The starter system to building explosive power.

The ability to generate explosive power quickly, and efficiently is arguably one of the most important aspects of the martial arts. From quickly sending out a powerful low leg kick, retracting it and following up, to sending out a mystical chi ball from 10 feet away – explosive power is crucial.

Disclaimer: I’m kidding about the mystical chi ball… Though given current circumstances an social distancing…

Delivering the big knockout punch is ultimately what many martial artists aim for. Whether this is for one hit stopping power for self defence, or K.O power for competition, explosive power is something we all strive for.

But what exactly is it….?

Simply put, it’s exerting more power, in less time. There are some AWESOME examples of this in all martial arts, hard styles and soft. From board breaking (boards… don’t hit back), to kata, all are examples of explosive power.

So how do we build this? Stand under a waterfall? Break chopsticks with your fingers? Grow a white goatee and name yourself Pai-Mei?

All valid and indeed I would encourage this… however there are some other ways too..

Martial Artists aren’t the only ones who need explosive power. Look as baseball players, American footballers, curlers…

Okay, maybe not curlers….

But almost all forms of professional sport require explosive power and there are a number of exercises we can do to build this type of power and improve our ability in any given sport – especially the martial arts.

Top Exercises for building Explosive Power!

The Kettlebell Snatch

Kettlebells are awesome for developing raw and functional power. Relatively cheap and easy to transport around, you can get a whole body workout in using just a kettle bell so they come highly recommended on my list of equipment.

To perform the kettlebell snatch, stand feet shoulder width apart, kettlebell on the floor. Squat down to pick it up, ensuring good form. Drive up using the legs and pick the kettlebell up through your centre and extend your arm straight above your head. Then lower the kettlebell down. This is one rep!

The explosiveness from this movement comes from pushing from the ground and extending the arm, using the feet, knees, hips and shoulders especially. A fantastic exercise to work multiple large muscle groups and develop explosive power.

Box Jumps

Another fantastic exercise to really get the legs burning, the cardiovascular system fired up, and a great way to build EXPLOSIVE POWER! Which is something we would all like right?

To perform…. Find a box… Jump on it…. Repeat….

Okay it’s slightly more technical but not much. Awesome for plyometrics and developing fast twitch muscles (crucial for those genuine K.Os, not so much for the no touch…).

Find a raised surface, or a study, preferably weighted down box, the height of which will be dependent on your ability. New people, try a curb or something… athletes… a double decker bus, you get the idea.

Stand shoulder width apart again. Bend the knees and get your body ready for some air time! Swing your arms in the air like you just don’t care, drive up from the floor and (hopefully) launch yourself onto the box. Either you’ll make the jump and if so repeat.

Or you won’t make the jump, so ensure you film it first because that shit goes viral. Then go for a smaller box until you can complete it. Make sure you land softly, bend the knees and keep good form throughout so as to reduce injury.

Plyometric pushups

Ah the good old push up! A great exercise for building multiple muscle groups again, and also one fantastic for building the explosive power we are all looking for.

The focus here is to perform your push up as usual, but really focus on pushing up as hard as you can, like you are pushing the ground away from you as you push your body up. Again, great for developing fast twitch muscles meaning you’ll be faster AND more powerful.

If this is just too easy and you’re too much of a pro for this amateur shit. Add on some clap push ups. Push off the floor, get some air time and clap your hands before you land!

Still too easy?

Double clap push ups! Clap in front of you, then clap behind your head before you land. Requires more air time, therefore more explosive power, therefore more chance of face plant.

Side note – want to be featured in a Martial View video? 100% guarantee of fame if you send me a video of you face planting while double clap push ups.


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The Burpee

Because no fitness article is complete with a bastard burpee! Hated by many, loved by few, yet kind of usual as well, the burpee can be easily be compared to our current government, yet I digress.

Start standing, crouch down and hop back into a push up position. Perform said push up. Jump forward to a crouch, stand up. Jump in the air. Complete.

Lots of jumping. Lots of plyometrics, lots of cardio, lots of pain, lots of swearing, lots of explosive power.

A workout build around any of these exercises done consistently will build explosive power. Combine it with technique, pad work and bag work and you’re speed and power for martial arts is bound to increase.

Start slow if you’re a beginner and build up. For example

x10 Kettlebell snatch left and right

x10 Box Jumps

x10 Plyometric Push Ups

x10 Burpees

Rest for 1 minute and repeat 5 times, three times per week. As this becomes easier, either increase the reps, increase the sets or decrease the rest time and see your explosive power increase!

Are you too old to train? The Mike Tyson comeback…

“It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.”

I’m excited. Amid all the doom and gloom of Coronavirus and the fear in the world today, I saw something to potentially get excited about… The return of Mike Tyson to boxing.

That’s right… THE Mike Tyson!

Sure it will be for some exhibition matches raising money for charity, probably for 3 or 4 rounds, but hey! This is exciting stuff and got me thinking…

At what age should you hang up for gloves for good?

Tyson is now 53 years old and has his last fight 15 years ago at age 38. His return to the ring for some will be exciting and even inspirational, yet others, most notably George Foreman, have warned him to stay out the ring and that he has nothing more to prove.

So what do you think? Is there a time when a fighter should just retire, never to step foot in the ring or cage again and when is that time?

I’ve heard a few times martial artists say that the difference between martial arts and combat sports is that combat sports often have a peak. An age where you are as strong, fit and agile as you can possibly be.

After this peak has been reached, there is a steady decline where the body simply cannot take the same amount of punishment as it did before. Skill diminishes therefore retirement happens.

With martial arts however, the peak doesn’t reach as early as skill level increases consistently. A fine example of this would be Dan Inosanto – aged 83 and still hosting seminars around the world (pre-corona) and as skilled and talented as he ever was.

This may be due to a number of reasons:

The punishment the body takes…

Professional fighters put their bodies through so much on a daily basis. From regular hard sparring sessions, to fitness building that takes you to the edge and pushes you both mentally and physically – combat sports are tough man! That’s not even counting the fights themselves! Repeated kicks to the legs, punches to the body and head and general wear and tear take their toll and this for sure is a reason why combat sport competitors reach a peak.

Martial artists on the other hand – by broad stroke and not all, tend to train a little less intensely. Many don’t fight competitively, preferring to train for their own reasons such as fitness, health and personal safety perhaps. When and if they spar, it’s technical sparring which doesn’t kill you at the end and the level of punishment the body takes simply isn’t the same.

The martial art you choose…

Some martial arts are built with health and longevity in mind. If we look at some of the more esoteric martial arts such as Tai Chi or even some forms of Aikido (I know, I trained Aikido), the movements are more flowing and graceful. Many cite martial arts as a fantastic way to stay healthy, but this really does depend on the martial art you choose!

Enter the shark tank in an MMA gym, have an hour rolling session in BJJ or a hard sparring session and ask yourself at the end if you feel healthy! I’ve even had Aikido sessions where I have thrown up from exertion and the next day every inch of me has been bruised and achy – Thanks Joe Thambu Sensei…

The martial art you choose and it’s main function will often depend if you hit a peak. You don’t see many active 60 year olds in a kickboxing gym, but will see that age practicing Kung Fu or Tai Chi perhaps. Certain martial arts hit a certain demographic and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

So to bring it back to the original point… Should there be an age where you can no longer fight competitively?

Are you fighting competitively now and what’s your plan for the future? Will you do a Tyson and fight until you can’t anymore?

Are you getting older now and has your training adapted and changed as a result?

Are you young and simply wanting to just kill someone in training?!

Let me know!

The Martial View – Joe Thambu Shihan Interview Part 2

Joe Thambu Shihan is head of the Aikido Shudokan, based in Melbourne, Australia. The last man ever to be graded to 5th Dan by the founder of Yoshinkan Aikido, Shioda Gozo, Joe Sensei is now internationally renowned. He has a dynamic style and some say it has more of a practical flavor than other forms of Aikido in terms of self defence. Thambu Sensei has previously released material on restraint and removal and has real life experience working on the doors of Melbourne. We discuss this in part 2 of the interview and why Aikido is in the state it is currently in.

Part 1 of our interview discussed Joe Sensei’s background and his thoughts on the efficacy of Aikido. This part goes into more detail on this, and Thambu Sensei talks on why Aikido has such as bad reputation. He discusses his teaching style and the future of Aikido. He also discusses his current interview series #keeptheflamealive, where he interviews high ranking martial artists and discusses their training.

An incredibly well respected martial artist, Joe Thambu Sensei is someone I look up to (not physically :P) but in terms of his philosophy on martial arts and also life. He is the epitome of Budo in my opinion and it has been an honor to have him agree to be interviewed for this blog. Osu Sensei.

The Martial View – `MittMaster` Interview

Okay then folks! Here we are, our 2nd official interview since relaunching this blog with the MittMaster himself, Matthew Chapman.

When the Covid-19 reared it’s ugly head, a lot of businesses were caught with their pants down – martial artists included. We were suddenly faced with the prospect of having to close down our physical locations indefinitely!

What to do? There were 2 options. Get online and offer remote training, or wait for it all to blow over and rely on the goodwill of your students to keep paying their fees – not ideal.

Luckily, the majority of people have now moved online – interestingly even some who have previously been so vocal in their disdain for online training! Needs must right?

One man who has been advocating the need for online training for literally YEARS is founder of MittMaster, Matthew Chapman. We’ve reviewed MittMaster products before, and are a big fan and I’ve trained with Matthew a number of times. A completely legit martial artist with fantastic skills and undefeated MMA champ, Matt has now moved his martial arts completely online! He offers training for students and instructors in a number of different areas including:

  • JKD
  • Boxing
  • Kickboxing
  • MMA
  • Self Defence
  • Filipino boxing

He is now helping other instructors get online through his community – Teach Your Passion Online and I know that many instructors, myself included are incredibly thankful for his help and support in this difficult time.

Therefore, who better to talk to about online training and the future of it?

He’s always been a big supporter of the blog and it’s always fantastic to catch up and chat with this man, so thanks Matt and enjoy everyone!

RELAUNCH!

Okay everyone! So apologies for letting the blog slide a little as of late! Between running a full time martial arts school, getting in as much training as I can, training people up for instructors and getting the book Martial Masters Vol. 1 up and running at the beginning of the year, it’s been busy!

I am now back on track however and ready for a relaunch of the blog. However….

I need your help! What do you guys and girls want to see more of?

  • Videos
  • Interviews
  • Techniques
  • General blogging
  • Experiences running a martial arts school?

Let me know and I shall do my best to provide!

We are also expanding the team and looking for some writers! So if you feel you have a knack for writing and have some stuff to say on anything martial arts, fitness or training related. Get in touch through here, or through Facebook! We’ll get you up and running on a successful(ish) blog!!

Look out for the next post and a little relaunch coming very soon!

Book Review – Tales from the Western Generation by Matthew Apsokardu

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Tales from the Western Generation by Matthew Apsokardu

So a friend of mine and fellow blogger Matthew Apsokardu from www.ikigaiway.com asked me to write a review of his new book that has just been released on Amazon and I was more than happy to do so! Free book for me if nothing else :P. Those who follow the facebook group will know I have just ordered a shit ton of self defence and martial arts books so look out for some more reviews soon, as well as a recommended reading page!

I know nothing about the history of Karate, or much about the history of most martial arts to be honest and in general find it pretty dull to read about, but Matthew’s book was the exception! I was actually surprised to find myself really enjoying it, learning about the historical and cultural changes that led to the evolution of Karate as it is practiced today from the pioneers in the early 1900s to the tournament scene in the 1960s and 70s.

What really makes the book is the interviews conducted however with pioneers, mavericks and trendsetters of the martial arts who have set the tone for those that practice martial arts today. The book is incredibly easy to read, informative and enjoyable and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in the history of martial arts or martial arts in general. This book is a must have on the shelf for any serious martial artist.

To purchase the book, please follow this link – http://www.amazon.com/Tales-Western-Generation-Stories-Firsthand/dp/0692436545/ref=la_B00XZSFAFY_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1432176686&sr=1-1

or alternatively follow http://westernkarate.com for kindle copies!

Well done Matt, great book!

 

NFPS Ltd – BTEC Level 3 Self Defence Award

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NFPS Ltd – BTEC Level 3 Self Defence Award

So a few people have asked me to write a short article on my thoughts on the BTEC level 3 Self Defence Award I recently did via Mark Dawes’ company NFPS Ltd. As I am one day hoping to set up a self defence business I thought it was imperative to get this award and had heard good things about both the company and the course as a whole from a number of sources.

The course was held on the first weekend of March at the National Sport Centre in Lilleshall. The setting was amazing and the facilities there are fantastic. Prior to the course we had been sent a booklet to complete prior to attending the course, covering things like the law in relation to self defence, health and safety, the Human Rights Act and the psychology surrounding self defence. In all honestly, some of it was more interesting than other bits but in fairness, I don’t think anyone is able to make risk assessments and health and safety interesting! The pre-course material was laid out well in an easy to understand way, and various documents were sent via email outlining what was expected of you before attending the course, and what had to be completed. The written materials were aided by a number of YouTube videos on the various topics, with Mark talking us through the main points, and giving real world examples. I found the YouTube videos much more helpful than the written material but again, this is just a personal preference.

So I arrived at Lilleshall raring to go for the course and have to say it was a lot more physical than I thought it would be. Not in the fact that we were pressure testing or having difficult workouts, but in the fact that I thought a lot more of the course would be classroom based. Nearly no time at all was spent sat down, but more time dedicated to learning, and then teaching basic self defence techniques from a variety of attacks such as wrist grabs, headlocks or strikes, focusing on easy to remember gross motor skills which we knew at this point to be the most effective.

The course ran over the two days and culminated in teaching two self defence techniques to the group of your choosing from a set list of attacks. Everyone was slightly nervous about this at the start of the course, but in reality it was relaxed and nothing to worry about. The instructors put us at ease from the start, injecting humour and personality into the teaching and socialising, and at the end of the course you did feel as if you were part of the NFPS family and had their support if you ever had any questions or issues when you go out and start teaching self defence.

The course certainly isn’t the cheapest out there, but in my opinion is one of the best, giving you a recognised qualification at the end of it, and the skills and knowledge to go and teach and effective and fun self defence course. The course and the instructors were professional from start to finish. As already mentioned the setting of the National Sports Centre was amazing with incredible facilities, and really good food more importantly, and before I had even arrived home from the course, I received an email congratulating me on passing and saying the certificate was on its way out now. Everything from start to finish was well planned, professional and informative, and the general atmosphere was great. Upon completion of the course I am now confident I could offer a variety of different self defence courses, and that if I ever have a problem or question, I can email NFPS Ltd or call one of the instructors and get an answer almost immediately.

I would thoroughly recommend this course and hope to go on more in the future as NFPS Ltd offer a wide range of other courses from restraint and removal to handcuffing or breakaway instruction.

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