Sometimes, an NFL team needs more than a “traditional” coach to help their players train for the upcoming season. Right now, the New England Patriots are one of those teams. The Boston Globe reported on Monday that the Pats are hiring martial arts expert Joe Kim to train their pass rushers
Who is Joe Kim?
Kim is a Cleveland-based Taekwondo master, and an expert in MMA. He was a member of the US national Taekwondo team, and his resume boasts a long list of NFL work. Since 1992, Kim has worked with or for 10 different NFL teams, including the Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, and Cleveland Browns. Kim has also worked with Penn State’s football team, and trained Tamba Hali.
This isn’t the first time Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and Kim have worked together. Their relationship started 26 years ago when Belichick, then with the Browns, hired Kim to work with the team after seeing one of Kim’s ads in a local paper. Kim’s stint with the Browns ended in 1995 when Belichick was fired, but they hired him again in 1999 and 2016.
Related: Look back at Bill Belichick's career:
Bill Belichick through his career
Bill Belichick through his career
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One current Pats player has already worked with Kim: defensive tackle Danny Shelton, who was on the Browns in 2016. Shelton was very positive about the experience.
The Patriots made it all the way to the Super Bowl last season, but that doesn’t mean the team didn’t have weaknesses. (They did lose to the Philadelphia Eagles, after all.) Their 34 regular season sacks tied them for 16th in the NFL, and their pressure numbers had them close to the bottom. Both of those can definitely be improved upon, which is why Belichick is calling on Kim.
How does Kim train pass rushers?
Kevin Duffy at MassLive.com said that Kim’s extensive background in Taekwondo (he is a grandmaster) is especially helpful with hand placement and general technique for pass rushers. The Boston Globe called it “hand-to-hand combat,” and Kim will work with defenders on improving those skills.
This Instagram video shows Kim putting the Kansas City Chiefs through his drills back in April.
Some of it looks like standard football training drills, but Kim’s focus on hand placement is evident. It may not be completely traditional, but that probably doesn’t matter to Belichick and the Patriots. The only thing that matters is that it works.