The Martial Ropes system is built around the ½ beat “inserts”.  During the various rope patterns that mimic angles of attack (vertical, horizontal, circle, Figure 8 etc.), we learn to explode on the ½ beat, “inserting” the attack. By visualizing an actual opponent, target area, or defensive/offensive scenario while performing the ½ beat, the technique is much more alive.  And therefore much more effective as a training device.

Visualization is used in all the arts, martial or otherwise.  The practice of kata, a pre-arranged series of movements against imaginary opponents, is a key example.  But top athletes in all sports use visualization to optimize their performance. What are some keys to effective visualization?  In “The Warrior Mindset”by Asken, Grossman, & Christenson, they provide the following keys:

Imagine in all senses        
Use the best perspective        
Image correct responses        
Image in real time    
Practice and image problems and success        
Move and use kinesthetic imagery        
Make the images vivid
In subsequent posts I’ll provide some additional details on each of the keys.

No, this doesn’t refer to the latest sex-o-drama on HBO that combines the intrigue of the DaVinci Code with Hill Street Blues (if you’re under 40 you may have to Google it). I’m referring to the Dequerdes training “Cross”and Elbow “Shields”.  I constructed my first Dequerdes back in 2008.  It started out with the basic “T” pattern, which gives 2 high lines.  But eventually I smacked it too hard with a stick and broke off one of the arms.  So when I reconstructed it, I made an additional arm that’s seen in the picture.  This one gives the option to play against a mid-level attack.  It is interchangeable with another straight arm that can be mounted high.  With this setup the 2 vertical pieces and one arm are cemented in
place.  The only downside is that the removable arm tends to work loose after several minutes of activity and has to be repositioned. Nothing insurmountable, but I’ll probably just construct a 2nd one that has 2 fixed arms in the high positions and then make this one with 1 permanent mid-level arm and 1 high arm.  
The Dequerdes is an excellent training device for solo practice.  You can use sticks,
knives, empty hand, flexible weapons, practice lock flow, target specificity, and let your imagination run free.  Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time practicing various Elbow Shields and Destructions on the moving & spinning target.  It’s great for building reaction speed and precision with your elbow strikes.  You can find additional  information on both the training cross and elbow shields at either James Keating or Pete Kautz’s site.  Look for the “Dequerdes: Filipino Training Cross”and “Hellbows” materials.

Following up on last week’s post, a couple additional thoughts on increasing your punching power. Obviously getting stronger thru any resistance training and conditioning also helps with your punching power. Here are two exercises that you can add
to an existing routine that will directly affect punching: Plyometric (Clapping) pushups, and “Power Pushups” from a kneeling position.  Check out Leith Darkin’s site (http://www.martialartsandsportscience.com.au/) for a specific article on incorporating these exercises (and others) to increase your punching power.

What I like about the Clapping Pushup is that it doesn’t require any equipment AND you can make a progression for it.  For example, you can follow the same progression used to build your pushup reps, i.e. Wall pushups, then Countertop pushups, then Kneeling Pushups, then full Pushups.  By applying an explosive motion from the “down” position in any of these variations, you can start to get the benefit of the plyometric movement, even if you aren’t a pushup maniac (NOTE – it is generally advised that you have a baseline of strength before adding plyometrics to your regimen.  But trying these easier variations, ex. Wall claps, or Countertop claps, give the explosive feeling/benefit with little risk).   
If you’re not familiar with the “Power Pushup”, you start out by kneeling with your body vertical. Fall forward into the pushup position, absorb your fall and explode back up, ending in your starting position.   I would only attempt these if you are already proficient at floor pushups and can perform several clapping pushups as well. But an intermediate
progression could also be added here, starting in the “down” position on your knees, and exploding up so that you finish in a vertical kneeling position.  As you get stronger, you can add the “fall” to start the movement.

Add some of these a couple times a week and see what you think.