Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Elements of a typical traditional martial arts class west chester pa

Are you looking to join your local karate club or have you already taken the first step and signed up? If you haven't yet visited your local martial arts school, you're probably wondering what a typical karate class looks like. This article will break down the main elements of a good karate class.

Obviously not every club will follow this format and within each martial arts school the weekly classes will also change but this is meant to be a guide of what to expect in general.

Classes also vary in length ranging from short 30 minute classes for young kids to 1 hour classes or longer for older kids, teenagers and adults. The following example is based on a one-hour class and not all of these elements will be covered in each lesson.

1. Formal etiquette The majority of karate schools adhere to some kind of formal etiquette at the beginning and end of each class. This practice can be attributed to traditional Asian culture where bowing and formal chanting are often used to begin and end any type of structured activity. Depending on your chosen karate school you could see the full routine of formal etiquette including kneeling, multiple bows and the verbal recital of the school creed to a more laidback approach of an informal hand clap followed by the words, "Let's begin".

2. Warm-up and stretching Before any type of physical activity it is highly recommended that you warm-up and stretch. It is often a good idea to end the activity with more stretching (sometimes called a warm-down). Karate is a very physical activity and so it should be obvious that a warm-up is an integral part of each lesson.

3. Practice of basic techniques Right after the warm-up ends many karate classes begin with basic practice. This includes drilling stances, punches, kicks, blocks and strikes on the spot and up and down the floor with the focus being on multiple repetitions of the main techniques required for each rank level.

4. Forms practice Forms are pre-defined sequences of techniques that a practitioner must memorize. The forms are often a main requirement for each test, and they help the practitioner to understand how different techniques fit together and integrate into sets of techniques. There are many different forms and each one has a set pattern with a central focus.

They are often likened to the martial arts equivalent of a dance routine but most forms have accompanying application drills that show how each technique can be used against an opponent in a self-defense situation.

5. Short break Depending on the length and intensity of each class, practitioners are often given the chance of a short "water break."

6. Partner work drills These types of drills are usually one of the fun parts of a karate class because the practitioners get to practice their techniques with an opponent to see how they are used and to drill appropriate reactions to different types of attacks. Partner work drills aren't always limited to two people but can often include multiple opponents or group training drills. This usually depends on the creativity of the instructor and the overall level of the class.

7. Pads and targets An important part of karate training is to practice your techniques against different types of targets. These targets include soft or hard focus targets, body shields, hanging bags or the more popular free-standing Wavemasters, plastic sheets and even wooden boards from time to time. Pads and targets are usually a lot of fun for all involved and give you a real sense of what it feels like to actually strike a target.

8. Conditioning drills This is really where your level of fitness can improve dramatically. Conditioning drills include running, jumping, push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, star jumps, squats, relays, and any number of stamina-focused activities. Depending on the level of the class and the age group these drills are not always for the light-hearted but you did want to get a good workout, didn't you?

So in a nutshell a typical karate class will include some or all of these different elements.

For more information about the programs at Dragon Gym, please visit our main website:

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Kids Martial Arts west chester pa

The Kids Martial Arts program at the Dragon Gym will really help to arm your child with a host of positive mental and physical skills that will help them in school, at home, and in life.

The Martial Arts will improve your child’s grades.

The unique Dragon Gym Kids Martial Arts (Moo do) System offers a lot more than just self-defense and physical agility.  Our educational martial arts program and unique achievement program will teach your child history, geography, safety and much more.  The best part of all is that the Martial Arts will give your child the self-discipline to study.  This leads to increased concentration at school and pays off in the form of better grades.

The Martial Arts develop your child physically.

The martial arts will also help your child develop physically.  Our programs increase speed stamina, and strength in children.  The program also develops balance, coordination, and timing.  This will help in sports and all activities.

The Martial Arts develop your child mentally.

Perhaps the scariest problem facing many parents today is the thought that their child might get involved in drugs.  The number of “good kids” taking drugs at a younger and younger age is staggering.  We help promote anti drug programs.  On top of this our programs are designed to promote self-confidence and self esteem which gives your child the courage to say NO in the face of peer pressure.  Recent studies have shown that programs that focus on personal achievement such as martial arts are vastly more effective in this area than team sports.

The Martial Arts promote leadership skills in children to help them succeed in life.

Dragon Gym programs will teach your child about setting goals, leadership, and taking responsibility.  These qualities more than any others will help your child ensure their success in school, in college, and in life.

The Martial Arts teach children self-defense skills that save their lives.

While we wish it were not even a factor in our program, the fact remains that we live in a world full of undesirable people.  The martial arts will teach your children how to protect themselves from danger. 

Your Child will enjoy the Martial Arts because our high-energy classes are full of excitement and Fun!

Perhaps the best part of our program, from the children’s point of view, is just how much fun the classes really are.  Our high-energy classes will focus your child’s energy in a positive and productive manner.

Martial Art training at Dragon Gym will provide your child with personal attention not found in other schools.

We focus on quality instruction and personal attention to our students.  All our classes are taught by highly trained instructors committed to excellence and continued learning.  When you enroll your children in the Dragon Moo Do System, you can feel safe with the knowledge that they will be receiving the finest instruction available. 

Not all Martial Arts Schools are created equal.

Few Schools in the country have the unique combination of martial arts, education, facility and leadership that you will find with our programs.

Our Team of over 20 instructors is the finest anywhere in the world.  Each instructor is highly qualified and experienced, trained directly under Master Sikdar and Master Beck.  It is each instructor’s primary goal to make every effort to provide you with a safe, fun and educational Martial Arts Program

Master Somnath Sikdar

Somnath has been training in Martial Arts for almost 30 years and has attained the rank of 5th Degree Black Belt.  His training has covered a broad spectrum of martial arts to include a variety of weapons, self-defense, traditional and sport Tae Kwon Do.   In addition, he was the President, Head Instructor, and Coach of the University of Pennsylvania WTF Tae Kwon Do Team

Master Lonnie Beck

Lonnie combines his experience in Western Athletics and Eastern Martial Arts to effectively instruct both the children and adult students of the Dragon Gym.  Through over 25 years of intense training in Tae Kwon Do, Hapkido, and a variety of weapons Lonnie attained the rank of 4th Degree Black Belt. 

We offer convenient schedules & affordable rates.

The Dragon Gym is open six days a week and offers convenient schedules.  So make an investment in your children that will pay off for the rest of their lives. 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Consolidation of Blogs: New Online Community

The Trainers at Dragon Gym are consolidating blogs.  You can find all of our blog entries as well as a new online community here:

Friday, June 24, 2011

Training Log - 6/24

Fibonacci Friday
Double Kettlebell Military Press and Front Squat Circuit.

Front Squat @ 135 Lbs - 2, 3, 5, 8
Press @ 20 Kgs - 2-3-5-8

Front Squat @ 155 Lbs - 2, 3, 5
Press @ 24 Kgs - 2-3-5

Front Squat @ 175 Lbs - 2, 3, 5
Press @ 28 Kgs - 2-3-5

Inverted Row and Pushup Circuit

5 Rounds of 10 each. 

From Wednesday:

Friday, June 10, 2011

Burn Fat Three Times Faster

Studies have shown, for men and women, that high intensity resistance exercise will elevate your metabolism for up to 38 hours post workout.   Aerobic training alone WILL NOT have the same effect.  Is this why I see so many joggers that are overweight?   This is nothing new.  Exercise specialists like myself have been saying this for years.    A fairly recent innovation in American Fitness has been the use of the Russian Kettlebell for conditioning and fat loss.   A systematic approach to Kettlebell training truly is the most effective way to shred fat from your body.

Now, the solution is quite simple: TWO HAND SWINGS.   Kettlebell swings are a great and efficient way to condition and burn fat simultaneously.  The Kettlebell is itself a simple piece of equipment and the workouts can be done just about anywhere.  It is also largely portable; on a recent road trip we through a 12 and 16 in the back of the Xterra and we were good to go for 10 days.  The protocols are also pretty straight forward: Set period of time, set intervals, swing “hard style” and your good to go. 
So why aren’t more kettlebellers lean and mean machines?  
Immediately, I think of three reasons:

1.       “Fat-Loss” is not a goal – Okay.  We’re fine with that.  We don’t all need to be walking around with minimal fat levels.  Practically, it’s really not necessary.  Your vanity drives you in a different direction – Awesome.  Seriously – Vanity is a great motivator to stay healthy. 
2.       Strength/Performance is not enough of a focus.   You’ve been swinging Kettlebells for a year and your still swinging the 12kg bell for 10 sets of 20 every single time you workout?  Returns have diminished?  We’re not surprised
3.       “Jogging” through swings.  In my view, this is the biggest obstacle to fat-loss when using Kettlebell swing protocols.  What do we mean when we say “jogging” through swings?  It’s hard to explain explicitly, but most likely you are not doing the following:
a.       Bio-Mechanical Breathing match – There should be a hard in-hale during the back swing, and a sharp exhale at the apex of your swing.  
b.      Lockout at the top/apex of the swing – The legs should be locked out and quads/abs/glutes all flexed
c.       Swinging to the chest – Although there are reasons for low-altitude swings, conserving energy is not one of them.  Maximize the power output for every single swing.  If it’s easy to swing to your chest level go heavier or swing faster.
d.      Sitting back on the back swing – The swing is a hip dominant movement, but there must be knee flexion involved (not forward knee flexion), but at least 15 degrees of flexion at the knee and 45 degrees at the hip

Bored of swings?  Try the following routines:

An unparalleled way to hack off body fat and radically improve your conditioning is to implement kettlebell swings into the classic Tabata interval method, which is merely twenty seconds of work followed by ten seconds of rest, repeated for four minutes. These four minute tabata blocks can be exceptionally grueling, especially if you accept a decent size kettlebell to perform your swings with (we personally used a 36kg bell). The purpose of this is to break the 1 to 1 work to rest ratio, and to make each twenty seconds of work feel as much like an all out sprint as possible. While swinging the 36kg kettlebell, we were hitting between 12-14 reps consistently for each 20-second work block. Rest assured that if you do this right, you’re heart rate should be through the roof by the time you are done!

Tabata Kettlebell Swing Intervals

Next up is a swing chain. Line up three bells, each consecutively heavier. For our training session today we used a 20kg, 28kg, and 36kg kettlebell. Start at the light bell and bang out five reps. Immediately move onto the middle bell without resting and hammer out another five swings. Again, with no rest move onto the heaviest bell and perform five more two handed swings. Once you have dominated the heaviest bell, drop back down to the lightest and start it all over again. You may either work through the chain for time (see how many times you can get through it in 30 minutes) or you can perform a prescribed numbers of sets and see how quickly you can get through them. Both are effective methods for improving conditioning and promoting fat loss.

Kettlebell Swing Chain

Create a circuit of the following three exercises: Double Kettlebell Press, Double Kettlebell Clean, and Double Kettlebell Front Squat.  Rest minimally between exercises and between sets.  If you are ambitious you could combine all three into a complex.   Perform as many circuits as you can in 30 minutes.     Pick a weight and repetition scheme that allows you to operate at about 80% for the duration.  For example, if you have a pair of 24 kg Kettlebells and can press them 5 times, assign your reps at 4 per set.  However, there is a caveat – don’t do bad reps.  During a given set you may feel like 4 reps is maximal.  That is OK, just stop at 3 reps.   Always leave “one rep in the tank”.

After a session like this your heart rate and oxygen consumption should remain elevated for an extended period of time. 

Press, Clean, and Squat Complex

Please report back.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

5 Tips for a healthier Lifestyle

Do you accommodate everyone else's schedule before your own?

Are you making time for everything in your life but yourself?

If you plead guilty, then it's time to stop committing personal sabotage! In today's demanding environment, it's hard to keep things in perspective. You can't avoid daily stresses, but you can learn to handle them effectively and stay in control. Maintaining a healthy balance between yourself and your work and family commitments will help you get the most out of life as well as your personal and professional relationships.   

Remember, your health has to be the number one priority; so that you can be there for all that depend on you!

Give Yourself a Chance

Living a healthy lifestyle won't guarantee your health and happiness, but it's a good place to start. Make sure you get plenty of sleep, drink lots of water, exercise on a regular basis and eat nutritious meals. In addition, schedule regular check-ups with your doctor and dentist. Try to avoid caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, and any drugs that could hinder your ability to function at the top of your form.

Write It Down

You'll focus more clearly on goals, dreams, and the to-do list if you write them down. Keep things simple, but do give priority to relationships and obligations that are crucial. Don't create unrealistic aims by expecting perfection or trying to be something you're not. Be honest in evaluating your skills and preferences. Organize your home and work priorities in order of importance. Then decide how you can manage your time more effectively so that you'll maximize the time spent on what's really important to you.

Kick Back

If you don't have a hobby, find one. It can be anything you have fun doing and won't take too seriously. You might also try deep-breathing and relaxation techniques. These exercises have a calming, refreshing effect. When you find yourself tensing up at work or at home, take a few minutes to relax, stretch, and breathe deeply.

Think Positively

Mental attitude is just as important as physical condition. Find productive ways to deal with anger, depression, stress, and other destructive emotions. Sometimes an activity as simple as a brisk 10-minute walk outdoors will work wonders. Try to keep your perspective; work hard to prevent minor aggravations or unimportant demands from getting the best of you. Concentrate on becoming flexible and practical. And learn to give in to compromise; sometimes it builds character. Resist the natural tendency to take negative events personally. Random calamities do happen; fate doesn't single you out.

Make Time for You

Everyone needs some time alone. Learn to enjoy your own company. Spend time pampering yourself--take a hot bath, read a best-seller, or visit a friend. Indulge and take time for yourself! 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

5/9-5/13 Logs

Monday 5/9

Dynamic Warm Up Circuit 3x
Plyometric Pushups
1 Leg Squats from box
Medicine Ball
2 point stability

Kettlebell Double Clean and Press: sets alternated with 5 Chin Ups
20Kgs 2x5
24 Kgs 2x5
28 Kgs 1x3

Incline Bench Press:  Sets alternated with suspension strap inverted rows
135 Lbs 3x8

Kettlebell double floor press: Sets alternated with suspension strap inverted rows
24 kgs  3x8

20 seconds on 10 seconds off.  12 minutes total
Boxing combinations on the heavy Bag

Tuesday 5/10 - Conditioning Day
One Are Swings
28 Kg  - 10L/10R per minute for 10 minutes -- 200 Swings
9 Sprints
3 with 40lb vest
3 high knees with 40lb vest
3 no vest and downhill

Wednesday 5/11
AM - Kettlebell Press Ladder each arm:
12kg x5 - 16kg x5 - 20kg x5 - 24kg x5
16kg x5 - 20kg x5 - 24kg x5 - 28kg x3
20kg x5 - 24kg x5 - 28kg x3 - 32kg x3

Kettlebell Double Clean and Squat alternated with inverted rows:
5 rounds of the following
(DCL+SQ 16kgs x10 -- Inverted row x10 -- DCL+SQ 24 kgs x 5 -- Inverted row x 10)

1 set DCL+SQ 28Kgs x3

Hand Stand Push Ups - 3x3
Pull Ups - 5x5


Friday 5/13

5 rounds of the following circuit
Deadlift -- Heavy KB Double Clean and Press -- Inverted rows -- Light Double Kettlebell Clean and Press

Deadlift: 135x3, 225x3, 315x3, 365x1, 385x1
The heavy press was with 28 kgs and 3 reps
Inverted rows were 10 bodyweight only
The light press was 16 kgs and 10 reps

Pullups 5x5
Hand Stand Pushups - 5x3