In self-defense or live training exercises like sparring, it is rare that you would get to hit a completely static target unless you managed to stun or distract the person first. That’s why it’s important to practice target tracking and this drill covers one particular aspect of it. It allows you to practice striking while your target is moving backward or while you yourself are backing away for whatever reason. (more…)
There are a lot of different martial arts out there with a lot of different styles of hand positions that are used as their main fighting stances. The hand positions that are adopted are generally developed around the goals of the art. So in determining how you should hold your hands, you should keep this in mind. (more…)
One of the most common mistakes people make when sparring, when they first start out, whether it’s boxing, kickboxing, or MMA, is that they fail to keep their chin tucked. Leaving your chin up, leaves it exposed and more vulnerable to shots to the chin, which can lead to getting your bell rung, strains in your neck, damage to the brachial plexus nerves (which originate from the neck and travel down the arm), or being knocked out.
“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” – Bruce Lee
Every so often a someone asks me that if I was only going to learn one strike for self-defense, what would it be? I don’t really have an answer for this, because I don’t believe that there is a magical strike that will be all things to all people in all scenarios, even if they practice it 10,000 times. I think Bruce Lee would probably agree with me, despite the evidence to the contrary above. When you take the concept to the extreme, the point becomes that much more plain, like in Episode 2, Season 1 of Enter the Dojo (below). (more…)
Sparring is a useful training tool. It allows you to work on your reflexes, distance and timing (as outlined in this blog post) , while adding a live element to your martial arts training. That being said, when sparring for training purposes, we never do so at full power and intensity without regard for our partner. There are a number of reasons we try to exercise control.
One reason is safety. If you’re sparring with someone and you get a clear opening, yes, you want to take advantage of it, but you don’t want to knock their block off, potentially knocking them out and causing them injury. Getting hit at all is more than enough feedback for the person to realize their error. Another reason is practicality. If your partner gets injured while sparring then they have to take time off training causing you to lose a training partner (or vice versa if you’re on the receiving end). Also, if the person is fairly new to sparring, they won’t learn as effectively through the “sink or swim” method due to the high levels of stress imposed from being constantly hit. And, of course, sometimes you or your partner are just feeling a bit off physically or mentally and are just not as sharp as you usually are when sparring. (more…)
This past Sunday we worked with local boxing champion Louis Sargeant to improve our sparring skills. In the second half of the class, we all took turns doing some boxing-style sparring with Louis coaching us. As part of the experience, we decided to film everyone’s sparring so people can watch themselves and get a better idea of what things they need to work on. (more…)
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been doing some fencing teaching for a group of stunt performers. There is a film that is going to be shooting in our area that requires a group of women who can do sport fencing. Having done lots of fencing in my past, I was asked by a stunt friend of mine who is also a fencer to help him out by teaching some stunt women some foundational skills to get them up to speed for this film in addition to being considered for it myself. I was happy to oblige.
All of these women had little to no experience with sport fencing, but most have some sort of martial arts background. Even amongst the martial artists, some were able to pick it up faster than others, the ones who trained in sparring as part of their practice. (more…)
Produced by the adrenal glands in our body, adrenaline is released when the body experiences high-stress mental or physical situations. It stimulates a variety of bodily functions, including increased heart rate, increased blood to muscles and increased oxygen flow to the lungs, etc. It can be used to increase your performance in sport or self-defense, making you faster, stronger and less affected by pain. It can also enable you to process information while taking actions at a rapid rate, making you more responsive to threats. These reactions, however, are not a given. Everyone has different reactions to adrenaline and the stressful situations that causes its flow. This article explores these reactions and how to train yourself to have more useful reactions for martial arts and self-defense. (more…)
Adrenaline can be a great tool for self-defense or martial arts sports. It can give you an extra rush of energy when it really counts. It can help you cope with taking hard hits. It can make you more aggressive when aggression may be needed to give you the edge. But it also has its downsides for self-defense, sport or even when you’re just training. It can narrow your field of vision, make it difficult to hear (whether it’s your attacker’s buddy coming in to help or instructions from your coach while in the ring). It can even cause you to use more force than necessary to quell an attacker. (more…)
Being a smaller woman, I’ve had to practice my Jiu-jitsu/self-defense techniques with a different mindset throughout my martial arts career of nearly 20 years. I’ve had to learn to compensate for my inherent physical disadvantages while making the most of my advantages. When it comes to self-defense though, I’ve identified 4 key principles that help provide the greatest efficiency when defending against larger sized attackers with greater strength when unarmed. (more…)