Have Fighters Got Better Over the Last 50 years?

Have you ever wondered how a football team in this era would have fared against a team from the 60s? Our view is that they would have battered them. I am not sure the same applies to the average black belt today versus the average black belt from the 60s, There is little chance that today’s heavyweights would stand a chance against the likes of Ali, Frasier, Norton and Foreman. Why is it that in certain sports great progress has been made, while in others we seemed to have remained stagnant? Perhaps it is down to increased professionalism, as portrayed in rugby, or perhaps it is down to training methods!

There is much that combat sports, and us as boxers and martial artists, can learn from professional sports such as football and rugby. SAQ(r)

International have worked with these sports for many years and have teamed with us to apply these concepts to boxing and the martial arts through their training method called SAQ(r) (Speed, Agility and Quickness) and our tvp(tm) (Technique, Variety and Predictability).

SAQ(r) is based on considerable research in the area of sports science over the last twenty years, tvp(tm) is based on research and training in boxing over the last thirty years.

The primary objectives of adopting these approaches in combat sports and martial arts are: 1. hit harder (punching and kicking) ‘I. move quicker (in all directions left, right, forwards, backwards, up and down) 3. increase creativity 4. increase responsiveness to a greater variety of situations .). make training more diverse and enjoyable



Speed means the maximum velocity a martial artist can achieve and maintain through an action such as the delivery of a punch or kick. For most humans the ability to maintain maximum velocity is limited to a short period of time or diSstance. This includes footwork speed, hand speed and reaction speed.


Agility is generally described as body control and incorporates balance, coordination, timing and rhythm. These can be developed using programmed agility which means performing drills that are planned and random agility which places the fighter in a pattern and sequence that thev have to respond to with no prior knowledge. Both are important in the development of a fighter’s ability.


Quickness covers all aspects of acceleration including foot, hand and body movement. SAQ(r) 1. Position of non punching hand Training improves the neuromuscular system that 2.

Bodyweight transfer when punching impacts on this process so that whatever the initial fighter’s movement is, I.e. linear, lateral, vertical, dodge, weave, step back, is automatic, explosive and precise. This is probably the most important aspect of the fighter’s make up. Boxing, martial arts and all combat sports are multi-speed, multidirectional explosive sports and therefore involve a great deal of acceleration and deceleration. The better the quickness of a fighter the more likely they will be harder to hit, and will also be able to hit harder at all different angles.

SAGr) Training is best delivered while the athlete is fresh and alert. By using high intensity, short interval based sessions with high quality recovery the athlete can perform at a higher level of intensity for longer periods. The sets and reps can be altered to ensure sessions constantly challenge the athlete. Fighting is made up of rounds of high and low intensity activity. The athletes that can maintain a higher level of intensity for longer are the more successful. Long, slow training and training that is designed to provide ‘tongue hanging out’ fatigue without rest and recovery is more likely to produce a one-paced slower athlete. If you train slow and tired you will fight slow and tired.

For those of you not familiar with the tvp(tm), here is a reminder: Technique – the ability to deliver the appropriate technique correctly in terms of mechanics. The checks are: Predictability – the ability to outfox the opponent by being unpredictable. The checks are: 1. Preferred movement of direction 2. Footwork patterns 3. Danger punch 4. Movement of head 5. Movement patterns and mannerisms (I. Change of movement speed

The key stages of the SAQ(r) method are described as the SAQ(r) Continuum. This is the sequence and progression of components that make up an

SAQ(r) Training Session. The Continuum is flexible and adaptable to specific fighter requirements. The component parts of the Continuum and how they relate to combat sports are:

Dynamic flex warm up – warming up on the move involving specific fighting movements. Research has proven that warming up with dynamic Ilex prepares the fighter for all the rigorous movement required within the combat sports. Essentially dynamic flex does the following: increases body and deep muscle temperature increases heart rate and blood How increases breathing rate and oxygen supply increases activity and coordination in neuro muscular system and, improves mental alertness Research has shown that static stretching, as generally practised by many martial arts clubs, before training will be detrimental to the performance of the fighter.

Mechanics of movement – the development of correct movement form for the different aspects of fighting. Foot movement in combat sports provides balance, coordination and transfer of power. Correct foot placement helps the economics of movement and makes the fighter become more efficient.

Innervation – the development of fast feet, agility, coordination and control for fighting and combat sports. This is a transition stage from warm up to high intensity foot and hand work that activate the neuro-pathways, in other words you get the nerves to fire the muscles as quickly as possible. The quicker the feel are placed up and down on the floor, the more control the fighter has and more power is generated in punching and kicking.

Accumulation of potential – the bringing together of the previous components in a SAQ(r) Training fighting circuit.

Explosion – the development of explosive multidirectional acceleration for fighting. This stage develops explosive power in punching and kicking. This stage is only added when the fighter has sound and competent movement techniques.

Expression of potential – short competitive fighting games that prepare fighters for the next level of training.

Dynamic flex warm clown – due to the high intensity levels achieved during the training time should be allocated for the athlete to reduce the heart rate gradually to near resting levels. This will help to disperse lactic acid, prevent blood pooling, return the body systems to normal levels and assist recovery. Dynamic flex warm down begins with performing a selection of dynamic flex drills starting at a medium intensity and gradually becoming less intense and using smaller movements. Quality of movements should always be maintained.

The SAQ(r) Continuum The SAQ(r) Continuum provides a format for designing training sessions, depending on the required focus. It is important to remember that these training methods are not designed to replace existing systems and arts, but to integrate and advance these systems based on extensively researched training methods from the field of sports science.

Designing training sessions The design ol the training session is customised to individual needs and the following might be a typical split of sessions: The end result from the combination of SAQJr) and tvp(tm) is a complete, efficient and powerful fighter with the capability to be totally unpredictable.

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