How to Punch a Heavy Bag without Hurting Your Hand

Punching a heavy bag with poor form could lead to injury, so in this video Kickboxing Coach Vince Salvador gives some pointers on how to avoid hurting your hand while hitting the bag.


Coach Vince Salvador:
Coach Vince from The Arena, this is my striking tip of the week.

When you throw a punch, you got to turn the punch over and land with the two knuckles on this side, on the front part of your hand, so you don’t hurt your hand. When you hit the bag, the impact should be at the end of the punch, turned over, keeps your shoulder up. That shoulder will protect you on that side and you will get hit in the face.

Also, it’s good to hit the bag at least once a week, bare knuckle, just so you learn how to punch and not hurt your hands and that’s going to help you in the long run.

How to Protect Your Face when Throwing a Leg Kick

A common question Muay Thai and Kickboxing Coach Vince Salvador gets is, what to do with your hands when throwing a leg kick. In this video he answers just that.


Coach Vince Salvador:
I’m Coach Vince from The Arena, this my Muay Thai tip of the week. When throwing the leg kick, a lot of people always ask me what do I do with my hands when I throw the leg kick? When you’re throwing the leg kick, you got to remember that when you’re throwing a kick, he can hit you in the face with his hand. When I’m throwing the low kick, I don’t want to have my hands back here, I don’t want to lead with my head, I’m going to get hit. When I throw my low kick, for balance I use my leg, same hand on the same side, and I cover across center line so that he cannot punch me, so when he does throw the punch, it slides past me. It doesn’t hit me in the face, keeps me in the fight. That’s my tip of the week.

2 Ways to Switch Your Stance in Boxing or Kickboxing

2 ways to change stances in boxing and kickboxing video

2 Ways to Switch Your Stance in Boxing or Kickboxing

In this video Coach Martinez shows you two different techniques to use when changing or shifting your stances in kickboxing or boxing.

Coach Charles breaks it down showing how to adjust your stance first defensively and then offensively so you can keep the edge and the advantage over your opponent.


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.

Tip of the week – Long & Short Range Power Kicks

The Arena’s Kru Mark (Boungnaphonh Makthepharaks) teaches us long and short range power kicks, a staple in Muay Thai fighting styles and Kickboxing, in this Tip of the Week video!


Hi my name is Boungnaphonh Makthepharaks. Today we’re gonna show you the kick. The power kicks. Yeah, long range power kick and short range power kick.

Long range is just, stretch more your legs out apart. Long. See how the shin goes back that way? And the short range is more straight in. Straight in like so.

The bag should swing straight. Same way, other … Southpaw. So, same. Make sure your body stays straight upright position and also the bag should swing straight, like I said. Same thing for the southpaw.

You can swing your arm or you can just put in front, yeah? Swing in front. There you go.

Tip of the Week: Options for The Clinch

How’s it going? I’m Coach Vince Salvador from the Arena.

I’m Coach Charles Martinez. We’re here to discuss some options for the clinch different than what you may have seen before. We’ll start here.

A lot of times in the clinch, the basic rule for the clinch is to have my hips close to his hips. People say cup to cup or belt to belt. If I’m out here in a clinch, I’m gonna get kneed all day. It’s easier to snap my head down if this is MMA. If I see my feet in the clinch, I’m probably gonna see a knee in my face, as well. I need to bring my hips in and I need to trap the inside of his biceps. When I do that, it prevents him from being able to grab me. It prevents him from hitting me, punching me, throwing elbows.

Also, if he tries to throw a knee, I have a steering wheel. The steering wheel is what I’m gonna use to open up the space for me to land my shots. If I’m controlling the bicep here and I wanna make some space, I’m gonna use my inner thigh and my steering wheel to open up one side. If you come around to this side, you can see it on this side. We’re hip to hip. I have no space. I cannot knee from here so I need to make some space.

What I’m gonna do is I’m gonna get his weight to this side so this leg is light. The way I do that is with the steering wheel. I can use this grip, this grip, either/or. It’s really a preference thing. I like this grip. This is gonna make it easy for me to bring his head down. For me to do that, I distract him with a knee. Then his weight goes here. I pull where my inner thigh is gonna meet the inner thigh of his inner thigh to open up his body.

I’ve already opened up that side with my elbow lifting. Now my left knee just comes up and right back down. When I land that, I don’t wanna leave it there too long, ’cause he might grab it. If it’s MMA, I’m going on my back. It’s quick and down. If he does grab it, I can still kick my leg down, throw an elbow to attack on that same side, but as long as I have the bicep I’ll be strong here.

Often times, when you’re taught this, everyone’s taught to clench the head right away. That means that you’ve gotten past all these other phases of pummeling and clench. A lot of times here, this happens in the pummel. He goes to swing his hands inside. If I reach for the head and I’m strong, he has a hard time breaking this off but he swings his hand to the inside, he can use the bicep to start to clear that grip. If he swings his hand to the inside to the collar tie, when I clear the bicep, I also use leverage in my body and I try and establish that inside control.

If you want to think about it from an MMA perspective versus a Muay Thai perspective, when I’m controlling the biceps, he reaches in, tries to grab it under hook, I’m already in contact. If he tries to try and run his body that way, I’m able to start wizzering hard on that side and I’m already in contact versus being up here where it makes it easier for him to kind of bump and establish this good hard under-hook that he’s really looking for.

So close, head in, and then I’m able to start advancing to a better clench from here to deliver the unbalances, knees, elbows and I’m able to be attached to him to prevent these take-downs.

That’s your tip of the week.

The World’s Best Muay Thai Fighters

Along with martial arts such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Judo, the combat sport of Muay Thai is an essential training component for anyone wanting to become a mixed martial arts fighter. However, on its own, this is a popular sport worldwide, especially in Thailand where the sport developed over the centuries. It was an excellent form of combat using eight specific areas of the body to attack and defend. These eight points are the elbows and knees, as well as the hands or fists and the feet. There have been many excellent Muay Thai practitioners throughout the year including the following.

Nai Khanomtom, while not a modern fighter, deserves a mention because his story is the stuff of legends. Khanomtom was captured by the King of Burma in the late 18th century and ordered to fight the Burmese’s top champion boxer. Using his Muay Thai skills, Khanomtom quickly overcame his opponent. Disbelieving of this feat, the king ordered Khanomtom to fight nine more champions and he handily defeated all of them. As a reward, he received his freedom and a few wives as well. His accomplishment is celebrated each year in Thailand on March 17, which is called either Boxer’s Day or Muay Boran Day, in deference to the earliest form of the sport.

Heading into more modern times, one should consider the accomplishments of Apidej Sit-Hirun who held seven Muay Thai titles at one time and was a highly prominent fighter during the 1960s. His kicks were so powerful that he once broke both of the arms of an opponent during a bout and ended his opponent’s career. The current King of Thailand named him as the Fighter of the Century, and after he retired, he became one of the sport’s top instructors.

In Thailand, winning a bout at the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium is like winning a gold medal, the UFC heavyweight championship and about five other championships all rolled into one. This stadium is absolutely the symbol of the sport of Muay Thai, and to win here once is a huge accomplishment. Of course, if you are Samart Payakaroon, winning once wasn’t enough. He was the champion at Lumpinee Stadium in not one, but four different weight classes. Overall, his career included 150 professional bouts, and only 19 of these were losses. Oh, he’s also a famous singer in Thailand and an actor with more than a half-dozen movies to his credit.

If Lumpinee is Madison Square Garden, the Rajadamnern Stadium is its twin brother. A win at either of these prominent Muay Thai stadiums is akin to winning a major bout in the UFC. Jomhod Kiatadisak has won at both of these arenas and in two different weight classes; he’s also been crowned victor 14 times at the WBC Muay Thai Championships. With more than 300 fights in all, Kiatadisak the “King of the Ring,” has lost only 24 of them, which is impressive all by itself.

There are many more examples of amazing Muay Thai fighters, and there are certainly some great MMA fighters who are highly skilled in Muay Thai. One of the best is Anderson Silva, who holds the equivalent of a black belt in Muay Thai, along with his many other black belts in Judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Tae Kwon Do. Fabricio Werdum and Cristiane Santos are a few other notable MMA fighters with strong Muay Thai skills.

Fight Better With A Balanced Approached To MMA

MMA Balanced Approach

If you switch from a single sport, such as wrestling or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to the world of MMA, you probably quickly realized that relying on one single skill set is not going to further your career. While adding Muay Thai or Boxing to your main skill is an excellent idea, it might be even better to expand your training to include four or more different fighting styles. Here are just a few of the fighting styles all MMA fighters should have in their arsenal.

If you have never taken Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes, this is something that definitely should be added to your to-do list. This martial art is an excellent method to study because it focuses on grappling and ground fighting. With strong Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills, you can often overwhelm a larger opponent, bring them down to the ground and even the playing field a bit.

To improve your defensive skills, consider adding Judo to your program. Judo is similar to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and BJJ, in fact, was derived from the ancient combat art of Kodokan Judo. Judo, unlike Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, focuses on fighting in a standing position rather than forcing your opponent on the ground. The main advantage of studying Judo is that it can act as a strong defense against an opponent who is trying to wrestle you to the ground and apply submission holds.

While you cannot rely solely on boxing skills during an MMA fight, it is still a very important part of training. Boxers not only learn the best techniques for throwing a punch, they also learn how to take a hit and block hits. In addition, when training for a fight, boxing classes can improve your footwork and improve your conditioning overall. Boxing also can be incorporated easily into your MMA skill set and used in combination with Muay Thai and kickboxing.

In additional to traditional western boxing, learning Muay Thai skills is also important for your MMA arsenal. In Muay Thai, you will learn dozens of strikes involving the knees, elbows and hands, as well as several different types of foot thrusts or jabs. In this way, Muay Thai serves as an excellent defensive weapon, but you will also find that many fights that end in TKO were due to Muay Thai-style kicks and strikes.

So when you decide to get really serious about MMA and select a gym that specializes in mixed martial arts, spend some time researching your local gyms. A good gym will have a monthly fee that includes gym use as well as unlimited classes in multiple styles of fighting. In addition, a great gym will hire instructors that have been or currently are professional MMA fighters.

Going Pro In MMA: The Path To Success

MMA Success - The Arena

Dedication, strength and determination are essentials for success in mixed martial arts in San Diego. If you hope to become a professional MMA fighter, you can’t fight unless you are completely committed to the sport. Taking your skills to pro level is not something to be taken lightly, and you will need to consider the following before you begin training.


You cannot become pro by simply taking a few classes and training alone. You need to find the best possible MMA gym in your area that can teach you how to join the MMA. The gym needs to be staffed with instructors that have fought professionally so that you can benefit from their expertise and experience. Find a gym that offers classes in multiple fighting styles, as well. Leaning on just one main fighting technique won’t get you to a pro level.


You will need to be proficient in multiple styles of fighting; otherwise you will be unsuccessful in even lower level pro bouts. The best fighters excel in a range of skills, including boxing, jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai and wrestling. Not only do you need to work on each of these individual skills sets, you also need to be able to take those skills and combine them to create a strong game plan for your fights.


In addition, you need to improve your overall health through strength training and conditioning, as well as diet. Professional MMA fighters are in the gym for as many as five or six hours a day and six days a week. Your body will have to work up to this level, but it gives you some idea of the commitment that is necessary to fight on a professional level.


Your trainers and instructors will have the best opinion about when you are ready to begin fighting competitively. This is why it is important to find a quality MMA gym with instructors who have that professional experience. Not only can they help guide your training, they can assist you in preparing for your first fight. They also know where the fights are in your area and weight class. Be sure to select a gym that offers in-house fight management. That way, you know they are serious about helping members who want a career in MMA.


Obviously you want be headlining any major shows right out of the gate; however, you need to expect to compete in small show MMA. If you are lucky enough to win, your purse will be small, perhaps $500. Most fighters will tell you that the money is not the reason they fight, they love the fight itself. That first moment you are facing a real opponent in a pro bout can be terrifying, but most fighters have shared that it was also one of the best experiences of their lives. If you choose to make MMA your life, be prepared to work hard and be prepared for injuries. They are part of the deal.


If you are looking to improve your mixed martial art skills, we invite you to visit us. The Arena is the leading Gym in North America for Combat Sports and Martial Arts instruction. We are considered one of the best Muay Thai gyms in San Diego, as well as having the top boxing, kickboxing and Jiu Jitsu classes available. Sign up for your free membership trial today!

The Components Of Your MMA Training

Components of MMA

MMA training is serious business, and in order to become successful, it is imperative that you find a professional gym that offers a myriad of training options. You need to become skilled in multiple fighting styles, training with experts in each of the main components of mixed martial arts.

Balanced MMA training should include taking some boxing classes. Boxing, which is one of the oldest forms of martial arts, accelerates your MMA game by helping improve hand striking skills and improving your overall conditioning. It wouldn’t be wise to depend solely on your boxing skills during a fight, but you will be a better fighter after taking some boxing classes. Clearly being able to throw an opponent to the ground is a huge skill in MMA, and there are many forms of training that will allow you to improve that skill.

Wrestling is one of the world’s most ancient sports, and it is a huge component of mixed martial arts. Greco-Roman wrestling dates back to the earliest Olympic games, and these skills are still used today. These ancient fighting techniques can help you overcome a larger opponent. A good gym will teach the fundamentals as well as a variety of wrestling skills, such as freestyle, grappling, beach, Sambo and Greco-Roman.

Muay Thai is another component of your MMA training. Originating in Thailand, Muay Thai is a combat sport that is also known as the Art of Eight Limbs. This is because it utilizes kicking, punching, elbow strikes and knee strikes, with a total of eight different points of contact. While it might sound complex, Muay Thai can be fairly easy to learn and is very effective during fights, which is why so many MMA fighters use Muay Thai techniques.

Another popular component of MMA is Jiu Jitsu, particularly the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu perfected by the famous Gracie family. Jiu Jitsu is particularly important in MMA because the skills help fighters improve their ability to force an opponent down. While wrestling and many martial arts emphasis quick takedowns, Jiu Jitsu incorporates a variety of grappling strategies.

Conditioning and strength training classes are another key part of MMA training. Staying healthy and building strength will help you maximize your MMA techniques. Find an MMA gym that offers condition and strength classes that can be tailored to fit your needs.

Finding a gym that caters to the total fighter is key. Be sure to choose a training facility that is serious about MMA, thus taking you from beginning levels all the way to competitive fighting.

Thailand’s Combat Sport: Muay Thai

Thailand's Combat Sport: Muay Thai

In these modern times, martial arts are more a form of exercise, a type of self defense and a sporting event. These ancient combat arts, however, were created to help soldiers in battle. Muay Thai, now such a staple of mixed martial arts fighting, was created for use on the battlefield.

Muay Thai is an effective fighting skill in mixed martial arts because it combines both striking and clinching techniques. This versatile fighting art utilizes punching and kicking, as well as knee and elbow strikes. Because of the variety of skills used in Muay Thai fighting, it is effective now as an MMA technique and was effective in ancient times on the battlefield.

In its most ancient form, Muay Thai was known as muay boran. This art was an excellent battlefield defense. When a soldier lost his weapon, he would use muay boran fighting instead. This was sometimes even more deadly than a conventional weapon.

Eventually muay boran became what is now known as Muay Thai. By the 1500s, Siamese soldiers were all trained with muay boran or Muay Thai skills. Muay Thai was even a recognized way to settle political disagreements or settle other national issues.

After the 1767 battle of Ayutthaya, Burmese soldiers captured this ancient Siamese capital and rounded up thousands of Thai soldiers. During a Burmese festival, the king decided to have one of these Thai prisoners use Muay Thai in a fight against Burmese fighters who would use the Burmese martial art of lethwei. The Thai fighter, Nai Khnanomtom, began his fight with a dance to honor his ancestors. After Nai Khanomtom handily defeated the Burmese fighter, the King declared the match invalid because he thought the pre-fight dance was black magic and distracted the Burmese fighter. So he paired the Thai fighter up against nine more seasoned Burmese fighters. Nai Khanomtom easily defeated all of these fighters, and this incident is a huge part of Thai martial arts folklore.

As might be expected, Thailand’s kings were often huge proponents of Muay Thai. During his short, but peaceful rule in the early 18th Century, King Pra Chao Sua insisted that all soldiers be trained in Muay Thai. He would even sneak out of his palace and take part in Muay Thai bouts secretly, often beating popular local opponents. King Rama V was another monarch that enjoyed Muay Thai. Those fighters who won royal bouts were given military titles as their prize. Following him, King Rama VI was the first leader to propose that rules and some safety requirements be put into place, as deaths were fairly common. Referees, gloves and foot coverlets were added as safety measures during this time.

With its versatility, Muay Thai gained popularity worldwide and then found a huge place in the MMA arena. Today many seasoned MMA fighters, including champions such as Muaricio Rua and Cristiane Santos, utilize Muay Thai fighting skills in their bouts with great success.

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