There are mostly two ways in which striking is taught in martial arts styles across (now this is a generalization, so relax)
- Putting the whole bodyweight behind a strike, or
- Keeping the body parts relaxed building up to a whip like quality in the strike
The first approach can be seen in modern boxing, kickboxing, Thai Boxing, some Japanese schools of Karate etc. Basically the body builds up a spiraling motion starting from a pivot point eg. the foot. Then progressively muscle groups are contracted sequentially to finally release the power through hands, feet, elbows, knees or any other striking surface. See a few examples here
Advantage: Delivers massive impact due to the build up of momentum
- This is a hit or miss way of striking. If the surface of striking moves away or changes orientation, the vectors of the momentum being aligned in only one direction can easily cause the person to lose balance, trip over and injure themselves
- After delivering a strike, the body takes considerable time to recover and bring the spine back to a neutral position. An unbalanced spinal structure is always the first set up for a throw or takedown.
Applying kinesiology and specifically the concept of kinetic chains does give us a structural idea of the body and the simple mechanics behind a strike. On paper it might calculate out to be a good strike but adding a human body to the mix changes everything. A human body is both hard and soft. This is where the second approach picks up.
- Relaxing the hips and shoulders, allowing the spine to rest at a neutral position and length. This is quite close to the state of Sung in taijiquan.
- Moving muscular tension like a wave along different muscle groups
Such a strike when released allows a better transfer of impact into a body. An alive body reacts very differently to a strike than a heavy bag or board. Depending on the static tension, the available neural pathways, visual cues etc every other body reacts uniquely. To adapt to such uniqueness, the strikes are delivered with natural efficiency and they add up when the body is not constantly recovering from putting too much effort into a single strike.
How do I build this quality of movement in my muscles? It’s simple really. You don’t have to look beyond some basic exercises. Just add some variation in the way you do normal workouts like push ups, sit ups, leg raises or squats. Are you fixed to only one plane of motion? If the ground below you suddenly became slippery, would you feel relaxed enough to adapt in the moment? Want to learn more? Give me a call on 8308252872 to train in Pune.
You can Vladimir Vasiliev showing a similar concept of strikes that adapt fast
The modern idea of mixed martial arts comes from the popularity of fighting competitions like UFC and movies like Never Back Down! Competitions like UFC pit martial artists from diverse fighting styles against each other in an enclosure. At this level, the fighters prepare a comprehensive strategy for training. There are no variables left to chance while training. Broadly the elements of MMA can be broken down into two specific aspects stand up and ground game. Both striking and grappling are allowed whether the fighters are standing or on the ground. A few safety rules specific to competitions prohibit striking of sensitive points and manipulation of joints like the fingers. Such an approach makes it essential for a fighter to be well-rounded, responsive and in top physical condition. Truly MMA fighters are some of the best conditioned athletes on this planet.
Even before televised entertaining championships like the UFC and Bellator emerged, Vale Tudo, a freestyle anything goes way of fighting used to be organized throughout Brazil. This was the initial concept around which UFC was organized with minimal safety rules. Rorion Gracie dominated the initial bouts with a style of grappling unknown to most martial artists at that point. This was the first time the world saw how being specialized in one single mode of fighting like karate had drawbacks when faced with someone with a multitude of skills.
This shouldn’t be a difficult concept to understand if we look back at the origin of battlefield martial arts. The army with a multitude of skilled warriors like cavalry, infantrymen, archers had better options in strategy, attack, defense and maneuverability. On an individual level, a warrior was expected to be equipped with skills to fight empty handed, with weapons, against multiple opponents and adapt to any situation that might arise. No wonder the Greek soldiers gave rise to one of the earliest forms of mixed martial arts, Pankration. Staying sharp was an utmost priority for them and what better way than to test it out against the best in an army.
The essence of mixed martial arts
Regardless of the history, mixed martial arts embodies the philosophy of life – to be skilled, responsive and prepared for anything that comes. At Forge MMA, expect to be trained in the following broad aspects
- Strength and conditioning
- Natural movement by working with partners and animal movement drills
- Strikes with every possible body part, learn to make your entire body an weapon
- Wrestling and grappling including Indian wrestling techniques
- Relaxation, recovery and neural reset techniques with breathing
Call me on 8308252872 to start training in Pune. More detailed posts on the above aspects coming up in the next few days. Stay tuned!