Taekwondo in MMA


Taekwondo in MMA

Phillip Burnham No Comments

The original idea of mixed martial arts was to face combatants off who know different styles.  The Gracie jiu-jitsu style ended up dominating wrestling, karate, and even taekwondo.

That was a long time ago and now the sport has evolved.  No longer can you only incorporate one style into your game and be a champion.  Now you have to have multiple aspects hit with your training.

We have recently seen a reemergence of taekwondo into the sport. You’ll see when looking at the Vegas UFC odds that several of our fighters are favorites.

The best is Anthony Pettis.  He has had some impressive moves inside the Octagon.  Just take a look at this kick he used to finish off his opponent Ben Henderson in the fifth and final round.  This secured him the WEC Lightweight belt.

Bettis has been training in taekwondo since he was five and was a third degree black belt before getting into mixed martial arts at 18.

The best back in the day was Anderson Silva.  He was absolutely unstoppable about ten years ago.  Take a look at this clip of his training in Taekwondo.

He’s not good enough just in Taekwondo just to make the Olympics or anything, and he’s seen some wear and tear on his body from all those years in the ring, but still Silva is an expert at the sport. He’s going to try to represent Brazil in the Olympics but I just don’t see it happening.

Some other fighters worth noting who use Taekwondo in the UFC are below.

Edson Barbosa is one of the most feared strikers in the lightweight division. He has an impressive 10-4 record inside the Octagon and is ranked in the top five. He started with Muay Thai but also earned a black belt in Taekwondo, making him a well rounded striking arts fighter.

John Makdessi is a fighter to watch. He started his career in 2008 with eight straight wins, but is just 6-5 in the UFC. He started training in TKD at six, but stopped at 14 when he dojo was closed. He moved on to karate and kickboxing. His kickboxing career was very lucrative as he went 22-0 before trying his hand at mixed martial arts.

The last major fighter we want to focus on is Daron Cruickshank. He was on the Ultimate Fighter so he is a little more popular than some of his more equal opponents. He has 6-6-1 in the UFC but is known for his knockout ability. His entire family is into taekwondo. Both of his parents have fourth degree black belts and run their own gyms. He is a second degree blackbelt and well on his way to making a name for himself in the UFC.


Meditation Clears Your Mind

Phillip Burnham No Comments

Meditation and all forms of martial arts go hand in hand.  Athletes who meditate have a clearer mind and a better focus on what it takes to achieve their goals.  They feel better and practice better.

Unfortunately, not everyone incorporates this practice into their training.  If you are looking to start a mediation program but don’t know where to begin here are a few tips for you to use.

  1.  Find a quiet place.  This is anywhere you can find some uninterrupted time.  This can be in your car at the parking lot, a bathroom, your bedroom, by closing the door to your office, literally anywhere.  We recommend all taekwondo clubs add meditation as a team building activity.
  2. Set a Timer.  It’s important to start small and work your way up.  As little as five minutes can help you clear your mind and start seeing results.  It’s also important to have a timer because as you achieve longer and longer sessions you can get lost in time and five minutes turns into 20 without you even knowing it.
  3. Set Your Intention.  What are you going to focus on.  Do you want to have a clear mind during the entire practice session?
  4. Focus on Your Breating and Relaxation.  Breath in slowly from the lowest part of your abdomen, hold it, and then slowly exhale through your mouth.  Notice how your entire body relaxes and you become clear.  Do this several times and feel the tension release from your body.
  5. Let Thoughts Go.  Don’t try to suppress your thoughts as that is impossible.  Instead just take note of them and let them float away.  Acknowledge them without judgement.  When thoughts come at you rapidly simply focus on your breathing.

Mediation takes daily practice but it doesn’t have to be for long.  A simple 5, 10, or 20 minute commitment can show you significant results.  As you develop the habit you’ll become more comfortable and it will be easier to do.

If you would like a little help, HeadSpace has a nice app to help you get started with meditating.


Using Your Fear in Taekwondo

Phillip Burnham No Comments

Nobody likes to feel fear.  It typically means you are uncomfortable with the situation.  Maybe you are scared of danger, or just embarrassment.  Either way, it’s not fun.

Sometimes fear leads to less than ideal performance, but elite athletes know how to turn those feelings into an advantage.  Let’s talk about what fear is so we can better understand it and how it can help you win.

Fear is an emotion that signals danger.  It comes from triggered responses from individuals who are experiencing fight or flight.

Taekwondo is a dangerous sport.  You are fighting an opponent.  There is going to be fear and for good reason.  The biggest fears come from being knocked out, getting injured, or just losing.

It’s not the fear that is the problem but your response to fear.  Some students get aggressive and go on the offensive.  Others shut down and run away.  A few even become more strategic and go on the defense.

The athlete that shuts down or runs away becomes the prey.  The aggressive or strategic athletic becomes the apex predator.  When these roles are established early in the match is when the fighters are either optimal or suboptimal.  Have you ever heard the term “Beast Mode”?  It’s commonly used a term for a dominating performance by an athlete.

So, when you feel fear how are you going to respond?  Are you going to fight or flight?  Here are my tips on managing your fear and using it to your advantage.

  1.  Breathe – breathing from the lower part of your abdomen relaxes your body so you can stay loose.  If you start treating in your chest your breathes become short and you tighten up.  Proper breathing helps improve your stamina and endurance.
  2. Learn How to Relax – You can’t get too jacked up for the match but on the other hand you can be so loose that you have a difficult time reacting to your opponent.
  3. Stay Grounded – You want to be confident in your ability but not arrogant enough to think you can pull off something impossible.  Never underestimate your opponent or overestimate yourself.
  4. Identify the Reason You Are Afraid – Is your fear really something to be scared of?  Sometimes the only fear is that a bad performance will be embarrassing.  I always tell those students to try and remember someone else’s worst performance.  It’s difficult to do no matter what happened because no one really cares.
  5. Practice Game Like Conditions – Fighting the same person over and over again doesn’t make you better at taekwondo, it makes you better at fighting that person.  Mix things up as much as possible whether that’s attending different tournaments or having inter school competitions.