Posts Tagged ‘training’

FitDeck Playing Cards for Combat Sports and more

ktadmin Posted in Fitness, Products, Training notes,Tags: , , , ,
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I came across these really cool fitness cue cards.  They are simple to use and give a concise description and visual representation of each exercise.  Here is an example the “Firefighter Lunge with a Twist” card:

firefighter lunge with a twistEveryone knows how fond I am of Lunges as a training tool, so you can look forward to these!!

With fitness card (FitDeck) for almost every application from Prenatal to Combat Sports and Yoga to Pilates, there is a training aid for everyone!  With most decks costing around $15.00 this is truly a valuable addition to your training routine.

For all you Martial Artists, check out the FitDeck for Combat Sports

Learn more and find the deck that is perfect for you at www.fitdeck.com

Tegatana (handsword)

ktadmin Posted in Technique, Training notes,Tags: , , ,
2

Tegatana (handsword) better known as a knife-hand.

The knife hand is perhaps the best know/recognized and least understood of all martial arts basic moves. Often referred to as a ‘karate chop’ the knife-hand attack is powerful enough to render an opponent unconscious (knock out) when executed properly. In the movies we rarely see this move performed correctly or even that accurately, but it looks good! While it is always nice to look good when defending yourself it is truly more important to use the proper technique and end things quickly.

There are five basic steps to performing the knife-hand correctly:

  1. Ensure that your fingers are held together firmly and the thumb is held firmly against the side of the hand. Loose fingers will slap together on impact. Loose fingers also means a loose hand which will collapse on impact causing you injury instead of your opponent!
  2. Tense and slightly cup the palm during the strike to ensure that you deliver a solid strike to the target as well as protecting the hand. (cupping your hand slightly for all open hand strikes helps protect the fingers from bending backwards on a miss timed hit or finger strike.) Angle your fingers away from your hand edge slightly to pronounce the side of the palm and protect your fingers. This also helps you connect with the correct striking surface.
  3. Know appropriate targets. Initially you should only strike soft areas such as the eyes, throat, sides of the neck, below the ears, the bridge of the nose and underneath the nose. With practice and makiwara work you can hit medium targets like the collarbone, inner arm and ribs.
  4. Always be accurate! The knife hand relies on accuracy of technique and target to be effective.
  5. Stay flexible. Never fully extend your arm, this will leave you vulnerable and potentially hyper-extend your elbow. Keeping your arm bent aids in being prepared to alter your attack as the situation changes. With a knife-hand attack it is “easy” to transition to a block, grab or closed-fist strike.

The knife-hand attack has many variations and incorporated into various combinations. It is also easy to practice your knife-hand technique outside of the Dojo. Start slowly with soft items, the back of a padded chair or couch, a rolled towel and work to harder items like a broom handle, with each increase in hardness begin with slow motion and perfect your technique before increasing speed and power.

With enough practice you will soon be able to perform amazing feats with your knife-hand attack…

Goals & Resolutions

ktadmin Posted in Awareness, Diet, Events & Holidays, Fitness, Recipes and Health Facts, State of Mind, Training notes,Tags: , , , ,
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A few days ago most of us made some type of resolution for the new year.  You may not admit it to anyone but it is there in the back of your mind, something you’d like to change or do different this year.  Call them Goals or Resolutions they equate to the same thing, a struggle with yourself, often a battle of endurance which requires willpower!  The most common resolutions focus on our personal selves, weight loss, getting into shape, attaining our next belt, other involve our careers or station in life, we will focus on the former here but what we will look at applies to both.  The problem with the resolutions most of us make is, they require hard work and effort.  Let’s face it if they didn’t we wouldn’t need things called resolutions or goals!

I don’t normally go in for a bunch of motivational gimmicks but I found this one that actually makes sense, SMART:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely
    (Get more in-depth details about Smart Goals here)

Basically this boils down a combination of “keep it simple stupid” and “being realistic and truthful”.  You can’t change if you set unrealistic goals, like I am going to loose 50 lbs next week, that is setting yourself up for failure, which if simply an excuse not to try.  I have known so many people who take this path, actually everyone takes this path eventually if they are not truthful with themselves.  We can learn a lot from addicts in this regard since it is easier to deny the problem then to deal with the problem.

So how do we get on track with our diet and fitness resolutions?  First keep reading this blog!  Secondly take the baby step method, I remember watching this in the old movie “What About Bob”.  You know what, it makes sense.  Break your bigger goal into achievable smaller goals, take small steps.  It may take longer to achieve your goal but the results will be lasting.  Nothing leads to short gains and long term losses then fad diets and an excessive ‘must have it now’ mentality.  The catch here is to make the goals achievable but useful, don’t be so easy on yourself that you aren’t moving towards your goal!  If you are trying to lose weight and you didn’t lose any last week, don’t have the attitude, “well at least I didn’t gain any!”  If you do, you will be saying “well at least I only gained a pound this week” before you know it.  Be honest with yourself but not easy!  This is training, no wimps allowed!!

I will leave you with this interesting study at the University of Hertfordshire which showed that the people most successful at keeping their New Year’s Resolutions did at least three of the following things:

  • broke their goal into smaller steps
  • rewarded themselves when they achieved one of these
  • told their friends about their goals
  • focused on the benefits of success
  • kept a diary of their progress.

There you have it, simple advice that will hopefully help you achieve your goals, regardless of when you set them…unless…

but you’re not that deluded…are you?

A Time for Self-Defense

ktadmin Posted in Articles of Interest, Self-Defense,Tags: , , ,
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In good times people don’t think about bad things but as times become more uncertain people think about planning for the possibility that things will get worse.  With apparent turmoil in almost every aspect of our lives, people have begun to think about and even prepare for the worst.

With a worsening economy, perceived threats to our freedom, rising religious extremism, a perceived demoralization of our populous, many are led to conclude that a more dangerous future might await us.  Right or wrong we as a society seem more aware of the dangerous world we live in and our need to prepare for the worst so as to avoid it.  An ounce of prevention type of reaction…  As a result self-defense sales of goods and services have soared in recent years.  This increase supports the reality that people feel they may need to defend themselves due to ever increasing dangers.

While self-defense activists applaud this trend, there is a significant responsibility for the average student that I don’t feel is being properly communicated.  Too many students come in for a short self-defense class and leave pumped and feeling invincible. Or students that purchase a self-defense tool like mace, pepper-spray, a gun or other self-defense tool with little or no training.  Notice I called these items “tools” and not weapons, because while we classify them as weapons that classification leads to the students misconception and thereby increases their danger.  Most people think of a weapon as something to be afraid of, which it is.  But how frightening is a pair of nunchakus in the hands of an amateur?  Honestly they are more of a danger to the amateur then they are an aid!  Honest, law-abiding people assume that everyone shares their fear of the weapon they wield; whether that is their self-defense skills or karate skills or their self-defense tool makes no matter.  How many movies have we seen where the good guy warns the bad guys that he/she know karate?  How often are the bad guys even fazed by this fact?  The reason, they have accepted that their chosen profession, being a bad guy, comes with the risk of injury.  I have seen it with inexperienced police officers, who assuming because they wear a badge that people will respect it and thereby do as told.  When they face someone who isn’t impressed with that little shield they carry, their perception of power can and does quickly evaporate.  Unfortunately many officers, like the honest, law-abiding citizen, learn the harsh reality of self-defense: vigilance and control.

It is a good thing that people are taking a more proactive approach to self-defense but the instructors must help the students understand that self-defense is a skill that requires practice and a state of mind.  Self-defense is not something you learn about and then put on the shelf until you need it.  If that is your approach then you have a false confidence.  Even the most seasoned and skilled fighter who is out of practice is rusty and thus vulnerable.  In the Rocky movies, Rocky doesn’t simply get back in the ring, he trains and prepares himself.  The difference is that Rocky knew when he was going to face danger.  For the honest, law-abiding citizen that eventuality is very abstract.  When I was growing up it was very unusual to meet someone who had *never* been in a fight.  Today it is unusual for me to meet a student who has ever been in a fight.  While some may feel that is a testament to our advanced civilization, (I have another article coming up about that topic), it leaves most ill prepared to ever face a conflict.  Anyone that has been in a fight and been hit, remembers that first hit they took, you really do see stars!!

How do we learn to defend ourselves?  Must a student enroll for life to stay sharp?  Unfortunately, No.  Must a student attain his/her Black Belt to have adequate skills?  Unfortunately, No again.  The student must understand that taking responsibility for their self-defense carries significant responsibilities as well.  The responsible self-defense student will train regularly to become familiar and comfortable with their chosen techniques, style or tool.  For most this is the fun part of ‘practicing’ self-defense.

Students can practice their skills all the time, staying aware and looking for the pitfalls that potentially await them.  In doing so this heightens their awareness and keeps them ready.  But doing this without practice of the physical skills is almost pointless as you will be aware of your dangers but unable to deal with them.  That is like owning a gun but keeping it in a locked safe in the basement, not much good if you are in your room upstairs when you need it.  Without practice you will find yourself in an ‘if only’ moment of dread.

This begs the question of adequate practice, what is it and how can it help you prepare?  That is a hard question and can vary from person to person.  My simplest answer is, you want to practice in an environment that is constantly challenging you to do better, that means it shouldn’t feel comfortably safe, but it should be comfortably safe…  I hold to the precept that students should take at least one refresher course once a year as long as they are practicing with a friend or loved-one throughout the year.

Without practice you will be ill prepared despite the most elaborate preparations.  Remember that physical practice is only about half of the battle, you have to be mentally prepared to defend yourself.  Practicing coupled with vigilance in your awareness of your surroundings will help to calm your mind in the event of a real need to defend yourself.  Vigilance and control are the keys to self-defense, vigilance in your practice and awareness, control of your body and mind.  Self-defense is something everyone should be involved in, young and old alike, it leads to respectful confidence (as opposed to false confidence) and a peace of mind that you no matter the outcome you have done your best.  No man is truly old until he knows regret, don’t regret your lack of preparation, learn to defend yourself today!

After all you don’t want this to be you when your loved one’s are depending on you…do you?

Training Questions #3 – You need…

ktadmin Posted in Questions, Training notes,Tags: ,
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You need to maintain “This/These Thing(s)” during all martial arts moves?

How many can you come up with?  As a hint it is less than six things…

See you in the comments…

Training Question #2 – Eyes

ktadmin Posted in Questions, Training notes,Tags: , ,
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Where should you be looking when practicing Kata or set routines?

Like learning the proper physical moves it is important to learn the proper mental state.  Where your eyes look tell a lot about your mental state when training.  So where do your are you looking when you train??

Sparring Notes

ktadmin Posted in Awareness, State of Mind, Styles, Training notes, Video,Tags: , ,
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I have been working with my students to improve their sparring skills this month, it’s a great hot weather activity! Sparring can be a tough skill to perfect since everyone wants to jump in the ring and mix things up. Sparring is a very dynamic activity but it can be broken down to individual skills which can be perfected. A short list of these skills include: technique, stamina, focus, and self-awareness. As with any skill technique is paramount to success. Put on some boxing gloves and get in the ring doesn’t make you a boxer, the same is true for Martial Arts sparring. To often I’ve witnessed students at competitions degrade their technique to wildly slapping and kicking.

Sparring matches are won by staying in control. Control comes from confidence and technique. Confidence is something people have to find within themselves. Technique is somethings an instructor can help you perfect. I won’t delve into technique specifics as they vary from style to style, but form is critical to minimizing your vulnerabilities and maximizing your opportunities. Stamina comes with the practice and perfection of your form and technique. As we get older we need to add additional cardio-conditioning! 😉 With good technique and strong stamina you are well equip to win most matches simply by outlasting your opponent.

Focus is perhaps the more difficult thing to learn, as focus is probably the wrong word to use, since you need a lack of focus when sparring. Say what?!? If we focus on our opponent we forget about our surroundings, this may be OK in a sparring ring, but in a real fight that can be fatal. More importantly though focusing on your opponent can lead to signaling your movements. When I spar I typically spar primarily with my peripheral vision, this allows me to “focus” on movements as they occur not a specific movement. Let me give an example: if someone fakes a move with their left, then follows through with the real attack with their right… If I am focused on the person, then my focus will shift to the left fake, when the right comes in, I will have to realize it, shift my focus and then react. If I am focused on the situation, using my peripheral vision then I can more rapidly react to movements in my “sphere” of focus. Basically it reduces the thought process drag that comes from thinking to much. Relax your mind and your awareness becomes more basic, instinctual and reactionary. Hopefully that makes sense, I’ll be happy to clarify any of that.

Self-awareness is probably the most ignored part of sparring, though it is the direct result of good technique training and peripheral or sphere focus. When we spar it is important to be self-aware of your vulnerabilities. It is the only way you can truly improve your art. When you begin sparring your instructor will tell you what you are doing wrong. You should take this instruction as an opportunity to train yourself to find these corrections before you are told of them. The next step of course is correcting the problem, not always that easy. For example, two of my students where sparring and one would lean her head froward after a particular move. Her opponent realized this and he exploited it, with a downward strike to the head. A very bad way to get hit, a fight-ender. After the first hit, I pulled her aside and told her what she was doing. When she did it again I saw her realize it after it was to late. The third time her realization came a little sooner but still to late. Frustration was her enemy on the last point. She has the first part of self-awareness down and is now struggling with correcting the problem. It is a process, no different then learning your first martial arts technique.

I am including these videos for two reasons, first they are awesome! Secondly, they each demonstrate important aspects of sparring. See if you can figure out the importance of each video and post your conclusions in the comments section… Enjoy and pay attention!
[zdvideo width=”400″ height=”226″]http://karatetraining.org/weblog/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Gorgeous-JackieChanAwesomeFight.flv[/zdvideo]

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQa7tlZZ_lM

Looking forward to the discussion…

100 Push-ups

ktadmin Posted in Fitness, Training notes,Tags: , ,
2

Can you drop and give me 100 Push-ups?

I use to be able to, now I am slightly embarrassed by how many I can do.  Part of the problem is a shoulder injury but that sounds a lot like an excuse even to me!  Since I have increased my training this year when I saw this, like the 200 sit-ups, I knew I had to add it to my training regiment.  This program will be added to my current training regiment.  I’ll post updates here and ask you to do the same in the comments section so we can see how we are doing.

100pushups

200 Sit-ups

ktadmin Posted in Fitness, Training notes,Tags: , ,
2

Can you do it?

Can you drop and give me 200 sit-ups?

Neither can I, though I’m almost a quarter of the way there.  This year I have stepped up my training substantially and when I recently found this program I knew I had to try it!  So from time to time I will update my progress (over the next 6 weeks).  I challenge you to do the same, post your progress in the comments section.  Here’s to firming up my stomach so it can take more punishment from my students!

200situps