T Nation

Coach Davies: exercises for hand to hand combat

Great to have somebody answering questions, who has valid information on training athletes.
You mentioned that you have worked with some combat athletes. In your opinion, what are the best exercises to increase speed and strength in kicks (low), punches (mainly boxing and elbow teqhniques) and grappling (no holds barred)?

Mainly training for street self defence (if the situation cant be avoided).

ps. Sorry for spelling, I am from Finland, so english is not my native language.

Now here is a posting that I have been waiting for - thank you. First of combative athletes might be the greatest example of an athlete who should train with the concept of “form and function”. Training is this venue must be condensed such that the function is straight-forward. This is a huge area, I am written volumes of training programs to deal with this so try to be specific with your questions about one area at a time - for instance, the type of work for a boxer.
Nice to hear from someone from Finland - beautiful area and great hardcore athletes.
In faith,
Coach Davies

Anyone else find it ironic that a guy from Finland has a better written command of our beloved English language than many people who have spoken it their whole lives?

Coach Davies, with all due respect sir, my MA Teacher reads this forum (thanks to me turning him on to it…duuuhhhh smacks himself) And to be totally honest with you he is brutal ENOUGH with us advanced students…he REALLY doesnt need any more advice on how to torture his competitive fighters…HONEST!! So perhaps I could recommend that you suggest lighter training…with LESS gasping for air, and less feeling like your lungs are going to explode…and LESS kicks and punches until you cannot lift your limbs…come on…how about an article on “kinder and gentler training”…please?? (all of this said in fun Coach D.) By the way…one of his more favorite torture methods is what he calls “fighters squats” where you begin in a standing position…drop to a crouch…then into a pushup position…perform 5 pushups (handclap pushups), flip your body over so you are the opposite of a pushup position, bring your legs back into a crouch position, and stand up again. Repeat this FUN excercise about 20-30 times. I do not know if there is a “standard name” for this excercise, but it is LOTS of fun. As far as this post is concerned, if you are attempting to train for street self defense, endurance training is highly overrated. Your average street fight lasts 20 seconds or less, and the person who strikes first (and connects) usually wins about 80% of the time. You have to also factor in adreniline stress response which is a HUGE factor in any street altercation because your body reacts so much differently under adreniline (tunnel vision, loss of flexability, selective hearing, loss of fine motor skills and other factors.) Working on strength and power are great for overall conditioning, and if you are going to compete, however for street defense your best course of action is attending MA seminars that focus on adreniline based self defense…they have “howlers” that will induce the ASR in you (trust me…they get to you…I didnt think they would…but DAMN do they get you going when they get up in your face and scream or berate you) then you will learn how YOU react under stress, and the best moves and counters for YOU in such a situation. (most of these seminars have instructors in “red man” outfits which are full body armor which allows you to strike with FULL power and force (unlike most of these wussy “3 classes to street self defense courses” which have you pulling punches or striking at the air. If you want speed techniques and other MA training techniques for competitions and overall conditioning, I would be happy to provide input as well…let me know, but for street self defence, they have very little application in many cases…it is a totally different animal.

DemoDick - Yes, I find it a bit ironic too. And I’m also from Finland (we’re taking over the forum):slight_smile: Actually, I think people that speak english as their native language just don’t care to check their spelling that well. Not that my spelling is anywhere close to correct.

Coach - I’d be very interested to hear from your training ideas regarding boxing!

Whopper - you’re obviously my kind of athlete. I agree with your concept and your instructors. Of course, our brand of hell does prepare you to win the competition doesn’t it. Preparation for battle requires an intimate knowledge of how to deal with chaotic environments & how to react instinctively. Another big discussion panel. As far a training for boxing, fill me in our your sessions I will give you my ideas on how to meet your challenges.
In faith,
Coach Davies

I agree that training for fighting/combat must vary from typical bodybuilding training. I assume that explosive compound exercises would be the way to go, i may be wrong but its just a thought. Whopper, how are you able to tell the reaction of the person in the “red suit”. Do they provide realistic reactions to strikes at full force? I think it is good to get these types of questions on the forum instead of the bodybuilding questions all the time.

Coach Davies…ABSOLUTLY my instructor prepares us to win. As far as the torture he puts us thru…you are correct, there is NO feeling in the world as good as when a black belt from another school visits, and 1/4 of the way thru the class he is bowing out because he is cramping, or cannot keep up any longer. THAT is when you know you have a great instructor. There is something about competitive people…that the more you punish us…the happier we are…it is masochistic…but there is no feeling like surviving one of those “extra special brutal” kind of workouts…where it becomes a battle of wills…your instructor trying to break you…and every atom of your being saying…“he can burn in HELL before I give up” And both of you can feel the challenge running between you…THAT is one of those workouts that you remember for weeks…with a sense of pride.

Supplement Pimp. ASR training is brutal for you more mentally than physically. The first part teaches you about your body space…and “zones of threat” Depending on where your confronter is in your body space will often tell you his intentions. It also tells you your basic odds of talking your way out of it…or confrontation–so you know at what point to strike (remember…he who strikes first…usually wins, and even tho you are being defensive in nature…there are times to be the first one to strike) The red men (or howlers) simulate an attacker or confrontation. They will get UNDER your skin as I previously posted…even tho you know it is their job…they are so well trained…they STILL get to you.(thus causing your ASR) They come at you just like a street, or bar, or rape, or mugging situation…full speed and full force. They do pull their blows when striking YOU (somewhat)…but you are to go full force…so you can see the type of damage you can do with your various attacks. This is as close to the real world as you can get it. You quickly learn…all those pressure points you learned…go OUT the friggin window because under ASR…you dont have the coordination to hit them. You quickly learn that in street self defense…BIG objects (forearms, knees, palm heel strikes, etc) are what save your ass much better than pressure points, spinning back turning hook kicks, flying front jump kicks, tornados or any of that fancy stuff you learn in class…your body under adreniline just DOESNT function the same as it does in the classroom or even in the ring. That is the key and the point to it all. As I posted, I am a competitive fighter, however, even being in the ring…doesnt prepare you for the street anywheres NEAR what this type of training does. If you can find a school that offers it…take it…you will be shocked to learn how your body "betrays"you under adreniline!!

Samuel-I suspect your interest in training for boxing is partially because it is your pursuit? If so tell me how your training or maybe post a new topic about boxing and we can discuss.
In faith,
Coach Davies

Very off topic to Samuel
“we’re taking over the forum” What ?

To show that one of our former enslaved parts of the world doesn´t do all of the nordic repesentation on the forum I must post this swedish entry :slight_smile:

Whopper - again, great post. Your points are what I have been trying to stress in my coaching for years - dealing with the heat of battle. So much time is naturally spent of sets and reps but little on being able to handle the conflict of battle.
In faith,
Coach Davies

Supplementpimp…another thing to consider is that explosive compound lifts are nice…and will develop functional strength, however the key to fighting is reprogramming your nervous system and your reactions…when you boil the martial arts down to their essance…that is what it is. INSTINCT tells us that if someone throws a punch at our head…we step back, and/or cover our head to avoid damage. It takes time to teach our instincts to step IN to the punch, block, and counter…this is NOT our bodies normal reaction. It CANNOT be something you have to think about…if you have to think in a fight…you are done. That is why I get so upset when I see a lot of these poor women going to a one day self defense course. What they learned that day is USELESS if they are attacked…unless they practice it again and again and again until it becomes a natural reaction for them. Therefore…you can lift all you want…and you WILL hit harder…but unless you also work on actual fighting skills against real live opponents (remember heavy bags don’t hit back) your not improving your chances much because you are not reprogramming your bodies natural reactions

Coach Davies,
I would like to know what your ideas are for training in the NHB style of fighting.

Jack of all trades, I was an exchange student in Helsinki last year. I loved the country, but I had to leave early. Hope to go back some day.

z_bumbi - Good to know other scandinavians read this forum too, but I can’t imagine what the heck swedes have to do with testosterone. Nah, just kidding. I haven’t checked lately, but at least couple years ago Finland had won more medals in olympic games than any other country excluding USA. So maybe there’s something after all that you could learn from us stubborn finns:)
Mr.Davies - I’m not that advanced boxer, so I feel a little shamed to ask for your recommendations, but my current training program is as follows (I’m trying to balance between powerlifting and boxing): Mo, We, Fr weight training westside style, geared a bit more towards speed work plus some russian twists etc. Tu, Thu, Sat pretty basic boxing training sessions, which are made of stretching, shadow boxing, jump roping, slips, punching bag, speed bag, footwork (agility?), jumping jacks and match-alike fights (hopefully you understand the terms I used, I’m not that familiar with english boxing vocabulary). I also go jogging two to three times a week, but not on weight training days. What would be the best way to incorporate weight training with boxing? I feel that my current coach can’t help me that much and I live in a very little village in northern scandinavia, so I can’t really change club/coach. I understand this is quite large topic to cover, but if you could give us some of your basic ideas how boxers should train I’d be more than grateful.

Samuel - if you are training to box, then train like a boxer. A boxer trains to compete in the ring (not a lifting platform), form and function (again) is the underlying theme. I did not see any mention of medicine ball work, speed / heavy bag. Try to elaborate on those areas and we can put something together. Oh and by the way - I don’t lose, so if you follow my program, you won’t ever be average again.
In faith,
Coach Davies

I hadn’t asked, had you read any of Pavel’s work and applied that to your training.
In faith,
Coach Davies

z_bumbi (off-topic again): I should correct myself about finns winning that many medals; population should be taken into account of course. And swedes may still a bit ahead of us:) Coach Davies: Thanks for the tips, I’ll purchase Pavel’s books since that’s what I’ve been meaning to do for some time now.

I’m looking to destroy my opponent in the ring. Coach D, I’m training for the Sabaki Challenge. It’s a bare knuckle competition held once a year in Denver. The rules are pretty interesting. No punching to the face but you can kick there. Take downs and deabilitating blows score points. This is not my style of fighting but I really think I could adapt for a day. I’m looking to make my punches so hard and fast that it would just take a few of them to knock them down. I went to watch this years competition and watched. I’m currently doing a lot of deads for back strength which translates into punching power. Squats for leg kicks and running for endurance. What else could you suggest for really upping the punching power?

z_bumbi- “Former enslaved parts of the world”? Since Finland became independent country, no one has ruled here but Finns. Although Soviets did try to invade our country couple of times, they failed. And if you think about it, during second world war, when the whole world was burning in the rages of war, in Sweden they were collecting butterflyes and eating swedish meatballs, after they had cutted their sheeps, of course! So, if our granddads here in Finland hadn’t had enough T to fight against superior Red Army, in extreme condititions, and stop them almost to the border, they would have marched straight to your country and kicked your sorry (sore)asses. So you can thank us you speak swedish and not russian! That’s why you can see so many Finns on site named Testosterone. And even our original “T-Man attitude” creator TC Luoma comes from Finnish origin, so there you have it. Pete

krak - so much of that is a technical question of generating hitting power. Is there anywhere I can get a video or a short mpeg of you. One question, why endurance running? why not fitness work that still retains explosiveness?
I await to hear from you.
In faith,
Coach Davies