Martial Arts with Integrity



At-Home Training #4


If class weren’t canceled today, it would be a form class. For this particular lesson, I want to explore stances a little bit.

First off, stances aren’t really stances. We think of stances as being a position that you adopt and hold firm, but in the martial arts a stance is nothing like that. Stances are momentary snapshots of positions that are useful in self defense. It’s the movement BETWEEN the stances that is what’s really important.

Part 1

Try this. Starting from a left-foot-forward front stance. See how many different ways you can step into a new front stance. Keep your head level (not bouncing up and down) and keep your movement smooth. Then switch feet and try the other side. Here are some ideas:

  • step forward into a right-foot-forward front stance
  • step to face the right in a right-foot-forward front stance
  • step to face the back in a right-foot-forward front stance
  • step to face the left in a left-foot-forward front stance
  • step straight back (still facing the front) with a right-foot-forward front stance

Part 2

Try them all again with back stances instead of front stances.

Part 3

Try them all again starting in a front stance but ending in a back stance .

Part 4

Try them all again starting in a back stance but ending in a front stance.

Part 5

Overachievers: Try it with a book balanced on your head.


At-Home Training #3


Hope everyone had a great weekend! If class weren’t canceled today, it would be a sparring class. You can’t really practice sparring at home without a sparring partner, but you can learn some things to improve your sparring skills.

First, watch this sparring match.

There are a lot of interesting things about this match.

  • This is a national championship, and both fighters badly want to win, but they are respectful toward each other and toward the judges.
  • The fighter in the red helmet is taller (and probably a little older) but the fighter in the blue helmet maintains a lead through most of the match. Remember: the smaller, younger kid can win!
  • At 0:40, you can see how both of them are light and quick on their feet. They’re not flat-footed. That makes them able to move faster to attack and to get out of the way of the other kid’s attacks.
  • At 0:57, you can see the red fighter attacking with a roundhouse kick and the blue fighter defending by spinning for a fast back kick. Remember trying that in class? Think you can be that fast?
  • At 1:25, the red fighter tries to start off a combination with a spinning kick. At 1:40, the blue fighter tries the same thing. Both of these kicks miss because you have to be a LOT faster than your opponent for that to work, and both of these kids are pretty fast. Spinning kicks are much easier to land in the middle of a combination, or as a counter.
  • At 2:43, in the second round, the red fighter is a lot more aggressive. He starts scoring a lot more points. He keeps moving forward and the blue fighter keeps moving backwards. But the blue fighter is really good at scoring while moving backwards (even though that’s harder than moving forward) so he is able to win the match.

But the biggest thing I want you to notice about this match is that both of these fighters are really good at footwork.

Try this:

  • Get in a fighting stance, and bounce in place. Try to be really light on your feet so you can move quickly.
  • Try moving forward an backwards. Try to be FAST when you do it.
  • Try moving from side to side. Again, try to be FAST.
  • Switch feet, and do it all again.

Now it’s time to add some strikes.

  • Shuffle forward, and throw two punches, one to the head and one to the body. 10x each foot.
  • Shuffle to the right and throw a left leg roundhouse kick. 10x, then try the other side.
  • Shuffle backwards and throw a front leg side kick. 10x each foot.

Overachievers: Watch this sparring match. What kind of attacks do the fighters favor? What would you do if your opponent attacked you that way? What would be the hardest thing to overcome in sparring someone who fights like that? How would you overcome it?


At-Home Training #2


Hope everybody enjoyed the last lesson! If class weren’t canceled today it would be a technique class. See if you can do this:

Try this with front kicks and roundhouse kicks:

  • 10 front leg
  • 10 back leg
  • 10 skipping (if you have room)
  • 10 lunges, and when you come out of lunge, kick!
  • switch feet and do them all again!

Overachievers: Follow up each kick with another kick or a hand technique, so that you never throw one kick by itself.

Next, try this with front kicks, roundhouse kicks and side kicks:

  • Set a timer for 30 seconds and kick as FAST as you can, count how many you did.
  • Set a timer for 30 seconds and kick as SLOWLY as you can, count how many you did.
  • Switch feet and do them all again!

Overachievers: Set the timer again and kick as slowly as you can with back kicks, spin hook kicks, or spin crescent kicks. GOOD LUCK!