Category Archives: Martial Arts

How to Practice Jiu-Jitsu at Home

How to Practice Jiu-Jitsu at Home

Jiu-Jitsu came into existence some time around the 20th century. The Brazilian people adapted the Japanese martial art form Jujutsu and Americanized it; this Americanized form is called Jiu-Jitsu. The best part of Jiu-Jitsu is that it allows even a 100 pound person to defend himself or herself against any person or persons. Jiu-Jitsu is not about strength – or let’s say it is not only or mainly about strength; Jiu-Jitsu is a technique, an art. Even a seemingly supple and slender individual can choke you to death if he/she has learned and perfected this martial art. You watch a combat or championship, and you begin to believe that it takes mind over might to win.

Jiu-Jitsu is based more on using leverage, joint-locks and choke holds. Now there is no way you can practice joint-locks or choke holds on your own! So the question remains – how to practice Jiu-Jitsu at home? Well, it’s not so difficult. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you practice and perfect Jiu-Jitsu.

Where to Practice Jiu-Jitsu at Home?

You need to have ample floor space to practice any martial art form, including Jiu-Jitsu properly. It would be best to practice it in open air – in a garden, or a garden patio, canopy or gazebo. You can even practice Jiu-Jitsu in the garage if you have enough of free space. This is necessary in the initial stages – till you perfect your technique. If you are learning Jiu-Jitsu as a combat sport, you will be given ample space in the championship as well. But if you plan to learn Jiu-Jitsu more as a form of personal defense then remember that even if you practice in a spacious place, you may have to use your technique to defend yourself in a confined space as well, or when you are cornered. I do not mean to scare you, but it is better to be prepared, right? So make sure you perfect your technique.

Practicing Jiu-Jitsu at Home

Learn Right
The first and foremost step to perfecting the art of Jiu-Jitsu is to learn the technique right. This means paying full, undivided attention during the training sessions. Absorb the technique, and understand the logic and science behind it. Studying the human anatomy will also help you learn about the weak points in the body and how you can use these to your advantage. Take your classes seriously.

Pair Up
Like I said before, it is difficult to practice Jiu-Jitsu on your own. While practicing Jiu-Jitsu at home, make sure you pair up with someone who knows Jiu-Jitsu. It would be a good learning experience if you can pair with someone who is more experienced in the art than you. Their experience would have taught them a lot more about combat than what you learn in a class. However, you can even pair up with your Jiu-Jitsu buddies so that you can learn and practice together.

Switch Partners
Most martial art forms also try to train the student to read the opponents body language so that you can predict his/her moves and act on them. This is why practicing with the same person for a very long time can limit your skills as a Jiu-Jitsu student. Make sure you switch your partner once in a while. Even if four of you decide to practice together, each will get a chance to practice with three different partners. Good enough.

Mirror Mirror on the Wall
It would be perfect if you could practice in a room with mirrors. This is so because you can observe how different parts of your body move, how they work together to give you a strong and perfect choke hold or joint-lock. Studying this will help you perfect your technique, which will go on to improve your Jiu-Jitsu. You can get a huge top to bottom mirror fixed on one of the garage walls. It will be perfect.

Make it Complex
If your only motivation to learn Jiu-Jitsu is self-defense, you are going to be tested for your technique in tricky situations! So why not be prepared? Challenge yourself and your combat partner by making things slightly complex – defending yourself when cornered, when the opponent is armed, etc. Stretch the limits and take your skill to new levels.

A Word of Caution

Do not get over ambitious with your practice. Make sure you rest enough between practice sessions, eat the right kind of food, drink enough water, and do not tire or wear yourself out. Consult your trainer about what kind of diet you should follow, what your sleeping hours should be, if there are any food products you should avoid, etc. Consult a physician as well. In case you start to feel any kind of pain, do not push the limits or try to be brave and overlook it – tend to it immediately. Play it safe.

Cardio Kickboxing Routines

Cardio Kickboxing Routines

Cardio kickboxing has its origin in Thai sport of kickboxing, which makes the participants sweat. It is taught in aerobic studios, wherein the participants facing a big mirror, learn the specific punches and kicks, usually to the beat of dance-music. A few minutes exercising with jump rope can be included as warm up exercise before the workout. The punches done with precision and power help strengthen your upper body and tone the muscles. The kicks strengthen the legs, especially, the hamstring muscles of the thighs. Bobbing, weaving and jumping amidst the kicks and punches make kickboxing an interesting and enjoyable activity. Cardio kickboxing routines help improve the heart health. Usual 30-60 minutes kickboxing workouts may leave you drenched in sweat and energized. The kickboxing exercises can be called a fresh style of martial arts, which blends the grace of boxing with the powerful maneuvering of kicking style. Knowing boxing tips and techniques can help master this form of exercise easily.

Cardio Kickboxing

Though kickboxing is a good form of cardiovascular exercise, cardio kickboxing routines are not suitable for all bodies and temperaments. You don’t need to switch to these exercises; if you are satisfied with your existing cardio workout plan. If you have tight hamstrings, or if you have a back problem, you should not try kickboxing workout. Instructions regarding warm up exercises to begin, stretching and cooling down should be strictly followed. The position you will return to, after every punch and kick will be as follows: your feet are kept at about shoulder width apart and one foot is set back from the other at a slight angle, while your fists are up around your temples, guarding your face. You should be quick and light on your feet. Your actions should be quick and forceful. The types of punches which are commonly included in the cardio kickboxing moves are jabs, crosses, hooks and uppercuts.

Jabs: A straight punch, packed with power (on the face of your imaginary opponent) is called jab.
Crosses: Crosses are rear hand analogs of jabs.
Hooks: Stretch your leading hand fully and in an arc, the punch is targeted towards opponent’s temple and cheek (remember, you will be shadow boxing, there is no contact with resistance pad or punching bag).
Uppercuts: Uppercuts are to be thrown with rear hands, targeted towards opponent’s chin from downside.

The roundhouse kick, front-kick and side-kick are the types of kicks that you learn during cardio kickboxing routines.

Front-Kick: Stand facing your opponent. With your back leg, you have to deliver a front-kick into the opponent’s trunk (chest, stomach or groin), which is just like slamming the door shut with your back-kick.
Back-Kick: Imagine the target advancing from side. Bend the leg in the knee, turn it slightly and deliver the kick, as if striking him with the heel.
Side-Kick: Side-kick is delivered by the front leg. Raise the front leg straight up but sideways and to full extent, to deliver the kick.
Roundhouse Kick: Stand with your side facing the opponent and lift your front leg, bend the knee and throw a kick in one hard motion.

Cardio kickboxing workout can be a part of cardio workouts at home as you don’t need any equipment. You may master the kickboxing moves, step by step, depending upon your level of preparation and your strength. Some of the advanced kickboxing moves may require more skill, coordination and maneuvering.

Sample Cardio Kickboxing Routine

First step – 2 sharp jabs
Second step – a Cross
Third step – a hook
Final step – an upper jab

People generally attend classes of cardio kickboxing for a few days. They enjoy performing exercises in groups or classes. But they do not continue with it at home. Once you learn the moves, you should practice the moves on your own. You can even design various combinations of punches and kicks, after watching actual kickboxing videos. Just see to it that combination strikes are thrown quickly, without any pauses. Then only, the exercise can be effective and useful. You may try different combinations of all the basic strikes. This kind of exercise should be performed for at least two minutes. It should exhibit speed and power.

If you include intensive aerobic moves in your kickboxing exercises, it can help you burn as much as 500 – 800 calories per hour and as an added benefit, it can boost your confidence to defend yourself during a real world combat situation. Although cardio kickboxing cannot be regarded as training for practical combat situations, it can be considered as great stress-relieving exercise. Consistency, power and precision can help shape your abs and improve your cardiovascular fitness. This is the best way to improve your endurance. Exercising on a treadmill may seem to be monotonous but cardio kickboxing, which involves fast reflexes and power can be fun! This type of exercise can not only invigorate your body, but it can also energize your mind. Moreover, it can be both energizing and relaxing simultaneously. You can be lean and strong from shoulders to calves, building up self-confidence and a positive self-image.

Health Benefits of Martial Arts

Health Benefits of Martial Arts

health

Martial arts are systems of codified practices of training for combat with the objective of defeating other person to defend yourself from physical threat. Besides this, they are practiced as competitive combat sports, such as kick boxing, karate and taekwondo, as well as dance forms in various parts of the world.

Learning martial arts can make the person physically strong and mentally sharp. One can defend himself from any kind of physical attack. They don’t just contribute towards a fit body, but facilitate a proper coordination between the mind, body, and soul. Owing to their holistic approach, they are very helpful when it comes to personal fitness.

Martial Arts and Our Health

Although the most important benefit of martial arts is self defense, their health benefits, ranging from muscle strengthening to stress release, are also worth taking a note of. Certain forms of martial arts, such as karate and kung fu, help in improving the cardiovascular health and toning body muscles. Other forms, such as Thai kick boxing for instance, help in improving body flexibility. The practice of calisthenic exercises, i.e., light exercises which promote general fitness, is an important aspect of martial arts. These exercises play an important role in improving overall stamina. The basic concept is proper utilization of strength and energy effectively, therefore practicing any form of martial arts is bound to bolster your energy levels.

Various researches have proved that people in their 40s who regularly practice any form of martial arts have higher levels of fitness than their counterparts who don’t exercise. These people also have a stronger immune system. It is believed that some forms of martial arts, such as the Tai Chi, grant anti-aging and other such health benefits to their practitioners. They don’t just improve strength, stamina, and flexibility, but also contribute to balance and coordination between the mind and body. Choreographed routines, known as the ‘katas’, form an important part of the discipline involved in martial arts. The hard style routines comprise aerobic and cardiovascular workout, while the soft style routines focus on flexibility of the body as well as balance and control.

Martial arts are known to improve spirituality and have positive effects on the mind, as its training involves great deal of concentration and self control. They can help you control your aggression and defeat your fear, thus making you experience internal peace and at the same time, boost your levels of confidence. Furthermore, this helps you to keep your stress levels under control and makes you feel energized throughout. All these benefits coming your way, directly or indirectly, improve your efficiency.

Knife Throwing Techniques

Knife Throwing Techniques

The throwing of knives as a sport, as well as a part of martial combat training, dates back to ancient times. Most of us have seen knife throwing events at circuses while we were quite young. Oh, I can still remember those moments when shudders used to escape my lips each time the knife wielding artist would aim his weapon at his beautiful assistant, who would stand at the other corner of the stage with her back against a large circular wooden board, smiling meaningfully as if daring the maestro to proceed with the feat. Every time a knife left the thrower’s hand, I would close my eyes in anxiety, opening only at the sound of cheering from the crowd, relieved to find the assistant unharmed and smiling. Before proceeding to the techniques to throw knives, let’s get familiar with the basics and mechanisms that are at play behind every throw that hits where the thrower wills it to.

Some Basic Lessons

Lesson One: Basic Mechanism
The basic mechanisms that are involved in throwing a knife such that it hits where the thrower wants it to hit are the same as the underlying principles of mechanics. The pivotal aim behind throwing a knife is to make it hit or dodge a particular target in such a way that the knife sticks with significant force to the made-for-the-purpose background. In order for this to happen, there are a number of factors that come into consideration like distance, stance, aiming accuracy, positioning of the target and the thrower’s body, number of rotations of the knife, etc. The way the knife is held by the thrower, the rotation of the wrist, and the angle at which it is released are also very important considerations.

Lesson Two: Knife Throwing Properties
The knives used for professional throwing at entertainment events, like fairs, parties, and carnivals, are very different from regular knives. Keeping in consideration such factors like handling by the blade, balanced weight distribution to facilitate sticking to target, etc., throwing knives are designed very differently from regular pocket or kitchen knives. The most prominent difference can be seen in the assembly of the knives―throwing knives are single piece tools, whereas kitchen and pocket knives are made of handles and blades which are manufactured separately from each other. Another major difference is that most throwing knives have blunt edges, as many times, the thrower holds them by the blade before releasing them towards the target. The ultimate utility of the knife lies in its ability to stick and hold on to the target, and for this, a sharp point is the only necessity, not sharp edges. Also, the steel that is used for throwing knives is different from that used in regular knives, as throwing knives should be more malleable so that they are less prone to breaking―considering the banging and battering they undergo, this is an indispensable feature.

Lesson Three: The Techniques
There are, broadly, two techniques of throwing a knife―the spin technique and the no-spin technique. In the spin technique, the thrower usually holds the knife by the blade, keeping the fist upright at a 45° angle with the wrist. The knife is released by jerking the wrist downward and loosening the grip to let the knife fly. The number of rotations or ‘spins’ undergone by the knife before hitting the target depends upon the distance of the target, the force of release, as well as the stance of the thrower. Another variant of the spin knife throw is the sideways spin. In the sideways spin technique, the fist forms a 45° angle with the wrist while facing inwards, keeping the elbow poised such that the forearm inclines towards the torso. The knife is release with an outward jerk of the wrist and simultaneous loosening of the grip.

The second technique is the no spin technique, mostly used in combative situations. This technique involves holding the knife by the handle and throwing it using the same motion that is used to throw a shot in a shot put event. The thrower throws back the shoulder of that arm which holds the knife and brings it forward in a pushing motion, albeit more tensed than a conventional shot put one. The force from the shoulder is used to release the knife towards the target.

There, those were the basics that you need to know about throwing knives. Remember, this is an activity which can only be mastered over time and with practice. More so when performing for a live audience and using a human prop. A slight slip can result in serious casualties. Hence, practice a lot and display caution when playing with knives and weapons. Remember, the knife is an equipment which was originally invented for cutting and fighting―it deserves cautious handling, and is not something to be fooled around with.