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1.30.2006

GJ The LAST Combat Room Practice


The Pillar Guard
The Pillar Guard
I consider the Pillar the best, basic striking guard, minimizing the accessible target area. The arms are rested on the body, keeping them relaxed and strong during the fight as well as protecting the body from hooks and kicks. By keeping the arms close, a kick can be absorbed by the arms using the body to disperse the force (anyone can snap a pencil, no one can snap a pencil glued to a brick -- with thanks to the Love Simian -- don't ask). Head protection is almost automatic due to the body propping the hands up.
The Wide Guard
The Wide Guard
The wide guard generally occurs when people start throwing with more power than their finesse can handle or if they increasingly concerned about head hooks or kicks. Once you've widened your opponent's striking guard start working straight, laser-like shots down the center line.
The Staggered (Action Hero) Guard
The Staggered (Action Hero) Guard
The staggered guard seems to occur when people either try to look "cool" fighting like their in a movie or after they catch a hard body shot and want to spare their ribs any more punishment. Once this happens look for straight and hooks shots on this side, a head kick has high landing potential. As they develop a "twitch" to protect the head with the low hand, fake high and go low, especially if you know you've hurt that side of the body.
The Low Guard
The Low Guard
The low guard is typically a due to a fear of not seeing offense or a result of fatigue. Once the hands start dropping headhunt like its your job, the knockout is waiting to happen as both straight hook shots can land from either side.
The Angled Guard
The Angled Guard
The angled guard is a trained response to head shots which in general appear worse than body shots or some sort of psychosocial response to fighting trying to make the fighter appear larger. While providing adequate head deflection it leaves the liver and spleen wide open providing a larger target window. Use the Muhammed Ali strategy, "Hit the body and the head will fall."
The Low Angled Guard
The Low Angled Guard
The low angled guard is a result of a tired or injured using the angled guard, their hands have fallen. Attack the head, head kicks are high yield and although the body is better defended do not forget to work this line as well.
Today marked the last day that my club, Goshin Jitsu, trained in the U of I IMPE Combat Room. Fittingly, our club held the last official practice within these sacred walls. The Combat Room may just be a piece of under used real estate in the eyes of the University administration. It is a 25' x 75' dark, smelly, dilapidated room with two-thirds of it filled by an old, beaten wrestling mat. What possible good could it be? It is neither elegant, trendy, or pretty and doesn't have anything to do with the latest fitness or recreation craze.
They couldn't be more wrong as they fall into the trap of form over function. The administration sees waste and uselessness in the face of an amazing training facility. I've invited world champions in multiple combat sports from muay thai to sport jiu-jitsu to train and teach here. UFC veterans have given seminars here. Leading experts in self-defense have transmitted life saving information within its hallowed and blood stained walls. And they've all said the same thing, "What a great room. You guys are lucky to have such a great facility." Combat sports professionals like Ryan Blackorby, Shonie Carter, Wellington "Megaton" Dias, Brian Gassaway, Jeremy Harminson, Dean Lessei, Raul Llopis, Jack McVicker, Derrick Noble, Erik Paulson, and staff from Blauer Tactical.
And yet today, 1/29/06, spells the end of the Combat Room. A place where martial artists and fighters have spilled blood, sweat, and tears (as well as occasional vomit) for over twenty years. A place where club instructors have donated their time and expertise for free in the hopes of spreading the interest and love of the arts and skills they practice. It is a place sanctified by painful and bloody sacrifice on the altar of martial perfection as well as a place where the closest bonds can be formed between training partners, making them my brothers and sisters. Some of my best memories and best times have been in this room with no furniture, no art, no multimedia, and poor environmental control (always too hot in the summer and too cold n the winter). It's the only place on campus accessible by all who want to use a heavy bag or a speed bag platform. Highly trained combat athletes can meet and train between classes or work just as easily as the newest neophyte and his friends.
With the loss of this exceptional space I feel as if I'm not only being evicted from what we have, as dedicated martial artists and combat athletes, earned as our own, but I feel as if I'm losing a friend.
This evening I started an hour early with Derrick, Jeff, and Jim. Jeff and I warmed-up with the medicine ball (throwing, throwing and moving, kicking, and kneeing). We warmed up with jab-kick, jab-cross-kick, and kick-cross-deep knee-head knee. Then we did 2 x 3 min of clinch pad work:
  • Work within the clinch by pummeling, lightly kneeing and punching
  • Takedown set-ups
  • Open distance to cross-hook-cross-reclinch (off punch) or sprawl
  • Forward pressure to rip
  • Counter rip reaction to rip
  • Deep knee-head knee
Striking on a kali axisWe then did 2 x 3 min rounds of striking pad work. We finished with 3 x 2.5 minutes of MMA timing, with one fighter in for the whole 7.5 minutes and rotating partners in. Getting clinched against the wall with your partner's shoulder firmly lodged in your solar plexus is tiring. The effect of increased pressure on the heart and diaphragm is not good for my wind. I also lowered my fighting "stance" by making it longer and wider ("Bas Rutten's Big Book of Combat, Vols. 1 & 2 PLUS CDs!" (Bas Rutten, Stephen Quadros)) which did greatly improve my take down defensibility. All this around a fire alarm, standing outside wet with sweat is not comfortable.
As we finished the MMA timing, Samurai and the Love Simian warmed-up the class. We started with 2 min rounds of pad work concentrating on the Pillar Guard:
  1. 3 (3-Cross): Jab-Cross-Lead Hook(-Cross)
  2. Reverse 3 (Reverse 3-Hook): Jab-Lead Hook-Cross-Lead Hook
    The first hook can be hard or used as fake to set up the cross.
  3. 2 Out 2: Jab-Cross-Bob and weave (lead hook)-Jab-Cross
    Advanced variations included 2 Out Body, Jab-Cross-Bob and weave (lead hook) while throwing lead body hook-cross-lead hook, and 2 Out Power, Jab-Cross-Bob and weave (lead hook)-Cross-Lead Hook-Cross
  4. Conditioning round: 30 secs pitterpat, 10 jumper squat sprawls, 30 secs pitterpat, 10 pushups, strong crosses and hooks to end of round
Some general notes:
  • The hook arm is parallel with the floor for bone alignment but the hand can be vertical (coffee cup) or horizontal (wristwatch).
  • Extension must be complete the hips and shoulders are fully actuated into the strike, without losing balance. The hands turn over to effect a twisting extension of the fist and arm (Bruce Lee's 3 inch punch). Punching is done by the body, the arm and fist are just the tool to deliver it.
  • The rear hand is held as if your were on the telephone with your mother. You're desperately waiting for the words "the cheque is in the mail" or "what do you want in your care package" but every now and then she says something really annoying ("I think your grades could be better!" or "When am I getting grandchildren?"). The phone is glued to your ear, waiting for the important information, but when she says something irritating, get that phone away from you as fast and as far as you can while smashing into a focus mitt.
The junior students were dismissed and the senior students reviewed uki-waza (floating throw) ("Kodokan Judo" (Jigoro Kano) pg. 93) variations. We will continue to work on this type of sacrifice throw with hooks, plugging it into the context of sport fighting and self-defense as well as practical finishing positions. These are several technical variations of the same basic concept, using your body weight and hook to throw another person. As with everything else in the arsenal, not all of them will work for you but hopefully one of them will plug into your game. Also remember, whether your partner rolls gracefully out of the throw or falls to the mat, the idea of the throw worked by getting them to the ground.
Uki-waza
Off of a street punch basic defense, and secure neck and wrist control. If you are grabbed secure neck and wrist control, they're already attached to you. Control the same side with an over hand grip on the elbow, other hand is in a half hug. Sit into a modified hurdler stretch (one knee bent shin across partner's foot, one leg extended calf across their other foot) away from elbow control side, your butt should be outside their leg. Confusing as it may sound, pull forward and up as your sit down. Extend bent knee as a hook.
Uki-waza same side hook variation
Off of a street punch basic defense, pass and drag the arm to get cross hand control. If you are grabbed, break the grip and arm drag, securing the cross hand arm control. Cross hand grip on wrist, same side hug. Sit on partner's foot, extending one leg between theirs, pull them down and over your hugging side shoulder. Use extended leg and turn it into a hook to lift inside their knee.
Uki-waza cross side hook variation (Paolo's variation)
Cross hand grip on wrist, same side lat control. Sit between partner's legs using the leg on the outside to hook inside partner's far leg, lift and kick.
We finished the practice with cardio, doing 4 x 1 minute rounds of 20 secs of push-ups, 10 secs rest, 20 secs shuttle sprints, and 10 secs rest.

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