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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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  • Train Like Jason Statham

    Train Like Jason Statham

    Date: 29th May 2018

    British actor Jason Statham is one of the Hollywood elite and a proper martial arts action hero, is also former Commonwealth diver and is of course an expert in Wing Chun Kung Fu.

    To train like Jason taking up Wing Chun is a good start, but finding his gym routine and replicating that is a little harder to do......

    Stars such as Jason rarely give out their full workouts, but by piecing together a few articles you can put together his workout and see what makes him such a great. We have read them all and collated the best ones.

    Here are the key articles to check out:

    Happy training!

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  • How To Pick a Martial Arts Club

    How To Pick a Martial Arts Club

    Date: 22nd March 2018

    Starting a new martial art is a commitment. You are giving up your time, your money, and putting your body under some stress. So it’s important to find the right club for you. Use our Find a Club Locator Map to find clubs in your area, and then use our handy guide below to find the best club for what you’re looking for.


    Proximity to you

    When you’re starting out, your club needs to be close enough so you will keep going back. Its location needs to fit in with your day, as you’ll be going after work / school etc, or taking time out of your weekend.

    As you get more into your martial art you’ll find that you’ll be willing to travel further for sessions / seminars / tournaments / gradings, but to start with stay local.


    Qualified instructor

    Instructors do not have to have a black belt to teach a class, so do not be put off if you turn up and find a non-black belt is teaching. But your instructor should be allowed to teach by his / her governing body, and preferably insured.


    Online Reviews

    In the age of the internet everyone has an opinion. Check out the club’s Google / Yelp / Facebook page and have a look at the online reviews and comments. Remember that the internet is a wonderful and awful place, so take all comments, good and bad, with a pinch of salt.


    What do you want?

    Do you want to hit, grab, throw, use weapons, get fit? Each martial art has a different approach to fighting and training. Check out our martial arts style guide to get an idea on what each one offers.


    Do you want formal or informal?

    Do you want to call your instructor Sensei / Sifu, or Dave? Some martial arts are very formal, and some are very relaxed. This can be down to the art itself, or the instructor’s teaching style.

    All of us thrive differently under these different styles, so think about which one you prefer. Try both out, and decide which one you feel more comfortable in.


    Go and Try It Out

    You never have to go back to a class, so make a list of the ones you like the look of and try a few out. Most offer a first lesson free, so it shouldn’t cost you very much to have a few taster sessions.


    Sport Club vs Training Club

    Some clubs focus only on competitions, some on training, some both. Again, try out different variations to see which you prefer. Also have a think about whether you want to compete, or just train and work through the grades.


    It Should Be Fun!

    If it doesn’t feel like fun, don’t go. Find somewhere you enjoy. That’s how you will keep it up in the long run. Martial arts training will be hard at times, frustrating and even painful. But it should always in the end be fun.

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  • How Much Should I Spend Marketing My New Martial Arts Club?

    How Much Should I Spend Marketing My New Martial Arts Club?

    Date: 12th March 2018

    How Much Should I Spend Marketing My New Martial Arts Club?

    In a world where the economic climate is difficult, setting up and running a profitable club can be tricky. To give you a helping hand, here are some tips and hints from us to help you promote your club for free, or for as cheap as possible!


    Social Media

    Pretty much every company / club in the world has a social media account of some sort now, and your new club should as well. They are free, great for finding new students, and great for keeping in constant contact with existing students.

    The following social media channels all offer free pages / accounts:

    The important thing to do is work out which of these mediums suit you / your club / your style. Most people will search to see if your club has a Facebook page, so that's the only one we would say is essential. The rest depend on you. The more you use, the better your SEO will be.

    SEO if you weren't sure stands for Search Engine Optimisation, and simply means how high up a search engine's pages do you appear when people search for you or for a related word to your club. The higher you are, the easier people will find you.

    All these social media channels offer you the chance to pay for advertising. The great thing about most of them (especially Facebook), is you can set your budget, and only pay for the audience you reach. You can also set your advert to only be seen by people in a certain area, with certain interests, and also of a certain age / gender – all this means you can reach the people you want to.


    Google Trends

    Google Trends is a great free tool from Google that allows you to see what people are looking for on Google. Simply type in a word or phrase (i.e. your club's name or "martial arts") and see what the top related search terms around the world are.

    You might be thinking why this information is useful. Well you can use this information when thinking about what to talk about through your social media pages, or on your website. The closer your content is to what people are looking for, the more people will find you and your page. Easy!


    Google Analytics

    Another great free tool from the world's largest search engine, Google Analytics is a must for your website. Simply open an account, add the Google Analytics code to your website (ask your website provider if you are unsure), and then you will have access to a world of data that you will help you optimise your message to your potential new students.

    Google Analytics will give you more data about your website than you can probably handle. Here are some of the key things you can find out from this data:

    • How many unique visitors a month to your site
    • How many visits to your site in a month
    • What keywords people are using to find your site
    • What are the most popular pages on your site
    • What is a visitor's "landing page"

    All this data can be used to streamline your marketing.


    Find a Club Databases

    A lot of pages offer you the chance to advertise your martial arts club for free. We at Bear Martial Arts are no different here and we have our own Find a Club Locator Map. It's free to sign up and we strongly recommend that you do.

    There are lots of databases like these around the internet (none quite as good as ours, obviously!) and it's worth signing up to all the free ones. Each one will give you new exposure, a new web page with your club's details on - all helping improve your SEO further.

    On our site you can go one stage further, and advertise your events for free on our Martial Arts Calendar. It's worth taking advantage of this as well.

    Blogs

    Blogs are another free way to promote your club. Writing a blog and linking it to your club has lots of advantages:

    • Improves SEO
    • Content for your website (if blog appears on your site)
    • Exposure on other sites (if blog appears on someone else's site)
    • Shows your students and potential students how knowledgable you are
    • Allows you to talk about issues that are relevant to you and your martial art

    If you wish to write a blog for us then please do! We will publish it through our social media channels, and on our site - where we will also link it to your site / club.


    Website

    You can spend however much you wish on a website. There are providers that give you great free website, managed websites that cost a modest fee per year, and then all singing and dancing websites that cost a less modest fee.

    The free website services are more than adequate for a website to advertise a martial arts club, especially when you are starting out. Providers such as Wordpress and Wix are definitely worth checking out.

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