'Ninja' Bears in line with martial-arts trend in NFL

'Ninja' Bears in line with martial-arts trend in NFL
February 13, 2014, 10:30 am
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The announcement that the Bears have added karate expert Joe Kim to their coaching staff as an assistant strength/skill development signals another sign of NFL players and coaches looking outside the football box for methods to improve their game.

Rookie guard Kyle Long went in the 2013 draft’s first round and to the Pro Bowl after working in the early offseason with FOX football insider Jay Glazer, himself a former martial-arts fighter. Glazer currently runs a training program developed with former MMA champion Randy Coutre using a mix of wrestling techniques along with selected hand-fighting styles.

Their clients have included Green Bay’s Clay Matthews, Houston’s Brian Cushing and Minnesota’s Jared Allen, and he trained Shea McClellin prior to the 2012 draft. Glazer was hired by the Atlanta Falcons and St. Louis Rams teams to work with their players.

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Kim has 21 years of experience as a consultant and assistant strength coach. He most recently worked in the NFL as a pass rush consultant with the Kansas City Chiefs from 2010-12, helping develop Pro Bowl rush linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston.

Kim has also been a consultant with the New York Giants (2010), Buffalo Bills (2009), Penn State University (2009-10), the Denver Broncos (2007), Green Bay Packers (2005), Miami Dolphins (2001-06) and Dallas Cowboys (1998). He got his start in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns as an assistant strength coach/pass rush specialist from 1992-95, his first of two stints with the team (1999-2000). He is a 7th Dan Black Belt recognized by the World Taekwondo Federation, Kukkiwon and USA Taekwondo.

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“Joe comes in highly recommended through [General Manager] Phil [Emery] and some players and coaches I’ve talked to from around the league,” coach Marc Trestman said. “As in every phase of our team, we are trying to help our players grow and develop in different areas. Adding Joe is part of the ongoing process to help our players improve their collective skill sets.”