Know Way Integrated Combatives – Martializing Martial Arts

Archive for January, 2010

Fit for Combat – Routine #1

Warm Up Exercises for Martial Training & The Push Shuffle Drill

A warm up should be performed before participating in technical sports, exercising, or stretching, and Combative training is no exception. Warming up generally consists of a gradual increase in intensity of physical activity. This increase the heart rate, which in turn increases blood flow to your muscles and raises your body temperature. Warmer muscles are more elastic and less susceptible to injury. It is important that warm ups should be specific to the exercise that will follow, which means that muscles used in the warm up are the muscles required for the following activity. In the case of martial arts, where all muscles are being trained to react with speed and power, all major muscle groups should be warmed up with special emphasis on the feet and legs.

Footwork is the foundation of combatives, so proper warm up and exercise of the legs and feet is essential. Here are several useful warm up exercises.

The Rocker Step:

  • 1. Stand in the Bai Jong stance.
  • 2. Push off the rear leg, landing on the ball of your front foot.
  • 3. Push off your front leg, and land on the ball of your rear foot.

Bouncing, or “rocking” back and forth like this, while not at all the sort of movement useful in martial arts, is a good warm-up for the legs and feet – especially as moving on the balls of your feet, basic to martial footwork, is not naturally practiced when walking.

Advanced variants: Consciously vary the distance covered on each “rock.” Switch leads a few times. Add a punch or two on every other forward “rock.” Beyond this, it becomes Shadow Boxing – throw combinations of punches/kicks while returning quickly to proper stance and moving more erratically.

Jumping Jacks:

  • 1. Stand with your feet together, arms at your sides.
  • 2. Jump with both legs, spread them to a little more than shoulder width, land on the balls of your feet.
  • 3. At the same time, swing your arms out and above your head.
  • 4. Reverse the last two steps, returning to your original position.

Jumping Jacks warm up support muscles on the sides of your legs, and get shoulder muscles warmed up too.

Advanced variants: Lunge Jumping Jacks – Same as above, except as you jump bring one leg forward and one back. Reverse legs on the next jump. Gradually sink deeper into the lunge each repetition, being careful to keep the lead knee behind the lead toes at the lowest point.

Running in Place:

When running in place, practice *always* keeping your arms up. That is where you will want them in a fight, so train with them there. Run in place with the legs forward, your knees rising to your waist, to warm up the thighs, and with your legs down, kicking your heels behind you, to warm up the hamstrings.

Jump Rope:

The upper-lower body coordination, combined with mandatory quick motion, make jumping rope a great warm-up, and one that quickly transitions into a cardiovascular workout if kept up.

The Push Shuffle Drill:

A specific part of the Fit for Combat Warm-Up is the Push Shuffle drill. The Push Shuffle drill warms up the leg muscles, exercises support muscles not much used in regular walking, and increases the speed and coordination of your footwork. In the Push Shuffle Drill, the instructor calls out a set of 2 to 4 cardinal directions (forward, back, left, right), and the student quickly executes Push Shuffles in each indicated direction. I have automated the instructor’s part for you, so if you have an mp3 player or computer media player with a “random” setting and a place to work out, you can do the Push Shuffle drill by yourself.


My class always starts warming up with a few of these exercises. Remember: warming up will help to minimize your chance of injury, and maximize the benefits you get every time you train. After you have warmed up for 5-15 minutes, you can continue the exercises above with increased intensity for an aerobic workout, or move on to anaerobic training, technique drills, etc.

Train Hard – You Fight As You Train

Martial Wallpaper – A little reminder as you go through the day

K.W.I.C – Having No Way As Way:


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Bruce Lee’s Phases of Jeet Kune Do Learning:

JKD Phases

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Martial Articles

Martializing Martial Arts – Article #1

The Basic Principle: Interception is Integration

What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object head-on?

Here’s a better, or at least a more answerable, question: why should they meet head-on at all? And if an opponent’s fist is substituted for the irresistible force, and your jaw for the immovable object, I bet you would agree they should never meet head on. The question then becomes, what are your options?

Once such a force is on its way, there are four basic options:

  • 1. Do nothing: Let force meet obstacle – Passive response, passive result
  • 2. Dodge the attack: Let force miss obstacle – Passive response, active result
  • 3. Block the attack: Stop force with force – Active response, passive result
  • 4. Intercept the attack: Use all force to your own advantage – Active response, active result

We have already ruled out the first option – there are obviously better, less personally damaging, ways of dealing with an attack than doing nothing…

Such as the second option: dodge the attack. Not a bad idea. If you are about to get hit, move to where you won’t get hit. It is quick, instinctive, and effective in avoiding injury. The fatal flaw: by itself, dodging an attack does not improve your circumstances for more than a few seconds. You are still on the defensive, and if you simply keep dodging, your moves are likely to be anticipated, or you will be backed into a corner. This makes refined variants of this technique, such as the bob-and-weave, useful as secondary reactions – but not primary reactions.

The third option is better. Block your opponent’s strike, neutralizing the attack. Use the “hard method” of the martial arts, throwing your force against your opponent. However, there are two obvious problems with this option: 1. If your force is not of the right type and in the right place, you may as well have done nothing. 2. This response, like dodging, leaves you in reaction. You are still merely responding to the environment and not controlling it. You deal with the force, but expend energy in doing so, and gain only time, not initiative.

That leaves the fourth option: interception. The use of all force, including your opponent’s force, to your own ends. In the domain of grappling, Judo and Jujitsu are known for this. The use of “ju” in each case is an explicit reference to the martial arts principle of the “soft method” – using your opponent’s strength and energy against him.

The idea of interception came into its own in Jeet Kune Do. As Bruce Lee said in Longstreet, “To reach me, you must move to me. Your attack offers me an opportunity to intercept you.” That is it in a nutshell. As an attack approaches, instead of simply moving out of the way or blocking, launch an attack of your own. Interception is the ultimate combination of “soft” and “hard” techniques, and can use both forces to your advantage. This is one of the principles of Jeet Kune Do that make it the best known foundation for unarmed martial arts expression.

By using all forces to your advantage, interception is the most complete, most whole, most Integrated foundation of combat. So it the basic principle of K.W.I.C..

“When an opponent expands, I contract. When he contracts, I expand. And when there is an opportunity, I do not hit; it hits all by itself”.

— Bruce Lee, “Enter the Dragon”