Sunday, December 18, 2011


MMA in side the world of BODYCOMBAT

MMA (mixed martial arts) inside BODYCOMBAT consist of exactly that! A huge blend of martial arts.
Many of these different martial arts have been modified for the group fitness market, resulting in a down grade from being a purist style of movement and it's teaching to what we call an "inspired by a certain martial art" movement.

In a way this is a pretty cool thing to do as it allows us to not only blend martial arts, but draw some of the very best fitness moves from them.

Now this is we're this blog gets interesting. I'm much better at talking to get my views across rather than writing so please forgive me if you get confused.

The world of purist martial arts is
( i believe) - changing !
The days of having a single style mastered is becoming the thing of the past!
The endless hours of bowing before and after entering the dojo, the hours of performing kata, the years of gradings.

MMA or more known of its famous very up and coming fashionable style of today's warrior the UFC has less purist entering and more all round athletes.

Let me explain myself

I'm not saying for one moment that this is a negative

However I'm saying this...

competitive MMA was designed so that different martial arts styles could compete against each other.
A kung fu practitioners against a boxer
Or a TKD fighter against a wrestler.
The exciting thing about that was, you could see how each style was very unique and very different from the other.
To become a mixed martial artist you had to train in several different styles. Giving you during the fight the knowledge and the experience to take the fight to a place were you could still perform with confidence.

All great things.

In today's world if you walked into a gym and said I want to learn MMA you could!.
You would be taught three areas of fighting.
1) striking - standup , boxing, muaythai,kickboxing,
2) submission-ground fighting- BJJ , grappling
3) taking the fight from the standing to the ground and back up, - judo, wrestling

These are you 3 basics you must train in to be in TODAY'S MMA .

In essence holding countless titles from the ring, or having succeeded in many competitions on the Matt, or performing katas- some how doesn't seem as cool as having an MMA fight in the cage!.

I think there is still a place for the MARTIAL ARTIST and the fighter to exists together.

However today's MMA fighter may not understand what wearing a gi and bowing to your master is about, they may not understand how to perform a karate punch or block?

BODYCOMBAT is a small journey in trying to keep purist style or inspired by purist style alive.

The future is MMA it's fashionable it's a fantastic way to keep super fit an lean.

real MMA in TODAY'S training is a blend of the 3 styles of fighting
In between

BODYCOMBAT could have a blend?
How well because it's prechoregraphed the challenge would be to find the right
1) music
2) safe moves
3) reps
And so many more factors.

Feel free to comment


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  1. I think BODYCOMBAT is already a poster child for MMA in many respects. If we take #2 from BC48 as an example (taught it today, so it's top of mind). Start with a KickBoxing feel; that participants can understand. Then a quick transition to TKD and Karate. From movies and popular culture, participants feel that they understand these differences. My worry about blending in the same combo/move is that participants with no martial arts background might get confused as to the essence of the moves. This might take away the magic.

    When you're doing #6 from 49 and tell participants to 'think dojo', they get what you mean and can visualise the karate essence. They've seen the films, they get it.

    I don't think MMA is enough in the collective conciousness yet to be a layman's 'thing' just yet. Given that, I'm not sure how that kind of imagery would connect with Bodycombat participants. The different styles in the class do connect, and mixing them up in the same tracks does connect as well.

    I can see the core work potential in the takedown and groundwork aspects of MMA; which, as you said, are based on wrestling and BJJ. A 4 or 6 with a kickboxing combo, a takedown and then a Jits move would be super fun. I'm not sure if participants would like the ground work though. As an instructor, I'd love it!

    I think that keeping the different styles distinct helps with the class imagery for most participants. Bodycombat already mixes the styles up with great success. Taking a #6 to the ground and up would be super fun, although maybe #4 would be less dangerous with participants less tired.

  2. Exactly my thoughts Dan. The traditions are sort of lost in MMA.Although many fighters have mastered a traditional style before heading into MMA. When people ask me about MMA and what I recommend I always tell them to find ONE discipline first and get good at it (say BJJ or MT depending on if they like standing or groundwork) then take on MMA.

    Speaking in BC terms the essence is blurred and unfocused in MMA.

    Honestly isn't BC already "Mixed martial arts"? We work with different styles all through the release. Groundwork is tough though haha but we have had sweeps and BJJstuff in the strength section right. I agree with the previous post in that participants with no clue about martial arts wont understand why we are "crawling on the floor" haha

    At the same time that would be a great thing to for me as a martial artist. It gives us an opportunity to shine :) but then again, not all BC instructors have that'll have to go through an ATM or the QW's need to have a massive educational section :)

    On the other hand....could take the workout to new levels! :)


  3. Heyy Dan, when styles confront there are certain moves that gain in efficiency or that have to be modified to keep efficient. For instance, in real MMA you need to prevent an opponent from gabbing your legs, you do not need to do so in boxing, so a boxer (or striker) suddenly you may get attacked from the ground by a wrestler, so suddenly he need to kick the wrestler to the distance. Many new moves result that may be even forbidden in single disciplines. In the lastest releases BC became a bit like BodyAttack just focussed on cardio. Fine for some tracks but too much simple moves, too much repetition. BC is so great because it is not 1000x repition like in a dojo, but it needs to get back new spice by new moves, strategically places, and with authenticity. Simple is great for beginners, and OK for some tracks, but also something for advanced techical levels please. Best would be spinning back kicks, overhead fists, superman punches, round knees, ground fighting styles, the stuff that kicks ass when watching MMA!!

  4. I would hate BodyCombat to grow into an all MMA style class. As much as MMA is effective, it's also very thin in techniques and to some respect precision. If you compare to the more traditional martial arts ... there you strive for control and perfection. In MMA you just need to hit things harder. Dramatically oversimplified I know, but I think you'll get the point.

    As for BodyCombat, I especially enjoy the tracks where one style stands out. You can connect so much more to the class and the moves when you just FEEL it's all KARATE DOJO. Or in a great track 7 where you have your MUAY TAI pants on and just keep driving those knees and elbows in.

    The 55-min journey through different styles makes the class time fly. MMA everywhere to me sounds like it'll be 55 mins of more or less the same thing.

    A note on the previous poster ... I disagree on adding things like ushiro-mawashi-geri (spinning back roundhouse) and even the already used jump kicks. These are really too hard for people that don't have any martial arts training and easily dangerous for knee and anckle joints. In addition, for us with having 45-65 people in a class ... these big movements are near impossible. There just isn't room to freely execute these.

  5. Good thing about MMA is we can do things that not available in single martial art, so weakness in each martial art is covered by strength of the other. That's why single martial art training is becoming less popular because the moves are limited.

    But we can't have forgone single discipline martial art totally, if there are no people practicing the authentic martial art it may lost as the time flow. So it's important to keep the balance in two side of martial art world.

    In BODYCOMBAT, many participants don't have martial art background at all, they don't understand why side kick we kick with the blade of the foot, why punch target nose. They just enjoy punching and kicking all the way. That's why it's hard for BODYCOMBAT to goes too technical, as many members don't care.

    However, hardcore members will really love to see more challenging move, new martial arts, etc. They love to master more move.

    Taking the balance of different members, safety, music, etc into consideration, getting the balance and put into a release I think is something DAMN DIFFICULT. So for Dan and Rach you both are ROCK! Although a release can never be perfect (because of different expectation), many members enjoy every new release and eventually BODYCOMBAT has become the most popular Les Mills programme in my club here.

    So congrats again for Dan and Rach for your good work. We love how you mix up MMA, and how we get the result.

  6. I think what has happened over the years in MMA is that the most effective techniques from all the disciplines have come to the forefront. In essence, this is what works in each of the levels of fighting whether standing, ground fighting or making your way back up to standing. (That is why I find Krav Maga so interesting and effective for personal defense.)

    As for Body Combat, I think the attitude of the MMA fighter is key. Visualizing yourself in that real life situation where someone is hitting you back. The idea that you can't quit because quitting is failure and has serious consequences. Short repetitive combinations that push the body to and beyond exhaustion so that when you are in that primal place where you have tunnel vision and the world around you eases to exist, what technique do you fall back on? What training is ingrained in your soul?

  7. I have to agree with David. I don't mind MMA, but I would like to see it balanced out in class, and to the extent possible, a distinction between the different forms used in a Bodycombat class; this is a move from boxing, this is a move from karate, this is a move from capoeira. You might not be able to hit every form in each release, but I would love to see a focus on every style over the course of 3 or 4 releases.

  8. Hi Dan
    I think that you have already done an excellent job of integrating mma techiques into body combat.
    The sprawl could be integrated, as could the wrestling 'sit out'.
    I also think that optional dumbells or handweights for the power tracks would be good.
    The palm to your own forehad way of blocking straight shots could be added, and would give people a legitimate self defence skill, not that that is the aim I know.

  9. Dan I have been so impressed by the Combat program...I have been in fitness for many, many years and have yet to come across something that really is a complete and total mind and body workout. Finding BodyCombat and becoming an instructor has truly changed me...from the inside out! The integration of MMA disciplines, the choreography, quality of music, the resources provided to instructors, and workout have achieved something that is truly unparalleled in the industry! Bravo!!! I have found that the music and choreo is what really grabs my participants....but the authenticity and results are what keeps them coming back!!! For one hour, they are not a SAHM, an accountant, a lawyer or banker....they WARRIORS!!! They don't even realize how hard they are working, and it is the fastest hour of their lives. Not many exercise programs can say that!!! I am an "older" instructor at 43 (but make no mistake I rock it out!) and teach to a crowd that averages around the same....we all just love it, and are so pumped with what our bodies can do!! My peeps die for the exotic stuff...Capoeira...Muay's so different from everything they have been doing for years and years! Thank you for doing such an outstanding job with Combat!! Please keep up the good work and stay with the fight!!!