Stopping Power for Kicks & Strikes

The following is a guest post from my friend and fellow Underground Strength Coach, Frank DiMeo. 

It is always an honor to do a guest blog post for another coach, especially regarding martial arts and strength training.
To many people UFC is the only martial arts they are aware of, but the experienced martial artists know how broad a spectrum martial arts cover.

Whether you are training for personal use, sport, law enforcement, or military there are certain things that apply across all those lines.  No one wants to lose a fight, and if you are in law enforcement or the military, losing is not an option.  There are no 2nd place trophies for dead people.

Here are a few areas of focus

1) It is imperative that you develop “stopping power” in your strikes/kicks
2) You must be able to sustain a strong isometric hold at various angles
3) Your thinking must be fluid and adaptable instantly

One of the things that triggered my search for “the edge” in my martial arts training was a fight I had with a large tough opponent back in the mid-1970’s. This guy took a full-force side kick square in his face and shook it off. Things were not looking good to say the least. In the 5th round I woke with the smelling salts.  I could hit him hard, but I couldn’t drop him. Something had to change in my training; and it did.
A different instance involved a fight at work with another heavy equipment operator. This started while I was sitting down and got sucker-punched straight down on top of my head. Were you ever taught to defend against that in a dojo? I wasn’t.  Yes, you can get killed at work, but who would expect something like that? Are you mentally prepared for any type of attack from any angle?

After incorporating Underground Strength, Strongman, and CrossFit the three areas mentioned above have all improved quite a bit.

You know, that sometimes the fight is “quick and dirty”; it’s over in a few seconds.  Other times it’s a longer struggle, and you have to be able to just hold on in order to survive it.  Both types require a mindset that is unshakeable, and maintains clarity even in the midst of the “adrenalin dump”. You might only close with your attacker once, then someone is injured or dead.

We use a wide variety of training tools and strategies at my gym, I have a few videos below showing some of our athletes, plus an informative PDF at the end.

The first video is about developing a strong isometric hold. Static positions have to be held at various times, and may mean the difference between winning and losing overall.  Being able to move swiftly from a position like this to a full speed attack is vital.
Bud Jeffries is a Strongman and martial artist. He can squat 1000lbs, do one-arm rows with 275lbs, do a full split, and move with amazing speed at about 280lbs bodyweight.  This is not someone you would care to fight if you didn’t have to.  Bud uses a lot of isometrics and partial lifts, but he can also do 1000 sprawls during a workout.

Trap bar deadlifts & isometric hold with 124lb keg

The next video is one of our Law Enforcement Officers. He’s developed a lot of strength, plus he is fast.
He will win the foot chase with one of the bad guys in most cases.

880LB sled push

We do all the standard barbell lifts for Powerlifting and Olympic Weightlifting, but refuse to be limited to that. Odd-object lifting is a big part of what we do along with very demanding bodyweight work.
The next video shows some of this.

160LB sandbag loading

It is important to not limit yourself in your thinking or your training.  Here’s the PDF from Bud Jeffries for your use.  Click HERE.

Check out Frank’s new program on How To Improve Your Pull-ups Click Here!


 About The Author

Frank DiMeo is the owner of CrossFit Gulf Coast, and is an experienced trainer, speaker, author, fitness advocate, and seminar presenter. Here’s a list of his qualifications– Certified Underground Strength Coach Level-1, CrossFit Level-1 CrossFit Striking Trainer CrossFit Kettlebell Level-1 NSCA-CPT Dave Schmitz Reactive Resistance Band Workshop Mike Mahler Level-1 Kettlebell Seminar Kettlbell Concepts Level-1 Seminar Tom Mitchell Strongman Basics Bud Jeffries/Scott Weech Strongman Seminar Logan Christopher & Bud Jeffries/Scott Weech Strongman Seminar Logan Christopher & Bud Jeffries Super Human Training Workshop Tom Furman Joint Mobility Seminar Elliott Hulse Strengthology Layer 4 Workshop Sincere Hogan New Warrior Training Workshop Level-1 Former SSG with U.S. Army Paratroopers Over 25 years martial arts experience Pioneered a full-contact fight club in 1974 USAW Club Coach Battling Ropes Level-1



Jon Haas is a certified Underground Strength Coach and has been involved in the martial arts for over 30 years. He has been training in the Budō Taijutsu arts of the Bujinkan for more than 22 years and is currently ranked as a Kudan (9th degree black belt) under Jack Hoban Shidōshi.
Jon is the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach for VX Global and is a certified VX Sport Coach.

He is the owner and founder of Warrior Fitness Training Systems and author of the book, Warrior Fitness: Conditioning for Martial Arts.

Jon Haas is also a certified conflict resolutions specialist through Resolution Group International (RGI)

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