Is your Fitness Functional?

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Is Your Fitness Functional?
Functional fitness has got to be the biggest buzz word in the fitness industry today. If you google “functional fitness”, the definition according to Wikipedia is, “functional. training is a classification of exercise which involves training the body for the activities performed in daily life. For me that definition sums it up clearly. Yet, those two words have taken on an entirely different meaning.
The fitness industry is just like any other industry. There is always a trend. Even in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Competitions there are trends. One minute everyone was playing deep half guard, then it was berimbolo etc… So we are now in the era of functional training! The problem is, everyone is tagging functional to marketing campaigns and what not. It has taken on a different meaning.
I feel that people think that if you are doing a compound exercise that it is functional. I don’t agree entirely. I see some people doing the most outlandish stuff ever on Instagram. Then they say how functional it is. I’m thinking, functional for what exactly?? Maybe he thinks because he was working multiple simultaneously that its functional?
Functional for me is mimicking movements you do in everyday life. We walk, squat, lunge, reach, bend over, pic things up, get out of bed, pic up babies, carry babies around etc… But, if you are like me, I train and teach Brazilian Jiu Jitsu every day. So, my functional training is a bit different than most people. That is why I developed Kettle-Jitsu.

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Functional for me is also teaching your muscles to work together harmoniously. We achieve that in my boot camps with certain exercises that are staples of my curriculum. In almost every class I teach, I include different variations of dead cleans, squats, lunges, presses, rows and dead lifts. I believe those exercises are amongst the most functional for regular everyday people and combat athletes. Functional exercises for combat athletes are, rocking chair, snake move, deck squats, combat cleans, swings, Turkish Get ups, and high pulls etc…
I believe functional also boils down to the piece of equipment you use. I feel that your body, barbells, dumbbells and kettlebells are the most functional tools you can use. With those tools you can comfortable, clean, squat, press, lunge, and hinge. If you cannot comfortably do that with something, then for me it’s not that functional. But just because it’s not functional doesn’t mean it’s useless.
Let’s use the Macebell for example. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a long metal pole with a ball attached to it. You can perform compound movements with it. But do they actually mimic anything you do in everyday life? We do not even hold things in our hands in everyday life in the same manner necessary to use a Macebell.
So, if you are truly looking for functional workouts, take a deeper look into the movements. Ask yourself, does this mimic anything that I do every day?

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9 Steps to Starting your own Fitness Program

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How to develop your own fitness program
I receive emails and messages daily in regards to kettlebell and body weight training. So, in my next few articles, I will try and cover the questions that I get the most.
“How do I create my own fitness system/program?” is one I was asked since the release of my first DVD Combat Kettlebell systems. Im actually surprised that I haven’t covered this topic already!
First of all, I never sought out to create my own kettlebell and body weight training system. This is the difference between me and all the other people trying to cash in on the fitness industry. I developed Kettle-Jitsu out of necessity.
In an effort to find a fitness program that fit with my gym at the time, one of my business partners suggested we get a kettlebell instructor. I heard great things about them and had no knowledge on how to use them. But I was smart enough to know that in needed some type of instruction to learn to use them properly. So, I agreed and was eager to learn!
My business partner Bill, found an instructor that was certified by the biggest kettlebell instructor at the time. So, we started a once a week kettlebell class with him at my gym SoCal MMA and fitness. We learned the basics. He covered the dead lift, swings, cleans, Turkish get ups and snatches. These were all new to me so, at first, I was really hooked! But, it didn’t really progress from there. It was the kettlebell basics over and over.
As a result, I got bored and so did my students. I really felt there was more kettlebell variety out there. So, I started researching it on the web. To my dismay, I saw very little variety.
Then one day, I was lying in my room, which was in the back of my gym, (yes, I lived in my gym in its early days!), I had an epiphany. I though, I bet you could combine some BJJ movements with the kettlebell. I jumped off my bed, and went into the main mat of my gym and grabbed a kettlebell. I was right! The kettlebell flowed so naturally with the BJJ movements.
So, every morning, I woke up extra early to put myself through a different kettlebell workout. I incorporated all of my innovations into each workout. Then I started integrating it into my boot camps with my students and fighters. They loved it! This is what separates my programs from others. Every single movement and workout I have developed has been a result of direct feedback from my students. Your pupils are your best critics! If your classes are growing and you are retaining students, then you’re doing something right!
Kettle-Jitsu has been 10 years in the making and is continuously evolving.
So, this is how I developed Kettle-jitsu. Not everyone has the convenience of owning their own gym and having students to test their workouts on. So, if you think that developing your own fitness program is something you want to do, then here are a few tips.
1. Master your basics. Online certs like NASM and what not in my opinion are scams. You cant learn fitness from a computer. You need an actual person to show you what and what not to do. So maybe you should do some sort of kettlebell and body weight certification. That way, you have something to build off. Its kind of the same process with martial arts. How do you think there are so many different styles of martial arts? One person becomes proficient in one style. Then he or she, starts to develop their own philosophies and adds their own twist or emphasis to it.
2. After you master your basics and start developing your own workouts, test them on yourself first! Every workout, every exercise I have ever developed, I tried myself before teaching it to my students.
3. Start a small boot camp. Think of it as a test group. Teach your new workouts on them and see how it goes. Ask opinions from your clients. If you have any intention of pursuing a career in fitness, you have to listen to your clients. They pay their hard-earned coin for you to train them. If they like you and the workouts, they will keep coming and are likely to bring friends.
4. Come up with a catchy name for your program. To be honest I’m not even sure how I came up with the name Kettle-Jitsu. But I do know that ever fitness program was fit, this and fit that. So, I didn’t want to jump on the band wagon and come up with an obvious name. Not my style😉
5. Next you should start a business page on Instagram and Facebook. We are in the age of social media and it helps tremendously. Social media is great for various different reasons. It gets your material out there and is a great way to promote your products. Facebook and Instagram now make it fairly easy to run ads all by yourself.
6. Start a website. People need a place where they can go and learn more about you and what you do.
7. If your small boot camp is doing well, you have the options of offering your services at some sort of fitness or martial arts gym. Or, your next option would be to open your own studio. Obviously, the latter is a bit more difficult because of the money factor. But, I know a lot of trainers that earn a living by teaching boot camps at various different gym.
8. Sell your programs online. This means, filming your workouts and putting them up on your website for sale. There are numerous ways to do it. You can do it digitally, or you can do a DVD. I could probably write a small book on this subject! Maybe in another article😉
9. If people are purchasing your programs online and your boot camps are doing well, people may ask you how to get certified in your methods. I never thought in a million years I would be doing a kettlebell DVD and certifying people. But after I released Combat Kettlebell Systems, I started receiving emails asking how to get certified in the CKS system. That’s how it

How to do a basic Kettlebell Flow

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How to do a Kettlebell Flow
Close to 10 years ago, I went to go purchase some kettlebells from an old company called My Mad Methods. MMM was located inside of a gym called MBody Strength owned by Marcus Martinez and Mark de Grasse. I met Mark while I was there and asked him if he would take a look at a specific kettlebell program that I had been developing with my students at my former gym SoCal MMA. Mark agreed to. So I proceeded to show some of the kettlebell movements and flows I had developed and his eyes lit up! He said, “would you mind if I filmed these.” I agreed. Within a few minutes Mark looked at me and said, “we need to do a DVD.” I was blown away! I just wanted to see what he thought of the exercises I had developed. I wasn’t expecting to land a DVD deal! This led to his company My Mad Methods producing my first 2 DVDs. Combat Kettlebell Systems was the first. The CKS DVD was the first of its kind to showcase newly developed kettlebell movements and principles taken directly from MMA and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The DVD sold in 30 countries worldwide. I released another DVD dedicated to body weight training called Shadow Jitsu. Then, MMM produced other DVDs from John Wolf and Mark de Grasse. My Mad Methods created such a buzz that it gained the attention of a little nutritional supplement company called Onnit. They purchased MMM (along with my DVDs and articles) and brought in Mark de Grasse to create the Onnit Academy.12592561_883757901723048_1301335978893047852_n-1above left to right, Mark de Grasse, John wolf and myself
In the beginning nobody had seen movement added to kettlebell training. Nobody had seen kettlebell flows and it wasn’t 100% accepted in the kettlebell community. Now, Instagram and other social media have people taking stabs at kettlebell flows and what not. So called kettlebell experts are now crawling out of the wood work with kb workouts for BJJ and MMA. But, there is a huge difference between me and them. Most of these guys just create workouts so that they can upload it to YouTube and I.G. to get hits. These people have never been in the cage while somebody has you on the ground dropping elbows on your face. These people have never had their hand raised in victory in front of thousands of people.king-of-the-cagemedal-chaser Any workout that I post, have been used by me and my students for the last 10 years. I trained a team of MMA/BJJ athletes and regular everyday people at my old gym and now at Legacy BJJ Burbank for close to a decade. These aren’t just workouts I come up with in my living room and throw up on YouTube. Also keep in mind that my YouTube videos are not made to be actual instructional in nature. They are just mere examples of what I do. There are a lot of details that you may be missing if you do not understand the concepts. So I am proud to announce, that Kettle-Jitsu and kettlebell giants the Kettlebell Kings will be working together to educate people and give everyone a better understanding of Kettlebell training for combat athletes.
This is the first of a 3-part series dedicated to Kettlebell training for BJJ and MMA. Let’s discuss the Kettlebell flow. To understand Fighting, you must know that combat sports are anaerobic in nature. This means its closer to running sprints than to going for a long distance jog. Fighting involves multiple muscles at once. A typical BJJ/MMA match involves, pushing, pulling, core work and leg work. Anaerobic training involves short burst of energy, followed by a brief lull in movement. This is how I like to structure my kettlebell workouts.
I have kettlebell flows broken down in 4 different categories.
1. 2 handed single kettlebell flows
2. 1 handed alternating single kettlebell flows
3. Combo flows mixing 1 and 2 together
4. Double kettlebell flows
The enclosed video is an example of #1 and is my most basic Kettlebell flow. It involves a 2 handed clean. This covers our pulling and leg work, 2 handed overhead press (pushing movement), and a 2 handed swing (hinging, core movement). The protocol I use for this is what I call 2 minute Kettlebell circuit. Perform a 2 handed clean and press twice, 2 handed swing twice and a swing to catch once for one minute straight. Followed by ballistic rows for 30 seconds. Burpees make up the final 30 seconds of the 2-minute circuit. Please keep in mind that in my classes, we always start with body weight and mobility before we get into the kb work. This insures that everyone is thoroughly warmed up. Here is a typical Kettlejitsu class format I use
1. mobility and core warm up
2. Ab pyramid (abdominal work)
3. B.I.T. Body weight interval training
4. C.I.T. Compound body weight training.
5. K.I.T. Kettlebell interval training
6. Kettlebell circuit
I hope this gives a better understanding of how and why I developed kettlebell flows. They are an amazing way to train kettlebells and give you a full body workout, help burn muscle, enhance coordination and focus all at once!
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What is a Kettlebell Flow? Free workout Sample!

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What is a Kettlebell flow
Kettlebell and body weight are the only two training methods where you can fuse one’s personality into. This is why I love them. So naturally when I immersed myself into kettlebell training, I started to combine principles and movements from Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and MMA with kettlebell and body weight. The flow is an underlying concept that I’ve used throughout my entire 30 year martial arts career. In a fight you need to be able to seamlessly flow from technique to technique. So I implemented this concept with kettlebells. Over 10 years ago I started using kettlebell flow with my students. Back then, people were afraid to think out of the box when it came to kettlebell training. But thanks to Mark de Grasse of My Mad Methods (bought out by onnit) and my first DVD, Combat Kettlebell Systems, I broke the mold of traditional kettlebell training and started the evolution.
Now countless people are taking a stab at what they think kettlebell flows are. But I see that they are missing some key elements. So I will break down the criteria that makes up a Kettlejitsu Kettlebell flow.
1. Kettlebell flows contain 3 or more movements into one seamless pattern.
2. Each flow should be balanced on both sides of your body.
3. I do not emphasize weight since flows are performed for time.
4. My kettlebell flows are developed so that they may be easily performed in a class format.
5. Continuous motion is a key factor in a kettlejitsu kettlebell flow
6. Only one to two hinging movements per flow.
7. Each flow should contain a pushing, pressing, hinging and sometimes pulling movement
8. In a kettlejitsu flow, there is no pause or stop
In my classes we will do a kettlebell flow for one to two minutes long. Since you do not put the bell down at all during that whole period, all of your muscles, including your forearms get taxed. If anyone has ever training in BJJ or MMA, they know that after a match, your whole body is tired. Your forearms are filled with lactic acid because of all of the grabbing. If your kettlebell flows are structured properly, this is how you should feel after a round. Enclosed are a few examples of kettlebell flows in action. Enjoy!

The below video is an example of a TGU Flow taken directly from the Ultimate TGU one month Turkish Get up Program. For more on this topic, please check out How to do a basic Kettlebell Flow and How to do a basic Kettlebell Flow

This is a very popular video shot almost 4 years ago. It contains many different kettlebell flows I use in my group bootcamp classes.

This video was shot 4 years ago at the My Methods Booth at the LA fitness festival. Me, Mark de Grasse and John Wolfe shared a booth.  Pre Onnit academy.

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Body weight flows and practicality

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body weight flows and practicality

Body Weight Flows:

Which type is right for you?

Body weight flow training is all the rave right now. There are so many fitness gurus developing their own styles nowadays. But before you jump on the bandwagon of some of these trends, ask yourself, “Is this practical for me?”  There are many different types of body weight flows. The two I’ll talk about here are class format flows and open space flows.

Since I teach boot camps on a regular basis, space is always an issue. This is why a spend more time developing class format flows. That way you can teach these movements in large group classes and require minimal space.  The first video below is an example of class format flows.  As you can see in the video, me and my student are performing various different types of flows side by side. These are movements I teach daily and work great in large class format.

Open space flows are when you have enough space to perform more intricate flows. Maybe you own a gym and you have a large mat space to yourself. You could be at a park or a beach. In the second video, me and long time student Oscar are doing some free style MMA flowing. As you can see with all of the Kicking, punching and random rolling around, these types of flows would not be ideal, in a large class. Even though I have access to a really big gym, I rarely have the time to do these types of flows. I work out with my classes, so on free time, the last thing I want to do is extracurricular training.

So if you are a trainer and you teach group classes on a regular basis, class format flows may be what you want to spend your time learning or developing. If space is not an option, you can partake in open space flows.



Thai Knee Kettlebell flow

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The Thai Knee Kettlebell Flow

This is a really basic kettlebell flow with a twist. To be able to perform this flow, you must first know how to do a T-Rex squat, 2 hand overhead press and 2 handed swings. If you are proficient at the 2 handed swings, you can add the Thai knees to it. Adding the knee really challenges your balances and hits your core more so than regular swings. I suggest trying this combo with a lighter weight first. Also, please make sure you are thoroughly warm before trying any kettlebell exercise. If you are not sure on how to warm up properly, purchase the Kettle-Jitsu revolution 8 week kettlebell and body weight course to get you on the right track. Enjoy!

Basic Flying Arm Bar Variation

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BASIC FLYING ARM BAR TUTORIAL
ONNE QUESTION I GET FREQUENTLY BY BEGINNING BJJ STUDENTS IS HOW TO DO A FLYING ARM BAR. SO IF THEY ASK, I LIKE TO SHOW THIS BASIC VARIATION FIRST. ONE OF THE MAIN CONCERNS PEOPLE SHOULD BE AWARE OF IS SAFETY. IF YOU TEACH AN ADVANCE RISKIER MOVE TO A STUDENT WHO MAY NOT BE READY, IT COULD RESULT IN INJURY. THE FLYING ARM BAR IS ONE OF THOSE TECHNIQUES.
IF YOUR STUDENT DOES NOT KNOW HOW TO DO A BASIC ARM BAR FROM THE GUARD. THEN THEY ARENT READY FOR THE FLYING VARIATION. aLSO, MAKE SURE YOU ARE ON A MATTED SURFACE BEFORE ATTEMTING THIS ARM BAR. I HAVE TO CREDIT MY MASTER ROGER MACHADO FOR TEACHING ME THIS ONE WHEN I WAS A BLUE BELT. TIPS: MAKE SURE YOUR LEFT HAND IS GRIPPING YOUR PARTNER RIGHT BEHIND THEIR ELBOW. THE OTHER HAND SHOULD BE ON HIS LEFT LAPEL. RIGH FOOT SHOULD BE ON THEIR HIP. THIS FORCES THEM TO BEND OVER AS YOU SIT DOWN TO SPIN INTO THE ARM BAR.

Check out Legacy BJJ student Fernando Adriano lll hitting this move live at the Irvine open this past weeken!  Instagram arm bar

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Free Kettlebell and Body weight training Ebook!

New Kettlejitsu ebook

 

Subscribe to the Kettlejitsu Newsletter and receive a free Kettle-Jitsu Coach Certification manual Ebook! This is the same kettlebell and body weight training manual used in all of Professor Joey Alvarado’s Certifications world wide! Subscribe now! Important! Please check your email for confirmation of your subscription and you will get a link to download the ebook in your box! Thank you!




Forward and Backward Tumbling for BJJ

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Forward and backward rolling for bjj

 

Mastering certain BJJ specific movements are as important as mastering fundamental BJJ techniques in my opinion.  Forward and backward rolling are 2 of these movements. Mastery of these rolls are crucial because they are needed in a ton of Jiu JItsu techniques. Becoming more proficient in tumbling can increase athleticism, agility, coordination and mat awareness. This video shows a deeper look at forward and backward tumbling and their application in BJJ techniques.

 

 

 

Animal Style Workout Variations for BJJ

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Animal style movement training seems to be pretty popular nowadays. Its hardly anything new. Animal style training can date back to the monks of the Shaolin temple. They used many different animal movements in their Kung fu.  I first was introduced to animal style workouts back in about 1994 when I Trained at Romero Calvacanti’s(jacare) Master BJJ gym in Atlanta.  Animal movements are one of the standard warm ups used in a lot of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gyms world wide.  Now animal movements have caught on to the mainstream. Since functional training is so popular now, animal style workouts fit right in. They are full body movements that can be performed almost anywhere.  In this video I am doing some variations that I have developed my self. The movements in the video will help with your conditioning, agility, mobility and coordination.  Stay tuned for my upcoming Body Weight 4 BJJ programs! It will contain and encyclopedia of BJJ/MMA specific movements and workouts!. Enjoy! 

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