Hand grip strength exercise for martial arts

A while ago, Thomas asked me a question on my Facebook page about something I mentioned on my latest DVD. It concerned a hand grip strength exercise for martial arts and self-defense I explained on there but didn’t show. Just to be clear, I didn’t show it because we needed to keep the amount of footage under control or else the video would be cut up into multiple discs and I wanted to avoid that (more discs is more expensive for both the publisher and the buyer, aka: you.)

I mentioned this exercise in a section about gripping techniques in which hand grip strength plays an important part. These are the tearing, ripping grasping and crushing techniques of the “tiger” mindset I showed.  Now back in the day, hand grip exercises were part and parcel of many traditional styles. There were tons of conditioning drills you needed to do religiously, including toughening the skin, muscle and tendons of your hands and fingers. If you do this kind of training correctly, you can get some scary results with it: I once saw my teacher rip a student’s t-shirt to shreds and draw blood by accident when he didn’t control his technique enough.  And that was when he wasn’t even trying.

You don’t need to get to that point but there is a minimum amount of training necessary to be able to pull off the techniques I showed in my video. That’s where this hand grip strength exercise comes in. All you need is an old newspaper and you’re good to go.

The video is a bit uneven in quality because the sunlight was playing tricks, but here goes:


Hand grip strength exercise for martial arts

A couple of things you should know about this hand grip strength exercise: [Read more…]

Combat Sanshou: The System, Tiger and Snake

I’m glad to announce that my new instructional video Combat Sanshou: Tiger and Snake is now out. I’m very happy with this new release as I worked extremely hard to make this video. It’s also the one in which my demo partner took the most abuse so a big “Thank you!” to Brian for letting me beat him up.

Paladin Press and I talked about how we could promote this release and we came up with the following: for a limited time only, you can order all my other products at a 25% discount Just go to this page here, order one of my books or videos and use the promocode WIM25 during checkout.

This promotion is valid up to  and including 1/31.


I’ll give some more information now on both Combat Sanshou as a system and the new video in particular. First, here’s a short sample to help you get a feel for what I’m talking about:


Where does it come from?

I’ve been training in several traditional Chinese martial arts for well over two decades now, primarily Hung Chia Pai and Tai Chi Chuan but also Wing Chun, Shuai Jiao and several others. There’s just something in the Chinese styles that works well for me.

When I was 18, I started competing in the Chinese version of kickboxing called Sanda (sometimes also Sanshou; it can be confusing at times.) This competition format allows full-contact striking, kicking, stand-up wrestling and all sorts of throws and takedowns. It has the particularity of taking place on a raised platform called a “lei tai” (imagine a boxing ring without the ropes) and this environmental factor plays a huge part in the strategy and tactics involved. To this day, I still train in and teach Sanda.

Combat Sanshou grew out of the accumulated total of all my training and fighting experience, both on that stage and in the streets. I noticed that when I didn’t try to stick to a specific style, I would systematically use certain techniques and principles. Over the years, this turned into the structured system system it is today.

If I have to describe it, I usually say it is a bridge between traditional Chinese martial arts and modern full-contact competition fighting with self-defense as the only purpose. There are elements of both in the system and I like to think I took the best of both worlds. Traditionalists will most certainly recognize certain body mechanics and techniques. Competition fighters will recognize specific combinations and concepts, along with certain training drills. So it is a hybrid system that draws from multiple sources.

The name is just that, something to call it by. But it also describes the system well enough:

  • “Sanshou” can be translated as “free fighting”. In a broader sense, it means “to apply the techniques from Chinese martial arts in a fight.”
  • “Combat” is self-explanatory. It is the purpose of the system: to use the Sanshou techniques for self-defense instead of sports.

I make no claims of teaching anything new and revolutionary, nor do I believe the system is superior to anything else already available. It’s just what I’ve found that works well for me, my students and clients. My goal in teaching it is that you might find value in it too and can use it for your own safety. [Read more…]

Combat Sanshou Fightstopper Technique

Yesterday, Paladin Press posted my entry in their “Fightstopper” video series on Youtube. Overall, the feedback has been pretty clear: either very positive or very negative. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of middle ground. But that’s OK, we’re all entitled to our opinions. However, most of the negative comments came from people who seemed to be very much misinformed or intent on promoting their own agenda. That’s why I decided to add their critiques to this post I was already writing. But first, some background.


How it started

Almost two years ago, while filming Combat Sanshou: Tiger and Snake, the people at Paladin Press asked me if I wanted to collaborate on one of the projects they had planned for their new website. The tentative title was “Killshots” (which is why you hear me mention that word in the video) and now the series has been launched under the name of “Fightstoppers”.

The idea was to ask each author who came in for a shoot to make a one-minute video of one technique for a very specific context:

What do you teach somebody when he needs to end the fight right now?

So we’re not talking about a woofing contest or an MMA bout. Nor is this a context in which you need to restrain a drunk at a party. It is very specific:

  • It has to be extremely effective.
  • You can’t take any chances.
  • It has to be quick and simple.
  • It has to be something even a beginner can learn quickly.
  • Most importantly: it has to end the fight right away.

These are very specific circumstances. To be perfectly clear, I interpreted them with one additional parameter present:

If you mess up, you die.

So I based my technique on all these parameters, including this last one. This is important and we’ll get back to it but first, here’s my video:


The basic technique as I show it here is very simple to perform. If you can throw a one-two punch, you can do this one too. But there are some very specific reasons why I do it this way. There are also a number of variations and then there is the specific context of when to use it. Let’s get started on all that. [Read more…]

Combat Sanshou Tiger and Snake Preview Video

I’m glad to be able to give you another update on my “Combat Sanshou: Tiger and Snake” video. The good news is:

It’ll be available as of next Thursday or Friday.

I’m very excited about this video because I put a lot of effort into making it. I’ll give more details in the coming days but in short, it shows two different ways of fighting using your physical and mental qualities to your advantage:

  • If you’re strong, how to use your strength and aggression.
  • If you’re fast, how to use your speed and deceptiveness.

It doesn’t make sense not to use strength or speed if you have it. You shouldn’t rely exclusively on it but to me, it is just common sense to put forward your strong points and exploit them to the utmost degree. That said, nothing stops you from blending your preferred style with the opposite one and I show that too. Nothing is black or white, not even strategy and tactics.

In this video, I tried to give not only the technical explanations but also cover mindset and tactics, along with a couple examples of scenarios in which I beat up my demo partner a bit…  Here’s a preview:

In the next couple days I’ll give you some more information and add a few other videos as well.

Stay tuned.