Friday, May 16, 2008

Learning Mixed Martial Arts - Combat Phases

Mixed martial arts, often referred to as MMA, is currently a growing phenomenon in the United States, though the sport has been popular in many other countries for decades. MMA brings together a diverse array of fighting disciplines into one competitive arena hence the sport's name. Regulated to ensure fighter safety, MMA now allows us to view a much richer human combat experience, pitting disciplines from around the globe against each other in the ultimate one on one competition. Often compared and contrasted to boxing, MMA offers dimensions not found in boxing such as take downs, kicks and submission holds. While there are many obscure disciplines and sub-styles, this article will outline the three broad combat situations that fighters find themselves in when competing in mixed martial arts.

When most people think of a fight, striking from a standing position is what immediately comes to mind. Indeed striking is a huge part of the sport of MMA, namely punches, kicks, knees and elbows. Most MMA organizations have restrictions on where fighters may strike an opponent and in what situation a strike is legal to apply. For instance, some organizations do not allow strikes to the back of the head or spine and disallow kicks to the head of a downed opponent. Rules such as these are helping the sport become more accepted by not only mainstream viewers, but state athletic commissions as well. Kickboxing, Boxing and Muay Thai are fighting disciplines that place heavy emphasis on striking, particularly from a standing position.

Some disciplines, in particular Muay Thai, rely on utilizing a standing position called "the clinch" to control and ultimately defeat an adversary. The clinch involves gripping an opponent behind the neck or head, usually with fingers interlaced, and pulling forward and downward. From this position, fighters can utilize knees to the body or head and dictate the positioning of the opponent.

Another huge aspect of mixed martial arts is ground fighting. It is very common for a fight to end up on the ground at some point during the competition. Wrestlers usually favor attempting to get their foe to the ground so that submissions can be attempted. Taking a fight to the ground also nullifies much of an opponent's striking options and is usually a fighter's strategy when facing a superior striker. Once grounded and in a dominate position, strikes can be used (also known as "ground and pound") or submissions can be applied.

Mixed martial arts incorporates so many unique fighting disciplines and strategies that mastering one could be a life long endeavor. Often, fighters will become familiar with other styles not necessarily so that they can utilize them, but so that they can defend against them. For instance, it isn't uncommon for strikers to learn submissions even if they never plan to use them. This enables the fighters to recognize and defend against holds that an opponent may be setting up or attempting.

For years, people have debated which fighting discipline is superior and MMA seems to be as close to a true proving ground as there is. So much depends on mastery and execution of the discipline by the individual fighter however, not simply the discipline itself, as is evidenced by the diverse fighters that have found success in this incredibly exciting sport.

Eric Pratt has been following different MMA promotions over the years and runs a free web community geared specifically towards the UFC. Visit to discuss MMA, read the latest MMA news, watch free UFC video clips and vote to predict fight outcomes for the chance to win free prizes.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Pressure Point - An Unorthodox Use

Most people think painful strike when they imagine pressure points. Some martial artists image a slight pressure either causing pain or even loss of consciousness.

Here is a different use for a pressure point....

Pressure Points: Causing a Move
One great use of a pressure point is to cause your attacker to move in a direction of your choosing. More specifically, you can cause an arm, leg or torso to jerk to just the right spot in your self defense response.

Here are a few ways to incorporate this vital point principle:

1) Pressure Point Movement: Repetitive Annoyance
Little strikes, maybe with a knuckle, to the same spot repetitively, can cause your opponent to move the affected limb out of reach of your knuckle. The little raps don't have to be hard, just an annoyance.

And sometimes that move away is just what you want. This is definitely one way to cause an opening.

2) Pressure Point Movement: Collapse It "A Little"
Do you know of any pressure points on the upper thigh?

Hint: Try right between the muscles on the side of the thigh. You'll find a spot within a few inches of where a hit would cause a "Charlie Horse." Experiment, until you find a painful spot.

Use your knee to press against this spot, when you need to collapse your opponent's leg a little. It can be used for a setup for a sweep, or even as a distraction before you punch.

3) Pressure Point Movement: Start a Wrist Lock
If you are trying to effect a wrist lock on someone, you can often help the beginning of a lock with pressure to a spot near the collapsing joint.

For example, if you wanted to effect the Basic Lock on the wrist (See Wrist Locks: From Protecting Yourself to Becoming an Expert), you could start the collapse by digging the side of your forefinger into the pressure point about an inch above the inside of the wrist.

Without the collapse, your aggressor might resist, but if you can collapse the wrist a little, then the rest of the lock will be easier to apply.

If you like efficient martial-arts strikes and counters, then read my new, Free ebooklet:

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For an article on wrist locks techniques, read Wrist Locks Article.

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Keith Pascal is a martial-arts writer and has taught martial arts for 25 years.

Top 3 Medicine Ball Exercises for Ultimate MMA Power

When you picture most strength training exercises, you may notice that everything seems to be in straight lines. Contrast that with any mixed-martial arts technique and you may realize that there is one missing ingredient to most strength programs - rotational power. Well how exactly do you develop the ability to rotate your body explosively for knockout punches, kicks, and throws?

The key is to use tools that allow you to train the transverse plane of motion. There are planes of motion: sagittal, frontal, and transverse.

The sagittal plane is the plane that is most dominant with respect to strength training programs. Exercises like the bench press, bicep curls, squats, deadlifts, and chin-ups are all sagittal plane dominant. If you move your arms back and forth like a marching soldier, this is the sagittal plane. Unfortunately, most MMA techniques require more than just movement in the sagittal plane, which means that most strength training programs are seriously deficient, if your goal is to develop sport-specific strength and power.

The frontal plane is sometimes found in strength training routines. Exercises like side crunches and dumbbell side raises are a couple of examples. However, this plane is also highly under-trained in most athletes, and most would benefit from adding some exercises into their routine that targeted the frontal plane. Adding some suitcase deadlifts and single-leg squats would improve hip and core stability tremendously.

Now the transverse plane is where the real payoff is. But a note of caution - make sure you've developed a strong and stable core before aggressively training in the transverse plane. Like most things in life, high returns are generally high risk.

If you're not stable in the core, it's likely that you'll blow a disc or strain a muscle in your lumbar spine when trying some of the exercises that I'll describe below. So if you're not stable or not sure, start off with exercises like prone bridges, side bridges, stiff-leg deadlifts, woodchops, and other exercises that promote stability in a neutral spine, then work on training powerfully in the transverse plane.

First of all, you're going to need the proper tools. The best tools that I've used when training pro MMA fighters include rope balls and medicine balls. These tools allow you to develop explosive power in all planes of motion, and they allow you to release them so that you don't slow down your movement.

Think of a bench press - if you want to train explosively, you probably aren't going to throw the bar, so you have to slow the movement down at the top so you don't let it go. Medicine balls don't make you do that, so you can put all of your effort into the exercise and maximally develop your explosiveness.

Let's focus on medicine ball exercises. Here are my top 3 medicine ball exercises for helping my athletes develop knockout power:

1) Side toss - start in an athletic stance holding the ball at your stomach. Quickly rotate to one side then explosively throw the ball sideways, keeping your body and spine tall and as neutral as possible.

2) Chop toss - start in an athletic stance holding the ball at your stomach. Lift the ball up so that it's close to your ear and then violently throw it down on a diagonal into the ground, keeping your body and spine tall and as neutral as possible.

3) Seated side toss - start sitting tall with your legs straight out in front of you holding the ball at your stomach. Perform the same motion as the side toss.

Perform 2-3 sets of 8 repetitions of each exercise, with 1-2 minutes of rest in between. When you're developing your power, you don't want to train to exhaustion, instead, you want to be fresh and make each rep as fast and explosive as possible.

If you want a complete and easy-to-follow program proven by Jeff Joslin and other pro MMA fighters that includes these exercises and more check out the Enfuzion MMA Strength and Conditioning Program.

How to Knock Someone Out With One Punch

It is actually not as hard as many people think to knock someone out with one punch. Watching a boxing match, mixed martial arts fight, or other combat sports you can get the impression that a knockout punch is something very difficult to get right. But in real life, in a street confrontation with no gloves and fighting against someone who is probably not trained to take a punch, getting a k.o. is much, much easier.

If you want to learn how to knock someone out with one punch the first thing you have to do is to think about what it actually is which causes the loss of consciousness. Some types of punch can be very effective at hurting your opponent, opening up cuts on their face or breaking their nose, but may still have little or no chance of knocking them out.

When a person gets knocked unconscious by a punch it is not the immediate force of the impact which does this, but rather the force of the brain being rattled against the inside of the skull.

This means that a punch which causes the head to jerk and move rapidly will be much more likely to knock someone out than a punch which causes less movement of the head, even if it is not as hard. It also means that speed is paramount. A very fast strike with just enough power to move the head will be more likely to knock someone out than a slower punch which has more power and weight behind it.

The need to create this movement of the head is the reason why you are more likely to knock someone out with a punch which they don't see coming. If you see a punch coming towards you you will tense your neck muscles and brace yourself against the impact, reducing the movement of your head when the punch lands. If your neck muscles are relaxed when a punch hits you then you will almost always get knocked out, whatever kind of punch it is.

Once a fight has started it is very difficult to engineer a situation where your opponent will not see a punch coming, however if you are in a situation where you are being threatened and a fight seems inevitable, but hasn't yet started, you can take advantage of this by suddenly throwing the first punch at an unexpected moment, such as while you are in the middle of a sentence, and by striking from a direction where they will not see it until it is too late.

When it comes to the actual punch a strike from the side, such as a hook, is more likely to knock someone out than a straight punch to the front of the face, simply because it will be harder for the neck muscles to prevent the head from being jerked. For the same reason an uppercut is generally better than a straight punch, but probably not as good as a hook. When trying to knock someone out with a hook the further away from the neck you can land the punch the more movement there will be and the more likely it is to knock them out. This means that the best place to land a hook is right on the end of the chin.

The ultimate knockout punch, however, uses and entirely different method. Rather than jerking the knead it uses the principles of Dim Mak pressure point fighting. The ultimate knockout punch is a strike to the temple. You have to be very accurate to get this right, but with practice you can do it every time.

The only trick you must know in order to knock someone out with a strike to the temple is how to hold your hand. It should be clear that an ordinary fist is much bigger than the area of the temple, and so it is very poor at focussing force on this pressure point.

There are two hand forms you can use instead. The first is the phoenix fist, in which you hold an ordinary fist but with the middle finger raised up a little out of the bunch. When using this you strike with the middle joint of the raised finger, rather than the knuckle.

The other option, which I personally prefer, is to use a sword hand. To do this hold your hand out flat with the palm facing downwards and turn your wrist so that your fingers are pointing outwards. This creates a fairly sharp point from the joint at the very base of the thumb, just above the wrist. With this hand form you strike using a swinging motion of the arm.

When practicing either of these strikes power is virtually irrelevant, and accuracy is everything. If you land a strike with the whole force focussed on the temple you will knock your opponent out every time, no matter how hard the strike is

Dean Walsh is the webmaster of a martial arts website which has many free video lessons, articles and other resources. He also writes a blog called The Diigital Warrior with other 'how to' articles at and fight videos at

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A Basic Guide To Aikido

Aikido is a unique form of martial art. Its emphasis lies on the harmonious fusion of mind and body with the natural laws of Nature. Aikido focuses on accepting and respecting the energy of life and nature and channeling this harmony onto techniques that expresses this energy in physical forms.

Aikido is often viewed as more of a defensive martial art since its techniques and teachings are designed for you to avoid or get out of trouble. On the contrary, the techniques are very powerful and effective.

Basically, there are four levels of technique in Aikido training. These are the katai which refers to the basic training and is intended to build the foundation of body movements and breathing.

The yawarakai trains the defendant to deflect attacks and fuse movements to take control of the attacker or situation.

The ki-no-nagare which involves training the defendant to defend or counter attack by merging his movement with the attacker even before the latter makes contact. The ki which is the absolute Aikido technique, involves establishing a link of ki or spirit from the defender to the attacker.

When training for Aikido, you need a sparring partner. The uke and the nage. The Uke is the initiator of the attack and receives the Aikido techniques, while the Nage is the defender and the one that neutralizes the attack.

Aikido basic techniques include ikky which involves control an attacker by placing one hand on the elbow and one on near the wrist giving an opportunity to throw the attacker to the ground. The niky which draws in the uke using a wristlock and twists the arm while applying painful nerve pressure. Sanky is a rotating technique aimed at applying a spiraling tension on the whole arm including the elbow and shoulder. And yonky is a shoulder control technique with both hands gripping the forearm. Goky is another variant of ikky.

Wherein the hand gripping the wrist is inverted and is quite useful in weapon take-aways. Shihnage or the four-direction throw, kotegaeshi or wrist return involves a wristlock-throw that stretches the extensor digitorum, kokynage, also known as breath, throws or timing throws, iriminage or entering-body throws which resembles a "clothesline" technique, tenchinage or heaven-and-earth throw, koshinage or the Aikido's version of the hip throw, jinage or the shaped-like-'ten'-throw and kaitennage or rotation throw wherein the nage sweeps the arm of the uke back until it locks the shoulder joint after which the nage applies forward pressure to throw the attacker.

These are just basic techniques and from the list thousands of possible implementations or combinations can be drawn by the aikidokas. In Aikido, the strikes employed during the implementation of the Aikido technique are called atemi. For beginners, grabs are the first ones to be taught. It is safer and the aikidoka can easily feel the energy flowing from the uke to the nage.

Among the basic grab techniques are the katate-dori or single-hand-grab which involves using one hand to grab one wrist; morote-dori or both-hands-grab which uses both hands to grab one wrist; ryte-dori another both-hands-grab technique wherein both hands are used to grab both wrists; kata-dori or the shoulder-grab technique; and the mune-dori or chest-grab which involves grabbing the clothing of the chest of the attacker.

Mastering each technique involves discipline and dedication. To be a good aikodoka, one must master both the techniques and principle of the marital art.

This article was written by John N.

Born into a military family John was raised in different parts of the world, is very private with his personal information but enjoys sharing his views and knowledge of the different martial arts that he has become familiar with through his travels and close associations. Related Info Can Be Found At:

Martial Arts Equipment - Progress in Martial Arts

The first and last thing you need to remember about martial arts is that it is a field of discipline that is supposed to prepare you for combat. It is not simply a set of movements that look great to spectators. Every movement, every breath done by the martial artist is meant to accomplish something during a combat encounter. If you are ready for the idea of using your martial arts skills for combat situations, then you are ready to train and progress in martial arts.

Inasmuch as the term "Martial Arts" literally means "the art of Mars" (Mars being the god of war in Roman mythology), you should be prepared to invest in martial arts equipment to train for highly combative situations. Though some cultures frown upon women taking part in martial arts, there are other cultures that expect women to learn martial arts too - like in ancient Japan, wives of samurai warriors were expected to defend the home if attacked in the absence of their husbands.

Martial arts can be subdivided as to what skills they seem to prioritize - this will tell you what types of martial arts equipment you need to use. For striking, you may need the "wooden dummy" that is used as Chinese martial arts equipment - this type of Chinese martial arts equipment tries to train your mind to anticipate where angles of attack would come from. For kicking sports like Taekwondo, the necessary martial arts equipment to use would be a mouth-guard and a head-guard (for both male and female jins or fighters.) Male jins need other martial arts equipment like a crotch guard or sport cup so that their groin is not exposed to injury. Chest protectors are standard martial arts equipment for amateur matches and Olympic-level matches. However, in real life you should expect such protective martial arts equipment to be absent so some sparring matches involve absence of any protective gear, so you get used to being in real-life combat situations.

Uniforms are standard martial arts equipment for nearly all martial arts nowadays. Often, you can distinguish what type of martial arts is being done based on what the fighters are wearing. But uniforms are not just pleasant to look at - since they are made of thick material, they are pretty durable so that they can withstand constant strikes and friction during combat situations. Uniforms nowadays are also made of breathable material like thick cotton so that fighters don't overheat or feel too uncomfortable in the heat of a match.

Since martial arts were developed for combat, often fighters or martial artists might be members of the military. In the Western context then, it may be necessary to have access to important martial arts equipment such as strength training equipment. Though in the past, the weight of your opponent may have been enough to workout with, nowadays many martial arts recognize that strength training is quite important too. So if you can find a way to buy your own gym equipment (as your investment into necessary martial arts equipment) or at least rent them by the hour, that would help you develop strength and power for your matches.

In many Chinese martial arts, there are other forms of martial arts equipment that Western martial arts do not require. Some Chinese disciplines will require you to break wooden blocks or planks with your fist. This simple yet staple among Chinese martial arts equipment tests your power, focus, and ability to marshal your chi (energy) into your fist where it meets the wood. Another type of necessary martial arts equipment for the Chinese martial arts would be concrete blocks. Some instructors may ask you to break these concrete blocks with your fist, feet, or even your head.

As you can see, the Chinese martial arts require a different set of martial arts equipment compared to the Western type of martial arts. Do invest in the type of martial arts equipment appropriate for your discipline. Martial arts equipment will help you be a stronger, better and more confident fighter in the end. offers a full online catalog of MMA supplies, Boxing Equipment, and Martial Arts weapons.

Mixed Martial Arts Vs Boxing - Is MMA UFC Fighting Boxing's Successor

"Boxing's dead."

"Boxing's not what it used to be."

"There are no good fighters out there today."

These are just a few of the comments thrown around by fans of the sport of kings waiting patiently for a breath of life into the flailing lungs of boxing.

In spite of a virtual plethora of organizations boasting their own version of a world title, most people would fail to name even one of the men who stake claim to a form of the fragmented heavyweight championship. WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO, IBO (quite possibly, another organization surfaced as this article was being written), does it matter anymore?

Yet with at least five world heavyweight belts, can the casual observer name even one champion? If so, rest assured that person is in a rare group. Try naming two, three, or four. I'll bet that my eight year old niece would have a better chance at naming all four Beatles.

Raised on boxing, I was lucky enough to see many of the sport's greatest warriors, some in their prime. I sat transfixed in front of an enormous television that was set inside of a wooden cabinet. There were two round knobs to change the channels on the right side of the monstrosity, one for the UHF channels which regularly broadcast static.

Somewhere within the channel selection of 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, and 13, I witnessed Ali win his title back from Leon Spinks; Sugar Ray Leonard win the welterweight championship from Wilfred Benitez; Alexis Arguello fall to Aaron Pryor two times - I watched a few cartoons back then too.

As I grew into adulthood, the archaic television was upgraded to one with a remote control and the addition of a cable box. Between closed circuit TV and cable, my boxing fix was satisfied with wars from some of the greatest fighters to ever lace up gloves. Duran beat Leonard. Leonard beat Hagler. Hagler beat Hearns. Hearns beat Duran. These men all fought each other, and were so dominant that they only need to be referred by their last names to be recognized.

Is it really necessary to say "Mike" when speaking of Tyson? Nuff said.

Iron Mike was boxing's last personality that can be recalled by the average person or casual fan. Sure there was Holyfield, Big George Foreman, and Lennox Lewis - all great champions, two of who bested Tyson. Still, most people remember Iron Mike.

Tyson fights transcended the sport of boxing. They weren't fights; they were grand spectacles: events of their own. It didn't matter who the opponent was. Mike could have been pit against the Pope, Elvis, or even God; and it still would have been called "The Tyson Fight."

Today's boxing PPV numbers pale in comparison to the consistent record breaking cards that Tyson pulled even when his career was on the decline. Delahoya and Mayweather drew a record PPV number for their recent bout, but it was not without spending an enormous amount of money on promotion. Commercials, print media ads, and - for the first time in boxing history - an entire cable reality TV series was filmed to hype the fight. Deduct those extra expenses and see if Iron Mike isn't still boxing's PPV king.

Tyson fights needed no hype, just a date and a time. People tuned in just to see if someone could last at least two minutes with the champ. Round two of a Tyson fight was rarer than an honest politician. Once, PPV providers had to promise a three round guarantee or the fee was reduced.

With the absence of Tyson, many boxing fans have found solace in a newer combat sport: MMA (mixed martial arts).

MMA combines one dimensional combat sports, like boxing and wrestling, and packages them together, extending the competitor's arsenals. MMA bouts are a much truer representation of a real fight because the fighters are not limited to simply punching (above the waist) or kicking. Even when they engage wrestling skills, the objective is not to pin the opponent, but to win the fight by submission or stoppage. A judge's decision is rendered if the time limit expires in the bout.

Rules are incorporated to ensure safety and eliminate the barbaric brutality of a street fight. Biting and poking in the eyes are two examples of banned offensive tactics.

Mixed Martial Artists are fighters. In comparison, boxers have been called fighters, but the claim is somewhat of a misnomer. Real fights incorporate any offensive strategy that can win the fight, not merely punching.

Though many boxers have had success in street fights, many factors - outside of being a great fighter - come into play to account for the success. A boxer trains to punch faster, harder, and more accurately. They also exercise to have great stamina. When pitting an in shape athlete against an average person who is not training, the stamina factor alone will sway the fight in favor of the athlete. Coupled with boxing skills, you have a no contest in favor of the boxer.

Have a wrestler face that same boxer in a street fight, and the results are likely to be far different.

An MMA fighter, theoretically, should be victorious over both due to training equally in all areas of fighting. The MMA fighter strives to become well rounded in punching, kicking, wrestling, and submissions. They train their hands, not for a boxing match, but for a real fight where they may be taken down to the ground. Boxers don't train to defend against kicks or takedowns.

A perfect example was when former street fighter, Kimbo Slice, destroyed former world heavyweight boxing and Olympic gold medalist, Ray Mercer in under two minutes in Slice's debut MMA bout. Mercer racked up knockout victories over the likes of Tommy Morrison and had two very controversial losses to Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis. Many feel Mercer was robbed in these bouts, and even Lewis is rumored to have conceded that to be true.

Still, the former champ's great boxing skills were relegated to nothing when a street fighter turned mixed martial artist took him down to the mat and pounded him before submitting him with a guillotine choke.

Yet, even as MMA seems to be the evolution of boxing, it could stand to learn a thing or two from the successful sport. Many people may not know that Wladimir Klitschko holds three of the alphabet soup of heavyweight boxing titles, but he still earned more money in his unification bout with Sultan Ibragimov than every MMA fighter on the last UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) card combined.

Felix Trinidad came out of retirement to lose to Roy Jones Jr. and can boast that he also earned more for the losing effort than most MMA fighters, even champions, have earned in their entire career.

For MMA to evolve as a sport, it will have to incorporate what boxing has incorporated. The PPV numbers have already eclipsed boxing's, now it's time to reward the competitors whose fighting careers will certainly be short ones.

Elite XC is an MMA company with a Showtime television deal. The company is run by Gary Shaw who still promotes boxing events. Maybe Shaw is the man who will bring MMA into the spotlight that has embraced boxing during the golden years and still seems to even today.

Only time will tell.

Ray Mardo owns Ultimate Fighting and various websites that earn revenue through pay per click, adsense, and selling products. Many of his MMA articles are posted at

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Discover Your Animal

In Shuri-Ryu Karate, after attaining the rank of black belt, karateka are traditionally awarded a animal spirit. This animal spirit is based on character traits displayed by the karateka both before and after their promotion. There are many different animals used, but for this article we will limit them to the original Shaolin five. These animals include the snake, tiger, crane, leopard, and dragon.

Identifying a karateka's animal is not just a trivial pursuit. The use of animal characteristics is an additional tool for identifying the strengths and weaknesses of both ourselves and others. Constant evaluation of ourselves and possible threats surrounding us is a key skill in being a thorough and effective martial artist.

Master Robert Trias, the founder of Shuri-Ryu Karate, identifies certain characteristics and abilities associated with these animals.

  • The snake possesses breath strength, and is characterized as a serpent waiting for its prey. An exceptionally short and quick style patterned after the snakes forked tongue that strikes at the opponent's eyes and throat.
  • The tiger possesses bone strength characterized by the strength and swiftness of its ripping movements. A strong style that uses short and powerful thrusts and lunges.
  • The crane possesses spiritual and muscle strength and is characterized as a graceful bird standing calmly and patiently on one leg waiting to take off or strike. A soft and fluid style that is patterned and imitates the wings of a bird.
  • The leopard possesses inner and outer strength and is characterized by the abilities of its powerful claws to penetrate in and around small openings. A very explosive style patterned after the flat paw of the leopard.
  • The Dragon possesses body strength and is characterized as a powerful yet flexible serpent that floats and emerges from the sea. A strong floating and sweeping style. 1

However intriguing theses descriptions are, alone they are rarely enough of a clue to identify the animal type a karateka most closely resembles. This is where Chinese five element theory becomes helpful. Each of these five animals are associated with the five elements that the Chinese use to help define the physical and spiritual world. That is why this article is limited to these animals because they are the most easily identified.

Chinese doctors have long used five element theory to characterize individuals by one or more of these elements to assist in diagnosis and treatment. By using the more extensive five element characteristics of traditional Chinese medicine we can more accurately identify a karateka's animal spirit by identifying the animal associated with the most pronounced element displayed in the individual's body type and characteristics.

Below are some physical characteristics associated with the five elements used to identify the element an individual tends toward:

  • Wood - Darkish or swarthy complexion. Tall and sinewy body type, tends to look as if carrying no fat, can be quite muscular.
  • Fire - Red complexion. Head often smallish and pointed, or may have a pointed chin. Hair is often curly, in men a tendency to baldness. Hands and feet tend to be small and graceful. Walks quickly.
  • Metal - Pale complexion with smooth and clear skin. Angular, well-defined features. Broad chest and shoulders. Abundant body hair. Tends to walk slowly.
  • Water - High forehead and abundant head hair. Long, strong bone structure with spine proportionately longer than normal. Fluid movement. Flexible, well-motivated, ambitious. Can also tend to be lazy and "go with the flow" too much.
  • Earth - Brownish or sallow complexion with a large head. Tends to be pear-shaped, carrying weight in the hips. Muscular or fat with heavy legs. Does not lift feet high when walking.

Got yourself figured out yet? If you're still not sure, consider the behavior patterns below for additional clues.

  • Wood - Creative, hard working, decisive, and directing. Likes to be in control and to keep busy.
  • Fire - Emotional, communicative, and articulate. Tends to be very sociable, loving, and can be quite spiritual in outlook.
  • Metal - Well-organized, neat, methodical, and meticulous. Tends to be very self-contained and does not express emotion much.
  • Water - Flexible, well-motivated, ambitious. Can also tend to be lazy and "go with the flow" too much.
  • Earth - Sympathetic, considerate, and supportive. Tends to be an "Earth Mother" type, with focus on caring for others. 2

If you're still not completely sure, don't worry. These elements are not mutually exclusive and most people are associated with more than one element. Even so, try to pick the one that seems most dominant. Once you've narrowed that down, just match the element to the animal to determine yours. The five elements and their associated animal are snake/wood, tiger/fire, crane/metal, leopard/water, dragon/earth. 3

Now that you've identified your probable animal, the real work begins. Learn all you can about that animal and its characteristics. You can use Master Trias' words above to begin with. Then find out what our forbearers learned from that animal and see what you can learn. We have the advantage of television and the internet. We don't have to hide in trees, scrub and caves to observe them.

Keep in mind these are only the five traditional animals. There are many more used in the martial arts. Even so, you probably have a much better idea of what type of person you are, and that's the whole point. Being associated with a really cool animal is fun, but the real benefit is understanding yourself better. Now begin applying this analysis to those around you and you'll really begin seeing the use of this exercise. Identify your fellow students, and see if it affects how you spar them. Then apply this skill to people on the street. As Sun Tzu said, "he who knows neither himself nor his enemy can never win, he who knows himself but does not know his enemy will sometimes win and sometimes lose, but he who knows himself and his enemy will never lose."

1 Pinnacle of Karate: Okinawan Methods or Shuri-ryu (1980) Grand Master Robert A. Trias

2 The Complete Illustrated Guide to Shiatsu (1998) Elaine Liechti

3 Five Elements - Five Ancestors - Five Animals Shihan Gary Wayne

Bart Scovill trains in Shuri-ryu Karate-do. You can visit him at Warrior Pages, to see videos, reviews, articles and terminology. He is a lawyer by trade, but a martial artist at heart. Bart has been training in the martial arts since 1978. He currently trains and teaches under the legendary Shihan Donna Judge at the Suncoast Karate Dojo in Sarasota, Florida. One of the best things about training with a legend is you are surrounded by other legends and legends to be. He has previously trained in Shorin-ryu, Wado-ryu, and Matsubayashi Shorin-ryu. In addition to Shuri-ryu, he also participates in jiu-jitsu (both Japanese and Brazilian), bagua-zhang, xing-yi quan, qigong, aikido, kali, kobudo and yoga.

Pressure Points - In A Real Fight

You are out in public ... maybe at an outdoor concert, or shopping downtown. All of a sudden, you are attacked. You have to defend yourself. If your mind isn't frozen in fear, then you may have time for a few brief thoughts as you respond (and react) to the attack.

Hits, strikes, kicks, wrist locks, and maybe even pressure points. But would a pressure point work in a fight with punches flying?

And that's a key criterion -- would pressure on a nerve work while punches are being thrown at you and by you?

Well ...

Pressure Point Timing
Will you have a time with the flurry of punches to press on someone's sensitive spot, close to a nerve? Remember, all the action happens very fast.

We aren't talking about nerve strikes, but rather pressure points. You apply pressure to a spot, say an inch or two above the elbow, on the triceps, in order to cause pain.

In the middle of punches, you won't have time to slowly find the exact spot and then apply pressure. I am not saying pressure points are useless. Just better to link a pressure point to the "control" phase of a fight, rather than trying to find a pressure-sensitive spot in the middle of speed hits.

Pressure Point Precision in the Fight
Pressure points really do require some precision. You have to press the right spot, with the right amount of pressure, in the right manner.

Could you do this in the middle of a fight? While dealing with a barrage of punches and kicks?

While nervous beyond belief ... with adrenaline coursing through your body?

It may be more prudent for you to hit and kick, until you already have the control.

Do Pressure Points Work On a Berserker?
Let's forget about your adrenaline -- what about the adrenaline racing through your attacker's body? Will he (or she) even feel a pressure point?

My answer is that it depends on which pressure point you are talking about, and also how much "red" your attacker is seeing.

For example, the nose control from Wrist Locks: From Protecting Yourself to Becoming an Expert will work no matter how mad your attacker is. Your opponent will feel the pain -- it's a sensitive and controlling spot.

On the other hand, the wrist-bending pressure point on the inside of the wrist never seems to work "for me," when I "really" have to use it.

Pressure points are great, when they are used appropriately. I worry when a novice thinks that it's easy to shut down an attack of punches with a little pressure to one point.

If you like efficient martial-arts strikes and counters, then read my new, Free ebooklet:

Download this Free ebooklet: Elbow Strikes and Counters

For an article on martial arts solo training, read Training By Yourself.

Here's a site about punching harder and faster ... Free Punch ebook.

Keith Pascal is a martial-arts writer and has taught martial arts for 25 years.

Why People Learn Martial Arts


There are many reasons why a person might decide to turn up at your dojo and have a go at the martial arts, and it is important that we try and identify these in order to establish exactly what the potential student is looking for, and whether or not your art is going to give it to them.


So, why has that particular person just come into the Dojo? What is it that makes them come to you? What is their particular motivation?

These are all very good questions to be asking your self, but it is even more important to actually ask the learners themselves rather than allowing yourself to make any "knee-jerk" judgments or decisions for them, and jumping to any conclusions.

Indeed, having preconceptions about learners can be extremely misleading indeed, and can cause no end of problems later on. I remember one particular instructor boasting proudly that one of his students happened to be an officer in the Royal Marines Reserve. "That's good" I said, "Why is he here?" At this question, my colleague looked both shocked and amused "He's here to learn how to fight, off course!" he said, rather indignantly.

Now, without wanting to "burst any ones bubble", I think its fair to say that an officer in the Royal Marines might already know something about fighting, and certainly wouldn't need any advice from the local martial arts club down the road! ("I'm off to a war zone next month, and was wondering if you could help me out.....," NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!!!) On closer examination, it turned out that this individual was researching certain aspects of Japanese culture as part of his Masters degree! He had come to the class in order to learn something about classical martial arts, and the instructor (thanks to him jumping to conclusions) had him in a corner doing pistol disarming! (Good differentiation, but completely inappropriate)

The fellow was far too polite to say anything, and was just persevering patiently in the hope that they would eventually get to practice some more traditional techniques as the class progressed! This happens all the time within the martial arts fraternity, simply because we don't bother to find out what the prospective learner is looking for in the first place! As instructors, we should never take anything for granted: Simply because a person happens to wonder in to your club on a training night doesn't necessarily mean that they know anything about what your doing, or even have an actual interest in martial arts. (That reminds me of another story, when a young lady entered a dojo and was immediately told by the instructor to get on the mat and warm up. She took part in the whole lesson (it was a beginners class) and, when asked at the end what she thought of it she said she had enjoyed it quite a lot, but actually only came in because she thought the aerobics class took place on that particular night!)

Take some time out to talk to them, put one of your senior students in charge for a few moments, walk over, and introduce yourself! This will help to make both you (as one of those creatures of legend "The Black Belt") and your club far more approachable and accommodating, and will immediately impress upon the visitor that you DO consider them to be important and DO care about them.

Usually, they will volunteer a certain amount of information regarding their background and expectations such as: "I used to do karate when I was younger, and just thought I would pop in an have a look" etc.

But, you should also ask them some questions as well in order to clarify any important points, and enable you to get some idea of what they are after and build up a picture of their expectations. Some of the possible reasons for people wanting to learn the martial arts are as follows:

- Self Defense.
With crime on the increase, this is probably the most common reason for most people considering taking up the martial arts, as they feel it will at least give them a "fighting chance" if they are ever unfortunate enough to be attacked.

- Physical Fitness
People are being encouraged to take more of an interest in their well-being these days, and the martial arts provide them with the opportunity of building up their levels of stamina, strength, and suppleness by providing a good "all round" workout.

- Sport
Many martial arts such as Judo, Kickboxing and Kendo are very lively and established sports offering participants the chance of competing at club, local, national and international levels. And this supplies a very healthy outlet for the competitive spirit.

- Philosophical
The martial arts have, over the period of centuries been influenced by a great many different religions and philosophies, and all have left their particular mark. This is particularly the case with the softer, Japanese arts of Aikido, Iaido and Kyudo, and the internal Chinese martial arts of Tai Chi, Pa Kua and Hsing-Yi.

- Cultural
Martial arts are extremely rich in history, tradition and customs. As such, they will tend to appeal to people who are interested in these particular aspects of human behaviour, be that just a casual curiosity or even an academic study.

Again, martial arts are superb tools for building up a person's confidence and self-esteem, and are also brilliant at controlling stress levels. Some schools even include relaxation and meditation techniques, and both of these have become quite fashionable in recent times.

- Social
Martial artists tend to train hard and play hard, and some clubs have a very lively social scene whereby they organize trips and outings. This helps to build up the "camaraderie" amongst the students, as well as helping to break down the barriers that can sometimes exist between junior and senior grades.

There are, off course, many more reasons why a person chooses to commence training in the martial arts, but the above are the main ones. And it will, more often than not, be one or more of these that is the "prime motivator" for the majority of people. As well as having an initial chat with these prospective students, you could also employ other strategies to help you clarify their ideas and needs, such as giving them a short questionnaire which they could take away, fill in and bring back when they officially enroll.


Identifying student's needs and expectations as quickly and efficiently as possible enables the instructor to:
1- Ensure that what he/she is teaching IS actually what the prospective student is looking for (You will need to be brutally honest here. For example, it would be completely inappropriate for someone wanting to learn self defense to enroll in an Iaido class, just as a person wanting to experience meditation might be a bit disappointed if they ended up a student in a kick boxing class, etc. It is the instructor's responsibility to consider the welfare of this person, and to guide them in their choice. Rather than simply regarding them as yet another training fee!)
2- It will enable the instructor to gain valuable insight into the background and aspirations of the individual and, (if and when appropriate) to modify their syllabus, resources and teaching methodology to accommodate these efficiently.
Jumping to conclusions about what your students want, on the other hand, is both patronizing and condescending and can be an extremely effective method of putting people of studying martial arts for good!

"Most people know what they want, but few know what they need" (Ancient proverb)

Prof. J R Lee-Barron PhD FIMAS

Professor Lee-Barron is the Director of the Institute of Martial Arts and Sciences, UK, and Dean of the Faculty of Martial Arts, Knightsbridge University. These bodies are dedicated to affording martial arts instructors with the opportunity of gaining recognized university degrees in martial arts. He is an experienced educator, researcher and academic, as well as being a senior black belt instructor in several martial arts. He can be contacted at:

How Do You Understand Martial Arts Techniques

How do you understand martial arts techniques? Before you look at any techniques/methods from a martial arts system, it is important to first know yourself. It is important to have a clear goal about what you are trying to achieve with your research. Often, when people research without a clear objective, they become a "technique collector". They become a master of all trades and a master of none. This is not a functional approach. The reason is because knowing a lot of moves does not win fights. It's about how good you are when you move.

Can you move with speed, power, accuracy, timing, co-ordination, sensitivity, non-telegraphic ability? Training time is limited; therefore it is unrealistic to try to master too many techniques at once.

If you look at top fighters in any system, you will see that they only use a few well developed moves. The key is not to learn many things for many situations but rather to learn how to adapt a few things to various circumstances. The ability to do that is very difficult for some people because due to the martial arts media, a lot of beginners like to put things in black and white categories. The truth is, fighting by its very nature is chaotic and therefore things are not so black and white.

One example is the popular concept of non powerful "set up" moves such as the straight blast follow by powerful "finishing" moves such as elbows and knees. This separate category of setup vs. finishing techniques is a concept that has sold many DVDS and magazines. However, I question if a straight blast is actually just a "set up" technique that requires a "finisher". What would happen if a fast straight blast also has functional finishing power? I guess if that was possible, things would get a lot simpler and you would not have to collect more stuff to do the job.

But how do you get the example of the straight blast to become a finisher? Is it simply a matter of more practice? In some cases, yes. But in most cases, it requires research into how to put the whole body mass into the blast. Something that is rarely seen. This idea of modifying techniques to make it work instead of collecting more of them is true for a lot of things in martial arts. By modifying, it will allow more practice time and repetitions in each move and therefore a higher development of physical attributes - things that win fights.

For me the objective of research is to be as direct as possible. Therefore when I look at any technique I simply ask if what I see would help me become more direct. If not, how can I modify it to make it more direct? If I can't do that, then I ask, what is the most direct way that I can defeat what I see?

Looking at things in slow motion allows you to see the finer detail. From a martial arts point of view, it means the ability to see the motions in beats and eventually quarter beats and finally, the intent of movement. Looking at things fast means that you have to take into consideration force and speed.

Many things demonstrated in MA demos work well in mild speed but you have to take into account human reaction time limitations. You must take each and every technique that you practice and test it under real speed and power to see if it is actually workable.

Sometimes, what is direct physically may actually be slow mentally and therefore not direct at all for a fight. For example, no matter how fast a technique is physically in a drill, it may be too complicated for the mind to pull off in a fight causing you to freeze under stress.

You have to take into account the natural variables such as limited perception, reaction time and the motor-set commitment of motions in combat.This is a very basic look at how to understand techniques, I hope it helps.

My name is Adam Chan and I started martial arts in 1986 training in classical Wing Chun under sifu Joseph Boychuck. In 1993 I learned a hybrid version of kung-fu from sifu Mike Smith which contained elements of Tai-Chi, Ba Gua, Hsing Yi, Shaolin, natural gate boxing.

In the end, names and styles do not matter but or convenience sake, my system is called Modified Wing Chun.Tracing back what I learned, I realized that it contains elements of fencing, boxing, savate and karate. Some of my own influences are Aikido and Yi-Quan.

Martial arts training can lead one to confidence, creativity, compassion and many other qualities. This led me to research Taoism, motivational psychology and Zen studies. Little by little, I realized that using martial arts as a medium is a great way to help people.

For questions, discussion and more information about this article and related topics please visit my website

UFC 77 Middleweight Championship - Anderson Silva vs. Rich Franklin

I for one was very excited about this much anticipated rematch between current middleweight champion Anderson "The Spider" Silva and former middleweight champion Rich "Ace" Franklin, whom Silva had won the championship from almost a year ago by knocking him out in the first round. Would this be a repeat of the first fight with Silva retaining the title, or would Franklin avenge his previous loss to Silva and get the title back? As the old saying goes, "Only time will tell" and on this night it did.


What will follow is a detailed professional analysis of the fight from start to finish, concluding with some final thoughts concerning both fighters. Please keep in mind that these are my views from my own perspective of the events that transpired. They are by no means intended to shed any kind of negative or disparaging thoughts, words, etc. on either one of the fighters involved. I have a great deal of respect for anyone, and I do mean anyone, who steps onto the mat. So, with further ado let's get started.

Round One:

The first round started out with both fighters meeting in the center of the ring where they circled each other for a few seconds trying to get a read on each other. Franklin threw the first blow of the fight with a right leg roundhouse kick to the inside of Silva's right thigh that unfortunately missed. Franklin followed up his initial attack with a right hand jab to the head (that missed) and another right leg roundhouse kick to the inside of Silva's thigh that landed, although with not much force.

Franklin kept up the pressure on Silva by once again launching another attack with a two punch combination to the head followed by yet another right leg roundhouse kick to the inside of Silva's right thigh that landed again, but with little force and no effect on Silva. Silva countered this attack with a right hand jab to the face of Franklin that failed to reach its intended target. Although Silva's punch did not land, he did show an advanced knowledge of footwork that is truly indicative of not only his current abilities, but also his future potential.

Franklin steps forward and throws a right hand jab to the head that falls short and the follows up with a four punch combination to the head of Silva, none of which find their target. Franklin finishes up this attack with another right leg roundhouse kick to the inside of Silva's thigh that once again lands, but not with much force on it. Silva proceeds to counter this attack with a knee strike to the midsection while holding onto Franklin's neck with his left hand. This would later prove to be a very effective tactic.

Both men proceeded to execute a standing clinch with each other and moved each other around the ring until they both ended up against the fence. Silva initially had Franklin against the fence where both men exchanged knee strikes to each others bodies. Franklin ends up pivoting off the fence and forces Silva back against it for several seconds before eventually forcing Silva down to the ground. Once down on the ground, Franklin attempts to pass Silva's guard but is unable to do to Silva launching a kicking defense from the ground in order to keep Franklin back.

This tactic proves effective and allows Silva the opportunity to regain his feet. Although Franklin still attempts to get Silva back down on the ground by wrapping both arms around Silva's left leg. Silva manages to maintain his balance while standing on his left leg for several seconds, until Franklin lets go of Silva's leg and forces him back against the fence. Both fighters exchange knee strikes to the midsection before eventually breaking free of their mutual standing clinch.

Franklin attempts a kick with his right leg but Silva counters with a beautifully executed left leg turning back kick to the midsection of Franklin that landed solidly and momentarily stopped Franklin in his tracks. Both men exchange punches in the center of the octagon only a few of which land for either fighter, and none of which land with any real effect. At the end of this exchange, Franklin did land another right leg roundhouse kick to the inside of Silva's right thigh.

Franklin continues to press the attack by launching a three punch combination with the last punch, a right hook to the jaw, landing solidly but with no visible effect to Silva. Silva comes back from this attack by stepping forward and throwing a punch that fails to land, but does set up a left leg roundhouse kick which lands solidly to the upper body underneath Franklin's right arm.

Silva continues to press the advantage by forcing Franklin against the fence where he grabs Franklin's neck with his left hand while throwing (and landing) several punches to the head. Silva even manages to throw and land a knee strike to the midsection of Franklin. Franklin counters this attack with a couple of well thrown punches of his own followed by a knee strike to the midsection of Silva.

Franklin, who appears dazed, hangs onto Silva and forces him back against the fence and remains in a standing clinching position while delivering a single knee strike to Silva's midsection. Silva reverses position with Franklin and delivers his own knee strike to Franklin's midsection.

Both fighters separate and move about the ring with Franklin stepping forward and throwing a couple of punches to the head followed by a left leg roundhouse to the ribcage of Silva. Although there didn't appear to be much force on the kick. Silva fires back with a left leg front kick to the face of Franklin which ended up falling short.

Both men exchange punches with Franklin landing solidly with two of his punches thrown. However, Silva gave a very impressive display of "bobbing and weaving" while standing in one spot avoiding several more punches and even a kick thrown by Franklin. Silva continued to stalk Franklin and landed a spinning back fist which landed on the side of Franklin's head. It would have been very effective, except it landed at the end of the blow and with the forearm rather than the back of the fist.

Silva followed up the spinning back fist with a flying knee strike to the head followed by an uppercut punch to the head, both of which land with some authority. Silva continues throwing punches and ends up getting Franklin in a Muay Thai clinch where he lands a beautiful knee strike to the midsection. Both men exchange punches with Silva landing a right hook to the jaw of Franklin with approximately 2 seconds left in the round. This punch dropped Franklin and allowed Silva to press the attack until the buzzer sounded signifying the end of the round in which referee John McCarthy stepped in to stop the round. In my opinion, Franklin was literally saved by the buzzer and continued to show signs of being stunned as he made it back to his corner.

Round Two:

Franklin continued to look dazed as he opened up the second round with a left leg roundhouse kick to the outside of Silva's right thigh. Although the kick landed, it didn't appear to have any affect whatsoever on Silva. Franklin followed this up with a three punch combination to the head, none of which landed, and another left leg roundhouse kick to the hip of Silva.

Franklin continued to press the attack with several more punch attempts to the head, none of which landed with any affect. Silva countered this attack with a left leg roundhouse kick to the right calf of Franklin and a straight right hand punch that forced Franklin momentarily backwards. Franklin once again stepped forward and launched a punching attack to the head which was basically ineffective.

Silva on the other hand, countered this attack with a left hand clinch around Franklin's neck combined with a knee attack to the body and a punching attack to the head. Silva landed several blows before grabbing Franklin's head and neck with both hands and delivering a knee strike to the head with his left knee, and then following up immediately with another knee strike to the head with his right knee. This final counterattack by Silva resulted in the fight being stopped as the double knee strike combination ended up putting Franklin on the canvas with just under four minutes left in the second round.


Now there were several contributing factors that were directly responsible for the knockout which ended the fight. Some were provided by Silva, while others were provided by Franklin himself. I have broken those factors down by fighter and they are as follows:

Anderson Silva:

1. Exquisite technique of holding and hitting as demonstrated throughout the fight by holding with the left hand and delivering punches with the right.
2. Your ability to utilize the Muay Thai clinch and knee strikes to the body and head is textbook perfect and is very effective.
3. Your ability to remain calm throughout the fight is one of your best weapons, as it allows you to clearly see all possibilities and act accordingly.
4. Your "smoothness" of technique is another terrific asset and shows a high level of skill.
5. Your pinpoint accuracy with your knee strikes and punches shows terrific skill and discipline.
6. Your hand and foot combinations were fantastic. Keep up the good work!

Rich Franklin:

1. You let your guard down, literally!
2. You appeared to be really apprehensive as you stepped into the octagon.
3. You allowed Silva to get in close and clinch and strike which is what caused you to lose against Silva the first time.
4. You fought Silva's fight instead of your fight.
5. You seemed to be holding back somewhat on your punches and kicks.


Here are my thoughts on how each fighter could improve upon their respective abilities concerning this particular fight.

Anderson Silva:

His strategy for this particular fight was almost flawless. However, here is the one thing that really stood out for me.

1. You need to work on your kicks to make them more efficient and therefore more effective. Your roundhouse kicks were delivered at an upward angle rather than at the correct angle for maximum effect.

Rich Franklin:

Physically you could plainly see that he was in a lot better shape for this fight than his previous fight with Silva. However, mentally it appeared that he was very apprehensive once the fight got started. Here are a couple of other things that I noticed.

1. You need to work on your kicks to make them more efficient and therefore more effective. Your roundhouse kicks were delivered at an upward angle rather than at the correct angle for maximum effect.
2. Your roundhouse kicks appeared to lack any real power. Work on developing more powerful kicks.
3. Physically you were ready for this fight. However, mentally I feel that you weren't quite prepared for this fight and need to consider this in the future.


The professionalism and respect that these two fighters showed each other and the sport are truly an inspiration to all who not only watch, train, and participate in the MMA community, but also those who participate in any and all martial arts.



Anderson Silva is going to retain the middleweight championship for years to come. The only way I see him being beat is if he goes the way of other notable champions and gets caught up in the "Hollywood" type atmosphere and attitude and then carries that over into the octagon. Barring that, he should do well and I don't foresee anyone in the immediate future who will give him a run for his money.


Rich Franklin needs to go back to the drawing board and forget about Silva and the title until after he has had at least 5 or 6 more substantial fights against quality opponents in order to get his mind right for the octagon and a possible rematch with Silva. His career is far from over if he takes his time to regain the Rich Franklin of old.

Shawn Kovacich has been practicing the martial arts for over 25 years and currently holds the rank of 4th degree (Yodan) black belt in both Karate and Tae Kwon Do. Shawn has also competed in such prestigious full-contact bare knuckle karate competitions as the Shidokan Open and the Sabaki Challenge, among others.

In addition to his many accomplishments, Shawn is also a two time world record holder for endurance high kicking as certified by the Guinness Book of World Records. Shawn is the author of the highly acclaimed Achieving Kicking Excellence™ series and can be reached via his web site at:

Shawn is currently working on an additional series of books that focuses on the combat applications of kicking as well as how to defend against those very same kicks if they are used against you.

80 Percent of Martial Arts Doesn't Work

A very bold statement and one that is designed to get a reaction. A reaction from the many so called teachers, Instructors and masters here in the West!

I've studied Martial Arts for more than 30 years here in the UK. Many forms with many teachers...each giving their interpretation on the style they teach. Some look good with fancy kicks high in the air, others are very robotic and too inflexible but very few are USABLE.

At rick of sounding like I'm going back on the statements I just made, I still respect anyone who makes the time to study any form of Martial Arts. For the serious student it will change your life in many positive ways, some you will not expect but will be welcome all the same.

Almost as a side note: One health benefit apart from the obvious one of exercise is..your Lymphatic System. Let me explain. If you imagine your Lymphatic System is the bodies sewage works i.e. it help remove toxic waste from the body BUT this circulatory system does not come with a pump as with your Heart forcing blood round. To get this system working takes specific body movements that gently work your muscle and then this helps in removal of the Lymphatic toxins. This has been know for thousands of years...the proof, look how long people have been practicing Yoga or Ti Che and look at the life benefits these practitioners have obtained. These same benefits are gained from conducting Kata's or Form or Patterns which are a fundamental part of most Martial arts.

So why is it then that 80% of the information taught Won't work in a street situation. Well first lets look at how most lessons in most club are conducted. first you have a partner, you stand far enough away from them that you can safely practise the moves you have just been taught by one of your instructors and you repeat this over and over again so the physical memory is lock in. Keep in mind that when training in this manner your are about 2-4 feet away from each other depending whether your are using your hands or your feet. a street situation, looks and threats normally start at a distance(to far away for your to do anything apart from walk away...the smart move!) if and when things escalate your adversary stands toe to toe nose to nose, pushing and more. So at this distance where are the flying, spinning, all wonderful kicks that you can do in the can't use them because there's not enough room. there goes 50% of what you can do!

Because this person is so close it makes things hard to determine where the attacking blow is going to come from after all they are in your face and that's all your aware of so all the blocking moves your practice so well are now dormant for now. That's another 10-20% of your skill not helping you. Somewhere in the for-front of your mind you know things are going to kick off and punches exchanged, but you have been told to use it (Martial Arts) just to defend yourself and never strike first! This will place you into a VICTIM mentality so you'll be loosing before you start so emotionally your another 10% down.

So what is the point in studying for years if it is not going to help!

Well, keep going because in reality you never know which skill will help you in what situation. But here is my advice to you.

Find a instructor how is or has been in the armed forces and seen active duty. one how has worked as a Doorman/woman or in close perfection situation. These are the instructors who have been in the real life situations and HAD TO use their skills and are always the BEST teachers...not theorist as most tend to be. I have had fights against some world class fighters in competitions and they are great, but change the rules to anything goes as on the street and most crumble because their security blanket just got removed and now they could get hurt!

So in closing do your home work when it come to quality instructors, learn about their background it could save your life. I don't prefer any one style above any other, I just prefer Instructors.

For those of you who would like to learn from one I consider to be the BEST, email me and I will point you in the right direction. P.S. I am in no way Affiliated to this Instructor only My martial Arts world has changed dramatically since learning from him.

I wish you all the best and a safe life.

Andrew Danyadi Twice English Senior Karate Champion British Senior Champion North West Senior Grand Champion All Styles

Advanced Shadow Boxing

Even if you don't like doing forms, I strongly suggest you read this newsletter. It could change the way you workout.

The reason I said "Even if . . ." is because I know many martial artists think form is a waste of time.

Do they think practicing punching is a waste of time?


Do they think practicing kicking is a waste of time?


How about shadow boxing? Do they think that's a waste of time?

Of course not.

But if you put those three things together in a routine and call it a form . . . suddenly you're wasting your time. Hmmmmm.

When I practice form I sweat and breath hard and end up with sore muscles. My balance, flexibility, agility and timing improve. Now keep in mind, I'm not doing beginner level forms for preschool tots. I'm doing traditional, hardcore Tien Shan Pai empty hand and weapons forms like you can learn on my DVD 8 Tien Shan Pai forms at

Form doesn't just get you in shape either. I've had people join my school or get my DVD specifically because they felt they had two left feet, and wanted to gain coordination.

Now then, could you get all the benefits of form just by doing some bag work, taking a break to do some kick combinations across the floor, adding in some punch combinations, throwing in a few jumps and deep stances for leg strength, maybe some floor sweeps for flexibility, and finishing with some hard fast shadow boxing?

Yes, you could. And if you put the routine together just right . . . it would be a form.

So what I do is, instead of adding punch/kick drills to bag work, I add bag work to my forms. Do a form, hit the bag for 30 seconds. Do a form, kick the bag for 30 seconds. Do a form, knee and elbow the bag for 30 seconds. Do a form, work combinations on the bag for 30 seconds.

Do five forms that way. I mean hard and fast, with furious bag work in the intervals. Do it at least 3 days a week for two weeks and then see how much your combinations, agility, flex, and stamina have improved.

For people who enjoy it and work it, form isn't a waste of time, it's a highly structured skill and conditioning drill. And it has many uses. You can do a form very slowly and call it a great warm up. You can do it hard a fast and call it the best shadow boxing you've ever done. You can do it super slow with each move synchronized with your breathing and call it tai chi.

However you do it, the rewards are yours for the taking.

Sparring and Pushing Hands Gold Medalist Rob LaPointe has been practicing martial arts since 1973. He holds black belts in Kenpo Karate and Tien Shan Pai Kung Fu.

Being located inside the Washington Beltway has given Rob some unique opportunities. In addition to teaching martial arts and presenting workshops to members of all the Armed Services, including special forces members, as well as CIA, DEA, FBI, Department of State Foreign Service Officers, U.S. Customs Officers, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and Exxon-Mobile Corporation, Rob has presented numerous health and fitness demonstrations and workshops to Washington, D.C. area businesses and agencies, including Georgetown University Hospital, Northern Virginia Hospital Center, Alexandria Hospital, Arlington Public Schools, USA Today, and Intelsat.

In 1999 he received an invitation from the American Physical Therapy Association, and was a featured speaker at their Annual Convention, which took place that year in Washington, D.C.

Rob's main websites are and

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Benefits Of Focus Pad Training

In my years as a self-defense instructor, I have tried and tested many training methods to find out the fastest, most effective way to produce the best results in the shortest time possible.

I don't run a self-defense club or ongoing long-term classes. My "specialty" is short-term courses and seminars. I need to share knowledge and teach physical skills in the shortest time possible. And that training has to "stick."

I don't "train" people. I teach them how to train themselves. I encourage my clients to take full responsibility for their own learning process and the results that they produce. There are many excellent resources out there, but that's all they are…

Information is inert until you apply it to accomplish something. Its up to you, study and apply them.

One of the most powerful methods I've found to teach proper punching and striking skills in the fastest, most efficient way is FOCUS PAD training.


Focus pads (also called focus mitts, coaching pads, punch mitts and target pads) are flat, hand-held pads that are about 12 inches in diameter.

They are made of dense foam covered in leather or vinyl. They have been used in boxing, kickboxing and martial arts training for ages.


The pads are held by a coach or training partner at different ranges, positions and levels. The puncher and pad holder work together to build offensive and defensive skills, sharpen reflexes and condition the body.


Focus pads are cheap, portable and easy to find. They are an excellent training investment that allow you to conduct a wide variety of drills for the development of several combative qualities.

If you're still undecided about whether or not focus pad training is right for you, here are some of the benefits.


Focus pad training is a blast. Partner training with focus pads allows you to perform a wide variety of drills and "fighting games."

Because there are so many ways to use focus pads, it's easy to keep your training fun and interesting. And most importantly… if you enjoy doing something, you'll do it more often.


You can pick up a pair of focus pads at a good sporting goods or martial art supply store. A decent pair will set you back about 50 to 70 bucks.

You'll also need a good pair of bag gloves or boxing gloves to protect your knuckles. They'll cost you about the same. $100 bucks for a full-blown training system seems like a pretty decent investment to me!


Unlike equipment such as heavy bags, focus pads are small, light and extremely portable. You can throw them in a sport bag or knapsack and take them pretty much anywhere.

Because they don't have to be installed or mounted, they are excellent where room is limited or its impractical to install more cumbersome equipment.


If I had to teach you how to hit properly, in the shortest time possible, I'd use focus pads. If you already knew how to punch but you wanted to improve and refine you hitting skills, again I'd recommend focus pad work.

Because the pads are relatively small, they develop accuracy.

Because they can be moved quickly into different positions and at different angles, they are one of the best methods available for working punches in combination.

Because they can be moved dynamically and even pulled out of the way, they can be used to develop quick thinking and "non-telegraphic" delivery.


All impact training stresses the body. If you hit too hard or too often you're going to get injured. The problem is that punching power increases faster than the body can adapt and become resilient enough to withstand that impact energy.

There is a period of "adaptation" required before for tendons and ligaments become stronger and more resilient.

It takes about 6 to 10 weeks of more moderate training before all out, full power hitting efforts can be performed safely. That's where focus pads come in.

For starters, there is far less resistance to hitting a focus pad than a 60 to 100 lb heavy bag. That allows you to work on your punching power with less strain on your joints and connective tissues. This allows you to work your way up to more demanding heavy bag training which is undeniably harder on the body.

If you already do heavy bag work, you can do your focus pad work on days in between your heavy bag sessions. That will afford you some "active recovery" and the ability to continue working on your hitting skills while giving your body a time to recover.


If you ever watch a good fighter sparring, you'll notice that he begins to react to being punched at BEFORE the punch is even thrown.

Its almost as if he is reading their opponent's mind and anticipating what is about to happen before it does.

What is actually happening is that by being punched (or kicked) at over and over again, the brain begins to interpret the meaning of certain positions, weight distributions and body signals.

When holding the pads and watching various punches travelling in your direction, you begin to establish "pattern recognition" which will enhance your ability to anticipate and defend yourself from attack.


Many people are terrified with the idea of being hit in a fight. Just as many are uncomfortable with the idea of punching another human being. (I'm not sure why because I kinda like it! ;-)

In fact, because it is an "unknown" people are far more concerned about being hit than they should be. Speaking from the perspective of someone who has been punched, hit and kicked thousands and thousands of time; its not so bad! You do not want to be terrified by the idea of being hit or overwhelmed if it happens.

I refer to your comfort level with the idea of hitting and being hit as "Hit Psychology." People with weak hit psychology are more prone to panic or "freeze up" in a combative situation. They can become overwhelmed by an exaggerated and unnecessary fear of the encounter and perform poorly.

We have a term for that in the self-defense field… Its called, "NOT GOOD!"

Stress inoculation is a process of de-sensitizing someone to the fear of combat by exposing them to controlled amounts of impact in a low stress, non- threatening environment.

In a short period of time, the student finds that situations that formerly terrified her are far more manageable and even enjoyable!


Did you know that conditioning is "exercise specific?" If you are a runner, your body will become fit and accustom to running but not nearly as much for swimming or cycling.

If you work out on an elliptical machine, your body gets more efficient at working out on an elliptical machine. Your body adapts and improves specific to the activity that you are participating in. So what you ask?

I'll tell you what… the best way to condition your body for fighting is by mimicking movements and actions that are like fighting. It's as simple as that.

I have trained with people who would be considered extremely fit athletically but tire very quickly when introduced to combative training drills.

The good news is that there are a wide variety of combative drills that you can do with focus pads that will tone the muscles, build your stamina and endurance and enhance your self-defense performance.

SO… what I'm saying is this. Not only is combative training such as pad work an excellent, whole body form of exercise. The conditioning provides fitness qualities directly relevant to self-defense and fighting.


Many people undertake ongoing martial arts and self-defense training to get into shape… and more specifically to lose weight (excess body fat) and regain a lean and mean physique. Focus pad training is excellent for fat loss. Here's why…

Not that long ago, the belief was that the best way to lose body fat was through LSD (long slow distance) aerobic exercise. In other words, low intensity exercise that was sustained for at least 20 to 30 minutes. The theory was that during exercise your body uses fat as a fuel source at lower intensity and it burns glucose instead of fat at higher intensity levels.

That might be true, but the assumption was that fat loss is based on the amount of calories you burned during your workout. That's not the case. The amount of calories you burn during your exercises session is minimal.

What does matter is the extra calories you burn BETWEEN your workouts.

Fat burning is accomplished more effectively by interval training. Interval training involves periods of moderate to high intensity exertion intersperse with low intensity periods to catch your breath and recover your energy in between.

This type of training will increase your metabolism for hours after your workout and you will burn more overall calories and body fat.

Focus pads are excellent for interval training.


There have been very few evolutionary changes in the human body in millions of years. One thing that has not changed is our survival mechanism. The body is predisposed to "fighting or fleeing" from a threatening situation.

What HAS changed however is the fact that in modern day life, most of the "threats" we perceive are not actual, physical threats and do not merit kicking butt or running off. So what happens is that we activate this "fight or flight response" but do neither.

A host of chemical and physical changes occur that, if left unchecked become toxic and unhealthy. That is why exercise is so healthy and such a great way to manage stress.

I suggest that cardiovascular exercise satisfies the body's need for flight. I believe that impact training such as hitting a pair of focus pads or a heavy bag satisfies the bodies evolutionary need to fight.


Mental Toughness is the ability to be effective, healthy and happy regardless of the challenges and stressors in your life. It involves building your ability to cope with stress by repeatedly exposing yourself to stress and then recovering from it.

The more you do this the tougher you get on a physical, mental and emotional level. Focus pad training can be used to improve your mental toughness in two ways.

Physiologically, The interval training that I've already mentioned builds mental toughness. Doing "round training." (intervals of exertion interspersed with short periods of recovery) teaches your body to expend energy and then recover. This expend, recover, expend, recover process makes you tougher and more emotionally resilient.

Another opportunity that focus pads provide is the ability to design "never give up drills." I've referred to this in my Power Punching Guide as "blitz" training.

Blitz training is an advance training method that involves going "all out" for a predetermined period of time. You push yourself through the pain of lactic acid in your muscles and the discomfort of being winded and push, push push yourself until you reach the end of the drill.

This is not only a terrific conditioner for your body but it is also an excellent mental exercise to teach you on of the most important traits that you can have for self-defense: "NEVER GIVE UP."


Bottom line… if want to develop and refine your punching skills quickly, condition your body with fight-related exercise and design challenging and versatile training sessions then take a serious look at focus pad training.

Randy LaHaie

Randy LaHaie is the president of Protective Strategies and has been teaching reality-based self-defense for over 30 years. He is the author of several "Toughen Up Combative Training Guides" (

Subscribe to his Free Self-Defense Newsletter at

Developing a Heavy Bag Workout

Many people over look the power of simply hitting a punching bag for a highly effective workout. You can purchase an inexpensive punching bag at your local sporting good store. If you've never seen one they are supported by floor stands or more commonly hung from a frame that attaches to your ceiling.

Exercising vigorously causes small injuries to your muscle fibers which is why you generally feel sore the day following a really hard workout. When you exercise with sore muscles then you are greatly increasing your odds of serious injury. You should let your body have a day in between vigorous workouts to allow it time to heal properly, try taking a nice walk or swim.

Cross training requires you to alternate sports on different days to efficiently work out different muscle groups. Cross training is great because it allows your muscles at least two days to recover, greatly decreasing your chances of injury. Spending some time hitting a punching bag with your favorite CD blasting is a perfect way to exercise your upper body then the following day you can change it up with a lower body kick boxing or running exercise.

Hitting a punching bag does a lot more than improve stamina and provide a great cardio workout. It can help improve your overall coordination. If you punch the bag it swings back and comes back toward you. You want to practice hitting the bag at the time it is coming back toward you. You will soon find that if you hit it too early or too late it will not stay in rhythm and you will more than likely miss the bag.

Begin your heavy bag workout by hitting the bag lightly until your arms feel sore and tired. Gradually increase the intensity and time of the workout as you feel stronger, make sure you give yourself a break every other day.

If you find that you are falling asleep on the treadmill or finding it hard to stay on that last twenty minutes that you know will feel like two hours you should defiantly try mixing it up with a heavy bag workout or try some high intensity workout DVDs.

Heavy bag training isn't just for boxers or only men. In addition to the amazing cardio you are doing, your heavy bag training sessions will also improve your self defense skills, perfect for women who are looking for that extra boost of confidence! Heavy bag training also has been known to reduce stress.

Heavy bag workouts are a great alternative to dull cardio fitness routines that aren't motivating anymore. With a workout that you enjoy you will be more likely to workout longer and harder and see results faster than you ever imagined.

Article by Sven Ullmann, who runs Deserved Health - information on health for you and your family. Read more about Heavy Bag Workouts.

3 Ways To Crank Up Your Heavy Bag Training For A Fat Scorching, Lean Body Workout

1. Wear Heavier Gloves. Simply put on a pair of 16 or 18 ounce gloves... Doing this will cause your hands to drop as you fatigue, so you have to work just as hard to keep them up.

Your shoulders will burn like hell, but the improved conditioning and definition of your body will be well worth it. * Note* If the heavier gloves impede good technique....put the lighter gloves back on.

2. Add Intervals Of Fast Punching. This is butt kicking way to up the intensity. Simply add 15-30 second intervals of fast, hard punching to the round. You punch at a moderate tempo for 30 seconds... Then for 15...or if you really want to be hard core... 30 second intervals.. you punch as fast and hard as you can.

Go back to 30 seconds moderate then repeat the interval punching. Try using 2 minute rounds at first. Then as your conditioning improves move up to three minute rounds... Warning though... it's not for the faint of heart. Performing these intervals will make your heart feel like it's going to beat right out your chest.

3. Use Shorter Rest Periods Between Rounds. Try adding 30 second rest periods between rounds of your heavy bag work. You may be thinking this doesn't sound like much but I guarantee you this will kick your butt!

So now that I have given you three options to add to your heavy bag training, get your ass in the gym and put them to use. Try adding one, or depending on your current condition, all three.

Grab a free killer boxing training fat loss special report at Boxing Training Workouts Rob Pilger of is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and Level II USA Boxing Coach. He has successfully trained people using the boxing workout for improved fitness levels, and improved performance in their chosen athletic endeavor. Rob is also creator of The Ultimate Boxing Workout DVD. Please visit to begin your quest for an improved physique.

Anderson Silva Beats Dan Henderson

By Ryan Mink
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, March 2, 2008; Page D05

There may not be anyone left for Anderson Silva to fight.

After Silva beat everyone in the middleweight division, Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White had to recruit former PRIDE middleweight champion Dan Henderson from the light heavyweight class to fight Silva.

It seemed Henderson would be the one man who could challenge Silva considering Henderson has one of the best wrestling pedigrees in mixed martial arts.

But not even Henderson lasted long.

Once again, Silva's challenger didn't make it past the second round. This time Silva, the ever dangerous striker, showed off his jiu-jitsu, submitting Henderson with a rear naked choke with eight seconds left in the second round yesterday at UFC 82 in Columbus, Ohio.

Silva (21-4) has now successfully defended his UFC middleweight belt for the third time. He hasn't seen the third round since a Dec. 31, 2004, bout against Ryo Chonan, which was his last loss not counting a disqualification against Yushin Okami in 2006.

"Nice job, Anderson," Henderson told Silva after the decision was made. "You're the true champion."

Silva won the middleweight belt from Rich Franklin on Oct. 14, 2006, and defended it against Nate Marquardt and Franklin before being pitted against Henderson (22-7). He now had the unified Pride and UFC middleweight belt.

Henderson likely won the first round after picking up Silva and taking him down to the mat about two minutes into the bout. From there, Henderson, a two-time Olympic wrestler, controlled the rest of the round and landed numerous hammer fists to the side of Silva's head.

Silva started mounting his Muay Thai attack midway through the second round, landing a flurry of kicks and knees that made Henderson fall forward. The dazed Henderson was able to recover but Silva quickly mounted him and started landing blows to Henderson's head and body.

It was only a few seconds after Silva started choking Henderson when Henderson's eyes grew bloodshot and he was forced to tap before passing out.

"My hat's off to Anderson Silva," Henderson said in a television interview. "He was definitely the better fighter tonight. I controlled him and beat him up the first round. He came out and took control in the second."

Like Silva, heavyweight Heath Herring had to use his ground game to beat his opponent. At the start of the first round, Herring sprinted out of his corner and immediately knocked Cheick Kongo on his back. But what was expected to be a slugfest turned into a wrestling match that Herring won via a split decision.

"I thought he was going to stand up with me," the usually heavy-handed Herring said to his corner men as he awaited the judges' decision.

Herring (28-13-1) had lost four of his past seven bouts but rededicated himself after nearly beating Antonio Nogueira in his last bout. Kongo (21-4-1) was coming off an impressive win over one of the best stand-up fighters in the UFC, Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic.

In the other bouts, bloodied middleweight Chris Leban (18-4) outslugged Alessio Sakara (16-7-1), winning by technical knockout 3 minutes 16 seconds into the first round. Leban caught Sakara with two big left-hand punches.

Grappling middleweight Yushin Okami (23-4) landed a knee to former middleweight champion Evan Tanner (34-7) with two minutes left in the second round and won via technical knockout.

Welterweight Jon Fitch (21-2-1) extended his UFC winning streak to eight with a unanimous decision victory over Chris Wilson (12-4-1), possibly putting him in contention for a title fight against the winner of Georges St. Pierre and Matt Serra in UFC 83.


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