Shroud of Mystery
The kung fu training tool often called, a “wooden dummy,” is surrounded by mystique and misunderstanding due to lack of good quality information. Read further to find out what the dummy’s real form and function is all about.
What It Looks Like
A wooden dummy is usually made from a 5 or 6 foot long hardwood log that is 9 inches in diameter. It has three arms; 2 at chest level that point away from the center, and 1 arm at bellybutton level pointing straight out from the log. There is also a leg included that should be at, or just above, knee height. Wooden dummies are either mounted on a wall, or supported by a freestanding framework depending on your available space.
What a Wooden Dummy Isn’t
A wooden dummy is not used for strength training, or solely toughing your forearms through hard strikes like you would use on a makiwara. The dummy is not a magical device that will instantly make you a martial art master like Bruce Lee. It also isn’t a tool to show off with. If you train with the wrong mindset, you’re not going to get the results that are possible with it.
What a Wooden Dummy Is
A wooden dummy can be an extremely valuable training tool and partner if approached in the right way. It never gets tired. It won’t get mad if you get a good shot in, nor will it sucker punch you (but will still knock you around sometimes). And it is a training partner that has better defense than any human being could possibly have. The arms and leg are laid out in a particular fashion that mimic the best angles of defense used in close quarters combat. If you learn to use the dummy properly, you will be well versed in how to deal with a strong defensive opponent.
So How Do You Train?
You want to train with the mindset that you are developing an understanding of the basics of close quarters combat. These elements are composed of angles of attack, connection sensitivity, proper distances for various attacks, and developing the ability to execute simultaneous actions which could include attacking, blocking and kicking all at the same time. So while you’re training with the wooden dummy, be sure to remind yourself the goal is not to abuse the dummy and build tough forearms by hitting it hard. Instead, treat the tool like the precision instrument it is, and use it as a laboratory to cultivate your skills with a partner that will never call in sick.…
Shroud of Mystery
Mixed Martial Arts training is tough. There is no doubt about it and one of the hardest things to do is build genuine strength. But having a lot of strength will allow you to explode on your opponent, will increase your punching power, will make you better in the clinch and on the ground.
One thing that I want to point out here. We are not talking about doing traditional bodybuilding. We are looking for STRENGTH here not size. Just because you are big does not mean that you are necessarily strong. Remember that the key is strength not size. We are not looking to become the next Arnold Swarchenegger. We are looking to become the next Anderson Silva.
So where do we start? Well, the first and most obvious place is with your core. Your core is your abs, back muscles and all the surrounding muscles. These are the muscles that you use to generate torque on your punches, use your hips to escape… well, pretty much you use them for everything. That’s why they are vital.
One thing to look out for when doing weight training is that, unless you are doing so for weight class reasons, you really don’t need to get big. Large muscles use more oxygen and will cause you to tire out in a fight faster. Ever notice how quickly heavyweights gas out compared to the lighter weight classes. This is because their large muscles are demanding tons of oxygen to fuel them. We want to stay away from that. Remember, strength is key but not size.…
One of the most important aspects of martial arts training is proper breathing. However, for practitioners of hard styles, effective breathing methods are often left to the students to figure out on their own. The central principle of breathing is of internal cleansing, getting rid of that which is old, worn out, and stale, and exchanging it for what is new, fresh, and energized. During inhalation we are bringing in fresh oxygen, nutrients, and vital energy. During exhalation we are expelling carbon dioxide and other toxins and poisons that we produce or collect in our daily lives.
There are a large number of breathing exercises. Some are simple and easy while others require years of practice. I will discuss the five I believe to be the most effective for the martial artists who are beginning to explore the potential of proper breathing. First, we will describe the two methods which are best suited for becoming aware of the body: Attention Breathing and Abdominal Breathing. We will then go on to the more advanced exercises of Reverse Abdominal Breathing and Nose Panting. Finally we will introduce The Complete Breath which is more challenging and requires increased concentration and practice.
In practicing these breathing exercises it is important to concentrate on breathing through the nose, both during inhalation and exhalation. Of course when training in the martial arts, breathing strictly through the nose is unrealistic. In fact it is physically impossible since the body’s demand for oxygen increases too fast for the nose to handle the flow. However, while doing these specific exercises it is important. Think of it as a closed circuit within the body, breathing in through the nose and out through the nose. If you open your mouth, you break the circuit and the energy dissipates.
It is important to realize that people breathe differently. Children tend to breathe with their abdomen, while middle-aged people breathe with their stomachs, and older people often breathe mainly with their upper chests. But the way people breathe is also affected by other factors, emotions, for instance, or ill health. Someone who is excited will breathe faster and shallower than someone who is sad. Someone who is calm will breathe slowly and deeply. Someone out of shape may be panting after a short walk or climbing some stairs.
Attention breathing, as its name implies, is about focusing your awareness on the natural rhythm of your breath, not to control it but simply to observe it as a bodily function. Your awareness is the instrument which enables you to shift from unconscious breathing to conscious, or dynamic, breathing. This shift is accomplished by concentrating on the feeling of the body as it breathes. Feel the air as it enters your nostrils. Follow it as it flows into the lungs and notice how deeply it reaches into them. Maintain your full attention and follow it back up as you exhale. Feel the used air as it is expelled from the body.
Gradually, as you become aware of the feeling of the breath it should become smoother and more relaxed. But don’t try to change your breathing during Attention Breathing. Your aim is to observe your unconscious breathing habits so you will be able to feel the difference when you actually begin dynamic breathing. If you find your mind wandering, simply catch yourself and return to the breath. Try to perform Attention Breathing for five minutes each day at the same time of day, perhaps in the morning when you wake up or at night when you are about to go to bed. As you become used to it, see if you can focus on your breath at other times throughout the day. Eventually the awareness of the breath and your breathing should become an integral part of your life.
Once you become aware of your breathing, it is time to begin modifying your breathing habits. Abdominal breathing is by far the best breathing method for people beginning to study breathing exercises. Regular practice brings quick, tangible results. It is easy to learn and difficult to do incorrectly. In addition, Abdominal Breathing has the benefit of invigorating the abdominal muscles. Their constant movement massages the internal organs and increases blood circulation.
The basic idea is simple: fill the lungs from the bottom up. Abdominal Breathing is about filling the lungs completely. Most people breathe using only their chests or the top half of their lungs. Abdominal Breathing seeks to expand lung capacity by starting from the lowest part of the lungs. The focus, therefore, is on the abdomen, an area roughly three finger widths below the navel. Known as the hypogastrium in Western medical terminology, this area is called the dan tien in Chinese and hara in Japanese. This point is the …
The power of man has grown in every sphere, except over himself. ~Winston Churchill
Are you training for Mixed Martial Arts, UFC, or any of the hundreds of martial arts practiced in the world? Have you found your attacks to lack impact? Are your defenses crumpling under an onslaught? What allows a much smaller opponent to throw his larger adversary through the air as if he were merely a puppet? What enables a woman to defend herself against a bigger, taller, stronger man attacking her? One word: power. By the end of this article, you will know the three physical elements to increasing your power.
Power is the ability to do or act. Power is the capability of doing, or accomplishing something. Notice the word “strength” is absent. Many people make the mistake of assuming strength and power are synonymous. With the proper knowledge and training in three areas, a physically weaker person can overpower a stronger challenger.
Structure is the first element to cultivating incredible power, and it is the result of a strong connection to the ground. Imagine, for a moment, that you’re floating weightless in outer-space. How are you going to run? How are you going to move at all? Without some connection to a stable surface, or rockets, you’re not going anywhere. Back on earth, the best way to develop a strong connection to the ground is balanced posture. Head over shoulders, shoulders over hips, hips over feet. With this short checklist, it is easy to remind yourself throughout your day to reevaluate your posture. If any one of these elements is not in line with each other you will not be in balance, and your power will suffer.
Positioning is the second pillar of incredible power, and can be analyzed by three aspects: distance, rotation, and level. Distance is how far you are from your target. Rotation is circling around the other fighter. Level is if you’re above, below, or on equal footing. So positioning is the skillful application of all three elements to be in the right place at the right time. Different techniques are most effective at varying distances, so to maximize your power, use the right tools for where you are. Kicks for far away, punches at medium distance, knees and elbows for close combat, and grappling for the closest contact. Sometimes you need to rotate around to the back side of your opponent to be most effective. Maybe you need to change levels suddenly to increase your power. There is a saying, “If your throws lack power, get closer to the ground.” By sinking your body weight and lowering your center of gravity, you’re enlisting the basic forces of physics to help defeat your opponent.
Timing is the third pillar of power, and is typified by being early, late, or right on time. If you’ve ever heard of “beating someone to the punch,” that’s being early. Waiting to let the other guy put himself in a disadvantageous position before capitalizing on it, is being late. You can imagine timing like merging on to the highway with a car right next to you. You have two options: hit the gas and hope the other driver isn’t as fast, or you can drop back and pull in behind. At that point, no matter what the other driver does, you can respond to it with superior distance and positioning.
Now you can see how distance, positioning and timing all work together to generate power. If you’re at the right place, at the right time, and have the proper structure you can generate power others won’t be able to believe. During your MMA training, always be asking yourself if you’re using the three elements effectively and increase your power.…
This article is all about mixed martial art training, but first let me tell you what MMA really are. It can be defined as a fighting style in which the fighter is allowed a wide range of moves and techniques, which are a mixture of traditional as well as non-traditional fighting styles. Therefore, it’s the use of both the grappling and striking moves and techniques while standing as well as on ground in competitions so that all the different backgrounds could compete on a single platform. In simple words mixed martial arts can be defined as the blend of diverse fighting styles that creates an all-round good fighter.
MMA have started gaining more and more popularity, especially with the entry of pay per view reach and now many people all around the globe are interested in getting mixed martial arts training in order to become an all-round fighter.
Why are this is form of fighting becoming so popular? Well, you cannot be called a great fighter, if your expertise is in just one style of fighting. In order to be called an expert you have to be a master of different types of styles of fighting and therefore, the need of learning martial arts training enters everyone’s mind.
There are many different styles of fighting out of which some are wrestling, boxing, kick boxing, Brazilian Jujitsu, Muay Thai, Karate, Kung Fu and what not. Hence the more experienced a fighter becomes the closer he is to become a great fighter. It is really important to employ MMA in your training as well as against opponents and according to many fighters who have gone through many phases of fighting, mixed martial arts training is much harder than actually fighting.…
The only trouble with Martial Arts training videos is they require a player to be able to use them. Busy modern lifestyles often leave little time for fitness training, this simple, highly effective workout can be performed almost anywhere without the need for a DVD player or almost any other equipment. And better still it can be done in only four minutes! Although a warm up and cool down are recommended.
The Tabata method consists of eight rounds of 20 seconds effort preceding 10 seconds rest, that’s 8 x 20 + 10 seconds = 4 minutes. Quick but not easy, this workout will make your cardio conditioning go through the roof while stripping fat from your belly.
It’s best to choose exercises that use large muscle groups rather than isolated body parts as the idea of the Tabata method is to work flat out during the effort section of each round during the cycle. This is key to gain the benefits in just four minutes you really have to work at very high intensities, nothing less than flat out will do.
Here’s an example of a good Tabata Workout
Hindu press ups
Fast press ups
Hindu squats with jump
Hindu press ups
Fast press ups
Hindu squats with jump
This will stress both the upper and lower body giving a full body workout in just four minutes! Of course, a warm up and cool down are recommended, which will prolong the workout a little but the whole thing can be completed in ten minutes or so. Alternatively, you could have a good stretch after the Tabata with the aim of developing flexibility. The muscles will be nicely warmed up and conducive to flexibility training.
Obviously, you can substitute your own exercises for those in the example but remember that the idea is to work at as high an intensity as possible. Fast repetitions are the key. You can judge progress by recoding the total number of reps during the entire Tabata cycle and attempting to beat that score and subsequent scores in later Tabatas.
The beauty of this workout is you can perform it almost anywhere. The one piece of kit I recommend is the Gymboss Timer which is small and light and takes the nuisance of watching the clock out of the Tabata method. This interval timer beeps when you need to rest and again when it’s time to start again. It can be set so that it lets you know when the workout is complete.
Combined with the Gymboss Timer the Tabata method makes for an excellent MMA home workout!…
Though it may not seem like a martial arts tactic, a climbing rope is (in my opinion) essential for any fitness gym. Climbing up a rope will develop your arms, back and abdominals. They are easy to set up, fun to climb and you can get very creative with them.
I had mine high in the tree wrapped around a strong branch. I originally used it with a grappling hook to practice throwing up in the tree and catching onto a large branch. I eventually left it there after one of my climbs. I remember when Eye on LA (an TV show) was shooting the video and I was about to climb the rope. I asked them how they would like me to climb it – with or without feet. They were perplexed, so I climbed it without feet and remember the bottom of the rope bouncing around near the camera. Lucky for me I was on the wrestling team where access to ropes was a daily part of our routine.
Yes, there is a pretty big difference when it comes to climbing a rope with or without your feet. The later being far more challenging. Both require some instruction and practice. Climbing the rope itself will develop the grip and strength needed to climb higher. However, you might want to use some grip training tools that you can practice with at the office or in front of the TV.
The bottom of the rope was about head height which was great as I could use it for other training too. For example I would hang any manner of fruit (lemons, oranges etc) and then cut them to pieces with my swords and even kama.
A rope is not only for vertical climbs. It is also a lot of fun if you tie them from tree to tree horizontally. Almost every camp we have organized that included an obstacle course has included both the horizontal and vertical climbing rope. If you have a lot of rope, you can get very creative and come up with something challenging and fun to play on.
The rope I used as a teenager was the brown hemp rope. Mine wasn’t very thick (about 1-2 inches) so I tied knots in it to make it easier to grip and if you are barefoot you can step on the knots. Note that when you put a knot in a rope you are making it weaker, so be sure to use a very strong rope. Now I only use very thick rope (like something you would find on a ship) that is about 3-5 inches thick. These offer an amazing grip.
Static climbing or rappelling rope can be used too, but often they are too skinny to grip, so knots are usually a must. Best if you can double (fold) this type of rope so there is more security and more to grip.
A general rule for a good climbing rope is to have whatever you are grabbing to be about at least (thicker is easier to climb) the same width as a pull up bar, but never larger than what the hand can grasp.
I recently set up another large rope (about 3 inches thick) at our camp in Thailand (it was previously used to anchor a large boat). Climbing this monster, I was reminded of how great of a workout you can get – especially on the upper abs.
Be sure to find a rope that inspires you to climb and swing like Tarzan. All the playing you do on a rope will pay off with biceps, back muscles, improved ab strength and an amazing grip to list a few.
DO NOT use nylon ropes or anything similar unless you want to burn the skin on your hands and feet if you tie them horizontally.
If you have a small target to kick or punch, I suggest that you hang these on the end of your rope, but leave the rope hanging about head height so you have to jump up to it and so you can swing on it. If you do hang a punching bag or something to strike to the bottom, be sure that it isn’t a lot of weight and that you have your rope securely connected to a tree or other anchor.
It is also important that you check the rope regularly to ensure that it is safely connected to the tree and not wearing down from weather or general wear and tear. Never have your ropes rubbing against or along another object or they will slowly be cut. Best to replace your ropes on a regular basis if you suspect anything to be wrong with your rope.
Connecting your rope will require some experience with knots unless you are …