Saturday, August 26, 2017


(thanks for the inspiration KMJ Students!)

If you know me, you know:
@ I love teaching
@ I love KALI
@ I love Boxing (especially Filipino Boxing)

For the last 30-40 minutes of each 2-hour class we either box or do Panantukan (Filipino kickboxing).  It is one of my favorite parts of the class and one of the most important - why?

1) Cardio and Breathing
It's a great cardio activity.  There are gyms which just offer this kind of training, but you get a "mini-session" of it included for free in every KMJ class.  This is great for letting off some steam, developing focus, and burning up calories.  We sweat A LOT, and that's good.  We also focus on breathing, timing, distance, rhythm, all of which are very important inside and outside a fight.

2) Aggressiveness/Assertiveness Training
I have posted about this recently, and I am a strong believer that aggressiveness/assertiveness are key traits that we need to learn to be successful in life.  This does not mean to be violent to each other per se, but we need to be able to "flip the switch" and use our strong willpower and aggressiveness in a self-defense situation since this can mean the difference between walking away and being carried away.  The boxing session is a great way to develop this in a controlled, safe environment.  We can "let the lion out" as well as experiencing this from our partners, which helps us maintain composure when others display aggressiveness towards us.

3) Self-Defense Applications
I love aikido, too.  In fact a large number of posts on this blog is focused on it. That said, good boxing skills are hard to deny in a self-defense situation.  I will not concede the importance of strong low kicks, nor of good joint-locking and throwing (both part of our KM curriculum, too).  However, as a conditioned response, a strong punch is very effective as a default.  If your students do not develop strong punching skills, it is hard to say you are teaching them good self-defense basics.

In KM we fight from a southpaw stance, and this can take opponents by surprise since many trained fighters are used to opponents in orthodox stances.

In our drills, we have many times where the puncher is under pressure or being touched by the pad holder during the round.  This  is very important since in real fights you will be likely touched by your opponents and need to maintain your focus and composure to keep moving and fighting.  Untrained fighters may stop if they feel a hit, and that usually ends in disaster for them.

We need to be comfortable being hit and continuing to fight back.

4) Muscle Memory
They way we drill is highly efficient, meaning lots and lots of reps in a very concentrated period of time.  This helps build muscle memory especially for foundation power punch movements like the cross and hook.  Muscle memory matters in self-defense since we know that "we fight how we train".  For the pad holder, too, it is practice on distance, timing and rhythm, which are key attributes for any fighter.

We also get a lot of time to practice our guards and covers, which are critical responses in self-defense.  We work on our blocks, elbow covers and foundation movements like dodge/parry/bob and weave, which can be lifesavers when needed.  These should also be part of muscle memory.

Since we also hit the mitts full power, we teach ourselves to punch using the entire body.  Some martial artists have been training for years and have never hit anything full force (heavy bag, mitt, opponent).  Light contact kumite point fighters are often guilty of training to just "light touch" each other, which is the wrong muscle memory for self-defense applications.

I prefer that we be conditioned from the beginning to hit full power in order that when the time comes (hopefully never), we can hit with everything we've got without any feeling of discomfort or awkwardness.

I really hope you love the boxing at least as much as I do and agree its importance as part of our training regimen.


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