric fashion which helps to create explosiveness in your upper body muscles. The obvious way to clap when doing this exercise is to simply bring your hands together in front of your body, but for people who find this to easy I suggest trying to clap your hands together behind your body. In order to do this, your hands must be off the floor for a longer amount of time then when clapping in front, so you must push even harder when performing the press up, which creates added strength in the upper body.

This is a fast twitch muscle, explosive exercise and I have found that the best way to perform them is by performing in a certain amount of time. For instance 20 press ups must be aimed at in 30 seconds or 30 press ups in a minute etc. By training in this way, you create more explosiveness than you would then performing reps and sets in a slower fashion.

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Sunday, 6 January 2008

The New Year Martial Artist

The new year is upon us, and many people tend to create for themselves new years resolutions. Some people give up smoking, chocolate or maybe decide to become focused on finding a new job. As a martial artist I like to use my new years resolution on coming a step closer to perfect a certain technique. Last year it was to work on my head high kicks, as an old injury plagued me and I have not been able to kick as high as I wanted. I have worked on my flexibility and on strengthening my legs and have made great gains with the extra training. I have not found what I shall work on this year but I'm sure it will help my overall ability. Try it yourselves.

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