Thursday, 23 July 2009

Is the Headbutt Effective for Self Defence

The techniques which we all wish would work such as spinning back roundhouse kicks, flying arms, or even fast hook punches may look impressive, but the nature of most self defence situations, points to the fact that these types of techniques are impractical for the fast, explosive and unpredictable confrontations that happen daily. One must think hard about which techniques are practical and which are not.

One which many see as being very practical for the streets is the head butt. The reason being, that it does not take years of training to learn, it is fast, it’s a close quarter technique and the head (forehead part) is strong. These are all good reasons for trying to implement the head but in a self defence situation, and although it was effective for Zinedine Zidane, is it really as effective as people think.

Below are a few reasons why the head but may not be effective.

You are not striking a still target – If you mark a spot on a motionless heavy bag and try and head but it, you may find that you will only sometimes hit that spot. Against a fast moving opponent who may be pulling you left right and centre, head butting your target may not always work, and you may find yourself missing.

Striking surface must be precise – Many times there have been instances where someone has attempted to head but with there forehead but for one reason or another they have hit with there nose, top of the skull, eye/eyebrow or somewhere else and have ended up hurting themselves.

There may be better techniques available – If you are close enough to head but, then you are close enough to knee to the groin or kick to the knee or execute some other technique which may be more effective.

You leave yourself open – In daily training, there are people who are constantly shouting, “keep your guard up”. This is because the head is the area you want to protect the most. By head butting you are doing the opposite of this and exposing it. If you are successful with the technique and it is enough to stop your attacker, great, but if it is not you leave yourself wide open to counter blows to weak and vital areas. Do you really want to take that chance?

You can ended up falling – Even with a good stable stance, which is rare to achieve in a street fight, if you execute a head but with force, you may find yourself losing balance as you throw all your weight forward and may end up on the floor. If you are involved in a multiple attack situation, this may be a very dangerous place to be.

Yes the head but can be effective, but there are also many reasons why it can not be. Many people think that because fights end up mainly as close quarter affairs than any close quarter technique is good to use. However, this is not always the case. Each technique must be thought about clearly and if YOU don’t feel comfortable with it or it is something which does not suit your fighting style, YOU should not use it. It may be good for someone else and may be branded all over the internet and magazines as effective, but if you don’t think so, don’t use it. Instead, what you should do, is think about what is effective for you and concentrate on becoming efficient with them techniques.


Marks

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Monday, 20 July 2009

Muay Thai Clinch - What NOT to Do

Muay Thai is probably best known for its clinch fighting. From the clinch, not only can viscous elbows become available for a fighter to use, but more dangerous knee strikes can be executed. Many will recall the UFC’s Rich Franklin being brutally knocked out by Anderson Silva. Silva, an expert in Muay Thai and clinch fighting controlled Franklin and finished him from this position via punishing knees.

Rather than explaining what you should do if caught in the clinch, the following explains what you should not try and do. They are common mistakes people make and ones, if avoided, should keep you out of danger in order to start thinking about an escape.

Don’t try and move away – Trying to move away from your opponent when caught in the clinch, will extend the distance between the two of you and will provide enough space for them to deliver knee strikes with a full range of motion. You actually want to try and minimise the space as much as possible so knees can not be thrown easily or at all.

Don’t try and grab your opponents hand to break the grip – Many times people actually reach behind, in order to try and pull there opponents hands off the back of the head. This has even been attempted while wearing boxing gloves. By doing this you open up your midsection and weak ribs to knee strikes.

Don’t try and turn your back to your opponent – If your opponent has a good solid grip of the back of your head with both hands, if you try and turn away, you shall simply twist your neck which could result in injuring yourself as well as leaving yourself on the receiving end of some knee strikes.

Don’t try and swing you head under your opponents elbow - If you try and duck under your opponents elbows at the same time he/she delivers a knee strike upwards, well you get the picture…hopefully.

Don’t strike the midsection – Although some may disagree with this, it is one open for debate. Some people feel that by striking your opponents midsection with punches you may be able to make them release there grip in order to protect themselves. This may work against beginners but against fighters who have been training for a long period of time and have conditioned there midsections to take these blows without flinching, all this shall do is annoy your opponent and will probably make them more eager to end the fight quickly. However, an alternative may be to try and strike there face area with hooks or overhand punches. This will give you a better chance of them letting go of there grip.

Don’t panic – This is the most important point to remember. If you get caught in the clinch the last thing you want to do is panic, tense up, use up all your energy via the tension and find yourself in trouble. Just relax, take your time, concentrate on closing the distance between you and your opponent and work towards escaping.

It takes practise and time to be able to learn what to do when caught in the clinch. It is not something where one can just do a couple of sessions on it and expect to be able to defend themselves adequately. Clinch fighting is an art form in itself and something that requires constant practise.


Marks

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Friday, 17 July 2009

Manny Pacquiao Training

The following videos show boxer Manny Pacquiao training in which he runs, shadow boxes, performs bag and pad work and spars.

In order to better ones speed, power or any other attribute of fighting, one must train with lots of intensity. It takes hard work and dedication but it can be done.

These videos prove this. The speed which Pacquiao displays in his footwork and combinations is a sight to see, leaving one questioning weather the videos are speeded up or not.

Also what should be noted is the fact that he spars with people that are bigger than he is allowing them to also hit him in order to build up his conditioning. Getting used to harder punches and bigger people, helps him when taking on fighters his own size and weight. Enjoy.

FIRST VIDEO


SECOND VIDEO


Marks

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Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Illusion of Power for Strikers

The previous article described different ways in which illusions can be made to make strikes seem faster (here). This article hopes to provide illusions to make strikes seem more powerful.

Power along with speed, is something that defines a well trained martial artist capable of handling his/her own. Power is something that can be enhanced with the use of weights, callisthenics and also via ones actual martial art training. However just as one is able to create illusions to make there strikes faster, so can one create illusions to make there strikes more powerful.

Some of these are outlined below,

Hitting the correct spot – Many times in professional fights there have been instances where a fighter has seemed to be hit with the softest of blows but has been knocked out. The second Sonny Liston vs Muhammad Ali fight is a great example of this. However, by striking the correct vital spot such as the chin, or the temple etc, a soft blow can be seen to be much more powerful than it actually is.

Striking as your opponent moves in – Imagine two cars speeding front first into one another. If you can strike (stop hit) your opponent as they are moving in towards you, you shall be using the force of your strike to meet the forward momentum of them moving in, to create a very powerful blow. The blow will be twice as powerful.

Using certain striking points – No doubt a strike with the shin is more powerful and felt much more than a strike with the foot. The same can apply with knees and elbows as opposed to fists. By using parts of your body which are bony and dense, strikes with little force can seem more powerful than they actually are.

Striking a shocked opponent – If you are in shock and get hit, the blow can seem much more powerful. Ways in which this can be achieved is to strike an opponent unexpectedly (when getting up from the ground, straight away when the round starts etc) or to strike your opponent a split second after performing a loud kiai (shout).

Power is something that all martial artists wish they had more off. However, by using these methods above and many more which you should do your best to research and implement, you may be able to strike with much more power than you thought possible without having to actually strike, with more power.


Marks

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Monday, 13 July 2009

Illusion of Speed for Strikers

A famous martial artist once said “if you hold a focus pad in front of me and an untrained guy and we must strike it when a red light goes off, I would probably win by about 1/10th of a second”.

Martial artists can train themselves to produce faster strikes. It takes hard training and lots of it, but it can be done. However, a martial artist will only be able to produce a small amount of faster movement speed compared to an untrained person. Where a martial artist can excel though is by creating an illusion of speed.

An illusion of speed is when someone creates the illusion that there strikes are fast but what is really happening is that tactics and timing are being used with strikes. Ways in which this happens include.

Simultaneous defend and strike – Most fighters are used to having there strikes defended in some sort of way and then counter strikes thrown back at them. However, if one can learn to defend and counter at the same time it would be unexpected to some, and will seem as though a counter strike is being thrown with great speed after defending oneself.

After feinting – A feint should be convincing enough to make an opponent defend or react in some sort of way. The person performing the feint should keep this in mind but must also keep in mind the fact that a follow up technique must be thought of and performed immediately after the feint, once the opponent has started to defend it. Feinting high and attacking low or vice versa is perfect for this. If the follow up technique is successful it should seem as though great speed has been used in combination.

Sidestepping and countering – Similar to the simultaneous defend and strike you side steps your opponents onslaught of attacks whilst simultaneously performing a strike of your own. Normally the expectation is to move backwards when attacked. By side stepping whilst still staying in range to deliver a counter blow it seems as though a defence and counter is performed with great speed.

Timing - Most people react to an opponent’s technique. However one must react to an opponent’s movement. Say your opponent throws a jab. Instead of waiting to react when the jabbing fist reaches the target if one can react as soon as the jabbing arm moves, even a slight inch, it will seem as though on has reacted with great speed when in actual fact one has used good timing.

These are just a few ways in which one can seem to be moving with great speed when in actual fact it is good timing and tactics that produce this illusion. These of course are subtle attributes that can only be achieved through years of training and paying strict attention to the art of combat for success, rather than just simply padding up with 16 oz gloves and beating each other brains out. Sparring slow and with light contact will help when trying to develop these different illusions of speed.


Marks

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Thursday, 9 July 2009

Aikido's Gozo Shioda

“You are only as strong as your weakest point”. In the martial arts this saying is just as important to remember as breathing. You can have the hardest punch, the fastest kicks and the best grappling but a poke in the eye will still do you damage.

Today’s video comes from Aikido grandmaster Gozo Shioda sensei. His technique is second to none as he uses little effort to bring down his opponents or put them in pain. The above saying is easily remembered when watching Shioda sensei in action.

Being so small and physically not as strong as his opponents he uses correct placement of grips and presses on pressure points and pure technique and timing to bring down his opponents. Coupled with excellent tai sabaki, he goes down in history as one of the greatest martial artists ever. Enjoy.



Marks

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Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Older Articles

I thought I would take the liberty of posting a few of our older articles. Hope you enjoy them.

Feinting
The feint is one of the best tactics that martial artists can employ. It is used mainly when striking, but can…rest

Evasion and Reaction Training
If you look at old Muhammad Ali fights one thing you will notice is that his reaction and evasion to punches is probably…rest

Street Fighting and MMA Style Fighting
Over the last few years we have seen UFC, Pride and others bring out the most advanced fighters the world has ever seen. They are able to…rest

Self Defence Breakfalling
This is just a quick comment on break falling. Last week when training nage komi (full throw repetitions) my partner was on the receiving end of a harai goshi…rest

The White Belt, your Best Training Partner
When you practice against higher belts of your school whatever style it is, you can learn some very valuable lessons. With all the knowledge they have gained through…rest

Punching Without Gloves
In the street if you unfortunately got in a situation where you had to defend yourself, youre not going to wearing big 16oz boxing gloves or even small MMA gloves…rest

The Best Weight Training Exercises for Martial Artists
There are many people who dont agree with weight training for martial arts. They argue that the use of weights…rest

Marks

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Monday, 6 July 2009

Closing the Distance when Fighting

When watching boring fights, one of the main reasons why they are boring is because two fighters are constantly at a distance away from each other not allowing for blows to be traded, countered etc. The main reason for this is because a fighter may find it hard to close the distance on their opponent.

Closing the distance is an art form in itself. It requires cunningness, patience and speed. Many times fighters rush in on there opponents with punches and kicks, frustrated with the fact there can not reach them and end up getting countered easily or shoot down towards there legs in an attempt to take them to the floor resulting in them being sprawled on.

Below is a short list of some tried and tested methods for closing the distance on your opponent with the intent of being in range to land successful blows, take the fight to the clinch or maybe go for a takedown.

Sweep – By performing a sweep on one of your opponents feet (preferably the forward foot) it draws his/her attention below to the foot allowing you to move in. The sweep does not have to take the opponent down. A slight touch would do.

Jab forward – By jabbing as you move forward you disguise the fact that you are moving forward by giving your opponent something to defend. Be careful that you keep covered up when jabbing and watch for any counters.

A kick with the front leg – Scoot forward with your back foot as you raise you front leg in order to kick. After the kick you shall land forward closing the gap slightly. Because your aim is minimise distance between you and your opponent the kick does not have to be powerful. A roundhouse to the thigh is good to use for this. This is similar to the sweep method above.

Feint – Feints are definitely not used as much as they should be. A good feint will provide you with a split second to quickly move in on your opponent as there mind will be concentrating on the dummy technique. The feint should be effective so make it look like a real technique but don’t actually intend on hitting or maybe even reaching the target.

Let your opponent come to you – draw your opponent in towards you, making him/her do all the work of closing the distance. Ways to do this include, moving backwards so they move forwards, intentionally leave an area of your body open so they can attack that area and when they do, be ready to counter, or, perform a technique in a sloppy manner knowing very well they will counter it and be ready to take the advantage when they counter.

Use the ring/cage – By using your surroundings you may be able to trap your opponent into a corner or against the fence/ropes. The key to this is to learn to be able to make your opponent stop revolving around you. Close them down so they can only move in the direction you want them to move rather than letting them keep circling you and when they are trapped and cannot move back, capitalize on your chance.

There are many ways to close the distance and the best way to practise it is during sparring. Let your sparring partner know what you intend to practise so they are aware and to take it easy on the counters giving you the opportunity to master this very much needed ability.


Marks

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Friday, 3 July 2009

Paul Vunak's Ear Slap for Self Defence

The following is a video demonstrating the ear slap by Paul Vunak.

The ear slap is one of the most underused and under trained self defence techniques. It is very simple to perform, requiring little training and can be very effective.

If you simply tap your ear very gently using the method in the video below (DO NOT DO THIS HARD) you will see instantly just how effective the ear slap can be if you was to use force.

If used against an attacker in a self defence situation it can destroy their balance, can damage their ear drum but at the very least, can divert most, if not all of the attackers attention to the slap, providing one with enough time to follow up with other techniques or preferable, flee the area.

It should be studied wisely. Enjoy.



PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS A DANGEROUS TECHNIQUE AND SHOULD BE PRACTISED WITH CARE, PREFERABLY UNDER QUALIFIED SUPERVISION.

Marks

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Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Post Workout Martial Arts Nutrition

People who have decent knowledge about nutrition and bodybuilding know that right after a hard workout, be it with weights or cardiovascular training, a good healthy, highly nutritional meal is needed, pretty much straight away to replenish the body and muscles of what they have used up. In the same way after a hard martial arts workout, one also needs to refuel. It is called the post workout meal.

The post workout meal is one of the most important ones of the day. It is one of the times in the day when the body is crying out for food the most. Consistently going without a good meal after a workout can leave some bodybuilders actually losing size or strength, something that is contrary to the goals.

For a martial artist, there is no difference. After a workout where one may be exerting a great amount of energy punching bags, sparring for many rounds, pulling, pushing, hitting, getting hit etc it is vital to get in the right amount of nutrients into ones body.

Everyone knows by now that protein is needed to repair damaged muscles which is the result of hard workouts and carbohydrates in order to replenish energy levels and for this reason one should consume quick acting protein and carbs. A protein shake and a couple of pieces of fruit are ideal.

However, one of the main nutrients that many overlook at this vital stage is water. With all the sweating that one does through training, it is vital that a good quantity of water is consumed after training and that it is consumed steadily, as frequent sips, for several hours afterwards. If you think about it, muscle is mostly made up of water and if you are not replenishing the water that is taken from the muscle and used as sweat, they shall not be as powerful, resulting in weaker techniques and slower movements.

Some people also feel that if one is training regularly (at least 5 times a week) then it is a good idea to take a multivitamin/mineral right after training with your post workout meal. This is because just like protein and carbs, your body is crying out for all these essential vitamins and minerals that have just been sweated out of the body. Many take this supplement first thing in the morning but this is an alternative.

The post workout meal is very important and while many martial artists like to have a quick beer or a burger with training partners after there workout (which is fine and encouraged on occasion) it may be a good idea to substitute that with a nutritional meal instead, especially if one is training for a competition or fight.


Marks

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