Thursday, 5 April 2012


Foundational Skills - The most important thing to develop via training is a solid basis of striking. We can break down striking into ranges. Many arts and systems list many ranges. For ease we will think about kicking range, punching, range, close range and grappling. There are others to consider such as projectile and trapping range however, in the early stages keep it simple for the trainee. So long range is where we can use our kicks. They can keep us safe with distance however, leave us little room for much else unless we use constant forward pressure or understand bridging principles. Medium or punching range is where our boxing skills come into there own. So we can punch effectively but generally speaking are too close to kick, exceptions being oblique kicks which we normally use to defend a regular front kick however, we can destroy a knee with these if we are working in close. Then we have close range where we utilise out knee and elbow strikes and concentrate on our clinch work. Now this range is where we exploit the skills that most other people don't have and simply can't operate at. It's a good range to be in but can dangerous as well. You need to think about how to navigate there safely. Simply bounding in works great in training however taking punishment and then realising you have to face more than one opponent isn't wise. Another strong reason to work on your conditioning as you don't want to gas to early. Consider your elevated heart rate and the effects of adrenaline on the body and the fear. You need to be able to make good decisions and fast and not ones that will put you in further harm.

Developing Skills - Consider your footwork in class. Think about a strong base and how to move effectively and consider that there will be more than one opponent and also we are not in a ring, There are objects to fall over and uneven ground. When you finish an engagement and "scan the area" sweep the area don't just leap back 6 feet looking about. You've maybe leap into other people, fallen into traffic. Think about the tactical element.

Build your striking up slowly. Pads and the heavy bag don't move. They each bring out attributes when training with them. People don't want to get hit so its more difficult in real life to get a good solid shot in there. Smooth is fast, so build up your different striking combinations and work fluidly. Think about your torque and angling and once you have it all down smooth get more power in there. Always think off speed versus power and in the end the speed = power.

Sparring - Sparring can help in that it lets you know it hurts to get hit. You can see what techniques may or may not work for you. At the end of the day its a piece of the puzzle. Sparring isn't real, you both know the same techniques, and often the people sparring will not attack as frequently as someone in an encounter. In real life people rush in, hoping to end it quickly. In sparring, people are more tactical. That's just the nature of the game. Of course you can control a lot of this as an instructor by placing rules in the spring however, it takes time to build up and we are looking for a quick fix here.

Techniques or Tools - Techniques are often said to be vehicles to student retention. Something that we buy into to keep us interested as we like a bit of flash. There are principles we can take from them however the real meat of the training is the tools. And we mean striking tools such as hammer strikes, closed fist, palm heels, kicks, knees and elbows. There are many more but its the tool we are considering. So if you have a solid skill set of striking then the requirement for techniques becomes less. You can deal with most situations through tactical awareness and good striking. Think of the techniques as the cake icing and concentrate more on the tool development. If you think this is boring, feel sorry for a boxer who has less tools than us and not many techniques and has to train day after day for years! Techniques aren't bad I am just saying to make yourself better concentrate more on the striking and it will give you the confidence and ability to deal with most situations.

How can I improve - In class we work the pads at every session. At home, think about shadow boxing. Why not come along and train in one of the kickboxing classes. This is where your skills will really improve. The boxing and kicking syllabus comes from the material in this class. Some of the guys have already started the cross training and you can see how much they have improved. You can pay per class or if you are on the gold package it is included. Do not neglect this area of your training as it's fundamental and key to your future development.

If you have any questions then drop me an e-mail at


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