The first collaborative article with our nutrition partner ONP is a really really important one. With Agni Natchathiram burning everything in its wake our athletes need to be at the top of their game but stay wary of heat illness. Just about everyone in Chennai is at risk for heat Illness and symptoms are very subtle at first. Infants, elderly, Athletes, active people, Party goers, obese people are all at risk. Please do yourself a favour and read the full blog article. Spread the word and you might just save a life.

Since the day I started Combat Kinetics, I have noticed people saying the same things, over and over — excuses they have been giving themselves for years to live a life that’s far from prudent, leave alone being the best that they can be. It’s quite disturbing, because it reflects the mindset of a vast majority of people around me, including close friends and family.

I thought I’d do a small 4 part guide on the basics and bust a few myths. I’m not one for mincing words, so if you’re easily offended, I suggest stopping right here and finding a dark corner to rock yourself to sleep in.

Yes, I know there are exceptions to the rule. No, this isn’t a thesis covering every possible scenario. Aaaanyway! Here we go!!

PART 1: Living in misery

Living in misery seems to be acceptable these days… Most people think it’s normal to be living with a hundred complications every day. It isn’t. And in all probability, it’s your own fault. The good news is that once you’re done feeling sorry for yourself, you can do something about it right away.

Here are some regular examples of  ‘it’s normal’ that I see simply as denial or sheer ignorance.

Falling sick

isn’t something that you do every day or every week. Healthy people have healthy immune systems. They rarely fall sick and if they do a couple of days resting does the trick, they almost never visit hospitals for treatment unless they’re injured or have a serious condition.

Constant physical fatigue

isn’t because your job is too hard, it’s because your physiology/diet/sleep patterns are crap. Go tell the 50 year old daily labourer who lays roads about your hard tiring day at office.


is a symptom, not a disease. It is most often caused by bad diet habits and other factors as far removed as bad posture. Most people needn’t ever suffer constipation in their lives, if they take good care of themselves.


can be caused by many things, and, at times, it’s even because of factors beyond our control. At these times it’s important to remember that the world keeps spinning, but check this out, intense exercise releases endorphins (chems that make you happy) and in the long run makes you look/feel much better and opens the door for a lot of new possibilities as far as activities go. Meditation clears your mind… Better than the oft travelled route of stuffing your face with “feel good food” and feeling sorry for yourself for months and then feeling worse because your moping has left  you 2 steps behind and now you have a nice paunch to boot!

Not able to run and play.

Limited mobility is not normal. It’s a disability if you’re 40 and you aren’t able to play ball with your kids or run up to the fourth floor because the lift isn’t working. You should be able to go on that trek with your love interest or go deep sea diving for your 10th anniversary if you wish to… If you can’t, you are living half a life. No two ways about it.

Not able to have sex or a very low sex drive

is not run of the mill. There are so many people who attribute sexual dysfunction to many causes when in all probability they don’t get it on like bunnies because they treat their bodies like crap and are functioning at 30% capacity most of the time. Getting tired after a couple of minutes isn’t normal either… And yes, maybe her low sex drive is because you look like a walrus and move like one too! No, your “skills” don’t make it all ok.

Feeling old.

I won’t even bother wasting time addressing people who feel old at 25 or 30. You should be absolutely bulletproof at 30 and you can carry that invincibility up to 40 quite easily. Why can’t you still do somersaults and cartwheels at 28? Why do you have a slipped disk at 30? Why don’t you have any stamina at 32? Can’t do all those crazy positions with her anymore at 35? You can’t dream of running a half marathon at 40 or go trekking in the Himalayas at 50, even though you finally have the money and the time? It’s probably because you wasted all those years treating your body like a dust bin and not because of your age. Is it too late? No. (Well, not unless you want to compete in the Olympics…).  Start doing something about it right now and I guarantee your life will change.

Looking like a relic

is quite simply a by-product of neglect and a bad lifestyle. Aging is an unavoidable process, but it is in our control whether we age healthily or keep pushing ourselves into decline… Unhealthy hair, shot eyes, saggy skin, discoloured nails, bad muscle tone, bad posture, the ‘middle aged spread’… Unlessyou are 65+ These are all signs of poor health, not old age.

Aches and pains

are not a part of your everyday life. Most of them are probably caused because of bad posture and musculoskeletal imbalances. Yes, that back issue you have had for all these years that’s getting worse is not because of old age, it’s because you haven’t strengthened/corrected it as yet. Try doing something about it instead of hobbling around and groaning every few minutes. Same applies for ancient sports injuries. Nothing’s stopping you from intelligent rehabilitation.

Genetic predisposition.

“I’m obese because my mom and dad are obese”; “No one in my family is athletic”; “My family is predisposed to wide hips and that’s why my butt looks like a sack of potatoes…”… Bullshit! Your parents were obese because they didn’t look after themselves and you’re obese because you followed suit. No one in your family is athletic because they never did anything athletic. Shakira has wide hips. Her butt doesn’t look like a sack because she doesn’t have kilos of excess fat covering her muscles.

It’s pretty simple actually… What you eat and how you live will manifest itself in every facet of your life… The good news is that it isn’t too late to step up. For those of you who have already started mentally preparing excuses for yourself, Part 2 of this article is just for you… Now sit up straight!!

Watch this: 60 year old man.


After hearing a whole bunch of ignorant traditionalists go on tirelessly about my approach to women’s fitness and self defense, I thought I would make my next post (inspired by a CF paper) about the psychology behind a certain mental block that I see examples of every day.

Historically, women have been told about all the things they can do. They can cook, clean, put on makeup, be a mommy and a loving wife. More importantly, women have been told all of the things they cannot do. Let’s forget other parallels for now and stick to physical fitness. Of course the female physiology is vastly different but having less relative strength to  a man is very different from being helpless. Lets do a quick run through, See if you can relate.

It’s common knowledge that women can’t lift heavy boxes, fight back, drive or play “men’s sports”.  There is a term that’s been coined “girl push-ups” for those push-ups done on the knees.  It’s a mindset that’s instilled in young girls from the earliest ages “You, as a female, are incapable of doing full push-ups like men.”  The fitness industry also capitalizes on this image. They sell pink rubber coated dumbbells of 1 and 2 kg as “girl weights”. Some might say, “Hey, that’s all I can lift, Im a girl!” And I say to them, “It’s‘ all you can lift because that’s exactly what everyone has told you your whole life” . With such a low-intensity pace and pre instilled defeatist mindset, it’s no wonder women see low results in spite of those boring 45 or 60-minute cardio workouts. Weight machines using cables or stacks of weights have been the ruin of real fitness. This is the industry’s way of saying, “You are too stupid to learn free-weight exercises safely!”

Commercial personal trainers fertilize this mutation, Women are scared away from strength training by looking at sick images of manly and chemically enhanced female bodybuilders equating high intensity with abnormal swells and bulging veins. Supporting this perception is the press and media putting out what is popular vs what is right.

Most women today are left in a state of denial. They believe certain things are outside their grasp. They wont  even allow themselves to imagine doing pull-ups, sprints or cartwheels. They deny themselves the confidence to believe their goals are possible, attainable or winnable. Their whole lives, they have heard one thing: “You can only do as much as we tell you that you can.” I can’t count the number of times women have pre-empted their briefings with me saying: “I don’t really want washboard abs or a fit/strong body, I just want to lose a little weight”. Really?? I don’t believe you!! And I’m sorry… but that stuff is inevitable when you get real fitness training and no, it doesn’t matter if you are a mother of two. No, wide clavicles don’t mean you’ll never have a great butt, quite the opposite actually. All you have to do is work hard and trust the process. Go to a designer  gym if you want false gratification.

Combat Kinetics invites you to get down for a free orientation class. Trying won’t kill you — just  ask any of my girls at CK … You DO have what it takes. Be smart, be focused, find out what you’re really made of, believe in yourself and commit. The results will follow on their own.

Yesterday you had a great workout at the gym. You did your time on the efx, You were bench-pressing more weight than ever before, and curling enough weight on the bar to scare small children.

Today, you suddenly hoist a 20 kg  suitcase to carry it downstairs — and throw your back out. What happened? In all likelihood, you’re not paying enough attention to your functional fitness. You might have large muscles, but are you ready to sprint all out, jump over an obstacle or play a game of football? 
Functional fitness focuses on building a body capable of doing real-life activities in real-life positions, not just lifting a certain amount of weight following movement pathways created by a “one size fits all” gym machine.
Conventional weight training  isolates muscle groups, but it doesn’t teach the muscle groups you’re isolating to work with others. The key to functional exercise is integration. It’s about teaching all the muscles to work together rather than isolating them to work independently and because of its nature it will really work your whole body. With functional exercises you will find a carryover in things you do in normal life.

 When you use machines and hydraulic assistance you may be strengthening certain muscles, but your body’s not learning anything, because you don’t have to activate your core stabilizer muscles or the stabilizers of your arms and shoulders. The machine’s doing it for you. In functional fitness, most of the time, you should be standing on your own two feet and supporting your own weight when you lift anything.

In fact, to get started with functional fitness, you might want to forget about the weights entirely at first. Most people can’t even control their own body weight or do a one-legged squat without falling over. Try it now. Can you?

 I have met people who could lie down on a leg-press machine and press 150 kgs, but they don’t have the muscular control for a one-legged squat because they don’t have the stability or the muscles working together. Your first step, should be to teach your body to control and balance its own weight. Start with simple movements, like the deep squat, and other exercises to promote balance and muscle integration evenly across your body.

Jumping into functional exercise may startle some people used to working on machines alone. It’s a lot harder! Functional exercise is much more neurologically demanding than machine exercises, it not only strengthens the body, but also strengthens the mind. If you arent willing to focus and push you arent even going to scratch the surface.

It is essential you find a trainer who knows exactly what he is doing as you are working with complex body movements engaging multiple muscle groups. Don’t try to go too fast. The longer you’ve been away from exercise, the more time it takes to build your body back up. As with any exercise programme , rest and diet are extremely important for good results.

Last but not least, a fit body is also very aesthetically pleasing, well balanced and athletic. Your body will shape itself and it will show in the way you look and feel to the way you walk. See you guys at class soon.

Some people walk into our centers expecting air conditioned indoor spaces, hydraulics, a steam room and mirrors. Maybe a polite receptionist and even more polite, soft spoken trainers walking around with electronic BMI calculators… If you are one of these people you will be sorely disappointed.

Combat Kinetics is not a Gym or Studio. we are a sports club and everything from our programs and methodology to our physical locations reflect this. Here are a few things most people who work out are used to that we dont subscribe to with our programs. If you ever played any kind of sports or even played outdoors as a kid in school you will be able to relate fairly easily to the reasons i have laid out here.

Air Conditioning:

Air conditioned bedroom all night, air conditioned house, air conditioned car for your commute, air conditioned office all day. We as a race have managed to cocoon ourselves in a fully climate controlled environment for most of our lives. Dont you think its a good idea to let your skin breathe, your body to sweat naturally and allow the organism that is you to function in a non climate controlled environment  for at least a little while a few days a week?

Air conditioners dehydrate, cool your warmed up (see what i did there? 😉 body down and encapsulate you in an unnatural environment. You will hardly (if ever) find any athletes training with AC or any good coach who endorses such enviornments in everyday settings.


The Bodybuilding gyms of old had a couple of “Posing Mirrors” for bodybuilders to check out their physiques and development of their bodies for competition or general aesthetics. In modern times we have managed to skew this into “spotting mirrors” which basically means mirrors plastered everywhere for people to check their “form” for movements as simple as their bicep curl or their military press. People have just become too reliant on looking at themselves while they exercise (how much of this time is spent correcting form ill let you judge for yourself)

Have you ever seen a judoka doing a 360* rotational throw with one leg up in the air “Check his form” in the mirror?Have you seen a sprinter who explodes off the block with every single muscle in his body working explosively with perfect alignment “Check his form” using a mirror?  Gymnastics? Yoga? Bharatanatyam?  Yeah I thought as much! Do you know why this isnt the case here? Simple… Its because they learn to effectively tap into their neuromuscular connect, “feel” the proper form and correct themselves. Focus on the right things and you will create kinetic linking chains that will last a lifetime.


This is something where there is no absolute but as with almost every sports coach in the world we might allow athletes to “tap  in to their zone” by listening to their favourite motivational song BEFORE they start a training session/competition and/or AFTER to bring them back from that focussed state. But during training its all about bringing that internal energy to the table, finding your push and listening to the coaches instructions.

Combat kinetics dosent have music in their classes because we would like you to have all your focus and attention on your form, breathing pattern and instructions from your coach. We would like our students not to be dependent on music to activate themselves during class, as with any other serious sports training protocol.


This one has been done to death and if you havent yet heard read or watched all the research on the drawbacks of machine supported workouts you’ve probably been living under a rock. Just in case you have let me just give you a quick run through!

Isolating muscles and following machine guided pathways work well for rehabilitation of some injuries and for hypertrophy training bodybuilders (should also include free weights) follow. So if you arent a bodybuilder and youre looking for true fitness, Gpp or athletic ability across the board, machine assisted workouts should be completely avoided or make up not more than 10% of your training time (cable machines, etc).

Back to basics and solid science:

So yeah, nothing flashy or unnecessary… Just your body, a few training accessories and your coach. What you will find at  a typical Combat Kinetics club is a bunch of lorry tires, mooring ropes, kettle bells, trx straps, worn out judo mats, taped punching bags and iron weights.

We don’t have a receptionist. Our Coaches are not gym trainers who have completed a 2 week course to get “certified”, they are all superb martial artists and have won their titles through competition and years of training. They will remain calm and quiet until your training starts… We have found “madam please see if you can try one more” doesn’t work as well as “10 more! GO! GO! GO!! This is all you!!”.

We do not believe in apologies, excuses or mediocrity. We want commitment and dedication. We will get you ripped, fast, athletic, powerful and give you some wicked fighting skills to boot. Before you can say “cardio” we will have you hitting your head on a wall wondering why you wasted so much of your life in those color coded techno gyms running in the same place for 30 minutes and chasing mirrors.

This is real fitness. We build bodies that last a lifetime. Don’t work out on a machine… Become the machine. See you guys at class!