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shadowboxing tips

Shadowboxing Tips

When it comes to martial arts, everyone wants to get better at sparring. One of the best ways to do this is to learn some basic shadowboxing tips. Sparring is a learning environment where martial artists try their techniques with a resisting partner. Shadowboxing helps improve a fighter’s timing, range, movement, and more to use during sparring. So, let’s take a look at shadowboxing dos and don’ts.

Shadowboxing Tips

Don’t look or punch down

A common mistake that most beginners make is punching down. It’s typically because most beginners aren’t used to keeping a good, defensive guard. Beginners will punch from their chest or shoulders versus punching from their cheekbone area. Additionally, beginners will often unintentionally punch to chest level because it feels more natural at first. Remember: your punch will usually go where you are looking.

Do look up and punch eye level

A good shadowboxing practice is to keep your chin tucked and look up (chin down, eyes up). Also, always punch to your eye level. Imagine that you are fighting someone of your own height and size. Always keep your punches to head level.

Don’t focus only on offense

Another common mistake beginners make is practicing only offense techniques. This is because in a beginner’s mind they are the ones winning the match every time. Realize that the absolute best strikers in the UFC only land 60-75% of their intended strikes. The average professional striker is at or below 50%. Yes, practice how you want to perform but be aware that a good number of those offensive strikes won’t find their intended target.

Do add defense techniques

This means that a good shadowboxing tip is to add defense to your practice. Imagine your shadowboxing partner is also using offense and you need to block, evade, or redirect their strike. This will make you a better and more well-rounded fighter and sparring partner.

Don’t stand in one place

A stationary object is easy to hit. This is why practicing on heavy bags makes them simple to use… they don’t move. A good sparring partner will move. And if they don’t, hit them.

Do stay light on your feet and move

Practice your strikes the way you want to perform. So, move with intent and purpose and use both offense and defense as you do. Make sure to keep light on your feet when you move and avoid large steps. Large steps and overly excessive movement telegraph your maneuvers making it easier for your opponent or partner to respond and counter. So, stay light on your feet and move.

Don’t punch with t-rex arms

This may seem obvious at first glance but most beginners feel more comfortable keeping their arms close to their body. Unfortunately, when it comes to sparring or fighting, the opposite is often true. Keeping your strikes too close to your body allows your opponent or partner to close the distance. This gives them the advantage to hit the targets they want since they’re in no danger of you reaching them.

Do fully extend your strikes

Practice with your full range of motion. Not every strike has the same reach. So, practice each technique at the full range of motion. Familiarize yourself with how far each strike can effectively reach its intended target. This will give you the upper hand when sparring because you’ll know when a person is in range and when they’re not.

There you have it! Invictus’ shadowboxing tips to help you become a better sparring partner. This is also a great way to gain proficiency when working with pads or working on a heavy bag.

 

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why martial artists wear gis

Why Martial Artists Wear Gis

It’s common for new members to ask us why martial artists wear gis. Even if you’ve never taken a martial arts class, you’ve most likely seen a tv show or movie depicting a room full of people wearing white uniforms and belts punching and kicking. Most people understand that this practice is rooted in tradition, but the purpose of the gi (or uniform) is multifaceted.

The word “gi” is derived from the Japanese term “Keikogi” which means “practice clothing”. Gis can range in color from white to black or even blue. Most students beginning their training will wear a white gi symbolizing purity. Colored gis are typically reserved for students that hold a higher rank or position (ie. instructors) within the gym.

While there are several great reasons to wear a gi during martial arts training, we’re going to take a look at our top 3 reasons martial artists wear gis.

Dress For Success

Let’s face it. Some days are just plain challenging. The car won’t start, you’re late to school/work, you bomb an important presentation, and you can’t seem to catch up much less get ahead…the weight of the world can sit heavier some days and takes a toll on our mood. But, as a martial artist, you have a secret weapon…your gi! Sounds crazy, right? But something kind of magical happens when you shed the clothes you were wearing that day and put on your training gi. It’s almost like a reset of sorts. You get an opportunity to physically remove the worst parts of your day and put on new clothes that make you feel strong, confident, and ready to perform at your best. Couple that with a great martial arts class and you’ll leave feeling energized and ready to tackle the rest of your day.

Get The Most Out Of Your Training

Nothing is worse than being mid-workout and suddenly your shorts start ridding up and your shirt starts sticking to you in ways that limit your movement. No one likes feeling self-conscious while they exercise. It’s hard enough to put yourself out there and commit to making healthier choices. You don’t need the added distraction of uncomfortable workout clothes. A good quality training gi will allow for easy movement for striking, kicking, and grappling. As a martial artist, wearing a training gi keeps your focus on your training rather than on what you (or others in your class) are wearing.

You Belong To A Great Community

Experts agree that when you feel like you belong to a supportive community, your physical and metal health improves. When you put on a gi that showcases your specific academy or gym, you feel like you belong. And when you’re surrounded by other people wearing the same gi it creates a synergistic environment where everyone thrives. Much like team sports like baseball and basketball wear matching uniforms, the same is true for martial artists. While martial arts is largely considered an individual sport, there is still an emphasis on working with partners for sparring and pad drills. Wearing matching gis fosters an environment that encourages teamwork and good partnership within the gym.

Ready to put your gi on and start training in the martial arts? At Invictus, we help you do just that! And it’s easy to GET STARTED.

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Self-Defense Tips To Save Your Life

Self-Defense Tips To Save Your Life

Everyone knows that today more than ever you need self-defense tips to save your life. Because we don’t know when or how it will happen. But we do know this: you are your first line of defense, so training isn’t optional, it’s essential.

Comprehensive studies have shown time and time again that self-defense workshops and education are always beneficial.  In fact, not only does a person’s risk of attack decrease but also a person’s fear and anxiety decrease, and a person’s confidence, sense of self-efficacy, and self-esteem increase (University of Oregon)!

Self-Defense Tips To Save Your Life

Line of attack

Every attack has an angle to it. Regardless of which direction the attack comes from, your first priority is to get out of the direct line of attack. Every weapon and means of attack has a specific range and angle and your number one goal is to avoid that direct line of attack at all costs.

Control

It’s never about the weapon or means of attack but always about the source of the attack. A shovel is a useful tool for yard work and gardening. A bat is a useful tool for baseball. A knife is a useful tool for cooking. But all of these tools have the potential to be harmful in the hands of someone with violent intent. So this means that your second priority is to minimize damage to yourself while putting you in a position to reclaim control over your personal sovereignty and safety.

Control can look like the following:

  • Creating maximal distance between you and the threat
  • Using a strong, powerful voice to stop a threat
  • Leveraging non-violent restraint to minimize damage to you and the threat
  • And more…

Neutralize

Threats must be neutralized. Self-defense situations typically occur when one person believes they have an opportunity cost putting themselves at an unfair advantage. A person needs to apply reasonable force to a threat to bring the situation back into homeostasis. Much like Control, neutralizing the threat can take many forms ranging from range management to non-violent submissions to reasonable but decisive force. Swift action is absolutely key to survival and can be accomplished with regular, consistent practice while increasing the level of pressure with a willing and helpful partner.

Disarm

All things being equal, it is always better to get away from a person with violent intent rather than try to disarm them. There are too many variables in the chaos of protection that can make even the most trained person become a victim of increased violence. That said, not every attack has a weapon to consider but every attacker has the potential to use a weapon. If you decide to attempt to disarm a person with violent intent who is also using a weapon, be prepared to be harmed by the weapon. Your safest plan of action is to simply neutralize the threat and quickly remove yourself from the situation as fast as possible then report what happened to the local authorities.

These self-defense tips to save your life can quickly become your first line of protection. With proper training and consistent practice, you can feel safe and secure every day.

Ready to see what it’s all about? Register for a FREE class today!

why martial arts isn't just for kids

Why Martial Arts Isn’t Just For Kids

Looking for martial arts for your kids? You’re not alone. Parents often chose to enroll their kids in martial arts because of the benefits of developing discipline, focus, and confidence. But did you know that martial arts isn’t just for kids? In fact, even if you’ve never trained in martial arts before, there are several surprising benefits to starting your training as an adult.

De-stress In Style

Any fitness routine is great for relieving stress, but add punching and kicking to that routine and you’ve got a super-powered program to get you feeling strong while you melt away that stress. Martial arts training combines two great benefits: 1. it reduces stress hormones and 2. it stimulates the production of endorphins. So, after a stressful day at work or a tense day at home with the kids, there’s no better feeling than being able to disconnect for a bit while you punch and kick a bag. You’ll leave feeling refreshed and ready to tackle whatever life throws your way.

Kick Those Unhealthy Habits

Even though parents tend to enroll their kids in the martial arts for the discipline and self-control, adults can also benefit from developing these character traits. We’ve heard time and time again how adults who start training in the martial arts are finally motivated to adopt a healthier diet and even quit smoking or drinking. The expectation to train multiple times per week in the pursuit of the next belt rank keeps adults accountable and on track to achieving their fitness goals.

Strengthen Your Mind

Training in the martial arts is both physically and mentally challenging. Whether it’s strengthening your body to punch faster, kick harder, or perform more reps of a physical exercise like push-ups, training in the martial arts challenges your mind to overcome temporary physical discomfort in the pursuit of self-improvement. There’s also a focus on problem solving under pressure, especially during sparring. Developing a strong mind, even under adrenaline stress, is a skill that directly translates into any career setting.

Improve Balance & Coordination

As we get older, our ability to balance slowly declines. The more we focus on exercises that target our stabilizer muscles and joint stability, the more we can maintain and even improve our balance and coordination. Martial arts styles like kickboxing and Muay Thai that focus on kicking while balancing on one leg, help adults learn to control their bodies and improve their balance as they strengthen their muscles. Additionally, most of our stability comes from a strong core. The majority of techniques in martial arts directly impact the core. This isn’t just limited to the abdominal muscles but also includes the lats, gluten, and lumbo pelvic hip complex.

Love Your Body Better

So many adults begin an exercise program with the goal of loosing weight and feeling better in their bodies. The typical standard here is that if they look better, they will feel better. The challenge is that it takes consistent training and time to achieve results that are visible when it comes to physical transformation. People will often get impatient with their perceived lack of progress and give up their fitness goals before they have a chance to benefit from their efforts.

Training in the martial arts helps shift the focus from what our bodies look like towards what our bodies are capable of doing. Of course, as we build strength in our bodies, we start to feel better and after a few months we start to see the results, too.

Ready to start training in the martial arts as an adult? At Invictus, we help you do just that! And it’s easy to GET STARTED.

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fitness tips or fitness myths

Fitness Tips Or Fitness Myths?

There’s no shortage of fitness tips out there. Don’t believe me? Just scroll through social media. It’s common for well-meaning people to innocently spread misinformation when it comes to fitness. While it may seem harmless, buying in to false fitness tips can lead to physical burnout or even injury. So, how do we avoid falling for fitness myths?

We’re debunking three of the most popular fitness myths to keep you focused and well-informed as you work towards your fitness goals.

1. “No pain, no gain”

When it comes to fitness, ever hear the phrase “no pain, no gain”?  This phrase is commonly used to push an athlete harder during their workout. Don’t get us wrong, challenging yourself occasionally is a great thing! But, doing it too often can lead to potential soft-tissue injuries and even set you back when it comes to making progress towards your fitness goals. In fact, training too hard can make it more difficult for your muscles to recover properly. It can also effect your mood, your sleep cycle, and even hinder your immune system. The best approach is to slowly increase the intensity of your training, rather than over-doing it all at once.

2. “Fasting before your workout helps you loose weight faster”

The idea of doing fasted cardio, or exercising on an empty stomach, is that you’ll burn more fat because your body is using stored fat as energy instead of glucose.

While you may initially burn more calories by doing fasted cardio, at the end of the day, it doesn’t make a huge difference. This is because weight loss really comes down to your total daily caloric intake. If your goal is to lose weight, being in a caloric deficit is far more important than whether you exercise fasted or not. In fact, research has shown that there is no significant difference in weight loss between those who fasted before their cardio workout and those who did not.

The best bet is to listen to your body. If you discover you feel better when you exercise on an empty stomach and are in good health, there’s nothing wrong with doing fasted cardio. However, you may find that fueling up before some types of training, like strength training, is a better option to prevent you from experiencing fatigue during your workout. Always check with your primary care physician first, especially if you’re pregnant, have diabetes, high blood pressure, or other underlying medical issues.

3.” If you’re sore, then you had a good workout”

A common misconception is that being sore after a workout means you had a good training session. Typically, when we experience muscle soreness, it’s because we’ve tried a new exercise or pushed ourselves harder than normal during a workout. This type of soreness is called delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS. DOMS leaves our muscles inflamed, tender, and tight. This discomfort typically lasts 24 to 48 hours after your workout. While DOMS can generally resolve on its own, using a foam roller can aid in faster recovery.

So, what’s the best way to gauge if you had a good workout? Experts agree that evaluating your performance during your workout sessions is a much better indicator. So, if you’re able to lift more or do more reps during your next workout session, you’re on the right track. Even better, as you adapt to a workout routine, the soreness you experience will lessen which will keep you on track with your training and progress.

Ready to bust the fitness myths and start training smarter? At Invictus, we help you do just that! And it’s easy to GET STARTED.

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feel stronger through stretching

Stretch Yourself Strong

A common desire for most martial artists is to increase their strength and performance. Many martial artists incorporate strength and conditioning exercises in their training sessions. But did you know that you can feel stronger through stretching? It’s true! You can actually stretch yourself strong.

You’ve undoubtedly heard how important it is to stretch. When we stretch consistently, we maintain our mobility and overall strength. Here are a few ways stretching makes us stronger:

  • Joints: stronger joints yield improved range of motion
  • Ligaments: stronger ligaments increase stability
  • Muscles: stronger muscles help us with better balance
  • Body: stronger bodies help lower our risk of injury

There are three basic ways to feel stronger through stretching: dynamic, static, and assisted stretching.

Dynamic Stretching

Dynamic stretching uses controlled movements that prepare your muscles, ligaments and other soft tissues for performance and injury prevention. This type of stretching improves speed, agility, and acceleration of movement. As such, dynamic stretches are ideal for pre-workout warm-up. Examples of dynamic stretches include arm circles to help with shoulder mobility and straight leg swings to help with hamstring muscles.

Static Stretching

One of the most popular and familiar types of stretching, static stretching involves stretching a muscle as far as it can go without feeling pain and hold it for 20 to 45 seconds. This type of stretching is great for increasing flexibility. As such, static stretches are ideal for cooling down after a training session. An example of static stretching includes reaching to touch your toes from a standing of seated position.

Assisted Stretching

Also called partner stretching, assisted stretching allows your body to move in ways that it is not able to when stretching alone. This type of stretching can help reduce muscle tightness, increase flexibility, and improve our range of motion. While you can achieve some of these benefits with the help of a trusted friend or exercise partner, it is recommended to seek the help of a trained professional for maximum results.

So, how does any of this improve our performance and make us stronger martial artists? For one, as your flexibility improves, you lower your risk of injury. Additionally, the more flexible you become, the better you will move. Your muscles will work together more efficiently and your techniques will become more effective.

Ready to start experiencing the benefits of incorporating more stretching into your martial artists training? At Invictus, we help you do just that! And it’s easy to GET STARTED.

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Martial Arts For Teens

Benefits Of Martial Arts For Teens

Teens today face so many unique challenges. From bullying and stress to anxiety and depression, as a parent, it’s difficult to know how to help. Now more than ever, it’s so important to ensure our teens are surrounded by a positive and supportive community to keep them on the right track.

Martial arts programs have long been praised for their many benefits among people of all ages, such as improved focus, discipline, and confidence. Unfortunately, most traditional martial arts programs are more geared towards serving younger children, leaving older teens feeling left out and under-served.

After over a decade of developing and leading martial arts programs, we understand the need for a comprehensive mixed martial arts program designed to get teens moving, connecting with other like-minded individuals, and having fun…OFF their device of choice.

We’ve put together a quick list of benefits of MMA training for teens to get you started:

Physical Fitness & Strength

If given the choice, many teens would much rather sit in front of a device all day than even think about doing any kind of physical fitness training. This can make motivating them to get involved in school sports that involve early mornings and long practice sessions multiple times per week.  Most of our teens train in MMA two to three times per week…because they LOVE it! There’s something about getting to punch and kick a bag or pads that doesn’t feel like working out and is just plain fun. Plus, it builds both mental and physical strength which helps combat any negative self-talk they may be dealing with as a result of bullying.

Self-Esteem

So many teens struggle with a lack of self-confidence due to their lack of maturity and perspective. On top of that, bullying and cyberbullying are still a major problem in many of our middle and high schools. Rather than focusing on all the ways they “fall short”, training in MMA gives them a place where they can focus on all the ways they excel. With opportunities to earn new belt ranks and learn new and challenging techniques, MMA training will have your teen feeling motivated and proud of themselves and their accomplishments.

Motivation & Work Ethic

One of the most challenging things about raising a teen can sometimes be just keeping them motivated. As they inch closer to adulthood, parents begin to worry about their future success when it comes to higher education and even careers. Martial arts training teaching the importance of committing to a goal and following through. Experienced martial arts trainers and coaches will know how to hold teens accountable for their class attendance and weekly practice time. This helps them build a strong work ethic which will serve them tremendously in their future.

Self-Respect

While the focus is typically on how they are being treated by others, it’s important for teens to understand that having self-respect will help other to see and treat them with dignity and worth. Having a healthy level of self-respect will enable them to have the confidence to set firm boundaries that align with their values. Martial arts training consistently reemphasizes the concept of respecting themselves as well as respecting others. Teens quickly learn that when they demonstrate good respect towards others, they are deserving of being treated with respect in return. Understanding this, they are much less willing to settle for anything less when interacting with their peers at school or other social situations.

A Sense Of Community

With anxiety and depression being so prevalent among teens, it’s so important to make sure they have a supportive community they can rely on. Martial arts communities are some of the tightest-knit groups of kids, teens, and adults. It feels amazing to see teens surrounded by people with common interests and goals that will support them on their good days and bad. It’s easy for them to make awesome friends that they actually enjoy hanging out with. It’s no wonder so many parents choose martial arts training for their teens!

 

Ready to start seeing your teen benefit form martial artists training? At Invictus, we help you do just that! And it’s easy to GET STARTED.

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Get Moving With Martial Arts

Get Moving With Martial Arts

According to the CDC, a staggering 25% of U.S. adults are considered physically inactive. The health repercussions of not getting enough physical activity can be severe: obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even cancer. Of course, the benefits of physical activity are numerous including a decreased risk of chronic disease, improved mental health, and better sleep to name a few. Bottom line, as adults, we need to get moving.

There are several reasons adults don’t exercise. The most cited reason is a lack of time. Also noted are a lack of support or lack of desirable options. Let’s face it, the idea of spending half an hour on a treadmill isn’t exactly inspirational.

So, what can adults do to get moving that’s fast, effective, and includes a positive and supportive community?

Martial arts training is an ideal solution. Surprisingly, only 5% of adults have ever trained in a martial arts discipline. With so many benefits, we want to do our part to share our passion for mixed martial arts training and grow that number.

There are a variety of physical, social, and emotional benefits to training in martial arts. Need to loose weight? Want to feel stronger? Could you use a confidence boost? Is a lack of accountability crippling your progress? Regardless of what your fitness goals are, you can completely transform your life with martial arts training. We’ll show you how!

Get Moving With Martial Arts

 

Ready to become part of the 5% of adults that consider themselves martial artists? It’s time to get moving and start getting the results you deserve. At Invictus, we help you do just that! And it’s easy to GET STARTED.

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Make Any Workout More Effective

Make Your Workouts More Effective

We’ve all been there. We start out with the best intensions, come up with a goal, and a plan, and commit to getting in better shape. But then something happens. We get injured. We don’t see the results we expected. We get discouraged. Sometimes, we even quit.

So, how do you make sure to stay on track with your fitness goals?

We’ve come up with some simple tips to make your workout more effective, maximize your results, and minimize your chances of injury.

Always make sure you warm up first. According to Mayo Clinic, a warm-up should last around 5 minutes. Warming up helps prepare your body for aerobic activity and lowers your risk of injury.

Fueling your body before a workout is just as important. Protein is one of the most important nutrients. The recommended dietary allowance is 56 grams per day for men and 46 grams per day for women. While this may sound like a lot, and you may not be a fan of protein shakes or bars, there are several foods that are excellent sources of protein.

Some examples include:

  • 1/2 salmon fillet – 30g
  • half a chicken breast – 26g
  • 3 ounces of lean beef – 25g
  • 7 ounces of greek yogurt – 20g
  • 2 eggs – 12g
  • 2 ounces of almonds – 12g
  • 1/2 cup of lentils – 9g
  • 1 cup quinoa – 8g

Above all, always listen to your body while exercising. Pace yourself and be patient. You will continue to get stronger and more resilient over time. Prioritize cooling down after you workout. A cool down activity can take as little as 5 to 10 minutes. Walking, yoga, or static stretching are great options. This will speed up your muscle recovery and reduce soreness.

Check out the graphic below for more great tips.

Make Your Workout More Effective

Ready to put these tips into practice and start getting the results you deserve? At Invictus, we help you do just that! And it’s easy to GET STARTED.

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Top 5 Reasons Parents Love Martial Arts

Top 5 Reasons Parents Love Martial Arts

There is no shortage of benefits when it comes to training in the martial arts. But, as a concerned parent, you want to be confident in selecting a program that will be most beneficial to your child. Allow us to grant you the gift of going second.

We hear all the time how much parents love martial arts and we’re excited to share what they have experienced!

Here are the top 5 reasons parents LOVE the martial arts for their families:

1. It Keeps Kids Active

It’s easy to see that martial arts is great exercise and, unlike less engaging workouts, the process of training in martial arts is more exciting and fun for kids of all ages. We hear time and time again, “I never thought I’d get my kid off the couch and willingly attending a fitness class…but they LOVE martial arts!” That’s because every class is different and progress is easily measurable. Students love being able to learn new techniques and earn new belt ranks as they improve over time. Being able to consistently celebrate their progress keeps them engaged and excited to come to class keeping them active and fit.

2. It Teaches Discipline

Parents often notice the immediate focus on practicing good discipline habits during martial arts classes. From requiring students to use respectful responses like “yes, sir” or “yes, ma’am” when addressing their instructors and peers to practicing the martial bow, the importance of demonstrating good discipline during class is hard to miss. Perhaps even more important, an emphasis on self-control and self-discipline is also evident. Students learn to move on command, manage their emotions, and control their power when working with their peers.

3. It Teaches Confidence

Martial arts sets kids up for success by giving them a series of short-term goals that they can attain quickly while keeping them focused on the long-term goal of black belt. As parents, it’s so encouraging to see them develop stronger voices, carry themselves with more pride, and become advocates for themselves as they grow as martial artists. Through the course of their training, their confidence improves and they learn to believe that, with hard work and commitment, they can accomplish great things.

4. It Helps Them Avoid Dangerous Situations

Unfortunatly, parents today are no strangers to the idea that violence is a part of life. From bullying to child abduction, and even sex trafficking, keeping our kids safe is a major concern. One of the most important things martial arts teaches kids is how to be more aware of their surroundings and how to avoid putting themselves in potentially vulnerable situations. Clearly, the best way to avoid being a victim of violence is to not be there in the first place! Having said that, as responsible martial arts instructors, we also equip our students to be prepared to protect themselves from tricky people, if avoiding the situation is no longer an option. A solid martial arts program includes comprehensive self-protection training giving students the confidence they need to feel safe in everyday life.

5. It Creates Community

We’ve all heard that it takes a village to raise a child and any parent who’s ever struggled to find their tribe knows how true this can be. As parents, it feels great to see your kid quickly making friends during class. What is often unexpected is how quickly parents will befriend other parents within the academy community. Pretty soon, everyone is just as invested in seeing your kid succeed as you are. Imagine being part of a community of instructors, parents, and like-minded kids dedicated to helping your child become the best versions of themselves. It’s more than a village. It’s family.

Ready to see why so many parents chose Invictus Martial Arts for their families? We make it easy to GET STARTED.

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CONTACT


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