Johnny "Superfoot" Davis




Excerpts from Mr. Davis' Official IKF Kickboxing Training Manual.

Exercising for proper conditioning is critical for fighters but even more so for the fighter who is engaged in using the upper and lower body as weapons of offense as well as defense. Such is the Kick Boxer. Enough can't be said about a fighter getting into the best conditioning possible. I have seen a lot of fighters with excellent techniques, but unfortunately because of poor conditioning they were unable to finish the bout and, or would be so dead tired they could not properly defend themselves and would be knocked out. I'm reminded of a then well known fighter out of North Carolina. He processed some of the best kicks I have ever seen, one who truly had world champion potential. In fact, he taught me a great deal about using my kicks more effectively. He always talked about becoming a world champion kick Boxer. Unfortunately, He liked to party and loved beautiful women. This combination often spells tragedy for the professional athlete. I remember once assisting him with training for an (ESPN) televised fight. I was trying to get him to focus on my program (discussed in this manual.) He only wanted to "literally" dance (something he was good at) through the entire workout. He felt that high impact dancing would give him the total body conditioning he needed to successfully defeat his opponent(s). Needless to say, he lost that fight, mainly on his poor conditioning. He slowly faded into the twilight zone and his dreams of becoming a world champion never materialized.

Fortunately, conditioning has never been a problem for me. I simply loved to workout. However, there are other ways that your conditioning can fail you and that is through improper dieting. We will discuss this later in another chapter. Here are a few tips that will help you obtain optimal conditioning.

There are many exercise routines you can do. However, you only want to concentrate on those that enhance your Kick Boxing skills. For example, running 10 and 15 miles a day will make you a good runner and will probably increase your endurance. Unfortunately, it may not do much for your punching and kicking conditioning. We will now discuss some of the exercising routines you can do to enhance your strength, stamina, and endurance. Later, we will discuss methods of better conditioning the areas that you will use most as a Kick Boxer.

Push ups are great for upper body conditioning, Push Ups will give you the firmness in your arms, especially in the triceps area, which play a large role in your punching power.
Push Ups: hands should be flat on floor - shoulders square - feet together - on toes - keep head in upward position. Starting with your body approx. 2 inches from the floor - (at a moderate pace) begin pushing upward until your arms are extended - repeat. Note: Push Ups should be done in variations such as; feet inclined, hands close together and far apart etc.... Each of these positions will strengthen different part of the upper body. I recommend that they are done in sets of 20 or 30 and only about 3 to 4 sets a day. I mostly did my sets after my morning run, before, during and after my midday workout. Remember you're not in a push up contest!

Sit Ups or Stomach work Start with your knees pointing upward - soles of feet flat on floor - lying flat on your back - neck aligned with spine - forefingers on temple - bring chest toward thighs - at moderate pace repeat from floor. Stomach work should also be done in variation to condition different areas of the stomach. Some will concentrate on the lower part of the abdomen and others on the middle and upper abdomen. Stomach work such as V-ups, leg lifts, crunches etc. all provide you with the proper stomach conditioning needed for the grueling sport of Kick Boxing. Another note is that the stomach muscles play a major role in kicking. Four sets of 50 a day were sufficient for me while training for fights.

Medicine Ball
This is a great tool to condition your abdomen. The impact of the ball also prepares you for the shock of kicks and punches you will receive in a match.

Jumping Rope
This is a great stamina builder. It also helps with footwork and overall conditioning of the body. Start by having a rope that suits your height. Here is a chart that will help you find a rope right for you.

Height, Length up to 5'-5": 7 1/2 ft.

5'-5" to 5'8": 8 1/2 ft.

5'-8" and up: 9 1/2 ft. (chart available through Ringside Products)

For the Beginner
Start out by holding each handle of rope in each hand. Rope should be held slightly below the waist line. The rotation of the rope should come from the wrist not by swinging the entire arm. As you bring the rope behind you and above the head, anticipate its pace by preparing to jump. The beginner can start out by jumping with one foot at a time and change legs at 5 count. Shortly the five will become easy, than move to 4, 3, and 2. The lower the counts between jumps the more it will increase your stamina, footwork, timing and conditioning. I recommend that you jump rope in 3 minute rounds, and no less than 1 but not more than three rounds per day. Jumping Rope also should be done in variation. You can run in place, double and triple skip it etc. be creative.

Running is one of the most important exercises a Kick Boxer can do. However, for me it was one of the most dreaded deeds of my entire routine. During most of my life as a professional Kick Boxer, I lived on the East Coast. In my opinion, if you want the absolute worst weather in the world live on the East Coast. Either is was too cold or too hot. This made it very difficult for many outdoor activities. However, discipline prevailed. I put myself on a pretty tough schedule. Inspired by the Rocky movies, I would wake up at 4:30 a.m. sharp for my early morning run. I found this time to be very pleasant and serene. It offered me the "Quit Time" I needed to concentrate on the upcoming fight.

Proper Dress while RUNNING
Wearing the proper attire is most important while running, much of what you will wear come from simple common since. Shoes: Wear a shoe that gives you great support at the arch of the foot, as well as one that has good shock absorbency.

Pants vs Shorts
Whether you wear shorts or sweats is really not that important. However, I found that the sweats pants allowed my legs to perspire more which kept them trim for fast kicks. Occasionally, I would wear the leotard tights underneath to induce sweating.

You would obviously want to wear the proper clothes for the weather. Especially in cold weather, it is important to wear warm clothes and a sweater hat and, or hood to hold heat that is released from your head.

Other Tips for road Work
Run fast for stamina Long distance for endurance Mediocre distances at a fast pace for stamina and endurance. Punch while running for better coordination and conditioning. Make a fight out of your run, practice slips, weaving and bobbing, balance etc. Remember: Your not a runner, your a fighter!

All information on this page Copyright by Johnny Davis, 1995
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