MA Skills is a feature on this community that will help you (physically) grow and excel as a martial artist. It focuses on motivating workout regiments and keeping them balanced as far as skill and muscle development is concerned.
There are 9 main categories that you can log your workouts into:
- Hand Techniques – this one is pretty much self-explanatory, any hand techniques would go to this category. You can do the techniques at a target, with no target, with or without weights, resistance bands etc. You can make it more difficult as you progress and you can begin with simple hand techniques to the air to develop the proper efficient technique. Later on i would add a target, then resistance with weights or bands.
- Leg Techniques – same thing as with hand techniques, here you are working on perfecting and improving individual techniques. Focus on execution rather than anything else when working on this category.
- Sparring – this is ESSENTIAL. I don’t care how good you think you are, but if you do not spar (or do something similar to sparring like random technique improvised partner drills, or something reflecting real situations) then your work on techniques and skills may be wasted. In real situations you can lose up to 80% of your speed, power and proper technique due to circumstances such as nervousness, adrenaline, situational factors like distance and environment etc. This is why , when you practice Sparring, you will learn to maximize your potential by relaxing more, becoming more loose and retaining your speed and core skills in an actual situation. This will be the hardest category to fulfill as most of us either don’t have enough sparring partners or usually train alone. Try to find someone willing to do it with you, they don’t even have to be a martial artists, just someone willing to throw punches (and/or kicks) at you. Just working against someone with real (or close to) intent to hit you will be a good experience. Ask your spouse or sibling to help out, often times even that would be good practice, and conflict resolution solution XD.
- Accuracy and Timing. Accuracy refers to the ability to hit a target that is usually static while timing refers to the ability to hit a moving target. You can work on this category through drills such as hitting a ball suspended on a rope, hitting a bouncing heavy bag, speed bag etc. Pretty much hitting anything that has a concrete target on it and it moves. Or you can split this category into two and work on Accuracy and Timing separately. It is entirely up to you.
- Flexibility. This one seems pretty obvious, but it’s not! Flexibility is extremely important for several reasons. #1 – It allows for a more free range of motion for your limbs, ultimately increasing your speed and consequently power. This does NOT only apply to kicking techniques, it also applies to punching techniques. Inflexibility in regions such as back, waist neck, shoulders will cause your punching speed and power to diminish. I would also urge you to work on stretching your fingers and toes, as these do come in play also in preventing injuries and improving balance (stretching toes). You don’t need to work on flexibility 2hrs per day, you just need to devote it 20min 3 days a week for a consistent period of time and you will see drastic results.
- Awareness and Sensitivity. This category is a little harder to understand. Let’s break it down. Awareness can refer to several things. You can practice awareness by working on your peripheral vision. Peripheral vision would mean a non focused vision. It’s when you are looking straight , for example, but you still kind of see a car pass you by through the edge of your eye. Practicing this aspect of awareness can help you in situations where someone is trying to land a surprise punch. You can also work on awareness by working on sense of Distance. I am putting these two in the same category since it requires similar skill. Sense of distance refers to the ability of knowing when you are close enough to connect with your opponent. Punching techniques will have a different sense of distance than kicking techniques, because of different length of limbs. This is a crucial category (and often overlooked) that you should work on. Having an impeccable sense of distance will create a huge obstacle for your opponent. I had a pleasure of fighting some guys with a crazy good sense of distance. It can be incredibly frustrating and will exhaust you quickly. You can practice sense of distance by either having a static target and allowing yourself to move around, then once you are within reach of that target you strike. Or you can stay stationary and have a target move around which is where you would wait for it to come within range and then strike. Now let’s talk about sensitivity. This can also refer to many things. I like to focus on limb sensitivity. You can work on drills such as Chi Sau in Wing Chun, or you can use the drills i show on Examples Link on the back of this category card with videos of working with a medicine ball against a wall or a heavy bag. Having good sensitivity will improve your chances of preventing a take down, as well as improve your balance. It will also help you orient your body positioning when in a clinch or a very close range of your opponent where you can visually tell where your striking limbs are.
- Maximal Power. Now we get into muscle categories. Maximal power refers to the ability to exert maximal force for a particular muscle group. Weight lifting comes into play in this category. To work on Maximal power you would focus on lifting a large enough weight that would prevent you from doing more than 8 repetitions. You can also work on maximal power with body weight exercises. For example, if you really are not that good at pull ups and can only do 8 or less, then doing pull ups will work on your maximal power. This is where you build muscle. Do 3-5 sets for each muscle group before moving on to the next. Or , to save time, i like to work on two completely separate muscle groups at the time. For example, i would do bicep curls followed immediately by calf raises. Then take a break and do it again.
- Muscle Endurance. This refers to the ability of a muscle to work for a prolonged period of time. Doing activities in this category will burn fat and build lean muscles. You can use weights for this category also but in this case you would use a small weight so that you could do at very LEAST 12 repetitions, preferably more. You can also use resistance bands for this and the previous category, it all depends on how much resistance you are using. Here are a few more examples of exercises that work on Muscle Endurance – running, rope skipping, bicycling, Snow Boarding, skiing, skating, roller skating and so on. I think you get the idea here.
- Explosive Muscle Power. This category is a little bit trickier. It also works on muscle but it works on muscle’s ability to exert maximum force at the BEGINNING of the muscle action, hence propelling you and giving you an explosive boost. Isometric drills that i showed in my video would be one way of working at it. Another way is doing some sort of plyometric body-weight exercises that work on this action. Clap push ups is one example. In order to push yourself off the ground high enough to do a clap, your muscle will need to exert maximal force at the beginning of the action, hence working on explosive power. Squat jumps is another good example, there is also calf jumps and parallel bar dip thrusts and pull up claps and so on. There are many good exercises that you can use to develop explosive power. Explosive muscle power will give you additional speed and power to your punches and kicks. It can also build muscle mass, depending on your fitness level. Working on explosive power exercises can also be a great way to lose fat and increase your stamina. For example, you can build a small circuit regiment where you do clap push ups, followed by squat jumps, followed by parallel bar dip thrusts, followed by calf jumps. This circuit will surely exhaust you just in few minutes.
Now that you know the main categories to work on, here is how this feature works:
- Decide on which category you want to work on and do your workout. Once you are finished, come back log into the community and log your workout in. The first two categories (hand and leg techniques) will require you to log in the repetitions while others will ask for the time in minutes that you have been working on it.
- Once you fill out all the requirements for each category for a particular level, you will LEVEL-UP much like in a game. There is a total of 100 levels and each level will require 10% more for each category.
- If you click the question mark button on the top right corner of each category card you will get a brief description of that category and on most categories you will also see a link “SEE EXAMPLES”. Click this link to see videos with exercises shown applicable for that category.
- There are some restrictions to make this a fair game and to keep you on a consistent track, rather than a reckless one:
- You are limited to how many “scores” you can input per day. Some categories such as hand techniques will have a high number such as 2,000 repetitions per day max. Others such as Muscle Endurance will have a low number like 40min per day max. Check on the back of the category card to see what is the daily limit for that category.
- You will be limited to how frequently you can input scores. For this reason it is best to just write down what you are doing as you are doing and then at the end of the day log in your workouts. So basically this restriction prevents you from logging in too frequently. If you just added 10min of workouts for Muscle Endurance category, and you try to do it again right away, it will tell you to wait.
- You CAN enter more than the category card requires, as long as it is less than the daily limit restriction. So for example, if a Muscle Endurance category for lvl 1 requires you to log in 20min of workouts, but you just came back from a 30min run – you CAN enter entire 30min and what it will do is count the 20min for level 1 and once you reach level 2 the muscle endurance category will already have 10min added to it that was a “left-over” from the previous level.
That is pretty much it for now, we are working on more developments at the moment. I am planning on having a statistics portion added to this feature so that you could compare how you have been doing between different months or different categories. Our programmers are working on this function at the moment.