Huddersfield, Ju-Jitsu, Jiu-Jitsu, Martial Arts, Kickboxing

Kickboxing your way to weight-loss

One of the things you often hear is that 95% of weight loss attempts fail long-term. Discouraging number? But still, it leaves us with the idea that only 5% of fat people are able to leave their weight behind and get to a healthy body size. When weight loss failure numbers are presented (generally 80-95% failure) “success” doesn’t mean achieving “normal weight” – permanently. If the average company had a 95% failure rate on there product, they would go out of business. However in the diet industry, failure means success, as people will return to there front door looking for a quick fix to there weightloss issues.

The healthiest, most long lasting way to weighloss is through a combination of exercise and diet.

Weight loss is simple. In theory. If the energy you intake (food) each day adds up to less than the energy output (exercise, digesting food, tapping your fingers etc) then you will lose weight. 

Despite Kickboxings fearsome reputation in the world of martial arts, when it comes to entry level participating it is actually a buzzing community full of people of all ages, background and ability. It is a myth that the only people who practice Muay Thai boxing are fighters. The vast majority learn for fitness, weight control and self-protection purposes. The training is intense but it is worth the physical investment. Every session you will build on what you have learned previously. Even if you were to change nothing else about your life, just by taking up Muay Thai you will automatically increase energy output creating an energy deficit meaning weight loss will occur (unless you are putting away some serious calories every day). Combined with sensible eating, adding Muay Thai into the mix can lead to significant changes in body composition.

Huddersfield, Ju-Jitsu, Jiu-Jitsu, Martial Arts, Kickboxing

Muay Thai Clinch

The Muay Thai clinch is by far the hardest aspect of Muay Thai to learn. It is this form of grappling that sets Muay Thai apart from Kickboxing and K1 rules where clinching is only allowed momentarily..
Getting in a clinch with a very high level Muay Thai fighter, you will understand what it means to be completely dominated.

Arm Control

In clinch there are good positions, neutral positions and bad positions. If your opponent has two hands around your neck and has your head pulled down, that is obviously a bad position for you and a good position for your opponent. Most of the time when you clinch you will find yourself in a neutral position with one hand gripping your opponent’s neck and the other hand controlling their arm. The aim is to get the inside clinch. This enables you to have control over the neck and therefore the balance. In every clinching position you will find yourself battling for arm position and control. Good arm control gives you balance, and allows you to prevent your opponent’s arms, and can give you opportunities to sweep.

The key to clinching is trying to put yourself in a strong position so you can control your opponent. If you have a good grip on your opponent, you can off balance them when they try to sweep you, shift them when they try to knee you and put yourself in a good position to attack.

Balance and Body Position

Another important factor inside of the clinch is your balance and body positioning. Balance is the key to learning how to stay up on your feet.

One of the keys to staying balanced in the clinch is your body position. Keeping your hips square to your opponent’s hips will allow you to adjust your feet and shift your weight to prevent your opponent from sweeping you. Keeping you hip close to your opponent will minimise the possibility of taking a knee.

Knees Inside the Clinch

Knees are going to determine whether you are winning or losing inside of the clinch. Different knee strikes score different amount of points. If you throw side knees on your opponent, that will score less than an unblocked knee strike straight through the middle of your opponent’s abdomen.

You can either throw a knee when you are locked in the clinch or you can pull your opponent and throw a knee when they are off balanced. Your ability to throw good knee strikes at your opponent will be determined by your arm and body position.

Sweeps and Off Balancing Techniques

As a general rule of thumb, if you can sweep your opponent in the clinch then do it. Sweeps score the most points if you can get a clean throw without ending up on the ground yourself. A good sweep showcases dominance over your opponent inside of the clinch, something that judges are looking for.

Learning how to sweep your opponent is easy in practice, but harder in reality. When you are drilling with a partner it is easy to execute a sweep, however, when you have someone resisting and trying to stay on their feet it is a much bigger challenge.

While knowing how to perform a sweep is important, the key to sweeps is all about timing. Waiting for that right moment when your opponent is slightly off balanced and executing a sweep is a sure way to send them to the ground.

The key to a good sweep is to keep your hips close to your opponent and twist with your hips as you pull with your arm.

Sweeps are difficult to pull off, but are very rewarding if you can land them. There is nothing more satisfying than sending an opponent flying to the ground. It looks good to the judges, the crowds, and it feels even better.

Clinch Entry and Exit

The last important point I want to talk about is the entry into and out of the clinch.
If you want to enter the clinch, you need to get past your opponent’s kicks, punches and elbows to get inside the clinch. While skilled clinchers are very good at getting into the clinch, this is a skill in itself that takes practice to develop.
If you ever fight a good opponent they won’t let you simply walk into the clinch. You will need to cut off their angle and try and force yourself into the clinch. Often that means absorbing damage as you come forward. One of the reasons why some people have a hard time entering the clinch in a fight is because they never work on it in sparring.

Common Clinching Mistakes

Not Being Square to Your Opponent
If you don’t keep your hips and feet squared to your opponent, you can be thrown off balanced easily. This is why you need to create good habits from the start.

Trying to Knee When You Are Off Balanced

The best way to get swept in the clinch is to knee when you are not in a good balanced position. If you don’t have an establish arm position and you are not balanced, do not throw a knee. Only throw knees when you are locked in a good position or after you have thrown your opponent off balance.

Huddersfield, Ju-Jitsu, Jiu-Jitsu, Martial Arts, Kickboxing

The Jab

The jab is one of the most essential punches a fighter can have, and is one of the core elements of basic training. It is a basic hand tool. We’re going to look at how to develop your jab using this simple methodology.

Round One
We start with footwork.  The jab is often used as an entering strike. Footwork is an often neglected segment of training, but is possibly the most essential concept to focus on in order to progress in Muay Thai & K1. Developing your footwork is absolutely necessary if you want to be able to control the distance between you and your opponent and the timing between you. Without this ability, you will never be able to learn how to intercept your opponent.

To develop your jab, develop your step and slide footwork. A simple way to remember how to move using step and slide is that the foot that steps will match the direction you are going. From your fighting stance, step forward with your lead foot, and slide the rear foot along back into your balanced stance.  To move backward, step your rear foot back, and slide the front foot into place.  To step right, step with your right foot, and then slide the left into place. To step left, step with the left foot and then slide the left foot into place.  Thus, we call it step and slide. Practice moving all four directions to develop your step and slide.

Round Two
Now that you’ve developed your footwork, get with your training partner to begin some pad drills.  Start in the same lead.  From your fighting stance, you’re going to hit across their body. So, if you’re in right lead, you’re going to throw your jab at the pad on their right hand. This is important, because you want to emphasize turning your hip into your jab as you strike.

For your first set, stand within arm’s reach of your partner. We won’t bring in your step and slide footwork just yet. Practice throwing your jab while turning your hip into the punch. Start throwing one jab at a time, breathing with each strike and turning your hip.

Round Three
After a round of this, practice throwing a repeating jab. Throw a jab out with your hip turn, and quickly retract it back, making sure you pull your jab back to your guard and not dropping it. You do not want to leave your chin open to a counter punch. As soon as your jab has come back, fire it out once more, again snapping your hip into the motion.

Round Four
Now, having done one round standing and jabbing, and a second round standing and repeating jabbing, we’re going to add in your footwork. In order to strike an opponent, you must move to them, but if you just step into range, your opponent can intercept and counter strike you. So, we use our jab as cover. For this third round, you’re going to practice stepping and jabbing at the same time. Move outside of arm’s reach of your partner. Now, using your forward step and slide footwork, step in and jab, timing your jab and your hip twist with your forward step. Once your jab lands, immediately step and slide back while retracting the jab to your chin. This will help you develop the ability to move in and out of range with your opponent.

Round Five
For your next round, you’re going to expand on your footwork. Have your partner bring his pads close to his body rather than holding them out for you to strike. Begin circling and moving around each other, working on your step and slide footwork in all directions. Try and remain out of arm’s reach of your partner to develop a sense of distance. While moving, have your partner feed the pad out spontaneously. When he does, step and slide in with your jab, and then step and slide back out.

Be sure always to exhale on your jab. Breathing is the most important aspect of all combat and indeed all life.  If we aren’t breathing, we aren’t moving!

Huddersfield, Ju-Jitsu, Jiu-Jitsu, Martial Arts, Kickboxing

Bodyweight Exercises for Combat training

Whether you’re an amateur or professional this bodyweight exercise session has being designed in accordance to the main muscle groups used by fighters.

1. Pull Ups/Chin Ups

Hitting several muscle groups including the shoulders, back, arms, deltoids and even abdominal muscles (when the knees are tucked up). Use different grips to engage different muscle groups.

Fighter Benefit: Controlling your opponent on the ground in the clinch or on the floor.

2. Hanging Leg Raises

This is for the abs and core . It is one of the best for full abdominal strength, while working your upper body.

Fighter Benefit: Developing abs strength is essential for both body amour and as a power source for attacks.

3. Push Ups and Handstand Push Up

This strength and muscle mass exercise is another staple bodyweight exercise that forces you to engage your entire body. With different push up variations you can develop power. Handstand pushups, especially when you do them through a more complete range of motion, can build serious arm and shoulder strength.

Fighter Benefit: Improved shoulder endurance for punches, kicks, takedowns, muscular endurance for grappling and creating space between you and your opponent.

4. Bodyweight Squats

The bodyweight squat if a valuable exercise to help build lower body strength, power and muscle. The regular movement may not be the greatest for strength and muscle mass, but when you use variations like the pistol squat or jump squats, now you are talking strength, power and conditioning.

Fighter Benefit: This movement will help you develop strength needed for takedown and takedown defense along with striking and kicking stability.

5. Bulgarian Split Squat

A lower body unilateral compound move performed with added resistance from dumbbells. Trains the glutes and legs of one leg at a time. This bilateral movement has more potential for strength gains, as you are more balanced and can bring both legs to bear on moving the weight. The Bulgarian Split Squat can help even out strength differences between the legs. You can only use one leg, while the other helps provide stability or balance.

Fighter Benefits: This exercise works you quadriceps, glutes and solueus muscles are important in throwing kicks, striking, takedown and takedown defense.

6. Parallel Dips

This strength exercise works the triceps, chest, upper back and shoulder stability strength.

7. Bear Crawls
These are great for joint mobility and full body strength. These movements are great for upper body strength, core, legs and cardio.

Fighter Benefit: Great for grapplers, endurance, mobility, agility and overall strength for all movement in kickboxing.

8. Abs Hip Thrusts/Bridge Variations

This is a great hip flexion and extension movement that works your core, hips, glutes and hamstrings. You can perform this on your back, thrusting your legs to the air, or you can use a bench and perform more of a Glute bridge.

Fighter Benefit: This is a classic movement in MMA, BJJ and wrestling when you are trying to push your opponent off from the mounted position.

9. Sprint Intervals

Sprints are must for grapple arts and other combat sport athletes. This helps to build both your anaerobic and aerobic systems, which you use in most fights. Because of the varying levels of high intensity followed by low intensity situations you must improve your anaerobic system to last through the fight. The aerobic system helps with recovery in between rounds.

Fighter Skill: This will improve your overall conditioning for endurance in competition and during training.

10. Sprawl Burpees

The burpee is the best full body exercise that works on your overall strength, explosiveness and cardio endurance. Sprawls are similar but more functional to combat sports where are again you are working the entire body and will improve your speed too. To me these exercises are the best for getting into shape for all combat athletes. Theses exercises train your body to move as one using over 600 muscles in one movement.

Fighter Benefit: Both exercises are beneficial for overall performance in competition.

Huddersfield, Ju-Jitsu, Jiu-Jitsu, Martial Arts, Kickboxing

Coffee Before A Workout?

Improved circulation

In a study, each participant drank a measured cup of either regular or decaffeinated coffee. Afterward, there finger blood flow was measured to find out how well the body’s smaller blood vessels work.

Those who drank caffeinated coffee experienced a 30% increase in blood flow over a 75-minute period, compared to those who drank decaf. As your muscles need oxygen, better circulation equals a better workout.

Less pain

Consuming the caffeine equivalent of two to three cups of coffee one hour before a 30-minute high-intensity exercise reduces  muscle pain. Caffeine helps you push harder during strength-training workouts, improving muscle strength and endurance.

Better memory

In tests researchers gave people who did not regularly consume caffeine either a placebo, or 200 mg of caffeine five minutes after studying a series of images. The next day, both groups were asked to remember the images, and the caffeinated group scored significantly better. A brain boost is a real benefit during workouts, especially when they entail needing to recallspecific routines and combinations.

Muscle preservation

Caffeine is found to help offset the loss ofmuscle strength that occurs with aging.  The results indicate that in moderation, caffeine may help preserve overall fitness and reduce the risk of age-related injuries.

More muscle fuel

A little caffeine post-exercise may also be beneficial, particularly for endurance athletes who perform day after day. The research found that compared to consuming carbohydrates alone, a caffeine/carb combo resulted in a 66% increase in muscle glycogen four hours after intense, glycogen-depleting exercise. Glycogen, the form of carbohydrate that gets stockpiled in muscle, serves as a vital energy during exercise, to power strength moves, and fuel endurance.

    • The maximum amount of caffeine recommended for enhancing performance with minimal side effects is about 16 ounces of coffee.
    • Doctor up coffee with almond milk and cinnamon instead of cream and sugar, or whip coffee or tea into a fruit smoothie, along with other nutrient-rich ingredients like almond butter and oats or quinoa.
    • Research shows that when your caffeine intake is steady, your body adjusts, which counters dehydration, even though caffeine is a natural diuretic.
    • Keep drinking water.