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:

Download this Free ebooklet: Elbow Strikes and Counters

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 http://www.esotericmartialarts.com 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 http://www.esotericmartialarts.com/digital-warrior/index.blog?topic_id=1099230 and fight videos at http://www.esotericmartialarts.com/digital-warrior/index.blog?topic_id=1101196

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:

http://www.theartofaikido.com

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.

http://www.Prokarate.com 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 Championship.com and various websites that earn revenue through pay per click, adsense, and selling products. Many of his MMA articles are posted at http://www.ultimatefightingchampionship.com

 

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