Thursday, 28 January 2010

Kashiwazaki Ne Waza


The following is a video of Katsuhiko Kashiwazaki showing Ne Waza.

There is nothing new in this video, no special techniques or anything that you will not find easily in today’s grappling schools.

What is demonstrated though is the crispness and fluidness of the way Kashiwazaki moves. Possessing perfect leverage, timing and many other attributes, he is able to make his opponents look like rag dolls at he moves them where ever he pleases. If you are into ground fighting, you will like this video. Enjoy.


Marks
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Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Advanced Martial Arts Training

Our last article talked about basics and that it is attributes which make them. (Before you read today’s article it is best that you become familiar with this here). Today’s article will talk about advanced attributes and there solid bond with the basics.

Advanced attributes do not involve anything new. They do not involve some special secret style which only the most gifted and trusted students are shown. They involve many hours of repetition of the basic attributes, so as these basics can be used together.

When the martial artist first starts learning these basic attributes they are practiced with seemingly basic techniques such as static knee strikes, front kicks, slow shadow boxing in front of a mirror, basic hip throws, cross arm bars etc. Techniques which do not involve many steps in order to carry out and ones where basic attributes can be kept in ones mind whilst putting them into practice.

As the martial artist progresses, he/she will start noticing that a combination of these basic attributes is needed to carry out certain techniques which may be labeled as advanced, but are in actual fact, still basic. It is just that more than one attribute is needed to carry out the technique and it could be seen as an advanced technique.

For example one can perform a hip throw against an opponent who stands still, without any movement and who allows his arm to be grabbed so the throw can be practiced. For this, the only basic attribute that is practiced is proper body positioning with the throw. This is a very basic way of practicing, and something that would be common for beginners. On the other hand, imagine if the same throw is practiced against an opponent who is moving, and slightly defending as the person performing the throw tries to grab his opponents arm. Now, more than one basic attribute has to be combined into the drill. Timing, when grabbing the opponents arm and proper distancing when moving in have been added to the original practice of just proper body positioning with the throw, making it a much harder practice.

From the above example we can see that the technique itself is still a hip throw. One of the first throws taught to beginners. However, with slight alterations on the way it is practiced, and by combining more than one basic attribute to carry out the throw successfully, it can become much more difficult and something that could be labeled as, advanced.

How many times have you heard the saying “I can perform well, with perfect form, but in live sparring, it all goes out the window and is forgotten”. This is a very common saying. Many people think it is because they are doing something wrong regarding there actual techniques. Sometimes this is the case, however, most of the time it is because one finds it hard to combine more than one basic attribute, something sparring is all about.

Sparring is live and dynamic. It is a training drill which involves constant movement, constant changes in tactics and techniques and constant changes in strategies. It is a very advanced way of practicing the basics attributes, and because of this, these attributes must be programmed into ones muscles so as they can performed with techniques without thinking.

The only way this can be achieved is through practice. Practicing the basics over and over again and then adding variations so as there are combinations of more than one attribute. Eventually through many years of this, one will instinctively be able to perform these attributes against a fully resisting opponent through live sparring.

Hopefully this gives you a clear indication that without solid, constant practice of the basics, one will never be able to learn advanced ways of fighting.


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Thursday, 21 January 2010

Basic Martial Art Training

Basic training is seen by some as boring and by others as the life and soul of ones fighting technique. We all start off learning techniques which do not require much training, much strength, much flexibility or other physical attributes. Some however, quickly want to be taught techniques which they see in MMA, or in movies, thinking that basic training is for amateurs. Is there more to basic training though? Is it really just a compilation of easy to learn techniques, or something else?

Well here at MarksTraining.com, we think that basics are not a list of techniques but a list of attributes. Things like correct posture, well balanced and stable body positioning, timing, correct distance when performing techniques, correct breathing (which is more important than people think), hip rotation etc. All of these attributes and more are the bricks and mortar needed to produce techniques which are as effective as possible, no matter how advanced they may seem.

Many people think that basics involve basic techniques like basic punches, grappling hold downs without resistance, basic footwork etc and to an extent they are correct. There are techniques which can be learnt within a few minutes and techniques which need more time and possibly physical development and because of this, may be seen as “advanced”. However, without the attributes listed above, these advanced movements will never be mastered no matter how well one is developed physically and one will not be able to progress. For example, without mastering body rotation and correct posture, one will never be able to produce powerful punches, regardless how much weight they can lift in the gym.

Also, when these basics attributes have been leant to a level where one can instinctively perform them without even thinking, a level where they are programmed into ones muscles and movements become second nature, then the true value of cross training will become apparent. Usually, martial artists cross train in arts that have techniques which are not practiced much in there original art. For instance a BJJ practitioner may cross train in Muay Thai, or a Karate student may cross train in Catch Wrestling.

Now, a martial artist who is well trained in one art (i.e. with good basic attributes) will soon click on to the fact that it is these basic attributes learnt from there original art that also make up the basics of the art they are cross training in. It is not coincidence that timing, good body movement, leverage etc are part of the basics of every art. It is simply, that for a human to perform techniques with speed and power, with explosiveness and whilst conserving as much energy as possible, he/she must use all the attributes that make up basic training. Weather it is performing a roundhouse kick or an arm lock from the guard, the same principles of timing, correct body positioning, explosiveness and other attributes must be applied to make the technique effective and practical and it is basic training that produces this.

Hopefully, you may now see that basics involve much more than a handful of techniques being performed up and down a dojo floor, or by one performing the same simple arm locks and chokes. They involve thinking about each technique and that the attributes that make up the techniques are correct. When these attributes have been mastered, through years of thoughtful training then one will be able to apply them with any technique from any style. This is a very important consideration if one wants to make there martial arts truly effective.


For more information on basic training, please check out Neals article on it over at Urban Samurai (here)

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Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Bad Behaviour in Combat Sports

Todays post is a follow up to one found at Wims blog (here), regarding very unsportsmanlike like attitudes towards combat sports.

Fighters bending the rules slightly happens and within reason should not been seen as something terrible. However sometimes there are a few who go completely crazy and portray some disgraceful behavior. The following videos show such disgraceful displays.

In this video there is clearly no care taken when applying the arm lock, plus after seriously injuring his opponent, he removes his gi and starts shouting like a mad man.



A K1 fight between Musashi v Montanha Silva. Silva should be ashamed of himself. If he wants to fight MMA then he should go do it, not disgrace one of the best striking organizations ever.



Here is a compilation of some of the most dirtiest boxing moments. What is going on 22 seconds in to the video!



And it is not only the fighters who should hold the respect of there opponent but also the refs! Also check out the fighter the ref does not throw. He quickly goes to strike his downed opponent getting in a few cheap shots of his own.



Any combat sport that has rules and regulations will have people watching. Because of this the fighters (and the refs) have a duty to portray there sport in the most professional manner by keeping to the rules and regulations. Behavior such as that seen in these videos is disgraceful, and people acting in such a way should be dealt with accordingly.

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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.


Marks
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Friday, 15 January 2010

Self Defence and Fighting

You can be the best fighter in the world. You can have the best grappling, the strongest and fastest punches, kicks that can knock anybody out, and a self belief attitude that can never be shaken. Does this mean that you are an expert in self defense? No. Does it mean that you have a basic level of self defense skills? Maybe.

So what does it mean? Well, simply, it means that you are a great fighter. A combat athlete who has beaten many other fighters. Self defense is so much different to fighting though. Yes, fighting may become a part of self defense, if the worst comes to the worst, but someone trained in the art of self defense will try his very best to not get in a position where fighting is a must.

Self defense skills involve awareness, reasoning, concentration, cunningness, tactics and other attributes. Learning how to disarm a knife wielding maniac is part of self defense but must only be carried out, because the other more important skills failed.

An elderly granny may have more self defense skills than a trained fighter. Think about it. The elderly granny of the neighborhood who lives on her own, knowing that she can not defend herself if mugged, chased or raped, quickly learns of the dangerous roads, the shady characters and the troublesome areas in order to avoid them. The expert fighter though, fresh faced and full of combat victories, thinking he knows all, has no fears, but when confronted, may be able to take care of himself fine until a knife is thrust into his chest by his opponent’s friend.

To be successful in self defense one must look at the bigger picture which is something that unfortunately many martial artists do not do. Practicing every restraint, lock and disarmament will help but one has to also learn how to become aware of an intended attack. One has to learn how to calm down an aggressive person. One has to become knowledgeable of the area they live in so as to stay away from the rough parts. Plus much more.

These are all things that many could do in developing. Especially myself!


Marks
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Wednesday, 13 January 2010

MMA Training - Long Distance Cardio

We all know that aerobic training is beneficial for everyone. Not only will it help you lose body fat, but as a martial artist it will boost your stamina so as you can last longer in training, competitions and everything else without getting tired.

Over the past few years HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) has become very popular amongst martial artists. It is a faster workout than slower longer aerobic training and can benefit martial artists by conditioning them and getting there bodies used to quick explosive short bursts of energy, something needed in martial arts.

However, too many people neglect long distance aerobic cardio training. A lot of bad press has been given to it, claiming that HIIT is the way to go if one wants to burn more fat, or improve there stamina.
The following video explains why long distance cardio training is equally important and as beneficial as HIIT. Enjoy!



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Martial Artists Cross Training with Exercises

Every martial art style has certain training methods that are specific to them. When talking about training methods in this article, it does not mean, judo has throws, or karate has strikes etc, but exercises which are intended to develop the techniques used in that specific style.

For instance, muay thai fighters use shin blocks to defend against low kicks, so they must perform shin conditioning exercises to strengthen them. Jiu jitsu fighters have no need for shin conditioning however, but do have to learn how to move there hips on the ground so shrimps and other movement drills must be performed. Would shrimps be useful to the muay thai fighter? Probably not. Or could they be?

Let’s say that a boxer is taught the sprawl from a wrestler. The sprawl is a defense technique where one kicks there legs backwards and drops there chest towards the floor and is used against shoots and tackles in the grappling world. Now in the squared circle, the boxer will never encounter this type of attack, but he practices it anyway, simply as an exercise, on his own so as he can reap the physical benefits of the sprawl which are cardiovascular enhancement, explosiveness and strength, especially in the legs. He performs sprawls constantly for 3, 2 minute rounds, which prove to provide a great conditioning workout.

As a result, the boxer has added a new training exercise to his routine as well as gaining knowledge of a martial art technique which he can use, should the situation ever arise. By performing it many times as an exercise, it will be much easier for him to perform it as a martial art technique then if he never practiced it.

The same case could be if a grappler practiced punches against a heavy bag so as to strengthen there wrists and build there endurance, which are necessities for grappling. The punches do not have to be of an expert level, but the benefits the grappler will receive will include not only the ones just stated, but also the ability to throw a punch better than someone who has never thrown one before.

The point trying to be made here is that one can benefit so much from training using exercises which have seemed to be specific for a certain style of martial art. Not only will the physical advantages the exercises offer be of value, but most of the time, the exercises also have a combat application and should the need ever arise where one must use the combat application, they stand a better chance of success then someone who has not trained using the exercise.


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Monday, 11 January 2010

Increasing Your Muscle and Strength for MMA

The following is a guest post provided by Tony Macraft of The MMA Zone. It provides information regarding building muscle and strength for MMA. Hopefully it will be of value to you.

Every MMA fighter or even those who just want to get in great shape face this obstacle at some point in their training - How to achieve the biggest gains in muscle and strength? If you are just starting training you may feel that you are not making the progress fast enough either in losing unwanted fat or in building muscle, and many people just blame this on their metabolism and think they cannot change it. Don't worry, it will come, the better shape you are in and the more muscle you have the better your metabolism will get helping you to burn fat faster and pack on more muscle.

For fighters and fitness fanatics that have already been training it is common for you to reach a point where you feel like you have hit a brick wall and are not seeing any more gains in muscle and strength. This often occurs when you hit a plateau in your training, normally from repeating the same exercise routine over and over. This results in your muscles becoming accustomed to your training program and are no longer being pushed and tested in the right way to boost growth. The way to get over these plateaus is to work on muscle confusion. There are a number of ways this can be applied to your training regimen. Work on continually adding more weight during your gym workouts even it is in small increments, building maximum muscle and strength is best achieved by high weight and low reps, but change this up too. Change up your weight lifting workouts either by adding new exercises or using different machines. For example if your have a routine which works your different muscles on different days; one week use machines and cables for biceps and the next week use free weights. Or you can switch workouts all together by adding a new form of exercise like power yoga or going on a jogging trail once a week that has various exercises mixed in.

Diet and supplements are also a major factor in building muscle and gaining strength. You should look at Diet and nutrition as important as your MMA Gear you train with. Make sure you on a good diet especially one high in protein. You should be eating at least one gram of protein for every pound you weigh each day at least. There are many energy and pre-workout supplements available these days to help you get the most out of your training time, but what you do after your workout is just as important. Taking creatine and other post workout supplements can help muscle recovery and you have about 30 minutes after your workout to digest a good amount of protein to prevent muscle breakdown. Remember taking a rest day to allow your muscles to recover and grow is just as critical as your days in the gym.

This article was written by Tony Macraft from The MMA Zone. The MMA Zone is a leading online e-tailer of martial arts supplies including; uniforms, sparring gear, and weapons.



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Friday, 8 January 2010

Legalise MMA in New York?

When MMA first appeared, people thought it was barbaric and brutal, and quite frankly, it was! There where no rules, teeth flew all over the place, fighters continually hit unconscious opponents because the refs didn’t step in soon enough and blood would flow like a running tap.

However, all one has to do is watch UFC 1 and current MMA fights and one will instantly notice that rules and regulations are enforced so as to keep fighters away from real danger.

Las Vegas is probably the home of MMA in America. Most UFC events are held there and they are real crowd pleasers, however other cities do not feel the same way, especially New York. The following are videos by Ecko Unlimited directed by Bobby Razak and are intended to show MMA’s many great advantages it can offer and argue, that it should be allowed in New York.

Should MMA be legalized in New York and other cities of the world? Check out these videos and leave your comments below.

In case you have problems loading the videos, they can be seen here also

Part 1



Part 2



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Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Flying Knee Strike

In boxing there are only four punches which can be used. There are slight variations to these punches but no other techniques are permitted. In MMA however, not only are there these four punches, but many other techniques including grappling. Because of this, MMA can bring out some very exciting and movie like techniques. The flying knee is one of them.

The flying knee has been used effectively in MMA. To some it is seen as a risky technique which could leave the person performing it in danger. Others though swear by its effectiveness and element of surprise it brings to there opponent.

It is not a technique that can be done half heartedly. It is one of them where one must have full commitment with it, aiming to be successful every time, otherwise it will lead to failure. There are a few variations of the flying knee including a flying roundhouse style strike and a flying double knee strike, but the ones which are mostly seen in MMA and probably most effective are,

The Forward Flying Knee – This variation is performed from a distance away from your opponent. Many fighters in MMA have been known to take a run and jump at there opponents from the opening bell of a round. To perform it, as one jumps forwards there striking knee is also thrust forwards towards there opponents chest or face area. There non striking knee is pulled backwards to aid in gaining power for the thrust. Because a jump forwards is needed for this variation, it can sometimes be telegraphed and not very reliable, however, fighters who have scored with this technique have usually done some damage to there opponents, if not gained a knockout.

The Straight (horizontal) Flying Knee – To perform this variation, one jumps straight upwards horizontally aiming to strike there opponents chin preferably, similar to an uppercut punch. Obviously because the jump is straight upwards and not forwards, this variation can only be used when close to your opponent. It can be used during a clinch, when your opponent is against the ropes/cage/wall, or even, if one feels confident enough, as your opponent moves forward with a punch. Just remember to keep your guard up.

So should the technique be practiced? Of course, and by all martial artists, even if you do not intend on using the technique in combat. Simply because, the physical benefits practicing it can offer are valuable. By practicing a jump and a strike, one builds strength and speed in there muscles and ligaments but also explosiveness, which can then be transferred to other techniques.

There is a bad habit amongst some however when performing the technique to pull there arms backwards as they thrust forwards with there striking knee. As with all techniques, never lower your guard as there may be a punch waiting for you. Something Andrei Arlovski viscously found out from Fedor Emelianenko when he attempted a flying knee.


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Monday, 4 January 2010

The Open Hand Guard

Boxing, before MMA was considered the world’s number one combat sport. The idea of two fighters gloved up in order to slug it out was most popular. However, when MMA did finally make an appearance it took over boxing as the world’s number one combat sport. It also brought more into the public eye, finger less gloves, which also brought to the attention of some, the open hand guard.

The open hand guard has been used mainly by Karate fighters (especially Kyokunshin) for many years and unlike a closed fist guard which prohibits a fighter from many things, the open hand guard instantly opens up many windows of opportunities when it comes to fighting techniques. To some, weather the hands are open or closed when in a fighting stance may not be that important however, to some, it is very.

The open hand guard has many advantages. Grabbing is obviously much easier with an open hand guard as is parrying, blocking and clinch fighting. Open hand guard fighters can also develop a sense of awareness that clenched fist fighters can not. This can only be described, as by using the finger’s as antennas. Especially when close or medium distance fighting, one can reach out towards there opponents arms, fists or even head (something Muhammad Ali used to do occasionally, even with gloves on) and can “feel” when there opponent moves or attacks.

The argument which most people have about the open hand guard is simply the fact that it is dangerous when throwing a full contact punch. Some say that one does not have the time to fully clench the fist and that punching without a fully clenched fist can cause injury to the hand or wrist.

While this may be the case when concerned with beginners, it is rare amongst advanced martial artists. Through years of heavy bag striking with bare fists or hand wraps only and sparring with fingerless gloves, one is able to “feel” the technique which is needed to deliver a hard punch, without injury, from an unclenched hand position. This is one of the reasons why bag training without gloves is so useful. The toughening of the hands and wrists which is provided through this type of training is invaluable.

Training using the open hand guard can be carried out by all. Obviously if you are a martial artist who uses boxing gloves to train and to fight (eg Kickboxers) then the open hand guard will be something new to you and very strange at first. It is probably best if you use the open hand guard whilst shadow boxing at first without using it against the heavy bag. As stated many times on this site, use the mirror to help you check to make sure that you are guarding yourself properly.


Marks
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