T Nation

Martial Arts

Steve B.

Everyone does have there own ways, and some of them are even productive, results oriented and backed by science while others are stuck in ritual and based on ideas a long time proven false.

The dumbbell punching has been tested and the results were clear: Speed was not increased; only the perception of speed, and technique broke down. The resistance is on the vertical plane when the action is horizontal; that changes the motor recruitment and degrades coordination when the dumbbell is not used. i.e. performance actually suffers. The only way to use the dumbbell without degrading performance is to lay on an incline bench. And realize that one isn’t going to get faster doing it, only more powerful. Speed comes from repetition of the actual skill, not from resistance… Did you even read my previous post?

Man, I?ve been in the MA biz a long time and I can say from experience, martial artists are one of the slowest groups to actually use the science that other athletes have benefited by for years… sad really.

Your opinion is fine, but results are what matters.


Exactly Rolo results are whats matter brother.Your post looks like you know what your talking about except i would argue that power in a strike does not come from close grip 3 board b.p.it come from the hips and pivoting them with some force transfering the energy/power to your strike.And all the other stuff you mentioned.Butwho throws a punch on thier back?It wouldn’t help the power in your punch like you would think because your back is supported on a base(the bench)and not standing up in a fighting stance.So you loose all that power with no base support.Sure you will develop your tris and chest but is that truly where the power of a punch comes from?Rolo come on you’ve been at this for years now.

An alternative, maybe a better alternative, to punching and kicking with weights may be to use bands. Attach the bands behind you, hold them and do your punch. That way, if the band i attached at the right height, you will get resistans in direct opposite direction from the punch. The same can be used for kicks. I have not used this myself (yet) and don’t know if there are any studies on it, but some people use it successfully.

My experience of martial arts is that the “in practise strength training” relies heavily on pushups and situps. Work your upper back with rows or similar for balance and don’t forget your lower back. This may not directly improve performance, but injuries, maybe due to imbalances in strength, usualle reduces your performance. I’ve also read, though I can’t remember who wrote it, that your kicks only are as fast as your hamstrings allow. The hamstrings breaks the kick and insufficient hamstring strength makes the body protect itself by not allowing the foot to move too fast.

Good thread guys!

Steve B: Are you a Shotokan fighter? Damn if you’re not, you sure sound like one. As I was reading this thread and the punching power issue came up, I was like “train your technique first” to myself, and you came right out and said it.

Hips and Timing = Power

I would say that there is no magic combination to getting more out of weight training for improving MA. I would have to look at the student in question, and figure out the deficiencies to fill in. If I got a big slow guy who gets tired easy, it’s training endurance more. If I have a smaller guy, I want to put some size on him and keep him good and flexible at the same time.

And that reminds me… flexibility is pretty damn important to train along with weight training and cardio. What good is all that power you get from big muscles if you aren’t loose and fast enough to strike effectively?

From what I have read about martial arts, wouldn’t westside without chains or bands be ideal?

I’m still curious about the original question as to how others train for point/continous sparring.

What do people think of 400m runs? I found them to be very helpful at building leg endurance, which is very necessary for smaller guys. They have to use a lot of footwork to get around and score points, so the legs get tired very quickly.

Another drill that I like is a partner drill. Get a belt, or a rope, wrap it around your partner’s waist, while you hang on to the ends, and have him try to walk across the room, throwing kicks. While he’s throwing kicks, you (the one holding on to the rope) apply constant resistance (pull him back, from side to side). Great for the legs!

Also, what do you guys recommend if I love skipping rope, but my ceiling at home is too low for that? I skip at the dojo, but I would like to be able to train on my own.

I definitely agree with Rolo on this one. These guys are still slugging down raw eggs and avoiding sex weeks before the fight. I definitely like the oldschool/hardcore mentality, but in some regards, a little science could definitely help these guys out.

In regards to training for size and strength, check out Bob Sapp. Is he successful? Yes. Being strong helps a whole hell of a lot in these sports, I don’t care what anyone says. A strong wrestler will have the advantage over a weaker one, period. However, look at Chuck Liddel, he tore up Tito and Couture. He’s got a little belly and isn’t as ripped as his competitors. However, he’s bad ass and has fists of dynamite.

I think the real strategy is to learn to be as strong as possible while still being in kickass shape.


As for training,I think long runs are outdated. I think sprint intervals and straight speed work is ideal. I run track at college and found that my endurance while rolling was very high, higher than kids that rolled about 5 times per week, while I was only rolling once per week. All those short, intense sprints (50-300m) with 2-3 minutes rest inbetween gets you fit.


[quote]Soco wrote:
From what I have read about martial arts, wouldn’t westside without chains or bands be ideal?


I would think keeping the bands and chains would be even more ideal, more so for a contact fighter than a point fighter. Here’s why:

When you strike an opponent you are striking “through” or “into” them, so you are attempting to accelerate your striking tool into them (Fist, elbow, foot, head, hammer, house cat, whatever). By contrast, when you spar and mean to just touch your opponent you have to accelerate then decelerate your implement.

So, keeping the accomodating resistance (thats the term, right?) would help you to accelerate through your entire range of motion.

I think that paul0 character posted something about why “westside doesn’t work” because of the fact that you increase the amount of deceleration at the end of a range of motion by increasing the initial acceleration. This is true, but in practice this is why bands and chains are good.

So that’s why I would say for point and especially contact fighters, training fast is imperative. Train to get what you don’t get in practice. So I would say for a martial artist, max strength and improving the explosive strength defecit. Oly lifts and jump squats among other things. Just plain lifting heavy stuff quickly.

Just my humble $.02

Just out of curiousity, is there someone here on T-Nation from Team Straight Up, Team Paul Mitchell, or any other big-name teams?

The bulk of my training has been in an art called Isshin ryu karate. One of the hallmarks of Isshin ryu is that none of our punches or kicks go past ninety percent extension.

I injured my rotator cuff doing kata training without weights.

The seven minute rotator cuff solution taught me that when you shadow box the only thing that keeps your humerous from pulling out of the Glenoid Fossa is two tiny rotator cuff muscles and that is why you should be very catious of shadow boxing.

Adding weights to these movements compounds the danger, because simply put the muscles that send a punch or kick out are already much stronger than the retractive muscles.

I have seen a lot of people in Isshin ryu cripple themselves throwing snap kicks and punches

I have a lot of admiration for Bruce Lee and have studied jeet kune do philosphy for over twenty years. I also know that he herniated a disk in his lower back doing good mornings and almost had to give up training.

Our knowledge of the body has advanced since his time so it follows that we might see one or two of his many good ideas in a new light.

I’m not closed minded to other peoples training. I’ve gone and trained with and fought against people from other styles and I can see where some ways are better than others.

Having had the opportunity to travel around and see what else is out there. I am struck with how lucky I was, both with the style and the teachers I had.

The main thing I look for now is things that will give me a new angle of seeing things. That’s why like wing chun and arnis

[quote]Steve B. wrote:
I guess you guys have more wisdom and knowledge than the late Bruce Lee.You must truly great martial artists.
I guess everyone has an opinion.What works for one may not work for another and this form of training didn’t work for you.And if you’ve read the post it is only a bit of advice and not the only solution.Instead of criticize offer a positive answer to the main question that was asked.[/quote]

Yeah Bruce Lee was great. The man’s my personal hero BUT Lee was great because he could admit his mistakes. He did make mistakes as no one is infallible.

For instance he used to believe that grappling was infinitely inferior to striking, that was until Gene LeBell introduced himself.
After that he incorporated grappling into his training.

Just because Bruce used to punch with dumbbells doesn’t make it necessarily right or the best way to train. Lee died in the 70’s, alot has changed in that time. Martial Arts have moved on in a big way with the event of BJJ and MMA in general, so why is it hard to believe that punching with dumbbells might not be very helpful?

To be honest, I don’t like UFC. It’s ok to watch, but it gets boring after a while. Point sparring is fun because it keeps you on your toes. Old school continuous fighting is fun aswell.

[quote]Rololicious wrote:
martial artists are one of the slowest groups to actually use the science that other athletes have benefited by for years… sad really.

True knowledge.

I still meet people with the whole “strength training makes you slow” mentality and the “just do situps, pressups and 5mile runs to be a better fighter”

As for Mr Lee - regardless of how good a martial artist he was; a degree in philosophy doesnt qualify you as a strength and conditioning expert. I think Charles Staley said “most people are good INSPITE of what they do, not because of what they do”. Look at Terrel Owens - great wide reciever, shocking training program. Bruce used a lot of bad training (as well as some good); so taking something he did and then assuming it will imporve your performance is a mistake.

Training should be based on scientifially proven methods and/or training methods which have extensive (versus a single person) real world use and track record of success (i.e. Westside).


Yeah but if you miss your target, you will need to rapidly decelerate you punch or kick so as to not be off balance.

I’m not sure about this one, I would like to hear someone with alot of experience chim in on this.

Overall though westside seems to be the best for maximal strength and speed strength which are both of key importance in martial arts.

[quote]Soco wrote:
Overall though westside seems to be the best for maximal strength and speed strength which are both of key importance in martial arts. [/quote]

could you please explain the significance of maximal strength in martial arts? perhaps I misunderstood, and you were talking about events like UFC and Pride, but there’s really very little use for maximal strength in point sparring. Of course, maximal strength is a basis for speed-strength, and strength-endurance, but pure maximal strength does not really come into play in a point sparring match.

I don’t mean to knock your ideas, but I’m truly curious how maximal strength plays a role.

The importance of strength is it helps you to hurt the other guy. It’s one thing for the judges to call a point. But it’s at a whole other when your opponent is thinking it for you.

I’ve been in two tournaments where I have lost, but my opponent turned white and had to lean on his trophy during the awards ceremony.

Those memories mean more to me than a trophy.

[quote]Sifu wrote:
The importance of strength is it helps you to hurt the other guy. It’s one thing for the judges to call a point. But it’s at a whole other when your opponent is thinking it for you.

I’ve been in two tournaments where I have lost, but my opponent turned white and had to lean on his trophy during the awards ceremony.

Those memories mean more to me than a trophy. [/quote]

You can actually be disqualified for injuring the opponent. If he bleeds or is knocked unconcious, you lose. They will warn you for striking too hard, which normaly is a sign of a bias, which again means you probably lose.

I didn’t say hit him in the head. In fact the first guy had knocked me down and after the referee (his sensei) had called break he round housed me in the head so hard that everyones white uniforms looked green. The final point right after that, he threw a round house that never touched me because I buried a heal into his groin. This was a legal technique at that tournament.

At that same tournament my classmate had caught me so well with a skipping in sidekick to the abdomen that I was lifted off of my feet and flew a few feet which again was legal. When I got on my feet I said good shot, the ref smiled and awarded him the point.

I’ve never seen anyone get disqualified for hitting too hard to the body. Then again it has been a few years since I went to one of those things.

I have a certain distaste for point tournaments at this point because I see some people who make way too much of them.

The vast majority of people who take up martial arts, do it not because they want to compete in points tournaments. They do it because they want to learn a better way of defending themselves.

Way too many dojo’s are geared towards tournaments instead of self defense. Martial arts were not originated as a sport but that is increasingly what they have been turned into much to the detriment of self defense.

There are some karate champions out there who have the window of their dojo filled with trophys who couldn’t fight their way out of a bag.

I don’t feel that everyone should be into some kind of UFC bloodsport to be serious because obviously not all of us are geared for that.

But I do think that you shouldn’t be caught completely off guard if someone pulled a knife, which is what happened to a blackbelt from one of our affiliated dojo’s a few years ago.

This man had a lot of tournament success. He was a cop on a call for a domestic disturbance. While he was talking to the wife the husband walked out of the kitchen with a knife in his hand and just walked up and stuck it in his chest.

If he had spent some time on knife disarms instead of gamemanship he might still be alive.