Farang Fitness

There just isn’t enough time in the day to squeeze in all the fitness and martial arts training that I want. It always feels like I am sacrificing one or the other. It’s one of the reasons why training smarter is so important.

Take tonight’s training schedule as an example. I worked all day, then taught an hour long belly dancing class, drove home, ate dinner, trained for another hour in martial arts, and worked on my business webpage. I got a ton done but always feel like it isn’t enough. I do meal prep on the weekends to save time during the week, but I still feel like I run out of day light and energy. That is why I have started combining my fitness training with martial arts practice.

Not all forms of martial arts practice is good for fitness. For example, if I am studying new material and going slow, then I still need to squeeze in a fitness workout. However, if I am drilling material I already know, then I can turn it into a great cardio workout.

Tonight I was practicing material from the Farang Mu Sul system. It is a Korean style of martial arts brought to the United States by Grand Master De Alba. I needed to drill these combinations, because in a street fight if I am defending myself I will not have time to check my notes. I will need to be able to respond quickly without thinking about the ”right move.” By increasing my speed and intensity with these drills I was able to get a great cardio burn in and lock down some much-needed practice time. A double win!


This website contains material derived in whole or in part from the teachings of Grand Master Michael De Alba, the International De Alba System Confederation™, Modern Farang Mu Sul ® and their students, instructors, and associates. International copyright, trademark and other intellectual property laws protect these materials. Users, guests and visitors may not modify, copy, reproduce, republish, upload, post, transmit or distribute in any way or in any form, any material from the Service including code and software. Users, visitors and guests may download material from the Service for personal, non-commercial use only, provided all copyright and other proprietary notices are clearly visible and intact. Commercial use, reference or linkage to the Service site, without the express written permission, of Michael De Alba or his assigns, by registered letter, is prohibited.Copyright 2001® DeAlba Productions

Dancing: Martial Arts Secret Weapon Part 4 Kicking

Time to shift gears with this project.  I have set down my lovely toys and shifted my attention to kicking.  Kicking is often dismissed as ineffective because most people can’t do it right.  You can have beautiful looking kicks with no power.  You can have very strange looking kicks that send people flying.  The combination of the two is very difficult and takes time to learn.  My solution?  Dancing of course.  The free-flowing movement of dance can help develop the muscle control needed for beautiful and powerful kicks.

Part 4: Kicking

Hip rotation and agility are essential when it comes to developing powerful kicks.  You might be noticing a common theme with this mini-series…it’s all about those hips.  The rotation starts by engaging your core, moving your hips, then it travels down your leg.  One of the biggest mistakes beginners have with kicking is always focusing on their foot.  If you get your hip and knee aligned correctly your foot will be correct.  If your hip and knee are not working together your foot will always be pointing in the wrong direction.  Developing a strong core with your kicks will also help you maintain balance.  Never underestimate the importance of developing strong core muscles.  They are quite literally the core of your strength.

Patreon – share the love

img_0126I love sharing all of my tips and training philosophies with the world.  If you love watching them and learning from them consider sharing that love.  I have created a Patreon Tier dedicated to this mini-series.  The biggest benefit you get for subscribing is having organized and easy access to this entire series without having to search through layers of blog posts.  It also helps support Ironside Medieval Combat so we can continue to get more training equipment, further our curriculum, and get a better location. Click on the link below and become a subscriber!


Philosophy of Farang Mu Sul and how it fits with Medieval Knights

Ironside Medieval Combat was founded on the ideals of bringing all sword fighting groups together to learn and inspire one another to greatness.  We developed a strong martial curriculum based on training, fitness, and nutrition.  Yet something was missing.  Every tournament fighters were reminded of sportsmanship, and every tournament visiting fighters would thank us or remark they had never heard sportsmanship made so important.  Through training, research, and discussing at length with other martial artists we happened upon the problem and solution.

Martial arts has two basic parts to it.  The martial side is the fighting side.  The kicking, punching, techniques, tournaments, and all the brutality of hard fighting.  Its the side that trains hard and plays hard, often getting bruised and injured.  The art side is the performance, ritualistic, and meditative side.  The katas, performances, drills without contact, and the soft and gentle approach.  When taken to their most negative and extremes the martial side are uneducated brawlers; the art are the unskilled McDojos.  However, if you combine the two they bring each other into balance and the soul of a system is born.  Martial arts combines skills with honor, physical and mental toughness, hard training with intelligence and taking care of your body.  It goes from being a fun hobby to a life style.

Back to the problem and solution for Ironside Medieval Combat.  Dispute our approach to training Ironside’s weapons training was too heavy on the Martial side.  We were missing the art and thus out of balance.  Farang Mu Sul has filled in the missing pieces enhancing our curriculum opening doors and opportunities we never thought possible.

A bit of Grammar and History

Modern Farang Mu Sul is four words all with deep meaning.  First, Modern, this system was developed by Grand Master Michael De Alba.  He systematically brought this system into the new age and to a new level incorporating modern day strategies and styles from a number of sources.  The word “Farang” is Korean and has several translations such as knight, warrior, outsider, and wanderer (De Alba, “De Alba System Modern Farang Mu Sul Philosophy”) .  The Farang were essentially Korean knights.  Right there sparked the interest and beginning connections for Ironside Medieval Combat.  The context for Farang was derived from an ancient group of historical Korean warriors.  It was used to pay homage and reference to their fighting spirit, which was legendary in Korean history (De Alba, “De Alba System Modern Farang Mu Sul Philosophy”).  The words “Mu Sul” have several translations as well such as martial art, military art, warrior art, and the fighting art of.  For the purpose of understanding the full name “Mu Sul” means “the fighting art.”  If you put all the words together this system’s name translates as “the Modern Warriors Fighting Art” (De Alba, “De Alba System Modern Farang Mu Sul Philosophy”).  Just looking at the name one can start to connect how Ironside Medieval Combat could incorporate this unique system.  Essentially  Modern Farang Mu Sul blends a rich history of traditional “Korean Knight training” with modern fighting tactics to bring new weapon styles, empty hand, grappling, and to Ironside’s historical European Martial Arts.


Combative, practical, comprehensive and progressive are just a few words used to describe the De Alba System of Modern Farang Mu Sul.  Developed by Grand Master Michael De Alba, Modern FMS was created with a unique and very open-minded approach (De Alba, “De Alba System Modern Farang Mu Sul Philosophy).

The beautiful thing about FMS approach to training is how open they are to all styles.  There isn’t an us vs them mentality.  If you train hard, have an open mind, and wiliness to learn then you have a home with this style.  The philosophy is that all “true martial arts” offer it’s participants the opportunity to learn about themselves, grow and develop as a better person.  This art is not like a “box” that everyone must fit into or conform to, rather its like water and can take the form of its container (De Alba, “De Alba System Modern Farang Mu Sul Philosophy”).  Ironside has a very similar philosophy to their weapons training.  Students can pick and choose which weapon styles they are most interested in learning.  The same thing with levels of intensity for competitions.  The highest form of competition is the full steel full power fighting that Instructor Janeal Ironside won her world champion medals in.  However, international competitions aren’t for everyone.  Some are interested in gentler levels of competitions or training without competitions.  All are welcome to train and learn together.  In this way Modern Farang Mu Sul and Ironside Medieval Combat line up perfectly.  One becomes an enhancement or expansion pack for the other.

There is a lot more involved with training in Modern Farang Mu Sul and how it fits extremely well with Ironside Medieval Combat’s original purpose.  We will continue to post about these new styles in the days to come.  Be sure to follow our Facebook and Instagram pages for regular training videos and updates.  If you would like to learn more about Modern Farang Mu Sul please visit their website: www.farangmusul.com.


Advancing Your Footwork: Training Videos Included

In our previous two posts we covered the Foundation of Footwork and Principles of Fighting.  Now it is time to combine those skills and start learning how to use them in a fighting scenario.  Here are some intermediate drills to start building your skills up.

Many forms of martial arts use a footwork star to help with placement and spacing.  When it comes to attacking and retreating it is important to attack and retreat on different lines.  This optimizes your rate of success allowing your feet to become part of your defense.



To get started the Sawtooth Drill or Circle Drill #2 both make great warmups.  They help develop the muscle memory needed for the next step in this training.  Ideally you want to be able to use these stepping methods without having to think about them or look down on the ground to make sure you are in the correct place.

The next step is to get your footwork synchronized with the timing of your opponent.  The Elastico Drill and Speed Drill Part 2 are the building blocks for this next drill.

Pendulum Drill


Even though this drill is borrowed from another fighting system the concept is incredibly useful for armored fighting.  When applying these principles to other weapons keep your range in mind.  Longer weapons are better at longer distances and shorter weapons are better at closer distances.  However, the ebb and flow of fighting is universal across the different styles.

This article gives you a preview into the type of training found at Ironside Medieval Combat.  If you like what you see come give one of our classes a try!  We also offer online classes for those of you who live far away – Sign up for Online Classes.

We would love to hear from you. Let us know if these drills are helpful.  We also take requests for anyone wanting to learn more.  Find us on Facebook for all of our latest and greatest updates.

New Video Series for Sword and Shield

Martial arts is all about training and perfecting the art.  No matter how many tournaments you win, students you train, there is always more to learn.  Even if you are the undisputed champion of the world your body will change as you get older.  Injuries will take their toil, old age will set in slowing your reflexes, when that happens a fighter is left with some choices to make.  Do they give up their life’s work?  Or maybe, just maybe they face this challenge like any other and learn to over come it?  Instructors Janeal and Nicholas Ironside are working on adapting their fighting style and adding a new chapter to their skill set.

Instructors Janeal and Nicholas are studying the fighting art of Stockton Multi Style Escrima.  This style uses swords in a different way then how European martial arts developed, however, those differences can only enrich sword fighting and take it to new levels.

There are 115 basic techniques with the Stockton Multi Style.  Instructors Janeal and Nicholas are methodically going through each of the techniques and showing how they can be adapted to left handed verse right handed along with using sword and shield.  Here are our latest two videos.  We are currently working our way through angle 1 attacks.  If you like these videos be sure to follow our YouTube channel.  We have a playlist dedicated to this project: Escrima to Sword and Shield