Tag Archives: core strength

Cooking the perfect dish

If the title already got you thinking what’s cooking got to do with a martial arts blog, read on.

Cooking a great meal doesn’t happen right away. Unless ramen is your idea of one.

Even before you actually start you already have a somewhat concrete idea of the ingredients to be used and how they fit in.

Then you got to manage the right timing of adding spices, salt, sugar along with boiling or frying.

You have to be alert about maintaining a consistent level of heat. You just don’t turn the burner on full blast right from the beginning.

You might be continuously engaged in stirring or you let it be for a while and keep it simmering. Obsessiveness with the process ruins everything.

In 30-45 minutes, you cooked yourself or your loved one a great meal and swear to God, it tastes amazing. Much better than the 120 seconds instant noodles.

Why does your approach to martial arts, personal safety, fitness and health have to be any different? You can’t drive-thru at your local gym with a fat annual membership plan and feel entitled to become fighting fit.

If you are new to this, relax and leave yourself to a scientific training process that takes care of routine, intensity levels, recovery and anything else that might crop up. If you are not a doctor, you don’t self medicate. If you don’t know cooking, you ask for help. Don’t be stubborn with self-training when it comes to martial arts and fitness as well. We all start somewhere and contrary to the image in your head, the better training standards a martial arts center has, the more are your chances of getting help from the instructor and training partners.

Take a look at the blog posts. Go to the youtube channel  and see for yourself the all rounded experience you will have in our training sessions.

Make the walk to our centers in Pune and cook up the perfect lifestyle of health, safety and fitness for yourself.

Fitness benefits of training in kicks

Functional core strength

Martial arts strikes focus on producing power through arms and legs in the most efficient way. The core is not just the ‘six pack’ when it comes to martial arts. It includes the trunk, belly and the legs. Anatomically the following major muscle groups are involved

  • rectus abdominis, the six pack
  • transversus abdominis, crisscrossing set of muscles that connect with the diaphragm
  • obliques
  • psoas, the longest muscle from the ribcage to the thigh bone
  • vastus medialis, the inner thigh muscles (a part of quadriceps)

Practicing kicks target all these areas which translate into further benefits.

Improved posture and relaxed spine

Take the example of a roundhouse kick. There is a twisting power generated that involves the obliques, psoas and inner thighs. When practiced correctly, it opens up tight hips, releases tension from the lower back and builds obliques that holds the spine in place. Once the muscles are developed functionally, extra load is removed from the spine which returns it to its natural relaxed S-curves shape.

Reduces tightness in the thighs and calves

Kicks work on engaging the major leg muscles: quadriceps, hamstrings, calves etc. In a front kick, both the hamstrings and quadriceps are engaged and relaxed alternately. As awareness of these muscles increase with repeating the kicks, the muscles become supple and toned.

Strong glutes

The gluteus maximus, the ‘butt muscle’ is the largest muscles in the body that powers lower body movements. A sedentary life at a desk weakens this muscle along with tightening the psoas (see above) that can cause lower back pain.

With the right kind of training in kicks, these muscles can be re-activated that allows for relaxed walking, running and general comfort. Consistent movement that re-educates these muscles are the safest way to correct imbalances that arise from weak glutes. So show up in training and keep at those kicks.

flyer1

Warrior heritage of Yoga

In this context, I mean yoga as the modern physical practice of asana. There is a belief in the growing community of yoga practitioners that the knowledge of this physical practice passed down to them is millenia old and unchanged. This comes from the disconnect between the source of such knowledge and the learners. Currently the context of practicing asana is completely lost or hazy at the best. Some do it to get flat abs, some to cultivate gratitude, to stretch like a rubber band, to feel the energy of the universe and so on. Also there are furious attempts to map every aspect of the physical practice to what’s laid down in Yoga Sutra. Regardless, these attitudes lack a clear roadmap, context and origin of modern yoga and confuse someone who doesn’t participate in the ecosystem of yoga studios and balancing a warrior pose III on a 6ftx2ft mat. It had me confused for a long time too. Till I started going deeper into my martial arts training, especially Indian styles of wrestling.

one of the pages of illustrations from Sritattvnidhi
one of the pages of illustrations from Sritattvnidhi

Turns out, most of the asanas were practiced by wrestlers in Mysore in their vyayamshala (gymnasium) for strength, flexibility and endurance. This practice was sustained by the patronage of the royal palace in Mysore. Such training included equipment like clubbell, ropes, bars and not just bodyweight exercises. I read the book The Yoga Tradition of the Mysore Palace by Norman Sjoman. He unearthed a 19th Century text Sritattvanidhi compiled by the then king of Mysore, Krishnaraja Wodeyar III that had an exhaustive list of postures, exercises and sequences with hand drawn diagrams. These diagrams are included in Norman’s book and it is fascinating to see a definite starting point of a complete system of exercise and health. If you want to explore further down on this path, read this thoroughly researched article on Yoga Journal and learn how this got popularized by the famous icons of Yoga from Mysore: Krsnamacharya, Iyengar, Pattabi Jois.

Coming back to the wrestlers, the tradition of wrestling is a descendant of battlefield training in breaking limbs and skulls converted to a sports format. This had two benefits – the civilian population was able to benefit from the health benefits of physical training and the warriors would be able to continue training while being in society and remain battle ready. The core of this training is a unique series of 20 interconnected sequences that work the body from head to toe and develops muscles, senses, breath et al. It is called Malla Vinyasa or Wrestler’s Sequence. These movements codify tons of wrestling techniques for throwing, joint locks and submissions. I have experienced just the tip of this rich system of martial art and health. These sequences are an integral part of our training. Call 8308252872 immediately and start training. It will be infinitely more rewarding than anything you’d have ever learned.

Hassle free sign up online
Hassle free sign up online

Power packed 30 minute MMA workout for beginners

Here is something that I put together today morning for those who have recently started training martial arts or want a taste of it at home.

  • Warm up the major joints by moving, rolling, spiralling, rotating (neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, spine, hips, knees, ankles) – 5 minutes. Look up Scott Sonnon’s free Intu-Flow videos for beginners to learn more about warming up your joints and making them healthier.
  • 5 rounds of Suryanamaskar10 minutes. I prefer to do it in a relaxed way that loosens up the entire body. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hSdq-50PG0
  • Shadow box for 1 minute without breaks. This is where you let loose and have fun with jabs, cross, hook, front kicks, roundhouse kicks, elbows. Apply the breathing lessons from this post.
  • Do 10 counts of push ups, squats, sit ups, leg raises for the next 2 minutes. Go to our Basic MMA Skills page to have a look at how to do these exercises in a relaxed way without getting tired.
  • Repeat Shadow Boxing + 10 counts of above exercises for a total of 5 sets.

Once you are done, take the next couple of minutes to bring your breathing back to normal, shake off tension from stiff regions and relax.

This is a glimpse of how the training sessions at Forge MMA progress. Call 8308252872 to sign up for our yellow belt, orange belt or green belt courses in mixed martial arts.

The functional way of training push ups

In Forge MMA classes, the way we train in push ups is very different than what you might have learned in a neighborhood gym. Push ups are not done to bulk up and get bigger muscles by trying to isolate them. It’s a waste of time and effort. There is a single pointed focus when you are performing any workout in a MMA class – to get the body to a relaxed, responsive state and at the same time building resilient strength. On the surface it might seem as a paradox. But this is where training in martial arts will keep bringing you back. Every movement no matter what the workout is should be integrated in the whole body. As a result you get a full body workout even as you do push ups. Conventional workout knowledge is still stuck in viewing the push up as something that works on the chest, shoulders and arms. Couldn’t be further from the truth.

Take the example of the video clip above. When I’m pushing off the floor I don’t clench up my core and glutes and try to be a stiff board. I let my body go through a series of muscular contractions that

  • starts from the navel
  • then branches out through the large muscles of shoulders, forearms, thighs, calves and shin
  • the tension from the contractions is finally pushed into the floor as the body lowers down

Give this a try. It’s the perfect booster dose to a regular push up workout. Else you can always train with us give me call on 8308252872.

More tips on dusting off archaic workout regimes coming soon. Stay tuned.

Wrestling: the best way to be lean, mean and fighting fit

In wrestling, you work with your partner at close range standing up or on the ground. You try to throw or take her down to the ground, maneuver around her, get her back, try to restrict the movement of joints and get a joint lock or choke. It’s a fascinating play which allows you to understand the human body better. You learn new ways to move around another body that’s significantly different from you in all ways: muscle mass, bone density, tension, endurance etc. Your brain becomes super charged.

it's for women too
it’s for women too

Grappling/wrestling with a partner for 10 minutes gives you as much benefit physically that you’d get from 90 minutes of calisthenics. This is by no means a statistically accurate figure but you’re welcome to try it out in class. You develop high functional strength as you will be applying isometric, isotonic or plyometric strength depending on the situation. No muscle feels left out, you’re guaranteed to feel each of them next morning 😉

The biggest change comes in the development of

  • lats (latissimus dorsi)
  • core –  six pack, transverse muscles, psoas
  • thighs – specially adductor muscles and quads
  • arms and forearms

Your posture will dramatically improve. You’ll be standing, walking and running in a more stable way. Any task you do will be more integrated in your body. The benefits are endless. Call 8308252872 to train in diverse wrestling styles including the almost lost ones from India.