Striking Foot and Fist

By George Ryan

In Coaching, Combatives, Videos

June 27, 2011

Video Article

CrossFit Striking is a new specialty course offered through This course has been developed by Martial Arts Masters Hall of Fame inductee and LAPD SWAT Team member George Ryan to incorporate striking movements into CrossFit workouts.

In this video, Ryan shares CrossFit Striking movements with the help of Greg Amundson, the Original Firebreather.

Ryan says any technique he teaches has to be easily learned, readily recalled and highly effective. The CrossFit Striking stance is an offensive stance so the athlete is “better able to explode in any direction.”

Ryan explains how to perform a front kick.

“The important thing here is point your knee where you want to strike,” Ryan says. “Maximize your power by pushing that hip forward.”

Amundson progresses into combinations with his fists, and Ryan shows how to use the bags and focus mitts safely to block foot and fist strikes.

7min 50sec

Additional reading: Got Striking? by George Ryan, published Dec. 29, 2010.

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30 Comments on “Striking Foot and Fist”


wrote …

Awesome video and not too technical for the "novice".
I enjoy seeing the striking and shooting instructional videos.
Funtional movement applied to combat. Great. By the way, where can
I pick up a pair of CF split shorts like Greg (the demo guy) is wearing?



Frank DiMeo wrote …

When we hosted this course everyone walked away with new skill and knowledge.
We had several people in attendance with 20-25 years of martial/boxing experience there and no one was disappointed.
Great course!


wrote …

Huge Crossfit Journal fan, but what complete BS. Is this dude the Zone Diet of fighting?

This is the very worst of sport MMA leaking into the no rules world of street fighting.

Bladed is good. Easier to defend groin, protect side arm etc. So this this chap wants us to square up, fine if there are rules against real fighting (groin kick), stupid beyond belief in on the street.

The notion that one cannot defend a thigh kick from bladed also reflects the ignorance of this chap. Thai boxers do it all the time. A non event.

Come on Crossfit, vet who you promote.


replied to comment from Ronin Colman

Perhaps you would like to offer some constructive criticism. What 2-day course would you suggest that teaches someone to strike that is easily learned, easily recalled, and highly effective? It is my understanding that Tony Blauer audited this course before it was certified. He was there when I went through Mr. Ryan's Strike Course. Would you suggest that he is full of shit too?


Good insights Brian! In George Ryan's world the threat of real violence happening very fast is part of his daily life.
Any one who has trained with him will be the better for it.
I respect your mature & responsible attitude in replying to posts.


wrote …

I love the drama,
My first thoughts were almost exactly as Ronins, but i realized that this guy is teaching techniques to people who may have no previous fighting experience, so these techniques are pretty spot on for a basic course. I personally just dont like the term "crossfit striking" the stance he was using was a basic kickboxing to muaythai stance.


wrote …

Everett, I completely agree with you. This basic movements have been in play for years in the Muay Thai community and to simply re-brand it and offer it now seems a little off. I don't doubt George's skills but give credit to the origins.


wrote …

As a MMA Conditioining Coach that in a non professional act of combat, this style makes more sense and is easy to learn. But like one poster said, in a boxing ring/octagon, this style would leave a fighter at a disadvantage


Cody Limbaugh wrote …

Keep in mind, constantly varied. We just hosted this new cert last month. The technique, aside from being a great workout, (which is what we are after right?) is designed to end a conflict in 5 seconds or less.
Our boxing instructor, as well as our MMA instructor, walked away with very useful knowledge that is really adding to the uniqueness CrossFit is!
Thanks George!


wrote …

goood stuff all around. we must realize the "style" is not the end all be all.
its the user and the practice that makes something "effective".
this is a good base. i agree to credit thai-boxing please just so we dont lose where the art came from :)


wrote …

oh yeah...great coaching and great strikes! :)


wrote …

Just putting my 2cents in as a 40 year martial artist (many styles including fencing) and a 2 year crossfitter. He is teaching the Krav Maga stance. he verbally supports it well when he mentions avoiding takedowns. Beyond takedown avoidance is the problem of uneven terrain. in real situations there's curbs, stuff on the ground, other people, etc.The Krav stance is more practical in a self defense situation. As a trained fighter I had a diffucult time accepting this also when i started training KM. This is somewhat due to the fact that gyms,dojos and rings provide perfect footing. Try sparring on a moderately sloped grassy area and your stance wil drift into this naturally.


wrote …

I received my level one crossfit cert recently. Before crossfit was fighting and training at one of the top camps in the world as far as mma goes. I was turned on to crossfit by pro fighters who used crossfit as their primary strength and conditioning program. Im not sure what to think of this. As an amateur fighter my opinion is for sure biased. Just seems to me like crossfit's spreading itself a little to thin. If your going to teach something do it the right way 110%. I thought cross-fit had a good relationship with the ufc get some pros in there to teach this cert. Didn't the marines and the army have some ufc guys come and teach some "practical" basics. Just sayin......


wrote …

Hello All,

I have watched this 8 minute video numerous times and can not seem to find the point where George Ryan states he invented the "open" stance. Many styles use an open stance. The open stance is used in muy tai, MMA, (etc)and even in boxing! George simply states he uses an "open stance" for teaching CrossFit Striking and in his opinion other stances do not work "AS WELL". The stance itself probably has it's origins in early humanity.

Moreover, I have been through the certification and can tell you it is highly effective in adding basic FUNCTIONAL strikes to CrossFit workouts. The "strikes"
used in the certification are a hybrid of boxing, MMA, Tae Kwon Do, Kickboxing and many more practical and applicable styles. The certification is complete in that it introduces the best of striking into CrossFit workouts. I think Cody Limbaugh, Mr. McIntyre, Mr. DiMeo and others who have been through the course can attest to this. It adds to CrossFit workouts and individuals' work capacity. There is much more to the course and George's knowledge than an 8 minute video, and what I can write here.

Lastly, I know for a fact George is the person who should be teaching this course, and I am completely biased. George is a trained martial artist who has passed on his training to numerous police, military, and self-protection individuals, many individuals with those types of backgrounds were represented in my certification class, along with pro and amateur fighters from all disciplines. He has the experience of bring individuals in Los Angeles to jail who have "two strikes" and are looking at a third, which means life! How would you fight if you know you are going inside prison for good? He is tested, his instruction is high-level, and he CrossFits! And I have seen it ALL in live time. How? because I am his brother.

All the Best,

James M. Ryan
Boston, MA


replied to comment from Samuel Russell

We could debate fighting stances and styles for hours and real world vs sport styles. Which stance or style is more effective against what. We could discuss this until we are blue in the face and not reach a definitive answer as to the supremacy of one system. As some one who this matters to on different level than most I often engage in such debates.

The only thing I take issue with is calling George Ryan anything less than a professional demonstrates a certain level of ignorance for lack of a better word on your part. I will refer you to the video that I have attached via the link on the bottom of my post(scroll down the page to the George Ryan video and watch it). I don't for one second doubt George's knowledge. I have attended SWAT seminars through NTOA that George has been involved in. He has a level of real world experience that is not easily matched. There is a crossfit hero workout devoted to one of George's teammates that died on a LAPD SWAT call-out George was on. George is the real deal and has a diverse amount of experience in both sport and real combat. I'd feel lucky to soak some of his experience in anytime. Please don't assume someones level of experience from a few minute video on striking.




wrote …

Comment 3: Who cares what stance is used in the end as long as it works when the situation arises so lay off the negative comments. Sounds like you are a martial arts conversation dork (I know because I am one too). "Ronin"...really? Comment 13: Who the military uses for combatives training is irrelevant to the overall goal of CrossFit striking. Look at the content/intent of the program being demonstrated by George Ryan and not as an oppurtunity to discuss how awesome UFC and Sport MMA is. Believe me when I say very few UFC fighters actually know what military "combatives" consist of. All of the "practical" fight enders in the military realm are not allowed in Sport MMA let alone on the "street". In my opinion UFC teaching military is a waste of time and in most cases a ton of tax payer money (unless the fighter volunteers their time and then it is still usually a waste). You don't have to be a UFC fighter to teach people striking basics. George Ryan is a very proficient teacher/instructor from what I have seen in the video. Also look at what CrossPit is doing. There is your UFC for you (not to mention your credible street fight stuff).


wrote …

Oh yeah...Comment 3. You never know what kinda stance your going to find yourself in during a "street" survival situation anyways. Mobility is the key factor. If I am more mobile than my enemy my chances of beating him obviously are higher. Blammo...street defense conversation dork coming at ya!


wrote …

I attended the striking seminar. It was exactly what I wanted. I am now able to work striking skills into my workout. After being shown a workable stance and proper striking form, I can use the bag and mitts without fear of injury. Remember this is a two day seminar- not a black belt certification. As for the instructor- Mr. Ryan - I found him to be knowledgable, patient, and easy to understand as he taught this course. If Mr. Ryan thinks that the open stance has merit, then I accept his choice- Remember Mr. Ryan works in an enviorment where he does not choose his fights - they choose him and he has but one choice and that is to stand and fight. A professional in his position can clearly judge what works.

Bill Fogarty


wrote …

I was not trying to discredit or disrespect George Ryan in anyway. I apologize if it came off that way.

My main point is that Crossfit and the UFC have a developing relationship. UFC is not just a brand it is now synonymous with mma the sport just like the NFL and football. In my opinion it would be silly to not reach out to them.

Comment 13 when you say that very few very few UFC fighters actually know what military "combatives" consist of.

here is a list of some pro fighters who were in the armed services

Brian Stann-Marines
Luigi Fioravanti- Marines
Randy Couture-Army
Fedor-Russian Army
Patrick Cote-Canadian Army
Chris Leben-Army
Rich Clementi-Navy
Steve Bruno-Navy
Tim Credeur-Navy
Brandon Vera-Air Force


wrote …

Perfect example of the ignorance that keeps me away from forums and comment sections.

Crossfit is PERFECT for MMA conditioning. Crossfit WODS are amazing workouts, (as we all know) but now, incorporating striking and kicking into the WODS, you are killing two birds with one stone. You are 1) getting a amazing workout and 2) you are now learning skills to possibly protect yourself or loved ones at the same time. I have seen many high level crossfitters that are smoked after adding in some basic punches and kicks. They love it.

I was estatic when I heard Mr.Ryan was teaching this class. I have been waiting for a course like this to come to Crossfit for a long time. Crossfit hit a homerun by choosing Mr.Ryan as their instructor.

I have attended several of Mr.Ryan's trainings (swat,firearms,defenisve tactics, striking, kicking etc.) By far one of the most experienced, well spoken, knowledgable intructors Ive ever had. It is very rare to find a instructor with his types of experiences AND so dedicated to his craft. LA Swat, NTOA DT Instructor, Author for grappling magazines, Crossfitter, Kick box champion, Black Belt hall of fame etc.etc. Im embarrassed by the uneducated comments by people like Colman.

It is a honor that Mr.Ryan cares enough to take time out of busy schedule to help teach skills to his fellow crossfitters that could possibly save them from a attack or sexual assault. Shame on people that would post and try to deter someone from taking this class because you dont agree with or want to nit pick a stance? (embarrassing)

Colman, get educated, take a class with Mr.Ryan. Then you can come here and post your public apology that you owe him.

Eric Cusson
Professional Fighter


wrote …

I'm going on 20 years of martial arts now. Hard to believe it's been that long.
I did my fair of teaching when my instructor handed his school over to me so one thing I consider myself experienced with is trying to explain to people who don't now how to use their body to cause and avoid harm is, well, exactly how to do that.

The first thing I learned at my first class all those years ago was the 'horse stance'. A stance that had me square off and let me not think about anything but what I was doing with my arms (and how much my legs were burning). When that was under control and I knew not to windmill around the room shouting and hopping I was then taught how to add my hips into the situation, then my feet, and then I was allowed to sometimes take a foot off the ground and swing it too.
Just like when you're a kid and the first time you write the letter 'A' it's like an inch tall.

My point is, fundamentals first. When you get your fundamentals down, then you can start dealing with technique and then you can start tossing your fists against finesse.
This video does a nice job of introduction striking. I think the message gets lost on some when it stops for a moment to explain why one stance is superior to another, as anybody who's not at the fundamental stage could form an argument, easily, opposing. Especially when there are so many other factors that need to be addressed like avoiding elbow lock, breathing, blah blah blah.

Anyways, when martial arts start getting involved people are going to get passionate. Passion is good, it's probably why 90% of us are here. Passion good, manners better. =D


replied to comment from Eric Cusson

Well said sir, well said!


replied to comment from Ronin Colman

Well said Eric. As not only a CF L1 trainer for over two years, a DT instructor (that defensive tactics instructor for you Ronin), a police officer, a swat operator but also someone that has been in a couple "scraps" I can honestly say CF striking it legit. Not only does it train you body it trains your mind. Theses skills are easily taught and learned but people ranging from law enforcement to "soccer moms". This is about life protection and I believe that these skills will aid greatly in that. As someone who deals with a wide range of people and skill levels CF striking transfers to everyone. As far as your comments about kicking in the groin, well CF striking teaches you to bring the fight to your attacker. You become the offensive person. From my experiences the straight on stance puts you in a better postion to be ready for all attacks and puts you in a much better postion to bring the attack to that person. As far as your "no rules" fighting. Everyone that I encounter don't play by those rules and I have never been kicked in the groin. As far the instructor, how about you do some research on him and then try questioning him. What background do you have? I can not speak highly enough about this program. It is making people better athelets and teaching them skills they can recall quickly and protect themselves.


wrote …

Comment 19: All great MMA fighters for sure! Only ten people listed (and there are more by the way) and are there any of them out teaching military applications? Also of those listed are there any with actual time in a combat arms unit or that has combat experience (and I am referring to actual hand to hand combat with an enemy who wants them dead...really dead)? You don't have to answer this because I already know the answers. I do agree that UFC and CrossFit have a great working relationship and you are right there is potential for ever more Sport MMA/CrossFit stuff. Awesome idea. Also I detract some and admit that any UFC fighter has alot to teach military personnel in the arts of hand to hand. It has been my experience, however, that the UFC guys that have come to teach military units focus on complicated Sport applications and not on skills directly related to destroying and or incapicitating an enemy. They typically don't understand what different restrictions soldiers/police work under (i.e. body armor, controlled force, limited visibility operations, rules of engagement in accordance with the laws of warfare, etc;). The U.S. Army has actually identified this issue and has molded it's Modern Army Combatives Program to reflect the needs of combat soldiers. I must also admit that having great UFC legends visit a unit to teach some stuff is great for morale. I should not generalize so much when posting comments. I also did not mean to offend anyone. Friendly difference of views is all.


wrote …

After I posted my comment I got to wondering if perhaps my notion that squaring up to an opponent was really stupid in a no rules venue. So I called a close friend who happens to be the coach of a UFC headliner who won his fight by KO in the recent UFC 132. He laughed at the notion of squaring up and suggested that anybody who advocates such a thing try sparring for "30 seconds" with groin kicks allowed.

I also asked him about the idea that one could defend an out side leg kick more easily from squared. He responded, "how about an inside leg kick."

Watching this vid again, the coach keeps talking about hitting bags and mits. To quote Bruce Lee, "Boards, don't hit back." I get that this fellow is a good guy and has his fan boys. The Martial Art respect thing and all that, fine. How about a Combat Tia Chi cert?

No disrespect to the UFC/MMA guys at all; I train in BJJ with an Ultimate Fighter winner here in Fort Worth. But that said, watch out for Primacy Of Training. MMA rules prohibit things like groin and eye strikes, head buts, small joint manipulation, etc. - thus they do not defend against these, and worse they are glaring open to them.

Not suggesting for a moment that a novice is going to best a professional MMA guy with a poke to the balls, but the folks buying into this little bit of training are NOT professional MMA fighters. The last fight most of us have been in was High School if that. The punk who is about to kick your ass was in a fight last Saturday.

Blade up, move off line, protect your groin, eyes and throat, use weapons.

Peace Out


wrote …

I am not usually a blog type guy but this seems to be of importance so here we go. I am glad that you train with such great atheletes and fighters. One question, When you train do you do groin kicks, headbutts and eye strikes? The stance that is taught if you really watch is not a full on straight ahead, you drop your power leg slightly, not bladed but not standing with your feet side by side. I am teaching CF striking at my box along with the help of a professional MMA fighter and he gets it! This is not the end all of everything but is a great tool for people to become highly conditioned and learn how to protect themselves. As I police officer I use small joint manipulations, knee strikes, strikes and kicks. This training and stance seems to work for me! As a firearms instructor we now teach officers to square up to the targets. One reason is more of your armor showing but also so you can move better. Trying standing in a bladed stance and moving forward, lateral, and backwards all while engaging targets. Also most of the time I do not just encounter one person so if I blade up I would have a very hard time with 360 coverage! Again you talk about real life fighting well try some of what I just said in a true bladed stance. Again CF striking is a great tool for many people for many reasons! Also you have never stated your experience except for training with fighters? Mr Ryan's bio is well beyond most people not only as a fighter, trainer, but as a LAPD SWAT operator, which by the way is not an easy task!! As for as "fan boys" I believe that the proper term is respect! Try it!


replied to comment from Ronin Colman

Mr. Colman,

You are a little slow on the draw here sir. You replied over two weeks after most athletes on the board made an unorganized PACT and shot you off the course. I expected your timimg to be a little better, but at the very least your second shot was slightly better than your first.

Mr. Colman in your first post you wrote that CrossFit Striking " the very worst of sport MMA leaking into the no rules world of street fighting." Then you go on in your second post to state that you called "... a close friend who happens to be the coach of a UFC headliner who won his fight by KO in the recent UFC 132. He laughed at the notion of squaring up...". You are now using someone from the world of MMA to validate your point about using a bladed stance for street encounters. Have you ever been in a street encounter sir? Has your panic alarm ever gone off seeing the flash of a knife come out? You would not be
worried about getting kicked in the groin then sir, believe me.

Lastly, if you do not like the course, the videos, or the stance do not attend, watch, or use it. There is a lot of people who do like all of the latter. As far as the Tai Chi cert., why not a speed shooting cert? Why not (fill in the blank)? This course is designed to make CrossFit athletes better athletes while incorporating strikes into their workouts, and it works (period).

They say everything is bigger in Texas, you are showing personally, that your immaturity is as well.

James M. Ryan

(George Ryan's brother)


wrote …

25: Again really?


wrote …

Well, well, well,

What do we have here? Firstly I'd like to say hello to Mr. James Ryan. As a member of one of your brother's earliest Crossfit Striking certs and actually the proud owner of the first one in Australia, it's good to know that George's brother is as much of a gentleman as he is.

Secondly I'd like to take the chance to say- W. T. F? People on here arguing over stances, what style of Martial Art should be credited with inventing a stance and why we aren't being taught by Chuck Norris instead of this George Ryan guy. So... let's just clear a few things up shall we.

This is not a self defence cert. It is not trying to teach people to be pro fighters. George makes no claims of having all the answers for all the people. What George has developed here is a way to marry combat skills into Crossfit. Hence the name Crossfit Striking. No one is trying to rebrand anything or steal any credit form anyone else. The only thing original about Crossfit is it's approach. We've all seen the movements before, we all know about interval training. The approach and the community is what makes it different. The emphasis is placed on proven results that can be recorded and measured. Crossfit Striking is a system that allows you to add a combat element/focus into WODs in a manner which remains faithful to the Crossfit ethos. Constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement.

Crossfit is all about the unknown and unknowable. To me, the basic skills of striking fall under "functional movement". If people fail at the margins of their experience, adding a functional skill set such as striking to their arsenal can only be a good thing. Throwing a punch, kick, elbow or knee is a "core to extremity", explosive movement which involves your body utilising a kenetic chain to achieve maximum speed and power. Striking also trains your stamina, balance and accuracy. Sounds very Crossfit doesn't it? In fact, throwing a straight right and throwing a softball are extremely similar movements. If you can throw one well you can throw the other. Maybe a little bit of outside the box thinking would have helped a few people at this years games, no? Tai Chi doesn't really translate over as easily or directly so I think that answers the question of why Crossfit doesn't offer that particular cert. Good attempt at an analogy though.

Crossfit HQ obviously agrees. HQ does not hand out it's name very often. This course was pitched to HQ and it was audited and reviewed by EXPERTS. The resounding feedback was that this would be an excellent addition to the specialty certs that crossfit offers. It wasn't just pitched to some guy who knows a guy who trained a guy who knocked a guy out at UFC 132. Furthermore, any negative comments or feedback posted on here is coming from people who haven't actually been and done the cert. After I'd finished the cert I walked away ready to drink the Kool-aid. I'd bet my bollocks to a barndance that there isn't a person who has attended one of George's courses that didn't feel the same way. I guess the proof is in the pudding.

The funniest thing is that even if it WERE a self defence course- I'd still have my money on George Ryan. People are talking about it like the guy is somehow tied up in MMA or that he doesn't know what he's talking about. He doesn't sit in a dojo breaking boards. He teaches self defence to Law Enforcement agencies, he's a full time member of the LAPD SWAT team, he's an absolute gentleman and a bloody nice bloke. I think you would be doing well to find a guy who is MORE qualified or who comes MORE highly recommended to be offering this sort of training. Oh, but of course, we haven't seen him on an episode of The Ultimate Fighter and he doesn't wear Affliction shirts with flaming skulls on them so there's no way he could be legit right?

I'm a Crossfit trainer and before I took the Striking cert I'd been in combat sports all my life. Boxing, Muay Thai, BJJ, MMA and Rugby. Anyone who doesn't believe Rugby to be a combat sport is welcome to come and have a run in outback Queensland. We'd turn up to the field on a Saturday for a fight and occasionally a game of Rugby would break out. I'm no stranger to hitting things and teaching other people to hit things but I believe that I took probably the most away from George's cert of anyone in the class. I was already attempting my own Striking classes at the box where I coached and it was a popular class but it just wosn't really taking off. A lot of people have an instinctual urge to hit things and when you combine that with a Crossfit style workout you're appealing to people on a very primal level. For a guy like me, who already knew what he was doing with the technique side of things, I was able to concentrate on the coaching and programming aspects more than others. Having said that, George was still able to help me with a couple of little hints and tips that got me throwing just that little bit faster and harder. If you're convinced that George's technique isn't "real world" enough for you, despite his decades of actual real world application, then good luck to you. Moreover, If you have something worthwhile to show him that is easily learned, easily recalled and effective- you'd have his full attention. Nevertheless, if you're THAT GOOD that George can't teach you anything about striking techniques- he can still teach you a lot about how to incorporate what you already know into Crossfit and make it accesible to everyone no matter their experience level.

As George's brother, James, so eloquently put it "...if you do not like the course, the videos, or the stance do not attend, watch, or use it." Everyone has a right to an opinion but just because you have one doesn't mean that it is automatically correct or that people want to hear it. To explain this sort of thing away as "passion" just denies us the chance to call it for what it really is- "ignorance". Go and talk to a trainer at a globo gym about Crossfit and he'll start spouting back with rubbish about risk of injury and poor technique blah blah blah. The reality is that he just doesn't know what he's talking about. It's that kind of closed minded, one dimensional thinking that Crossfit has had to battle since it's birth. Please people, don't let it start to infect it from the inside. If you have no interest in adding striking to your workouts or if you already do and think you have nothing that you could gain from a Striking Cert then just don't sign up. Don't sneak around and try to discredit something you have no knowledge of.

Yours sincerely,

Matt Rutley.


wrote …

Rather than debate this stance vs that stance or one particular style vs another, I feel the correct way to view any combat involvement in a WOD is to view it as a training element like gymnastics, weight training, or met con. Think about it, these are basically bodyweight, core to extremity movements delivered with a large burst of power. Kinda starts sounding like a general application of what we are developing as Crossfiters. Those of us with extensive experience in the ring or even just in a general martial arts class should agree that we would not want a beginner throwing high dynamic kicks without properly developing the basics first, both for saftey reasons and for the sake of skill development. The idea that this video, or even the course, can offer an affiliate the knowledge to begin adding these elements to their programming should be exciting! To be overly critical of the particulars seems like an Olympic gymnast going on about how Crossfitters do handstand push ups wrongly. We aim for GPP as Crossfitters. Some are stronger than others, some faster than others, some better gymnasts, some better martial artists. We all have Crossfit in common. Personaly, I welcome the involvment of any of these drills to a WOD and feel that this will allow proper saftey measures and an aceptable, although not mastered, level of competency in their execution.

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