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3 tips to improve Explosive Flexibility

3 tips to improve Explosive Flexibility

That’s probably a term you’ve never heard before: Explosive Flexibility! But it’s extremely important nevertheless. So what does that mean exactly? Explosive power is the ability to accelerate and move over a distance in a short amount of time, AKA the body’s ability to mobilize rapidly from a resting position. To do this, you need to be able to cause your muscles to go from a relaxed to a contracted state, and back to relaxed, in a very short period of time. Simply put, it’s a combination of speed and strength.

Flexibility is the body’s ability to move through a wide range of motion. Most people think that this is all about the elasticity, or ability of a muscle to lengthen. To a minor degree, this is true, but there are other factors that are involved, which I’ll get to in just a minute.

So what is explosive flexibility? It’s the ability for you to quickly and rapidly move into a position that requires a wide range of motion. Does that mean jumping to do the splits on a counter top like Van Damme in Time Cop? No, you don’t really need to be that flexible. However, it does mean being able to kick higher and harder, or being able to explode into a submission that requires a high degree of mobility.

Key word: Mobility. Mobility is not just about a wide range of motion, but EASE of motion. Sure, you can kick to the head, but what good does that do if you lose all power at the arc of your kick, or pull your groin at the top? Maybe you can work a submission, but if you struggle to get into a high rubber guard, it’s hard to pull off that omoplata, and even more difficult to do it quickly, and in a way that catches your opponent off guard.

Outside of freakishly high kicks and crazy submissions, being able to move freely helps prevent injuries in daily motions. Injuries often result from imbalances in your body putting an unusual amount of wear and tear on your joints and soft tissues. This leads us to the first tip:

  1. Get balanced. Very often we are horribly imbalanced from spending an abundance of time sitting, our hips are not in their natural straight and extended position (standing). This can lead to a flat ass, sagging abs, and tight hip flexors. This means that you may be a little too tight in the front of the body, and strengthen the posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes, low back).
  2. You’re stretching too much. That’s right. The traditional static stretching is effective, but only to a certain degree. This helps you maintain and hold some nice long stretches, and it can help you swing your leg up higher. However, it doesn’t necessarily help you transition from one position to another. Let’s take your roundhouse kick for example. You need your hips to actually rotate into the kicking position to get the proper angle for power in the kick. Static stretches are great, and are a necessary part of a good mobility program, but it doesn’t address the rotational function of the hip.
    Too much stretching can also lead to too much elasticity in your muscles, which can make it more difficult to contract rapidly. Remember the explosive flexibility we discussed? Well excessive static stretching may make you more flexible, but you won’t be explosive, so you will lose speed and power. This means, you may be able to enter a freakishly flexible position, but you won’t have any speed or KO power.
  3. You aren’t strong enough. Remember, mobility is your ability to transition from one position to another. To do this, you have to have strength in the correct muscle groups to compliment your mobility. Say for example, your adductors (inner thighs) are extremely flexible, and you can do the side splits. However, your abductors (outer thighs) are not so strong. Well these abductors and your outer hip are the muscle groups that actually raise your leg up to the side. If these aren’t strong, it’s going to be extremely difficult to raise your foot up for a nice high head kick. That’s not to mention the other muscle groups involved such as the core, glutes, hip flexors, quads, etc. Many of these muscle groups are not addressed in a way that is conducive to kicking.

Kicks are very complex motions that require a high degree of mobility. If you want deliver high, strong knockout kicks you need to address strength flexibility in a number of areas to balance your hips. My friend, Eric Wong has put together a free report with 3 freaky flexibility techniques to really open up your hip mobility and address some areas that you are most likely neglecting.

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Tips for training Kickboxing Solo

Tips for training Kickboxing Solo

Last post I mentioned that it is possible for you to train kickboxing solo. This is great if you can’t afford a gym, can’t find a gym nearby, can’t fit their scheduled classes into your normal schedule, your gym doesn’t teach a particular style, or just can’t get into the gym as often as you’d like. Here’s a basic structure for creating your own kickboxing training workouts.

  1. Warm-up: This is absolutely necessary, but I’ve seen so many places, gyms, and classes do this wrong. Some of the most common mistakes in warming up include going too light, going too hard, stretching during the warm-up, hitting the heavy bag, etc. So what’s the happy medium? First, you need to understand the point of the warm-up, what it does, what it doesn’t do, and how to do it safely. I wrote about this in an earlier post. Do this right and you set yourself up for a great workout.
  2. Stretch: After you’re warmed up, you want to do about 10 minutes of static and dynamic stretching. This gets you loose and limber to avoid injury, and get your full range of motion. If you have more time, by all means take it. It’s almost impossible to spend too much time stretching.
  3. Technique: This should be the majority of your workout. You should be spending at least 30 minutes on techniques, combos, drills, and strategies. You’re developing muscle memory here. Pick something, and drill it for 3-5 minutes, rest 30-60 seconds, and resume. Rotate drills for the next 30 minutes. If you do 3 minute rounds, pick 10 different drills. If you do 5 minute rounds, pick 6 different drills. If you’re not feeling too creative, repeat a couple drills. If you can’t find 5-6 different combos to do for the day, you’re not trying hard enough.
  4. Conditioning: You should finish up with some base conditioning. This is where you spend everything you have left and go for broke. This is your 3rd round. Aim to hit all the major muscle groups or movement patterns for kickboxing. You should spend at least 10 minutes on this round, unless you do your strength and conditioning sessions separately.

There you have a basic template for a solo kickboxing workout. You can do this with, or without equipment. You would be amazed what you can do with just body weight and shadow boxing. For a program that takes all the thought out of structuring your workouts, I recommend the MMA Quick Start program by UFC fighter Jeff Joslin. It’s definitely worth a look.

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Four Skill sets of Kickboxing Training

Four Skill sets of Kickboxing Training

Necessary Skills for kickboxing training and building KO Power

Kickboxing is an intense physical sport and has high demands on the body. There is no denying that. While other martial arts and combat can be draining, and require endurance, no other art is reliant on explosive knockout power as kickboxing training. Grappling definitely requires strength, but it is quite possible to pull off a submission on skill, knowledge, leverage, and finesse, without brute strength. Kickboxing training has a much higher demand on physical conditioning, because the speed and power of the punch or kick directly determine the effectiveness. Read on to explore the different physical skill sets you NEED to develop your KO power as a kickboxer.

kickboxing training

  • Technique always comes first in kickboxing training.

    You will almost always strike with more power by focusing on a clean crisp execution of a technique with minimal effort, rather than just swinging with reckless abandonment. In fact, each kickboxing technique has a number of key points, and if you aren’t following them, you are leaking power, like a car with a punctured gas tank. It is possible to throw a knockout kick without applying a lot of force. Drill your technique, plug the “power leaks,” learn to strike with control, and the power will develop from there. Don’t force the technique in your kickboxing training. Do it loose, light, and fast. Think of cracking a whip instead of swinging a sledge hammer. When you focus on plugging those leaks in your kickboxing training, you are more efficient, and don’t require nearly as much power to throw that knockout kick or punch.
    Explosive Power – The next thing to develop is your base strength and explosive power. Don’t misinterpret me. I didn’t mean to diminish the importance of strength with my first point. It should be trained separately from your kickboxing training though. I’m talking weights: high weights and low reps. This is going to help you build your maximum strength but will not make you bulky like a body builder or sore and slow. This develops the Anaerobic Alactic energy system which your body uses for those fast bursts of energy in kickboxing training. Here’s a great example of a conditioning program for MMA and kickboxing.
    Muscular Endurance – If you’re at the end of your first round, your arms are feeling like lead weights, and your legs feel like jelly, you aren’t going to be able to throw that knockout punch. You have no energy left, and you won’t be able to generate enough power to throw your techniques correctly, much less effectively or with the explosive power. When your muscles are burning during kickboxing training, it hurts just to keep your hands up to protect yourself, and you can’t think straight through the pain, how do you expect to come out on top? Develop this power endurance in your Kickboxing Training, and you’ll still be hitting like a truck at the end of every round, every match.
    Cardio – When athletes, especially in kickboxing training, talk about endurance, they usually just say Cardio. It is a different kind of endurance, as it uses the aerobic energy system to keep you running. This is the endurance that is the difference between barely breaking a sweat in your kickboxing training versus gasping for air. You can develop this in a number of ways, and the most common is hopping on a treadmill. Nothing wrong that, if you’re doing it the right way. However, way too many people think of just running for 15-20 minutes. That’s a great timeframe, but what do you do during that 15-20 minutes? What is better for cardio? Running at 6 miles per hour, or 9 mph for 20 minutes straight? Hopefully you’ll say 9 miles per hour. What’s better? Running a mile in 10 minutes, or a mile and a half in 10 minutes? You’re doing more work in less time. That’s going to keep you at an elevated heart rate, you’ll expend more energy, your heart will become stronger, and you’ll push harder. This forces your body to become more efficient, and if you can push harder in training, it’ll obviously transfer over to the cage or ring and your kickboxing training. More work in less time, means more punches and kicks within a 5 minute round, or a 15 minute fight.

So how do you focus on all of these different aspects of kickboxing training?

It depends on your life. If you’re like most people just getting started, you don’t fight full time, and can’t dedicate 8 hours a day to training. If this is you, then you’ll need to allocate your time appropriately. This means training different aspects on different days. Technique should be trained at least 2-3 days per week, and if you’re doing conditioning training the same day, it should come after. You don’t want to work technique while fatigued. You won’t be able to recruit appropriate muscle groups effectively, and you will develop poor muscle memory and bad habits. My recommendation is to allocate 3-4 days a week to conditioning, with emphasis on days you need to develop most. Alternatively, you can work in phases, or a periodized program like the one I use. Click here to see the top MMA and Kickboxing conditioning program available.

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Kickboxing Technique

Kickboxing Technique

How many Kickboxing Techniques do I need to know?

I’ve seen this question time and time again. What Kickboxing techniques do I need to learn? Kickboxing is a unique sport that stems from a number of disciplines. From the Asian martial arts like Kung Fu, Muai Thai Taekwondo, or Karate to Western systems like Sambo, Dutch kickboxing, or Capoeira. Practitioners of these styles and many others can compete in kickboxing competition with brutal effectiveness, and they all contribute their own array of kickboxing techniques.

But with all of these disciplines, there are so many techniques involved and it can become overwhelming. However, we can boil it down to a total of 8 kickboxing techniques that will be a core focus of your training. From there, the variations and combinations of kickboxing techniques are pretty much limitless.

Kickboxing Technique

So let’s get started with 8 pillars of Kickboxing Technique

  1. Jab – This is absolutely the first thing you need to know. The jab is the basic straight lead hand punch. It doesn’t have a whole lot of power compared to the others, but it does have reach, and speed, making it the technique you will use most often. This is a great starter for most combinations you will be executing. The execution will vary depending on situation, angle, and distance, but overall it’s a pretty simple and literally straightforward punch.
  2. Cross – This is the straight punch thrown from the rear hand. This is usually your power hand, and as such is very often a strong KO punch. If you ever watch MMA matches, you will probably see a lot of straight right hand punches thrown for the knockout, and this probably leads to more knockouts than any other kickboxing technique.
  3. Hook – This punch is another haymaker that is a favorite for KO’s. This punch is usually executed by throwing the hand around your opponent’s guard to the side of the head or jaw. When one of these babies connects to the temple, or the tip of the jawbone (I call it the magic button), it’s lights out!
  4. Uppercut – This is extremely powerful… IF it’s done correctly. However one of the biggest mistakes I see is when someone drops the hand to wind up for a huge knockout punch. This is bad, bad, bad for a couple of reasons. One problem is you are opening your guard way up to eat your opponent’s fist. Not fun. The other problem is that you are trying to generate all the power from the arm and shoulder, and not so much from the legs or core to put your body into the punch. However, when executed correctly, this Kickboxing Technique hurts like hell. It’s horrible to receive one of these to the ribs, and can drop your opponent when executed properly. It’s also common to see this executed from the clinch, but it’s not as powerful because you can’t generate as much power from the core and hips.
  5. Front push kick – Commonly called a Teep in Muai Thai, but also common in Karate and Taekwondo. This kick is fairly simple, and in my humble opinion, a very under-utilized kickboxing technique. This kick is not very damaging or painful compared to others, but it is awesome for creating distance, knocking your opponent off balance, and setting up some devastating combos, or following it up with a…
  6. Roundhouse Kick – You will see many debates on how to execute this kick because there are several variations. I recommend you choose one variation, and drill it until you can execute with accuracy. Once you are comfortable you can branch out and develop on the other variations. This is THE most common kick you will do in any striking style, and at least one version should be a pillar in your arsenal of Kickboxing techniques.
  7. Knees – These are vicious, and they hurt like hell. As such, they are not legal in all competitions. In MMA, knee strikes don’t always knock your opponent out, but they do some damage, hurt like hell, and often lead to a TKO. Knees to the head, body, and even legs will disable your opponent to a point where you can finish them off. If you are just going into kickboxing, do some research on the rules of the ring. You don’t want to be disqualified for throwing this at the wrong time, or if they’re not legal at all.
  8. Elbows – Another devastating kickboxing technique, elbows are often not allowed in some rings of kickboxing or MMA. However, if you are allowed to use them, it’s recommended. Obviously only for short range, the elbows are great for generating power, and can often lead to fight-ending cuts. Unlike the blunt ball and chain that is your fist, elbows strike with a large solid bone that splits open foreheads and eyebrows. These cuts often end fights due to blood loss or potentially disrupting the fighter’s vision with blood in the eyes. Elbows will rarely stop a fight, but it hurts like hell when on the receiving end, and is often a great setup for the finisher. It happens occasionally, but the most common KO’s are from a strong cross, hooks, or roundhouse kicks.

That’s every Kickboxing Technique you need to know.

So there you have it. Once you learn to execute these kickboxing techniques, and understand the mechanics, you can start to put these together in an unlimited number of combinations. In fact, many of the world’s top fighters will never use more than these 8 kickboxing techniques. Some may not even use that many. It’s fun to learn all the flashy spinning heel kicks, reverse backfist, flying knees, etc. But those are all icing on the cake. Stay tuned and I’ll go over some guidelines for creating your own combos using these kickboxing techniques.

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Grappling vs. Striking? Your answer here

Grappling vs. Striking? Your answer here

There is an illness spreading in the martial arts community and it seems to be reaching a boiling point. It’s the concept that one specific style or method is better than all others. I was just reading on a discussion forum a “Striking vs. Grappling” thread, and I was just awestruck by the moronic, prejudiced, inane arguments going back on forth about “who beat who in the UFC” and fights on Youtube, and all this mindless bullshit.

striking vs. grappling

Before you think I sound like one of these guys, I will add my disclaimer. Yes I am a striker, and yes my preferred fighting style kickboxing with roots in Taekwondo. However I still have immense respect for the intricacy and difficulty of grappling. I simply choose to specialize in the stand-up fighting because it resonates with me better.

I’m going to lay myself on the line and say you’re all a bunch of dumbasses if you say any of the following statements:

  • X style is best
  • Y style is better than Z style
  • Z style is shit

It happens more than you might realize, and unfortunately the principles of humility, honor, and discipline that the martial arts are famous for, are not always displayed by its practitioners. This is especially true in the MMA scene where, let’s be honest, it’s just not taught. This is not meant to be a blanket statement. There are some exceptions at the schools with traditional backgrounds. However, the martial arts scene is degrading into a bunch of shit talking meat heads.

Rant over.

Why the “style vs. style” argument is completely useless and debunked? Because NO STYLE is perfect. Each style has its strengths, and its disadvantages. For the sake of brevity, I’ll simply compare striking against grappling to keep it simple.

First, I will debunk the arguments of “Grappling is better because 90% of street fights go to the ground.” This may be true. However, 75% of those fights on the ground end up back on the feet within 10-15 seconds. Forgot to include that statistic, didn’t you?

Also, there is a significant risk in taking a fight to the ground. Rolling on broken glass, getting cornered with no mobility, dealing with multiple attackers, or taking a knee to the face while going for a takedown are all some of the painful risks you take by trying to bring a fight to the ground.

Yes there are some great ground fighters in the UFC, and you see a lot more action there than you did in organizations like Pride. Do you know why that is? Because in the UFC there’s a rule that you can’t kick or knee your opponent in the head once they have their head on the ground. Yeah, that means if I drop a knee to the ground to go for a takedown, I’m protected from knees or kicks to the head. If it happens, then I win by disqualification. In the street? There are no rules protecting you from knees to the head, broken bottles, or your opponent’s 3 drunk buddies. Grappling is better myth debunked.

Striking is better myth: There are few people that try to argue this one, but those that do usually use the “XYZ fighter won this fight against a Gracie student.” So what? What does that mean? That he got caught? To quote Dana White “A striker always has a punch’s chance.” We’ve all seen those flash KO’s where one fighter just lands a lucky shot right on the button. All it takes is one punch, but if you don’t land that lucky punch, and you get taken down to the ground by a skilled grappler, well yeah, you’re fucked.

The top fighters in the world have all mastered one specific style, whether it be BJJ, Muai Thai, Taekwondo, or Karate. They have specialized in a particular fighting style, and supplemented it in their weaker areas. Look at the early greats. Chuck Liddell was a 5th Dan in Karate, and then started training BJJ. Anderson Silva started training Taekwondo at age 12, Capoeira at 16, and then Muai Thai. It wasn’t until he trained with the Nogueira brothers that he started training BJJ. He started as a striker, and then supplemented with grappling. I may seem biased toward the strikers, but it’s because I kind of am. They’re my favorites. What can I say? Feel free to post your favorite grappler in the comments section. Share some love for the grapplers here too!

So what do I do? I started in Taekwondo, but I wanted to expand into kickboxing, so I started training with some experienced boxers and Thai fighters. I knew that fighting up close and using my hands was a weak point, so I decided to develop on that.

I know that I’m not a great or very experienced grappler, so I focus on where I’m strong, and supplement where I’m weak. Will I shoot a double against an Olympic wrestler? Umm no… Am I gonna try to submit a BJJ black belt? Fuck no. That’s just stupid, and it’s not gonna happen. I will, however focus on learning how to defend takedowns, slip submissions, sweep from less favorable positions, and escape back to my feet. This keeps me in control of my dominant position: planting my foot on my opponent’s jaw, and standing over him unconscious.

So what do I recommend? Find a style that resonates with YOU. If you feel that you are more proficient on the ground, go for BJJ or wrestling, and let that be your focus for a year or two. Get your blue belt, go to a few tournaments, etc. You can still do one or two classes in other styles on the side, but focus on one thing specifically. After you have dedicated to that style, then branch out into other styles and develop your other skill sets. It’s pursuing mastery, rather than being a jack of all trades. There are some great well-rounded fighters out there, but the ones that take the championship belts and HOLD them are the specialists. Whatever you decide to specialize in, be the best there is and kick the shit out of your competition. If you are doing BJJ, do every possible tournament and shoot for the gold medal every time. If you are going for striking, jump on every kickboxing, muai thai, or full contact Karate tournament you can. Fight opportunity and do everything you can to make sure the ref is holding your hand at the end of the match.

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Kickboxing Training through Muscle Soreness

Kickboxing Training through Muscle Soreness

Kickboxing training is hard, and it takes hard work

But is pain really gain? I get a lot of questions from my students, readers, friends and family, about muscle soreness (especially after the 1000 kick challenge). One of the biggest comments is about how it is a major limiting factor in kickboxing training, and can often set back the consistency that they are striving for.

Kickboxing training is notorious for leaving you unable to walk right for a few days after training

and this will probably persist for your first few weeks of working out. There are a few physiological reasons for this, but the best thing I can tell you before going into a workout is to EXPECT soreness after the workout. You will feel kind of stiff the day after your kickboxing training, but it usually hits hardest 2 days after your workout. You will feel like you got run over by a steamroller.

This can be extremely discouraging, especially when you are just getting started with kickboxing training. What’s important is that you don’t skip training because of the soreness. Do what you can within reason. You will be weaker, the pain will be draining, and it will be very unpleasant. Focus on your kickboxing technique more than anything, keeping that as tight as possible. But pushing through to the best of your ability will force your body to adapt more quickly to the demands you are placing on it. Are you going to operate at 100%? No, probably not. But getting out there and moving will actually get blood moving through those sore muscles, providing the healing they need to get through that soreness.

kickboxing training

If you wait a week for your muscles to fully recover, you’re not pushing for progress in your kickboxing training.

During your recovery time you may lose everything you worked for, and completely waste that workout. You need to establish a consistent routine and follow through with it. Establish regular habits, and it will get easier.

What are some other ways to reduce soreness for your next kickboxing training session? Immediately after working out, stretch, have your post workout shake or meal, ice, take a cool or cold shower (It sucks but it works). Make sure you get plenty of sleep, eat regular meals to help fuel the recovery, and stretch the sore muscles throughout the day. It’s going to suck. They will be stiff, and your range of motion will be very short, but this is important for maintaining flexibility, otherwise your muscles will shorten, and you will lose range of motion, significantly limiting your ability during kickboxing training. Stretch often. Even if it’s just 2-3 minutes every hour.

You’re just getting started, and those first few steps are always the hardest. Not everyone is blessed with the superhuman freak genetics to never be sore from a workout, and it’s normal to hurt. That is where you have the choice to give up on your kickboxing training, or push through. You set a goal for yourself now go get it!

Disclaimer: This post is about general delayed onset muscle soreness, and not injuries that may result from kickboxing training or sparring. Soreness is normal. Sharp, shooting, tingling pains are not. Pain in the muscles is common, and expected, but pain in the joints is not. Use your best judgment. If you push through an injury it can, and most likely will, get worse. Take care of your body, talk to your coach, and if pain persists, talk to a doctor. This post is not meant to be a medical diagnosis, and should not be treated as such.

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Fast Workout for KO Power

Fast Workout for KO Power

It’s hitting 100 degrees here in the valley, so it’s time to break a sweat. It’s been a hectic week, so it’s been hard for me to get into the gym to do my normal conditioning workout. But I’m not gonna let that stop me from hitting my goals. Recently I picked up a shiny new Perfect Multi-gym, so I’ve been able to get my workout in from home, and I’ve been working on more pull than push to try and balance things out in my build. Pull-ups have always been my weak point. In fact just a few months ago, I could do 1. That’s it. Not a few sets of 1. Just 1. I’ve built up from there, and here’s my workout from last night.

  • 3 pull-ups
  • 10 push-ups
  • 10 squat jumps
  • Rest 1 minute and Repeat for 5 sets
  • Drink my post-workout shake
  • (Don’t forget the post workout meal, unless you enjoy wasting your time and stressing your body)

That’s a total of 15 pull-ups, 50 push-ups and 50 squat jumps. I know it’s not the most intense workout in the world, but as a circuit, it got my blood flowing, got me sweating, and got my heart rate up. I probably could have done more, but I did this just before bed and I didn’t want to spike my metabolism and stay up all night.

Also, the low reps are excellent for developing KO power if you do it explosively. When you get into longer workout sets with higher reps, you get into the hypertrophy range, which causes slow, sore muscles. 

Most importantly, it only took me about 6-7 minutes. There is NO EXCUSE that you don’t have time to work out. Each of those circuits took about 30-40 seconds to complete. You can do at least 2 sets of this during a commercial break from your favorite TV show. Who wants to sit through and watch commercials anyway? Keep yourself busy and your show will be back on by the time you’re done. 

Don’t have a pull-up bar? Get one here. It’s only $30, and it’s one of the best investments I’ve made in a long time. Can’t do pull-ups? You can do any variation of assisted pull-ups, negatives, or inverted rows on a sturdy table. The same with push-ups. You can alter them to your ability level by changing angles, dropping to the knees, or doing partial range of motion. Basically, you have no excuse not to work out. It all comes down to how you prioritize your health.

Of course, if you have more time, you can try the Crazy 8′s workout courtesy of my man Eric Wong. Just sign up here to get it delivered to you:

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What do you do when you’re pressed for time? Leave a comment below, and share this if you find it helpful.

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Announcement – 7 Day KO Crash Course

Announcement – 7 Day KO Crash Course

Well guys, here’s the first peek at the project I’ve been working on so intently. As I mentioned, I’ve been working to produce some quality content for you guys, and I’m working hard (and learning a LOT about video production and editing) to get this out to you within the next month.

This course is something I’ve been refining over the last decade and a half to blend the most effective striking concepts and give you a simplified, streamlined striking plan. But here’s just a few of the things you’ll get with my

7 Day KO Crash Course

 

  • 7 follow-along workouts, 30-45 minutes each
  • Focus on the key points to develop KO Power
  • Defensive drills to develop an impenetrable guard
  • Focus mitt drills to gauge technique in real time
  • Assessments for each lesson to measure constant progress.

I’m really excited to put this out, and as I’m leading up to the launch of this program, I’ll be putting out more tutorials to give you the pre-training needed to jump right in.

Make sure to subscribe to the blog to get VIP access when it launches. Because this project is still in development, there’s still time to make some changes, so let me know what YOU would like to see out of my 7 Day KO Crash Course by commenting below.

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Top MMA Training Tip #5 – Structured MMA Training Program

Top MMA Training Tip #5 – Structured MMA Training Program

Top tips for MMA Training #5 – Follow a structured, progressive program

Like the first 4 tips, this seems like a no-brainer, but believe it or not, it’s kind of a big deal. Many gyms just throw you in to a class regardless of your experience level and expect you to sink or swim against the guys that have been there for months or even years. Others choose the content for their classes and training sessions about 10 minutes before the start of class. This means that you bounce from technique to technique without really developing on what you did last time. This is a recipe for failure and confusion.

What’s important, especially for beginners, is to find a program that is specifically designed to take you from where you are and bring you to the next level. That means techniques taught to you in a structured, systematic method that is progressive, and each class builds on the previous one. This means that when you come into class, you reflect on what you did last time, and take it one step further.

For example, if you’re going into a BJJ class, and in the last class, you just learned how to do the armbar from the guard. Today you’re going to review that and now you get to learn how to counter that technique. Then you get to explore different backup techniques for when your opponent counters your armbar.

In my TKD kickboxing classes, we start with the foundation of your stances, and work different punching combinations in there. Then we progress it in your next class to reflect on the techniques that you learned last time and incorporate them into realistic fight combos and self-defense applications. You then go on to learn more advanced and challenging combinations. Eventually you progress to a point where you can just react and act out of muscle memory instead of trying to memorize combinations. For example, white belts in my program should be expected to execute a basic 1-2-3-4 (Jab, Cross, Hook, Uppercut) combo with no pause, in solid form, and with proper pivot completely out of muscle memory within 2-3 weeks.

Now, unfortunately, I do not have my program online yet, but one great program that develops kickboxing for MMA in a progressive format is Jeff Joslin’s MMA Quickstart. This program covers the first 18 lessons that get you off to a solid start to developing your striking in MMA. I highly recommend this program to you if you are looking to start an MMA program, or if you have already started but feel like you could use some extra training to catch up to some of the more experienced guys at your gym. This program is actually designed by a UFC fighter and coach, so you know it’s coming from a quality source.

Click here to check out the MMA Quick Start

Another great example is in strength and conditioning. The MMA conditioning program that I follow is designed for progressive improvement and developing a wide range of MMA conditioning elements, starting with balance and coordination, then moving into base strength, endurance and finally explosive power. There are guys who just go in to hit the weights, but either hit them too hard and leave no energy left for MMA classes, and then there are guys who don’t follow a structured, progressive program, so they don’t ever make any gains. If you come into the gym, look at the weights, and say “What are we going to work on today?” you’re doing it wrong. Unless you are spending $50-100 an hour on a personal trainer who has it all planned out for you, you should not be asking that question. You need to have a plan going into the gym, knowing “Ok, today I’m working x, y, and z muscle groups, and I’m going 3 sets of 12 reps, etc.” You want to have a plan with progressive gains to build on what you did last time. This is by far the best way to improve your strength and conditioning. This program was designed by Eric Wong, who is also a UFC coach that specializes in getting fighters into peak form.

Click here for a free video from the designer of Ultimate MMA Strength and Conditioning.

I hope you guys liked my top 5 MMA training tips. I’ll have more tips, tricks, and techniques to come in the following weeks, so stay tuned and be well!

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MMA Training Top Tip #4 – Setting Goals

MMA Training Top Tip #4 – Setting Goals

MMA Training Tip #4 – Why failing to set goals is setting yourself up for failure

 

So over the past few days, we’ve been talking about technique, self-assessments, and goal setting in MMA. Today we’re going to build on that, bridge the gap, and draw up a more specific map to connect point A (your current state) to point B (your goals). Now this is a concept that I use in a number of different settings and not just in training. Today we’re going to talk about setting deadlines and benchmarks. Again, this seems like a simple concept, but any project manager will tell you that these are vital for any project’s success. You are a project. You have a starting point, a team, a need, and a goal. If your goal is to be ready for a fight in 6 months, you need to make sure you are in prime condition, your technique is crisp, and your strategy is perfect. You have a deadline now. With any deadline, you need a schedule to meet it.

What happens if you miss a deadline in MMA? Bad things. You don’t make weight, don’t get to fight, and embarrass yourself publicly at weigh-in; you need to withdraw from the fight because you’re not ready physically; or even worse, you get knocked the f*** out because your technique isn’t where it should be.

Either way, if you miss your deadline, your team suffers, your coach gets pissed, and your promoter might not take you seriously in the future. In the UFC, if a fighter doesn’t make weight, they’re fired. If a fighter slacks on their conditioning and doesn’t perform well, they’re fired. If you get injured, you’ve just fired yourself… and injuries just hurt like hell.

The bottom line is the best fighters get the best results because they stay on schedule, and go into their fights 100% ready to win. So how do you set a schedule to progress in MMA training? The key is periodized workouts. This means that you set a specific timeframe where you develop a particular skillset. For the MMA Conditioning program I follow, the stages are corrective and stability, base strength, endurance, and explosive power. Each stage builds on the previous one to set you up for success, and get your strength and cardio to a fight-ready state in 16 weeks.

If you’re going for your black belt in BJJ, as I mentioned in the last post on goal setting, you have bench marks along the way. Each belt is a benchmark. You don’t just GET a black belt. It’s something that you build into. You have steps along the way, and periodic progress checks. You have a specific set of criteria that you need to master before progressing on to the next level. Now let me ask you, who is more likely to succeed between fighter A and figher B?

Fighter A: “I want to get my blue belt in BJJ in the next 6 months.”

Fighter B: “I want to get my blue belt in BJJ someday.”

This is an example of a benchmark. Fighter A is much more likely to achieve his blue belt in less time than fighter B because he set a challenging benchmark, which feeds into his larger goal of attaining his black belt. Those who set deadlines are more likely to achieve their goals. Deadlines keep you focused on your goals. It’s a huge motivating factor that shows that you are making progress on that ultimate goal. Black Belt is daunting and intimidating, but Blue Belt is relatively easy. It gives you something to strive for, while knowing that each step you take forward brings you closer to that objective (Blue Belt), and each objective brings you closer to the end goal (Black Belt).

So in short, take a look at the goal you set yesterday, and try to break it up into smaller, more manageable, measurable goals, and put yourself on a deadline to reach those goals. You’ll be glad you did when you reach the first one. When you have these pieces in place, it’s time to get on a specific periodized program with set criteria to meet those goals.

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