Kettlebell Groundwork for Martial Arts

We hear a lot about how kettlebells are an Incredible tool to build attributes. I completely agree with that statement but got into a heated debate recently on an online forum on this subject. The topic being discussed was the “limitation” of the kettlebell.

There were multiple posts asking about the effectiveness of kettlebell training when it came to the Martial Arts. At NTC, we believe that Movement is Movement regardless if it is a Sport, Martial Arts or everyday Life. However, we are fully aware that in order to convey information to various demographics we have to cater the material to their interests so that they Pay attention. 🙂

Helder and Barry Cuda engaging the ground at a workshop in Nevada

Helder and Barry Cuda engaging the ground at a workshop in Nevada

So we are back to the conversation referenced above. Why did this forums resident “Kettlebell Expert” feel that the kettlebell was so limited for what was needed for his Martial Art?

This is what I was able to gather:

* Kettlebells are only used in 1 Plane of Motion

* Kettlebells Do Not pack on enough muscle for this users liking

* Not all Gyms or Dojo’s have Kettlebells

* Kettlebells are ONLY used in a standing position for ballistic work which limits the practitioner

I’ll be honest, these are all Valid points. What my debate partner didn’t realize was that I had very detailed answers for all of the points listed above. We are always revisiting our ideas and testing to see what works and discarding what does not. So I was well prepared for this debate. I will not give a “detailed” explanation for each point so for the purpose of this post I will keep it brief.

Kettlebells are used in 1 plane of motion when we begin. Like most things in life, Baby-Steps will get us there the fastest. But once we own the basics, we then begin to explore and visit various planes of motion in our training. We begin catch & release drills with the kettlebell as well as “travel” with it as we train. We have many examples of this in our Kettlebell for Combatives series.

Kettlebells are NOT meant for bodybuilding. Can we pack on muscle with kettlebells? Of course we can but that is by-product of kettlebell practice NOT it’s sole purpose. Why a Martial Artist would want to pack on TONS of muscle in order to be better at his Art doesn’t make sense to me but I’m usually in the minority in my thoughts when it come to mainstream thinking.

It is true that not all gyms nor Dojo’s have kettlebells. My answer; Join a gym that does or better yet, avoid the Big Box all together and invest in a kettlebell. It is cheaper in the long run and MUCH BETTER for your all-around Health.

The last point on using kettlebells ONLY from a standing position is where I would like to get into a bit of detail. We perform lots of ground mobility drills within the NTC Method. We find it to be a MUST not an option for what we want to achieve as far as attribute building. We can never be one dimensional because that will reflect in our performance or lack thereof, let alone our Health.  Bringing our mobility drills down to the ground opens up lots scenarios that would previously not be addresses.

Many things that we do as Martial artists, Athletes or just plain humans have a ground engagement aspect. So of course we have to train the aspect and train it well. But how can we do that with a kettlebell; aren’t our feet supposed to be planted as if we were stuck in cement? My answer is an emphatic; HELL NO!

As we progress through the NTC Method, we begin to add resistance. Kettlebells are our preferred choice when it comes to resistance tools. So the logical progression, once we are comfortable with our groundwork is to add the kettlebell. The keyword here is progression. If we cannot perform the drill without the kettlebell, it would make sense NOT to add a kettlebell when performing these drills. Revolutionary idea, isn’t it? But take a look around at some of the “STUFF” on the Internet and you may wonder why So Many have NOT gotten the memo. 😉

Below if a brief video on some of the ways that we incorporate the kettlebell into our groundwork. Be Safe, Be Smart and take your time. We do not need to rush. We improve with each inch that we move and that is all that matters. You are competing with yourself and No One is watching. Baby Steps is how we all become Winners! Focus on your Health and everything else will come along for the Ride..

 Kettlebell Groundwork Example:

Thank you for viewing!


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