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Martial Arts Blog

Here we aim to bring you martial arts news and articles from around the web, especially the more whacky and weird aspects. We will also post blogs here from the Bear Martial Arts team, and also from you guys.

If you fancy writing a blog or posting an article, please email team@bearmartialarts.com your article and we will publish it on our site. You'll get full credit for your article, and we will even promote your own website / blog if you have one :)

Please note that any articles which are offensive, or are deemed inappropriate, will not be approved for publication.

Posts per page: 3 | 6 | 9 | All
  • Kettlebell Training for Martial Arts

    Kettlebell Training for Martial Arts

    Date: 1st August 2018

    Kettlebell training is a type of training that combine cardiovascular, strength and flexibility training - perfect for any martial artist. You can use heavy ones for strength training, or lighter ones for cardio. 

    They are also cheap to buy and take up no room at all, so you don't need a gym membership to have a complete workout available to you. But if you have a gym membership already, chances are your gym has a whole range of kettlebells in different weights.

    If you are looking to get into kettlebell training, here are some exercises to try:


    Kettlebell Squat

    Very simply, this is a normal squat, but using a kettlebell instead of a bar. Usually the kettlebell is held with 2 hands, at around chest height. 


    Kettlebell Swing (2 hand)

    Grip the kettlebell with 2 hands, perform a squat, allowing the kettlebell to swing down between your legs, and then stand up straight, thrusting from the hips, swinging the kettlebell out in front of you. Repeat this without stopping in between.


    Kettlebell Swing (1 hand)

    The movement is the same as a 2 handed swing, but this time holding the kettlebell in 1 hand. There are a few different ways this exercise can be done:

    • Alternate which hand is holding the kettlebell, switching at the top of each swing
    • Alternate which hand is holding the kettlebell, switching at the bottom of each swing
    • Do all reps with 1 hand, then switch to the other hand and repeat

    Our advice is to play with all 3 and see which is easiest for you to do safely.


    Russian Twist

    Sit on the floor with your legs off the floor. Pick up the kettlebell with 2 hands, and place the kettlebell to the side of your waist, and then to the side of your other waist, and repeat until sore!


    Author: Bear Martial Arts

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  • ......But I Can't Even Do a Cartwheel

    ......But I Can't Even Do a Cartwheel

    Date: 23rd July 2018

    When I first started Capoeira (an Afro-Brazilian martial art), I was barely able to do a mediocre cartwheel to one side, and to the other, I was completely terrified. I could barely put my hand down and I had zero confidence that if I did put that hand down, it would keep me up and my head from hitting the floor. Fast forward a few months that changed. Not only could I do a cartwheel on both sides (one side much better than the other), but I felt much more confident and that big ego boost helped me believe that I could do well in Capoeira.


    In fact, like many people, I felt very intimidated by Capoeira and made a classic statement to myself even as I was weeks into practicing. I would tell myself, “I’ll learn this move, that move, this one here is ok, but I won’t learn “X” movement. I realize now how intimidated I was by people doing splits, singing, playing instruments, doing kicks in the air, and doing backflips. My teenage brain literally could not comprehend activities that did not include sitting in a desk and playing dodgeball for gym. For that reason, I put a limit on myself. I said, I would never do flips, or any other crazy looking move. I loved Capoeira, but I was scared shitless.

    10+ years and I’m still doing Capoeira. I can do flips, kicks in the air… still can’t do splits, but I’m working on it! There was a lot of work that went into learning all the things I said I would never do, so I wanted to share how I got over some of the fears I had.

    YOUR FIRST CLASS

    Nobody likes being a noob, but much as you might suck at the start, the best advice that anyone can give you is to embrace the suck. Love it, you’re learning something new and your plunging head first into something you don’t know. That fear and uncomfortable feeling in your belly… thats the feeling of adventure. Embrace it and push through. Here are some tips that can help you get through that initial phase and rocket off to success.

    GET REACQUAINTED WITH THE GROUND

    For most of us, we spend our days at a desk for school or for work. Even now, I’m typing at a desk because that just seems normal to us. We rarely move in a direction other than forwards and most importantly, we hardly ever touch the ground. The ground is something that’s always with us and yet our relationship with it is very distant. Going back to the story of not being comfortable doing a cartwheel, part of the reason I was so scared was that I rarely moved on the ground. It’s as though we get past crawling, we never look back, but there’s something there. Touch the ground, do it now. It can be hard, soft, clean, dirty, whatever. The point is that you build your relationship with the ground because in Capoeira as well as with many other moving arts, we are constantly fearful of the ground. Falling on your butt is a big fear for people and when you’re doing something new, the last thing you need is another obstacle in your path. Build a relationship with the ground.

    Some things to try are: Crab walks and tripod headstands. (like you did when you were a kid)

    ASK OTHERS FOR ADVICE

    Something that helped me with the initial feeling of awkwardness was to ask people who have been practicing for a few years how to do something that was confusing to me. In Capoeira, everyone is always helpful and showed me step by step how to do moves like a queixada or volta por cima (youtube search if you’re curious what those are). I always felt like I got a leg up on my Capoeira game by asking people for advice. People in general are usually willing to help you if you ask politely for their advice, so ask away!!! If you do try Capoeira, my experience is that Capoeira people have tend to be friendly, open, and hang out with each other more than other group classes and martial arts practitioners.

    Some questions you can ask:

    How do I do “x” move?

    How do I play “x” instrument? (if instruments are available), and

    What do I do when “X” happens?

    YOU CAN DO MUCH MORE THAN YOU THINK

    An interesting thing about the body is that it can do more than you think. Skill acquisition starts in the brain, like a computer that downloads new software. Learning any new movement requires your brain to rewire itself in a way that activates that new skill. Take for example a student of mine who swore, they couldn’t do a cartwheel... During the lesson we practiced just that, cartwheels. The student went on vacation, and two weeks later came back for her second class. During that time she said she hadn’t practiced her cartwheels, but when she tried it again, there was a noticeable difference in her body’s ability to produce the movement. In other words, the mind downloaded the software, allowing her to realize more of her potential.


    This example is just to say one thing: “You can do much more than you think is possible”. You think you can’t do a backflip? Believe me, I’ve seen teenagers with the BMI of a 40 year old fantasy football nerd do them. You think you’ll be too scared to play a capoeira game with someone? Think again. I’ve seen awesome transformations in myself as well as others. I used to be very shy in fact, but overcame that, and now I’m a well adjusted human being!

    So the next time you think you can’t do something like a cartwheel, just remember, you’re capable of much more than you think. The only thing left is for you to take a bet on YOURSELF and go for it.

    If you’re curious about Capoeira and want to learn more, feel free to contact me @ dende.arts@gmail.com

    You can check out the Dendê Arts Instagram. And check out info on Classes in New York City @ dendearts.com/classes

    Written by Christopher Rodriguez

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  • How to Protect Yourself When Practicing MMA

    How to Protect Yourself When Practicing MMA

    Date: 17th July 2018

    With thousands of fighters and millions of fans, MMA, short for mixed martial arts, has quickly become one of the world’s most popular sports. Part of what attracts people to MMA is its unique and creative nature. Those who participate are able to use a blend of different fighting techniques—from Muay Thai and traditional boxing to Jiu Jitsu and wrestling. With striking and grappling allowed inside the “octagon”—the eight-sided ring in which participants fight—there are plenty of ways for fighters to get creative when on the attack.

    This, in turn, makes it especially important for those getting involved in MMA to learn how to protect themselves: easier said than done when an opponent is able to punch you, kick you, and drag you to the ground at the same time.

    Combat sports will never be completely safe for participants, but those who are beginning to immerse themselves in MMA can give themselves some peace of mind by knowing the best ways to protect themselves when in action. Here’s how you can accomplish that.

    Use A Mouth Guard

    Finding the right MMA gear is vital. Let’s start with a no-brainer. Mouth guards do not impede on your ability to fight and have a number of important benefits. First, and most obvious, they can save you the physical and financial pain of getting a bunch of teeth knocked out. Additionally, they can protect your tongue, lips, cheeks, jaw, and the inside of your mouth. It’s crucial to find a mouth guard that can be molded for your gums and teeth. Thankfully, such products are available at most sporting good stores.

    Use A Groin Guard

    Another no-brainer for men getting involved in MMA. A kick accidentally placed in the groin area can quickly take any male fighter out of action and lead to serious health concerns. These days, lightweight and flexible guards are available to make sure fighters are protected and able to move about freely.

    Find The Right Gloves For You

    MMA gloves are quite different than the ones you’d find in traditional boxing. While boxers wear big, heavy mitts that are used when making a fist, MMA gloves smaller, lighter, and more flexible, allowing fighters to maintain open palms. By being able to open your palm mid-fight, you can use your hands to physically take down your opponent, and, ideally, bring him or her into submission.

    Hand technique is one of the most important facets of the sport to learn. But given the size of MMA gloves, going on the offensive can lead to hand injuries if the wrong equipment is used. That’s why it’s important to ensure your gloves are high-quality and fit your needs.

    Heavier gloves offer more protection but less speed, and vice versa. When getting started in MMA, it’s important to have a trainer evaluate your ability and skill level to help determine what kind of gloves are best for your goals as a fighter and for the protection of yourself and your opponents.

    Wrap Your Hands

    Usually made with elastic or semi-elastic cotton, the rolls of fabric fighters wrap around their hands can be colorful and flashy, but they are not there just for show. Using hand wraps inside your gloves has some important benefits. For one, hand wraps help stabilize, strengthen, and align your wrists. This can help you make better fists when in combat.

    What’s more, applying hand wraps can offer some protection against cuts, scrapes, fractures, and sprains. Given their benefits and low cost—a roll can generally be purchased for $5 or less—hand wraps should be used every time you train and step in the ring.

    Avoid Fighting When Injured

    In MMA, like all contact sports, it’s important to listen to your body and know when you need time to recover. A common axiom among athletic trainers is there’s a difference between being hurt and being injured. Being able to tell the difference between the two will help you determine whether or not you should push through pain.

    Dealing with a sore leg (hurt) is not nearly as severe as dealing with a strained ligament (injured). Pushing yourself through injury can make you more vulnerable in the ring, making you less capable of protecting yourself. It can also exacerbate your ailment and lead to long-term consequences—some of which can be permanent.

    Seek Professional Training

    Some sports, like basketball and soccer, can be learned without much (or any) coaching. MMA does not fall in that category. Learning how to protect yourself in the ring takes years, and it requires professional trainers to guide you along the way. One of the biggest reasons why people seek out trainers is to learn how to protect themselves.

    There’s a reason why so many invest time and money in self-defense classes, such as Krav Maga: If you have no prior fighting or martial arts experience, it is not something to learn solo. Having an experienced instructor teach you the right techniques will set you up for success in the ring and give you the confidence you need to defend yourself out in the world should a perilous situation arise.

    Begin And End Your Workouts By Stretching

    To succeed as an MMA fighter, you need to be flexible. A high level of flexibility is needed to perform many techniques, including ones that help with self-defense. Stretching tends to take a back seat to other areas of training, but prioritizing it before and after your main workout will put you in a better position to protect yourself when on the defense. And, of course, stretching is great for your body: It can shorten your recovery time, lessen muscle damage, increase your reach, improve your posture, and promote blood circulation.

    Keep Strength Training In Your Routine

    A workout program that has you frequently sparring inside an MMA ring can be exhausting and leave you with little energy left over. Nevertheless, regular strength training is often recommended to fighters to maintain and build muscles. Those who lift weights (on a proper schedule) will improve the strength of their tendons, muscles, and connective tissues—lowering the risk of injury.

    Written by Constante Quirino

    Image Link:

    https://unsplash.com/photos/qxYDhV0rBPk

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