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The 80/20 Rule To Martial Arts Training: Stop Wasting Your Time

Applying the 80/20 rule in your martial arts training will not only save you time, but you will also progress faster. The goal is to identify what makes the biggest and least impact in your training in order to prioritize your time and attention for a greater outcome.

I briefly mentioned the 80/20 Rule in my previous post: Get The Most Out Of Your Training – Martial Arts

8020 Martial arts training

Also known as Pareto’s law, the 80/20 rule states that roughly 80% of the results comes from 20% of the causes. For an example, 80% of business sales comes from 20% of the clients. The 80/20 rule can be applied to anything, today you will be applying it to your martial arts training.

“The goal is to find your inefficiencies in order to eliminate them and to find your strengths so you can multiply them.” – Tim Ferriss

Making the 80/20 Analysis in Your Martial Arts Training

The first step to the 80/20 analysis for your martial arts training is what do you want out of it. Self defense? competition? fitness? having fun? or how to apply a specific technique?

Identify the 20% that meets your goal the most. Below are a few questions you can use to identify this 20% of your training:

  • What would you do to get the most out of your training if you only had 30 mins to train? How would you do it?
  • If you could only spar 3 rounds , who would you spar with? how hard would you spar?
  • If you only had time to work on 3 different techniques, what would they be?
  • If you only had time to do one drill, what drill will that be?
  • If you have to prepare for a fight in 2 months, what would you do?
“One does not accumulate but eliminate. It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.” – Bruce Lee
“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” – Albert Einstein

When applying the 80/20 analysis to your martial arts training you, the goal is to hack away the excess and narrow it down to the bare essentials that will increase your bottom line.

Once the bare essentials are identified, create a training plan your willing to execute. Create timelines to measure and manage your progress. Re-analyze and modify as necessary. Below is one example on on how I applied the 80/20 law to my martial arts training:

30 Minutes a Day is All It Takes – The Heavy Bag

I was able to narrow down specific movements on the heavy bag targeting the following 30mins a day.

I always have a plan when i use the heavy bag. Each 3 minute round I work on two specific combinations aiming for a total of 40-50 reps per round with 1 minute rest in between. Each combination has a minimum of three strikes and at least one defensive movement (snap back, weave, or slip).

Each repetition is initiated and finished using footwork with 100% effort in speed, explosiveness, and power. Once achieving the repetition goals I’ll sit and throw random punches and kicks with no pauses until the round is over.

Each round I am throwing 200-300 strikes, totaling 1200-1800 strikes for 6 rounds within 30mins. While working my legs, footwork, distancing, power, speed, endurance, and defensive movements that I’m also anchoring into my nervous system using jedi mind tricks (visualization – check out this article for more info). Also the non-stop intensity eliminates any slack through out the heavy bag session, optimizing my time spent.

Applying the 80/20 rule to my martial arts training has brought me clarity and focus. It helps me prioritize whats important and eliminate what is not. I was first introduced to the 80/20 rule by Timothy Ferriss’s Book Called The 4-Hour Workweek. Check It out

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”




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Pawing Jab – Technique Of The Week

The jab is a simple and versatile tool, but also the hardest punch to master. As the most important and thrown punch in combat sports, its not used to end fights, but sets up everything else that does. The best type of jab for that is the pawing jab.

pawing jab - technique of the week

What is the Pawing Jab?

The pawing jab is used interchangeably with the flicker jab. Although related, they are too different types of jabs. The more practical synonym for pawing is to feel, and it is precisely what you do with the pawing jab.

The mechanics of pawing the jab doesn’t require any other movement other than the arm extending towards the face of the opponent in a metronome (not always), but not necessarily to make contact. Below is a video of Guillermo Rigondaux who paws with the jab as a catalyst to his game.

The pawing jab is a technique that does several things simultaneously.

  • Gauges distance
  • Sets up other punches
  • Obstructing opponents sight
  • To provoke an attack
  • Controls the rhythm
  • Creates deception
    • Opponent’s perceived distance and reach
    • Conceals advancement / Footwork
    • Lures opponent to a deceptive rhythm

Pawing Shadow Boxing Drills – Pawing to Connect

While metronomically throwing out the pawing jab, practice your footwork and throwing other punches and kicks at a moment’s notice in a broken rhythm.

Pawing Focus Mitt Drills – Pawing to Provoke

Have the holder feed you random punches while metronomically pawing the focus mitts. Work your counter punches off the pawing metronome.

Pawing Advice

  • Learn how to paw going backwards
  • Learn Paw follow ups with the same hand
  • Paw in a way you can throw any strike at moment’s notice

Common Mistakes

  • Getting hypnotized by your own metronome.
  • Not being ready at a moment’s notice.

More Resources:

Thomas “The Hitman” Herns (boxing)
Andrew Tabiti
Saenchai (Southpaw Muay Thai)
Broken Rhythm Basics (Article on broken rhythm)

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How To Throw A Punch – Stance Technique Leverage and Timing

How to throw a punch - knuckles

Knowing how to throw a punch is basic fighting 101. As simple as it seems, there is more to just making a fist and extending it towards your opponents face. Its complexity lies in the involvement of the whole body and how it presses off the ground, where power and leverage originates.

The video below explains important points on how to throw a punch.

  • Staying relax during delivery and clenching your fists, forearm, and triceps only right before impact
  • feet pressing off the ground

The Stance and How to Throw a Punch at a Moment’s Notice

There are several different stances a punch can be thrown from. For now, lets look at the classical on-guard stance in boxing. This will be the starting position on how to throw a punch at a moment’s notice.

how to throw a punch(

  • Feet Shoulder-width apart
  • Back foot’s Heel lined up with the front foot’s toes
  • Knees slightly bent
  • One shoulder is slightly ahead of the other
  • Shoulders is slightly more squared than your feet
  • Hands raised and ready to protect
  • Bearing your weight on the balls of your feet
  • Slightly raising your heels off the ground
  • Feet should always be ready to press off the ground at moment’s notice.

The Straight Right

straigh right punch

All punches, needs to involve the ground, legs, hips, back, shoulders and arms. The picture above shows the ending position of the straight right (easiest punch to learn). observe the key details:

  • Back foot turned (heel off the ground), pivoting off the ball of the foot, toes pointing at the target.
  • Rear leg is slightly extended (not completely)
  • Hips turned, completely squared and facing the Target
  • Torso vertically straight/upright
  • Right shoulder is extended passed the left
  • Lead knee should be vertically lined up with the shoulder or slightly ahead
  • Right arm extended towards the target but not completely straight as you hit with the knuckles

There are 2 options on which set of knuckles to hit with:

  1. The index and middle knuckle
  2. The middle, ring, and pinky knuckle.

I recommend the latter, it naturally aligns with the arm, also providing better support and solidity when landing punches. Examine the difference by doing a knuckle push-up with either position.

Resources to support the latter recommendation:

  • Jack Dempsey – Championship fighting: Chapter 9 “The Power Line”
  • Research Bruce Lee’s One-inch Punch

The Execution

We examined the starting position, which is our classical on-guard boxing stance and we examined  the ending position of the straight right punch. So next is how we are going to connect the two together in one complete motion.

  1.  Push off the ground with your back leg and step forward with your front
  2.  Pivot your rear foot, hips, and shoulders simultaneously
  3. Once the shoulders are completely squared to the target, the right arm starts extending towards the target while the right shoulder sightly extends passed the left shoulder.
  4. As the arm extends the hand rotates with the palm facing the ground.
  5. Driving the punch through the target


Common Punching Mistakes

  • Lifting the elbow first before extending (telegraphic)
  • Rocking the torso forward (harder to recover)
  • Punching above the eye line (a good way to break your hand)
  • Dropping the hand after the punch (opens you up for counters)


When punching the face you will want to aim anywhere below the eye line of your opponent, with the jaw being ideal if your looking for a knock out. Other targets you may want to consider:

  • Nose
  • Throat
  • Base of the skull/top of the neck
  • Liver
  • Kidney
  • Floating rib
  • Solar plexus
  • Groin

How To Throw A Knockout Punch

Throwing a knockout punch is mostly about catching your opponent stepping in. Below is a gif of Kimbo Slice getting KO’d with a weak punch, but most importantly it’s because he got caught stepping in.


The video below of Joe Louis reveals how he draws his opponents in and catches them stepping forward for the knockout.

Counter-punching is another way to look for the KO’s. I recently made a blog post of a specific counter-punching technique called splitting the jab.

Other Punches to Consider

  • Jab
  • Hook
  • Uppercut
  • Overhand Right
  • Rabbit punches (mostly refers to punches behind the head)
  • Shovel hook

Various Reasons to Throwing a Punch

  • To create distance
  • To close distance
  • To distract
  • To damage

Using a Heavy Bag

Best thing to you can do to improve your punches is to invest in a heavy bag. You can search around craigslist for a used heavy bag for about $50. Or get a brand new one at a local sporting goods store or amazon.

Click Here for an Amazon Listing on Heavy Bags

The heavy bag is used for many reasons. It will help develop power and strengthen the hands.

How to throw a punch at the heavy bag to strengthen your hands:

  • Moderately start off by punching the bag with no gloves. Slowly Increase the power over time as your hands and wrists gets stronger.
  • Strike the heavy bag with a kung-fu style backfists to strengthen the back of the hands.

Tips on Heavy Bag Training:

  • Land your Punches from the farthest distance possible
  • Mind your technique at all times
  • Use your feet to get in and out of range. Don’t just stand in front of the bag and throw punches the whole time. Maybe throw a short combination and move back out.
  • Use your feet and change angles as the heavy bag moves around.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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Get The Most Out Of Your Training – Martial Arts

Get the Most Out Of Your Training - Martial Arts

How to become more productive in our martial arts training is an important question to have. its necessary to accelerated learning. Most martial artist “just show up.” While at the same time most martial artists don’t make it to the top. Today ill be sharing some of the most influencing philosophies/concepts that accelerated my performance.

80/20 Law

The 80/20 Law (also known as The Pareto principle)  states, that for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.


  • 80% of a martial artist’s actions comes from 20% of their techniques
  • 80% of a martial artist’s productivity comes from 20% of the training
  • 80% of the fight takes place in 20% of the positions (example: the guard in jiu jitsu).

The 80/20 law helps analyze and narrow down whats important and what you should be prioritizing. It will also help eliminate any excess fat, free up time and attention to whats important.


Focus on your strengths while managing your weaknesses. You will be more productive in doing what you do best rather than making incremental improvements fixing your weaknesses, which at best, becomes decent. This principle is similar to the 80/20 law.


Goals are necessary for optimizing productivity. Most of the productivity comes from the short term goals, and motivation and drive comes from the long term goal.

Types of short-term goals you should consider:

  • What techniques to improve (preferably filtered through the 80/20 law)
  • Goals in sparring
  • Training x amount of times a week
  • Who to spar with
  • What to drill


Measure all aspects of your training by documenting and reviewing your performance in sparring, your successes and mistakes and what you could of done better. This will help you examine your performance day by day and with greater clarity on the path to improvement. What gets measured gets managed.


Competing in an event is the best thing you can do to get the most out of your training. It helps set-up several mental aspects in place that are necessary to increase the quality of effort and attention for training productivity. It will also bring greater clarity to the 80/20 law, goals, strengths and the use of metrics.

Benefits of Competition

  • Focus
    • Competition create deadlines which help produce greater focus and helps you analyze on what to do in order to get shit done.
  • Motivation
    • Competition creates greater motivation to improve performance,. Overcoming excuses and accelerating productivity.

If you decide to compete don’t pick an event that is a year away. I recommend setting a deadline within 3-4 months. The tighter the deadline the greater the focus, the greater the focus the greater the productivity.



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15 Sparring Tips – Fight Skills Development

Sparring tips

Use Your Peripheral

The peripheral is the vision outside of the focus point, mostly from the sides of the eyes. It detects motion much quicker and it improving the response time. Don’t look at the eyes, hands, or even at the target your attacking. Stare through the center (usually the chest) and not at it. This will almost put everything in peripheral.

Slightly Raise Your Eye Brows

Raising your eyebrow helps increase perceptual attention. Increasing your ability to interpret any attacks or opportunities to attack.

First Defense Should Be Moving Your Legs

Using your legs has a higher percentage of successfully defending attacks than blocking or slipping. The goal is to be out of reach.

Hit First, Hit Fast, Hit Last

Action is faster than reaction. look for opportunities to hit first. And be cautious in not getting countered in the process.

Always Stay in Motion, Either Your Legs or Your Body

Constant movement makes you harder to hit. Moving laterally, in and out, and changing levels will not only make you harder to hit but may create opportunities to attack.

Let it Hit By It Self

Avoid mental processing which will delay response time or sabotage the opportunity. Be patient and when the time comes it hit all by itself.

Set Goals

Always set goals in sparring. It can be trying new stuff or improving the old ones. Goals give you motivation, focus, and allows you to measure progress.

80% Go-to & 20% Experiment

When sparring make sure you keep improving your A-game while also experimenting on new ideas or techniques. I recommend keeping it 80/20 to avoid altering the good habits you already built.

Keep it Honest

Don’t matter who you spar, keep it honest. Give nothing and take everything. This will help you prioritize your attention on attacking and the ability to take advantage of every opportunity. But you don’t have to hit hard, just execute at every opportunity. This will also keep a healthy perspective of what works and what needs more work.

Relax the Power, Practice the Technique

A good rule of thumb is to match your partners intensity. Keep it around 70% power. focus on technique, timing, and speed.

Spar with Hammers

This is related to keeping it honest. sparring a few of these will help keep a healthy perspective of what works and what needs more work. Remember, real gold don’t fear the fire. This is an essential part to getting better.


No matter who you spar, you got to believe in what you got. Lack of confidence will only degrade your performance. Always respect your failures and seek to improve them but also accept them and move on.

Conserve your Energy

No matter how much stamina you have you don’t have an endless supply. Relax and pace yourself. If you are sparring in fatigue state most of the time, you will develop bad habits.

Don’t Unleash the Hulk

Your training partners are your friends. If you keep hurting them, no one will want to train with you.

Log & Analyze

Log your rounds and also analyze on how you did in sparring everyday. Write down your success and failures. This will help you review and analyze on what works and what needs work.  I usually do this in a digital form and email it to myself.

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