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Chiropteran_vir

Muscularity and martial arts

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It depends. They might be ripped, they might be skilled, but I can out lift most of my coaches. Nonetheless, they'd all kick my ass.

Ripped =/= strong but = low body fat on top of muscle.

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I've noticed a strong tendency when it comes to martial arts for people to consider anything different as a devaluation of what they're doing.

 

I've noticed before that if I say I like Ninjutsu because of a heavy emphasis on weapons training, that some will immediately jump to defend their art. "Well Muay Thai you don't have to have a weapon" ect. It may be part of the carry-over I tend to see of people deciding that the training they are doing must be "The best." 

 

It kind of feels like, that if I feel that strength training is beneficial that sometimes it's taken as a slight to the hours put in people honing another skill. "I didn't lift weights but I worked kicking or punching or sparring" ect. Or in some cases the "my instructor doesn't lift weights and can kick your ass" mindset.

 

I'm probably over thinking it here.

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I think you are kind of right.  My MMA gym has a "meh" attitude.  Some of the fighters lift, some crossfit, they all train hard.  I think it's b/c the guy who owns our gym does all of it so people feel really comfortable.  If I said "Brad, man, I want to add to my dead lift", I'm confident he'd say "right on" just like he would if I said I want to be better at leg kicks.  But that's him. 

 

I think people devalue whatever they don't do.  You know?

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Wow guys im so glad all of you participated in this thread! Thank you all! Sorry, for not responding quicker, i couldn't get into my account, sadly. But , Im so glad all of helped my on this topic, i honestly feel like my knowledge in this went from 0 to 100. Trust and believe guys im taking all this knowledge!

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Yeah,  I think the reason it frustrates me is when someone who is underweight or just not very strong is told "strength doesn't matter." I can see the frustration in smaller students when someone newer but bigger comes in, and can seemingly do techniques easier than they can. If they're never told the advantages of strength, they'll just think that they're bad learners or just can't get it, when size really does matter.

 

I've seen smaller martial artists use superior skill and technique to out do bigger stronger people, but they were not beginners.

 

I'm never going to have my students strength train exclusively before learning technique, but those that take the time to build strength always outclass those that don't. Simply because they can practice harder, and for longer because having moved so much more weight made everything else feel lighter and easier. 

 

Yeah, I was never a strong guy. I usually did outwork my opponents and sparring partners though because of higher work capacity, specificity in training, and just a hard head. Sometimes teaching your muscles to to fire the maximum amount of neurons at a time exhausts them faster. Like those Heavyweights and all their Type IIb fast-twitch muscle fibers who gas out on the first round. Then you have guys like Demetrious Johnson (who trains with conditioning specialist Joel Jamieson) who can attack at the same pace forever.

 

My side with the whole strength debate is one of a slightly-traditional martial art instructor's: if both guys of equal genetics have 10 years to train in the exact same amount at the exact same intensity, and one guy strength trains for 5 years then trains in Muay Thai for 5 years while the other trains in Muay Thai for 10 years, you can pretty much predict with fairly good accuracy who is going to win if they fought in a Muay Thai match. Of course, not everyone is set on being a Muay Thai fighter. So again, priorities.

 

I've noticed a strong tendency when it comes to martial arts for people to consider anything different as a devaluation of what they're doing.

 

I've noticed before that if I say I like Ninjutsu because of a heavy emphasis on weapons training, that some will immediately jump to defend their art. "Well Muay Thai you don't have to have a weapon" ect. It may be part of the carry-over I tend to see of people deciding that the training they are doing must be "The best." 

 

It kind of feels like, that if I feel that strength training is beneficial that sometimes it's taken as a slight to the hours put in people honing another skill. "I didn't lift weights but I worked kicking or punching or sparring" ect. Or in some cases the "my instructor doesn't lift weights and can kick your ass" mindset.

 

I'm probably over thinking it here.

 

Not overthinking it at all. (Or maybe you are, and so am I. Haha.) Like I mentioned earlier, it preserves the integrity of the art. That's why they used to have dojo affiliations, and people who cross-trained were shunned. Back in the '80s my instructor used to participate in fights that decided whether your gym was to stay open. Also, it preserves the man's proverbial penis size. I couldn't tell you the number of times I have heard guys respond with "I'll just shoot him" whenever my fighting experience is mentioned even casually.

 

This is illustrated in an interview with Relson Gracie. You see this kind of mentality with the way the Gracies hate Eddie Bravo and the 10th Planet system.

 

 

I think you are kind of right.  My MMA gym has a "meh" attitude.  Some of the fighters lift, some crossfit, they all train hard.  I think it's b/c the guy who owns our gym does all of it so people feel really comfortable.  If I said "Brad, man, I want to add to my dead lift", I'm confident he'd say "right on" just like he would if I said I want to be better at leg kicks.  But that's him. 

 

I think people devalue whatever they don't do.  You know?

 

It's an ego defense to justify the choices that they make. Illusory superiority. Seeing something that seems like a good idea and not having thought of it or doing it creates a dissonance, and could lead one to feel the need to save face and dismiss it as "petty" or "dumb".

 

In other news, I believe Miriam Nakamoto from Invicta FC is a Crossfitter / ass-kicker.

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It's an ego defense to justify the choices that they make. Illusory superiority. Seeing something that seems like a good idea and not having thought of it or doing it creates a dissonance, and could lead one to feel the need to save face and dismiss it as "petty" or "dumb".

 

While I get my MMA gym might be a little more open to strength building etc., I have to say I'm honestly surprised at how "anti" anything but lifting the lifting community is.  There is a well known lifting forum/facebook page that constantly makes fun of MMA athletes.  Why?  Even here on this forum there's a tendency toward "use barbells or die...." which I don't like. 

 

Then, I joined the MMA community and my group is "meh... do what you like.  Fight a lot, do some CF, lift weights, run, do zumba....whatever.. Ain't life grand?  Wanna spar?".  It's such a welcoming, open group.

 

In other news.... one of the coaches chatted me up last night - he's got the female fighters on a strength program and we were talking bench press...

 

Like I said, my gym is open to it.  Which is pretty cool.

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Perhaps to also preserve the art of Powerlifting and barbell training. All these methodologies pop up out of nowhere, like P90x, Crossfit, Zumba, Tae Bo, Smith Machines, Nautilus, Hot Yoga, with bold claims about how it will improve both endurance and strength. Fitness is a lucrative industry these days and a lot of people want to take advantage of that, and perhaps hardcore traditional strength trainers see MMA as just another one of those fads that people do to "get some exercise in". Much like how combat athletes make fun of so-called McDojos. They are just seen as another attempt to make a profit by using the title "martial arts" and wearing the uniform and doing karate chops. That's why I like T Nation. They're a bodybuilding forum open to mostly anything, from MMA to Crossfit to foam rolling.

 

The thing about MMA though is that it is, by its very history and nature, a melting pot of different schools of thought - the evolution of Bruce Lee's philosophy of take what is useful, reject what is useless. The founding principles of MMA involve borrowing from other arts and utilizing them, much like how Crossfit borrows heavily from barbell training. Of course there are still some barbell purists who hate Crossfit, as there are martial art purists who hate MMA. Having a competitive element to one's chosen venture means that nobody is going to be able to really say anything about the way you train as long as you are winning. (Sometimes a good thing, sometimes a bad thing.) e.g. Mason "The Line" Dixon from the 6th Rocky.

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I think it's a natural human reaction to want to subdivide. I'm mean, I'm pretty sure the three of us can all agree that squats are good, and then look at the big pissing match that happens over low bar and high bar. I personally squat low bar, the people I teach, I teach low bar squatting. I feel its a little easier to learn aside from the initial difficulties with bar position, and easier to get people to depth. That being said if someone posts a squat form check with highbar, my first reaction isn't, "do lowbar." It's pretty prevalent though in both directions.

 

I think there's a misconception to with a kind of all or nothing mentality. I'd agree with the argument that 10 years of fighting is going to see better results than 5 years of powerlifting and 5 years of fighting... assuming weight classes and such. Some of those powerlifting monsters out there I would not want to get in a ring with,, but as the three of us are all strength training in addition to our martial arts they're obviously not mutually exclusive.

 

There's also an experience level that has to be accounted for, I don't think every fighter needs to try to get a 700lb. deadlift but taking a guy from an empty bar to a 1.5x-1.75x bw squat has some worth and doesn't take 5 years. I'm very novice training oriented though, I haven't been thinking as much about intermediate/expert levels. I've only been doing martial arts for about 3 years, and have only been lifting for 1.

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Yeah, it's a completely normal human prejudice in social categorization. We can't help it; we are human beings, and social creatures create exclusive groups in order to survive. And the more exclusive the group, the higher the value of membership. We happen to practice the same traditions and wear the same uniforms. People have started fights for much less than that, specifically the example of supporting sports teams. People invest so much time on a group of strangers playing a game that they have absolutely no influence on. They don't even support the players in the team, they support the abstract concept of the team itself. And yet they feel connected to anyone who happens to support the same team, and even feel like they are part of the actual team (i.e. "We" won the Superbowl last year.) and consequently would treat supporters of other teams with some degree of hostility. Like Green Street Hooligans, but with less assault. This dynamic has shaped history since the beginning of time. "All you need to know is that there is an "us" and a "them" and you will automatically start doing whatever you can to make sure the "us" comes out on top." (Kathy Benjamin)

 

Personally I'm a Front Squatter. I just like it that way. I don't teach anyone a particular way to squat, I just have them squat and work on their form from there. It should all be a natural movement anyway, and different people just Biomechanically squat differently. From a martial arts point-of-view though, I try to stay in my lane (much like how you teach Low-Bar). It's what I'm familiar with, so it's what I teach. If they want to learn something else they could find someone else to teach them.

 

I think there's a misconception to with a kind of all or nothing mentality. I'd agree with the argument that 10 years of fighting is going to see better results than 5 years of powerlifting and 5 years of fighting... assuming weight classes and such. Some of those powerlifting monsters out there I would not want to get in a ring with,, but as the three of us are all strength training in addition to our martial arts they're obviously not mutually exclusive.

 

I wouldn't say it's all-or-nothing, but more prioritizing. All of us are strength training because none of us (I assume) are currently living in a fight camp in Pattaya; we have different priorities in life. If I wasn't too old when the grandmaster wanted to recruit me into the temple I probably would never have touched weights, at least for the duration of my stay. I strength train because I don't spend 8 hours a day (I only trained myself for around 3) in a martial arts gym 6 days a week anymore. My whole point here is that a lot of people claim to want to learn to be better fighters, but aren't willing to deal with the boredom and monotony that comes with learning a technique. If better fighting ability was the priority, the hour spent strength training three days a week for six months to reach respectable strength levels would be better spent on skill training and sparring. Guy with 1.75xBW Squat vs. Guy who sparred over 1'000 rounds? The advantage should be pretty obvious. And yes, you see professional fighters strength train, but they usually have reached a point of diminishing returns in skill.

 

There's also an experience level that has to be accounted for, I don't think every fighter needs to try to get a 700lb. deadlift but taking a guy from an empty bar to a 1.5x-1.75x bw squat has some worth and doesn't take 5 years. I'm very novice training oriented though, I haven't been thinking as much about intermediate/expert levels. I've only been doing martial arts for about 3 years, and have only been lifting for 1.

 

Definitely. I'm all about the fundamentals. When I taught, it was the basics that almost every student needed anyway. I've been training in different martial arts on-and-off for the past 22 years. Usually the high-level people I train with tell me that it all eventually goes back to being really good at the basics. In the UFC most submissions we see are the common ones - Rear-Naked Chokes and Armbars. I'm using the example for more emphasis, really, because it doesn't take 5 years to be able to compete in Muay Thai either.

 

"I fear not the man who has practiced 10'000 kicks once, but I fear the man who had practiced one kick 10'000 times." (Bruce Lee, in yet another rather exaggerated example)

 

In related news:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=IGO-gCkQnLU

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I have to agree with something I read in Randy Couture's training book, technique without conditioning is as useless as conditioning without technique.

 

You have to look at the fighter as a whole, technique can bridge a pretty damn large gap in strength. But that does not take away that at some point the difference becomes insurmountable with unarmed combat.

No matter how much technique I have fighting a strongman competition champ is damn near impossible within a limited space and with competition rules. If he gets in 1 lucky grab he'll be using me to wipe the cage floor clean.

 

Give me that same fight with no rules or space to confine me and I like my odds a lot better (still not betting on myself though), kicking someone in the groin, punching them in the throat, eye-gouging, finger breaking and other such unpleasant (but highly effective) techniques are generally the way to go with a strength imbalance like that.

 

One example I can give from sparring with a competition fighter at my previous gym (He was fighting in Belgian mma B-class for reference). He got me in a triangle from the guard, but before he could close it I leaned back and basically squatted him up and tapped him back to the mat lightly (signal for a successful slam in sparring to prevent injury). Now its true that if he closed the triangle more quickly I wouldn't have gotten the chance to slam him, but while his technique was a lot better than mine I knew enough to recognize the triangle in time and had the strength to counter. I later learned that if I locked my free arm around their hips they can't slither out of my slam.

 

To summarize, technique and experience are king but you need to build enough strength and endurance to ensure you don't run into someone that outstrips you by so much that your technique becomes impossible to execute. What use is a perfectly executed flying armbar if the person simply locks their arm and smashes you into a wall?

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On 1/26/2014 at 4:24 PM, Dleffe said:

I have to agree with something I read in Randy Couture's training book, technique without conditioning is as useless as conditioning without technique.

 

You have to look at the fighter as a whole, technique can bridge a pretty damn large gap in strength. But that does not take away that at some point the difference becomes insurmountable with unarmed combat.

No matter how much technique I have fighting a strongman competition champ is damn near impossible within a limited space and with competition rules. If he gets in 1 lucky grab he'll be using me to wipe the cage floor clean.

 

Give me that same fight with no rules or space to confine me and I like my odds a lot better (still not betting on myself though), kicking someone in the groin, punching them in the throat, eye-gouging, finger breaking and other such unpleasant (but highly effective) techniques are generally the way to go with a strength imbalance like that.

 

One example I can give from sparring with a competition fighter at my previous gym (He was fighting in Belgian mma B-class for reference). He got me in a triangle from the guard, but before he could close it I leaned back and basically squatted him up and tapped him back to the mat lightly (signal for a successful slam in sparring to prevent injury). Now its true that if he closed the triangle more quickly I wouldn't have gotten the chance to slam him, but while his technique was a lot better than mine I knew enough to recognize the triangle in time and had the strength to counter. I later learned that if I locked my free arm around their hips they can't slither out of my slam.

 

To summarize, technique and experience are king but you need to build enough strength and endurance to ensure you don't run into someone that outstrips you by so much that your technique becomes impossible to execute. What use is a perfectly executed flying armbar if the person simply locks their arm and smashes you into a wall?

 

Conditioning is very different from strength. In fact, some people believe that they are opposite sides of the spectrum. And conditioning is in part improved by specific training, which happens to be training in the sport itself. If you have two fighters who are at the same level of skill, one trains by lifting weights and one trains by sparring, the one sparring will have better conditioning. Conditioning is very sport-specific, and there is not much carryover from strength training. In fact, too much strength may actually decrease your conditioning, as you fire more of your motor units for no reason and tire out quicker. Also, take into account all that time one would spend not working on conditioning and strength training instead.

 

To provide an example on the other end of the stick, I grappled with a collegiate wrestler who outweighed me by 120 pounds (and not in fat). And although his strength and athleticism were initially issues, I was able to dispatch him multiple times. (And this is not an isolated case.) Again, a difference in skill is a big factor in the game, and had I put the same amount of effort that I put into my submission training into strength training, I doubt I would have gained even close to 120 pounds of mass in order to match his strength. What this means is that not only is skill a bigger factor, it has a lot more room for improvement compared to strength. In your case, you were skilled enough to recognize the triangle choke in time. There wasn't enough of a difference in skill. (That or you got lucky.) Would you have been able to do the same if you happened to be in a triangle choke by Marcelo Garcia? I highly doubt it. Again, skill difference.

 

Yes, a measure of strength is necessary, as leverage is a force multiplier, and multiplying force by zero gets you nothing. But then again, a perfectly-executed armbar initiated by a fully-grown adult will, more often than not, be enough to do what it is supposed to. Unless the strength difference is that of a 12 year-old and Brian Shaw, then the techniques are usually going to work.

 

If you are planning on fighting against people who are so much stronger than you that it would render your techniques useless, then maybe you should find another more effective martial art. Preferably something that involves firearms. You don't use Jiu-jitsu when you're fighting against Superman, you use Kryptonite.

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I disagree that strength and conditioning are opposites, but depending on the type of strength training you might condition the wrong way.

If you focus on large compound movements like squats, benches, deadlifts,... you'll get functional strength and a rocksolid core.

A good GPP is important to build your sport specific conditioning on, of course strength training is only one way to reach that. How you build those foundations is ultimately a big factor in how you approach a fight.

I asked my trainer about it not to long ago, he merely told me to stretch well so my muscles wouldn't limit my range of movement. If you worry about tiring out faster, I fixed it by tossing in 1 day of high intensity circuit training with low weight and high volume. So if endurance is your concern just monitor it every training and adjust when you feel it is needed.

I think technique is important but I like having strength to fall back on.

P.S.: I don't think I could have gotten out of Marcelo Garcia's triangle... but someone with enough strength (strongman champ maybe) might be able to slam him.

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On 1/27/2014 at 2:24 AM, Dleffe said:

I disagree that strength and conditioning are opposites, but depending on the type of strength training you might condition the wrong way.

If you focus on large compound movements like squats, benches, deadlifts,... you'll get functional strength and a rocksolid core.

A good GPP is important to build your sport specific conditioning on, of course strength training is only one way to reach that. How you build those foundations is ultimately a big factor in how you approach a fight.

I asked my trainer about it not to long ago, he merely told me to stretch well so my muscles wouldn't limit my range of movement. If you worry about tiring out faster, I fixed it by tossing in 1 day of high intensity circuit training with low weight and high volume. So if endurance is your concern just monitor it every training and adjust when you feel it is needed.

I think technique is important but I like having strength to fall back on.

P.S.: I don't think I could have gotten out of Marcelo Garcia's triangle... but someone with enough strength (strongman champ maybe) might be able to slam him.

 

Actually, by definition, they are different. Have you ever heard of the National Conditioning Association? Probably not, because it doesn't exist. The National Strength & Conditioning Association's most prestigious title that can be earned is the CSCS. Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. Why do they have to include both words? Probably because they are two different aspects to be trained.

 

In exercise physiology, strength is defined as the ability to produce the maximum amount of muscular force. This is done, first and foremost, by motor unit recruitment, then eventually by muscle size. Strength training is specifically increasing this aspect of your abilities, and strength is one of the most basic of adaptations and is the foundation of power.

 

Conditioning, on the other hand, is more associated with work capacity and metabolic adaptation. It is adjusting what you already have to be able to cope with the endurance demands of the sport. It is being able to perform for as long as necessary, specifically for your chosen venture.

 

The fact that you can have one without the other makes them different things. Shane Carwin is an example of a fighter who has incredible strength but poor conditioning. Then you have Jason Miller who never lifted weights back then but could keep going for days. It's like with dogfighting. Some dogs have a strong bite, but ultimately you want one who will keep coming back. They refer to this as "gameness", we may refer to ours as conditioning.

 

General Physical Preparedness is not conditioning. It is, as the name implies, general. Ultimately training all boils down to a person's intentions (as I will repeat in case people don't backread). Yes, physiologically speaking, more strength and more fast-twitch fibers tire you out quicker. That is merely science. I am not saying I am personally worried about it, I've done my time. I know what I'm doing. But if people, particularly newbies, adjust their training whenever they (and not their coaches) feel it is needed, then probably nothing will ever be done. As I previously mentioned, my coach used to kick me out of the gym after our very specific training sessions because he knew better than me what was best for my training. If it were up to me, and I adjusted it whenever I felt it was needed, I would have stayed in the gym every day, all day. I did that with a coach who was a little less present in my training, and my body eventually broke down from a stress-induced auto-immune disease. Moral of the story: the fighter probably does not know what is best for himself.

 

Yes, you like having strength. That is your opinion and right. That doesn't make you the best fighter that you can be at the moment, but that makes you more balanced as a human being. Like I constantly mention, it's all about the individual's priorities.

 

No offense intended, but I assume (from what seems to be an over-reliance on slams) that you haven't spent a lot of time in the grappling game? To put it into perspective, Marcelo Garcia is considered by many to be one of the best pound-for-pound grapplers in the world. He stands 5'8, and weighs around 70kg - small and scrawny. However, he constantly wins golds in competitions because of sheer technical superiority. He has wins over Renato Sobral, Alexandre Ribeiro, and Ricco Rodriguez, who outweigh him by 20 kg, and submitted Gabriel Gonzaga, who outweighs him by over 45 kg. On the strength side however, it would also be noteworthy that he usually only takes bronze in international Absolute divisions (where there are no weight divisions), showing us that at those levels you would want every advantage that you can have, and that strength and size are indeed factors. However, it would be presumptuous to think that some strongman champ could simply muscle his way out of one of the greatest grapplers' submissions. I'm not saying there's no chance, but it is rather unlikely. A slam is not some ultimate unstoppable technique that you do to get out of a triangle. (In one of my matches I got slammed roughly seven times because I kept trying to lock in that triangle choke.) If the slam was an instant escape, Mark Coleman would have slammed Minotauro Nogueira, Chael Sonnen would have slammed both Demian Maia and Anderson Silva, and Dan Severn would have slammed Royce Gracie, who he outweighed by almost 40 kg. A slam is an exception, rather than the rule. Rampage Jackson has 2 wins by slam (out of 33) and Matt Hughes has 4 (out of 45).

 

If strength was such a big aspect of fighting, Brock Lesnar would still be Heavyweight champion. Or some strongman winner. But instead we have two smaller, technically-skilled Heavyweights competing for the championship.

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I think that technique training, while valuable, requires a greater amount of time in the novice stages to increase a persons capabilities as a fighter. I can put 150-200 lbs. on a novices squat within a couple of months. This won't make them remotely strong in comparison to anyone doing power lifting for any decent period of time, but it will provide often give me a trainee that can stand working out for longer, is a bit more durable, and who is learning some basic body mechanics. Being able to keep the back straight is very important for many physical endeavors. I wouldn't only have them strength train, but at that level I don't really teach with a balls to the wall approach.

 

The other thing is that I teach very weapon oriented arts. Iaijutsu, you never really do without a sword. If someone isn't strong enough, they can use a lighter blade, and they will train with one, but I feel I should be able to help my students use a wide range of swords. While, pure raw strength is not an absolute requirement to use a sword, and is very very subject to diminishing returns in every art I've seen, there is some level of strength training that provides a good benefit for the time invested.

 

The hard part is always finding the right fit for the practitioner and the art. The amount of strength that will benefit someone who wants to swing a claymore in full armor is going to be different than for a muay thai fighter or grappler. By the same token a good knife fighter is going to be far less concerned with strength overall, but could still end up tied up well by a grappler, said grappler could also end up stabbed a lot. 

 

So different art, different usefulness. From my admittedly limited experience with grappling, I think decent squat could absolutely help, but overall consistently working with people bigger and smaller would develop the necessary strength a bit more potentially. Ultimately I tend to look some training similarly to how I teach sword. Sometimes I'm going to have the trainee use a light sword, to feel some of the smaller mechanics that are difficult to understand and develop with something heavier, sometimes they're going to use a heavy sword to remove the bad habits that can be developed with a light sword, and understand the mechanics to use a bigger sword that apply to both. A strong person can get a large variance that I can use to teach, if a person is weak, and the light sword is heavy to them... they're going to need a great deal more time to learn.

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First of, never worry about offending me with an argument, I love a good friendly discussion as long as my point of view is being constructively criticised. It happens to teach me a lot of new things like right now. I didn't know conditioning and strength were true opposites.

 

And you're right, I mostly speak from my own experience and I'm only starting into competition lvl fighting. Perhaps the gap in technique was simply a lot smaller compared to the gap in strength in the sparring sessions Ive had so far. Like I said it takes a considerable advantage in strength to negate technique.

As for it being better not to adjust your training at your own initiative, that's a good point I didn't consider.

 

As for my strength training keeping me from being the best fighter I could be, I disagree. If I try to condition by myself without a trainer present to correct potential mistakes in technique I might teach myself a bad habit. So I train as much technique as I can at this point in time (about 6 hours a week sparring and conditioning included) and fill up the rest of my time with 2 days strength and 1 day circuit. If I could have 6 days a week of technique and conditioning I'd probably go for that but you work with what you have.

On the other hand if strength and mass made little to no difference we wouldn't have weight classes at all, so perhaps there's something to be said about the famed middle road? Who knows how much someone like Marcelo Garcia might improve with some strength training? Maybe that's worth considering?

 

P.S.: Draken50 you pretty much explained my point about GPP better than I did.

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I think that technique training, while valuable, requires a greater amount of time in the novice stages to increase a persons capabilities as a fighter. I can put 150-200 lbs. on a novices squat within a couple of months. This won't make them remotely strong in comparison to anyone doing power lifting for any decent period of time, but it will provide often give me a trainee that can stand working out for longer, is a bit more durable, and who is learning some basic body mechanics. Being able to keep the back straight is very important for many physical endeavors. I wouldn't only have them strength train, but at that level I don't really teach with a balls to the wall approach.

 

The other thing is that I teach very weapon oriented arts. Iaijutsu, you never really do without a sword. If someone isn't strong enough, they can use a lighter blade, and they will train with one, but I feel I should be able to help my students use a wide range of swords. While, pure raw strength is not an absolute requirement to use a sword, and is very very subject to diminishing returns in every art I've seen, there is some level of strength training that provides a good benefit for the time invested.

 

The hard part is always finding the right fit for the practitioner and the art. The amount of strength that will benefit someone who wants to swing a claymore in full armor is going to be different than for a muay thai fighter or grappler. By the same token a good knife fighter is going to be far less concerned with strength overall, but could still end up tied up well by a grappler, said grappler could also end up stabbed a lot. 

 

So different art, different usefulness. From my admittedly limited experience with grappling, I think decent squat could absolutely help, but overall consistently working with people bigger and smaller would develop the necessary strength a bit more potentially. Ultimately I tend to look some training similarly to how I teach sword. Sometimes I'm going to have the trainee use a light sword, to feel some of the smaller mechanics that are difficult to understand and develop with something heavier, sometimes they're going to use a heavy sword to remove the bad habits that can be developed with a light sword, and understand the mechanics to use a bigger sword that apply to both. A strong person can get a large variance that I can use to teach, if a person is weak, and the light sword is heavy to them... they're going to need a great deal more time to learn.

 

Haha. Claymore. That reminds me of a certain scene.

 

Equipment definitely influences training. An appropriate example here could be Infantrymen. Grunts carry around 65-90 pounds of equipment for long miles up rugged terrain, and are expected to move quickly in the event of a firefight. In this case, jumping straight to the fighting weight would probably be detrimental to training.

 

My old BJJ instructor mentioned how there are two types of Jiu-jitsu, small guy and big guy, and that the really good ones are usually either bigger guys or smaller guys. Both types develop a game that caters to their body types, and the problem with being an average-sized dude is that they have to learn both, because they are right in the middle. Kind of makes sense of me having trouble with smaller guys. BJ Penn seemed to be able to handle himself well against bigger guys, being able to compete in several weight divisions. But Frankie Edgar ran circles around him, probably because he wasn't used to fighting someone smaller.

 

First of, never worry about offending me with an argument, I love a good friendly discussion as long as my point of view is being constructively criticised. It happens to teach me a lot of new things like right now. I didn't know conditioning and strength were true opposites.

 

And you're right, I mostly speak from my own experience and I'm only starting into competition lvl fighting. Perhaps the gap in technique was simply a lot smaller compared to the gap in strength in the sparring sessions Ive had so far. Like I said it takes a considerable advantage in strength to negate technique.

As for it being better not to adjust your training at your own initiative, that's a good point I didn't consider.

 

As for my strength training keeping me from being the best fighter I could be, I disagree. If I try to condition by myself without a trainer present to correct potential mistakes in technique I might teach myself a bad habit. So I train as much technique as I can at this point in time (about 6 hours a week sparring and conditioning included) and fill up the rest of my time with 2 days strength and 1 day circuit. If I could have 6 days a week of technique and conditioning I'd probably go for that but you work with what you have.

On the other hand if strength and mass made little to no difference we wouldn't have weight classes at all, so perhaps there's something to be said about the famed middle road? Who knows how much someone like Marcelo Garcia might improve with some strength training? Maybe that's worth considering?

 

P.S.: Draken50 you pretty much explained my point about GPP better than I did.

 

Ah, good. Just making sure. This is the internet after all, and butthurt is very prevalent. You are one of the exceptions. I do enjoy how this discussion turned out. The entire concept was thoroughly analyzed and extrapolated. I wonder if the tread starter is taking notes.

 

Exactly. Priorities, and working with what you have. If you lived in a training camp in Pattaya, you probably would have neither the time nor the energy for strength-specific training. But when you think about it, you can also be strength training wrong, without a trainer to correct any potential mistakes, and teach yourself a bad habit - like rounding your back during a deadlift, or benching with your feet up, or only doing quarter squats and bicep concentration curls. I've seen it happen. They have every intention of getting stronger, but they have no one to point out their mistakes. Just like with technique training. So priorities. Always priorities. If Muay Thai was my sole priority, I could just sell everything and find a camp in Thailand who will accept me, but I have other priorities. (Mainly internet porn.)

 

Yes, I did say he usually gets bronze in the Absolutes. And at that level every little thing matters. Even that little bit of weight you cut, the off-season plyometrics, or that extra week of training camp that you did can be the difference between a win and a loss. On a related note, Andre Galvao isn't that big of a dude but he seems a lot more built than Marcelo, and he has won gold in the ADCC Absolutes.

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Where strength training and muscle mass can cause technique/ability issues in the martial arts is if they begin to restrict range of motion, especially in BJJ.  That guy with a massive chest and 400lb bench would tap out in a second in a Kimura or similar lock/hold due to the fact that his over-developed pectorals severely limit his shoulder mobility.

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Strong arguments! This thread is very valuable for those who want to practice both martial arts and strength training.

 

This come from a lowly Muay Thai student whose master and his best disciple look like twin Golems. They are big and strong, and actually are not that lean. Since I am short but broad with my 160 lb 5'6" physique and 17% body fat, I get to spar with both the big dude and the tiniest trickster of 120 lb.

 

Their fighting styles are both good, just different. Why the big 250 lb guy can throw mean punches and lock me in his (ewwww-sweaty) grasp, his speed and agility is sacrificed.  He does not have to dodge or block my punch as long as it does not hit his vital parts (face, throat, solar plexus, etc.) He is still fast, but not the fastest he could be. And compared to me (, Moi?), he lose his breath easily.

 

The trickster (so he calls himself) has no problem dodging most of the punches. His speed and agility is his best bet, and he can hit me in an angle I don't know exist. Plus he has more stamina because his body is so much lighter to move.His punches, with correct posture, are not solely as substantial as it could be if he had more mass (still hurts like hell though). A punch from me to his shoulder will cause him to lose balance, and he won't cinch me in anything more than 10 second. 

 

My point, is that different kinds muscles can both facilitate different kind of movements and styles. I draw this from a very limited samples, although, and my thoughts might change as my study progress. 

 

And they both can individually punch me into pulp if they want to. More practice for me.

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Where strength training and muscle mass can cause technique/ability issues in the martial arts is if they begin to restrict range of motion, especially in BJJ.  That guy with a massive chest and 400lb bench would tap out in a second in a Kimura or similar lock/hold due to the fact that his over-developed pectorals severely limit his shoulder mobility.

An important factor to consider, is that it may be more difficult to move said martial artist into the position for a Kimura in the first place.

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An important factor to consider, is that it may be more difficult to move said martial artist into the position for a Kimura in the first place.

Certainly true, but a technically proficient martial artist (of a similar weight class) will manage.

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I'm sure, if I've learned anything from Super StreetFighter 4, a fat martial artist is just as good, if not faster than one of the same weight with more strength. Rufus man, that SOB is quick.

 

Ain't no point training strength... cause an emaciated 8 year old who's done nothing but train ground fighting is going to take my 200 lb ass down hard. I mean, can you imagine? You train enough and you should be able to grapple a full grown elephant.

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I'm sure, if I've learned anything from Super StreetFighter 4, a fat martial artist is just as good, if not faster than one of the same weight with more strength. Rufus man, that SOB is quick.

 

Ain't no point training strength... cause an emaciated 8 year old who's done nothing but train ground fighting is going to take my 200 lb ass down hard. I mean, can you imagine? You train enough and you should be able to grapple a full grown elephant.

..."of a similar weight class" <_<

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Which ignores that someone can be both heavy and weak. I am much stronger at 205 and lifting than I was at 255 and playing world of warcraft and smoking.

 

The stronger fighter is never at a disadvantage because of their strength. They may be at a disadvantage from having less experience, or being more/too reliant on strength. 

 

They may have disadvantage from having more mass to move (though not if the other fighter is the same weight/weight class). 

 

They're not at a disadvantage from being stronger. You're never going to see a fight and say, "If only he was weaker, he wouldn't have lost if he was weaker!"

 

Being stronger is an advantage, and I've yet to see or even hear of any example where the fighter lost because he was "too strong" rather than not being as fast or as good or as clever as his opponent.

 

This is a martial arts thread, I have no interest in discussing the "untrained" lifter outside of say... a hippopotamus. This is about the role of strength in martial arts. Not strength vs. Martial arts.

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Ain't no point training strength... cause an emaciated 8 year old who's done nothing but train ground fighting is going to take my 200 lb ass down hard. I mean, can you imagine? You train enough and you should be able to grapple a full grown elephant.

 

I wasn't sure if this was sarcasm. I'm just going to assume it is.

 

I don't think an 8 year-old with 4 years of strength training is going to have enough strength to take a 200-lb. ass down hard. A man who can squat 1'500 pounds won't have enough strength to grapple a full-grown elephant either.

 

I don't think anyone doubts the advantage of superior strength in martial arts competition. However, I don't think anybody has ever said that someone lost because s/he was too (insert any aspect of fitness here) either. The issue is more on the grounds of what would be a better use of one's time, whether it's strength or technique training. (The thread actually started with muscle mass, and was eventually steered towards strength training.) Flexibility is an advantage, but that doesn't necessarily mean that we should all go to Yoga class three days a week instead of Jiu-jitsu (unless of course there's that really cute Hispanic chick you like in the class who doesn't know you exist, or you're training to be Dhalsim).

 

Where strength training and muscle mass can cause technique/ability issues in the martial arts is if they begin to restrict range of motion, especially in BJJ.  That guy with a massive chest and 400lb bench would tap out in a second in a Kimura or similar lock/hold due to the fact that his over-developed pectorals severely limit his shoulder mobility.

 

Not really. Neither strength nor mass restricts range of motion. Range of motion is a learned motor skill.

 

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