Kickboxing

7 Kickboxing Principles That Will Make You a Better Fighter, Part 2

(Continued from here)

5 — Power

Although everyone loves power, overwhelming force isn’t the name of the game in kickboxing. Sure, knockouts are exciting — they thrill crowds and deify the winner — but you just can’t neglect technique. That doesn’t mean, however, that power isn’t important. The following are two tips for throwing more powerful shots:

•     Get your entire body behind the technique. Chances are, you’ve heard that concept explained numerous times in your martial arts class.

•     Get a good stance. It’s important because it provides mobility and stability, which you need if you want to be effective. I teach two basic training stances — only two because I figure you’ll develop your own stance as you progress. The first is the kick stance. It’s one of the most commonly used stances in kickboxing because it lends itself well to kicking and allows for greater mobility and stability. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Take one step back with your right foot and orient it so your feet are at right angles to each other. Your left leg should be relaxed, with the majority of your weight on your right foot. Keep your body straight but maintain the same angle. Your hands should be in the guard position, and you should hold your elbows forward so they protect your ribs.

When you kick from this stance, always aim for your opponent’s upper chest. However, your field of vision should encompass his entire body. To improve your power, use this stance to kick a heavy bag. Make sure you pivot properly so you can generate maximum punching power, as well.

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The second stance is the punching stance. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart. Pivot on the balls of your feet so your heels and toes are turned slightly inward. Distribute your weight evenly on your legs. Your knees and torso should be slightly bent. Clench your hands, hold your fists at jaw level and keep your elbows forward so they protect your ribs.

Practice switching stances swiftly with and without a partner. As you improve, you’ll be able to change instantaneously, and that ability will come in handy in the ring. Good footwork enables you to attack and defend with speed, economy and balance.

6 — Endurance

You can’t win without endurance. If your conditioning is sub-par, you may be able to survive on tenacity, but sooner or later you’ll discover that mental toughness is not enough. You definitely need to be tough, but you also need stamina. When you combine the two, you’ve got a winning formula.

Fighters who aren’t in supreme condition will likely suffer from a lack of confidence because they know they can’t go the distance. When they get fatigued, their form may also degrade, and they won’t have as much power as they should. Furthermore, they’ll begin telegraphing their moves, they’ll slow down and they’ll start fighting flat-footed. The result? They’ll find it increasingly tough to get out of the line of fire.

Stay in the Fight: A Martial Athlete’s Guide to Preventing and Overcoming Injury was written by Danny Dring and Johnny D. Taylor to help people like you. Order your copy today.

When you’re in shape, however, you’ll have speed, power and rhythm. Your lateral movement will be good. You’ll be less likely to get hit. And you’ll have the confidence to perform mentally and physically.

There are a number of ways to get in shape for the ring. One of the best is to hit a heavy bag three times a week. Do as many three-minute rounds as you will do in your fight. Supplement that with five days per week of running. After you warm up, sprint for a quarter mile, then run easy for a quarter mile. Repeat until you’ve covered three miles. For variation, occasionally run greater distances.

You should also spar three times a week. Again, do as many rounds as you’ll do in your fight. Your daily workout should also include stretching, kicking, shadowboxing and defensive drills. Start with one three-minute round. As your stamina improves, add a few more.

7 — Sparring

Freestyle sparring is the final and most meaningful part of your preparation. It involves stepping into the ring and throwing kicks and punches at will. Beginners shouldn’t try it until they’ve mastered the aforementioned principles and sampled the other training methods.

Sparring is essential because you must make contact to develop your sense of distance. If you never make contact in training, you’ll probably be in big trouble when you need to do it for real — whether in the ring or …

7 Kickboxing Principles That Will Make You a Better Fighter, Part 1

When you think of formulas and principles, you don’t normally envision kickboxing. If you’re like me, you probably think of chemistry or physics — subjects few of us know much about. Well, you can dump all those preconceived notions about formulas and principles being too complex to wrap your mind around and too intricate to use because kickboxing has its own set, and they’re essential to success in this sport and other types of martial arts fighting. If you learn them, you’ll flourish. If you don’t and your opponent does, you’ll be doomed.

All kickboxing tactics are based on seven principles: distancing, defense, feinting, timing, power, endurance and sparring. In this article, I’ll explain what they are and how you can improve them. Whether you’re a kickboxer or a practitioner of some other martial art, they’re guaranteed to improve your game.

1 — Distancing

When you’re ready to attack, you must be able to accurately judge the distance between yourself and your opponent. If you’re not close enough when you throw a technique, you’ll end up reaching for him and you won’t generate any power. If you’re too close and try to kick, he’ll jam your leg. That’s why a good, scientific fighter has full knowledge of the distances (full, half and close) and outstanding skill in each one. When your distancing skills are sharp, you’ll be able to measure your opponent and make split-second decisions that can make or break the bout.

Refresher: Full distance is the range at which you can reach your opponent with your legs fully extended; half distance is the range at which you can strike with your arms partially or fully extended; and close distance is the range at which you can hit him with uppercuts and hooks.

Download a free guide titled “Bill ‘Superfoot’ Wallace: How He Became the World’s Greatest Kicker for 50 Years!” now by clicking here.

To improve your skills at these distances, have your partner put on mitts and dance around. He should move in and out and side to side. Your job is to decide which types of kicks and punches to throw.

2 — Defense

To become an elite martial artist, you must be an effective defensive fighter. If you lack defensive skill, you might be able to defeat mediocre opponents, but you probably won’t get past tougher ones. If you find yourself facing a powerful puncher, rest assured he’ll be looking for a target. If your defensive skills are good, you can make it difficult for him to find that target.

The following are some standard kickboxing maneuvers for defensive use:

•     Parry You deflect a technique without stopping its momentum. For example, you redirect a punch with your hand.

•     Block You stop a technique cold. You can execute a block with your arms or legs. It can be a single action or a series of measures, but regardless of the specifics, it will limit or eliminate the technique your opponent is throwing.

•     Dodge You move all or a portion of your body away from your opponent’s weapon. You need not make contact with him. Dodging an attack is better than parrying or blocking because your hands and legs remain free to counterattack.

•     Return After you execute a parry, dodge or block, you throw your own technique before your opponent has a chance to return to the guard position.

•     Rolling With the Punch To lessen the impact of a blow, you move away from your opponent’s weapon in the same direction it’s traveling.

•     Sidestep You move out of the path of the attack. One example is to pivot on one of your feet. The movement enables you to avoid his technique and retaliate.

3 — Feinting

A skilled kickboxer is like a chess player: He uses feints to set up techniques so he can easily score on his opponent.

Feinting is a vital tool of deception and can be a critical weapon in your arsenal. It can keep your opponent guessing, fill him with false anticipation and disable him psychologically. For a feint to be effective, it has to be thrown convincingly and with power. Otherwise, he won’t fall for it.

Download “Master Toddy’s MMA-Tested Muay Thai Techniques: 3 Elbow Attacks That Can Improve Your Fighting Game” now. Go here to get started.

Skill at feinting requires lots of practice. Here are two tactics you can add to your repertoire the next time you spar:

•     To draw your opponent’s attention to his midsection, throw a hard jab to the body. Immediately afterward, fake the same punch and throw a straight right to the chin.

•     Throw a hard jab to the face. Then feint the same motion and throw a left hook to the head.

4 — Timing

Benny “The Jet” Urquidez: Exclusive Video Interview With the Kickboxing and Full-Contact Karate Legend

Kickboxing champion Benny Urquidez photographed for Black Belt magazine. With a stellar record in kickboxing and full-contact karate, Benny “The Jet” Urquidez has a reputation for effectiveness with his kicks, punches, elbows and knees, which makes it that much easier to believe him when he talks about the multiple-opponent situations in which he was involved.

And as the founder of ukidokan karate — a comprehensive martial art with marked self-defense leanings — Benny Urquidez knows a thing or two about mixing it up outside the ring.

At a recent Black Belt shoot, it didn’t take much persuading to get Benny Urquidez, 61 — and as much in possession of the eye of the tiger as ever — to open up about his storied past.

It was one of those rare times when we believed every word we heard.

In the April/May 2014 issue of Black Belt magazine — on sale in late March/early April 2014 — you can read our exclusive cover story with Benny Urquidez and see what he had to say about a variety of topics, including his experiences with …

  • bar fights
  • parking-lot brawls
  • rowdy fans at sporting events
  • incompetent bouncers
  • … and much more!

Until then, here we catch up with Benny Urquidez in this exclusive video interview where the kickboxing and full-contact karate legend gets us caught up on what he’s been up to and the many roles he plays in his work as a martial arts instructor!

BENNY URQUIDEZ INTERVIEW VIDEO
“The Jet” Talks About the Many Roles He Plays As a Martial Arts Instructor



Joe Lewis recalls his glory days training with Bruce Lee and
competing on the circuit in this FREE download!
Joe Lewis: How the Bruce Lee Training Method
Made Him — and Can Make YOU — a Better Fighter


Along with the Benny Urquidez cover story, the April / May 2014 issue of Black Belt is slated to feature:
About the Artist:
To learn more about Benny Urquidez’s martial art, his fight history, his philosophies on discipline and fighting, photographs of him with other martial arts masters and much more, visit his official website at bennythejet.com.…

Joe Lewis: Fix the 40 Most Common Kickboxing Training Mistakes

In any sport from football to fighting, when two opponents are practically equal, usually the one who makes the fewest mistakes becomes victorious. With that in mind, presented below is my list of the 40 most common errors martial artists make in the ring.

Kickboxing Training Mistake #1

Trying to counter when you should be leading the attack. Counterattacking, like faking, is an advanced art. It requires knowing three things: the lead of the opponent, your method of avoiding his lead and the exact way of executing the proper counter-shot. Unless you know them all, initiate.

Kickboxing Training Mistake #2

Failing to step in when you punch. Whether jabbing or kicking, you always need to put your weight behind your executions for maximum power. Stepping in also increases your energy when you use the pivot-shifting and waist-pivoting (hinging) principles for punching power.


Learn more about balance, targeting, mobility and
centerline protection in this FREE download!
10 Wing Chun Kung Fu Training Principles Any Martial Artist Can Use


Kickboxing Training Mistake #3

Rushing your closing kick after a punching combination. The kick doesn’t have to be in cadence with the rhythm of any preceding punches. After the last punch, you should practice angling out of one of the side doors, resetting and then finishing with a power kick.

Kickboxing Training Mistake #4

Slugging toe-to-toe from the pocket with a slugger. Remember the fundamentals of fighting: Don’t slug with a slugger or hook with a hooker.

Kickboxing Training Mistake #5

Standing square while you’re in front of an opponent or in the pocket. If your shoulders are open, you not only present an easy target for your opponent but also limit your ability to fully rotate your hips through the centerline to create power in your knee strikes or inside punches.

Kickboxing Training Mistake #6

When facing a southpaw or a sharpshooting hard kicker, failing to possess effective feinting or faking skills. Such skills would enable you to draw him off-balance by breaking his timing. When it seems impossible to back him up, you need to know how to disrupt his rhythm or cause him to hesitate using faking skills. Then you must work defensive timing to come in the back door with a counterattack.

Kickboxing Training Mistake #7

Failing to keep your back toward the center of the ring. You’ll end up getting walked to the ropes and find yourself trapped and punished without any room to maneuver or escape.

Kickboxing Training Mistake #8

Remaining in the same pocket position and continuing to fire combinations. You need to at least turn your opponent or change the angle or position from which you attack. Remember that standing in the same spot makes you an easy target.

Kickboxing Training Mistake #9

Failing to keep your feet directly under your punches. When you overreach with your punches, especially a straight right, you’ll end up lunging off-balance without any power. You’ll have too much hang time at the end of your punch, which leaves you unable to follow up with a left ridgehand or hook. You’ll often find yourself collapsing into your opponent directly behind your overextended punch. Or you may leave yourself open to his counter.

Kickboxing Training Mistake #10

Positioning yourself directly in front of an aggressive opponent. This will get you hit. To avoid that fate, you must know how to employ rhythm sets, both with your head movement and your footwork, to offset his alignment or range just before his trigger squeeze.

Kickboxing Training Mistake #11

Allowing yourself to get hit often while you’re coming in. You need to know how to make your opponent miss while you’re breaching his defenses. Against an advanced or equally skilled fighter, you must be able to use faking skills or create angles to turn him after you’ve crossed the critical-distance line or bridged the gap. Failing to do this against a taller or more experienced opponent will definitely cost you.

Kickboxing Training Mistake #12

Neglecting to develop your ability to execute an educated jab or double jab. You’ll have difficulty with your penetration skills, and you’ll be easily countered.

Kickboxing Training Mistake #13

Failing to counter immediately after using defensive movement. If you move your body (rolling) or move your head (weaving or slipping), you’re trying to make your opponent miss. That’s your opening for a counter. If you don’t take advantage of it, he’ll just attack you again.

Kickboxing Training Mistake #14

Refusing to recognize the potential consequences when a taller opponent quickly steps back or pivots in from a clinch. Both actions are designed to create a favorable range to fire a clearing hook kick or straight right punch. You must know how to read and react to this tactic. That usually entails stepping simultaneously to negate the positional advantage …

Learn 3 Grappling Techniques From UFC Star Chael Sonnen

Chael Sonnen isn’t your typical politician. For one, he actually answered our questions. But more important, the All-American wrestler from Oregon taught us some of the best tricks from his playbook.

Despite his reputation as one of the UFC’s loudest stars, he doesn’t have a bad word to say about any martial art or training. We hope you’ll enjoy his interview with Lito Angeles, a Southern California-based police officer, mixed martial artist and author of Fight Night: The Thinking Fan’s Guide to Mixed Martial Arts.

—Jon Sattler

Lito Angeles: I read that you started wrestling at a very young age.

Chael Sonnen: I come from a family of wrestlers—my father, my uncles, my cousins were all very good. I begged my dad to get me into wrestling, but he wanted me to do karate or boxing. Finally, he let me wrestle when I was 9.

Angeles: Did you wind up doing any karate or boxing?

Sonnen: I got into boxing later, but not then.

Angeles: And you stayed with wrestling all the way to the collegiate level, right?

Sonnen: Yes. I wrestled through high school and got a scholarship to the University of Oregon. In 2001 I graduated from college and was working out at a gym in the back of a car lot. There was one mat and nothing else, but Randy Couture and Dan Henderson worked out there every day. It was an hour and a half from where I was living, and I made the drive every single day to wrestle with them. We were all trying to make the Olympic team. They let me in, and it was the three of us. After college, I went back to training with them, and they were wearing MMA gloves. I just put on a pair of gloves and continued practicing.

Angeles: Does that mean you recommend wrestling as the best foundation for MMA?

Sonnen: Well, it has to be some kind of grappling. There’s a statistic: 100 percent of fights start standing up, and 80 percent of them end up on the ground. Jiu-jitsu and wrestling have done really well in MMA, but I don’t know that any form of grappling has been proven to be better.

[ti_billboard name=”Chael Sonnen 1″]

The grass always seems greener—I wish I knew more of other disciplines than wrestling, while other fighters probably wish they knew more wrestling. I wish more judo practitioners participated in MMA.

Angeles: Why?

Sonnen: Jiu-jitsu and catch wrestling are well-represented. All three styles of wrestling, from collegiate to Greco-Roman to freestyle, are, too. I know judo is a good, competitive sport. I wish there was more judo in MMA so I could see how it stacks up.

Angeles: After a student develops a grappling base, do you recommend muay Thai or boxing—or something else?

Sonnen: I’d say boxing. Muay Thai is good, bit it’s very hard to practice. There aren’t a lot of muay Thai guys around—it’s not in high schools or colleges or the Olympics—so it’s hard to find guys to practice with. Elbows are effective, but you can’t do them in practice without hurting someone. Same with knees. With boxing, however, you can put on the gear and find a partner, and it seems to do well in MMA.

Angeles: But then you give up kicks. …

Sonnen: Kicks aren’t as effective in fighting. If you land one, great. You can do good things with it. But kickboxing had to put in a rule that you had to kick a guy three times per round or you’d lose a point. The reason was, guys quit kicking. They just boxed because boxing is more effective. With that said, I spend the majority of my time doing kickboxing and muay Thai. But if I was mentoring a young fighter, I’d tell him to spend more time on boxing. That doesn’t mean I would ignore kickboxing—you still need to learn the defenses—but in stand-up, it’s hard to beat good, solid boxing.

Angeles: How is muay Thai boxing different from Western boxing?

Sonnen: The big difference is head movement. In muay Thai, there’s not a ton of head movement. You use your foot to get the guy off-line, then you step out and sweep his leg to off-balance him. In boxing, you just shift out of the way and use that momentum to come right in and attack. Head movement is so important, especially when you’ve got those little 4-ounce gloves on. If you just land one shot, you can break the guy’s nose, open a cut or knock him out.

Angeles: Does knowing wrestling and boxing cover all the bases with respect to technique, or should a person add other arts like karate or sambo?

Sonnen: I would never close the door. …

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