Bear Martial Arts

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 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.

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  • Top 10 Bruce Lee Movies

    The recent release of "Bruce Lee 30 for 30: ‘Be Water’” has revitalized the world’s interest in Bruce Lee's life story. By watching the classics like Enter the Dragon and Fist of Fury, we can understand the legacy that Lee left behind, why he was so respected, and how he shaped the role of Asian men in Hollywood.

    To see the full list, click here

  • 6 Reasons To Start Martial Arts

    Most people at some point in their lives have thought about doing martial arts. We’ve seen Bruce Lee or some other star in action films, or been in a scary real-life situation, and wish that we could do what martial arts experts can do. Well the good news is you can do anything that any action star can do, all you need to do is start learning…


    Martial arts are a great all over body workout, which helps multiple parts of your fitness. It’s a great cardio workout – you will burn many calories every time you train. It will also improve your speed, as you are taught, slowly, to be faster and faster in training. You will also get stronger, and will see improvements in your endurance and explosive power. Have we missed anything? There are very few types of training that so complete.

    Self Defence

    The most common reason to learn martial arts is to learn the skills to protect yourself. Every martial art you could possibly learn will teach you this. Every master will have an opinion on which is the best for protection. Don’t tell them we told you this, but it really doesn’t matter which one you learn! Any martial artist has an instant advantage over any would-be attacker. They will all teach you how to defend yourself, and they all have all the other benefits mentioned in this blog.


    Martial arts teach you discipline whether you start at 6yrs old or 60. You will notice most children who start martial arts, after a while, are calmer and more respectful to those around them. Having a place to burn off that excess energy certainly helps, but this is mostly because respect to others around you is taught in every art. Also, the dedication to learn a complex skill focuses the mind, teaching you how to learn.

    Make Friends

    There is nothing like (safely) beating people up every week to make friends and build a sense of community! You get very up close and personal with your fellow classmates, and you can’t help but make friends with them. Plus, the more you get in to martial arts, the more your fellow classmates are the only people you know who truly understand why you dedicate yourself to it.


    Knowing that you can look after yourself, having a greater level of fitness, and experiencing the feeling of breaking boards and doing spinning kicks – all these build up your confidence. This can help shy people, children and adults alike, gain a sense of self worth and bring them out of their shell.

    Be Like Bruce Lee

    There is absolutely nothing wrong in starting a martial art to be like one of your heroes! If this is your goal then find out what martial art (or arts, many really top stars know multiple arts) and go find a class in that art. You can find our locator map for free to find a class near you.

  • Is Muay Thai an Effective Workout?

    One of the many reasons people take up Muay Thai is for the fitness benefits – not everyone is interested in the competition, but the training is beneficial for a whole host of reasons. In this article we’re going to answer the question ‘Is Muay Thai an effective workout?’

    Muay Thai Gets the Heart Racing

    Thanks to the constant movement of the body and the use of all four limbs, Muay Thai really gets the heart racing. You’re on your toes, changing direction, making decisions, attacking and defending in combat. This has a huge energy demand and is an intense cardio training session.

    Throwing combinations of punches, kicks, elbows and knees, not to mention constantly adjusting your position for attacking and defensive movements means that just a few minutes of Muay Thai training will see your heart rate race, burning a lot of calories and improving your fitness dramatically!

    Muay Thai Builds Strength

    In order to effectively punch, kick, block and move, you need strong limbs and an ability to generate force quickly. The practice of this builds strength.

    The training for Muay Thai and the moves themselves build a very specific strength in people who train in the sport. Again, because Muay Thai uses all four limbs as well as the core muscles, you end up developing an all-round strength that improves you as an athlete. The constant repetition of movements is like a gym workout, conditioning the muscles.

    Muay Thai Improves Flexibility

    All martial artists are flexible, which is a huge fitness benefit of practicing their sport. If you aren’t flexible, you’ll be a really limited martial artist. Thankfully, Muay Thai naturally helps to improve your flexibility.

    The ability to move your body quickly in and out of range of an opponent requires a lot of flexibility, not just speed. There’s also the requirement in Muay Thai to perform high kicks and high knees, both of which require a lot of flexibility. Practicing high kicks and high knees naturally improves flexibility.

    Muay Thai Teaches New Skills

    When you start Muay Thai you’re learning a huge range of new moves – new skills, new tactics, new kicks, punches, elbow and knee strikes. You’re learning to read an opponent, to manage energy levels and new ways of training.

    These new skills that you learn in Muay Thai can improve all kinds of physical abilities that you haven’t even considered – your balance, your coordination, your mobility, your distance perception and your breathing. There are all kinds of things you learn from Muay Thai that benefit you in other areas of your life.

    Muay Thai Boosts Your Confidence

    There’s more to Muay Thai than the physical benefits – there are the mental benefits too. Healthy body leads to a healthy mind.

    When your physically active, you feel better. Chances are you’ll lose weight and be fitter, so there are confidence boosts that way. You’ll also have a way to release tension and stress, so your mental health improves. Additionally, when you learn a new combat skill your ability to defend yourself improves, so you feel less social anxiety or danger.

    Muay Thai is a fantastic workout and has all kinds of physical and mental benefits associated with it. Try Muay Thai and see what it will do for you!

    Darren Mitchell is a Muay Thai enthusiast and writer for the Best Muay Thai blog. He has trained for several years at gyms all over the world alongside some world-renowned fighters and coaches.

  • Motivation for 2019

    It's 2019 and there is never a better time to kickstart a new and improved training program, or even to get started if you aren't currently training.

    Here are some of our favourite videos to get you in the mood.

    Also, here are some of our favourite blogs to get your 2019 kickstarted:

  • Kettlebell Training for Martial Arts

    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

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

    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.


    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.


    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)


    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?


    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 @

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

    Written by Christopher Rodriguez

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