Posts Tagged ‘Kickboxing’

Why Training In MMA Shorts Is Important For Taekwondoin

        As a Taekwondo fighter and life long Taekwondoin I have often stressed that most training should be done in the dobok of course, but I always saw the need to train in regular athletic clothes and shorts. We learn to kick wearing dobok pants, but many do not kick in shorts and the feeling is very different.

Training in MMA shorts is great because they are very mobile and allow you to kick high and the material wicks away sweat. I would often do a heavy bag routine in full dobok attire and kick the bag hard with my dobok pants on. This is good to do of course. When you kick with pants on you tend to really work the instep kicks using round kick It conditions the top of your foot really well. wearing pants lacks the tendency for you to kick with your shin. You can do it but you won’t want to as much as your brain usually uses the exposed skin of the foot as the landing weapon. When you do use your shin to kick a bag with your foot your pants cover your skin.

What happens when you have material over your skin as you kick is that sweat stays wet on your skin. You will not get a good skin conditioning to develop your pain tolerance to accept high impacts on your leg. Your feet will get conditions on the skin so the slaps of the heavy bag do not hurt anymore, but your shin won’t. The dobok pants stay wet with sweat and your skin will not get dry in the air as much. This is why you should also train while wearing shorts.

 

 

A good pair of shorts I like to use are the Elite Sports Star Series MMA Shorts. They fit well and feel great. You really want to kick when wearing them. They also work well for grappling, but that is besides the point. When I wear these shorts I can kick the heavy bag pretty well and my skin over my shin will be less moist from sweat as the air will dry the skin. When I kick the bag with my shin my skin toughens up over time and you develop the much needed callouses over the shin bone.

Kicking in the air with shorts is also different. When we wear dobok pants we can do poomsae well as we hear the snap of the clothing over our legs telling us when to stop. In the real world if we get into a fight while wearing shorts it may feel weird and the novice might not understand when to snap his kick or how to pull it without the “dobok snap” sound. When i was a color belt I had this issue. I felt so weird kicking in shorts. I got used to it. Also using shorts allows for the “heavy rotation” kicks like the downward angled kick pulling through to smash the enemy’s thigh or body. The full 360 rotation kicks often seen in kickboxing.

Image result for Elite Sports Star Shorts white

The reason  like the Elite Sports Star MMA shorts is because of their functionality and fit. The feeling that I am free to kick and move my legs as much as I want without any restraint. They are secure and stay on you well and the material so very comfortable and less plastic feeling as other brands of MMA shorts.

I am a huge advocate of cross training in martial arts as well as training in doors, out doors, in the official Taekwondo uniform and also in street clothes as well as MMA gear. For more to see about Elite Sports gear for combat sports check this video out:

 

 

 

Get the shorts: Elite Sports Star/Sublimation Series Fight Shorts

Elite Sports Website

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#EliteSports #TeamElite @EliteSports

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The Most Comfortable Rash Guard I Have Ever Worn 

        Rash guards are basically surfing shirts used by surfers to protect from getting rashes from their boards. It is made out of spandex type material and usually thicker than regular spandex. These are like half suits for the torso. The Brazilian Jiu Jitsu martial artists in the 90’s made these things very popular for martial artists who want to do full contact fighting. The early days of the UFC allowed all kinds of uniforms to be worn in the cage and a lot of practitioners were grapplers. They stopped wearing the traditional Jiujitsu gi because the opponent could grab it and pull on it. So they started the whole “o-gi” Jiu Jitsu style or also sporting competition. This translated well for MMA and kickboxers who train in the gym because it is very functional clothing. You do not have loose clothing like a wet t-shirt, or gi or dobok that soaks up sweat. The rash guard material repels it and wicks it away from your body. They are also hygienic and protect your skin from a lot of skin diseases and bacteria that can be transferred with skin to skin contact and also from the sweat on the mat you may roll in.

With that being said, I am still a traditional martial artist and love to wear my dobok for Taekwondo, but I think that the Taekwondo practitioner needs to also practice in other kinds of clothes and do kickboxing and MMA training. So donning MMA shorts/kickboxing shorts and a rash guard is something you should do every week once or twice at least. I have trained with rash guards for many years doing my intense striking work and conditioning work. I also love to wear one when I roll and do grappling sometimes. I prefer the bJJ gi when I do my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training but I also believe to be an efficient and street ready fighter you need to train in both the gi and without the gi. So the rash guard is the best choice for attire when not rolling in the gi.

I have a few rash guards, but I will tell you the absolute best rash guard I have ever worn is the Elite Sports Star Rash Guard. Elite Sports is a maker of a lot of martial arts gear with an emphasis on MMA, but they also make Taekwondo uniforms too. The Elite Sports Star Short Sleeve Compression Rash Guard is extremely comfortable and feels great.

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The material is thicker spandex and slides well on the mat. The stitching is very strong. What I like about this rash guard compared to others is that the shirt fits my wider frame and does not feel tight in my armpits like other brands do. My shoulders and armpits are not restricted and I can freely move. I am a bigger guy around 220lbs and I wear an XL size. Another important thing about this shirt is that it does not at all choke my in anyway. Almost every rash guard I have worn in the past has given me a slight uncomfortable feeling on the front of my throat. The tight spandex usually gives slight discomfort but nothing that keeps me from working out, breathing, and giving it my all. This Elite Sports Star rash guard has a small v-neck shape that does not choke me at all!!! It feels amazing! I was so surprised.
Probably one of the coolest features of this rash guard is that the waist has a band that keeps the shirt conformed to my waist. It is form fitting and stays down. When I roll with other rash guards they usually would slide up and expose my belly. It was annoying as I want to be modest when I train as well as be hygenic and not have parts of my torso rubbing the mat or someone else’s skin. This rash guard by Elite Sports stays around my waist and does not hike up! I love it!!! It has this cool band sort of like a rubber band keeping it down. Nothing about this rash guard is too tight either. It just overall feels comfortable.

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The design of this rash guard is also really cool. This is a ranked rash guard and white symbolizes by BJJ white belt status. I am almost to blue and when I get blue belt I will get a blue rash guard like this as well. So I feel great and also look great with a very fashionable design!

So as a Taekwondo fighter I will practice my punches and kicks and also do my Jiujitsu in this as well. It also is a great overall active shirt for general fitness. Jogging, weights, jump rope, push ups and everything else. I recommend this rash guard. You can get it on Amazon for $24.99. The price is very nice!!!! Other rash guards cost 50 or more dollars! So Elite Sports is making high quality gear for a low price the average martial arts man can afford!

Check out their website as well as amazon.

Elite Sports Star Rash Guard

http://elitesports.com 

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#TeamElite #EliteSports #EliteSportsMMA

 

 

 

When Will The MMA Community Get It? It Is Time To Start Hiring Taekwondo Striking Coaches At Your Gyms!

        The last UFC Fight Night showed a one sided beatdown of MMA legend BJ Penn who is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu prodigy. In this case, Taekwondo actually defeated Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Hard to believe I know! Many probably won’t admit it. BJ Penn could not keep on him or do anything but get hit and evaded.

Rodriguez threw a variety of kicks including a tornado round kick that bashed BJ pretty hard even though he had his arm blocking his face you could tell it still hurt. The video doe snot show the full fight, but even a hopping side kick was thrown that connected.

It is about time that the MMA community stops being biased towards Taekwondo and stops the nonsense claims that it doesn’t work when it clearly does. It is time to start giving jobs to Taekwondo masters and coaches who know the Taekwondo striking game very well and ca benefit your gyms. It is ridiculous not to. A Taekwondo striking coach deserves full respect and should be teaching fighters along side Muay Thai coaches and Boxing coaches. There is no excuse not to. Taekwondo should be equally respected as a serious skillset to teach fighters for MMA and self defense. There are going to be more beat downs like this over time and have been in the past. Taekwondo is dynamic and offers so many angles and ranges of kicking that Muay Thai does not. Taekwondo people have a new mind and idea to teach your fighters new techniques.

Stop the biased hatred of Taekwondo and start being open minded. MMA has progressed beyond telegraphed heavy kicks and boxing.

Amazing Double Combo Back Kick In MMA By Amir Elzhurkaev

        In Russia, at the Absolute Championship Berkut 34 event recently, Amir Elzhurkaev threw a powerful liver shot by way of back kick. It was performed as a double kicking combo with a front leg side/or push kick (AKA cut kick) in the air followed by a rear leg back kick. It went straight into his opponent, Dmitrity Tomaev’s, liver. It knocked him out. Just another display of beautiful Taekwondo stuff working in MMA….Taekwondo is serious business and MMA fighters need to learn it and stop being pansies and petending it doesn’t work because they fear what the popular toolbag consensus of ignorant MMA meatheads believe about traditional martial arts. Not there is anything wrong with MMA, being an MMA fan, or training MMA, or supporting MMA; because I do; the point is the naysayers who are still claiming that Taekwondo’s flashy kicks have no place in a real fight.

THE VIDEO:

And my musical score made by the sounds of his kicks being rewound *LOL*:

I did not want to brush my hair and I was very bored…enjoy!

Training MMA In Korea

        I was invited to train with a small club for amateur MMA who meets at the gym where I train. We trained on Sunday and it was pretty hard training. We did pad drills, takedown drills and various kinds of sparring such as grappling with punches sparring, stand up striking like Muay Thai style sparring and NoGi grappling parring and finally MMA sparring. Of course we used plenty of control to make sure we were safe and no one got injured; but that does not mean it didn’t hurt or it wasn’t tough! It was! And it did hurt! But it was a good experience to make me a better fighter and martial artist. If I plan to teach Taekwondo I want to know what I am made of and if I am worthy of being an instructor who teaches people how to fight.

        I just have a sore jaw, nose and of course my injuries on my body are very sore from the past surgeries I have had. Some of the guys are advances in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Boxing, and Kickboxing. One guy who was nearly 6’5″ was a professional MMA fighter in Korea and a Korea Kickboxing champion. The rest were beginners. One was a wrestler/grappler with no striking experience. So we just had a lot of fun!

        Padwork

       MMA NoGi Grappling Sparring

       Stand Up Kicboxing Sparring

It was a goo training session and it gave me more confidence and showed me may weaknesses to try and fix. I hope to keep getting more confidence so I will not fear fighting and be a stronger person.

 

 

Learn The Korean Art Of Taekwondo From Master In Chul Jeong Online

        There is a way you can train and learn concepts of Taekwondo online. master In Chul Jeong has created a channel on Vimeo that you can subscribe to by registering an ID. Go to Vimeo’s website. Create a user name and then go to Master Jeong’s page to see video lessons. He is in the process of creating a series of online video lessons to teach you the self defense aspects of poomsae, and other topics for Taekwondo proficiency. He is a highly qualified member of the Kukkiwon and represents true Korean Taekwondo.

Go to his website:

http://masterjeongtaekwondo.com

Subscribe to his YouTube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCy-Jg_befA1wq6eWnTSVz2Q

Like his Facebook page and follow him:

https://www.facebook.com/Jeonginchoul?fref=ts

Here are some trailer’s for his videos:

His credentials:

6th dan Taekwondo Kukkiwon

4th dan Kyongho Musool (Korean body guard system)

5th dan Kendo

Author of books on Taekwondo such as “Hand Techniques for Taekwondo for Actual Fighting KTA”

KTA Instructor

Member of Kukkiwon Education Committee

I also will mention he has experience in other martial arts especially boxing and has trained under a top Korean boxer.

Go to Master In Chul Jeong’s website to get learn more about how you can train in Taekwondo online, on demand through video lessons. If you sign up he will interact with you as well through emails and chat to make sure you are learning the lessons correctly. This is great supplemental training for all Taekwondoin.

http://www.masterjeongtaekwondo.com

There Is No Excuse For A Taekwondo Black Belt Not Having Good Hands

        I do not believe that there is any excuse whatsoever for a Taekwondo black belt not having good hands. The inability to throw hands well in vital for any true martial artist, let alone one who proclaims advanced skill in the arts. Having solid punches and fast punches is important in self defense. Not only punching from the hp chamber, but being able to throw hands from above. You should not neglect any of these ways of throwing strikes. A Taekwondo black belt not only should be able to do traditional hand techniques with the various self defense blocks and strikes, but also be able to have a solid understanding of punching in fighting fundamentals, as in boxing skills. A Taekwondo expert does not have to be a world champion level Olympic boxer, but he should know the basics and be very good at them and train for speed and solid power to knock someone out. A real fight that goes the distance will cause the Taekwondo fighter to have to “fist up” so to speak in order to protect their body and also throw punches from this guarded up position. Here is a video displaying a way of practicing for speed and power I like to do. It has to do with warming up, loosening the joins, and carrying weights and shadow boxing and blasting punches.

        A Taekwondo black belt who cannot throw fists and block well has been one an injustice. If you recieved a black belt and your instructor did not teach you such basics of punching please learn on your own and find someone who can teach you. End the cycle of bad teaching and become a better martial artist on your own. Also, to say that because you are punching from above makes it “not Taekwondo” is simply something an ignoramus might say. Sure it is not traditional poomsae technique, but it does not negate you as a Taekwondoin, it only enhances you and gives you credibility. Of course such punches are the staple of boxing, but the sport of boxing does not own punches even if they are the masters at them, and every martial art eventually turns out with the same goals and endpoint. As Bruce Lee expressed in a famous interview that unless humans grow extra limbs they will all fight similar. Martial arts all end up with the same goals and concepts but they just get to that point through another path. All martial artists who have sense will collaborate as well and give and take with other styles. Just like Mortal Kombat the arcade game would display on the screen, “There is no knowledge that is not power!” And there is no excuse not to know such basics.

The Danger Of Oldschool Olympic Sparring

        Olympic Taekwondo sparring of the World Taekwondo Federation used to be very dangerous and scary. It took a lot of guts to get in the ring and fight someone. Yes, FIGHT your opponent, because that is what it was, a fight. Just as the sport of boxing is a fight, the sport of Taekwondo sparring was a fight. Oldschool Olympic Taekwondo sparring was dangerous. By oldschool I mean the 80’s and 90’s. Here is a clip showing how it was dangerous and how often people actually got hurt in matches. The point of sparring was to show Taekwondo superiority by beating up your opponent as much as you could and scoring hard contact points; and hopefully knocking your opponent out. This is the same as how boxing is about scoring points and also hopefully knocking your opponent out.  Check this out:

I have to apologize for the extremely idiotic music choice for this video. Not everyone has good tastes in music and I did not make this video. So just mute it.

I remember Taekwondo sparring in the 90’s and how it was actually scary and took a lot of courage, and confidence instilled in me by my instructor to be brave enough to fight, especially in the black belt division. Olympic fighters were taught to have a serious fighting spirit and lots of aggression in the ring. You let loose, and went off on your opponent with all of your techniques, trying to cause him damage through the padding. As a teenager my training was so hard that every time I had to go to class I hated it. I never wanted to do the training because it was so stressful and so painful. I did it anyway! Besides regular Taekwondo class, I was in what we called “Champions Class” which was our dojangs competition team. As a color belt I was able to eventually be trained enough to go to the Junior Olympics in 1996 and represent Oregon Taekwondo.

Training was hard, we started off stretching of course (in full padding), then we did extreme plyometrics and a load of kicking and footwork drills. It was 100% cardio and endurance. Foot work and kicking drills could be anything from shadowing it and kicking in the air against nobody just to get the move down, kicking paddles and kicking shields held by a partner, and the majority which was kicking each others chest gear. We would kick each others chest gear hard doing certain kicks over and over, and the person receiving the kick just tried to stick his chest gear out to offer some more space between his body and the kick. It did not help much. So the partner receiving he kicks got beat up going down the length of the gym and the guy kicking would do a bit of foot work then a hard kick over and over until you got to the end. There were various drills and various kicks used with full contact. Then we switched and now the other guy would then be kicking and the previous kicking guy would then be getting kicked.  Also, if we were doing defensive drills we would have to block a kick with out arms and counter. So not only is the chest gear getting kicked hard which hurts your body, but your arm is taking kicks as well and bruising up. We often had bruised arms and legs and sore torsos after every class. Hopefully we recovered the next day before the next Champions Class. We did this for 1 hour with no breaks. There was no “Hey take 2 mins to rest.” It was non-stop. Also, in our class we were taught to keep our hands up the ENTIRE class, even when the instructor was talking to us and we were standing there listening to instructions for the next drill. If we for one second put our arms down we were forced to do 10 pushups. You did not want to do any pushups after all of the crazy workouts we had to do. An entire hour of keeping your hands up made our arms stronger, but extremely sore. It was hard just to keep them up and often students would then be forced to do pushups because they were too tired to keep their hands up. You did not want to have to do pushups when being that tired. It was not a relief to do pushups at all.  The floor was wet with sweat from everyone of us. We wore our sparring gear the entire time. Full gear. This made us extremely hot with drenched doboks underneath that added to the sweat on the floor. Our head gear caused our entire heads to be dripping. All of the hard workouts while wearing sparring gear took a huge tole on your endurance. Working out when you are burning up from the heat makes you even more fatigued. After 1 hour of training we spent 30 solid minutes with full contact sparring. So an entire Champions Class was 1 hour and 30 minutes long, if not more. Class was of course the last class in the evening and was done after standard class of basic Taekwondo training such as poomsae, basics, self defense, curriculum class.

When we did full contact sparring we actually did full contact sparring. No one said, “Hey be light and easy on each other.” We just actually fought in class. Once in awhile a person would take a very hard blow and get hurt and have to sit out the rest of class. But often, our pads and our technique helped us to simply take a huge beating on our bodies and arms just short of shutting us down. It may have been better to get knocked hard so you could quit class, but the gear protected you from that and forced you to keep taking hard beatings. The padding does not exist to make sure nothing hurts, it simply exists to make sure you do not receive a serious injury (which you would if there was no padding worn). So padding still allows you to feel pain and get bruised up.

In tournaments we were told to just fight and go off and win. Just to try your best even if you lost was what made our instructor proud. Not to quit. One of the scariest tournaments I had to fight in was when my instructor forced me as a blue belt (5th gup) to fight in the advanced division of red/brown/black belt. 9th-10th gup and 1st dan and above. I was 15 years old and in the 15-17 year old division. I beat a brown belt and actually beat on him pretty hard and scored the points to win. It was a battle of endurance. I even gave him a 10 count. After that I had to fight a Korean American 1st dan who was pretty solid. I went off on him and did total aggression and did so many body punches he was literally hurt. The problem was, body punches did not “score” if they were hooked upward, or too close. A punch that scored was a straight punch of a full extended arm that created a trembling shock on the opponents body. That means it would have to move him back or cause his torso to be displaced for a moment. Close in punches may hurt your opponent and cause him pain, but they do not cause the kind of “off balance” shock the judges looked for. Also, this was the start of rule changes that awarded jump kicks a lot more points. A jump kick occurred if both feet left the ground even if it was 1 inch high. The Korean American kid worked the system by slightly hopping at moments and scoring chest gear points. I may have kicked him more and harder, but his few hopping kicks scored higher. I would say I lost this match by a point or 2, but I literally beat him up and he was hurt at the end and also very resentful. He was pretty pissed off at me after the match and did not even want to shake my hand when I went up to him afterward. It is because he knew he got his butt kicked even if he got the win. After this I realized the tournament rules were changing. The reason I went so crazy was because I was scared! I am a blue belt fighting advanced levels! I was fighting a black belt! I was proud that I was a true fighter in this tournament even if I lost and I made my instructor proud.

In the 80’s and 90’s Olympic Sparring was about fighting. You beat each other up through the pads. Now days with rule changes of various scoring values and electronic scoring gear, it has now become a game of working a system to register a point with the electronics in the chest gear and other parts of the padding. The chest gear is much thicker now and more like armor than padding. It is also very expensive now to buy such gear and only wealthy people can afford to compete at the high tournament levels. Olympic Sparring while having its rules for very limited techniques such as no face punches, was still a fight and still scary to do.

Olympic Taekwondo Sparring instilled in me a fighting spirit and the will to win. It was an important part of my martial arts training and was very valuable. Black belt division was when tournaments got really serious and more dangerous. Knockouts were legal and expected. I learned many lessons about combat through it all. Over time I began to be disenfranchised with it as the rules were changing to make it less combative, and I realized that I started martial arts training to learn how to save my life in a real life situation. I began more to focus on self defense without rules limiting how I could win a fight. This was also the very beginning stages of Mixed Martial Arts development in America. I began to see the possibilities of fighting and how Taekwondo should develop and progress through watching early UFC fighting and also experiencing my own problems with bullies and gang behavior in my own town. I also got hit by a car which caused sever injuries on my body which took away any athletic pursuits I might have had. I now focus on Taekwondo as a self defense art above sport, and prefer using Taekwondo for Kickboxing and MMA sport over Olympic Sport. Taekwondo has so many techniques that can be utilized and it is being explored because of the popularity of MMA and I find this great.

Even so, I believe Olympic Taekwondo sparring is still important to study as a student, it is part of our martial art style’s culture. A decent amount of the footwork, endurance training, fighting spirit that is developed, and tactical maneuvers can be transferred into other types of fighting with effectiveness. Olympic Taekwondo sport is a noble pursuit even with the rule changes that I disagree with, and my hate for the electronic scoring gear. I still support WTF sparring and enjoy watching it during the Summer Olympics (but not much else). It is an avenue to develop skills and life lessons in students and should not be completely ignored. Supporting WTF sparring, even as a fan, still keeps Taekwondo relevant to society and might cause people to explore Taekwondo training which is good for Taekwondo. It hopefully will cause people to see the full martial art and all that it offers beyond sport. I may not like everything the WTF does, but still can appreciate the sport for what it is. I could never see how one can be a true Taekwondo black belt and never have once competed in a WTF affiliated tournament (such as your local state tournament every year). I personally believe WTF affiliated tournaments are a rite of passage for the Taekwondo student and should be mandatory to earn a black belt. It is an experience that cannot be taught in the dojang. It is okay to focus less on it than other things, but should not simply be forgotten. There is value in it.

Why Training Outside Is Important

        A martial artist should be able to function properly in any environment. Not only should they be able to fight inside a gym, but they should also be able to fight outside in various kinds of weather and on various surfaces. To be truly strong and fit and functional the human body needs to be able to experience all kinds of temperature and weather. Balance is also gained by training on various kinds of surfaces from the dojang mat, wood floor, tiles, cement, asphalt, dirt, grass, ground with tree roots sticking out, gravel, boulders, sand, and whatever else a person might walk across. Training outside is under-emphasized by so many dojangs.

        So many people want to join a comfortable gym. I think it is important to have a clean space with professional equipment around, but it is not necessary for training and Taekwondo practice in itself. One can train in Taekwondo and get good without that, but it is obviously better to train at a dojang as a main place to train. There are good things about being able to train in a place that you know is safe because of a soft floor, a bathroom near you, and water available, etc. And having air conditioning has its benefits, but only relying on a gym atmosphere will not prepare you for a fight outside. Most fights or attacks are going to happen outside of your gym and you should be prepared for it, and your physical fitness should be able to handle whatever the environment will lay on you whether it be extreme humidity, or ice cold streets. A martial artist should always take time to face the elements.

        Training outside feels amazing with the fresh air and the sounds of nature. Not all of us have exotic locations or secret mountain monasteries to train at. We do not all live in Asia with Korean gardens, or at some ancient temple ruins.

It would be awesome to train in such locations, but how many people do you know that live near such things? If you lived near areas like that would you even be allowed access to train there? You can have an exhilarating and enlightening experience simply by training in your backyard, or a parking lot for that matter. Many people imagine ancient Buddhist monks, or cool black belt guys doing awesome poomsae on a cliff or near a waterfall and hitting trees with extreme power. But that is what silly nerds day dream about who never got over their childhood fantasies of being a ninja or Shaolin monk because of too many movies. I watch a ton of movies with Shaolin monks and ninjas, but I don’t live in a fantasy world like those kinds of dorks. One of the coolest scenes from a movie though, is the scene showing the Korean team in the movie “Best of the Best.” All of their training was done outside and even in the snow. That was inspiring. Such things can motivate you to train outside, but you should do so with realistic intent. You don’t have to have dramatic landscapes to train well, and when you do go outside to train literally make sure you train and are not instead daydreaming to be a mystical mountain warrior and LARPing.

        It is a wonderful thing to train outside in nature and hear the sounds of the birds, the wind in the trees, and sometimes cars riving by…well the cars driving by is kind of unavoidable for me, but I don’t let it stop me. But more often the sounds of the birds and wind and possibly distant water from a nearby creek is what I hear. I feel the wind blow through my hair, and on my body. One of the best feelings is when the cool wind blows through the V-neck of your dobok. I train in my dobok outside once in awhile, but since much of my work is extreme and in very harsh weather I usually wear typical workout clothes like gym shorts, a t-shirt or tank top, and in cold weather sweats and a hoodie. I use shoes on rough surfaces but sometimes am able to take my shoes off if training on grass. Training with both shoes and barefoot is important. There is a different feeling when kicking with shoes on which is what you will encounter in a self defense situation most often, than barefoot. Being able to kick in shorts, or a different kind of pants is important. You should not only be good at moving when wearing a dobok, but also regular clothes as well.

        For me, in Alabama I have spent hours and hours for years training in my apartment complex parking lot. Since moving to another city I have the opportunity to train on grass or in the woods. I also train on cement. Most of my workouts are done in the extremely hot Alabama sun and absolutely intense humidity. I live in a sub-tropical climate. Growing up I lived in Oregon where there was virtually no humidity and the air was so light and fresh. In Alabama you sweat right when you walk outside. But we have cold weather in the winter.

        I do have to mention that for about 4 years I lived in Kentucky where the humidity was pretty harsh and the sun very hot, and the winter was extremely harsh. In Kentucky I had a backyard with pretty much dead grass I used to train in and spar a buddy I knew who did Karate. Often times I did poomsae and shadow boxed. We had some cement and I would go barefoot on it. We also had an old deck that I did not enjoy training on because of slivers and nails sticking up out of it. Sometimes I wore shoes, especially in the winter. I would do poomsae in the snow and even train in the dark around 6am and run around the yard. Experiencing various weather is tough. I learned not to pretend I was in the movie “Fighter in the Wind” (which just came out on DVD in the USA at that time) and not rely on my martial arts uniform for functional clothing. I began to wear a hoodie, ski mask, gloves, and shoes because I was training on snow and ice. It is insane to only wear a uniform in such cold, and Taekwondo uniforms are made so thin usually. Later I moved to California and the air was light, but the summers could get hot. I trained often luckily on a soccer field with a track going around it. It was made with a grainy astroturf that was so soft you could either wear shoes or be barefoot. During my life in Oregon, Kentucky, and California I also trained inside of gyms and at actual dojangs.

        Now in Alabama it barely snows but in the winter it gets very cold so I train in a hoodie, sweat pants, and wear shoes. I also wear gloves. I don’t let the weather stop me from working out. I even train in the rain once in awhile and that can be fun, but slippery so be careful. With the weather so hot I can take my shirt off and wear MMA shorts in the rain. It feels amazing like a warm shower or being at a water park under that mushroom thing.

Kinds of workouts you should do when outside

        It is important to do intense workouts in all kinds of weather and on various surfaces. A martial artist should train like a fighter, not a ballet dancer. One should not only do poomsae and basic motions, but also shadow box, practice kick combos, jump rope, hit pads with a buddy, spar, do push ups, jumping jacks, jogging, box jumps (or bench jumps or whatever you can find to jump up on), burpees, horse stances for a long time, lunges, squats, holding weights, ladder drills, and more. Buying a round timer is good for this. Training like this will challenge your cardio and your mental toughness. How often do you need to take a break or get water? Test yourself.

The different kinds of weather you will face

        Now let’s talk about the different kinds of weather and temperature one can encounter when training.

Hot weather

        Have you ever trained in a gym really hard and got extremely sweaty but the gym environment was cool with nice air conditioning so it was not so bad? I think we all have. Now, have you ever walked outside into the parking lot on a hot summer day and felt overwhelmed by the heat? Mix this in with humidity and it is even worse. How long do you think you can last working in such hot weather? Could you do well in a fight? Does the sweat dripping all over your body bother you? Here in Alabama the weather is extremely hot and extremely humid. It is a hot and sweaty environment. Every day activity makes you sweat. You can take a walk outside and quickly within a minute be sweating. To think that most fights are going to happen in this kind of weather here should encourage a person to workout outside. I often train outside almost every day. If it is sunny outside I work out in the sun. I of course have to take small breaks in the shade, but working out and seeing how long you can last under the sun makes you stronger. I can easily go into an air conditioned gym and last a long time because my training in this humid and hot weather gives me extra power. I endure the painful weather and do all my of poomsae outside, jump rope, push ups, shadow box for 30 minutes, practice various kicks and more. Every day I do different stuff depending on how I feel my body can handle that day. I do not suffer heat stroke or heat sickness because I am smart how I train. You should wear proper clothes and have enough food and water before training.

        When training in hot weather with intense sun, or in extreme humidity one must make sure to take breaks in the shade. Do a few rounds then during breaks stand in the shade. Sometimes you can workout a lot in the shade, and workout less under the sun. Staying in the shade is still very warm in Alabama. Make sure to wear proper amounts of sunscreen as well. But do not over do it. Being out in the sun as healthy because sun light gives us vitimin D. Getting a tan makes your skin stronger, but do not ignore burning. Do not go out without sunscreen for 45 minutes shirtless. If you do not wear sunscreen just go back and fourth into the shade during the training session. Over time your skin will get used to the sun and not burn as fast because you will get tan. But sunscreen is of course recommended for the really long session you plan to do.

Cold weather

        Cold weather can be anything from a grey cloudy day in the Fall or a freezing cold winter day with or without snow. In cold weather you should wear a hooded sweater, sweat pants or warm up pants that will keep you from freezing. The more you move the hotter your body will get and you will not feel as cold. With certain kinds of sweaters you could very well heat up a lot and feel too hot to train. So make sure your outfit is going to keep you just right. If it is not arctic weather do not dress for it, dress for a less intense cold.

        Training on snow and ice is tough because you can slip and slide. I do not recommend trying to be badass and wearing your dobok with no shoes. That is stupid and counter productive to training. It is not going to make your feet stronger or make you a better fighter if you get frost bite. If you want to be silly and go out for 5 minutes with no shoes on, okay sure, do it, it could help you with mental power to overcome pain. Mas Oyama and others have been known to meditate underneath ice col waterfalls, but who knows for how long they did. It does make for a nice photo opportunity to look very stoic and spiritual. I would say going underneath a water fall for a few minutes helps your pain tolerance and mental strength but don’t be stupid and get hypothermia. Realistically though, most people live in a town or neighborhood and we are not going to be near a waterfall or on some nice mountain. I basically have spend years training in a parking lot. Now I train on grass and also a walkway made of cement. When icy weather comes you can slip and slide and doing certain stances are dangerous because you could slip out or twist a knee easier. So be very careful. If you wear snow boots it helps with traction but then throwing kicks is very hard. Heavy weighted shoes and thicker pants are going to make you kick way slower, but that is okay. Just do what you can.

        The cold weather is going to make you feel somewhat bad, but once you warm up you will feel good. Your body will start off being stiff, especially if you have old injuries in the joints like me. But once you warm up slowly and do some stretches and jump around and shadow box some you will feel a lot better and looser. You will move better. The cold air will fill your lungs and if you are not used to being outside in cold weather you will have a shock of pain inside you. Dealing with this and making cold weather air a normal thing to breathe will make your lungs stronger and make your cardio better. Over time, over weeks or months you will get used to it and not care. It won’t even hurt. In the hot summer humidity it is another kind of pain ad fatigue, but the freezing air is more painful in my opinion. It will make your nose run as well.

        Rain is going to make you wet and soak up your clothes unless it is warm weather and a summer rain storm. Then you can wear a tank top or no shirt and just shorts and it feels great. Rain water is also slippery but not as much as ice or snow on the ground. If it is freezing rain you will feel really bad and should not spend too long in it since it will soak your clothes and you could get hypothermia or sick from the cold. Contrary to the myth, col weather does not make you catch a cold. That is an ignorant belief an an old wives tale. Cold weather has no effect for germs or disease. It is impossible to catch a cold in the rain, or cold weather. The only sickness you could get it temperature related as in hypothermia. You only get a cold if you are around someone with a virus or the germs that cause colds. It is unlikely you will have this happen to you if you are using common sense. And you probably won’t get hypothermia either.

The different kinds of surfaces

        You will encounter all kinds of ground surfaces when training outside if you go to many places. Grass is the best surface because it is usually soft and has traction. You can train barefoot most of the time. Often though, you may only be able to train on cement or on dirt. Cement and asphalt is not good to train on with bare feet. Oh, maybe you are one of those hippy children who’s parents encourage you to walk around like a weirdo without shoes on all day, but it is pretty stupid to do so when the ground can be so filthy, and if you cut your foot you could get infection. Parking lots are full of filth: oil, dirt, trash, spit etc. Try and wear light shoes. Martial arts shoes are the best, but try and find a lighter shoe, not a basketball shoe. The problem with cement or asphalt is that it tears up your shoes fast when you shadow box. The pivoting and twisting motions from kicks and stances can tear up the sole of the shoe fast. If you are rich you can just buy a lot of shoes, but poor people like me cannot afford to buy shoes every month. But I still use the same shoes over and over until they nearly disintegrate.

        If you have a clean driveway or patio you could be barefoot on it, but it will be rough on your skin. After you train your feet will feel sore from the friction scraping your heels, balls of feet and toes. It will happen. But it is okay to do this because you will get used to the pain. Make sure after training you wash your feet or take a shower right away. You don’t want to have filthy feet in your house. This is especially true if you train on dirt barefoot as well. Sometimes I choose to train in the woods and take my shoes off.

        Training on dirt is fun if it is soft. If it is hard make sure to wear shoes. Dirt gives traction and keeps your grounded. If you are in the woods your problem will be that the top of the ground is covered in dry leaves and twigs as well as rocks and tree roots. You can hurt your feet. Also, even if you wear shoes you can slip on the leaves and lose traction. It is best to scrape out the ground you want to train on to uncover the dirt. Now if you go jogging or running through the woods doing kicks then do not worry about it. It is a good practice to run and kick off of trees, and kick on top of dry leaves an practice balance. Also use tree leaves on branches low enough to practice high kicks. Round kicks, spin kicks, axe kicks and more can be done using tree leaves and it gives your mind a target to try and hit. If the branch or bush is strong enough it also keeps you from overextending your knee joint and has some give to it. Kicking the air is not as fun as kicking plants. Kicking plants is actually a smart drill many martial artists use. It works on targeting an precision of the kick instead of just kicking the air. You can also do side kicks and back kicks on trees and work on kicking off of them in the air for fun.

        If there are many tree roots you could very well hurt yourself by tripping on them or stepping on one and twisting your knee and injuring yourself. I do not recommend training on such surface so be careful if you are in the woods.

Light VS Dark

        Not only can you train outside during the day, you can train outside in the late afternoon and evening when it gets darker. You can also just train at night when it is dark completely outside. Night training works on your sense of sight and also ealing with shadows. Kick pads in the dark or during the setting sun. If it gets really hot outside, training as it gets dark will have a cooler temperature. You can also train early in the morning before the sun rises or as it just begins to rise. If you are a morning person this can be fun. I personally would rather train as the sun sets. Feeling the nature around you and the beauty also enhances your experience and gives you energy.

Sometimes there are park lights that will allow you to see very well at night.

Drills to do outside

        There are a lot of fun drills and activities you can do outside! Of course you can do what I mentioned above, which you should do: actually work out outside. Do fitness stuff as well as shadow boxing and forms etc. But there are plenty of fun Taekwondo drills to do.

        You can d breathing exercises and enjoy the air outside. Doing things such as Tai Chi or Chi Kung or any kind of breathing meditative exercises for breath control and stretching out muscles and joints is better to do in the fresh morning air than inside a sweaty gym.

The Ladder

        The ladder is a fun device that you can use to step through and work on various Taekwondo footwork. Taking a ladder made for this purpose outside can be more fun than doing it inside a gym. A ladder can work on any surface such as grass where you can use stakes to keep it in the ground, or just lay it on top of the grass (which is what I always do. I never stake it in). You can simply lay it on cement or blacktop and it does not slide around too much. Straightening it out every so often is no big deal either.

Cones

        Set up cones around a flat area like a yard, grass, or driveway and do pivoting rills, jumping over cones, kicking in lines between cones and more. Make each cone represent a station to do certain combos. Practice foot work and more.

Box jumps

        You can do box jumps on anything such as a ledge or curb that is tall. You can use a park bench or anything else that is sturdy. You can o box jumps in sets or for a period of time. This is a really good workout for building up leg strength and cardio.

Jump rope

        This is an obvious one. Jumping rope is easy and you can buy a jump rope very cheap. Just try to jump on a smoother surface than rough cement so the rope will last longer.

Shadow boxing and forms

        This is a given.

Pull ups

        This is more difficult since not everyone lives around an area that has bars hanging that can hold their weight. Often times people go to a playground, but I have found that the monkey bars and other bars at such places for kids are too low to the ground and you have to bend your knees. This can get annoying. I have found that very tall fences such as the kind that are found in tennis ball courts work well. You can o pull ups. Buy gloves you can use so you d not tear up your hands. It is unnecessary to tear up your skin, it won’t make your arm and back strength better if you do but only waste time making you wait for your skin to heal before you can go full force again. If you do have tough hands and don’t need gloves then ok…that is your choice. You can also use platform stairs by going underneath the stairs and using the cement slabs to hang off of. This also increases finger strength since the stairs are a thicker thing to grab.

        Push ups, horse stance, picking up heavy objects and throwing them

        You can do obvious things like push ups and leg squats outside, but you can also work on your horse stance by carrying heavy objects such as a giant log or rock. Or stack up bricks on your legs and hold them in your hands. Hold stones in each hand or bricks while you stand in horse stance. Also, do jump squats.

        There are tons of other execises you can do. Once you get enough you like to do you can combine them.

        The point I am making is that training outside is important, it is also fun, and the weather changes and suffering you can endure will increase your power and strength in ways that only training in a gym and nowhere else cannot give you. It is also calming and soothing to train in nature and experience the sights, sounds, and smells that the outdoors gives. It is God’s blessing and something a warrior should embrace.

Taekwondo For Fighting Slip Rope Training

        Here is a great drill for working on fast footwork and speed and head movement.

Dodging punches and kicks is important. This drill uses twine taped to posts. You can use it for fast pivoting and footwork and ducking punches. Make sure to throw punches and kicks as well. I have tied 4 strings around in various places, in the middle it makes kind of an “x” or “+” shape. You can duck and slip under in multiple directions. This drill will make your legs strong and help with instability. If you have joint problems this drill might be tough, but if you do it right it is a fun way to work on strengthening the thigh muscles from the squatting down over and over. This drill also can simulate multiple attackers from various directions. Do this in 3 minute drills. Try it! This is Taekwondo for serious fighting and MMA.

Try it yourself!