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How Martial Artists Can Get In “Cage Fighter” Shape Fast

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I get questions all the time from my students and email street-fighting lessons subscribers about what the best way to exercise is as far as learning martial arts and street-fighting.

They want to know how to get the flexibility, stamina and speed they see other martial artists have.

They want to know if they should concentrate on lifting weights, calisthenics, or machines?

The short answer to this is: Train like you fight.

In other words, if you want to be flexible like a martial artist, then do a lot of sparring in whatever you want to get flexible at.

If you want stamina for ground fighting, then ground fight a lot.

If you want speed, then spar and practice for speed.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t lift weights, do calisthenics or go to the gym. But if you want to get your body in fighting shape, then train in fighting.

Just make sure you do it in a controlled manner. In fact, the best way to do this is to vary the intensity with a stopwatch.

For instance, spar for 15 seconds. Then for a minute. Then 5 minutes. And up. Go long on some days, short on others.

If you can have a third person work the stop watch, and randomly set the start and stop times, that’s even better. Because it’s more like a real street-fight, which can take a few seconds or several minutes. It’s never the same.

Just make sure you start slow, and build up your endurance. Don’t overdo it, and when you spar, use common sense and don’t do anything reckless that can hurt you or your partner.

Follow these simple guidelines and your body will start adapting and, before you know it, you’ll be in excellent fighting shape.

Sifu Matt Numrich is one of only a few instructors in the world with Full Certification in Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do, and also the Filipino Martial Arts. His students include everyone from Federal Air Marshals and military elites to small children and 65-year old ladies. Matt also offers free weekly street-fighting lessons by email at

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  • Posted On January 16, 2007
  • Published articles 283513

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