Friday, October 19, 2007

Martial Arts Instruction - Best Techniques for Solo Training

If you are working out solo, should you spend your time punching? eye jabbing? Practicing spinning kicks?

It all depends. Is your main goal self defense?

If so, then your practice techniques, whether handling your martial arts instruction solo, or working out with a teacher, should reflect your goal.

This probably means that you need a few solid principles, to help you deal with danger.

For example, In Enter the Dragon, Bruce Lee said, "Never take your eyes off of your opponent, even when you bow."

This is very sound advice. So sound, so subtle, that most tournament fighters ignore it completely. (Yes, I am being serious.)

Let's explore this principle, for a minute:

Look, if the rule states to always keep your eye on the ball, I mean opponent, then it means ALWAYS keep your opponent in sight. I to be the bearer of bad news, but that means all of your spin kicks and spinning back fists have to be eliminated from your solo practice sessions.

Those moves may be fine for competitors, but you are practicing for self defense.

This is why you adhere to the solid principles that will keep you safe.

The Principle Will Shape Your Solo Training Techniques

As you add principles to your martial arts system, they will act as a filter to what you'll practice in your solo martial arts training sessions.

For example, your never take your eyes of your opponent principle will eliminate spinning techniques, as well as moves where you do a forward roll, flip in the air, etc.

If you have a principle of not exposing your groin unnecessarily, then you will avoid high kicks in favor of lower shin and knee kicks.

Fewer Moves to Choose From In Your Personal Martial Instruction

Your principles will serve as your filter. Let's point out the obvious ... filters are designed to "filter out" certain elements. This means you will have fewer techniques in your martial arts arsenal.

If your training seems a little boring, it's because you have a smaller set of moves. A more efficient set of moves. A more dangerous set of martial arts techniques.

Note: To make your solo martial arts training even better and more effective, read this article, Make Your Solo Martial Arts Training Better

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Keith Pascal is the author of several martial-arts books, including one on Wrist Locks. He has been an author for eight years and has taught martial arts for 25 years. professional martial arts

Martial Arts Instruction - More Realistic Solo Training

If you are going to train yourself, then you need some good guidelines. Especially, if you have self-defense goals.

If you really want to make sure you can defend yourself in a variety of situations, and you are determined to get your martial arts instruction on your own, then you are going to have to make some choices. For some, these will be hard choices:

* You will probably need a training partner at some point, or you won't truly be able to make the martial realistic.

* You should eliminate competition moves from your training -- in fact, try to avoid a tournament mindset completely.

* Most of your invaluable training will be boring -- or at least repetitive. You will have to have the motivation to keep up on your training.

Realistic Martial Arts Instruction

If your goal is self defense, then you will have to train yourself in ... pause ... self defense. In martial-arts competitions, the competitors have to kick above the waist. In many tournaments, they can't punch to the face. Joint pressure wrist locks may be .

You certainly can't bite. And the list goes on.

Well, that's fine for tournaments, but not for you. You want to be able to defend yourself. So, you need to practice all of the techniques.

Note: Worth the price of this "free" article -- Here's a very important tip: If you want to know the very best techniques to use in a real self defense situation, then grab a set of martial-arts competition rules. Something like the UFC or PRIDE. Everything they say is illegal in their competitions is exactly what you should be doing in your solo practice

It's fine to build stamina on your own. Solo training is great for building up the numbers of punches and kicks you can perform in a row. Great for building power and speed.

But at some point, you will have to put all of those UFC-banned moves into a more realistic setting. You'll have to practice reacting to a real human. A practice partner. (Hopefully several, so you don't just get used to one person's techniques.)

Does the thought of facing a real opponent scare you?

Here's a Free ebooklet of mine that will give you some suggestions for dealing with nerves and fear in a real street fight ....

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Keith Pascal has been a full-time martial-arts writer for eight years and a martial-arts teacher for 25 years.

Tips for training when training partners are hard to find

Maybe you travel a lot. Maybe you live in a really small town. Maybe the club you used to train at closed down. Maybe it’s just too far to go to train regularly. In any case, training partners or good training environments are sometimes hard to find. So what do you do?

Here are some tips and ideas I have used to keep my grappling skills alive even when I’m hundreds of miles away from a skilled sparring partner.

Some training is better than no training

  • Try to find a club nearby. Try the yellow pages, searches on Google, or go to some martial arts forums and ask if there are any good schools in your area.
  • Consider making a weekly or monthly pilgrimage to a club, even if it is a long way to go. Some mat time is better than no mat time. Even one session can give you some material to add to your repertoire.
  • Find a local judo or wrestling club – this will develop your takedowns as well as developing your skill in certain aspects of groundfighting.
  • Bring an instructor to you. This could range from occasionally inviting an instructor to teach your group, all the way to sponsoring a black belt from Brazil
  • If you are a grappler then you should occasionally practice your fundamental movements by yourself (e.g. escaping the hips, bridging, , sprawling, etc.). Boxers shadowbox, why shouldn’t grapplers shadowgrapple?

Improve your conditioning

  • Conditioning is very important, ESPECIALLY if you have aspirations of competing. Being in shape will help you when you finally get back onto the mat with some skilled people.
  • For cardio conditioning the minimum that you need is a pair of running shoes. Running was good enough for Mohammed Ali, so it should be good enough for you. You can also use treadmills, stairmasters, elliptical trainers, etc.
  • For strength training, find a gym. At the very least you can find a bar or treebranch for doing pull-ups just about anywhere in North America. Level surfaces for pushups, burpees and crunches are also abundant.
  • If it helps you, find a training partner to encourage you, spot you and drag your ass off the couch when you’re not feeling motivated.
  • Do Yoga, pilates, spinning classes, aquafit, etc. Doing something is better than doing nothing.
  • Commit to competing in a 5 or 10 kilometer race or a beginner’s triathalon. These are relatively common and will motivate you to keep up your cardio conditioning.
  • Watch your nutrition. If you normally train a lot and have a sudden decrease in your training quantity then cut back on how much you eat! You don’t want to gain any bad weight that will hamper your efforts to improve your skills.

Create your own training group

  • Find some interested beginners and create a training group. Teach them and let them teach you. I firmly believe that you can make pretty good progress, even without a formal school or instructor, so long as you are motivated and have some good training partners.
  • When teaching people who are not as good as you, don’t hold back on the instruction. You want to improve the level of your training partners so that they challenge you – this way everybody gets better.
  • When sparring beginners allow them to start with you pinned or nearly submitted – work your escapes!
  • If any of the people you are teaching have a specialty (e.g. judo, wrestling, boxing...) make sure that you spend some time in that person’s comfort zone. Check your ego at the door and do some learning yourself.
  • When sparring with beginners use only one submission technique for the whole session. If all you are using is a straight armbar they’ll get pretty good at defending it and you will get much better at figuring out answers to their counters. Next time switch to a different technique.

Train your mind

  • Watch instructional videos. In lieu of having a regular instructor you CAN learn from watching videos, especially if you can occasionally try out the techniques on somebody’s body. A lot of top instructors have helped a lot of people with a lot of material.
  • Watch footage of competition. This will familiarize you with a great number of strategies and techniques. Be analytical and watch good matches more than once to see what is going on.
  • Read books – there are many great old Judo books and many great newer Jiu-jitsu books. There is also a lot of literature on conditioning – I find the running books to be particularly informative.
  • Use the internet. There is a huge body of knowledge and techniques out there – you just have to find it and winnow out the good material from the chaff. Start with the technique links on my website and then try to find other informative sites. If you find any good technique sites I haven’t included make sure to send me an email so I can add it to the list!
  • Obviously it’s best to have someone to practice with, but visualization is also a valuable tool. Try to visualize the technique you want to develop in every small detail. How do you shift your weight? How do you stop your opponent from moving, or how do you encourage them to move? Which muscles do you use? Where, exactly, are you making contact with your opponent at every stage of the technique?
So you can now see that there ARE a lot of options for you, should you be looking to acquire or improve your grappling skills but don't have regular access to a club and an instructor. If all else fails keep in mind that Pat Militech, UFC champion, started out watching video tapes and practising in his garage with a friend. He didn't have regular access to a club either!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Outdoor Martial Arts Training - Summer Plan

Summer is the perfect time of year for outdoor training. Many people are even more motivated to train during the summer months, and are looking for something different. Here are some ideas for outdoor summer training for martial artists of all styles.


  • Stay hydrated! With warmer temperatures, the danger of becoming dehydrated is always present. Always take plenty of water with you and drink it often.
  • Wear sunscreen. This is something that many of us would probably overlook, but you will sorry you did if you spend any real time training outside. Protect your skin. Wear a good sunscreen before you do any outdoor training.
  • Wear cool clothing. Don't ever wear a sauna or sweat suit for outdoor training, especially when the temperature starts to rise. Not only do you risk dehydrating, but you risk raising your body temperature to dangerous levels.
  • Wearing hot or thick clothing does you no good in training. Any weight lost in this way will just be water weight, and will quickly return.

Get Your Feet Wet - Training in water can give you a completely new training experience. Try throwing a set of kicks or punches as fast as you can underwater. As an example, pick four different kicks and four different punches, and throw each 20 times per side, as fast as you can, while neck deep in water. You will love the burn, get a great workout and over time your techniques will become faster and stronger.

If you live near a large body of water such as a large lake or the ocean, you can also try stance training. Stand about knee deep in the water, and practice holding your stances for 30 seconds to a minute at a time, maintaining your balance and stability against the pressure of the waves.

Spend Some Time At The Park - Cardiovascular endurance, otherwise known as your "wind" is extremely important to being good martial artist. Spend some time at your neighborhood park. Try jogging on the grass. Avoid jogging or running on cement, as it is bad for the joints. If you are just starting out, set yourself a mark, such as a particular tree. pole or trash can, jog out to it at a moderate pace, and jog back. As your endurance improves, either increase the distance of your marker or the number of times you go back and forth.

For martial artists with better endurance, try running wind sprints. Pick a marker that is a moderate distance away, and run to the mark as fast as you can. For an added challenge, as soon as you get to your mark, drop down and do 25 pushups. Get up and sprint back to your starting point. Drop to the grass and do 25 crunches. Rest at this point for between 1 and 5 minutes, then repeat. You can also mix these up some. Instead of doing pushups or crunches, you can do a certain technique for 25 reps instead.

Head To The Beach -Training on the sand is great for improving stability and overall power. Try sparring or shadow boxing on the beach. Stay away from crowds and try to wear a martial arts school or gym shirt, or even your uniform if you have to, so people don't become alarmed and think you are in a real fight.

Grapplers will get great benefit from training on sand as well, provided you don't mind the mess and give yourself a good shampoo afterwards. Practice bridging and turning on the sand. You can also grapple with partners, but I would recommend wearing goggles, as silly as that might sound, to avoid getting sand in each other's eyes.

These tips are a good start in getting the most out of your summer training. Enjoy the good weather while you can, and get a great tan while improving your skills. With a little creativity you can come up with many other outdoor training ideas as well.

From Diana Davila,
Your Guide to Martial Arts.
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Saturday, October 6, 2007

What is Shadow Training?

Shadow Training is where a martial artist will practice his or her techniques without the use of an opponent.

This includes many and sometimes all of the following:

Punching - Individual punches are utilized on there own or in combinations.

Blocking - Blocks, slipping, bobbing and weaving is practiced.

Kicking - Kicks, including low kicks to thigh area as well as sweeps, are embellished.

Wrestling- Ground work, such as sprawling, bridging, turning, and twisting are practiced.

These methods of Shadow Training are used often by many martial artists representing different styles, which would include judo, karate, akido, tai chi, kung fu, jui-jutsu, tae kwon do, and many others.

These practicing tactics stress repetition, control, smoothness, and decisive thinking, and are often used to hone certain techniques into perfection.

Despite all of the good that Shadow Training accomplishes, there is still much controversy over its effectiveness.