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The Challenge Board of October: Farmer’s Walk

Challenge yourself this October and see how long you can take on the Farmer’s Walk!

Put your strength to the test and see if you can beat Sensei Will’s time of 25 seconds.

2.00 pounds to be verified by a sensei, all proceeds go to Children in Need!


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Happy Halloween!


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August Bank Holiday!

August  Bank Holiday 2016 TMAP01

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The Art of Positioning

lucy03Three laws of business: location, location and location! In regard to fighting, positioning makes all the difference to your success! The area where your opponent attacks is where you should not be, and if that isn’t possible you should be looking to restrict his or her options by tactically altering the distance! Often when beginners start sparring the instinct is to move the head as far from the punch as possible; unfortunately when moving back (another beginner trait) instead of creating angles the head moves directly where the punch would have ‘optimal velocity’… Ouch! Get the distance wrong and your opponent will track you like a guided missile.

Getting out of the way is important, but it’s crucial to understand the distance and positioning between you and your opponent!


Counter-intuitively try to “eat the punch” by coming closer, this will balance the power and turn the hunted into the hunter. Think about the velocity of the punch, coming closer diminishes the force. Sure you might get hit, but nowhere near the level of force experienced on the end of the punch. Twist at the hips, while moving forward. Remember evading is not passive! Meaning, it can only be the movement to start your attack. Not only will you be harder to hit with the right placement but you should find yourself in the right position to strike back!

andy aaron01Consider instructor Bob Breen: “There are four basic directions of movement possible. If you always retreat when your opponent attacks, he will factor this in and attack longer and deeper. Do this a couple of times and then, when he’s going to attack, move forward. He has no attack! What you’ll find is that he’s in the launch phase of his attack. There’s no sharp end; no warhead, so to speak.”

Be Aware of your Centre Line and Footwork!

It’s essential that you are aware of the centre line. Remember doing your basics? If you’re not conscious of your centre line while executing your basics, you’ll struggle to hit the target during pad-work and lose track of your footwork during sparring. You can either attack the centre or the edge of your opponent. To maintain control of your centre line, being conscious of your footwork will allow you the positioning to execute your attack accurately and create angles.

Quick tip: If by chance your opponent likes to move erratically. Be efficient. Imagine fighting in a ring, control the centre and coerce your opponent into over exerting himself by constantly moving around the “outside”. Like runners in a race, you’ll lose less energy because you dominate the inner lane; or the centre in this case! He will have two opponents to fight: you and his increasing lack of oxygen!

Don’t neglect your footwork! “The quality of a man’s technique depends on his footwork, for one cannot use his hands or kicks efficiently until his feet have put him in the desired position. If a man is slow on his feet, he will be slow with his punches and kicks. Mobility and speed of footwork precede speed of kicks and punches.” Bruce Lee, Tao of Jeet Kune Do

The fastest way for your opponent to attack you is in a straight line, and that’s key to know. Because with right timing, creating angles or moving in a “curved” fashion will impede attacks and frustrate your opponent. The attack may still come, but the power will be severely reduced and allow you to strike back in a stronger position!

Don’t forget, relax! Often you’ll see people tense up before sparring. Take your time and pay attention to your footwork and form. There’s always something new to learn!




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5 Sparring Tips to Kick Start your Sparring!

opponent03Sparring is perhaps one of the most challenging experiences in the sporting world. Like in all sports there are many factors that make the difference between an expert and a novice, however with kickboxing there are so many applications to consider it can quickly become a very overwhelming experience. Here are 5 pointers from an array of top coaches that help to shed some insight on sparring, and give the mental fortitude to push your goals even further!

Focus on leading the attack, not indirectly countering!
In other words, the hesitant nature of a beginner (whether they know it or not) will often coerce them to have to counter! This is a BAD idea! Countering is tough, and a lot of beginners don’t realize they’re attempting such an advanced art! According to trainer Joe Lewis, countering is about knowing the “attack” of the opponent, understanding the distance/timing of the attack, and the type of counter required. If you don’t know all three, it’s important to just work on executing attack combinations!

Don’t let your opponent beat you to the draw!
Often you’ll hear an instructor pushing you to form fight as fast as possible! Why? Because with the incentive to push yourself physically you’ll open possibilities in sparring you wouldn’t notice at a slower pace! It doesn’t matter who you are even your area of discipline in martial arts. A lot of coaches encourage you to take the initiative and set the pace!

Make sure you’re not standing square!
This means shoulders will be left open giving your opponent ample opportunity to strike you and infringe your balance. Which leads to the next point: your technique will be limited as you wont be able to rotate your hips and generate power in your strikes! If in doubt, just keep it simple and remember the basics. Keep the back heel up and make sure your stance allows you to twist your hips.

Keep your feet under your punches!
This is all to do with not overreaching with the reverse punch, which will only impede your flow and hurt your balance. Not to mention the “hang time” of leaving your right arm out stretched, rendering you incapable of following up with a roundhouse kick or attack combination.

Keep moving!
As Georges St-Pierre said, “standing still is never a good option. Not in the ring, and not in life outside the octagon either. When you stop moving, you’re done.”
Make the most of your space and build your footwork. This will develop the mind-set to try new techniques and change rhythm, which will disrupt an aggressive opponent!

Try to keep these simple pointers in mind while training and give them a go! It won’t just improve your work ethic but will allow you develop a greater level of self-confidence and belief!

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The Truth about Protein!

protein02If you want your body to repair muscles, transport oxygen and develop immunity-boosting antibodies then more than likely you’ve found yourself drinking a protein shake or consuming a healthy serving of chicken breast after each workout! It’s no surprise getting those amino acids into your system is an important aspect of the sporting world, but are you fully aware of what you’re doing to your system? Here are 5 facts you probably overlooked on way to becoming a nutrition warrior!

You Will Burn More Calories

It’s a win win situation! Each time you gain nutrients, you’re breaking down the food consumed and simultaneously burning calories in the process! However, it takes a hell of a lot more calories to break protein down! Why? Because protein is made of amino acids that are held together by strong little buggers called peptide bonds!

You’re Already Getting Enough!

According to PhD, professor of nutrition, Marion Nestle of NYU (and this might come as a shock… if not, try to be surprised) “There’s way too much hype about protein, or rather, a perceived lack of it in people’s diets. The reality is, if you consume enough calories, you’re probably eating plenty of protein. You’ll need approximately 60g a day; even if you’re a vegetarian, you’ll be consuming close to 69g of protein”.

Too Much Can Kill You!

Okay, that’s not true at all! And it would be a quite an achievement to overdose on protein, BUT chugging too much protein into your system has consequences! And the reason is nitrogen! As you consume protein, nitrogen is released into your system as a “left-over” by-product. In order to get rid of it, your kidneys are strained and need to work harder to shove it out of your body as urine!

Plant Vs Meat, Which is Better? Neither.

Protein is made of 20 amino acids (11 from the body, 9 from food). Dairy, meat, fish and eggs contain all nine… they’re known as complete proteins. Of course casein and whey protein (commonly found in protein shakes) contain all nine too! Plant based protein, on the other hand, will lack one or more of those amino acids. So if you’re vegetarian just eat a variety of plant based foods, such as brown rice, beans, soy, nuts, seeds and grains and you will get the those nine you need, no problem!

Make Sure You Take Protein at the Right Time!

Remember your muscles are like sponges directly after a workout, and consuming protein within 30 minutes after building up a sweat will allow the amino acids to target and repair “microtears” in the muscle tissue! The result means lean muscle mass and a body that will efficiently burn calories throughout the day!

The next time you finish a workout in the Dojo grab a snack with at least 14g of protein after your kickboxing class! It doesn’t have to be a whey protein shake (which is an excessive 30g by the way)… try an Eat Natural bar or flapjack from the vending machine with a pot of Greek yogurt! Or a bagel with peanut butter. The carbohydrates will help to replace your glycogens stores which are important for bouts or intensive rounds when sparring!

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Train For Kickboxing Fitness!

junkiefit02Kickboxing demands an extreme level of fitness and as martial arts begins to rise in popularity you’ll notice more and more gyms looking to try and incorporate that same level of intensity in their workout “environment”. For example, go to any gym and you’ll probably find a class called “kick fitness”. In other words, kickboxing is clearly doing something right! The discipline offers an excellent level of fitness through an array of different drills that keep the interest and build ability!

It’s no surprise cardiovascular (or aerobic: running, swimming, cycling) exercise is fundamental to any athlete in kickboxing. It’s vital to maintain a strong level of fitness and a powerful advantage to be able to assert your physical dexterity when your opponent begins to flag.

But when breaking kickboxing down, it’s clear it’s not all about aerobic exercise; and this is where martial arts truly stands out. Break the discipline down and it’s immediately clear fighters need to train their explosive ability; that anaerobic start-stop action as well as their endurance based aerobic skills.

Interesting fact: according to MyProtein writer Kelly McFie, (2nd Dan black belt in Ashihara fighting kickboxing) “The term anaerobic basically means that the body’s demand for oxygen is greater than the oxygen available. Therefore, anaerobic exercise burns glycogen to meet the body’s energy requirements. Kick boxers should be able to demonstrate the ability to work at a high intensity for frequent, short spurts with little rest between activities”.

What’s one of the strongest ways to hone your kickboxing aerobic and anaerobic ability? Circuit Training.

workoutCircuit training and high intensity interval training (HIIT) is a successful drill utilized by many martial arts disciplines, ranging from Krav Maga, Muay Thai, boxing and of course, kickboxing. It’s so fundamental because it mimics that start/stop activity in any kickboxing fight or boxing bout. Here you have the opportunity to improve your overall physical and mental ability through the use of calisthenics and resistance based exercises. The idea is to reduce your recovery time between each exercise, giving you that explosive burst of energy where it’s needed the most! (A healthy athlete will need about 30 seconds to recover) It’s crucial to be able to accelerate straight to your “maximum” and simultaneously push limits and build endurance.

If you find yourself feeling lethargic, either mentally or physically, be sure to try our new circuit classes at Stoke Newington (you’ll find them running every Monday and Wednesday at 10am, or on the Sunday at 12.15pm), or alternatively try the workout class at Swiss Cottage which will not only push your limits, but will allow you to put your aerobic and anaerobic ability to the test when sparring towards the end of the class.

Remember, what you put in is what you get out! If you’re looking for that fitter, faster and stronger version of yourself to aid your technique, balance and flexibility, circuit training is an excellent place to start! Be sure to give it a go!

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4 Super Kickboxing Tips to Improve your Fitness

aaron equipmentKickboxing offers amazing potential for a variety-filled workout, certainly not the usual linear treadmill experience. Not to mention the fact that once you get the basics down and begin padding, you’ll work up a sweat and could burn off close to 500 calories in an hour! Although calorie counting is often discouraged, (focus on nutritional intake, is the way forward!) it’ll help spark interest, build stamina and improve your coordination in no time. Try some of these useful tips to help get you in the fitness-junkie frame of mind this New Year.

Intensify Shuttle Runs
Often neglected but will make a significant difference to your stamina and, depending on your form, the explosive qualities in your training.

junkiefit04“Adding wall sits to the end of every run will strengthen your quads, hamstrings and glutes, improving your speed and endurance. Lean against a wall with your feet shoulder-width apart, then squat until your knees are bent at 45 degrees. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds; work up to doing 10 sets. Add a challenge by including heel raises: Lift your left heel, then the right, then lift both together twice.”
Mindy Solkin, owner and head coach of the Running Center, New York City

An All-In-One Mind and Body Toner
Don’t be discouraged, in fact get in the habit of “seeing opportunity and improvement” whenever you note that irritating lethargic feeling getting in the way of your workout. If you can train at your worst, you can train anytime! Imagine what you’ll be like at your best! The mind’s the instigator and the limit; a good workout trains your mind as well as your body!

DSC_0618“A side-step squat with wood chop works your mental coordination: arms, torso, abs, back, legs, inner thigh and butt. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart holding a three- to four-pound medicine ball in your hands. Bend your arms up so that the ball is at eye level over your right shoulder. As you raise the ball above your head step out with your left leg and bend it no further than 90 degrees, keeping your right leg straight. Return to the starting position. Do 10 to 15 reps and repeat on the other leg.”
David Kirsch, trainer and author of The Ultimate New York Body Plan (McGraw-Hill, 2004)

Get in the Habit of Working Out during Work Days!
This is very important. Studies show working out after work will help to push your willpower, build stamina and improve resilience; a great way to naturally push your limits in a healthy and easy manner. Give it a go, be sure to try and get a kickboxing workout/routine going after a long day at work, you’ll be able to directly see the results. Remember, willpower acts as a muscle! The more you exercise it, the bigger it will get.
“Sit on a stability ball to strengthen your core, and keep dumbbells your desk. Squeeze in 12 to 15 reps of exercises like dumbbell curls, overhead presses and ab crunches; aim for two or three sets of each.”
Gregory Florez, personal trainer and CEO of Salt Lake City

Get The Skipping-Rope Involved
If you want a high intensity interval training routine, just add a skipping rope! Burning approximately 1300 calories per hour, it’s one of the ultimate fat melting exercises.

“The best cardio workout is the jump-rope double-turn maneuver. It’s intense: You’ll burn about 26 calories per minute! Do a basic jump for five minutes, then jump twice as high and turn the rope twice as fast so it passes under your feet twice before you land. This takes timing, patience and power. But you’ll get in great shape just by working at it.”
Michael Olajide Jr., former number one world middleweight contender and cofounder/trainer at Aerospace High Performance Center in New York City

Don’t be afraid to try different exercises and change the “routine” as this will often lead to the mentality you need to achieve your goals! Taking that little jump to make your exercises more dynamic and engaging can help give the impetus to step out the door and back in the dojo!

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4 Pillars of Fitness Every Fighter Should Know!

If you don’t already include these in your training, you’re in for a world of change! Here are four aspects of fitness that make up the schedule of any champion fighter, whether it’s Muhammad Ali, Georges St. Pierre or Sugar Ray Leonard!

junkiefit02Calisthenics means body resistance exercise (push ups, pull ups, sit ups, squats, lunges and so on) and is crucial to any martial artist! Don’t forget calisthenics is convenient and easy to apply any time of the day, so there’s no excuse! Try to get in the habit of incorporating some of these exercises into your daily routine!

Fact: If you’re wondering how strong the human body can become when breaking limits here’s little insight… the record for the most consecutive push-ups goes to Minoro Yoshida for completing an impressive 10,507 reps in 1965! The mind really is the limit!

Calisthenics shouldn’t be strenuous to begin with although the exertion level depends on the individual; and you certainly don’t need to beat 10,507 push ups. Just keep it simple with the focus being on turning calisthenics into habit.

Running benefits both anaerobic and aerobic exercise, it’s all about the intensity and pace you set. Although debatable, long continuous running has always played a part in the routine of a boxing champion, and is easily a benchmark to develop an adequate level of stamina for sparring!

If you’re new, or haven’t run since highschool, be sure to give this routine a go:
1) 3-5 minutes brisk walk
2) 3-5 minutes jogging
3) Stop to stretch the quads, calves, hamstrings and Achilles from a standing position! (You’re not warm enough yet to lay down and stretch)
4) 7-8 minutes run while progressing to a tapering off period. Gradually slow the pace to a walk (cool down period) over 3 minutes

The longest distance appropriate for professional martial artists would be about 10-12 miles, once a week. However a good distance to maintain stamina would be 2-3 miles at a time, 3 times a week.

Tip: this a great way to learn how to breath under pressure! Sounds strange, but it’s important to exhale through the mouth and inhale through the nose. This improves blood circulation and therefore focus!

Interval Training
junkiefit04Interval training, often used by professional boxers is an excellent way to build stamina and explosive movement for sparring. It’s important to be able to work to a high level of exertion and interval training delivers!

Tip: use lamp posts or street lights to accelerate and decelerate between a high pace and a casual pace.

If you have access to a skipping rope, it’ll drastically improve your workout routine! Essential for building coordination between the upper and lower body, footwork, toning muscle and (depending on your exertion level) gives you both an aerobic and anaerobic workout. If the target is to spar for 3 minute rounds, then it makes sense to skip in 3 minutes bursts with short rest times! Just beware of “whiplash” when skipping with a speed rope!

Give these a go. The hardest part is starting, however once the initiative is taken to make the first step such habits will make a big impact on your life! They may seem like complex problems in nature, but in terms of practicality they’re simple! It’s no surprise Nike chose “Just do it” as their slogan!

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Christmas Timetable Commencing Monday 14th, December!

christmas timetable

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Contact Details

The Martial Arts Place
88 Avenue Road
Swiss Cottage
London NW3 3HA
020 7586 1222

The Martial Arts Place
35-39 Stoke Newington High Street
London N16 8DR
020 7254 0332


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