I have seen martial artists of all skill levels fighting with their hands open. It’s a serious and dangerous mistake that often has severe consequences.
There two risks of injury while fighting like this:
- Broken Fingers: Your fingers are very vulnerable to being broken by kicks. Kicks carry a lot of power and even the weakest kicks carry enough power to damage your fingers.
- Eye Gouging/Blinding: It only takes a little power and a split second to damage the eyes. Most hand techniques that you use in sparring carry more then enough power to blind someone.
Keep your hands closed during sparring and avoid a tragic accident.
Warming up your body for a workout, martial art or otherwise, is very important. It raises the heart rate and supplies your muscles with fresh oxygen and blood. Warming up your muscles allows your body to move from position to position smoothly and easily. Have you tried to do kicks and punches quickly without warming up? Training without warming up is bad and it feels bad too. It feels awkward and slow. Warming up your muscles helps them to do their best and should be done before any kind of workout.
Some people like long warm ups and some people like short warm ups. This warm-up is for you who like to warm-up quickly.
A good warm up also prevents us from getting injuries. Our joints need to be lubricated when fighting. When we are warmed up and we get hit by a kick or punch, our body is more able to relax and just give with the hit. If our body is stiff then its going to take that blow like a block of concrete. Just pray it doesn’t shatter.
When we warm up our body, we shouldn’t do only the muscles that we’re going to use in the workout. That would be an incomplete warm up and we would get a much better result with a full body warm up. In warming up, we always start from the neck down. Lets get started! 🙂
The Warm Up:
1. In warm-ups, we work from the neck down so shrug and roll your shoulders, do a little jogging in place – 1 minute.
2. Light punches, arm swings and flex your muscles – 1 minute.
When flexing your muscles, simply tense them up for 2 seconds and then relax them. You’ll probably notice them feel warm as the blood rushes to the muscles and supplies them with oxygen.
The arm swings are very simple too. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and with your hands by your sides. Cross your arms as seen in the photo of Andrew below and stretch them out as far to the side as you can get them.
3. Swing your leg up at about waist height to the front, back and side. At least 10 times per direction within 2 minutes. Both legs.
4. Light roundhouse kicks, front kicks, side kicks and back kicks. Do not kick above the waist because we are only warming up the muscles. Minimum 10 kicks per leg – 2 minutes.
5. Light shadow boxing – 1 minute.
Take a few seconds and comment!
Chuck Norris kicked a rock once… we now call that rock the moon!
Developing Explosive Kicking Power:
Chuck Norris is known all over the world for his powerful kicks. More noticeably, he is known for his explosive and powerful kicks.
Power in your kicks means power in your legs. Power in your legs means strength. The major leg muscles involved in kicking are the quads (extending the leg) and the hamstrings (bending the leg). Strengthening those muscles will give us power and speed.
The entire drill is based around a squat and a front kick. Check back for a matching side kick and round house kick drill soon.
Warning: Do not bounce on your knees because it can be harmful for your joints. Do not over-extend your joints. Consult your physician before you start any martial arts training.
Squat down, drive yourself up to a standing position and at the same time throw a front kick and whip it back as fast as you can. The instant your foot comes back from the kick set it down and slowly lower yourself back into a squat. Do not bounce your knees in the squat! When you do it again, kick with your other foot.
- Spring up
- Kick with left foot
- Slowly squat again
- Spring up
- Kick with right foot
- Slowly squat again
This drill is very intense. It is very common to overwork yourself when you are eager to improve but in this case it is better not to. This drill pinpoints the muscles in your legs that you use for most activities. If you overwork them you will have trouble walking around and getting out of bed for the next few days. If you work them correctly, your leg muscles should be very sore for the next few days.
Work up to 3 sets of 5-15 reps each leg. Do the left leg and then the right leg, take a 2 minute rest and do another set. Try to do at least 5 reps for each leg per set.
Not more then once every ten (10) days. If you do it more often then that, you will not be giving your muscles time enough to develop. Never think resting is lazy. Rest is good for your muscles.
“I’ll bet the hardest thing about prize fightin’
is pickin’ up yer teeth with a boxin’ glove on”
– Kin Hubbard
Hubbard has the right idea. It’s hard to pick up all your teeth with a sparring glove on and even worse when you’re reeling from the blow that evicted them in the first place. Not only is having your teeth knocked out painful it’s also pointless and unnecessary.
What can you use to protect your teeth? One option is a faceplate, another is wearing a mouth guard.
What is a Mouth Guard?
A mouth guard is very similar to a cookie cut in half. When you bite into the cookie, your teeth leave deep impressions. If you took the cookie out of your mouth and then bit the same place, your teeth would fit into the perfectly sized dents of your previous bite. Biting into a nice crispy apple (yummers) will demonstrate this too.
The big difference between a cookie and a mouth guard is that mouth guards are specifically designed to protect your teeth whereas cookies just taste good – not that I don’t like cookies, I do! But they aren’t any good in a fight.
What Do I Need To Do Before I Can Use My Mouth Guard?
Fill a pot with at least 2-3 inches of water and warm it up until it’s very hot. It should be steaming but not broiling.
When the water is hot, unwrap your mouth guard and lower it into the hot water. There are two ways you can do this:
- For mouth guards with ties, hold the tie while you lower the mouth guard into the water. Don’t let go until you’ve taken it out again!
- For mouth guards without ties, put the mouth guard in a spoon and lower it into the water. Be careful not to splash, the water should be hot enough to hurt and you could be burned.
- Make sure that the mouth guard is fully submerged and hold it under the water for around 7-15 seconds. If it’s not fully submerged, the molding stage won’t work so be sure to do this.
- After the 7-15 seconds are over, take the mouth guard out of the water and hold it in your hand (don’t worry, it won’t stick to your hand or hurt.) Put in into your mouth and once it fits into your jaw, clench your teeth hard and hold them there for 10-20 seconds.
- Last step. Take your mouth guard out of your mouth and rinse it off with cool water. Dry it off, wrap it in a piece of cloth or tissue and put it into its holder.
Always rinse off your mouth guard after use. Be sure your mouth guard is dry when you put it away and wrap it in a dry cloth or paper towel to be double sure that it won’t get moldy.
What Mouth Guard Would You Recommend?
I’ve researched a bunch of them today and I found a few that I would use myself . They have all the attributes that a mouth guard guard should have and don’t shred your lips or gums, choke you, or anything else harmful.
• It doesn’t shred your lips or gum like many mouth guards do.
• It provides teeth protection and support.
• It doesn’t flake or fall apart.
• A few people had had minor complaints about there not being enough support for the lower jaw but the majority of people didn’t mind and I personally don’t think it’s a big problem compared to all the positives.
What not to do with a mouth guard?
- Do not chew on your mouth guard. There isn’t any mouth guard on the market that can endure endless chewing and not flake eventually.
- Keep your mouth closed on your mouth guard while fighting. Don’t let your mouth hang open while fighting. It removes all benefits of the mouth guard and produces a risk of having the mouth guard crammed down your throat by a kick or punch and causing a choking hazzard. Keep your mouth closed when wearing your mouth guard and just take it out for a second whenever you need to speak.
It’s very important to protect your face during sparring. It doesn’t matter if you think you’re tough enough “suck it up” because facial injuries tend to put people out of training for a while and we martial artists hate to stop training.
If you don’t like wearing mouth guards (I don’t), check out a faceplate. They work great and add a little more comfort.
Above all, be safe-not cool, and smart. You’ll be the champ at the end of the day and you won’t even be injured.
The Three Aspects of Flexibility Training:
Some say the best things in life are free but I have my own opinion. I think the best things in life are simple. In fact, the simpler the better.
It applies to flexibility training just as much as everything else. And not only to flexibility training but to all martial arts training.
There are only three simple steps to becoming flexible and getting the splits.
Before you stretch it is important to warm up your muscles and get some fresh blood to them. You need warming up just like your car does on a cold day; you have to go out there and let your car run for a few minutes before you can drive.
Warming up gets fresh warm blood to your muscles which acts as lubricate and oil. Thus causing them to become more like elastic and stretchy like a rubber band.
The importance of properly warming your body up before and stretching, workout, or physical exercise cannot be stressed enough. It is important to keeping yourself healthy but also to getting the maximum result out of training. Not warming up before your training would be like using a computer with half its power.
Now that you’re warmed up, you need to make those muscles stretch. All you have to do after you’re warmed up is go through your stretching program and hold each position for a minimum of 15 seconds. Make the muscles get tense to where it’s uncomfortable—not painful but uncomfortable. It shouldn’t be hurting.
You’re warmed up and you’re all stretched out. Now you need to make that muscle stay stretched. How you do it is very simple. Hold it there.
Yes. Just hold it there. The longer you hold the stretch the more the muscle will get used to being that long and you will thus become more flexible. The idea is less about making the muscle stretch and more of making the muscle learn to relax and allow itself to stretch.
One of the best things you can do to improve your flexibility is to get into a split (or as close as you can get) and hold it there for 10-30 minutes. I only do this after I’ve finished my entire stretching program. When I’m done, I just get into a split (or as close as I can) and stay there for as long as I can. Maybe only 5 minutes, 10, or 15. The more time your muscles spend stretched, the more natural it will be for them.
I understand that this will get boring quickly but I have a solution for you. All you have to do is read a book, watch a movie or TV or if you’re a student you can do your home work. Why not stretch while doing those activities?
I do all my splits sitting on the floor. I just sit down and little by little I push my left (or it can be your right) foot out while keeping my other foot where it is. I lean back on my hands. I’m very relaxed because I’m just sitting on the floor in a split position. It sounds hard but it’s not, really. I like to read a book, watch TV or a movie while doing it. Time flies when you’re having fun.
- Warm up. Lubricate those muscles. Make them warm, relaxed and stretchy.
- Start stretching. Do whatever stretches you do and go as far as you can. You should feel uncomfortable but it shouldn’t hurt. If it’s hurting, you’re going too hard.
- Hold the stretch for a certain amount of time.