I am a Martial artist with over 40 years of experience. My primary art is Arnis Maharlika under Datu Shishir Innocalla. I have also studied JKD Concepts, Jun Fan, and Combat Wrestling. I am also a HEMA practitioner, having studied under Devon Boorman of Academie Duello for over 10 years.
As far as physical conditioning experience, I have conditioned myself for mile (yes , I am that old), 880, and 440 in High School track. I have also trained for college football (pointy American style) , stick fighting, empty hand, grappling, as well as triathlon. I have used barbells, clubbells, kettlebells (12 years including competing at 5 mins, 10 minutes, and 30 minutes.) I have also done a Combat Conditioning seminar with Matt Furey, lifting that oddest of all objects, my own body. In short, I am well acquainted with training, and with odd, or unconventional objects.
Argent Bracci encouraged me to try Torque Blades, so I bought a pair. As an experiment I decided to put myself through the basic Torque Blade Torsion Training protocol on his website. This a free program. I did it using heavy Arnis sticks, 2 fairly evenly weighted practice blades, and my new Torque Blades. I came to the following conclusions. The movements are unique, challenging, and learnable.
What makes them effectively unique is edge orientation (edges out, stay sharp )
The least useful tools were the round sticks, very hard to index and maintain edge awareness, but still some benefit
The practice swords were better, as they had edges, so I was able to get the benefits of the subtle movements required to slice through the air. It would be better if the swords were exact matches.
The Torgueblade is far and away the best tool, as they are designed for the movements, the handles, the blade weighting and curvature all work together to challenge the muscles very efficiently. And they are beautiful, perfectly matched works of art that beg you to swing them.
This system will give you power endurance, edge awareness, and exhilaration. And there is more. Mental training is covered in the Avatar section, and the fantasy novel “Blades of Torquecadia” is very readable and has excellent insights into Martial training. This is a deep system, by someone who has experience, and understanding. I will continue to use it.
I highly recommend that you try the complete system. However , there are ample benefits to doing only the physical aspects. If you can manage to get the Torgueblades (I know that we all have different means and priorities), do so. If not , the best substitute, in my opinion , would be two short axe handles ( handles, not axes, no accidental self decapitation, please).
Lakan 3 Arnis Maharlika
Master Instructor, Cut Above Tactical Tools
I have been training in martial arts for 20 years now and I am always looking for better ways to train. Doing submission wrestling and mma type training takes a toll on the human body. Over the years I had several “minor” injuries that always seemed to linger on. I had lost some of the range of motion in my shoulder which prevented me from doing certain types of exercises. I also suffered from “golfers elbow” in both elbows. Mike showed me several exercises that I should start doing with the Torque Blades in order to help strengthen those areas. I picked up my Torque Blades and went to work doing what he said and within a few months felt 100% better. Using the Torque Blades provide an awesome workout like I have never had. Not only did my shoulder and elbows get better but my grip strength was greatly improved. Grip strength is a major factor in wreslting as well as Filippino Martial Arts. My core muscles also felt much stronger and my lower back no longer bothers me.
The bottom line is that using the Torque Blades and the training DVD that you offer will greatly improve your overall core strength, balance, flexibility and grip strength. This is a complete workout/fitness routine.
I have already started doing the exercises, using lighter implements, in order to nail the correct form of the movement and attain the understanding of how it works. In the meantime, I have also watched the Tranquilblade DVD and find you approach almost ingenious! In all honesty, I don’t know how many people would understand the background of the regime and how it functions, but personally I find it terrific.
Dragan Milojevic, Serbia.
I would like to thank you for attending the sessions at Can Fit Whistler – your passion and knowledge makes our industry better. I did indeed watch your video! What struck me is how rhythmical you make each movement … what I am learning in injury management is that sequencing and timing are possibly the biggest markers for injury prevention. You indeed understand this and I would love to speak more with you about this. Thanks again for your generosity and follow up.
In January 2007, while attending the Dog Brothers Die Less Often – 2 seminar, I had the opportunity to handle several Torqueblades. Crafty Dog asked me to take a look at them because he knows that I have been working out weekly for about 2 years now with Clubbells. He also wanted me to show him some exercises he thought might be conducive to combatives applications.
To be honest I must say there are definitely some different dynamics between Clubbells and Torqueblades, ergo a sincere, direct side by side comparison is not truly possible. Clubbells are much heavier, the weight is located further up the equipment, and they are round (will explain in a moment).
I do a considerable amount of physical training. I work out with Clubbells, kettlebells, barbell, dumbbells, rubber resistance, weight vest, you friggin’ name it. So I have a wide exposure to a lot of systems, including swing metal pipes as well. I found myself immediately fascinated by the weighted blades concept behind the Torqueblades. To have a weighted blade, in and of itself, will better develop the muscles necessary during the actual movements. Anybody who both does conditioning training, and who trains combatives, will tell you that anytime you can do training that results in exercising the muscles used during the actual specific movements connected to your discipline, that that is a good, positive thing. By practicing weighted movements provided by the Torqueblades, you are working those muscles that actually come most into play when swinging say a machete. Furthermore, the Torquebaldes requiore that you be prescise in your angles when swing them. If you are not precise in your angles when dealing with edged weapons, such as machetes, your actual cuts might not have the effect you imagine they do. The design of the Torqueblades requires precision movements on your part in order to achieve the cut you would want in reality. So the Torqueblades necessitate a combination of form and function that cannot be obtained swinging sticks or metal pipes. And in my mind there is no doubt that if you trained with Torqueblades over time, and then needed to use a machete against an attacker, you would probably be able to do some incredibly serious damage to your attacker.
All in all I give the concept of Torqueblades a thumbs up. They are very solidly made from what I saw and felt. Certainly they are a niche product, but for those training in that niche, I think they have great value. If I owned a “dojo” I would have a pair or two, and would implement them into the training of my students. Because power decisively matters, often first and foremost.
Chief Inspector (Retired)
U.S. Marshals Service
When the folks at Torqueblade (TB) kindly sent us a courtesy pair of their weighted training blades (and instructional DVD) we were intrigued. We’ve long had an interest in Bando martial arts (from Burma) and to integrate the forward design of the Gurkhas’ Kukri blades with the concepts of Indian Clubs and movements of modern core theory seems to us rather brilliant. To top it off, one can adjust the weight by attaching or removing “knifes” from the head of the TB and when removed, the “knife” serves for training FMA “long & short” type movements. Indeed, one does not need to follow the program of the instructional DVD (which is briskly and clearly demonstrated) to put the TBs to good use– I often use mine in improvisatory fashion. Wonderful work for the wrists when one firmly grasps the nicely wrapped handles and wonderful for cleaning up important details of one’s movement.
– Marc “Crafty Dog” Denny
I recently had the opportunity to use the Torqueblade. Mike explained to me that the blade had been designed to challenge the grip and desired body mechanics of weapons training allowing a practitioner to develop an adaptable receptive body for impromptu weapons. However, I found that the Torqueblade actually challenged my ability (at first) to decelerate my strike and directional change. I usually use a heavier training tool than this. Due to the configuration of the Torqueblade I could complete many more repetitions of my striking combinations without the same fatigue but still develop the fast twitch muscle I desire for quick directional change of my strikes.
The exercise regime of Torqueblade came at the right time for me as I was seeking additional avenues of fitness training which would still be applicable for combat mechanics. I found that the exercises were of such a wider motion or grosser form than I am usually used to. I have been informed that this is beneficial. Training in a constant sport specific manner can eventually lead to issues of imbalance and pain. I shall be using my newly acquired Torqueblade’s as part of my training regime as well as the fitness conditioning. I found the Torqueblade and Companionblade to be a great product for the beginner, intermediate and advanced martial artist.
Guro Roger Agbulos
When I retired from active martial arts I wanted an exercise system that would allow me to maintain my health and capture some of the fun of martial arts practice. I happened on the Torqueblade System by finding a reference to it on the web page of a well known Master-at-Arms. After a brief correspondence about getting the blades shipped to the United States from Canada, I ordered a set.
I am impressed. The Torqueblades are well made and the accompanying explanatory material is quite complete. I was able to learn how to use the new swords within a week or two,and daily practice was fun. To my pleasure, I noted that my weight dropped back to my dojo weight and my stamina also increased. I realized that Mike Holdsworth has put together something really special with his Torqueblade System. The workout sessions are fun, not too demanding on an aging body, yet they provide a solid workout that shows results. I’m impressed.
The Rev. C. Scot Giles, D.Min.
Board Certified Chaplain
Diplomate, National Guild of Hypnotists
email: [email protected]
“Training with Torqueblade offers benefits of strength, flexibility, proprioception and motor control. All of the above help improve performance, maximize body control, maintain body and joint fitness and assist in injury prevention. Those who master the techniques will see these benefits.”
– Travis Wolsey PT
It is my belief that Mike has made a truly revolutionary training tool for fitness and for bettering your blade/stick fighting martial arts. As an Arnis instructor I am always looking for something that will help me better my skills. I think I have found an excellent tool in the torque blade. Its tip heavy design makes it want to just jump out of your hand. You really have to work hard to keep it in your hand. This is very beneficial for gripping your sticks and using improvised weapons that will not have perfect balance. When you go back to working with your sticks you will find they feel like they have no weight at all.
As for Mike’s core training routine, well let’s just say this is exactly what I have been looking for, for a long time. It is strength training without the boredom. This is simply training for functional strength rather than “gym strength”. I love the way Mike has you using every day movement to help you become stronger. What a great idea. These movements will help you not only gain strength but also keep mobile longer as you age. I am a Torqueblade believer and plan on using my set for years to come.
Guro Joel Huncar;
Rocky Mountain Academy of Martial Arts