Yinyang: Technique and Strength in the Martial Arts Yinyang: Technique and Strength in the Martial Arts

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Thread: Yinyang: Technique and Strength in the Martial Arts

  1. #1
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    Default Yinyang: Technique and Strength in the Martial Arts

    by Dave Longley

    You do not have to be strong to do Martial Arts....

    You. Do. Not. Have. To. Be. Strong. To. Do. Martial. Arts....

    But, being strong is pretty fucking useful.

    Read article

  2. #2
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    Interesting to note that really competitive martial arts (BJJ, judo, kickboxing, etc.) seem much more receptive to weightlifting, at least in my ~30 years of experience hanging out in various MA settings. Traditional places (classical karate, tai chi, kung fu, aikido, etc.) have seemed more resistant to it.

    Boxing is the odd man out, that's competitive as hell, obviously, but it seems many treat lifting like poison, although the weight class issue might account for the majority of that resistance, of course.

    I'll never forget a quote from my first judo coach, he had trained with Isao Inokuma (a former all-Japan champion, and trainer of Yasuhiro Yamashita, the most successful judo competitor of all time) - Inokuma had all his athletes lift, and in fact his book shows squats, deadlifts, and presses with barbells. The quote was, simply, "There's no such thing as a weak champion."

  3. #3
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    N=1, but it was my TaiJi instructor who told me about the Blue Book.

    I had a student in her 70s (active but very slight of build) who would get stuck in low stances. She really wanted this to be a technique or flexibility issue. I repeatedly told her that her flexibility was more than sufficient to crouch down that far, but her legs simply weren't strong enough to push back up. She was visibly disappointed with this answer and refused to contemplate using a leg press machine. I did convince her to do goblet squats with a hardbound book and progress to light dumbbells.

  4. #4
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    I take my son to train BJJ. In one year he has come a long way. He is almost 13, and I have him interested, but not training yet, in strength. He will come to the weight room with me and watch me squat, press, and deadlift. If he is not there he will ask to see my sets that I videotaped on my iphone...and he critiques them. He is a knows enough about depth on squats and a neutral back when pulling.

    So I am hoping for the best combination as he gets older: skills and strength, but emphasis on the strength. Even now he understands the role of strength in his life, whether grappling, basketball, or just wrestling with his old man. I am proud to have a son that says "I need to eat more."

    So here's the thing: where he trains is split in half. One half is a beautiful matted area for grappling and BJJ training. The other half is a Crossfitbox. While my son trains I will observe the X-fitters. Then I ask myself, why is the role of strength not a priority in either one of these, BJJ or X-fit, when clearly a base of strength (to suitable loads as listed in the article) would pay the most dividends? Each of them is so blinded by technique and skill acquisition that ....forgive me, I rant. Dave, wonderful article, and great experience to share. Yes, I will have my son read this.

    Stef and Rip, nice job posting/ approving article this by a non-SSC. I got a lot out of it.

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    You don't have to be an SSC to write for the website, but your article has to actually make sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tbennett View Post

    I'll never forget a quote from my first judo coach, he had trained with Isao Inokuma (a former all-Japan champion, and trainer of Yasuhiro Yamashita, the most successful judo competitor of all time) - Inokuma had all his athletes lift, and in fact his book shows squats, deadlifts, and presses with barbells. The quote was, simply, "There's no such thing as a weak champion."
    Here is an article by Inokuma that explicitly states the importance of strength and the application of power. It also has a nuanced explanation of the "smaller man with skills meme" Fighting Spirit by Isao Inokuma – Judo Info

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    Where is this article does it address the topic of developing physical strength?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    Where is this article does it address the topic of developing physical strength?
    In the third section titled: "Build Up Your Body and Your Techniques"

    He opens the section with a discussion of the advantages he sees in the more powerful foreign Judoists. He also adds his experience:

    "Because I was small physically, I took up weight training during my boyhood in order to overcome this handicap and strengthen my body. With my new power, and in combination with my favorite technique seoi nage and tai otoshi – I built up my own judo. I believe that a small man like me was able to beat bigger men because I was able to back up my favorite techniques with basic physical power.

    A judoist's strongest and best techniques become his weapons during a contest. Being strong, the more authority in their execution the more effective the result."

  9. #9
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    Great article. It's basically the story of me, training in Krav Maga and eventually training with a partner who is 320 pounds and a former competitive powerlifter and realizing that I simply couldn't do some things to him. I was 160 lbs. Literally half his weight. He has picked me up over his head like I was a child. He has pinned me to the mat HARD. He made me realize I needed to get much stronger. In real life, there are no weight classes. Someone his size and strength could easily attack me on the street.

    I've 174 lbs now with a 330x3 deadlift now and continuing to improve (age 43) weekly. It's definitely helping. Lifted a larger guy than me off the ground from in his guard with little difficulty. When I can double leg the 320 lb guy, I'll know I'm "strong".

  10. #10
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    Dear Mr. Longley,

    Thank you for sharing your experience in combining the pursuit of strength with martial excellence. I enjoyed your article very much.

    Iím still not the strongest in my BJJ/MMA dojo. I have some training partners that are former D-1 football players and high level rugby competitors that are still quite strong and super athletic compared to me. But they are not the ones that give me the most problems on the mats. Itís light guys (145-170 lbs.) that give me (@230) fits with their heel hooks. 😂

    To look at any one of my lighter training partners it would be easy for me to imagine that there is no alternative reality in which I would not be able to smash them to a pulp on the street. And yet their technique, particularly their mastery of leverage and kuzushi, submits me every time. It is humbling and beautiful to experience the effectiveness of that level of martial mastery.

    That written, there is no discounting the value of my having used Ripís techniques for getting stronger. Itís made me more resilient to injury, more difficult to submit and more dominant then I used to be.

    I wish you all the best in your continued journey in BJJ. Itís a form of 3D Chess that rewards a lifetime of study and dedication.

    Francisco

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