Chris Leben’s Favorite Punch Combinations

UFC Veteran and MMA Coach Chris Leben shows some of his favorite punch combinations and how you can incorporate them into your shadoboxing.


Coach Chris Leben:
What up, guys? Here’s some cool techniques you can incorporate into your shadow boxing, at least until we all get back in the gym. This is my favorite punch, I call it my shotgun two. It’s going to be off that fake backhand, so I’m going to go backhand shotgun two. Next one backhand fake across to the hook, backhand shotgun two, backhand fake across the hook. When you’re throwing that you want them to see it. So you want to pull a bad punch. You want to flare that elbow out to get a reaction. Boom. Boom. Mixing it up.

Here’s another one guys in the routine. Fake T, throw the cross. Next one. Fake fake kick reset. Cross, cross, knee break here. One more time. Cross, cross kick. Simple combo you can start working into your shadow boxing at home, at least until we get back into the gym.

Kickboxing Student Jamil Estayo’s Experience at The Arena Gym

Check out what Arena member Jamil Estayo has to say about his time training Kickboxing and Muay Thai with Coaches Charles Martinez and Vince Salvador.


Jamil Estayo:
My name is Jamil Estayo. I’ve been training here for about a year and a half now. What brought me to The Arena is I was just interested in some kickboxing and Muay Thai drills. Never really did any stand up combat before. I did judo and wrestling in high school for a little bit, but I never really understood the standup game, so I came to The Arena.

First time I came here I worked with Coach Chuck. His progressions drills, his pad drills and everything, just fell in love with it. Personally, I feel like I’ve gotten way better. If I ever wanted to get into a competition, I’d feel super confident with Coach Chuck and also Coach Vince’s classes. Everybody here is super friendly, super helpful. During the classes I was training with really high elite fighters. It was really an honor and great opportunity to train with them because they gave me a lot of their insight, a lot of their techniques as well. Not just Coach Vince’s or Coach Chuck’s techniques, but there’s a lot of the best of both worlds pretty much.

Drill to Reload Your Punches from Your Strong Side

MMA Coach Charles Martinez works some drills you can use to reset to the same side and reload your punches after throwing a combination. You can use this skill for Boxing, Kickboxing or any striking art.


Coach Charles Martinez:
All right. Today’s tip we’re going to work on, is some punch mechanics to resetting to the same side. So traditionally, when you first learn punching, it’s always one side, then the other, then the other, then the other. It’s all based off hip rotation and generating power. So nice easy tool to work on here. I’m going to throw the javelin, throw the cross. I’m going to reset my weight, and I’m going to, again, throw from that same side. Same thing to the lead side. I throw the jab. I throw the cross. I throw the hook. I reset my weight. My rear foot pivots. My hips reload. I throw a hook again. All right, so anytime that I’m going to double up on one side of punches, I have to reset my hip to that side.

If I throw the right hand, I reset my weight to my right hip. My head comes back onto my rear hip. And I can throw from that side again. Anytime I throw from the lead side, in order to throw this side again, I need to reload my hip. So when my jab is out, my left hip is activated. In order to reload that hand, I take a small step. I rotate my rear hip. Now my weight is on my lead side, and my lead hand is loaded again to throw another punch. Right? So jab, reset, lead hook, jab, cross, reset, rear uppercut or rear straight. So anytime you’re throwing a combination, you can reset to the same side, and then throw another punch from that side.

Throwing Punches and Changing Directions

In this drill Coach Vince works on using certain directional patterns along with punching combinations, to help you learn how to move while punching. This can be applied to all the striking arts including MMA, Boxing and Kickboxing.


Coach Vince Salvador:
What’s up guys? I’m coach Vince from the Arena. Here’s a couple of drills that you can use without any equipment, working on footwork, tying in your punching, and you’re moving your feet and your head at the same time. So there’s multiple things going on in this drill. What I’m doing is I’m going to set up directional patterns for me to move. I’m going to go forward first, back, to my left and then to my right. And when I do this, I’m going to add the punches that I need to throw going forward, going back, going left or going right. The correct ones. If I throw the wrong ones, I get hit. So when I’m coming forward, I’m using my jab and my cross. My feet are also going to come forward. So it’s one and two. When I land here, my body has to reset back into fighting position.

Now I’m back into fighting position. If my opponent decides to come forward, watch my back foot. I take a step with my back foot, retract my lead foot, and then I throw my hook. My head comes back into this position now. Now I’m set up. Lead access to go this way. My opponent goes that way. I set it up by leading my head here, throwing the punch that he’s closest to, hook and then I cross. Now I reload again. If my opponent goes this way, instead of throwing the hook while he goes that way, I stop him with my cross, move my back foot, realign center, throw my hook. My head is still moving, right?

So when I’m doing this a little faster, I want to over-exaggerate all my movements, but tie in my shoulders, my head, my feet, everything at the same time. So it’s like a dance. I come forward. One, two, reload. Two, three reload, three two reload, two three reload, head movement. Again, one two forward, reload, two three back my head, my hands all together. I don’t have to do it in that sequence. I can stop. Okay. Now my opponent moves. My head goes back to the front foot hook cross, head moving. He goes that way, cross hook. That way I’m throwing the right punches at the right time and moving in the direction that I should be. And that’s my tip.

Basic Footwork and Punch Mechanics

Coach Charles Martinez is back with some more footwork drills to help with your punching mechanics. This lesson is applicable for all the striking arts including Boxing, Kickboxing and MMA.


Coach Charles Martinez:
All right, today we’re working on another basic drill for footwork and punch mechanics, right? So it’s just basic punches with footwork and we’re going to start working angling offline after you throw. So just as a general rule, if I’m in a good fighting stance, I step forward. I throw one two. If I finished with my right hand, I’m going to step right. And then from here, whatever, I can just keep throwing combinations. If I finish with my left hook, I’m going to step and pivot to the left, right? So a simple drill to have you come forward, punch, step offline, come forward punch, finish with the hook, step off line. So you can kind of add levels and angles to your footwork during your shadowboxing just to give you a little bit more a visualization of actually moving at an opponent. So if you enter in a straight line, you exit offline. Or if you enter in a straight line and finish with your lead hook you step and pivot offline.

Learn How to Shift Your Weight and Maintain a Proper Fighting Stance

In this video Coach Vince Salvador covers your first line of defense, which is footwork. He goes over ways to shift your stance and balance your weight during any striking art, including Boxing, Kickboxing and MMA.


Coach Vince Salvador:
What’s up guys? It’s Coach Vince from The Arena, and here are a couple of workouts that you can do as drills or workouts for you to develop your footwork. One of the first things you can do to develop your footwork or your stance in this position when you’re doing for work is to find your balance. And when I’d say that, is by when I can shift my weight from fore to the rear access easily and move at the same time, then I know that I’m centered, and this will help me with this drill. So what I’m doing is with my feet, I’m not moving my feet at all.

My head is going to move into those pockets that will shift my weight into the rear or the forward axis with my head movement and with my head movement, I can add other things into this. So if my head is in the forward axis after I’ve already moved my head, as I slip a right hand punch kick or whatever, now I have my weight on my front foot. So this drill is just going to be me shifting my weight from the front foot, the back foot and changing my angle. So if my head is here and I’m moving my weight this way, and I can do this in front of a mirror, I could do it as I shadow box, but my feet are not moving. My weight’s going to go over my front foot. My right foot is going to replace that. And my body is going to turn out to this corner here. So when my head moves into the front pocket, I shift my weight, my body shoots out to this corner here. I still have my opponent in front of me, but I have a different angle now.

And now I’m not in front anymore. My head comes off the center line and I can set up jabs and other things like that from there. So when I’m using it in a shadow boxing situation, I can go here. My head comes over that front foot, my weight shifts, and my jab comes out to that center line. So I’m just moving my head, head over the front foot, rear leg into the inside, jab to the inside of the center. My head is now in the middle, so if he’s trying to punch me, I’ve got my head outside this center. Again, I’m here. Center line is right here. Outside, inside, outside, inside. Now I pivot inside, head offline. I’m not in that angle of attack anymore. So I’m just using that as a drill. So head, head, here, there.

Now, once I’m in this position and I want to go back, I bring my foot back to that position. Square one. So the drill is head movement, head movement, forward position, punch, back, head movement, head movement, head movement. And that’s a little drill you guys can do for now. It’s going to develop a lot of different things, but the first line of defense should be your feet. Foot work is going to make everything happen. If you can tie your feet and your head together, a lot easier for you to move without getting hit. So again, forward axis, shifting my weight, landing my jab. Now bringing my weight back, head movement off that center line. Keep you safe.

Hip Rotation Mobility Drill to Improve Your Kicking

MMA Coach Charles Martinez has good drill you can do at home simply by propping your leg up on a piece of furniture. This will help train your hip rotation and mobility so you can throw better kicks in MMA, Kickboxing and Muay Thai.


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. So here’s a simple drill to work on. Basically, hip mobility and rotation for basic kicking is as simple as it gets here, right? You can use anything in your house, couch, chair, anything that’s, doesn’t have to be that high, most of us can’t kick that high anyway.

So, simple. Raise your leg up. Now my shin now is pointing straight up in the sky. My hip is flexed. There’s no rotation in my hip. If I don’t move my support leg, I can’t rotate my hip. All the translation of rotation goes to my knee. So my foot needs to move. In order to rotate my hip, I have to move my foot.

It turns my hip, it turns my shoulder. So a simple way to work on this is to be straight, hands up. And then as I rotate my hip, my hands go out and my hip rotates. My shoulder rotates, my hand comes out, sits back down, point of rotation, point of center of gravity, the ball of the foot through the top of the head. All right. I rotate my foot. I’m good. I’m balanced. Any way that I lean my head here, it’s going to be the failure of balance here. All right, so my head is over my center of gravity. My hand’s up, my hand’s out, my foot is rotated. My hip is rotated, my shoulder’s rotated. I’m looking down at the target. Just an easy way to work this hip flexibility and mobility and balance to work on your kick mechanics. Simple drill you can do at home.

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. Thank you for your continued support and hope to see you soon.

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