Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Vitor Belfort Hand Positioning

Vitor Belfort and Rich Franklin fought recently in UFC 103 in which Belfort knocked out Franklin in the first round. After reading a post on Ikigaway.com entitled Vitor Belfort keeps Karate Love alive in UFC 103, I came across a picture from there pre fight weigh in.

The first thing that hit me straight away was the difference in the arm positions of each fighter whilst the picture was getting taken.

As you can see, Franklin’s hands are held higher than Belfort’s, just under his chin whilst Belfort has them level with his shoulders which is considered too low by some trainers and fighters. Also what is worth pointing out is how far there lead hands are from there actual bodies. Franklin has his much closer to his body than Belfort does.

Just by looking at the difference in these hand positions one can see how much more relaxed Belfort looks to Franklin.

If you have your hands under your shoulders, yours shoulders tend to be quite relaxed. Raising them so they are higher, not only tenses them slightly but also tenses the trapezius muscles located in the middle upper portion of the back just under the neck muscles. The contraction of Rich Franklins trapezius shows this clearly, and by having his lead hand so close to his body he pulls his elbow back slightly which tenses up his back muscles even more, which is a waste of energy.

Obviously ones guard must not be too low. Dropping your hands to an area level with the lower abdomen as seen by some point karate fighters may protect your body to some degree but leaves your head wide open to attacks. But in the same respect, having your hands held too high will also not enable one to protect against low blows and possible takedowns, and as mentioned above tenses up the muscles.

Belfort has his hand positioning just right. They are not too high so as to tense up the shoulders and upper back which wastes energy. They are not too low so as to leave his head open to shots. They are not too close to his body which would prevent him from parrying, clinching and controlling his opponent and are not to far away from his body which would prevent him from executing strikes with power.

Now this is not to say that what Franklin is doing is wrong, or that he is not a good fighter, because he is and the reality is that during a fight, ones hands are constantly moving especially during the course of throwing punches or feints. But it must be remembered that in general, one must hold there hands in a position that not only offers the best protection to the whole body, whilst allowing for the most successful strikes to be thrown, but that also prevents a fighter from tensing up and using up unnecessary energy.

The best way to practise your hand positioning and relaxation when moving, feinting, striking and defending is through shadow boxing in front of a mirror. Mentioned time and time again on this website, this is the best way to make sure that one is moving correctly whilst staying relaxed, and to check for any bad habits that may crop up.


Marks
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Monday, 28 September 2009

Roy Dean: BJJ Purple Belt Requirements DVD

“The rank of purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) is the gateway to the advanced game.” RoyDeanAcadamy.com

It is clear that Sensei Roy Dean wants his purple belts to not only learn the actual techniques of BJJ, (as a blue belt) but to actually start thinking about the principles of them and how each and every student can vary them according to the type of situation they find themselves in.

Gaining a purple belt from Roy Dean is proof that one has learnt the skills and techniques needed for blue belt level, and has used them to open up the door which leads to a more advanced and self reliant approach. In this two disc compilation, Sensei Roy not only demonstrates the techniques and requirements of purple belt but also tries to start making his students start learning how to combine and flow, two elements of the art that truly make it unique to others.

Disc 1
Sensei Roy gives a brief description using examples of what a purple belt is and what a purple belt should be able to do. By doing this he helps not only members of his dojo who are looking towards taking there purple belt grading, but all Brazilian Jiu Jitsu ka in general, understand what is needed to be a successful purple belt and how one should be developing from when blue belt.

The positions of BJJ and grappling in general are probably more important than the actual submissions to some extent. Sensei Roy understands this completely and in doing so, he spends time (but not too long to bore) on explaining these, the aims of each one and illustrates the most dominant submissions and combinations from each position.

Progression when passing the guard was a chapter that Sensei Roy did an excellent job with. Not seen on many other instructional DVD’s, Sensei Roy explains how to progress when things do not go according to plan. How to not panic, lose positioning, ending up back where one started, but how to progress and change ones strategy to make the pass effective. This is just another way which Sensei Roy demonstrates that a purple belt needs to start thinking about the art on his own and how to use there sensei’s teachings in a way which is specific for them to advance.

What makes the demonstrations of techniques more appealing on this disc is the fact that Sensei Roy shows short video clips of them being used effectively in actual live sparring/grappling matches. Many times, techniques are demonstrated that have not actually been tried or tested during real situations. Sensei Roy on the other hand backs up his teachings by showing the practical applications of them.

Disc 2
The second DVD is more like a treat for the viewer. It is full of seminars, (including one in the Middle East) sparring sessions and other footage of Sensei Roy and his students. Although there is a lot of footage of Sensei Roy on the Internet, the materiel contained here is unique to the DVD and is a sight to see. Sensei Roy proves that BJJ and grappling in general is not an art of brute strength and that timing, good technique and patience is the best way to be successful.

So should people studying BJJ be interested in this DVD? Yes, along with every other martial artist who has a good basic level of grappling and who wants to develop themselves to become better. Coupled with fantastic backing music tracks which helps one to become entranced in the flowing, graceful and sheer dominating techniques and movements of BJJ, this DVD is a must for all!

FOR ANYONE INTERESTED IN THE DVD OR ANOTHER OTHER OF SENSEI ROYS, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

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Friday, 25 September 2009

Tani Otoshi

Today’s video is one demonstrating one of my most used takedowns in grappling, Tani Otoshi. I would not say it is one of my favourite techniques but it does get me out of trouble many times when caught in hip throws and is well worth fighters practising it if not already. For the street, it is not really advised to perform such a technique unless one really has to but for competition it is great.

It is demonstrated here as a counter, as an attack and as part of a combination and what is good about he demonstration is that after each takedown the person performing locks up his opponent in a hold down, which from here one can move towards gaining some kind of submission.

The hold down which is shown mostly here is kesa gatame (scarf hold) however I have always felt comfortable and more natural performing tate shiho gatame (mount) instead as I feel that after performing the takedown the body automatically naturally rolls into it. Each to his own though and as long as the takedown is tight and the hold down is tighter it works.

What is important to remember though, just as with every other throw and takedown, your opponent has to be off balance before performing the technique. Many people simply hold there opponent and drop to the floor hoping to drag them down also. Although this sometimes may work it will use up much more energy than performing it the proper way and is simply, plain bad technique!



Marks
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Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Supplemental Training for Martial Arts

There are martial artists who train diligently in there chosen art, trying to perfect each movement in order to become as best as they possibly can be. They also supplement this by training there bodies to be able to perform there martial arts movements even better. Is there supplemental training correct though? Could it be altered to benefit them even more?

For example, would a point karate fighter benefit from lifting heavy weight, concentrating on isolating muscle groups like biceps or claves? Of course he would benefit from the training and develop his muscles but it would not do much to benefit his karate fighting. Or at least not as much as performing explosive compound movements would, like jump squats. Doing something like this would make him faster, stronger and more explosive which are the exact requirements for his fighting sport.

In the same way, a Greco Roman wrestler could run marathons every day and surely he would build up a level of stamina which some only dream of. But with the strength required to scramble, clinch and grapple he may find it better to run less and concentrate also on weight training in order to develop the strength required to last during his fights.

The point is that one needs to honestly think about the requirements of there martial art and perform supplemental training that is best suited to it, rather than just train in order to train

So what are the best supplemental training methods? Well all martial artists need strength, speed, flexibility and stamina. These are the building blocks that all can then progress with. With this in mind, some cardio work (running, cycling) stretching exercises and weight training should be in everyone’s regime. Regarding weight training, everyone should aim for fast (but controlled and strict) explosive movements with a weight heavy enough to perform 10-12 reps. Martial artists are not bodybuilders and should aim to develop muscles which are fast and powerful at the same time.

Along with this basic supplemental training one should then look at there art and perform exercises which would benefit them the most. Thai boxers need a high level of body conditioning to take the hard impact of bone crushing strikes, so heavy bag work may help in order to condition shins, elbows, knees etc. Ground fighters need to train in order to develop good hip movement on the floor so solo and partner drills for this may be worth there time. People training for self defence need to develop good awareness and reaction skills so maybe exercises to help develop these areas need to be incorporated.

Each martial art is different and requires a different type of training and one must think about this and try and train as sensible as possible. Obviously it is good to change ones training from time to time in order to fight boredom but again, the training that one does must be beneficial to them.


Marks
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Monday, 21 September 2009

REPOST: Martial Artist's Plateau Effect

Over my training years, there have been countless times when i have thought that no matter what i do, i haven't been able to improve, even sometimes i have felt that my hard acquired skills are decreasing!

The strange thing is also that my training has always been consistent. I once read a chapter in a book entitled The Karate Do Manual by Sensei Vince Morris, in which he talks about the plateau effect.

In a nutshell he says that it is a short period of time when your brain is soaking in new information and it will feel as if you can not do anything right. When sparring you will be getting hit constantly, your balance will be completely lost on striking pads and the simplest of Kata's movement's will be forgot.

He also mentions not to worry, and this plateau will soon disappear. I completely agree with Sensei Morris on this one as i have had this happen to me countless numbers of times, but these plateaus always disappear and i DO feel a more better martial artist after them, so if you also get them don't worry, keep training hard!

UPDATE
Since writing this article I seem to have been through at least two plateau effects. I feel that I have recently come out of one now. For a short while, my timing has been off during sparring, I have not felt as if I have been working the heavy bag smoothly enough and I have noticed other areas to be weak. However I feel that I have come through this plateau effect much quicker than normally.

Because of an ankle injury a couple of weeks ago I was forced to take a few days off training, for it to recover and also had to take time off work. With nothing much to do except rest I went through a few old martial arts books which I have not done in a while, thinking about my recent form and how it can be improved and when I was able to move better on my foot I started going through some very light and slow punches, and body movements. Kicking and grappling was out of the question, but now after a few light workouts I am kicking again lightly and hope to start grappling again next week.

What I have noticed through a few shadow boxing and light bag workouts is that my form is back when striking and I can easily work the bag much more smoothly than a few weeks ago.

Maybe this ankle injury was a good thing in the fact that it forced me to take a bit of time off and to start training basically, slowly and with thought about each movement. Next time I go through one of these plateaus I shall remember back to this point in time, how I have been forced to train at a slower and more basic pace and shall work up again slowly, hoping to quickly get through it.


Marks
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Friday, 18 September 2009

Jay Hieron's MMA Conditioning Workout

MMA fighters train differently to bodybuilders or high endurance athletes. There goal is to be explosive, strong, fast, well balanced and well coordinated. Because of this there workouts must also be tailored for there specific goals. Although most incorporate old school training methods such as weights and running, they also incorporate high intensity, multi muscle workouts such as the one shown in today’s video by MMA fighter Jay Hieron.

The first part of the video is all about core strength. Exercises with the ball are great. Jay uses it to perform not just crunches but a great variation to the plank. The roller is also great for building strength in the core. Core strength is one of the top priorities for all fighters and Jay spends good quality time on developing it.

The second part is about explosiveness and all over body strength. If you notice, this type of workout is not geared to building single muscles during each movement (like bicep curls) but each movement uses up many muscles at once which not only is great for cardiovascular conditioning but is much more geared towards martial arts where one is constantly using up many muscles through striking and grappling.

The final part of the workout is where a partner is used to provide resistance and unbalancing. The moves which Jay performs are explosive ones via the repetition of typical martial art techniques such as clinching, shooting in on an opponent etc.

The exercises demonstrated do not need much practise in order to learn and all martial artists could benefit from adding some of them into there training.



Marks
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Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Worst Martial Art Techniques

After reading a post on Stephen Kestings site (which is well worth a look) entitled The Two Worst Martial Arts Techniques of all Time it inspired me to give my own thoughts on the subject.

Throughout time, there have been many techniques demonstrated that have completely baffled me. The reality of some of them actually having any chance of working in a real situation is not very likely.

1st Worst Martial Art Technique The first technique which I really don’t understand how anybody would ever want to use is the crescent kick defence to a knife attack. Just like in the picture, the person defends by crescent kicking the opponent’s wrist in order for him/her to drop the knife. Firstly if one is to kick the wrist there is always the chance that there kicking leg will touch the blade and all it takes is a touch and the leg will instantly be cut. Secondly a knife holder will not be holding the knife as far away from there own body as in the picture which will make it even harder to try and kick the wrist. Thirdly if the kick misses, which is likely, because the kick uses a swinging motion, it is very hard not to turn with the kick which will then expose your side/back slightly, allowing for an easy stab by the knife holder.

2nd Worst Martial Art Technique The second technique which I have never ever seen used effectively in sparring, competitions of any kind or on the street is juji uke (X block) There are two types of this block, one where you block upwards and one where you block downwards. From looking at the pictures, the first thing that one notices is that when blocking, you leave yourself completely wide open for counter blows. Your opponent can easily strike you as you block, with there free hand/hands. Also, blocking hard leg bones with weaker arm bones is never a good idea. Parries, covering up or moving out the way are better. Additionally, the fact that to block low kicks with your arms means one must lower there body by either bending at the knees, widening there stance or bending the back is to much wasted energy, and not very practical.

Practicality is always the number one aim when looking for techniques that are successful in competition or the street. Each one you learn and practise must be studied to see if it is useful. If you have any questions about anything you may be learning, never feel afraid or embarrassed to ask your teacher what you are learning and why you are learning it. That is what they are there for.


Marks
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Monday, 14 September 2009

Dirty Clinch Fighting

To a western style boxer, any type of fighting in the clinch is considered unethical and is normally described with the phrase “dirty fighting”. However, clinch fighting to many other types of martial artists is considered fair play, very effective and well worth practising. Rightly so, it is practised with the intent of being able to deliver devastating close range attacks whilst controlling your opponent in a position where they are very venerable.

However, even people who practise the clinch believe that there are a few techniques that are considered “dirty”, below the belt and should not be executed. These dirty fighting techniques from the clinch are mostly prohibited in competition where clinch fighting is used such as Muay Thai and MMA, but are well worth becoming aware of, just in case you sense your opponent start trying them in the ring or cage and occasionally practising in a controlled manner since for self defence purposes, they could be very effective. Some of these include,

Ear slap – If you have ever been slapped with an open palm strike, right where your ear hole is, you will know how it feels. A slap to the ear can severely damage the ear drum if done hard enough and can disrupt ones balance extremely. It can easily be done without much power as you are trying to gain control of your opponents head. This is one to be practised WITH CAUTION.

Eye gouge – Obviously with boxing gloves on, this is not possible, but with MMA gloves or open handed, it is very easy to eye gouge from the clinch. Controlling the head with the fingers and gouging with the thumb is very effective here. Again USE CAUTION with this.

BitingMike Tyson did this to Evander Holyfield as in the picture while simultaneously applying an arm bar. For the ring, this is completely unethical, but for the street, it surly is an effective way of gaining the advantage. With the fear or catching a disease though, one may want to stay away from using it, but one definitely needs to be aware that it can be used against them. Biting is a survival instinct and is used many times in self defence situations.

Body ramming – Being so close to your opponent it is very easy to slam parts of your body into him/her. Obviously if you can hit vital points it will be better but ramming anywhere will do something. Good ones are shoulder rams, either to your opponents chin if possible or maybe to there own shoulder in order push them back or to create space. A hip ram to your opponants own hip bone or lower abdomen/upper groin may also be effective. Judo fighters will know the pain of this when they have been hit with a strong hip throw.

Striking under the armpit – Weather this is legal in sporting events, I don’t know. What I do know though is that it is painful. If for some reason, your opponent’s armpit area becomes exposed, like when controlling someone in an arm triangle choke position, one can easily strike the exposed ribs under the armpit. These ribs are not protected by any muscle and fat does not seem to travel there much making them easy targets to sustain damage.

Arm locks – Mike Tyson was accused of doing this during his some of his fights, and the reason it is prohibited in boxing is because it works. Circling your opponents arm in order to lock it is very easy and should be practised by all for self defence purposes.

These are just a few dirty tactics that can and are used when clinch fighting. They don’t need much training in order to be useful, but because a lot of people train only for sport and consider them foul play, (and rightly so for competition) they don’t even consider any defences for them.

The problem with this is that when one starts clinching there opponent on the street, chances are they shall easily dominate them as they practise the clinch for hours and hours in the gym. However, being under pressure and controlled, the opponent may start attempting some dirty tactics like groin grabs or hair pulls and because the person clinching is not used to this and does not have quick defences for the techniques, they could end up in trouble. It is important that one practises dirty fighting from the clinch, especially if self defence is on ones mind.


Marks
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Friday, 11 September 2009

Karate Competition Foot Sweeps

Today’s video is all about foot sweeps that are found in karate. As with all types of takedowns, breaking your opponents balance is key and sweeps are no different. Weather one pulls, pushes or lifts to break there opponents balance does not matter as long as it is done and concerning judo, where there is near enough constant grappling, this is how most sweeps take place.

The foot sweeps that are found in karate competition however rarely involve any grappling of any kind, and a karate ka will tend to try and catch there opponent off balance, as they are attacking or defending. It is during these two phases of combat that they are moving either forwards, backwards or sideways and as they are moving, they momentarily break there own balance and are susceptible to foot sweeps. (Having said this it must be pointed out that karate ka, like judo ka sometimes try and grapple there opponents while trying to execute foot sweeps, which is how most are found in kata bunkai.)

The following video demonstrates two types of foot sweeps that are found in karate competition. The first being an attacking foot sweep, which is performed after a strike, (which could be either real or a feint) and as the opponent defends the strike and moves backwards, breaking his own balance in that direction, is caught with a foot sweep in the same direction. This type of technique can easily be compared to the Judo sweep, Okuri ashi barai (below left picture).



The second sweep demonstrated is a defensive one, which is performed as the opponent is attacking. As there balance is broken in a forward direction through there own movement, there front foot, is then swept in the same direction to take them down. This type of technique can also easily be compared to another Judo sweep, this time Ko Ouchi Gari (above right picture)

Timing is critical for these types of foot sweeps where one is not holding there opponent and they are definitely worth practising if you do not already. Enjoy!



Marks
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Wednesday, 9 September 2009

The Side Facing Stance for Fighting

The side facing horse stance (kiba dachi) is one that is used some times in some karate/kickboxing schools to practise side facing techniques such the side kick and the side backfist. However, many people use it as there actual fighting stance. Is it really effective for this purpose?

In order to practise basic techniques such as the ones above, especially if one is new to them, then yes, practising them in this stance may be worth it. However, the aim is to be able to throw side facing techniques, front facing techniques and back facing techniques from a stance that offers the best balance, defence and mobility. The side facing stance simply does not do this.

Some of the reasons why include,

Limited techniques – From this stance a side kick and backfist can easily be executed but nothing much else. In order to throw jabs, crosses, front kicks etc one must first pivot there feet turn there body, and then throw the techniques and by the time this happens, your opponent will have easily reacted.

Limited cover/defence – It is possible to cover yourself and to defend slightly with your front arm, but because you are side facing your opponent, your back arm is wasted unless again, one pivots there feet and turns into a front facing position.

Limited movement – Moving back and forward, although awkward from this stance is possible. However, sidestepping, bob and weaving, and many other movements are hard to do.

Limited balance – A slight push to either side is more than enough to bring someone down who is standing in this stance.

Limited sweep defence – Because this is a wide stance and the front leg is projected too far forward, one is in danger of being swept very easily and taken to the floor. Coupled with the fact that there is limited balance to either side in this stance, this is not good.

If someone is not aware of these limitations, within two minutes of sparring using this stance, one will quickly become aware of them, so the question now is, why do people still prefer to use it when sparring? The answer being, simply because it looks good. It looks great to be able to throw a high side kick from this stance. The picture above shows Bill Wallace posing for the cameras using this stance, however, if you watch his fights, you will see that his stance is more realistic and forward facing. Being such a great fighter, he knows the best stance and all the advantages it offers over the side facing stance. One should know that realistic fighting does not look good, it looks boring to some and brutal to others, but the fact is that it works, and why, because it is basic. I quick knee strike to the groin that will hit nearly all of the time from a simple forward facing stance will always be much more effective than a high side kick from a wide side facing stance, which rarely scores.


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Monday, 7 September 2009

Solo Training for Martial Artists

There are two types of martial artists. The first type go to there regular classes, they listen to there teacher, train hard whilst in class and feel good afterwards, awaiting the next time they don a gi or training clothes for another session. Then there are the second type who train hard in class but do not feel good afterwards because they cant seem to perform the certain techniques during class time which they have been working on alone. Because of this they go away and until the next class perform many hours of solo training.

Although it may not seem it, but it is the second type of martial artist that after a few years will prove to be more competent, for it is them that puts in the extra hours of solo training in order to find there weaknesses and develop them into strengths. It is them that learns to fight uniquely and specific for them, instead of trying to copy the movements of there teacher. It is them that have learnt how to push themselves when the going gets tough and it is probably through many hours of solo training that they have developed these vital skills.

During my first few years of martial arts training, I used to finish school and then start training straight away. It was my life at that time and all I thought about. If I was not training at the dojo, then I was at home, either training in my bedroom, running over punches, kicks and combinations or training at a local park.

The benefits that one can receive from solo training include,

Greater efficiency in technique – Obviously, by carrying out extra practise, one can always better themselves.

Train a certain area – You can concentrate on a certain kick which you can’t seem to get right or a combination which you can’t find the correct balance with.

Develop unique training methods – This is the time when you can develop training methods and routines that are tailored to be specific for you. Other peoples training methods may not be.

One can work fighting spirit – As you are training solo, you learn how to push yourself to achieve greater results, which is the most important aspect of solo training.

Solo training will however, at one time or another get boring for some. There is no doubt, that spending hours by oneself can seem pretty boring and that too much solo training or performing it without certain conditions can actually de detrimental for the martial artist and can bring about some bad habits. In order to combat this use the following recommendations,

Train with music – Blast the songs which get you motivated.

Use a mirror – By using a mirror, you will be able to see your progress and bad habits which may be forming.

Still train at the dojo/gym – Still regularly attend training at your dojo/gym at least three times a week. Some people sometimes disregard this for there solo training.

Bring in a training partner – By bringing in a training partner, although you are still able to train what you want, you can also combine some other types of training like ground grappling, focus pad work, sparring or any other partner work.

Occasionally take a break – As soon as you feel boredom creep in, take a week or so off from all training in order to start missing it again and to work back up motivation.

Solo training is needed if one wants to become a martial artist that has there own way of doing things and is not just trying to mimic there teacher. By training alone one is able to find there unique fighting style which suits them and is also able to test there own limits in order to raise them. It should be something that all martial artists carry out from day one.


Marks

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Friday, 4 September 2009

Pekiti Tirsia Kali

The following is a video showing the legendary Tuhon Leo Gaje Jr talking about Pekiti Tirsia Kali (PTK) a close quarter Philipino Martial Art which uses a lot of weapons, particularly knifes.

If you do not know anything about PTK, then I recommend you find out a little about it by checking out this video and any others you may find. As Leo Gaje Jr states in the video, this system is designed for real combat, not sports and this is how PTK fighters train. Enjoy.



Marks

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Thursday, 3 September 2009

Martial Artists being Aggressive

Mainly in the world today there are people that practise two types of martial arts. There are the martial art fighters who choose to practise for the reasons of combat sports or for self defence purposes and there are other martial artists who practise for relaxation, well being, fitness and other such reasons. The latter, mostly, are people trying to obtain a level of calmness in there lives without exerting any aggression.

However, trying to block out aggressive thoughts or actions are not possible. Aggression is in everyone. Weather it be through your martial arts training, trying to obtain a promotion at work, trying to get front row seats at a concert before anyone else or trying to haggle with a salesman. Aggression is used to try and better oneself, which is completely natural.

In the world of martial arts, aggression is no different. It is right in the middle of things and used by all, weather they no it or not. Trying to perfect a kata, trying to speed up a punch, or trying ones best not to be submitted on the ground. It is all an aggressive, never give up, never back down attitude to succeed and is completely correct for one to use such aggression.

If one is caught in a self defence situation and is forced to strike or throw there opponent in order to defend themselves, then during impact on the strike or on execution of the throw there is some sort of aggression involved. For instance, when punching, on the moment of impact, the fist tightens, the wrist strengthens, the hips rotate forcefully to generate power and a strong breath is exhaled. This is an aggressive exertion and without it maybe the person striking would injure there hand or wrist. The same with a throw, as one pulls or lifts there opponent to throw them, it is done aggressively so as to execute the technique effectively. A soft approach would be ineffective.

Aggression is natural and is what helps one win. Top businessmen of the world today know it, just as top military leaders of history knew it such as Sun Tzu, Miyamoto Mushahi and the Spartans.

Please do not misunderstand the concept of this article. By no means is the message trying to be put across stating that one must be aggressive always and train aggressively in order to get by. If that was the case then one would find themselves fighting on almost a daily basis. But being able to control aggression and use it when it is needed IS something that all must learn, but before that, come to grips with. Being able to be aggressive is something that everybody is born with and trying to shut it away and think that aggression is not needed is like trying to say that there is no need to breath. Breathing and aggression are similar in the sense that they must be used at the right time, just like every other part of your martial arts training. The key is trying to find out when these times are.


Marks

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Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Losing Fat for Martial Artists

After spending time on a martial art forum I have come to discover under the health, nutrition and training section that there are quite a few martial artists who are trying to lose weight. By practising martial arts one can easily lose weight as long as they know the best ways to go about it.

Firstly though, one must understand what they are trying to do. Most people state that that they want to lose weight but what they actually want to do is lose body fat. There is a difference in losing overall weight than just body fat and losing weight will result in one also losing muscle mass. To lose body fat and as least muscle as possible one must be aware of some vital basic points. Below are a few Do’s and Don’ts that martial artists should consider when trying to reach there goal.

Do drop the overall number of calories consumed – It is vital that protein is kept to 1 gram per pound of body weight in order to retain muscle when dieting, so in order to drop overall calories consumed, one must reduce there carbohydrate and fat consumption. Dieting is the most important part of losing body fat.

Don’t compete or fight while trying to cut weight – Some martial artists choose to fight or compete in tournaments when dieting. This is probably the wrong time to do this as one may be slightly weaker, slower etc due to the diet and a bad performance in a tournament may be demoralising and cause one to slacken off there training and dieting.

Do perform additional cardio exercise along with martial arts training – Martial arts training is good for losing weight but cardio exercise without any stoppage for a length of time (e.g. 30 mins) will help produce results faster. Additionally, combining the two forms of training means that extra calories will be lost and fat will be burnt faster.

Do shadow box when running – A great addition to running that boxers and martial artists have used for decades. Shadow boxing will help burn extra calories whilst running and is a great way to help reduce boredom through running. Practise simple combinations so as to not lose your balance and perform the punches in a relaxed fashion.

Do perform weight training – Weight training will help to maintain muscle and one should perform heavy weight training rather than light weights. Ones strength will decrease though as dieting continues but that’s normal. Also remember to consume a good pre and post workout meal (a shake is ideal) to keep the body fuelled.

Do keep sparring – Some people think that because one is dieting and may have less energy that they must not spar as there reactions, awareness etc may not be up to par. This may actually be one of the best times to spar as one is pushed to there limits and it can be seen as a good test of spirit. Remember to keep padded up well if the sparring is hard.

Don’t believe in spot reduction – Don’t think that doing hundreds of crunches will reveal abs or that that kicking for hours will produce cuts in your thighs. Yes these exercises will help and are part of your overall training, but only a reduced calorie diet and aerobic exercise will produce definition and visible results in ones body.

Do stretch regularly – With all the extra cardio and weight training, one may feel there muscles getting tighter. Stretching will help to keep flexibility and will help with any sore muscles.

Don’t allow others to put you off – Lastly, do not allow others to put you off. Comments like “you will never do it” or “why are you wasting your time” can really dent ones confidence. Don’t listen to them, keep your mind on the goal and continue with your training and diet until your goal is reached.

Cutting body fat is not very hard but it is not something that happens over night and in order to preserve as much muscle as possible it will take patience, careful planning and strict dieting. However the inspiration that one receives as the pounds drop of is second to none and can actually start being fun. If you are thinking about trying to lose body fat, know that it is easy once you get used to it and as a martial artist, there are plenty of ways to integrate your martial arts training in order to help you reach your goal.


Marks

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