Training Power and Body Mechanics

When it comes to generating power in martial arts it is about fighting smarter not harder.  Raw strength is a great asset for martial arts, however, muscles often distract from using body mechanics to increase your power.  The other benefit for using body mechanics is conservation of energy.  You can throw a significantly high number of hard hits blows faster and longer when you use body mechanics instead of the muscles in your arms.

Phase 1

Use this drill as a warm up to start training your core to help generate power instead of your arm:

This drill is designed to practice the downward strikes at the neck and shoulder. The strike comes in at a 45 degree angle. When practicing this strike on a straight pell like the one in the video it is normal for the sword to slide down. Make sure your initial contact is edge on at a 45 degree angle to the pell. Be sure to over exaggerate your movements as you learn this drill. It’s about teaching your muscles timing and firing to add speed and power to your strikes.

Phase 2

This next drill is training your feet to step in time with your body’s swing. Many new fighters will strike before their feet are on the ground, which results in having a foot in the air as they are trying to hit.  That means they lose 25-50% of their power from poor footwork.

Be careful with this drill! You will need about 3 feet of rope with some kind of weight on the end. I used a 2.5 pound weight. Do not go heavier than 2-3 pounds. You just need the weight to get the rope moving and feel the drag of the rope. Start with the rope a little shorter as you learn this drill, then you can go longer once you get the hang of it. Start by just swinging the rope around your head like a cowboy. Focus on the feel of your core muscles and how you are engaging your muscles with this movement. As you get used to the movement start to add steps. You want all of your muscles to move in the same direction driving your power into your opponent

Phase 3

Time to put it all together and start learning how to apply this technique in a fight.

The secret to this technique is turning your body into a whip.  Your hips generate the power sending it through your shoulders into your arms.  Once the power has been released you pull your hips, shoulders, and arm back to create that extra whip at the end.  The video above is a quick explanation of this concept.  If you want a more detailed explanation of this technique check out “Team Ursus: Jeffery Galli Polearm Training Exercises.”

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.

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.

DCV Training Method

There is a difference between being a fighter and a trainer.  Amazing fighters don’t always make the best trainers.  Amazing trainers aren’t always the best fighters.  However, we are part of a sport where experienced fighters greatly out number trainers.  Fighters are recruiting friends and family into this sport and are trying their best to teach the new generation.  For everyone working on developing their own training methods I would suggest the DCV method.  D stands for Define.  C stands for Choreograph.  V stands for Variety.

Start with Defining the skill or problem you want to work on.  Do you have a fighter who gets tunnel vision every time he fights?  The problem with tunnel vision the fighter lacks situational awareness.  That means the skills you need to work on for this example are hit and run, creating space, and head on a swivel.  Now that you have identified your skills you will need to zero down with one at a time.

The next step is creating a Choreograph scenario for a “perfect world” setting.  It is important to train and practice for the skills you want.  That is where drills come in.  They may feel slow and boring, but you are training your mind and body for a specific skill.  To reprogram the bad habits into good ones.  There is no shortcut to this part of training.

When Choreographed drills start to get easy and everything is working perfectly it’s time to add in Variety.  Variety slowly eases the fighter back in to real world situations instead of the “perfect world” of drills.  Variety can be increasing speed, intensity, footwork, a new strike or block, maybe even add more opponents.

Here is an example of the DCV method in less than a minute.  I was working on getting better with blocking, or hand check, with my non-dominate hand.  The drill started with a simple attack and block, back and forth.  When it became obvious I had the timing down my instructor started adding variety.  Eventually our drill evolved into slow sparring and a drill I had started off not being able to do.

A big thank you to Instructor Nelson Pinto for the self defense training.  If you want to learn more about Instructor Nelson Pinto’s fighting style visit www.farang-alliance.org.

Escrima to Sword and Shield

Now that instructors Janeal and Nicholas have developed a foundational understanding of Stockton Multi Style Escrima we worked on modifications. There are a lot of resources for Longsword with well developed curriculums and teaching methods. There isn’t nearly as much resources for learning and mastering sword and shield. Escrima has a unique history. It is a living fighting style that evolved from medieval sword fighting. We are taking the modern style and reverse engineering it to find new and better ways to fight with a sword and shield. Our goal was to address two issues. The first, what do these techniques look like when a right handed fighter faces a left handed fighter. This problem occurs often in medieval sword fighting communities. The second, how will these techniques work with longer sword and shield. We just worked on the first two techniques, out of the 115 Stockton has, for angle 1 in this video. Martial arts is always evolving. We learn from a wide variety of sources and instructors. That variety is what makes martial arts so special.

Ironside Medieval Combat and partnered with www.farang-alliance.org

Break out of your Comfort Zone

The comfort zone is that warm and fuzzy place where everything is safe. We don’t grow in the comfort zone. Body positivity is establishing who we are and firmly rooting that image into our comfort zone. In itself, that isn’t a bad thing, but what happens if you want more? Complacency is the death of progress. No matter how much we wish it the world will not stand still for us. If we stop pushing, and the world keeps moving forward, then we fall behind. Fitness, martial arts, nutrition the same rule applies to them. A martial artist who doesn’t practice her skills will start to loose them. A healthy eater who doesn’t adjust their nutrition as she gets older will start to have problems. A fitness buff who does the same thing all the time will plateau. In order to grow we need training that is going to push us outside our comfort zones. For me high intensity is something outside of my comfort zone. No matter what sport I am in I’m always the slow and steady type. That style has served me well, after all I won a world championship undefeated in martial arts. However, complacency is the death of progress. To keep pushing and keep moving forward with my skills I need to train outside of my comfort zone. With both my fitness and martial arts training I’m working on increasing my intensity. After all I wouldn’t be much of a instructor if I can’t practice what I preach. What is your comfort zone and how are you pushing your limits? Give it a try and see how far you can go!

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