Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Back to some standup work

Back after a long holiday weekend, time to work off the feast. We had another mid-day workout on Monday. More focus on some the groundwork basics. We had to leave out some of the drills that we did last week due to Tony’s new tattoo, he got it on his shoulder and upper arm which prevented us from any work that might involve friction or grabbing those areas.

Roll Call: Tony

3 rounds – 10 pull-ups, 10 ring push-ups, hip stretch, 10 GHD sit-ups, 10 back (hip) extensions

Matt work (2min/1min each)
  • Knee running (forward, back then side to side)
  • Sit-out (from quarter position – alternating legs)
  • From knees to butterfly guard and back to knees – alternating sides
Defense Circuit 2min/30sec (2 circuits – 1 circuit each lead)
  • Maize ball
  • Rope line
Circuit 3min/1min (2 circuits – 1 circuit each lead)
  • Top and Bottom Bag
  • Speed bag
Heavy Bag 3min/1min
  • Left lead distance work (jabs, crosses and longer hooks)
  • Right lead distance work (jabs, crosses and longer hooks)
  • Inside work (hooks, uppercuts, crosses, etc)
Finisher (3 circuits)
  • 75lb barbell clean 45sec
  • 30 sec rest
  • Punch out on Heavy bag 35 sec
  • 20 sec rest
Again we had to work around some limitations, Tony's shoulder and my foot, but we still got a great workout and some good quality work done. It was a relief to me to be able to do some actual work on the bags again even though I still have to watch how hard I'm pushing off my right foot (jumprope and some footwork drills are still out). Standup work definitely felt a bit awkward after so much time off.
Keep moving and stay healthy.

Monday, November 23, 2009


I haven’t posted here in awhile since the past 4 weeks have been a bit tough. About 6 weeks ago I developed severe Plantar Fasciitis in my right foot, pushing off from my right foot was very painful making footwork, punching the bag or mitts and even walking out of the question for a while.
After an injection in my heel about 4 weeks ago and now taking a course of prednisone it is finally calming down to where I’m not so limited in my training. But, I’m still trying to limit any push off with my right foot so it can heal and I can train the way I want to. It has been a challenge to keep training but I’ve kept up with the things I can do and focused on them.
Due to my foot problems I changed the usual focus of our workouts today to concentrate on some wrestling fundamentals. We pulled out the matt’s and below is what we did. Hope you like it.
Roll Call:
Tony and Mike
3 rounds – 10 pull-ups, 3 ring dips, hip stretch, 10 GHD sit-ups, 10 back (hip) extensions
Matt work (2min/1min each)
  • Knee running (forward, back then side to side)
  • Sit-out (from quarter position – alternating legs)
  • From knees to butterfly guard and back to knees – alternating sides
  • Mount escape across matt (hip slide out) – 2 rounds
Basic Pummeling (2 minute rounds - over and under hook – rest round on speed bag)
  • 2 Round Robin circuits
Defense Circuit 2min/30sec (2 circuits – 1 circuit each lead)
  • Maize ball
  • Rope line
  • Shadow Boxing hands
Finisher (3 circuits of 45sec rounds no rest)
  • 20lb squat clean (with medicine ball)
  • Pushup crawl across gym
  • Push out with rings (like ab wheel but with rings)
  • Rope climb (from sitting, feet out, to standing)
Closing thoughts
Injuries can happen any time and frequently they happen when you are most motivated. When they happen it’s not a time to stop training but to change your training. Injuries can prevent you from training how you like to but we all need to strive to adapt when they happen. Frequently injuries allow us to focus on our weak areas, right now for me that means ground work. In the past I’ve had other injuries that have forced me to change my training.
One injury in particular was breaking my right hand in practice on the punching bag (I wish I could dress it up and say it was in the ring but it wasn’t). After getting the bone set and a cast put on I kept up training one handed – heavy bag, speed bag, mitt work, and even limited sparing. The same thing happened a number of years later except instead of a fracture I blew out a disc in my neck and couldn’t use my right arm for about 6 months. Again I did what I could, that time focusing on my left arm and kicking skills.
The lesson is to keep working, sure you can’t do the things the same when you are injured but if you think and work at it you can find things you can do a be more rounded when you have recovered from you injury.Keep moving and stay healthy – and if you have an injury find a way to move and to help yourself to get healthy.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Mixed training

Great training Saturday with Rick. We mixed it up a bit with boxing, kickboxing a bit of stick fighting work. Also had a visit from Brad, who we hope will come train within the next few weeks (he's got a good background in ground work - we'll finally be pulling out the matts).

Warmup: 3 min jumprope
Defense Circuit: 2min/30sec rounds
  • Maize bag - 1 round each lead
  • Slip line - 1 round each lead

Shadow Boxing: 3min/1min

  • 1 round each lead

Mitt work: 3min/1min. We switched each round and cycled through to work each lead.

  • combination: lead roundhouse low - cross-hook-cross - lead roundhouse
  • offense defense: jab-cross - Feeder throws lead hook high - bob and weave under and return cross-hook-cross

Single Stick work: no formal rounds just worked the drills

  • long range 1-4-2 angles
  • mid range pattern
  • bridge range between mid and close quarter
  • work on breaking in and out of these 3 ranges

That was it, we did get a few stares from neighboors especially with the stick drills. Next Saturday we'll add some Greco Roman pummeling drills and some Silat leg sweep drills to the mix. During the week I'm going to start working some drills from Scott Sonnon's Grapplers Toolbox to prepare myself for adding ground work back in.

Friday, September 18, 2009


Wow, has it really been over 2 weeks since I've posted? Just finished cleaning a straightening my workout area for some new people to train with Saturday morning and really looking forward to meeting some new people interested in training.

I made a club bell after my last post and currently it weighs about 9 lbs (thats without the insert in the video). I've been doing some basic drills with it and like it. In addition I've been training wall climbing for the UrbanAthlon at a nearby park (they have a wall built that I can put my rope over as well as tires to practice that section of the course).

For one workout I did:
  • warmup run around 3 soccer fields
  • 10 wall climbs
  • 10 times through the tires

About a 25 minute workout but it left me sore and tired the next day (as well as busting up my shin getting over the 8-9 foot wall).

Monday, September 7, 2009

Homemade Clubbell

I'm going to put one of these together this week to try out some of the exercises that Scott Sonnon uses. Looks pretty easy to make so I'll update you on how it goes.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Back Again

It's been a busy summer but I'm still in action here, even though I haven’t posted in quite a while. First a little update on my 30 day challenge:

Below are my starting stats:
  • Weight 165lbs
  • Waist at belly button 36”
  • Snatch test 55
  • Pull-ups 9
  • Push-ups 25
My ending stats were:
  • Weight 163lbs
  • Waist at belly buttom 34"
  • Snatch test 65
  • Pull-ups 12
  • Push-ups 30
My next goal is the http://www.menshealthurbanathlon.com/

I have some new inspiration due to attending a seminar with the legendary Dan Inosanto last weekend, as usual it was a mental overload (in addition to it being a hard workouot, I'm still sore from it). He covered Indonesian Silat, Filipino stick and knife and JKD concepts. It's been probably 10 to 15 years since I've been to one of his seminars and I'm still amazed by how much knowledge one person can have. It's also amazing to see what a trained fighter/martial artist can do at 73 years of age - I also think of when I first met him and he was around my age now and his ability and conditioning then far surpasses mine now so now its time to knuckle down and get the work done.

Monday, June 29, 2009

More Maize Bag

There are many designs for maize bags, just like for heavy bags.

Most people opt for a Maize Bag similar to the following video on FightChannel since this is what Mike Tyson was seen using and we all know how good he was in his prime for dodging punches and nailing his opponents.

This is a popular form of the Maize Bag and has great advantages since it’s easy and cheap to make (I used one on vacation made from a sandwich bag, some string and sand I got from the beach).

Another, less commonly seen, Maize Bag is the Traditional Heavy Maize Bag https://www.otiumlifestyle.com/shop/new_catalogue.php?departmentID=21&categoryID=91&catID=595
This bag weighs 66 pounds and has an 18” diameter and is 22” high (or long). Pretty close in dimensions to Reyes Wrecking Ball bag and Title’s Body Snatcher Bag. This is much different than the maize bags most of us see, which are much smaller and lighter. The advantages of this bag are that you have to really move to get out of its way (it’s bigger) and you can really hit it (most heavy bags are 75 to 100 pounds so this is pretty close) most maize bags are light enough that hitting them just sends them bouncing off the ceiling. Video of the Heavy Maize bag:

In the US the most commonly available Maize bags are from Title Boxing http://store.titleboxing.com/everlast-slip-ball.html (5”x 8”) and Ringside Boxing (an Everlast Bag) http://www.ringside.com/prodinfo.asp?number=MBW
Both these bags are the size of an extra small speed bag and weigh only a pound or so.

Regardless of the bag you use (and all are good) there are a few other variables to consider: Bag position and Length of the Chain or Cord.

Bag Position: some, like me, prefer the bag at a low position about chin or shoulder height while others prefer a higher position at nose or forehead height. Neither is right or wrong as long as you learn to slip and evade punches. Most fighters aim at the bridge of the nose but I like the safety margin of placing the bag lower (just in case).

Length of the Chain or Cord: this determines how fast the bag swings, the longer the chain the slower the swing and the shorter the chain the faster the swing. In my training I like to vary the height that I hang my bag from (10 feet down to 8 feet and sometimes in a doorway – each gives a different feel and speed). Below you can see training off a speed bag mount

I think I’m going to try hanging my 20 pound medicine ball from my 10 foot ceiling for a change of pace and I’ll put up video soon on that.

Get or make a maize bag and have some fun maizing, it’ll make you a better fighter.

(Please post any comments, suggestions or questions to "Comments" below)

Monday, June 8, 2009

This year has been a tough one for me and probably most of you reading this. I’ve had many friends lose their jobs or forced to take lower pay for the job that they are doing. At the start of the year my clinic was in trouble, I thought I even might be forced to close and go work for someone else to make ends meet.

Due to all this stress I’d virtually stopped working out. I’m always motivated by the people I work out with…but…they weren’t coming any more because of financial and time problems (the same problems most of us are all facing). I was “in a hole” and knew I had to “Get myself back in the Game”.

I hate feeling I’m out of shape and now I am so… so I’m doing a 30 day health/fitness challenge and I’m using it as an example of what you can do for yourself following this basic format. Its pretty bare bones but that’s the point. I want it to be simple so anyone can do it. Getting back in shape doesn’t need to require much time you just need to do something active that you like doing – and keep doing it.

Walking, jogging, playing tag with your kids (this can be pretty tough), Wii Fit (it may not get you outside but it gets you moving and it includes some objective measures so you can see your progress).

What you DON’T need:
  • A gym membership
  • A fancy home gym or full set of weights
  • Spending hours a day busting your butt

If you have the time and money for these things then great but if you don’t then you needn’t worry. You can make great strides in a short time with minimal or no equipment.

What you DO need:
  • A living breathing body (yours)
  • A desire to feel better
  • About 30 minutes a day to get up and do something

A Guide for the 30 day challenge:
  • Find an activity you like doing AND DO IT 5-6 days a week (or you can mix up some different activities).
  • DO IT for ½ hour a day. Some of you may need to work up to this, that’s not a problem, just start with what you can do and keep it up. If you’re unable to do 30 minutes start with 5 and work up week to week. You will actually make much more progress in 30 days than those who find 30 minutes of activity easy, and you’re measurements will prove it.
  • Diet: focus on whole foods especially fruits and vegetables (at least a serving every meal). I’ll go into more detail week to week over the next 30 days with tips and tricks to help you reach your goals and be healthier.

To really make the most of this 30 day challenge you need to do 2 additional things (Set Goals and Measure them).
  • Set some concrete goals (these need to be measurable like: how fast you can cover a set distance, max pushups or other exercise or even just fitting into a pair of pants that you want to wear).
  • Make measurements, before and after so you can see how much progress you’ve made. Without some way to measure how far you’ve come it’s easy to get bored or discouraged
If you need some help with goals or how to measure them feel free to email me at meehantp@netzero.net just be sure to include “30 Day Challenge” in the Subject portion of your email.

I encourage all of you to post your goals, thoughts or comments under comments below.

My goals:
  • Lower my body fat – I can’t find my calipers so I’m using abdominal girth measured around the waist at the belly button.
  • Increased work capacity – I’m using the 5 minute Kettlebell snatch test for this and total snatches as my measure.
For the diehards – I’m not using an official snatch test, I’m using a 16kg kettlebell and switching hands every 10 snatches (the official test uses a 24kb kettlebell with only 1 hand switch). I have never done a 5 minute snatch test before and won’t be training specifically for it but it’s still a good measure.
  • Max Pull-ups and Max Push-ups.

In addition I am taking pictures and body weight measurements (I won't show you the pictures until this whole thing is done. My non-measurable goals are to get to where I feel comfortable in the ring again.

I started back last week with kettlebell and boxing training and I want you to see what you can accomplish in just one month of training. On June 1st I took measurements filmed my efforts and took pictures of myself.

Below are my starting stats:

  • Weight 165lbs
  • Waist at belly button 36”
  • Snatch test 55
  • Pull-ups 9
  • Push-ups 25

I’ll have video up soon, can’t find the charger for my camera so I can’t put up the video I have of my start until then.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Still in action

Our recent workouts have been a bit sporadic and mainly focused on mitt training (due to issues with the heavy bags – both are back up now). As the weather finally gets warmer we’ll be adding in some training with tires and farmer carries (we’ll be using 5 gallon water bottles filled with sand). We have been sticking to basic boxing training and focusing on technique issues (elbows in while punching, keeping hand up during combinations, etc.).

New instructional videos will be up soon, weather permitting (I have to rely on natural light).

Our last workout was as follows:

2x3min jump-rope (last 30sec double unders)
2 rounds – 10 pull-ups, 3 ring dips, hip stretch, 10 overhead squats w/PVC pipe, 10 GHD sit-ups, 10 back (hip) extensions

Defense Circuit 2min/30sec (2 circuits)
Maize ball
Slip line

Offense Circuit 3min/1min (3 circuits)
Heavy Bag hands
Speed bag

4 rounds (3min/1min)
We started with quick straight punches (hit as soon as you see the pad) and moved to hooks and defense. Defense work mainly consisted of maintaining cover after punches and then progressed to covers followed by punches. We are working a lot on sharpening hook and body punches (staying balanced, relaxed and covered up).

3 sets of ten Ring push outs
Single ring set at waist level, 2 hands on top of ring, arms fully extended. Push out till your arms are overhead and pull back to start position. This is basically the same as a wheel push out.

(Post comments, suggestions or questions to "Comments" below.)

Friday, February 27, 2009


Just in case you are wondering: we are still here working every week even though I haven't posted for a while.

I had hoped to have some new videos up but my heavy bag mount snapped of the ceiling yet again a few weeks ago. Since this is at least the third time in the past year that it has come down (no injuries this time or in the past) I decided to do some research on the subject (never having had this problem before). It's been very aggravating not having a bag up since it has limited my solo training to the shadow boxing, slip line and maize bag. Training others I've concentrated on the focus mitt's and thai pads, which has been a lot of fun.

Tomorrow, Satuday, I'm getting the bags back up. As a result of my research I've decided to hang the heavier bag using the mount pictured above with some additions. The first is attaching a heavy spring to absorb shock, something I've meant to do in the past. The second is to use a 3 foot 2X4 attached to 3 ceiling joists and attaching the mount to that to distribut the weight and shock. I haven't really had any problems with the lighter bag but I'm adding a lighter spring to the heavy eye bolt in the ceiling.

Check back later this coming week for some new videos.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Boxing Day (not the British Holiday)

For our first day of training in the New Year we focused on basic boxing technique using a modified Boxers Workout format.
Roll Call: Tony

  • 2x3min jump-rope (last 30sec double unders)
  • 2 rounds – 10 pull-ups, 3 ring dips, hip stretch, 10 GHD sit-ups, 10 back extensions, 10 Overhead squats with PVC pipe
(I continue to like the official Crossfit warm-up since it pretty much uses all the major muscle groups to get everything ready for action.)

Defense Circuit 3min/1min (2 circuits)
  • Maize ball
  • Rope line
  • Shadow Boxing
We focused on low line counter punching (I got a new body shield for Christmas and just had to use it). We each did 2 rounds (3min/1min), first round focusing on countering the jab with an inside slip and low jab back (should be simultaneous), the second round we focused on jab cross defense with a jab catch followed by an outside slip and lead body hook. We did include other punching, as well as combinations, in these drills to keep it interesting but focused on the two drills mentioned above.

Heavy Bag/Speed Bag circuit
3 circuits alternating heavy bag and speed bag with 3min/1min rounds

Heavy Bag rounds
  • Round 1 Jabs and outside punches focusing on speed and accuracy.
  • Round 2 Outside combinations, mix of power/speed/accuracy (Jabs, Jab cross, Jab Cross Hook etc.
  • Round 3 Inside fighting power focus, primarily hooks and uppercuts.
That was it for our first day of training in the New Year, hope you like it (I know we did).

Alert: Look for new videos coming soon on using the Heavy Bag. I finally got a new, dependable, camera for Christmas and have a lot of videos lined up to shoot and post up here (I’m aiming for 1 a week and I have 9 set to go) so stay tuned.

(Post comments, suggestions or questions to “Comments” below)

Friday, January 2, 2009

Basic Boxing Workout

It a new year and I though I'd show you another basic boxing workout. You’ll notice the similarities to the other two that I’ve posted, basic boxing or wrestling workouts always follow a standard format though everyone has tweaks that they add to focus on different areas, and this is because this format has proven itself time and again. This workout comes from Brian Petty, RKC http://extonkettlebells.com/brianpetty.aspx . Brian and I used to train together back in college and continued to until I left the East Coast to move out to Illinois in 1999 to pursue a Doctorate in Chiropractic (which I earned in 2002 - I continue to run my office in Plainfield and train).

Brian currently runs Exton Kettlebells (in Exton, PA). http://extonkettlebells.com/default.aspx If you are looking for a trainer and live near there I recommend that you check him out.

Brian’s current focus is on bare knuckle boxing for self defense and conditioning.

The basic workout is as follows:
Goal is 3min work/1min rest each round (you may need to work up to that).
  • 3 rounds shadow boxing
  • 3 rounds jump rope
  • 3 rounds speed bag
  • 3 rounds mitts
  • 3 rounds heavy bag

If you have anything left in you the workout follows with a bodyweight workout focusing on various pushups and sit-ups using a ladder format.

For more details (what to focus on in each round) refer to http://extonkettlebells.com/osboxing.aspx about 2/3 the way down the page.

(Please post comments, suggestions or questions to Comments below)