7 AM Muay Thai Sparring Session

“Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Often quoted by Bruce Lee about martial arts learning. You must learn, but you must also apply and get uncomfortable. Sparring is a reminder that there are negative consequences to making mistakes here.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Martial Arts Training

Here’s Coach Charles Martinez discussing the effective mindset of learning martial arts techniques. How you learn can be as important as what you learn, take two minutes and listen to some advice about how to get the most out of your training.


Coach Charles Martinez:
Hey, this is Coach Charles Martinez from The Arena, and today I wanted to talk briefly about how to get the most out of your learning. Now, sometimes in a class setting, maybe there’s multiple things being taught. They might not all specifically apply to you in your game right now. But in a class, I feel like when I’m teaching, I usually feel like I’m teaching to the middle of the room. Some of the technique is above the head of a new person, but it’s a little too simple for the advanced person. As you’re learning things, maybe you could be attracted to certain technique more than others, and maybe that’s… It could be a body type, it could be where your skill level is currently, so when you’re taking in information, this is kind of the information age for martial arts. Everything is out there. Fundamentals are fundamentals across the board, but then after you learn basic fundamentals, you want to start developing your own game.

There’s this Bruce Lee saying of, “Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, and then add what’s specifically your own.” I think that’s important, but first… You don’t know at first what’s going to be the most useful for you. So when you’re taking in information, try and take it all in. Maybe there’s a piece today that you can apply today. Maybe the bare bones of what’s being taught today is important for your fundamentals of your game. Maybe one of the moves, or one of the versions of the move, just doesn’t make sense to you; you just don’t get it. And that’s fine. Maybe it’s not applicable to you today, but it could be. It could be as you get older, whereas maybe you have an injury, or maybe there’s an easier way of doing it. When you’re young, you have the tendency of behaving one way. When you’re older, maybe you find a path of least resistance a little bit easier. So the technique often is taught across the board, to everyone in the room, regardless of tall, short.

A good coach, as you start to develop, if you’re training specifically for yourself, you can start to tailor and decide what’s best for your body type, and your game, etc. But first you have to have the basis to build that on top of. Sometimes the technique is just not for you; maybe it’s just not for you ever, maybe it’s just not for you right now. I think when you have that mentality as you’re learning technique, it will be a lot easier to develop what is your own, but also have an open mind of other technique that could be applicable down the line, or it could be applicable against a different opponent, or a different body type. I think once you have that, you can draw something useful out of all technique, rather than being like, “I like this. I don’t like that.” Maybe you don’t like it right now because you don’t understand it right now, but down the line, you might be able to really draw something from it that benefits your game. That’s your tip.

Coach Vince Teaches Solid Kickboxing Fundamentals

The details are what make the difference. Our classes and fighter development are always focused on the finer points. Get an inside look on how Coach Vince teaches his Kickboxing class every day.


Coach Vince Salvador:
Now I do the same thing with the cross. I shoot across the center line. My left foot moves me off the center line. But remember I got to keep his right hand occupied with the jab. As soon as I throw this, I move. Now I’m here. Same combination. So all I’m using is my right hand now, instead of my lead hand, which if it got me there a couple of times, but he’s figuring it out. So I start putting two behind it. Now use that to the body. I can kick or add the combination. Just use a two now. Right? Let’s go.

So a lot of that shoulder snap is where the speed comes from. If I go here, you’ll see a lot of guys go arm punches from here. Too slow. But if I’m here, none of my shoulders snaps. I can go right back to that again. It’s all off that. How I chamber the power in there, yeah? That’s why you see a lot of boxers, when they shadow box, that’s super important.

Yeah, because they can’t generate enough power this close without it.

Okay. Look, you feel like you could hit me here, but the range is not good. A lot of guys will hit me in the shoulder. But now all was just a small adjustment on my feet. You don’t have any range. It doesn’t take much. All it is is just adjusting my feet. I’m here. If I get you to move backwards, I know every feint is going to be one step away from me getting there. Because every feint you bite on, which I can do exact same thing. Just set it up with a feint. I get a lot of guys who are scared and go, we’re already there. Just from a faint, right? Sometimes you just got to hit him a few times.

Use my feints. Right? He’s already afraid if he’s backing up, he’s against the cage. Yeah. He has his right hand. He’ll throw it. But you got to poke at it first. I’m here, I’ll faint. You’ll see what he has. You throw the right hand.

Get the timing down, right? Let’s go, grab your partner.

Liz Carmouche Technical Kicboxing Training

Here’s some technical drilling with MMA fighter Liz Carmouche before her last fight. There are many stages of learning technique, none can be skipped. Professional fighters still shadowbox and work their Jab, professional basketball players still take free throws, professional baseball players still take ground balls. Don’t cheat the process, learn right, you will fall to the level of your training under pressure.

How to Find Your Balance While Throwing Kicks

For this tip, The Arena MMA and Kickboxing Coach Charles Martinez goes over some fundamentals of staying balanced while throwing a kick.


Coach Charles Martinez:
Hey, what’s up? It’s Coach Chuck. Just give you another drill to work on while you’re at home. So you can use anything. You can use anything that you can use as a base to support your weight. It’s not really supporting your weight, because your weight should be mostly over your center of gravity. So I’m going to find something. I’m going to reach. I’m going to touch, now I’m just going to sit here, leg extended, hand out, head over my center of gravity, and just kind of find that shift.

If I shift to the side of my foot, I start to fall backwards at the end of my kick. Whichever direction my head goes, that’s the direction I fall during the kick. So I raise my leg. I’m not even trying to kick. I’m just raising my leg. Any direction that you lean your head will shift your center of gravity. Then as you try and retract your leg, your feet will set close together, and then they’ll fall backwards. So touch, if your balance, if your head is over the ball of your foot, no problem. You could be up on your heel or you could be more set down, either way. As long as this is a straight line, everything else should be fine.

So using that stop kick to kind of find your balance, switching out, touching, retracting, and then taking that pause out, where even though I’m not hitting hard, I’m just working on shifting my weight, turning my hips. Everything stays up. My hand stays up. My elbow stays close to my body. My other hand goes out. My chin is hidden. My chin is hidden on this side. And then just swinging my leg. So you don’t need a heavy bag to practice all these mechanics, and you can go high on the ball of your foot if you want. But as long as your foot turns out and your heel is able to move, you should be able to rotate your hip.

All right, so just finding any surface to act as a balance point so you can check your balance while you’re standing in your kick.

Inside Look at Coach Vince Salvador’s Kickboxing Class

We pride ourselves on having the best coaching staff that is here specifically to teach you how to fight. Take an inside look at Coach Vince Salvador during one of his Kickboxing classes.


Coach Vince Salvador:
I’m shooting the jab at his face. I see the parries a lot there. I’ll start mixing in things, frame across. Look, my foot work. Now I’m here, same combination: body, head, and cross. Don’t move until you’re done punching. All right, once I get here, here, then I can move.

His time to strike is gone now that I’m here, all right?

So, you can come all the way across. If I know this guy has a big right hand, he can’t do anything. He can’t even throw it from here. So, same thing: jab here, I’ll wait for the parry, he starts to parry. Now look, I step across. Body, up, and across, all right?

All I’m doing now is when I throw my two, I’m going to set it up by throwing the one-two, and I’m going to step out. I’m going to throw the one, then I’m going to bring my shoulder forward without throwing the two. But now I bring my shoulder forward, I look down at the body. His body comes down, and I go right to the head. I didn’t mean to hit him, but his hand was…

You put your hands up.

So, the way you can set up… So, throw the low kick. I check it. Now do the same thing: shoulder feint, go to the body. Now look, bam, my leg comes back down. Then you chop the leg. Do it.

But a lot of times when I move my head, they’ll throw a punch because I’m turning my head over with my punches and my head and my arms move together like a… If my weight’s this way, this is punching. If my head’s this way, I can punch, but it’s not limited to that. You see what I’m saying?

Now, my head’s always moving, so there’s built-in defense. I’m not just here waiting for the shots. Block, block, block, right? I’m going to make the target hard. So, when you’re doing it, mix in the movement, mix in the feints, the level changes, and start trying to build the setup from there, all right?

Go grab your partner. Finish off with that. Guys, let’s build the setup with the feints. Use the frames.

About The Arena

The Arena is the largest gym in North America for Combat Sports and Martial Arts instruction.

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3350 Sports Arena Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92110 USA

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