Monday, 18 January 2010

Balance Exercises for Martial Arts

Balance training is one of the most neglected areas in martial arts. Many years of devotion is given to honing ones skills in martial techniques and developing speed, power and endurance that balance is given minor importance. What a shame.

By improving ones balance, not only will one be able to control themselves much better when performing martial arts techniques, but they shall also be able to control there opponents, especially when concerned with grappling.

The beauty of balance training is that it does not require much time. Simply performing one or two exercises for five minutes or so after or before a workout is enough, and is certainly a great way to bring on a good sweat.

Here are a few exercises which you can adopt to train your balance. Obviously if some exercises require you to be balanced on one leg, make sure you train both sides equally.

One leg stand – It is as simple as it sounds. By standing on one leg, one will quickly find themselves wobbling from side to side but it is one of the most basic ways to develop raw balance. The exercise can be made harder in many ways such as by tilting the body, by putting one arm out to the side, by stretching the leg out to the front side or rear, by punching with the arms, by swaying the head from the side to side plus many more variations which you should try and come up with.

Knee on the bag – Grapplers use the knee on the belly position for dominance whilst ground fighting and this technique can be adapted for balance training with a partner. Using a heavy bag which is lying on the floor, perform the knee on the belly position. (As in the picture) From here, your partner will then twist, push and pull the bag in order to unstable you as you try to keep balanced.

Leg lift – BJ Penn is great at keeping his balance once his opponents have picked up one of his legs for a takedown, and this is a great way to implement balance training yourself. Your partner, holding one of your legs will move in all directions whilst your aim is to bounce around trying to keep upright and standing.

Handstand – A great old fashioned exercise which will work balance as well as shoulder and arm strength. Try to handstand working up to one minute. Walking on the hands is a variation to this which is also of great benefit, however, master the handstand first.

Armless grappling control drill – This is specific for grapplers. With a partner, you start in either side mount or north south position with your hands held behind your head. From here your partner moves in all directions, not necessarily trying to escape but just simply providing movement. Your aim is to keep on top using just your legs and your balance.

Eyes closed training – A great way to work balance is by training with your eyes closed. Obviously the type of training is restricted with this one, however what works well is kata, shadow boxing, wrestling and ground fighting. For advanced practitioners, try doing all of the above with your eyes closed. Very hard indeed!

There are so many ways in which one can develop there balance for martial arts. Hopefully above will give you a few ideas in which you can build on.

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Rick said...

Let's remember not to confuse balance and stability. I can balance on one leg but I won't be very stable for striking


Thomas said...

Balance is really very important in martial arts... thank you for reminding the many who has been neglecting it. You have listed a very useful trick on how to practice balance so I'm sure they will thank you enough. Great article.

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