This program is centered around the exciting forms of combat exercise. Kick boxing, boxing, Jiu Jitsu, Tae Kwondo and Karate are some of the fastest growing sports in the country. The opportunity to take a self-defense class and workout while learning important motor skills is not only great for your physical health but also for your cognitive (brain) health.

Here are some movements that pull from all of the above disciplines in martial arts. The movements are patterned after the art and will assist in the tissue preparation and motor skill required in each.


Jump Rope

5 minutes

Get yourself a jump rope! It is the most accessible and portable piece of cardiovascular equipment you will ever buy. Get into a rhythm of two feet jumping over the rope and then switch to a different foot pattern. The more often you switch your feet the longer you will be able to go without tiring.


Core Plank Reach

Three sets of 20 reps, rest 45 seconds

  • Assume a prone position with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands shoulder-width apart.
  • Reach one foot to the side as far as you can while maintaining a long spine. Keep the back flat like a table. Alternate left foot reach followed by right foot reach.

Deep Squat to Inchworm Push-Up

Three sets of 10 reps, rest 45 seconds

  • Start in a standing position with feet wider than shoulder-width. Bend your knees and sit your hips back down into a deep squat.
  • Place your hands onto the ground in front of you and walk them forward into a push-up position.
  • Perform two push-ups.
  • Walk the hands back to the deep squat. Stand up. That is one rep.

Ape Lateral Travel

Three sets of 60 seconds, rest 60 seconds

  • In your deep squat position from the previous move, transition to a lateral travel.
  • Place your hands left towards the ground outside the knees and plant them into the ground.
  • Shift your weight onto the hands and pick your feet up and transfer them to the left to assume the ape deep squat position.
  • Repeat to the right. Alternate between left and right.

Boxing Jab and Straight Right Combination

Three sets of 60 seconds, rest 15 seconds

In this movement you will practice your left jab and your straight right. If you are left handed (south paw) you will jab with the right and throw the straight with the left.

  • Assume a boxing ready position with your feet staggered and your left foot forward with your right toes in line with the left heal.
  • Keep your hands covering your face. Elbows will point down into the ground.
  • The jab is a quick punch and is often seen as a set up punch or defensive punch to keep the opponent away. Take a small step forward with the left foot when your throw the left jab. Aim for the top of the head of your opponent.
  • The right hand is a power punch and is called the straight because it going straight for the middle of the head between the opponents hands while they are in a defensive punching guard. When throwing the right you need to pivot the right foot or aim the belt buckle towards the target.
  • Practice throwing the left jab for 60 seconds, then the right for 60 seconds. Then throw the left, right combination for 60 seconds.

Double Hook

Three sets of 60 seconds, rest 15 seconds

  • Assume a boxing ready position with your feet staggered and your left foot forward with your right toes in line with the left heal.
  • Drive your right elbow forward at shoulder height, releasing your right heel and twisting through your hips and torso to bring your elbow to your opponent’s jaw.
  • Drop your right elbow and twist the other way to bring your left elbow at shoulder height around to strike the other side of your opponent’s jaw.
  • Keep your free hand up to protect your face throughout the movement.
  • Repeat, alternating elbows.

The Kick Boxing Knee

Three sets of 60 seconds

This movement involves grabbing the back of the head or shoulders of the opponent and bringing your knee to the side of the ribs or the head.

  • Reach the arms forward as though you are grabbing the opponent’s head.
  • Drive your left knee into the imaginary opponent’s right ribs,. Repeat for 60 seconds then switch sides.

The Karate Side Kick

Three sets of 10 kicks each side

This is a staple in Karate. This involves kicking to the side. It is both a defensive and offensive kick.

  • Stand with feet under hips.
  • Shift your weight onto your right leg. Bring your hands up in a defensive ready position.
  • Lift the left knee towards your trunk and extend and leg out laterally as though you are kicking the oncoming opponent in the abdomen.
  • Repeat for 10 kicks and then do the other side.

The Karate Front Kick

Three sets of 10 reps each side

The Front Kick is a kick straight ahead to the head.

  • Stand in a staggered stance, with your right foot slightly behind your left, body angled.
  • Shift your weight back on your non-kicking (front) leg as you kick straight and vertical towards the head with your back leg.
  • Repeat, then switch legs.

The Tae Kwon Do Roundhouse Kick

Three sets of 10 reps each side

The roundhouse is a 45 degree angle kick usually to the head or shoulders of the opponent. The roundhouse comes from the rear foot in your fighting stance.

  • Stand in a staggered stance, with your right foot slightly behind your left, body angled.
  • Bring your hands up into fighting defensive stance.
  • Use the rotational power from the hips and trunk to swing and snap the rear foot around the front of your body to make contact with the head of the opponent in front of you.
  • Repeat, then switch legs.


5 minutes


  • Get into a kneeling position while sitting on your feet.
  • Keep your hands on your thighs and focus on capturing your breath and lowering your heart rate.
  • Breathe from the nose. In and out at a rhythmical, slow tempo.
  • Create balance in your breath, quiet in your mind.

Photo credit: Jason Briscoe, Unsplash
GIF credit: Tom Casey,