Box your way to increased health and fitness. The beauty of MMA.

MMA Workout
Body and Health through MMA
The Science of a healthy life

Movement in feet and body. Hooks, cross, jab, kicks and uppercut. Knees and elbows all combined make for a wonderful way towards better health and fitness. Mastering martial arts makes you better at self defense, sure. But more importantly it provides tremendous health and fitness benefit no matter age and previous experience. And it is great fun too, enjoyed as much by men as it is enjoyed by girls.  

Writing & workout plan by Mike Koontz

music of the day while you are reading our article
Business suits and combat boots by The Agonist

Striking starts with the movement of your body & feets.

Yes, I know, everybody wants to bang right away.
And you will get to do just that. But, let us start with the basic movement because the way you move your feet and body is what actually builds the foundation for proper striking. Not to mention, great movement improves your defence and the general health benefits of training martial arts.

And the substantial health and body benefits of a fit and active lifestyle is, of course, the main reason why we are all here.

So let us start every lesson going forward with the late Muhammad Ali´s own philosophy summarized in this one simple sentence.

'Dance like a butterfly, sting like a bee'.

Let those simple words create the foundation for your own MMA adventures and I promise you not just a lifetime of fun and rewarding workouts, but greatly improved health and fitness too. And if push ever comes to shove. Mastering a smooth and continuously fluid movement will allow you a way of fighting and self-defense that work wonders.

So, if we visually picture your lonesome self in a room with nothing but a standing floor bag, learn to move around and with the bag. From side to side, back and forth, up and down. Move with your strikes and the movement the impact will cause. Move with your own strikes and move with and away from inbound strikes.

Learning to fluidly move with a perpetually going movement weaving together technique to technique and fluid never pausing movement between stances, as you strike, without pausing for each kick and punch will give you a tremendous advantage against most fighters.

And health wise it will up the intensity and cardiovascular challenge by a pretty substantial margin. From the lactic build up and muscular drain in your muscles to your heart and lungs and your body fat burn. The body and health benefits of moving & striking while in motion are huge because it is much, much more challenging for your body to cope with. 

But there is no need to dive into the deep waters right away. Instead, you can start with the simple things.

Move with light feet, some like thinking of it as standing on your toes, others prefer having most of their feet grounded, yet learn to move with the same fluidity. Try it out, feel the difference and master the way you prefer to use your feet, but let a fluid, never ending movement be your primary goal.
Move back and forth towards and away from the bag, move side to side if you consider the floor standing bag the center of your world. Bend your knees and implement a vertical  movement too, and move your upper body up and down by bending your legs. Move your body, arm and legs, and feet with predominantly fluid, small movements.

Just like a dance.

Ali. move like a frisky butterfly, dance and strike baby.

Another option is the classic jumping rope getting you up on your toes and learning to be light on your feets while providing a very healthy challenge for cardio and coordination.

Another neat one to target early on is the switch "kick" stance.

Start with your left foot front and rapidly switch your stance by pushing off with your feets and in one fluid motion switching the entire stance both feet at the same time, so your right foot will end up as your front leg.

And depending on your skill and fitness level, this initial movement drill can be your entire workout early on. It´s perfectly ok to drill just your movement for quite some time.

Closing Words
[ The winding down ]

Strike 1, the jab

But, once you are ready to throw down as well as move.
Let´s do just that.

Start with the basic jab. Left foot and hand front, and jab with your front hand held up at face height. If it´s over the top for you to move and jab, plant your feet firmly and learn the distance, jab the bag lightly. Tap, tap, tap. It´s about technique and speed, not heavy hands. So keep it light, just as your movement.

Move like a butterfly, sting like a bee, remember?.

And in order to sting like a bee, always return your hand, with each strike, to its starting position in front of your face/chin/chest. Rinse and repeat. Jab, jab, jab. That never ending repetition will create the necessary skill and fitness challenge.

You can do the jab as a singular punch, or in two and three, and more, strike combos. It´s a stinging, fluid punch. Speed and skill make up the key to this highly effective punch. So, lash that bag like a whip with your hands. 
And once you feel that you have nailed the punch with planted feet it is time to evolve and learn to move and jab.

Back and forth, to the side, up and down, round and round the story go, work that bag and lash it like a whip.

Punch two. The cross.

Once you master the jab, next one up is the cross.
This is a much more powerful punch, so if you have your left foot/hand front, the right hand is the cross. And this punch starts with the rear foot, it moves through your turning hip and shoulders as you drive your momentum and hand through the target. This is not a whip that rips skin and causes chipping damage, this is a sledgehammer that crushes doors.

The cross is a straight punch.
It moves in a straight line from its rear starting position to the target ( body or face ), but do not rest with your arm out.

Hit and move, strike with power, but still like a pouncing tiger, vibrant and alert until the final kill. Pausing once you land your punch will leave you as unprotected as a wide open barn door would be, something you would obviously not want to do. 

Strike, and pull your hand back to the initial rear position.
And once you master the cross on its own, learn to initiate this punch by first doing the jab ,followed up by the cross together as one continuous movement.

Jab first, cross second. This really should be so fluid and smooth that it is as if it was one whole movement, not two disparate techniques. 

The third upgrade to the cross is to jab, cross and switch "kick".

While other, alternate versions would be to jab, cross and follow up with a hook or uppercut, or a jab,jab, cross, and straight kick, or roundhouse kick with your front or rear leg.

The combinations are endless really at this point and you can learn and evolve for an entire lifetime. I could go on for all eternity feeding you new combinations. But for now, learn to do a proper cross on its own, and to do it together with the jab.

The Hook, strike three.

For some, the hook is a close encounter punch.

Some do this while backing up with the opponents own strike hurling towards them, and as they back together with their enemies forward going movement they will strike the side of the opponents head or body. Others tie their hooks into an offensive jab and cross combination. Forcing your opponent to cover up or respond to your jab and cross can often open them up to a powerful and punishing hook and or kick towards their body, legs or head.

As you practice on the bag and you start to find a natural movement for your strikes, you will without a doubt, like most, find that the hook is easier and more natural to land when you do it with your lead hand. It is faster to do that way, and since it is closer to your target, it will connect easier and quicker, without leaving you as wide open as doing the hook with your rear hand will.

The traditional way to do the hook is by turning your front arm,leg and entire body with your punch. Keep the elbow at face height if you intend to strike the side of your opponents face. Some will tell you to bend your elbow 90 degrees, but plenty of fighters around the world find it far more natural to bend your elbow slightly less.

The answer is to simply go with the flow of your own body and the positions of you and the target. And the same thing holds true for how you turn your hands.

There is no real right or wrong, except to clench your hands ( to lower the risk that you break any of your own bones in your hand, those small bones in our hands are delicate and will break if you hit a hard bone or bag hard enough, unless you always clench your hand and hit the proper way ) and to hit with your knuckles and clenched fist as one flat concrete surface.

Having said that, there are of course striking techniques that will have you hit the target with the palm and side of your hand. Just as how some kicks are shin bone to target, while others hit with the heel and others with the toes or upper part of your feet.

But you do not have to worry about stuff like that if you are mainly training martial arts for the body and health benefits.

Rear leg round kick

Once you have those three punches down. Time to learn how to work your kicks inside your punches.

Start by planting feet down and simply jab relaxed with your front hand, and once you have your hand landing on your target, fire the rear leg. Kick low, towards the bags "leg/midsection" area. Hit the bag with your shin bone or at the very least the upper area of your feets. Do not try and kick the bag around the area of your toes. If you do that, you´ll increase the chances of hurting yourself, just as if you would punch the bag without clenching your hands. Learn to own the proper distance, allowing yourself to land your  kicks with the hardest areas of your foot and or the shine bone since that will reduce the wear and tear of your own body.

This is really the kick version of a cross or rear hook.

So start the movement with your feet and turn your upper body and front leg slightly to the side, by "following" the direction of your rear kicking legs force and movement - through the target. Once that movement is happening, let your rear leg simply follow that movement and drive the leg through the bag, try to kick so you can manage to turn your hips over and once you hit the target, that rear leg is more or less horizontal towards the floor.

This is a power kick. So let it sing and tear down the heavens :).
Jab to the face, kick low.

The follow-up is simple, jab, jab, cross and kick.

Switch kick

Once you have nailed the previous punch and kick exercise.
Time to once again upgrade your skills and go for the switch kick.

Jab, cross and do the switch "kick" movement. Moving your front leg back and rear leg to the front, and to do it fluid enough for it to happen in one single motion, it´s not a step, it´s almost a floating jump movement that has your feets flowing across the ground.

This time, however, once your front leg lands at what is now the rear leg position, fire an immediate round kick to the midsection/legs of the bag. This is still a powerful kick, but it´s about speed now.

So keep it light on your feet, move fluidly and smooth, sting like a bee and move between strikes and punches like a butterfly on fire.

And yes, this will exhaust you like few things will. And that is great!.

The alternative is to kick with the front leg instead of rear leg once you have finished the switch "kick" movement. Making it an even faster-kicking technique. Kicks, however, should always be weaved inside of strikes, or together with other kicks.

So keep those hands up, jab, jab, cross, kick - and follow up with punches and more kicks. Punch, kick, move fluid and smoothly in never ending perpetuity.

Repeat and have fun until I am back with harder and more varied mma workout ideas.

Oh, before I forget. How much and how hard?
I mentioned earlier that MMA is very much like a sprint interval workout. So treat it as such. Do these exercises and techniques in blasts of super high paced movement and full on strikes and kicks that drain you as if you would be running at full speed.

Do that for 30 seconds and rest for 10 to 15 seconds by lowering the pace.
Work your way up to an entire Spotify song by doing those intervals.

Then, rest by going at it for a lower pace during the first 30 seconds of the new song, before you once again up the pace to "sprint" levels. Rince and repeat.

When you lower the pace you do it by still boxing, moving and kicking at the bag. The difference is that you box and move in a slightly lower pace that allows you to recover.

But do not rest by dropping down on the floor.

Repeat this sprint based interval pace for 10 to 40 minutes. And you will have one hell of a workout that challenges your entire body. Muscles, heart, body fat, lungs and all.

It will benefit your entire body and health. Mood, blood sugar, body fat, endurance, strength and muscles, heart health and all. Do this with all the other things you have incorporated in your fit and active and healthy life. Do it one to three days per week.

No, really. As much as you might love martial arts, and people of all ages and both genders fall in love with these types of workouts right away. They are that fun and that effective, but it is also very taxing for your body, so you can not do it every single day of the week.

1 to 3 days per week is enough, you need time to recover from the wear and tear in order to improve your health and body instead of breaking it. Instead, learn to do daily low impact walks outdoors. Some yoga perhaps, lift some weights. Run once or twice per week, make love, climb some mountains. swim or just enjoy the garden.

Have fun until next time :).

Photography by NASA. This gorgeous photo of Saturns rings was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft's narrow-angle camera on June 9, 2016.
It was acquired at a distance of approximately 1.1 million miles (1.8 million kilometers) from the rings.The real life scale is 7 miles (11 kilometers) per pixel. And how mindblowing is not that?

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Writer and photography

Mike Koontz
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To the daisy that is my sun and inspiration

   My livingroom art
   Author page, Mike Koontz

Last Few Published Books and Articles

  • Över skog och mark, järn & gym, och mylla. Den biologiska mångfaldens dag 2021.

    Quality time needed: 2 minutes

    A sustainable society makes for healthier & happier nature, and people.
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    Pressmeddelande 2021-05-12
    Den biologiska mångfaldens dag firas i Höga Kusten.

    En av Sveriges största naturhögtider går in på sitt femte år. Det blir återigen ett annorlunda firande av Biologiska mångfaldens dag 22 maj i år på grund av coronapandemin. Med anpassningar och digitala aktiviteter skapar Sveriges naturföreningar ett späckat program med allt från uppvisningar av vackra naturområden till tips om hur du gynnar biologisk mångfald i din trädgård. I Örnsköldvik, Höga Kusten arrangerar återigen ett bmfdag evenemang, för året så blir det i form av ett lokalt mini Styrka Camp på gym och i natur den 22 Maj.

    – Det är femte året i rad som Natursverige satsar på att uppmärksamma Biologiska mångfaldens dag och det tredje året som deltar.
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  • Fitness school, question 50: Can we see some sort of health impact betweeen obesity and corona?. Updated May 2021

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    Question number 50 in our School here at 'a Norse View'.
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    Question number 49 in our School here at 'a Norse View'.
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  • Fitness school, question 47.. Can we still make the fact based claim that the core temperature of the modern day human body is 37c on average?... Or has this well established scientific fact actually changed in the last 100 years?.

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  • The scientific correlation between our food choices environmental impact and bad human health.

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  • Fitness school, question 46.. Can we make the fact based claim that visceral adipose mass is associated with increased risk of hypertension, heart attack/angina, type 2 diabetes and hyperlipidemia? Yes or no?.

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    Read on beyond the break and dig deeper into our fitness school question before you pony up the right answer.

  • Fitness school, question 45: Will increased or maintained fitness rejuvenate & improve hippocampal activity beyond 60 years of age?

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    Question number 45 in our School of Fitness.
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  • Available Fine Art & Lifestyle products. Art, design and photography by M & M. Our products are produced and sold by #Society6.

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    Your life is your on going art and history
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    It is forever present inside our deeply individual thoughts, and it is perpetually stamped in the essence of our unique nature. Read on beyond the break and step into our lifestyle store where you can buy clothes and fine art and other lifestyle products, with art, design and photography by M & M.

  • Fitness school, question 44: What is the actual weight of one cm3 lean muscle mass, and will that weight per cm3 be able to also differ ever so minuscule between fit people and out of shape people (generally speaking that is).

    Quality time needed: 1 minute

    A healthy life is a daily process created by making healthy science based choices.
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    Question number 44 in our School of Fitness.
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  • Pressmeddelande: Biologiska mångfaldens dag 2019 tar en tur i naturen för en stund med naturfoto och fitness prat i Höga Kusten.

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    a Norse View &
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    Humlesafari, fladdermuslyssning, fjärilsbingo, krypletning och fågelvandring – den 22 maj uppmärksammas den internationella FN-dagen Biologiska mångfaldens dag med en mängd olika evenemang runt om i Sverige.

    Den årligen återkommande bmf dagen är numera en av Sveriges största naturhögtider och 2019 arrangerar naturorganisationer, kommuner, skolor, myndigheter,företag och privatpersoner över 200 aktiviteter runt om i landet, från Kiruna i norr till Ystad i söder. Det görs både för att visa upp vår artrika natur och för att uppmärksamma en av vår tids stora ödesfrågor – den oroväckande snabba förlusten av biologisk mångfald.

    I Höga Kusten arrangerar Mike från a Norse View och en dagstur ut i naturen där vi blandar naturfoto i en vacker insjömiljö och faktabaserat prat om kost, träning och hälsa.

  • Fitness school, question 42: Will maintained fitness reduce menstrual pain for the majority of women?

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  • Fitness school, question 41: The science of our human fitness anatomy. Scalenus Anterior, medius and posterior.

    Quality time needed: 1 minute

    Fitness is built upon your own anatomy.
    Do you know the right answer?.

    Question number 41 in our School of Fitness.
    Beneath the tasty, delicious joy and sexiness of a life built on plant-based food and fitness, the weights you lift, the miles you walk and run. The mountains you climb, and the sandbags you punch and kick there is not just a burning passion and increased life quality. Nor is it just a question of the enhanced health and joy you can touch and feel deep inside both body & mind.
    No, there is also this marvelously progressive thing called science. Because all the physical fitness things, the sweat and healthy living discipline that others see are ultimately powered by the all-encompassing facts of biological life.

  • Fitness school, question 40: The science of sugar and intestine tumors... In both mice & men.

    Quality time needed: 8 minutes

    Yet another study on food & health.

    Looking at the impact of sugar in food and beverages.

    Sugar is a much beloved sweetener. Craved like a lovers touch by most biological beings that dare to ever look into the abyss and allow its tastebuds to grace this natural force of addiction.

    But as much as all things living seemingly enjoy the taste of sugar and more modern artificial sweeteners. Scientifically speaking the bad health impact of sugar ( from obesity to diabetes and cancer risk, poor dental health and non existing nutritional value ) and other sweeteners have thankfully turned countless of humans into die hard "no sugar" please sentinels. So let us take a brief look at a brand new 2019 study and let us find out if this study too will add even more reasons to say no to sugar and other sweeteners in your food and beverages.

  • Fitness school, question 39: Telomeres, the fancy sounding tail that connects healthy fit aging with fitness activities. Dive right in as we take a look at recent studies.

    Quality time needed: 13 minutes

    Fitness School
    Do you know the right answer?.

    Question number 39 in our School of Fitness.
    I have talked about telomeres in years past, and fitness too obviously :).
    But such is the world of fitness, science, and health, it often revisits old "truths" and sometimes upends them because our knowledge has deepened, while new studies at other times will simply fortify and acknowledge what we already knew to be true.
    So what will happen today as we travel back to the world of that peachy sounding telomeres thingy that keeps wiggling its cute little tail inside of us? Let us find out.
    My Question:.
    For this particular study, published in European Heart Journal, Nov 2018, we´ll uncover what happens to the length of our telomeres when we do long distance endurance training, high-intensity sprint intervals, nothing at all or lift weights in a so-so way in the gym ( yeah, color me unimpressed by the strength plan in this study, but hold on to that thought as you read on because I will get back to the fairly inadequate strength training and why that too matters. ).
    The question, which option is the best for maintaining the length of our telomeres and what is the worst?.

  • Anthropocene & the survival of our brilliant but simpleminded species. Just another morning.

    Quality time needed: 5 minutes

    Breakfast stuff and morning thoughts.

    climate inaction is an existential threat.

    Nothing fancy or big worded to say today, I am just drinking some tasty fresh black coffee while various death metal songs keep pumping through my livingroom gear.
    Yes, what a glorious morning :).
    But while I am enjoying my morning routine, getting ready for the gym and my own workouts as well as the health and fitness regimes of today's PT clients I am also reading up on science and sustainability from around the world. And one of the pieces that stand out is a tonally laid-back piece by Swedish outlet DN. They spent the better part of a month or so following Swedish sustainability advocate Greta as she continues her quest to bring much-needed awareness to the sad state of the world and the essential, deep-rooted changes we as a species and global civilization urgently need to undertake.

  • Fitness school, question 38. Is obesity itself tied to diabetes type 2 and coronary artery disease?. Yes or no?.

    Quality time needed: 5 minutes

    Fitness School
    Do you know the right answer?.

    Question number 38 in our School of Fitness.
    Time for a short one.
    Obesity is no friend of the bettering of our health and longevity.
    Just as how the old school act of serious bulking never did anyone's health and fitness levels any favors. And pointing this scientific reality out is not about fat shaming. It´s about helping the world and its individuals turn the tide toward better health, and better fitness. And doing so does not remove peoples individual right to pick whatever body size and fat percentage that they so prefer.
    My Question:.
    We already know that obesity ( and a fat powered high BMI ) increases unhealthy factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. And it often increases depression, drowsiness and general sedentary choices. Which indirectly leads to worse health in numerous ways. But if a person with a high fat powered BMI is deemed healthy as far as those traditional markers are concerned is excess fat itself still bad?
    Put in another way, will a higher amount of excess body fat still lead to worse health even if your bloodwork turns out ok and you do not feel depressed and drowsy and you do hit the gym?.

  • Fitness school, question 37: Can something as simple as a reduction of daily walking decrease our lean muscle mass in a noticeable way in just 2 weeks time?

    Quality time needed: 8 minutes

    Fitness School
    Do you know the right answer?.

    Question number 37 in our School of Fitness.
    Yes, it is once again time for you to put your thinking cap on before you proceed without hesitation through the hallway of healthy fit wonders and science :).
    You already know that keeping fit and lifting your weekly weights and doing your daily cardio is nothing but a rejuvenating choice. It's good for your strength, duh.. It is wondrously good for your harty heart health, and it aids your cognitive and creative processes. It scientifically speaking lowers depression and tardy drowsiness. And if you have been keeping up with me over the years, you also know that keeping fit on a regular weekly basis also lowers your physical age by quite a noticeable margin too.
    But even small ordinary things like taking a daily walk carries with it a huge life long health and fitness impact.

    My Question:.
    What happens with our skeletal lean muscle mass for people above 70 years of age if they take a few thousand steps more or less per day for 2 weeks time?.
    Read on to reveal just how big the impact of that tiny change can be below the break.

  • Fitness School, Question 36, Will lifting weights 1-3 days per week be enough to lower cardiovascular related mortality?.

    Quality time needed: 3 minutes

    Fitness School
    Do you know the right answer?.

    Question number 36 in our School of Fitness.
    All forms of fitness activity is a tiny little pill of good health no matter who you are.
    But is the simple act of lifting weights one to three days per week enough to substantially lower the risk of cardiovascular related mortality?.
    Yup, that is how easy and straightforward question number 36 turned out to be. And why? Because we have a brand new study to lean back on when it comes down to the (obvious) answer.
    Read on to reveal the complete Q and A below the break.

  • Going beyond 1.5C. Our world and daily life behind the IPCC report.

    Quality time needed: 27 minutes

    Cause & Consequence.

    Life on Earth laid bare by the IPCC report.

    But before we head on over to the meaty real life data of our reckless modern day life, which the 2018 IPCC report painfully laid bare, walk with me as I step out on frosty cold northern shores for my morning walk.

    Just a Thursday, spent on northern shores.
    And this is the way I started this gorgeous little Autumn day.

  • Roundabouts in the milky way galaxy. The duality of a sustainable earth, and interplanetary living.

    Quality time needed: 14 minutes

    Walking through the gates of autumn.

    We see a brand new dawn.

    Life itself is this majestic mirror world of brilliance and incompetence. Eternally merging and reflected, individually disengaged yet perfectly synchronized and attached to each other and everything else.

    Like the leaf that finds itself stranded on the wayward peaks of a stormy ocean. They are each others counterpart, yet entirely different. Individual objects, entwined and interconnected. Disengaged and perfectly unique.

  • Into Autumn, the spider´s lullaby. Random thoughts on life from another gorgeous day.

    Quality time needed: 5 minutes

    Walking through the gates of autumn.

    Together with a tiny little spider.

    And today, there´s officially a full-blown Autumn song playing out there in nature. Gorgeous and sunny, on a Sunday =). Wind free, except for the tiniest of breeze that you can almost not see or feel as it slowly makes it way through the crown of leaves that towers above.

    But it is, none the less, Autumn.
    The colors of the trees reveal it. The pale blue September moon that hangs high up in the middle of the day is another telltale.

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