In this highlight video, masters at the Kukkiwon in Korea demonstrate taekwondo power breaking techniques by smashing rocks, concrete, cement blocks, marble slaps and roofing tiles with punches, knifehand strikes and other hand techniques. Watch more Taekwondo Power Breaking videos on YouTube.
Excerpted from PERFECTING OURSELVES: COORDINATING BODY, MIND and SPIRIT by Aaron Hoopes
'One Less' Method
There is no point in quitting, or trying to quit something that you don’t really have the desire or willpower to quit. Dependency is a tough adversary. Instead of trying to quit entirely, try a minor shift in attitude from indulging in excess to practicing moderation. Let it put you in motion on a path in the right direction rather than be a process by which failure is almost assured.
One Less: Regardless of what negative lifestyle pattern is affecting your body, tomorrow see if you can do one less than usual. For example, if you smoke twenty cigarettes a day, tomorrow smoke nineteen. If you have three martinis with dinner, tomorrow have two. If you eat ten cookies at a time, tomorrow eat nine. Whatever it is, tomorrow do one less than today (or if you need to, one less this week or month than last week or month). Whatever the behavior, don’t think of it as “wrong” but simply as an excess with harmful effects.Read More
Sang H. Kim answers the following question that he received from a number of YouTube viewers:
"Most of my opponents are definitely taller than I am. So my question is: how to deal with an opponent quite taller than you?"
Over 89 more video replies to fan questions by Sang H. Kim can be found on the Answers to Martial Arts Questions Youtube playlist.
Excerpted from Muay Thai Fighting Strategies by Jerry Heines and Kru Amorndet Ranjanthuek
Whenever attacking or counterattacking, it is necessary to have a specific target in mind to strike. The targets of interest for Muay Thai are listed in Tables 13-15 (in the book Muay Thai Fighting Strategies, from which this article is excerpted). Just throwing strikes “hoping to hit something” is not very effective and has a very low chance of success against a trained boxer. During the course of Fairtex training, it is emphasized that of all the targets available for KO the chin is the most vulnerable target as it protrudes from the face. As a result, the emphasis is to tuck the chin into the shoulder whenever striking or blocking. Other targets can lead to a KO but the chin is very sensitive. In choosing a target to strike, a very specific location should be identified on the opponent so during training you learn to hit it with pinpoint accuracy. Timing the right technique against a specific target at the optimal time during the engagement will yield the best results. The most common weapons that are used that lead to a KO are the Elbow, Hook, Cross, Uppercut, Knee and Thai kick.
Applying the right technique against a specific target at the optimal time during the engagement will yield the best results.
Typically the targets that these weapons are used to strike in an attempt for a KO are as follows:
Elbow (either horizontal, diagonal or straight downward strikes)
- Coronal suture
- Adam’s Apple
Uppercut and Knee
- Side of neck-Carotid artery
The Vastus Externus, Vastus Internus, and side of the knee are also excellent targets to strike because repeated injury quite often leads to the inability to use the muscle or limb. When that muscle is in the leg, the old adage that the Thai had adopted from days on the battlefields applies: “If you can’t stand you cannot fight”. So even though these targets may not offer one-strike KOs, they will produce devastating results over several powerful hits. And keep in mind the recommendation to mix up targets between low, medium and high levels so that you are not predictable.
Since the target points we’ve been discussing are highly sensitive and related to acupressure points (Ref. Kim and Ref. Tedeschi) it is more effective to hit these targets with less force than to hit a non-essential target (namely, a target not identified in Tables 13-15) hard. The effect on an acupressure point is accumulative. Of course it is more effective if one can strike an essential target with power. So how does one define power and what can one do when using a technique to increase its power? That is the topic of discussion that we’ll address in the following section.
Excerpted from Art of the Steel Telescoping Baton by Hei Long
Among the nine different types of Tie Gun (steel telescoping batons) there are some subtle and some substantial differences.
Regarding the spring body batons, I definitely advise against using these batons because the spring action prevents delivering a solid strike or counterstrike, but more so because it cannot be effectively used as a blocking instrument.
The study and practice of Tie Gun Lian Shi relies on using the baton as a blocking instrument as well as a striking instrument, and as you will learn in Chapter Four, often your first block is itself your first counterstrike. This alone renders the spring body batons useless in Tie Gun Lian Shi.
The chrome body batons are practical, but as previously noted, the small handles limit your grip options and have the potential to be slippery because of the texture and composition of the rubber.Read More
Excerpted from TEACHING MARTIAL ARTS by Sang H. Kim
Deft management is an integral part of teaching. How you manage your school atmosphere determines how your students perceive your teaching skills. A well managed classroom is identified by four characteristics.
- Students know what they are expected to do and are generally successful at it.
- Students are busy in teacher led activities.
- There is minimal waste of time, confusion or disruption.
- A no-nonsense, work oriented tone prevails but there is a relaxed pleasant atmosphere. (Brophy, 1979, Good, 1982)
The first three are directly related to your ability to accurately set clear objectives and to plan a course of action. However, number four is perhaps the most difficult and deficient area for martial arts instructors. Many instructors create a work oriented tone in their school, but few can combine it with a pleasant atmosphere. Often the atmosphere is tense and harsh. Punishment is meted out frequently and junior students are subjected to the demands of their seniors without regard for their welfare.Read More
Dear Mr. Christensen:
I train in martial arts 3 days workouts lasting about 1 1/2 hours since I utilize the jump rope as my warmup, these sessions are also my ONLY cardio work. How many days weekly should I weight train for size and strength without worrying about overtraining? Thanks for your input.
by Sang H. Kim, co-author of Taekwondo Kyorugi: Olympic Style Sparring
One of the most common questions I hear from students is "How can I prepare for competition?" The best way to get ready for competition is to follow a plan designed by your instructor or coach. If you are a top level competitor, everything will be scientifically planned for you and all you have to do is show up and train. However, if you are one of the thousands of recreational competitors around the world, you are responsible for designing some or all of your competition training plan.
The first thing you have to do is assess what level of competition you are preparing for and how much time you have available. Ideally, for a local tournament, a few months are enough to get in competition form. By spending about two months on general practice and one month on specific competition skills and strategies, you can refine your skills to the level necessary to succeed in a small tournament. For a national or international competition, however, planning should begin at least one year ahead of time. Once you have determined the level of competition and amount of time available for your training, you can create an individual plan.
For a national or international level competition, the first type of training you have to undertake is fundamental physical training. This consists of general fitness activities like calisthenics, running and weight training. At the beginning of your competition regimen, your daily training should consist of 70% fundamental physical training and 30% basic martial arts skill practice. Ideally, this plan should be followed for 4 to 8 weeks to develop the proper physical condition for competition.Read More
This is the Translator's Preface from the English language translation of the Muye Dobo Tongji: Comprehensive Illustrated Manual of Martial Arts of Ancient Korea followed by selected excerpts from the original text.
This book is an ancient Korean martial arts manual, written by Yi Duk-moo, Park Je-ga and Pak Dong-soo in 1790, under the order of King Jungjo. This premiere English translation of the manual is the result of nearly a decade of planning and work.
According to historic documents, archery was the only official martial art that had been practiced by the soldiers of Chosun (ancient name of Korea used during the Yi Dynasty, 1392-1910). Considering the fact that yangban (aristocratic class) literati dominated the political, economical, and cultural life during this period, it is not surprising that practice of martial arts was looked downed upon and generally discouraged.
After the Japanese invasion (1592-1598), King Sunjo (1567-1608) acquired a Chinese martial arts manual called Kihyo Shinsu written by Chuk Kye-kwang of the Ming Dynasty. He took a personal interest in the arts and subsequently invited the Ming military officers for a demonstration of their fighting methods. The king ordered his military officer Han Kyo to compile six fighting methods for further study. Han Kyo documented the kon bang (long stick), dung pae (shield art), nang sun (multiple tip bamboo spear), jang chang (long spear), dang pa (triple tip spear), and ssang soo do (long sword) which he published collectively under the title Muye Jebo (Martial Arts Illustrations).
Following this period, the first Manchu invasion took place in 1627 (called Chungmyo Horan) and the second invasion in 1636 (called Byungja Horan). King Injo (1623-1649) surrendered to the Manchus and his two sons, including the Crown Prince Sohyun, had to accompany the Manchu army as hostages.Read More
Excerpted from Capoeira Illustrated by Dimitris Papadopoulos
Ginga is the basic movement in Capoeira. It is a fighting position in constant motion that generates a wide range of movements. All movements start from it and end in it, elaborating and adjusting according to the rhythms (toques) of the berimbau and the rules it dictates. For somebody to start learning Capoeira, the ginga must become second nature to the point it becomes another way of walking, in a dance-like fashion. It must become a part of expressing oneself. Each person has their own particular way of walking as well as moving within the ginga. In time, one realizes its great usefulness. By constantly moving, less physical fatigue is felt while the opponent cannot form a clear picture of our moves. Hence, you can execute spontaneous and sudden moves more easily and successfully, provided you are within the flow of the moves determined by the game rhythm (toque). The ginga also serves as a quick warm-up exercise before entering the roda.
Both legs should be bent. The leg slid backward is located behind the front leg, for a greater sense of balance, not exactly in a straight line. Standing on the toes helps boost the leg movement, like a spring. Each time the rear leg steps on the ground, it transfers the body weight forward. The pelvis is kept straight up facing forward toward the camará (camarada = partner is the name for our co-player and partner in Capoeira). Our position resembles a lunge forward position. The hands are in constant motion and used for protection and feints. The hands move in the reverse direction of the legs. When the left leg is located forward, the left arm moves backward to protect the sides, while the right arm located forward at head height. The raised shoulder is used for the protection of the neck, chest and head.Read More
After clearing his opponent’s shoulder with his anchor leg, the attacker’s (the bottom grappler’s) immediate goal is to trap and isolate his opponent’s head, shoulder, and arm and (as a result) control as much of the opponent’s upper body as possible so the attacker can form a triangle with his legs and squeeze them together to secure the strangle.
The bottom grappler (the attacker) must break the top grappler’s posture and bend him forward so the bottom grappler can form a tight triangle. To do this, the attacker must control his opponent’s head and pull the opponent close so that the bottom grappler can use his legs to greater effect.
It’s also important for the attacker to be as precise as possible with his leg placement and positioning to get the quickest and most effective strangle possible with the triangle.
Let’s continue to examine the anchor leg’s job before looking at how the tie-up leg comes into play to secure the triangle.Read More
Excerpted from the book Power Breathing by Sang H. Kim
Comparison of Power Breathing, Lung Breathing and Diaphragm Breathing
When you expand your lungs, air from outside rushes in to fill the void. This is a natural phenomenon of stabilizing an imbalance of pressure in the chest cavity.
In Power Breathing, you deliberately create this phenomenon by expanding the muscles of the lower abdomen. When you expand your lower abdomen, the diaphragm automatically moves downward creating more space for your lungs and this expansion pulls air into your lungs. When your lungs are fi lled, hold your breath for a moment and condense it downward. Once your lower abdomen is fully expanded, it naturally bounces back. All you need to do is slowly let it go (Gentle Breathing); tighten the muscles and intensify the force (Power Breathing); or move mindfully according to the position of your diaphragm (Healing Breathing).
The more air you pull in, the more power you can generate. The harder you condense the air, the more forceful the release is; thus it is called Power Breathing.Read More
Dear Mr. Christensen:
In your book, Fighters Fact Book, you talked about how your daughter and senior brown belt had a 16-week training program. I was wondering if you could give me some ideas on how to come up with such a program as I am nearing my black belt test.
Thank you for you time,
Poomse Koryo symbolizes seonbae which means a learned man, who is characterized by a strong martial spirit as well as a righteous spirit. The choonbi-sugi (ready stance) is tongmilgi which promotes concentration by placing the hands between the upper and lower abdomen, the center of ki in the body. The movement line of Koryo represents the Chinese character for seonbae or seonbi, which means a learned man or a man of virtue in Korean. For the 1st dan.
Keumgang, meaning diamond, is symbolized by hardness. Mount Keumgang, which is regarded as the center of the national spirit and the origin of Keumgang Yoksa (warrior named by Buddha) who represents the mightiest warrior, is the spiritual foundation of this form. the line of movements symbolizes the Chinese character for mountain. The movements of the poomse should be performed powerfully and with good balance to demonstrate the dignity of the Keumgang spirit. For the 2nd dan.Read More
I am unsure about the full mechanics of the left jab/straight punch. I just finished Ted Weimann's book, "Warrior Speed." I would definitely call it excellent and useful, except for this area. While working my way through the pages, I used some of his suggestions in my Krav Maga classes and my instructors were very complimentary about my, "sudden improvements." To me, it is very clear the man really knows what he's saying. However, he's a bit vague about the simple left strike. Does it come up from the floor like the right cross? How can I increased the power (I know it's primarily a speed, not power move) when using it in combination?
Regina HayesRead More
Loren W. Christensen shows you how to use a front kick from a seated position in a self-defense situation. This is an excellent adaptation of an easy to use technique that you can apply in many common situations like sitting in a restaurant or waiting for the bus or train. This instructional segment is taken from the Solo Training video.
A body that is moving has a great deal of inertia, which makes it difficult to stop. If you can add your opponent’s momentum to your own, you will assist the speed of your technique. This is why the soft arts are often referred to as yielding; you utilize your opponent’s force against him.
Conservation of energy when striking
Energy can be conserved by doing as little work as possible. Work in physics is defined as the force times the distance.
Work = force X distance
In essence, this means that if you utilize a lot of movement (a long distance), then, for a given force, you will be doing a lot of work, and therefore expend a lot of energy. This is why we must learn to utilize our opponent’s work to our advantage. Work can also be thought of as power times time.
Work = power X time
For a given amount of work, the shorter the time, the greater the power. In simple terms, this means that if you can do a lot of work in a short time, you have a lot of power.Read More
Excerpted from Conditioning for Combat Sports by Steve Scott and John Saylor
This routine is a good one for “total body” training and is recommended for a person new to strength and conditioning or to anyone who wants a rock solid barbell workout. In other words, it includes working the legs, core, back, shoulders, neck and chest and arms in one workout. Its foundation is good, solid barbell training.
When author Steve Scott was a young man and soaking up all he could in weightrooms and gyms in and around the Kansas City area, he trained with a variety of bodybuilders, powerlifters, Olympic-style weightlifters and strongmen. One of those men was a strong man named Cary Glass. He was an experienced powerlifter and was Steve’s supervisor at the community center where they worked and was, for several years, a great training partner and lifting coach. Cary believed that nothing could beat a good, solid barbell workout for real strength development. This routine is good, solid work and will give you overall development. There’s nothing fancy about it, but it will make you strong. Do this routine every week for 3 weeks of each month and then take the fourth week off. Then, start fresh the first week of the next month and repeat the program. You will work out in the weight room 3 times a week.
Follow this barbell routine every Monday, Thursday and Saturday. Work on your flexibility on the days you aren’t in the gym. If you can’t work out on Monday, Thursday and Saturday because of your training time on the mat, try to follow this routine on the days you aren’t working out full blast on the mat. If you have to work out on this barbell routine Tuesday, Friday and Sunday, then do it. Make sure you have at least a couple of days rest between each day in the gym. If you’re starting out as a novice lifter, this is an ideal way to develop good, solid strength. Also, if you've been around weight gyms for a long time and simply want a good routine that hits the major muscle groups, this is the routine for you.Read More