MMA Footwork Drill to Close the Distance in a Fight

Striking Coach Charles Martinez shows a simple drill you can do at home to practice your footwork and how to use punches to close the distance with your opponent and how to safely back out of range. This can be used in Boxing, Kickboxing and MMA.


Coach Charles Martinez:
Hey guys, this is Coach Chuck from The Arena. During this difficult time, we’re forced to be closed. We want to provide you with some content, simple drills you can do at home to still work on your technique. All right, so here’s a really simple drill you can do in your living room with anything as a focal point, boxing glove, shoe, anything that you can use just to give you a point of reference. In this drill, this point of reference is your opponent. So a lot of times people ask. If you have a good base and a good fighting stance, knowing what range you’re in as you advance towards your opponent really should tell you your weapons that you can use and what weapons they can use against you.

So we’re going to use this central focus point out here. I can be a little bit more relaxed. My hands can be a little bit wider. My fighting stance is good. I’m faking, I’m faking. I’m shifting my weight. As I advance, I don’t advance with my head sitting in the middle and trudge my way in here with my head sitting in the middle of my hands still up. All right, nice and easy from out here. I have a little bit of space because my opponent is technically out of range. I know they need to cover distance to get to me so I can let my hands be slightly looser here and shift my weight. As I advance, my head is moving. My fighting stance sinks a little bit, my hands come in a little closer. And then I leave again. Out here I have a little space to play with. As I advance, my hands come in tighter.

I set my weight. When I’m in here, everything is tight, and I clear again. That’s kind of the first layer, just using the footwork for in and out. Then as I cover distance, I start to use punches to punch my way in. I circle my way out. Out here, there’s even things that I can start to shield because in kick defense range because of my distance to the focal point. But as I come in, everything closing off. Small, tighter movements, and then clearing out and being loose and relaxed out here when I’m out of the danger zone.

Stay tuned, we’ll be providing content daily between all the different martial arts. We’ll try and give you different things to work on at home. Also, we’re diligently working on an online training program for the, which is coming soon, and it’s going to provide lots of information for beginners intermediate advance. Thank you for your continued support and we hope to see you soon.

How to Use Punches to Lay Down Cover Fire

In this Tip of the Week, Striking Coach Vince Salvador shows how to lay down cover fire, meaning he throws punches to help him move to the angle he wants. This lesson is good for Boxing, Kickboxing or MMA.


Coach Vince:
How’s it going? I’m Coach Vince from the arena and this is your striking tip of the week.


A lot of times when you’re striking, your exit plan is almost as important as your entry. So what way I go after I punch is really important. If I throw my left punch and I move this way, he’s going to hit me with something that’s in that direction.


So when I use punches to move, I’m setting myself up by laying down cover fire before I actually take the angle. It could be this side, this side, it doesn’t really matter. If I want to go this side, I punch with this side. So if I’m throwing my right hook, in kickboxing, we’re in this range here. But I throw here, I can use this to step off to the angle. He has no time to throw a hook, no time to throw anything.


And what I’m doing is I’m putting a defense in my offense and I’m moving my head, my feet, everything off the center line. And when I do it, I’m not swinging my head wild so he can kick me in the head, knee me in the head. I’m just using this head movement to get me into a better angle.


If I want this side, it’s the same thing. I could use it in combination, punch it and move to the other side, but if I punch in that direction, his counter will be a little bit late before after I move. So if he throws anything after that, let’s say an uppercut, when I move my head, I come offline by setting off that trap and taking the easy way to the angle right here.


If I want to use it in combination to the other side, I can do it this way, get to the corner. If I have a more a higher IQ or ability with my stances, I can switch my feet. I can be southpaw. I can do it on this side, too. Same thing. They all work in the same idea of me punching in a direction that I’m going.


If it’s pure boxing, simple boxing, it’s the same idea. If I throw my left hook and I move this way, I’m a lot safer. Same thing with kickboxing and MMA. It all applies.


So tip of the week, punch into the direction that you’re going. Don’t just go without laying your cover fire.

Resourceful Boxing Training Using Pool Noodles

One of the nice things about boxing is you don’t need fancy equipment to train. Boxing Coach Joe Vargas shows how you can use some cheap pool noodles to work on your distance, timing, slips, counters, head movement and so on.


Coach Joe Vargas:

We’re going to be working today on resourceful training. This is really cost efficient. You can buy these at any Walmart. We’re going to go into the counters and slips, so hands up, counter hook. Boom, boom. One, two. Boom, boom, boom, boom. Good. Slip, slip under, right hand, left hook. Okay? Got it?

Boom, boom, good. Hips out. Hips out. So, what you do, is you create range. Create range by stepping out. Range. Right hand. Good. One, two under. Boom, boom, boom, boom. Good. One, two. Three. Double jab. Slip, slip under, under. Out. There you go.

As you can see these things are really efficient. They work really good. Instead of buying really expensive stuff that you can’t afford for whatever reason, it’s good to start with these. You can work distance, timing, slips, counters, movements, so you know where to go and that’s your tip of the week.

Using Cones to Develop Better Boxing Movement Patterns

In this Tip of the Week, Boxing Coach Joe Vargas shows some shadowboxing drills you can do using cones to develop better movement patterns and work on moving in and out. These drills are great for intermediate to advanced boxers.


Coach Joe Vargas:
I’m Joe Vargas, one of the head coaches here at The Arena. Today we’re going to be going on … Our tip of the week is going to be our movements with our feet and head movements. Setting up some drills. I was going to call him Conner. Fuck, what’s your real name? I already forgot it.


Ken. Kenneth.


Joe Vargas:
Ken. Kenneth Duckensberg?




Joe Vargas:
My boy Conner is going to be demonstrating the drill, all right? So we’re going to work from the outside with the perimeter. Feet out. Out of your stance, out of your stance. Circle, circle, circle. That’s who he’s fighting. He steps in, works a little bit, moves around, steps out. Goes under the rope three times. Go … Exactly. Good. These are some of the drills you can do for higher elite fighters, amateur pro fighters. He’s always staggering his movements. Extend that jab, don’t forget to extend that jab when you’re coming in. Not on the way out, on the way in. Lean back on that back foot and stagger in. Let’s jump in. Good. Now work a little bit, then get out. Good.


So on the outside of the perimeter, he’s working with his feet parallel trying to move out the way fast. At his mid range, short range, he’s inching up with his triple jab, double jab. And now he’s fighting inside for a little bit and then he’ll get out. Head movement is always very essential. That’s one way of doing it. The next way of doing it is me standing in front of him and me leading the dance. Come forward. I mean, come sideways. There you go. Come in. Keep working. Good. Back. Boom, boom. Circle. Anywhere you want. Anywhere you want, no worry. Under. One, two, three. There you go. Keep going. Step in. Triple jab your way in. There you go. Out. Out, out, out. Good. Exactly. Good, good. Come in. Boom, boom, boom, boom. Good. Back out. Always remember to keep your hands up, triple jab your way in. Boom, boom, boom. Good. One, two. Good. Under three times.

That’s one of the ways that you prepare, by shadow boxing more extreme, more for the high end guys, more the pro, elite amateurs. I’m Joe Vargas, that’s my boy Conner, that’s my tip of the week.

Is Your Ego Preventing You from Growing in Martial Arts?

Switching things up in this Tip of the Week, MMA Coach Charles Martinez discusses something that can hold any athlete back. Your ego. Your ego can really limit your ability to step outside of your comfort zone and learn new skills, so listen up closely to what Coach Charles has to say.


Coach Charles Martinez:
Hey, this Coach Charles Martinez from The Arena, and this tip of the week slightly different than what I normally put out. I’m always really focused on technique, but today I decided to talk about how to actually make growth in the sports, right? All of these sports have a similar thing. You’re trying to learn new technique, you’re trying to add to the technique and then you have to do it under pressure.

A lot of times what prevent us from getting better really is our ego. Our ego doesn’t want someone to best you. You want to go harder and harder, and you want to make sure that you win every exchange. That’s not always the best way of being, right? You want to make sure that your technique is getting better. In order for your technique to get better, sometimes you have to do it against people that are better than you. They’re going to get the better of you, and then you have to try to analyze what’s working, what isn’t working, especially with sparring and live rolling.

People are going to get the better of you, and there’s always that, “Well, he started it. That’s why I started going so hard.” That’s the most common thing I’ve heard. I’ve heard guys in the fight team say it all the time. “Well, he started it.” Well, just cause you can do something to him doesn’t mean that you should. Right? There’s varying skill levels. You can learn from each level of someone better than you or worse than you, depending on how you take the lessons.

If you want to smash and smash and smash, that’s fine, but eventually someone will smash you and it limits your growth, right? Yes, you want to practice your technique perfectly, but you shouldn’t see someone getting the better of you as a failure. You should see as an opportunity to analyze what you’re doing, and see why they were able to get the better of you rather than seeing it as a bruise to your ego or a challenge to your manhood. It should really just be taken as a lesson. They got the better of me. Now, let me see why and let’s see what changes I can make to make my technique better so I don’t have to just use brute force or speed in order to win. That’s your tip of the week.

The Proper Way to Punch a Heavy Bag

The heavy bag is a great tool for boxers to develop their skills, but like any other tool, it should be used the correct way. Boxing Coach Joe Vargas shows how to properly punch the heavy bag for optimal results.


Coach Joe Vargas:
I’m Joe Vargas, Head Coach at The Arena. Today, I’m going to show you guys how to work the bag properly. Now what I mean by that is a lot of guys, when they shorten up their distance in their punches, they hit the bag and the bag starts rocking back and forth like that. To me, when you hit a bag the proper way, the bag should stay in the same place. It moves a little bit, but the bag doesn’t flip back and forth. You’re extending your punches. This bag is designed to stay in place if you hit it the proper way. When you hit the bag the wrong way, you’d do this. A lot of guys push the bag. So find your range. Best way to establish a range, establish your long range on your jab with your right hand, and you start working from here. And that’s your tip of the week.

Two Ways to Change Boxing and Kickboxing Stances

Whether it’s in Boxing or Kickboxing, footwork plays a very important role in landing and avoiding punches. In this video Striking Coach Charles Martinez shows how changing stances can improve your success in landing combinations.


Jamarr Coleman:
Hey, what’s up everybody? This is Jamarr from The Arena and I’m here with striking coach Charles Martinez. Hey, coach, I have a question. Hey, I was sparring and I got caught in the eye and this guy kept changing stances on me. So can you show me how to shift and change stances?

Coach Charles Martinez:
Sure. That’s actually a two stage problem. Offense, defense, right? So, if we’re just talking about defense, whichever stance we’re standing in, if we’re mixed lead, if you switch your feet, all right, this is the battle. The battle is lead foot versus lead foot. My lead foot on the outside, I’m winning. Your lead foot on the outside, you’re winning. So it’s a matter of creating a better angle by keeping your lead foot on the outside and putting the person… Getting all your good hard tools lined up with me and taking away my hardest strikes. That’s the defensive aspect of it, is keeping yourself in the right position to land.

Offensively, go back to your stance. There’s a couple of different ways to do this here. You throw the one-two, I pull. All right. Easy to chase, but it’s a good time to shift. If you’re going to shift and change your stance, it should be for a reason. Right, so if I throw the one-two and you give me a little space, you create the opportunity to shift. All right? So it just feels like another jab, right? So it feels like jab, cross, jab. But it’s really not. It’s jab, cross, left, straight. Now my right foot is on the outside of your foot. I’m outside of your power zone, and I could throw and put you back in towards my power side. One option, that’s shifting on my advancement with a step all the way through, right?

Another option would be, I’m throwing the one-two and you’re defending the one-two. All right? You’re defending the one-two. Stepping through on the one-two. All right? That’s just a very simple version of it. But a lot of guys, when you throw one-two, they defend away from their face and they pull at their punches, right? So when you advance that way, a lot of times they don’t expect the punch to be there, right? Because they’re used to this straight line. one-two. Hard, fast. Again, again, shift. That’s what you’re looking for is that that moment where there’s supposed to be a punch to defend and it’s just not quite there. All right. Two very, very simple ways to shift. There’s a million of them, but there’s just two simple ways.

Jamarr Coleman:
Okay, thanks coach. Appreciate it. And there you have it. Tip of the week.

How to Land Body Shots by Stepping to the Side

A common problem people encounter in Boxing or Kickboxing is not being able to land a solid body shot. Striking Coach Vince Salvador breaks down why this can happen and shows how stepping to the side can greatly increase your chances of landing the punch.


Jamarr Coleman:
Hey, what’s up everybody? This is Jamarr, the sales director here at The Arena. I’m here with Coach Vince, striking coach here, and I’ve got a question for you. I’ve been getting back in the ring, been sparring, and it seems like I can never connect with a body shot. Do you got any tips or any details that can help me connect with my body shot?


Coach Vince Salvador:
Yeah. Show me how you’re doing it.


Jamarr Coleman:
Okay, so I’m right here and I’m bending down, and I’m just throwing the body shot. But it seems like they’re catching with the elbow all the time.


Coach Vince Salvador:
Okay. One of the things that happens when you’re 50/50 in a 50 stance and we have an equal angle, when I go to the body, you could do the exact same thing for me. You can hit me right in the body, or you could throw that upper cut just like that. And it all works because I’m right in front of you. One of the things I like to do when I set up the body shot, is I’ll throw something up top to bring the elbow up. So maybe a jab or a hook?


It depends on the situation, but if I’m this close, I would throw the hook up top. When his elbow comes up, I’ll use that to push off to the corner here and it gets me in a better angle to hit the liver. And when I get into that angle, I’m not really susceptible to any shots. So when I get to that angle, I want you to try to hit me with an uppercut. So when I get to here and you throw that uppercut, I’m already offline. I have a good body shot, and I’ve stepped offline with just using a punch.

Another way I can do that is I can use a jab the same way. I can jam up the middle. Usually what they’ll do is they’ll pair you up, step up top, get off to the line here, and I’ll throw a body shot. What I don’t want to do is just try to go to the body without setting it up because then he’ll see it coming. If I just go to the body from here, you can lean down, block that, kick me with the uppercut, finish the fight, knock me out. I’d rather go to the body, not get hit. So when I hit him up top, I go to the quarter, hit him in that liver. It’s over, making him pee some blood.


Jamarr Coleman:
And there you have it. Tip of the week.


Coach Vince Salvador:
Just the tip.

How to Work Off the Ropes in Boxing

Many boxers get stuck on the ropes and aren’t sure what to do. In this tip Boxing Coach Joe Vargas shows how to keep your stance, throw some punches and get off the ropes to keep fighting.


Coach Joe Vargas:
I’m Joe Vargas from The Arena, head boxing coach. Today we have Chris Leben helping us on how to work off the ropes. So, usually when athletes fighters are stuck on the rope, usually they fall like this, and they’re getting hit. They don’t know what to do. So what you want to do is never lose your stance. You feel the rope sit behind you and you sit on this side, you can rip the body rip the head. So that’s the most important when you’re off the ropes. Balance, balance, hands up. You got your holster, boom, holster. That’s how you create the momentum for them upper cuts.

Now what you don’t want to do, now pressure me, is be stuck here. Be stuck here because you cannot defend. You’re going to be pitty-patting in your shots and they’re not going to hurt this man. If that happens, you quick drop your hips back, exit out. And that’s how you work off the ropes. And that’s your tip of the week.

Land More Punches by Hiding Your Intentions in Boxing

The more deceiving you are in the ring, the better chances you have of landing your shots. Check out what Boxing Coach Joe Vargas has to say about how to hide your intentions to land more punches.


Coach Joe Vargas:
Hi, my name is Joe Vargas. I’m one of the head of boxing coaches here at The Arena. Today’s tip of the week is going to be how to hide your intentions on landing the shot that you’re looking for. What you don’t want to do is when you come here, automatically, Alex is going to know there’s a problem here. He’s going to either block or he’s going to counter me with the hook. So, by me dipping my head down like this, it shows my intention to land this body shot. Throw left hook, soft. I can get clipped, and I can land the shot.

What you want to do is you want to stand in front of him and I want to hide my intentions. I’ll put a hand here. I’ll put a hand here, and without dipping my head, I will just turn that hook in. And that’s how you sneak in a left hook to the body. The more deceiving you are in the ring, the better chances you have of landing your shots. And that’s your tip of the week today.

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