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12.31.2005

Supplemental Training "The Absolutely Unscientific Bio-Cognitive-Experiential (BCE) Model"

We warmed up with some pummeling and proceeded into some rolling. I tried some different, largely unoriginal, things to set-up taking the back:
  • Arm drag to either closed or hooks inside guard
  • Reverse arm bar to straight armbar, unhook leg and sit laterally to armbar side
  • Hooks inside, under hook thigh and start transition to X guard, partner's arms splay wide as he "sprawls" to keep base, duck out to opposite side from thigh
The second key that I concentrated on was staying "dynamic" in any position that was not "full". I still notice that I like to (arrogantly) hangout in positions that are not very useful, relying on experience and athleticism to save me. These are the times when people score advantages or points and there are enough of those situations in the flow of grappling without me giving them away.
I've been thinking about the collective experience of training and have sketched out what I call the Bio-Cognitive-Experiential (BCE) Model, a hypothesis of how three primary factors coalesce into a function of overall ability.
Bio
Physical AttributesThe first factor is the sum of physical attributes (see "Jeet Kune Do: Its Concepts and Philosophies (Jeet Kune Do)" (Paul Vunak)) essentially all the athletic qualities we idolize in any sports figure. Being a gifted athlete can make up for a lot of very poor technical skills and knowledge in a competitive arena. However its usefulness is limited. First athleticism peaks based on uncontrollable factors such as age and injuries. Next athleticism while an extraordinary and necessary tool in the competitive arsenal can limit technical learning. For example, smaller jiu-jitsu players are often much more sophisticated than their larger training comrades. Super-heavyweight boxers are not known for their crisp punches or exceptional footwork, certainly not when compared with a flyweight of equal level.
Cognitive
Knowledge / 'Wisdom'"Youth is wasted on the young" is a keen aphorism. As we gain more life experience we typically develop a greater understanding of ourselves and others. Remember how you behaved at 5 years of age? 10? 15? 20? 25? Ancient cultures often went to learned elders for their wisdom, and I think that we still develop wisdom by aging and experience. A maturity developed doing one task or job can be translated and reinterpreted in another. Many people come to the martial arts after years of doing something else because they were not ready developmentally to start training. Such is the transition from TMA to MMA. Experience and learning tell us the functional superiority of one over the other. As long as we continue to observe and learn throughout our lives, this cognitive maturity will never peak, even if the slope is considerably different from person to person. You can train hard recklessly or intelligently, the younger generation leaning toward recklessness in increased sparring, refusing to tap, or training injured more often than their more conservative elder generation all of whom got there by surviving a (typically brief) reckless period.
Experiential
Technical Development & AbilityInitially combative martial arts training has a steep climb in ability that with time levels off. This is a convincing illusion, the leaps and bounds made initially are converted to crawling, in what appears to be reverse development. Worse, peaks and troughs of technical mastery and embarrassment muddy the waters. Learning is never smooth, things come in, they rattle around, some stay, some go away, and the cycle repeats. The emotionally immature (see Cognitive above) quit after the initial rush of improvement dampens. The rest take this perceived diminishment and push through, refining and polishing striving for a material goal (beating the instructor, a black belt, etc.) and by doing so create an imaginary ceiling. A lucky few realize that it's about the journey not the destination (an excellent documentary on missing this point entirely is "The Smashing Machine - The Life and Times of Extreme Fighter Mark Kerr" (John Hyams (II))) for us training is a joy, there is always more to learn, ways to develop, and new challenges as a student, teacher, or competitor.
Interestingly our TMA roots understood this well, in the Japanese martial arts (the legend goes) one never washes the belt and there were traditionally four colors: white, green, brown, and black. Training outside the young student would fall in his white belt due to strikes or throws or whatever and the grass would stain it green. As the grass was worn away the dirt would stain it brown, and as the belt became filthier it became black. The black belt, called shodan which translates as "first grade", was now able to learn the system in earnest, the previous material being considered largely conditioning exercises (a speculative aside: most Western martial artists who transmitted the martial arts to the US had barely gotten their blackbelts before returning to the States...hmmmm). As the black belt student wasn't falling down as much anymore his belt was not continually stained and began to fray (probably due to the clutching hands of the lower belts he beat mercilessly) revealing the white layers beneath, symbolically the realization that no matter our fearsome martial prowess we are all still students capable of learning, processing, and creating lifetimes more of information.

So what good is the highly unscientific BCE model? It's an artificial construct so perhaps none at all. But perhaps we can use it to assess ourselves as students, coaches, or fighters. At what points do we see ourselves on the curves of the BCE Model and what can we do about it. If you have a missing physical attribute what can you do to improve it? What can you take from your personal life experience and plug into a context of martial arts and often times vice versa? Where are you technically and why? What can be done about a technical valley and how can you "surf" a technical wave? Furthermore you can use this model to assess an opponent to create a game plan taking advantage of both their strengths and weaknesses. Essentially you can use it as observational framework or as a basis for your own competitive martial arts model.

12.30.2005

Open Roll The Brazilian's Take Over

This was a practice dominated by Portuguese! They had a quorum so of course we had to do some Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. We did a number of 6 minute rolls followed by passing the guard "king of the hill" with the guy off the wall calling top or bottom.
Odilon showed a neat little arm bar from mount variation. Controlling the arm with your arm nearest partner's head and his near pant leg while partner defends arm bar. The leg controlling the chest and inserted next to your partner's neck on the side nearest you. Create a scissor action on the head, it won't submit the person but it takes a lot of strength and fight out of them. Could also transition into a cross body biceps slicer using inserted foot. This variation fits in neatly with concepts of an active mount. It may not be the highest percentage technique but it adds options and flexibility to situation that can become untenable. It's not the first choice, but part of an algorithm of creating offense and preventing the loss of position.
This evening I started reflecting on the last days of the Combat Room and created a small tribute to it.

12.28.2005

Open Roll "The difference between 'full' and 'half' positions"

With the training slump from Christmas to New Year's in full swing and a burning desire to get out of my house, I found some of the "townies" and "grad slaves" who wanted to get a little bit on the holiday bulge. So we did a series of 5 minute rounds and then some first take down until everyone was tired and felt that they could go eat, drink, and be merry this weekend.
Between rounds and while working with my partners I made an observation, people often try to hold positions that are anatomically or physiologically not structurally strong positions. For example, after aggressively attacking with an armbar and losing their partner's arm they remain in that position and try to hold their partner there. They've lost the submission and now they lose position, getting passed, reversed, or into a scramble from a poor position. Rather than treating that submission or sweep as a transient moment in the spatiotemporal tapestry that is combat, it becomes a fixed obstacle of our own creation in our own martial path. In striking we don't stand frozen in one spot with an extended jab, just because we threw one earlier from that position and are hoping our opponent will graciously wander back into it and damage themselves. Why then do this with grappling?

Schematic of full vs. half positions and how they interrelate with dynamic and static effort as well as offense and defense


So I came up with a schematic, trying to graphically represent this thought, that or just draw a whole bunch of lines with the standards of every martial arts logo: a circle and a triangle. The standard core of any fighting style has fundamental positions. Let's call these full positions, for example mount, rear mount, side mount, closed guard, kesa gatame (judo's side headlock), north-south, etc. These positions work well both dynamically and statically. That is, they can be active to transition or attack as well as being immobile for pinning, stalling or resting. In short you can accomplish a lot with minimal energy expenditure. They are a safe reference point to which we can begin at, return to, and finish with.
The positions in between are solely dynamic, these are the half positions, e.g. the half guard, hooks inside, triangle, leg over the head arm bar position, etc. These positions involve near constant movement being both offensive and defensive but the moment you become inactive in them is when the other guy's going to get away with something. One of the ways to shut these positions down is for the opponent to stop your movement, that is stack, sprawl, or drop his base through the floor. You have to invest a certain risk in these for them to work.
Neither group is superior to the other. Without full positions you have no fundamentals and no reference points but without half positions you don't have a game. You have to drill all positions from both sides and realize that reliance on just one position while making you dominant from that spot still means you have to get to that spot. But Joker-sensei, Fighter X only does this position and he's undefeated! Sure he is, he's refined one of the positions, but don't think for a minute that he hasn't drilled, tested, and sparred with all the others, too. He might be famous for one, but he's trained them all.
No discussion of position would be complete without touching on offense and defense. In the broadest of strokes, defense is accomplished by creating space while offense is closing space. Yes positions can be stalled out and defense set up by closing distance. It is also true that to finish submissions you sometimes have to move away from your opponent. But in general when in trouble get away, when causing trouble get closer. Both are active or dynamic processes. Offense has to be dynamic and thus creates openings for defense. However, provoking defense causes an active response which can set up offense. In either case there will be a battle for full and half positions that creates the interplay of offense and defense.

12.22.2005

GJ "Capitalize...but don't get greedy"

Small winter break practice. We rolled/grappled and then went into first takedown (good drop seonagi defense was pointed out by grabbing opponent's shin with free hand). Finished with some modified timing (i.e. lead hand only, kicker vs. puncher). Real light and relaxed, but a good workout.
The lesson of the day was: "Capitalize...but don't get greedy" in all combat arts like being a predator there is a time to pounce, a time to attack furiously, and a time to retreat to repeat the cycle. When you initiate the attack you have to be relentless and committed but you cannot do that all the time nor can you keep at it (nobody sprints a marathon). Greed kills. If you see an opening attack, but don't lose good stance and guard for a "big" punch, make sure the position is secure before attacking with submission. If you're raining down blows that are powerful, damaging shots, but they bounce off his arms and shoulders this is diminishing returns, your investing and getting back minimal dividends. Similarly, tugging and dying while trying to finish the arm bar but then feeling yourself burn out and at risk for being passed or worse. Greed for the quick victory has turned a capitalization into a tactical error.
The biggest indicator of this is when you start hyperventilating when placed in a position of advantage. If you can suddenly hear yourself breathing excitedly, settle down, yes this is a capitalization moment but realize it for what it is and take what is given no more. I knock opponents out not when I concentrate on trying to KO them but when I play my game and stay fluid and relaxed. The easiest way to take someone down is when they do it for you, they pull, I push, they push, I pull. I don't force or take submissions, my opponent gives them to me. Know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em (with thanks to Nick).

Supplemental Training

As I'm cooped up studying for boards, anything to procrastinate. So a few of us got together today, we started with passing the guard with the off the wall person calling position. We then covered a flow:
  • Kimura (inferior shoulder lock)
  • Defends by straightening arm, take same-side (reverse) arm bar
  • Pushes through, rotate 90o toward other side for (crossbody) arm bar
  • Pulls barred arm out, rotate 90o back for triangle
  • Defends by tucking arms, take oma plata
  • (Technically, if partner defended oma plata by tucking arm and rolling to guard, this drill could be made continuous)
Played some king of the hill first take down. Its beneficial to take the angle step, I seem to hit more of my shots.
Lastly we worked some muay thai combinations enhancing the basic jab-rear kick and jab-cross-lead kick combinations:
Adding a middle beat (with props to JKD)
Double-rear kick
Jab-double cross-lead kick
Adding an end beat (with props to JKD)
Jab-rear kick-lead kick
Jab-cross-lead kick-rear kick
Entering/intercepting
Lead tiip-jab-rear kick
Lead tiip-jab-cross-lead kick
Premptive counterreaction
Jab-rear kick-tiip
Jab-cross-lead kick-rear tiip
Switch-up
Lead kick-cross-lead kick
Rear kick-lead hook-rear kick

Finished with some "tag team" timing where people switched out amongst the four people timing.

Today I saw the latest internet flurry about the overstuffed Chicago bodybuilder who trolled about MMA not being tough and eventually got an invitation to "spar" with Shonie Carter. Essentially, the "big" man was all big mouth and failed to show up and enjoy Mr. Carter's invitation. There are two annoying things about this incident
  1. Why should the tools of the world get the chance to fight for free with a great fighter and cool guy like Shonie? I'd love to spar, wrestle, or grapple with Shonie, sure he'd whip my @$$ but it'd be educational and an opportunity that would not be commonly available.
  2. Competition is tough, combat sports competition makes tough look easy. There is no intrinsic unit of toughness: wrestling, muay thai, MMA, boxing, judo, submission wrestling, and any other high impact/contact sport is brutality defined -- you're rewarded by hurting the other person without the excuse of putting a ball in the way of the playing arena. When people who do not compete make judgment it's just silly. When competitors decided to evaluate another sport they belittle themselves and show that they are insecure in themselves and their "art". If one defines toughness by who one can beat, there is a shallow answer for this, sneak up behind the toughest guy and waylay them repeatedly with a 2 by 4. Toughness is a significantly nobler trait than ones ability to hurt another...although it helps.

12.20.2005

JKD & BJJ Last of '05

Due to circumstances beyond my control I was very late this evening. As such I got to do a few rounds passing the guard, I was playing with my arm drag / flower sweep combination. It has previously been shown to me that people do not like being swept or arm barred and will battle valiantly to retract the arm exposed by the arm bar / flower sweep combination. When they do that it lends itself nicely to attacking with the triangle, from which many submissions appear.
After class I did a few gi rounds and then switched over to MMA-style grappling (light punches from the knees). The switch for me is difficult, all the handles are different and every now and then you get popped. I revert to a closed guard which is fine to hug and control but does not lend itself as well to attacking as pure grappling. There is however a push-pull action with the closed guard, either keeping opponent as close as possible or pushing away and out of range -- the middle range favors the top fighter much more than the bottom fighter.
Because MMA has an added component on the ground, namely striking, I think that escaping position is easier, people are either to eager to strike or worried about getting struck such that their positioning loosens. At least this is true at the nominal level that I perform at. You can almost always shrimp out. Another interesting aside is that there are very few combinations thrown on the ground, even though its essentially inside ("dirty") boxing rotated 90o, it would seem that combinations and trick plays would be as important here as they are standing up, if not more so given that you can get caught in a submission on the ground. Technical ground striking is especially important given how rapidly technique disintegrates in a fight, even the highly trained, simple stuff gets less polished. I'll have to do some experimenting.
This is the last class of the year and Jack wanted us to set some new goals for next year. I'll have to think about that.

12.19.2005

Equilibrium's Gun Kata

After working out last night I watched the move Equilibrium. In this dystopian sci-fi movie "clerics" (essentially thought police gestapo) are one man weapons of mass destruction against enemies of state. In order to maximize their lethality they practice "gun kata" which are described as:
The gun katas. Through analysis of thousands of recorded gunfights, the Cleric has determined that the geometric distribution of antagonists in any gun battle is a statistically predictable element. The gun kata treats the gun as a total weapon, each fluid position representing a maximum kill zone, inflicting maximum damage on the maximum number of opponents while keeping the defender clear of the statistically traditional trajectories of return fire. By the rote mastery of this art, your firing efficiency will rise by no less than 120%. The difference of a 63% increase to lethal proficiency makes the master of the gun katas an adversary not to be taken lightly.
Although this is a fantastic description of enhancing martial arts prowess it brings up an interesting discussion about the concept of kata. Citing more factual sources, kata is literally translated as "form". It is defined as a "Japanese word describing detailed patterns of defense-and-attack movements practiced either solo or in pairs" (wikipedia.org) and "is practiced following a formal system of prearranged exercise...is the best way of defense and attack in various cases, being theoretically systematized" (kodokan.org).
Thus in its loosest interpretation properly performed technique in a non-competitive, non-self-defense, non-"live" setting is kata. It is the pursuit of perfection of technique, whether you are throwing jabs, setting up armbars, shooting a double leg, or performing nijushiho ("94 steps" a traditional karate form). The difference is in context of training, when drilling a jab, armbar, or double leg we perform in a artificial and theoretical shell, but then we take what we've learned and test its application by sparring, rolling, randori, or reality-simulation training; something that rarely happens with most traditional martial arts, theory is performed one way while application is performed in another or not at all. In reality-based training (e.g. sparring) theory breaks down because of the addition of numerous annoying variables, i.e. different physical attributes (size, strength, speed), experience, environment, etc. However, without the theoretical basis of kata applied training is useless if not detrimental.
The "gun kata" described in Equilibrium presents the idea that it is based on a scientific analysis of data, it is statistically the best way to cause mayhem. There are a finite number of ways to do things with the humanoid body and when something works for us, we assume this is the best and only way for things to work. Everyone "knows" how to run, but high-level athletes who do run are taught to do so by coaches and trainers, its not poorly instinctual ability. Scientific analysis of stride, posture, materials, breathing, diet, supplemental weight training and the like has contributed to faster runners.
In the martial arts, we supposedly train a form that is theoretically the most efficient way to maim the other guy but based on little or no scientific evidence. Sure, the stories say the grandmaster of the style was breaking limbs and ripping hearts out, and if you, too, put pressure here and force there, your opponent's spine will pop out his @$$. However, nobody's seen it done since the grandmaster's time, the techniques been through several people (ever play "Telephone" as a kid?), and you couldn't test it anyway as the uke would die (sudden, forceful ejection of the vertebrae will do that). More applied styles, that is, styles that fight have more evidence to support their theory, such that boxing, muay thai, sport jiu-jitsu, submission wrestling, and mixed-martial arts show us that techniques work and evolve with time. We've observed the knockout punch work and seen it improve, compare Dempsey to Ali to Tyson, we've seen the technical advancement of mixed-martial arts fighting, watch an early Ultimate Fighting Championship and watch one now, they are miles apart.
We still deceive ourselves, because different teachers and coaches have different success with the material. From them we get a perspective on the art, not the art itself. In addition we often rely on what initially works well for us, without analyzing what would actually work more often. For example, big, athletic guys advance more slowly than smaller, less athletic guys in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, because the less "gifts" you have the less hard you have to work at being technical. The more athletic may win more often initially but they grow very slowly, the less athletic have to analyze and adapt (as well as get beat up a lot, at least initially).
With the data available to us today in the form of the internet, DVD, video, and television we can begin to scientifically analyze what we are doing as teachers and competitors. There is a best way to do things but we will argue with poor evidence rather than approaching the problem systematically, since dogma and tradition are safer than questioning the lore of the masters. However, the flip side is sacrificing on an artificial altar of science by constant questioning at the expense of training what works. The sample has to be larger than one's own experience in order to synthesize an adaptable perfect kata.

12.18.2005

GJ Active Mount

In grappling we often talk about a dynamic or active guard, a guard that is used to attack, to threaten both submission and sweep. We rarely say this for any other position, be it mount, side mount, or rear mount and these positions often become thought of as more static but still attacking positions, but they involve as many overt and subtle positioning and attacking details as an active guard. There are versions for controlling an opponent, versions for pinning, and versions for submission. The guard has numerous variations: closed, open, spider, koala, De La Riva, triangle, hooks inside, half, X, and the list evolves every year. We rarely distinguish variations of the mount, side mount, or rear mount. For example a grapevine mount (pinning) is different from a high mount (submissions), an S mount and a knee up mount are different attacking position but rarely do we address, discuss or analyze the finesse of these mount variations as much as with the guard.
Practice was small, Joe, Matt, Paulo and myself, so we did a lot of grappling starting with 3 min of passing the guard, switching and then rotating through three rounds, 10 sec breaks only. Paulo brought up a good point that breaking the guard and passing is done primarily with the hips, the arms and legs are just assisting.
With the above discussion of the active mount, we then proceed with a mounted flow using different mount "positions"

  • From the high mount attack with americana (superior shoulder lock)
  • Defends by turning on side and threading arm through, change to knee up mount (knee up on far side from defending arm / same side as americana), switch to armbar
  • Defends arm bar, post up to remount or to be more fancy:
    (for the longer legged) insert shin (foot toward head)
    Use attempted arm bar to lever up and switch to S mount, then lift head go for mounted triangle
    insert knee (foot toward feet)
    Trap far arm to floor with shin (arm trap mount?), use same side hand to control this arm as you cup the neck with the other, transition through to mounted triangle
We finished by wrestling 3 x 5 min rounds from the feet or knees as people desired.

GJ Takedowns and timing

Today we worked some drills to improve the angle on the shot:
  • Triangular stepping: Use a 45o off angle step to move around a stationary partner, then shoot at 90o angle back again. Use rear leg triangle step to use same lead shot, use lead leg triangle step to use opposite lead shot
  • Triangular stepping of a circling
  • Spider drill to shot: Do the spider man drill until partner calls out "shot", instantly shoot from this position
In addition we worked king of the hill for first point, minute takedown drills, muay thai timing, and plum/knee play.
We also covered some basics of the plum:
first when clinching, insert hands in sequence not simultaneously
attach at neck and then move up
use pulling of the head and pushing of the elbows to break posture
when in trouble
Hug
Straight arm to face
Snake through and reclinch
Over-under lever
Under-over lever
Sweep elbow over top
Break balance (push-pull arms/arm head)

12.17.2005

JKD & BJJ "The Texas Twins"

Today we were visited by our good friends Mark and Nick Reding from Texas where they run a JKD and BJJ school. They are scared of me and ducked me during post-practice rolling, despite their excuse of weighing 60 lbs. less than me and rolling lots of hard rounds with a lot of technical purple and brown belts. Scared I say! (although they are really, really tough and beat on me mercilessly every time they come up from Texas).
Single leg defense #1 (weak/low head post)
Opponent has the single locked (ankle snared between knees and hugged at knee), the head is either low or weakly placed on your pectoral, push the head down and hook your leg to the outside. Begin sprawling the snared leg down and back hard, while dropping hips down. Sprawl him to the floor.
Single leg defense #2 (strong head post)
Push head away and reposition top of your head into the side of his neck/face. Unhook snared leg to outside. Grab underneath his near arm and hug proximal to his far elbow. Kick down and away against hugging arms. Strong head pressure, provoking an arm wrench sensation.

On the ground we worked on the triangle, using a set-up off one hand controlling your chest the other controlling your abdomen/belt.

  • Push the low hand down as you pop the same side leg up over his shoulder, no swinging it wide. Set a preliminary triangle to hold the position.
  • If you need to adjust, cross hand arm control and cross hand shin control (of your own shin, the one over the shoulder), now place the free foot in the hip and readjust the angle in the direction his inside arm is pointing.
  • Reacquire the triangle, by tucking the distal shin of the over the shoulder leg under the free leg's knee joint. The three dimensions of the triangle are (1) increasing the angle (2) pulling him in toward your center (i.e. doing an abdominal crunch), and (3) bring your free leg to your butt.

Triangle reactions
Posturing up, extending inside arm?
Cross your free leg over your "shoulder" leg to form armbar
On the side where opponent's arm is inside, grab the kimono and push into the side of his neck for choke
If opponent doesn't tap, they will create space, pivot to oma plata by spinning toward partner's legs on inside arm side and extending legs away from your head. Control across the hips, sit up, throw legs away from opponent, slide out and away laterally to tighten and extend hips for shoulder lock.
Stacking you
Jeff helped me a lot with this today (he helps me with everything but I can't tell him that). Underhook the opponent's leg on the over the shoulder side. Control inside arm with same side hand. Extend up and then sweep 90o from your body on the arm control side and transition to armbar (unhook legs and throw free leg over head.

Wrestling today Jack said I had a very solid base mostly because I'm not incessantly moving, I'm confident in it, and I'm thinking about dropping my pelvis through the floor. Another helpful element was blocking the guard before it's set-up. If someone is going to guard they think it is a strong position for them, so stop them. Simplest way, start with the knee up and prevent them from closing. Also two ways to better pass from double under the legs.

  • Create double leg underhooks and clasp hands, suck into belly. Begin to pass by gripping cross collar and passing on this side. As you pass keep weight down and free other leg underhook to grip the pants and push his butt down to prevent the roll.
  • Alternatively should he roll, stop following his motion and go the opposite way to clock choke position (which explains why everyone, but Jack, rolls into my guard when I escape from 4 points, they roll "with" me, while he rolls "against" me).

GJ MESHworkTM

In the spirit of silly, commercialized martial arts acronyms, I have come up with my own: MESHworkTM (Multiply Entwined Skill Hierarchy). A mesh is a material composed of many linked rings, for example chainmail or a wool sweater. An effective combat "game", in both sport and self-defense, has to be composed of an interlinking network of techniques. Very few things come as ones, in order to effectively strike combinations of alternating appendages, targets, and levels are used. A jab sets up a cross, which sets up a hook, which sets up a cross, etc. To throw or takedown misdirection by another intended throw or takedown sets up the next one, pushing in one direction creates weakness in another. In BJJ the expression, "If one door closes, three windows open" describes attacking or positioning and "opening" submission attempts. On a more complicated level, hit some one if our want to submit or throw them, that is, combining skills from "different arts" But these movements have to be cohesive and goal oriented to create a chain, a net, a flow, or a meshwork of offensive and defensive skills. Although technical excellence of solitary combat skills is critical, I think weaving these skills together, although technically challenging make the practice of them dynamic, alive, and more applicable. In real life, whether in the squared circle or the concrete jungle, we don't do one static event, we string together a montage of many dynamic ones.




For example above a small piece of a brazilian jiu-jitsu or submission wrestling MESHworkTM (OK, I'll stop) using the strong basic three of

  • Kimura or inferior shoulder lock
  • Guillotine
  • Hip bump
Each one can be used directly to submit or sweep, but provokes a defensive response that creates an opening for the other two and can in turn branch off into other techniques. Note that sound, simple moves can be strung together to create complex combat "gameness". Fancy is not required, nor is rapidly switching moves, commit to one see where it goes and what it opens.

On to the application in practice: light warm-up with shadow boxing, pummeling, ogoshi uchi komi, and circling for the shot (i.e. shuffling in a circle and shooting off this movement).

From there we worked into striking to takedown combinations:

L Kick - Cross - L Hook - R Knee - To ogoshi (hip toss)
Displace partner's hips with your hips, head locking if taller, at hip if shorter
Corkscrew Shot
Shooting off your striking lead: Jab - Cross - Rear foot triangular advance (45o step with rear foot), recenter - take shot off lead leg (good choices are an ankle pick or collapsing with hands at far ankle, shoulder at knees)
Shooting off your striking rear: Jab - Fake Lead Hook - Lead foot triangular advance (45o step with lead foot), recenter - take shot off rear leg (double leg)
Option #1: Rear double, continue circle started by corkscrew and takedown with rear double leg
Option #2: High crotch, re-grip, step hips in and lift
Thai "figure 4" clinch
Jab - Cross - Side cover (lead hook to head) with "praying mantis" hook at neck - lead knee - elevate cover elbow and duck under to thai "figure 4" clinch. Lead hand is at neck, rear hand has forward pressure on triceps. Alternatively (with no gloves or MMA gloves) figure 4 over arm just distal to shoulder. Keep kneeing.
Arm drag: Drag down and backward straight to floor
Release grip and slide down to double leg
Ankle/leg pick: Drag with neck control hand, lift near ankle and dump or insert inside of near thigh and lift
Sambo hip toss: keep neck control, reach over with other hand, step hips in and throw hip toss from "outside"


Reviewed the armbar-flower sweep flow. Noted the possibility of trying to open with a sweep to secure the strong armbar position.

Thai pads

  1. Reaction

    • High cover (cross) 3 / Thai / Knee
    • Side cover (L hook) 3 / Thai / Knee
    • Leg cover (leg kick) 3 / Thai / Knee
    • Inside high cover (R body hook) L uppercut - cross - L hook
    • Inside side cover (L body hook) R uppercut - hook - cross
    • Catch (jab) - parry (cross) 3 / Thai / Knee

  2. Kicking Combinations

    • Kicking combinations #1-4
    • 5 count #1 LK - C - LBH - LHH - RK
    • 5 count #1 RK - LH - C - C - LK
    • 5 count #1 LK - C - LH - C - LK
    • 5 count #1 RK - LH - C - LH - RK

  3. Knee Combinations

    • LKn / RKn - C
    • J - RKn
    • J - C - LKn
    • Kicking combinations #1-4 (knee variation)
    • Flying knee for variety

  4. Conditioning: 70 kicks/70 knees (1-2-3-4 kicks alternating 10 knees x 7)


A second aside: As a coach and competitor in "different arts" I often see people who train like me describing themselves as an aspect of one of these "styles". If I train both striking and grappling, I'm well rounded not a striker who also rolls a little. The difference between one art and another is largely geometrical, in this example one usually occurs in a vertical plane (standing) and the other in a horizontal plane (lying on the floor). Many of the same attributes and concepts lend themselves to both "styles". Yes there are technical facets that are different and favor different attributes but looking past this at the deeper context of what you are doing lends itself to greater proficiency at not only the "style" you are currently practicing but the other ones you train. I've heard the quote "it's not martial arts, it's martial art" understanding the broad brushstrokes makes filling in the fine prose a lot easier.

12.14.2005

In jiu-jitsu size does NOT matter


Despite evidence to the contrary

JKD & BJJ Clocks and turtles, oh my!

OK so after a few hundred psychiatry questions, Andy and I worked on our double stick passing drill with the returned strikes.

From open, right roof, left pass (takes shots from the left side)
Right back hand (meet with stick)
Left forehand
Right back hand (from crossed under position)
Left forehand redondo
From closed, left roof, right pass (the "Be My Only Sunshine", takes shots from the right side)
Right forehand
Left back hand (from crossed under position)
Right forehand redondo
Return to open

BJJ Conditioning Drills

  • Alternating armbars: Swing hips 180o and set-up armbars
  • Defending the pass by shrimping back to guard, frame on neck and push on hip
  • Control the legs (thumbs toward you, pull legs to you and to floor), fake one side, go the other, insert leg at base of spine (flow through to side control).
  • As you control the legs, (s)he sits up controlling kimono. Push your shoulder into chest to create entrance, control passing side leg.

Clock chokes

  • Version #1: From rear side control, insert knee so that chest is facing the same direction as opponent's head. Cross hand lapel control, same side wrist control, move weight over neck and shoulders, head up, sit leg through (half-Spiderman) and "start the chainsaw/lawn mower/boat" (depending on your geographical location during your formative years).
  • Version #2: From rear side control, insert knee so that chest is facing the same direction as opponent's head. Cross hand lapel control on both sides, hand furthest from opponent under neck, near hand shallow and distal to the opponent's far side axilla (armpit). Too deep (s)he will trap and roll you/sit out. Dive 45o across opponent's far shoulder, and post with head, forming a tripod placed squarely (triangularly) over his neck and shoulder. Pull with hands to cinch choke.

More on the turtle defense mentioned 12/11, from the rear mount hooks inside, facing up position, keep the arms tight to your body and inside partner's hooks.

  1. Put your feet on the floor and scoot away from him
  2. Straighten one leg and "wing" your elbow, removing the hook
  3. Hip out to this side, and spin to control other leg

I wrestled a bit after practice today, not eating following yesterday's undefined gastritis left me a little "peaked". But anyway I played more with the armdrag setups to armbar/sweep/etc. Alternatives that are opening up are of course switching side to side and starting with the sweep to set up the armbar.

12.13.2005

Procrastination leading to insight

So I should be studying for my psychiatry shelf examination but after a few hundred questions reading combat sports forums is a welcome if mindless alternative. Anyway I was checking out the underground and came across three gems of multimedia:

  1. Video of a text book knockout using a right overhand to set-up a left uppercut by Matthew Saad Muhammad. The rear overhand, lead uppercut, and rear overhand is a tried and tested boxing and kickboxing combination. This clip is practically an instructional on delivering the uppercut, notice the set-up, timing, and powerful delivery. Like a large predatory cat Muhammad pounces on his KO shot, when you see a person move like this its not surprising that ancient martial artists looked to the animal kingdom for fighting inspiration. The thought process being: if this guy is good at cracking heads and moves like an uncaged beast and you can't learn directly from him, go back to the animal kingdom to learn the same skills.
  2. Next we have Benny "the Jet" Urquidez fighting an unidentified muay thai fighter. The Jet launches a jab-tiip combo and double underhook clinches. He spins and throws his hapless opponent with an airborne harai goshi (the unholy mating of hip toss with a leg reap) head first into the canvas causing a knock-out. Now, any hip throw is illegal in muay thai rules but this was not a muay thai rules fight rather an exhibition of American kickboxing vs. Thai kickboxing. This shows the advantage and power of attacking the weakness in an opponent's game, the Jet didn't try to out knee or elbow nor did he get in a competition of muay thai legal throws, rather he went to the biggest "hole" in the muay thai game, not immediately but as his opponent was getting more tired and less vigilant...and falling back into the skills and perceived rules he was most used to. The moral/parable for this image: Its hard to hit someone if they expect you to hit them, but its easy (or easier) to throw or submit them, or going back to basics, punch a wrestler, wrestler a striker. As a side note I've been thrown by hip toss two of my five muay thai fights...hmmm...you get ONE warning, make it a good one.
  3. Lastly some fun muay thai KO's

12.12.2005

Conditioning Idea

Jeff and I were talking about somehow using a figure 4 on a stick and working against a rubber band or partner resistance. Alternatively, lifting a barbell from a squat rack and doing negatives would enhance grip strength. I like the idea of functional exercises.

GJ "Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world."

Or if Archimedes had been a BJJer "Give me a grip and a joint on which to twist and I will submit anyone". We did a lot of wrist/elbow/arm throws. These throws take advantage of leverage (and proper body) mechanics to throw a person, but without directly interacting with the hips or legs (i.e. the anatomy that keeps one vertical).

  • Kote gaeshi Attach two hands to partner's one hand. Both thumbs on the back (dorsum) of their hand while gripping the meat of the thumb and pinky (thenar and hypothenar eminence). The throw is composed of twisting the palm of the hand outward and to the floor, while pulling it to your center of mass (COM) and away from theirs ("peanut butter jar concept"). Stepping is 180o either stepping to the outside and following their forward motion or wrapping (putting your butt on their hip) in opposition to their movement. This throw works well off pushing, grasping, and grips, but is hard off punches. Also works well when people take a stab or swing with a knife or club.
  • Kimura off the spear, elbow the head with the centerline elbow, and grab the wrist ACROSS then to figure 4 (and pointed up). To throw make a "scoop" a la small circle jujitsu, rather than pushing to to floor, suck the elbow toward you while pushing the wrist to the floor. We worked this both with a haymaker and a club attack.
  • Americana off the spear, elbow the head with centerline elbow, and grab with the same side wrist to figure 4 (hand pointed down). As above but a "backwards" set-up.
  • Ikkyoplace both hands on the outside of your partner's. Cross hand at the wrist, same side hand just proximal to the elbow. Now either pivoting away or stepping 45o across the trajectory of your partner while rolling hands forward and down to place them bent at the waist with arm extended out from side. To finish throw either walk them straight into floor or drive corkscrew into or away from them (tenkan vs. irimi).

Continued working on a new ground flow from the guard

Use the arm drag to place partner's arm across body with wrist in arm pit.
Set-up arm bar, placing wrist bone proximal to elbow for leverage.
Can't pivot?
OK trap crossed arm with body, hook under leg and with trapping side hand and grab lat with other hand go to (dead) flower sweep.
Defends sweep by basing across with free hand
Go right back to arm bar
Grabs head and stacks
Is cool, go to "bench press" (or "leg press assist") arm bar and push on knees to extended, alternatively walk out on shoulders and lock free hand (most likely hooked around your neck if he's stacking) with scoop armbar
Any other options?
Sure as this is stolen from Marcello Garcia, use the arm drag to take the back.
But what if they defend the arm drag?
Well that's fine, too. They'll probably jerk the arm back and away, if you see this reaction, fake the arm drag and go right to hip bump (open the guard, catch the tricep and make a tripod with the other hand).
OK so I "sorta" got the arm drag but they pulled the hand out, now what?
Depending on the clearance of that arm, I'd either attack with triangle or oma plata, but both these have to be loaded and then followed by hip repositioning.
But its all dependent on the arm drag
Not really very similar position is available if you pop the elbow in and hook your knee over their shoulder, in a quasi-triangel position.
But but what if...
Geez settle down, its just a flow pattern to work some different moves with


Lastly we worked some movement drills, essentially using the triangular foot work so prevalent in kali, capoeira, tai chi and pretty much every other combat art known to man (or woman). Just imagine the mighty samurai coasting from foot to foot...

  • The boxing defense -- quarter circle from and aggressive to the outside of his weak hand, as you clear the line, set up a cross/hook/tiip/kick.
  • Cutting the ring -- as you quarter circle, he cuts the circle by crossing your line (say throwing a wide hook), change directions with a pivot step back and away across toward his strong side. Be ready to attack or cut either left or right depending on his next move.
  • Angling on kicks:

    J-Kick
    Step with lead foot off angle (outside his rear foot) while throwing jab, follow with rear kick.
    Triangular step with rear foot (outside of his lead foot)while throwing jab, follow with lead kick.
    J-C-Kick
    Advance with jab, step off angle with cross (outside his rear foot), follow with lead kick.
    Advance with jab, triangular step with cross (outside lead foot), lead kick.

    In any case the alternating lead-rear set-up has several reasons for its strength (1) loading -- the body mechanics of the previous strike set-ups the next, (2) "blender action" -- your trying to catch the person between the onslaught of all your available tools (i.e. the center line), and (3) increased shot percentage -- is easier to evade attacks on the same side just keep moving to the outside line on that side.
  • Four count combinations are a great way to work on angling, make your shoulders clear on either side as you kick, working across the center or around the body with the punches.

12.11.2005

JKD & BJJ Rear mount defense

Many important things were worked on today, but what really stuck in my mind/training was the rear mount defense. I need to get my arms lower so that the tips of my crossed hands are right at my jaw bone. Tuck the elbows between the based of the thighs and the body, closing the holes for the hooks. If the hook insertion occurs, the elbows can be used to lift and escape. Very strong, its like trying to sick hooks on a clam -- there's no room. I can make my defense a lot stronger using this set-up, rather than the looser position I've been using.

12.08.2005

Supplemental

No-go training with Joe today. Just felt like I needed an extra day and I might be on call tomorrow. Nothing remarkable, but I am playing with an armbar set up game off the arm drag to outside control, leg shoulder control (where I trap the arm with my legs over the shoulder, as in a poorly loaded triangle), and the full triangle. I'll play with some flows this week.

JKD & BJJ

Briefly:

  • Clock choke set-up using near hand on cross lapel, pull elbow to ceiling, other hand same side wrist (beware getting this elbow to deep). Slide weight across neck, head up.

  • Clock choke set-up using near hand on cross lapel, pull elbow to ceiling, other cross lapel (beware getting this elbow to deep). Dive 45o across opponent post head on floor

  • Three leg entanglement arm bars, (1) hook and lift (arch), (2) triangle and pelvic thrust, and (3) arm hooks backwards over calf, forward roll to arm bar (pinch with knee grab with hand), same side hand comes through and controls head

12.04.2005

GJ "Do whatever you want the night before, just remember there is never an excuse to not answer the bell"

Well a staunch few of the bar crawlers showed at practice this evening. Started with some running, side shuffle, and carioca. Did some shadow boxing emphasizing body mechanics and movement. Then we did 10 of the combat sports burpees (they were not popular).

The junior students reviewed basic boxing and thai boxing covering all the basics they need to know for their fundamental certification. They did a quick evasion drill slip (jab) slip (cross) bob n' weave (lead hook) bob n' weave (right hook) and duck (cross). They also worked their breakfalls.

Meanwhile advanced students worked on kick agility trading two and three kick combinations of same side and alternating tiip/kick combinations. Followed by one round of JC-cover (cross) return 3-cover (hook) return 3-slip cross and pivot step out. Next two rounds worked on footwork. The feeder threw JC in succession, partner moved in quarter circle away from feeder's lead to open a line for tiip, cross, hook, or leg kick. Then worked the switch-up, as they circled away from JC, feeder cut them off with side step and lead hook,
Pivot step in opposite direction resetting the angle, either attacking from there or picking up cross or hook with either side slip. Finished with one round of boxing reaction on the focus mitts, one round basic thai, one round dirty (thai) boxing, and one Jeff mystery conditioning round.

Muay Thai Technique List

Download an (abbreviated as in off the top of my head at the moment) list of "named" muay thai combinations that I use in practices. All these can be modified as suits the individual fighter and all have an infinite number of variations based on alterations in timing (unbroken vs. broken rhythm), angle, and distance (a lead UE strike is a jab, hook, or elbow just as a lead LE strike is a tiip, kick, or knee).

12.02.2005

GJ Better late than never

Came in late yesterday, so I only had a little to do with practice. Worked on three arm bar set-ups described 11/20, with armbar, sweep, and taking the back variations. In turn went into the "bench press" armbar (if arm is deep and opponent tries to stack, push on knees and extend to reset armbar) and armbar the free arm with a scoot out and hug. Also covered if opponent rears up to avoid arm drag, fake it and hip bump.


Followed with minute drills of escaping the side mount and rear mount variations.


Did some no-gi MMA style grapping with Derreck and then some gi rounds with Jeff in anticipation of C3. My plan is to...(wouldn't you like to know). Also check out the flyer for our bar crawl Saturday.