How to train on a slippery surface, Part Two

In part one of “How to train on a slippery surface“, I demonstrated training on a slippery tiled floor. The video quality was pretty poor because of the low lighting so I decided to give it another try during daylight hours. This new video still isn’t all that great because my cellphone only records at 15 frames/second. So it looks choppy. Can’t help that. Anyway, here’s the video:

As you can see, I didn’t fall once. Ha! And for the smarty-pants among you: I didn’t fall when the camera was off either (though you should have seen me sliding all over the place when I walked to my car last week…) .

Whether you fall or not isn’t all that important anyway. What counts is that you try to push the limits of your martial arts or self defense skills and explore new ways of doing your techniques while you’re sliding on ice.

Some background information:

  • There was no plan. I was just having fun experimenting, trying out techniques. I mixed combat sports techniques with self defense moves. Why? Because I felt like it. That’s all.
  • The high kicks were for fun, not for practical use. Fun, but also to see how far I could take it before I lost my balance. So don’t go thinking I’m advocating high kicks when you fight on ice…
  • The surface was cut up. This wasn’t a nice, smooth ice rink. The ice-surface was irregular form where cars had been driving all over it. Most of it was slippery as hell with here and there a small spot where it wasn’t as bad. But I wasn’t looking down so I didn’t know where those spots were until I stepped on them. That was part of the fun.
  • I’m wearing normal shoes. No fancy soles or anything, just regular Nike’s. Speaking of wardrobe: I look like the Michelin man because I’m wearing loads of layers; it was frikkin’ cold!

So what worked?

This iced up parking lot was very different from my humid garage floor. Some things were similar, others different. Some thoughts:

  • Driving off the back leg sucked. It was hardly possible at all. Forget raising the back heel, couldn’t be done.
  • Follow the kick. Retracting a kick was very difficult. But following the kicking leg and shifting weight on it as you put the foot down worked real well.
  • Circular technique were hard. Most times when I tried hooks or roundhouse kicks, I had to stop before I fell. Unless I limited hip torque or did them slower, to the point of lacking power and therefor becoming useless. Straight line punches, uppercuts, downward strikes and front kicks worked great.
  • Leaning front stance = awesome. You can see me do this at around 3min10. I alternate a right and left front stance, leaning forward to balance my weight on top of the lead leg. This worked real well. My back leg would moves around a bit but that didn’t matter. Glad to see all that tai chi training paying off. :-)

Like I said before, this is what works for me. If it doesn’t for you, that’s OK. But go out on a patch of ice and give it a try first, then we can talk.

Also, don’t forget that this is just solo training. It’s good training but there’s one important component missing: somebody to strike. That changes the dynamics once again. If I can get somebody to hold the pads for me, I’ll make another video and show you how it went.

Have fun training!


Become a Patron and get access to unique content: my newsletter, instructional videos, violence analysis and much more!


  1. Interesting stuff Wim. We dont have a lot of cold areas in Australia so it was interesting to watch you on the ice. It almost looked as though your strikes which pushed force forward seemed to slide you backwards a little. It was interesting to see how you could not push off your rear foot at all. In slippery conditions, it seems only upper body power can be used for strikes, using the hips as much as possible. Nice one.

    • It depends Adam. Sometimes it did, sometimes it didn’t. A lot depends on your ability to pull from the lead leg as opposed to push from the back one. I’ve worked on that for a while now so it works for me. But it isn’t for everybody.
      Though it looks like it’s only upper body, you can still get your weight in there, though you have to triangular the blow downward and connect your arm to your body in a different way to create that downward pressure. Easier said than done though… As for hips, even that’s limited. Especially the rear hip because counteracting the torque with the lad leg is difficult.
      I know Australia doesn’t have all that much ice, lucky for you guys. Belgium is all iced up today. :-)

  2. You looked like you were getting pretty good power in your punches. Now we know how the ice hockey players do it.

  3. Hi Wim

    Verry creative training.
    As soon as there is ice here, i wil give it a try.

    Look forward to see some padwork on the ice.

  4. Hi Wim

    Please make a comment about the K1 Final from this year. Thank you and kind regards

  5. Sorry, my fault. ;)

    Can you give us some tips for K1 Final 2010? What is your prediction?

    • Here are my picks:

      Aerts wins from Mighty Mo. Unless… He is stupid enough to keep his guard open and low like he’s been doing too much (see vs. Kyotaro). Mo has a solid overhand right/swing and Aerts will be KOed if it lands. I never understood why Peter had such a crappy guard. He didn’t used to when he started fighting.
      Schilt demolishes Kyotaro. Kyotaro is not a natural heavyweight. I don’t he can hang with a guy like Semmy.
      Saki wins from Ghita on points, if he’s lucky… This one is really hard to judge because Saki has never taken the specific type of power Ghita has in his techniques. I don’t know how he’ll adjust to it. But he’s matured so much in his last few fights, and Ghita doesn’t react well to taking punishment. I have Saki as the winner, but it’s real close.
      Overeem KOs Sprong. I like Tyrone, but Alistair should overpower him no problem. It’s like the Hulk vs. Spiderman. Spiderman can’t win. :-)

      If it all goes like this and Saki doesn’t get injured, I think he has the best chance at winning. My second pick would be Overeem, then Schilt and finally Aerts.

      • Ha! I wasn’t that far off. If Saki hadn’t been injured, I think he could have won. He was hurting Overeem using only his left hand. Imagine what he could have done had he been at 100%… :-)

  6. Hi Wim,

    I’ve had to fight in beer soaked cement while I was wearing flip-flops and found that I had to kick the flip flops off and stick to hand moves. I came to the aid of a fellow fighter that was being pummeled on the ground but could not chance the snap kick so I ended up using an upper cut of sorts to help my buddy out.

    I could not imagine trying to kick in that situation… but it was fun watching you try. :)

    • Hi John,
      Understood and agreed. Like I said, the kicks were mostly for fun, just to see if I could pull them off without falling. It’s obviously not something I would advocate as a first choice when you’re fighting on a slippery surface. Hand techniques are first choice, of course.
      The thing many people forget is that not every slippery surface is the same. Ice is not the same as my humid, tiled garage floor. Nor is it the same as a waxed wooden floor. Differences and similarities again, and the techniques change accordingly.

Speak Your Mind