Loren W. Christensen, Good Martial Artist, But Somewhat Misguided...
For those unfamiliar, Loren W. Christensen is a fairly well known martial artist. He has black belts in Karate, Jujitsu, and Arnis. He’s an ex-cop who did a lot of assignments in the mean streets of Vietnam and worked on various gang defense units. Christensen also teaches martial arts and dabbled in body building in his youth. Now around 60, Christensen spends most his time writing books and articles on martial arts as well as giving specialty lessons. Many of his books are very well done. Hell, I own a couple myself and found them very informative and well written. Only problem is that while most of the content is really good, he makes a couple grade-A bullshido remarks in some of his books (in my opinion anyways). Honestly, I think a lot of it comes from him being slightly biased when it comes to health because he has an old school body building and traditional martial arts background. Here are some examples.
From "The Fighters Fact Book"
- Christensen has a whole section on creatine where he says “Everybody and their brother takes creatine these days, and for good reason: it works.” He then writes several paragraphs about the great gains that he and his students have made, and then ends the section by saying “I’ll conclude by encouraging you to take creatine. It is considered safe by scientists, doctors, and sports medicine specialists.”
Last I checked, creatine’s benefits had not been proven factual by the FDA and not enough long term studies had been done for it to be “considered safe.”
- Christensen’s thoughts on ground fighting. “90% of Fights go to the Ground. Oh Really? Have you ever noticed that most of the people making this claim are also selling books and videos on grappling? Have you ever wondered where they got that percentage? This 90% claim has not been my experience, nor has it been the experience of all the police officers I asked about it. In all the brawls I had I can’t think of one that went to the ground when I did not want them to. I’m not saying that I was good at preventing it from happening. I’m saying that it simply didn’t happen.”
Okay, I can maybe understand him saying that ground fighting is overrated, but to downplay it to such a degree is absurd. Also, I find it hard to believe that a cop who has been fighting and arresting thugs on skid row for decades (enough to write a book on all the crazy fights and situations he’s been in) hadn’t been forced to fight on the ground a single time.
From "The Fighter’s Body: An Owner’s Manual"
- Christensen's thoughts on aerobic exercise. “Don’t overdo the aerobics. Review your aerobic training to see if you might be doing too much. Long duration aerobics burns a lot of calories and fatigues your muscles so you can’t push as hard with dynamic tension or the weights. In extreme cases, aerobics actually waste away your hard-trained muscles. Your goal and focus right now is to increase your muscular development, not to improve your aerobic condition. If you insist on doing them, limit the sessions to 30 minutes, three times a week. You can always do more once you finish building the muscles you want."
I think that most martial artists agree that aerobic training is just as, if not more important than resistance training. Even for general wellness, most specialists list 30 min sessions aerobic three times a week as an absolute minimum. Most I’ve heard recommend closer to five days a week to be in great physical health.
- He continues. “Don’t do cardio kickboxing, stationary bicycle riding and 60-minute jogging sessions. While the martial arts does require aerobic fitness, as does a real street fight, both endeavors involve short explosions of energy, not the type developed from long periods of endurance work.”
Tell that to anyone who’s ever lost a fight because they started to gas…