Sunday, March 9, 2008

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



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