Thursday, February 23, 2012

Setting Kicks up With Punches

   In all martial arts settings, it is best to mix up the kinds of techniques you are using. If you just throw roundkicks, your opponent will know to block the side of his body. If you just throw sidekicks, he will know to cut off to the side and execute a counter attack. So mix it up! A jab is a simple way to distract your opponent without compromising your position or your balance. The jab-kick combination is ideal for kickboxing and mixed martial arts fights, as a jab will often result in your enemy shielding their face...which means they can't see your kick.

     But I can't use this in Olympic Sparring Competition!
Yes, you can. As long as you are not punching to the face (illegal in the current rule) it will be fine. It is a major deterrent to any Taekwondo fighter who likes to rush in. Few people would risk a jab without gloves to the face just for a point or two. However, if they are foolish enough to still try this and you don't want a foul (or maybe you're just a nice person), you can switch the jab from  the upper area to the hogu. Even a light directed strike to an aerial opponent's torso can unbalance them, stop their motion, and cause them to fall over....and you get points for it!

There are other advantages that come with utilizing the jab.
 Every time you throw that jab into the air, it does two things

A. It distracts your oponnent. A small object moving quickly towards their direction (the fist) will get their attention, regardless of how far away it really is. A distracted opponent is usually at least a temporarily  unguarded one.

B. Every time you jab properly, your lead hip turns over just a little bit. Your jab masks this movement by distracting your opponent. Simplified, this means that while they're looking at your fist, your hip is turning into a lead leg roundkick or a fastkick.  


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Hook Kick

One of the more flashy kicks of Taekwondo, the hook kick has quite a few excellent applications in a fight. It is a sweeping circular kick that is brought from the side against an opponent, striking with the heel. It is sometimes described as a roundkick in reverse.

Some readers may think of a wheel kick when reading this. This is actually a misconception that many martial artists have. A wheel kick striking with the heel is not the same as a hook kick, the difference being that a hook kick bends the leg back at the knee for the entire spinning motion and only extends right before contact (if at all).

        There are two main variations:

The Standard Hook Kick:
This can be thrown from either the lead leg or the back leg. Kicking with the lead leg telegraphs the attack far less and increases overall speed. Although it strikes with a hard part of the foot, the heel, it does not generate much power at all in comparison to other kicks from Taekwondo. This is why this kick is generally only capable of doing damage when attack the face or the side of the head. When the hook kick is thrown from the back leg, it is a far slower movement, but more powerful. It can also be aimed at the head, but is excellent for pulling down the guard of an overprotective fighter shielding his face. Striking to the side of his guard will, if done properly and with the correct timing, either land a hit to the side of his head behind the guard or knock at least one hand away.
The Spinning Hook Kick:
This kick can be thrown from either leg as well. Most people tend to prefer the rear leg, as there is less distance to travel, resulting in a faster kick. This kick is also useful for the purpose of striking to the head or pulling down the guard. However, due to the spinning motion, this kick is far more powerful than a standard hook kick, meaning that it can be used  to target the body and legs, as well. A spinning hook kick can be aimed at the upper thigh. Due to the downward motion of the kick and the hard striking surface of the heel, this is a very painful kick and repeated uses ( or one solid hit!) can result in an opponent with a lame leg for the rest of the match. The spinning hook kick is also often seen in an aerial variation, especially in Olympic Taekwondo sparring. Due to the fact that your opponent may not attack you on the ground in Olympic sparring, it is a very good tactic to do a hook kick with so much rotation (and therefore power) that it unbalances you, taking you safely to the ground and having a very high chance of knockout if you reach your opponent's head.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Want to Increase Your Cardio?

In bad shape? Maybe you just get out of breath quickly? Here are some tips.


     Depending on your current shape, you may just want to start out light.  Jumping jacks are something that, quite frankly, aren't really worth doing. You may see it all the time in home workout DVDs, but they are not worth the time put in, and therefore not efficient for exercise.

For a beginner:

1. Light jogging with 5 pushups every minute or so.

2. Jumping SQUATS. Not jumping jacks. Every time you drop from the jump, go into a squatting position and hold it for one second.

3. Light jogging with a 10 second sprint every minute.

For someone fairly in shape:

1. Burpees. Basically a step up from jumping squats. Once you reach the squatting position, drop down for a pushup and then push yourself back up to a squatting position. Once you are there, jump up as high as you can. Rinse and repeat. Sets of 10 with a short break in between should be good.

2. Light jogging with a 15 second sprint every minute. However, before you start sprinting, jump 5 times, bringing your knees to your chest each time.

3. 15 second full intensity shadow boxing or bag work with 30 second light bag work in between as a form of rest.

For someone definitely in shape and a cardio pro:

1. 30 second fast bagwork with power, followed by 10 pushups, followed by 10 more seconds of  fast heavy bag work. Jog in place to get your breath back.

2. Tabata! 20 seconds of intense workout of any exercise. Only 10 seconds of rest. Repeat this over and over for 4 minutes. You WILL be tired.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

How to Make a Homemade Martial Arts Mat

Can't afford highly expensive mats for your training? No problem! Here's a guide on how to make a very large quality padded area for less.

It requires:

1. Puzzle mats. The interlocking kind you find in the majority of Taekwondo or Martial arts schools. (This is the most expensive part, so this flooring system really works great if you have these already and want to make them better to fall on). You can also grab these at Walmart.

2. 3/4 inch open cell foam. Get the cheapest and squishiest you can find. We got 260 sq. feet for about 300 bucks.

3. Thin hardboard. The ultra thin light 4x8 pieces.You can pick this up at most hardware or home improvement stores.

Every other flooring system we heard about involved closed cell foam and was still fairly pricey. What makes this different is that this uses really lightweight spongy foam over concrete. (You can put some plastic down to avoid moisture seeping up from the floor). Then the hardboard goes on top to disperse the weight. The puzzle mats go on top of this.

We ended up having a great floor that feels like the puzzle mats are floating on a layer of air. You can practice throws, falls, and more without having to haul out the blue folding mats.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Taekwondo makes the Elite List!

The Philippine Sports Commission has decided to place Taekwondo and boxing as its top sports priorities, known as the "Elite List". Each sport will be receiving a government sponsored budget of 15 MILLION Philippine Pesos to promote a new generation of world class Filipino Taekwondo competitors.

This funding for training and schools will certainly result in the Philippines becoming an up and coming Taekwondo powerhouse in future Olympic tournaments.