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2.27.2006

GJ Team Solid

Team Solid T-shirtSo Derrick came up with the best fight team name in an interview when he described us as "...a solid group of jiu-jitsu and mixed martial arts fighters in Champaign, Illinois." From him this is a high compliment and also a great team name. Tonight Jeff, Kyle and I did several rounds with Derrick.
Afterward we ran a regular practice. We started with muay thai using a focus mitt (opposite cross) and a thai pad, 3 minute rounds:
Basic thai warm-up
Four and five count kick combinations
Junior students worked on four count combinations:
  1. Lead kick-cross-lead hook-rear kick
  2. Rear kick-lead hook-cross-lead kick
While senior students worked on five count combinations:
  1. Lead kick-cross-cross-lead hook-rear kick
  2. Rear kick-lead body hook-lead head hook-cross-lead kick
Reverse 3 Variations
The reverse 3 combination is jab-lead hook-cross can be finished with:
  • Hook -- simple basic set-up
  • Kick (lead kick) -- switch-up level
  • Knee (lead hand neck control, lead knee) -- closing distance, working to clinch
  • Tiip -- opening distance, use for intercept reaction
4 minute Tabata protocol with shadowboxing in intervals
  • Pitterpat
  • Irregular jump/sprawl
  • Kicks
  • Other side Kicks
  • Crosses and hooks
  • Push-ups
  • Spider-(wo)man drill
  • Sprawl
Next we split practice between junior and senior students. Juniors worked on breakfalls while seniors reviewed the leg reaps. Paulo pointed out set-ups for grabbing the leg from the inside line sweeps:
Inside Line Inside Reap to Single Leg
Your opponent steps to avoid the reap, anchoring their other leg. Use this to pick the leg so that it is trapped between your legs or controlling inside line with leg on the outside. Take down with your favorite single variation or reap leg from outside leg grip.
Inside Line Outside Reap to Single Leg
Again your opponent avoids the reap by stepping, anchoring the other leg. Use this to pick the leg so that it is trapped between your legs or controlling outside line with leg on the outside. Take down with your favorite single variation or bump to leg underhook to pull or lift and bump.
The juniors reviewed self-defense techniques with Jeff, Jim, and Joe for the last 20 minutes.

2.26.2006

Combat Chiropractor

Couple of days of training without updating. On Thursday (2/23) worked out for about an hour doing MMA rounds with Derrick and Jeff. Friday (2/24) we did about an hour of gi rounds in anticipation of the Pan-American Jiu-Jitsu Championships in early April. This morning (2/25) we started our day by cutting, cleaning and moving wrestling mats for our practice area. This made me late for JKD & BJJ, so as I arrived the purple belts were put in charge of teaching.
I covered setting up the triangle from the feet in the hips position and then applying the 3 dimensions of the triangle. Obviously, I attack the choke first, but sometimes other avenues must be pursued. From the triangle I like setting up the reverse arm bar, most typically against larger, stronger grapplers who like to extend their arms to break and pass the triangle. I also use the straight arm bar and have been working to the back:
Reverse Armbar on Free Side
I like attacking this side because if I am aligned straight on with my opponent I can use their arm to pull myself to a better angle. Feed a same side underhook and then roll your thumb, palm to your opponent, toward your chest while clasping with your other hand. Use the boney part of the distal forearm to attack just proximal to the elbow joint on the upper arm. Your opponent's wrist will either be caught against your biceps or in the crook of your neck and head.
Reverse Armbar on Triangled Arm
This occurs more when your opponent is trying to stop the triangle by creating space on the arm side of the triangle but is worried about oma plata, thus the arm is breaking the triangle and baiting a straight armbar (the "Hot Model"). Rather than open a locked triangle, reach a same side underhook and then roll your thumb, palm to your opponent, toward your chest while clasping with your other hand. Use the boney part of the distal forearm to attack just proximal to the elbow joint on the upper arm. Your opponent's wrist will either be caught against your biceps or in the crook of your neck formed by tilting your head.
"Hot Model" (Straight Armbar from Triangle)
If your opponent straightens their arm to defend the triangle, take the leg on the same side as their arm, and cross your legs as if you were a pin-up girl. Curl the heels to your rear and extend your hips.
Taking the back from triangle
I've been experimenting with getting to the back. One of the things that I usually do when my triangle collapses is to return to closed guard, but instead I drag their arm across as I reach for their opposite lat and pull myself to a rear mount. Your leg will be over one of their arms, but clamping down will keep them from escaping.
I also covered the key for passing, especially when you are larger than your opponent, that is keeping the hips low and eliminating the space usable for shrimping. One method for doing this is to control the passing side pant leg by extending it as much as possible while retaining head control. Keep the hips low and tight as you move from half-guard to side mount.
After practice we did rounds, I noticed that I have to:
  1. Unbalance more using my hooks inside and open guards to increase my kazushi.
  2. Attack more to complement and take advantage of the unbalancing.
  3. Prevent or detach my partner's grip from my pant legs sooner.
Jeff also pointed out two good techniques today:
Gable Grip Rear Naked Choke (RNC)
Regular rear mount for RNC, but clasp hands behind partner's ear, then drop your rear hand elbow behind their shoulder blade and cinch in.
Gogo Plata
From guard bring foot up and over shoulder, safely past partner's face, and prop shin across neck. Reach same side hand over top of neck and grab great toe, create figure four across free side of neck with the opposite hand. Extend shin while pulling down with arms.
Despite feeling like I'd been run over by a truck full of mats, I sparred a little at Goshin Jitsu today. Winning in practice doesn't count so it always amuses me to see people go a little harder and faster in timing than they are ready for. I enjoy sparring these people and do my utmost to show them the difference between the two types of play. Everyone is a tough guy until they spar and start to realize that looking good is a long way from being good. The point of sparring is application both in attack and defense, the place where words no longer count and heart is tested. By sparring good fighters you may "lose" but at the same time you will win experience, respect and courage. The other fun thing about sparring is seeing someone you train pull off combinations/submissions/throws/whatever on you. They hit hard, wrestle well, and can throw you around the room whereas before they largely couldn't do any of these things to you. If this is in some small part due to my coaching I'm happy, I'm doing something right and transferring information correctly. Despite the lumps, bumps, and need to pull out some new tricks to save my bacon.
Three ways to break posture standingPosture is important in all types of fighting. Erect but flexible posture is vital in boxing and muay thai. Classically the Thai's stand as erect as possible on the balls of their feet to minimize knees to the head. When we break someone's posture in muay thai it is typically to the front, e.g. off a deep knee, head knee combination, or to the rear for a dump. In knee play the anterior combat chiropractor is a fight ender, knees are hardly defensible from this position. In judo or wrestling posture is fundamentally important, throws are accomplished by breaking the other person's posture. Judo and Greco-Roman wrestling is more erect and uses displacement (kazushi) to set up throws. Freestyle wrestling falls back to a posture seen in our hominid ancestors, bent but balanced. A head snap is an example of anterior combat chiro while a front or side underhooked clinch position would result in posterior and lateral combat chiro respectively. In sport jiu-jitsu, posture is used defensively to set-up the guard pass and to defend chokes. Offense is often geared toward combat chiro in all directions such that it makes it eliminates core muscle groups and isolates the neck or limbs. With rare exceptions (e.g. collar choke or gogo plata) we must always go off the centerline or fundamental positions in order to secure a submission and by doing this we disrupt our opponent's posture. There are four general concepts of combat chiro, a quick and corny acronym, SPInE:
Snap
SnapAny use of a sudden yank such as in an arm drag or head snap. This is an explosive and sudden way of unbalancing and breaking your opponents posture. It usually generates combat chiro action but the effect is temporary and less predictable than other methods, since your control is typically less.
Push-Pull
Push-pullHere we generate two opposing vectors at different levels or places on the body. We can generate more efficient displacement by using two vectors as well as making this harder to defend since two forces are being applied at once. This is generally more technically challenging but yields better results. I use this to set up ogoshi (hip toss) from side clinch or to dump people with an outside to inside leg reap. The concept of push-pull is very well covered in "Small-Circle Jujitsu" (Wally Jay).
Inch
InchMicro-adjustments against the core body, limbs or head can gradually work the combat chiropractor effect, breaking the posture and isolating your target one small step at a time. By moving limbs in a slow, irresistible fashion your opponent's posture can be disrupted without giving up position. The downside is that these adjustments are limited in scope and since they are slower have more time for compensation.
Extend
ExtendOddly sometimes increasing the space between you and your opponent increases the effective force. Consequently the combat chiro is greater by moving away from your opponent. An example is finishing the oma plata you scoot laterally away from your opponent and their posture disintegrates pushing the shoulders flat into the mat. When moving someone in plum, we typically close (the step up) and then open distance (the extension by stepping away). A similar effect is used when throwing ikkyo (roughly, one point arm throw) by stepping away and pulling the shoulders to the mat, rather than into and driving the shoulders to the mat.
Obviously these concepts are not distinct and overlap, being used in successive or simultaneous combinations. Different opponents and situations require different reliance on each.

2.23.2006

GJ Playing Games

Started with our standard warm-up, then moved to into some (combat specific) games:
Shoulder Tag
In this game you try to tag your partner's shoulder without getting tagged in return, defense is all body movement without parrying or blocking. This can be considered RATTLE building drill.
Knee Tag
From an erect posture you are working on tagging the knees. You can move your legs but you cannot block the hands. Again a RATTLE building drill.
Wrestling Off Base
With this drill we attempt to push or pull our partner off their base (moving their feet). This is just to isolate and notice how much of our balance is dynamic and accomplished by moving our feet.
Prison Riot
Here everyone tries to move around tagging others between the shoulder blades without getting tagged in turn. The goal is to work on your movement and awareness. With compliments to Marc "Crafty Dog" Denny.
Next week broke the class into junior and senior students. The senior students learned all sorts of Jeff-jitsu mysteries that I was not privy to. Meanwhile I worked with the junior students working on kicks and straight knees. General notes on kicking:
  • For both rear and lead kicks a small step is used move us off centerline as well as generate more power.
  • Pivot on the base leg, turning our base foot all the way over so that the heel is pointing toward your partner.
  • The use the distal shin and bounce it off the target (elastically collide) returning to your "fighting stance". The foot can be used for slapping shots, but in training use the shin.
  • Arms can be in classic Thai position (kicking side extended, other hand on forehead) or the modernized style (kicking side arm swung back to increase power but with the shoulder tucked to the head, other hand in guard position).
  • The lead leg kick requires a switch step to load the kick
For knees:
  • The kneeing side arm extends away from the body, while the opposite hand rests back of the hand on forehead.
  • Extend the knee so that it travels parallel with the floor, through the pads.
  • Be able to return to your fighting stance, don't just flop down after your done.
The junior students worked 4 x 2 minute rounds:
  1. 1-Kick and 2-Kick.
  2. 1-Knee and 2-Knee.
  3. Mixed 1-Kick/Knee and 2-Kick/Knee.
  4. Conditioning 1-3-6-9 kicks with 30 seconds pitterpat, repeating
Meanwhile the advanced students worked 3 minute rounds of:
  1. Multilevel Boxing
  2. Tiip-Kick Combinations
    "Fundamental": Tiip-Jab-Cross-Lead Kick
    "Tiip 4-count": Do a four count kicking combination leading with a tiip or rear tiip but ending with a kick
    Tiip-Rear Kick
    Tiip-Lead Kick
    Rear Tiip-Rear Kick
    Rear Tiip-Lead Kick
  3. Punch-Knee Combinations
    Cross-Knee
    Hook-Knee
    Knee-Cross
    Knee-Hook
    I don't like Knee-Jab since I see the knee followed by a power shot which the jab (at least mine) is not.
  4. Conditioning
    n lead kicks - cross - lead hook - n rear kicks - lead hook - cross - sprawl - repeat, with n = 1-10
I also covered the basic two-hand grabbing attack scenario (two hand choke, shoulder grab, shirt grab) defenses. Remember the key here is that they are physically connecting themselves to you, you know there their hands are.
  1. The spectacles-testicles-necktie-knee (eyes-groin-neck-knees) shots
  2. The bow and arrow using forward pressure on the shoulder and backward pressure on the opposite wrist. Think of a push-pull action breaking the shoulder posture in the anterior-posterior direction (an application of the combat chiropractor).
  3. And of course, back to the basic street self-defense or bailey concept
We also covered the side-headlock, noting the importance of using small micro-correction get us out of a bad spot, the formula is:
  1. Secure by controlling the inside of both their arms so they cannot twist on you or hit you.
  2. Break the grip by inflicting pain (knuckle to the ribs, groin shot) or postural change (standing erect or picking the near leg)
  3. Escape by pulling your head out (after the knuckle or standing erect) or by moving your partner (hand under the nose or lifting them with the leg pick).
I related the story of the wrestler who grabbed another man by a headlock and was subsequently shot in the head. Remember, nobody picks a fight their pretty sure they cannot win. What is that person hiding? Physically they could be concealing a weapon on their person or behind their back. Strategically they could have friends in the crowd. Emotionally they could be the sweetest guy early in the evening and the monster who tries to rape you later. In any case, question them and not yourself, and remember that your safest bet is avoidance before altercation.

2.20.2006

GJ "Your only competition is yourself"

I started an hour early with Derrick and Jim, we worked three rounds of MMA timing and then two rounds of grappling with striking. Today for warm-up we switched it up with:
  • 50 squats + 10 jumper squats
  • 25 push-ups
  • 1 min hand stands
  • 1 min with fireman's carry with optional walking or squats
  • 1 min bearhug pick-up
  • 1 min wheel barrow hold with optional push-ups/walk/hop
  • 1 min alternating leap frog figure eights
  • 1 min bob and weave followed by lateral jump over partner
  • 1 min sprawl under partner's hand, jump over kick
We started with defense work:
  • Jab: Use the "catch", hand rotates forward and deflects at 45o. More advanced alternatives are slipping and evading, either moving head to outside and forward of jab or circling away from partner's power side.
  • Cross: Cover using advance while hiding behind glove and arm. Alternative for straighter shots is the parry angling body out of firing line using hand to redirect without reaching. Also out side slip.
  • Using these defenses we worked against combinations of jab and cross (jab, double, triple, jab cross, double cross, jab double cross). If new partner could call out combination first.
It is easy to pick-up one shot but much more difficult to pick-up combinations. This tells us two things:
  1. That single attacks are low percentage, combinations are high percentage.
  2. Defense is simple when the attack is known, thus a one-dimensional game with tells can be defended at a much closer range than a multidimensional game.
The tight offensive corkscrewNext we worked on checkmark footwork, having people circle away from their oncoming opponent. We then switched to tight offensive corkscrews. That is rather than using the quarter circle away from, we bob/weave to avoid the punch and then enter with a kali-esque triangle step, before pivoting 90oquarter circling to the "t-bone" position. This put us in a great position for a posterior side or rear clinch, which is advantageous to prevent their striking and to set-up takedowns.
Next we worked on tying our street defense with Thai offense. From the offensive bailey walls transition to plum and from there we worked:
  1. Deep knee, head knee (remember the deep knee travels parallel with the floor)
  2. Curve knee, deep knee
From here the new folks were introduced to breakfalls by Paulo while those with experience in breakfalls started working on my Syllabus of Reaps, which (in my mind) basically covers the methods for reaping an opponent. There are three things to remember with reaps:
  1. Preserve your partner's knee function, make sure your reap action works with their biomechanics in practice. Anywhere else blow through the knee like a scythe through barley.
  2. These reaps can remain standing or be done dropping. Standing gives up less poor position if you fail, but is sometimes not as effective. Plus sometimes in combat sports like muay thai, the fighters must remain standing to throw. Dropping can increase efficacy and is a natural progression when trying to get to a groundwork position, e.g. wrestling or sport jiu-jitsu.
  3. A "failed" reap sets up another reap (or throw), reap attempts and defense of reaps all change the balance dynamic of your opponent and therefore sets up another reap.
With these general concepts in mind, let's cover the technical specifics:
Syllabus of ReapsInside Line Inside Reap (kouchi-gari, "Kodokan Judo" (Jigoro Kano) pg. 69 and see also Ricco Rodriguez do this move to great effect in the early Abu Dhabi submission wrestling tournaments)
With this move we describe a half circle with our lead foot between our partner's legs and around their lead leg. I like to use this with a dropping motion, having my foot tracing the half-circle as my knee drops to the floor. Alternatively "bite" or hold the leg with your crook formed by your knee and calf and dump off at the 45o angles posteriorly to your partner. Use shoulder pressure to increase reap torque.

Inside Line Outside Reap (ouchi-gari, "Kodokan Judo" (Jigoro Kano) pg. 66)
Here we use the "bite" to lift the lead leg and (1) either turn and dump to the lifted side or (2) tilt toward the opposite side. For this throw as well I like the dropping version better, I like taking a half step, to bisect my partner's legs and then shooting my foot through and my knee to the floor in one smooth motion. The throw is a combination action between the trapped leg and your upper body levering them to the ground. Cupping the free leg with your hand helps as does moving your upper body to the reap side.

Outside Line Outside Reap (osoto-gari, "Kodokan Judo" (Jigoro Kano) pg. 64)
From staggered set-up (your foot on their midline) step off 45o, breaking them at the waist, keeping hip-to-hip and shoulder-to-shoulder contact. Use either (1) "dippy bird" reap, leg extended to ceiling head toward floor, (2) Filipino-style dragging foot straight back across floor, or (3) block off both legs and trip over both. Paulo showed an interesting variation, using the lapel control hand to twist and "uppercut" your partner to give the proper set-up. This fits well with the original version of throw, using a straight arm to the head so that you could plant your opponent head-first (rather than to their back) in the floor.

Outside Line Inside Reap (kosoto-gari, "Kodokan Judo" (Jigoro Kano) pg. 68)
From a staggered set-up throw your rear leg around the outside of your opponent's lead leg, lift and use upper body pressure to push 45o posteriorly over the reaped leg.

2.18.2006

JKD & BJJ Drilling

Today we started working in the mirror throwing sets of 10
  • Step and slide
  • Jab
  • Body Jab
  • Double Jab
  • Triple Jab
  • Eye Jab (flick water from the tips of your fingers)
  • Jab-Cross
Next we worked single stick long range to sumbrada to hubud, adding disarms in subsequent rounds. I think the biggest mistake people make is forgetting that the stick is a weapon, when we wave it around we're trying to hit/hurt people with it, not just perform poor baton practice (yes, very Dog Brothers of me). Next we worked on single (foam) stick sparring and progressed into double vs. single stick. Double stick is mentally and coordination-wise harder and should be played at long range. The single stick wielder needs to close.
Next we drilled essential basics:
  • 2 mat lengths shrimping
  • 2 mat lengths backward roll
  • 2 mat lengths forward roll
  • 10 arm bars from guard (swing from position to position)
  • 5 scissor sweeps
  • 5 hip bumps
  • 5 (really tough) flower sweeps
  • 5 bridge and roll
  • 5 shrimp from mount
We also covered the hip toss from "T-bone" position (your belly button to their hip). Insert the head hook, that is the top of your head in the side of their neck. Control the kimono posteriorly just above the belt as well as the opposite arm at the elbow. Step your posterior leg through to hip toss. If they block, yank forward, then sit extending your rear leg across their ankles/calves and pulling them to straight back to the ground. Come up to side mount. We finished with 30 second sets of escaping the mount and side mount.
Keeping this short, I'm off to the Total Fight Challenge.

2.17.2006

Supplemental "Pummeling is like relativity...when is that ever useful"

Jim and I got together and trained today. Midway during him hounding me on the mat, we ended in his guard and as he went for underhooks, he quipped, ""Pummeling...when is that ever useful." And it inspired the title of today's entry, that and it makes an old instructor proud to see his students humorously analyze the material he's been taught. A solitary tear rolls down my cheek.
We started working with the jab. I see the jab as a piece of the arsenal useful both in offense and defense. In offense it can be used to probe as well as to set-up attack-by-combination ("Tao of Jeet Kune Do" (Bruce Lee)), while in defense it can be used as a quick, repeated counter punch. To set up our jab (like other striking) we have several methods, including:
  1. Space-time Control: Action
    If you initiate the offense by throwing the combination this is the simplest and most direct way to throw your strikes since you choose the time and place to deliver your offense
  2. Temporal Control: Drawing/Feinting Action
    By using movement concepts like the StarfishTM to draw and bait your opponent and the CorkscrewTM circle and close with your opponent you force them to throw (and miss). By faking you can force my reaction for your counter reaction. Here you bank on time, your opponent can only throw so fast, so you read the rate and act in their "recovery" period.
  3. Spatial Control: Counter Action
    The time that your opponent is most "open" is when their limbs are furthest from them and that occurs when they strike. Thus counter punching is the process of launching your attack when they have launched their attack. This can be accomplished by catching/parrying/slipping and simultaneously/immediately returning shots.
  4. Space-time Chaos: Reaction
    As mentioned previously, in sport or self-defense, when an attack earns an immediate and brutal reprisal, attacks usually stop. When a strike lands either off a cover or cleanly, return fire. I do not like to exchange, but if forced to I want to get the better end of the deal.
We worked a progression of drills to work these concepts:
  1. Basic boxing warm-up. How is the jab and jab in combination working/looking?
  2. Stationary feeder, reacts to encroachment, the fighter's objective is to jab one focus mitt as the the feeder tries to land jabs. Can the fighter use feinting and drawing to set-up the jab?
  3. Repeat #2 above but now the fighter uses a counter punch set-up. Can the figher set-up a counter jab?
  4. Stationary fighter, feeder touches/tags fighter who throws immediate jab. Can the fighter respond to touch stimuli and react immediately?
  5. Front hand sparring. Can the fighter incorporate #1-4 above into their lexicon?
With this in mind we must remember that the jab is a part and not the whole, it can be used simply and alone but is most effective when incorporated into a more complex fighting structure using hooks, crosses, kicks, knees, etc. With that in mind:
  • "3 Body Kick": Jab-Cross-Lead Body Hook-Rear Kick
  • "Four Angles": Jab-Overhand-Uppercut-Cross
  • "Reverse 3 Hook/Kick/Tiip/Knee": Jab-Lead Hook-Cross-Lead Hook/Lead Kick/Tiip/Lead Knee
  • "2 Overhand Uppercut": Jab-Cross-Overhand-Lead Uppercut
Jim and I also got into a form vs. function discussion. There is a technical proscribed way to move, however when we drill, time, or spar we sometimes functionally get out of the way using abysmal form. Here is the dichotomy: when form fails does function take over, but shouldn't proper form be functional? This is basically the self-perfection vs. self-preservation discussion with different words. We must strive for pure form but must remember that in the chaos of hardcore drills, fast timing, and full contact sparring sometimes primal instinct, tempered by skilled repetition, cannot be sublimated and was successful at preserving your skin. This is good, but usually comes at the cost of increased energy expenditure, risk of injury and/or poor balance, thus we cannot discard technical form for barest function. And then later we can have this discussion again with new words for the same meanings...
Finally Jim and I rolled for about a half hour which he spent beating me up (although I did catch a flying...er...falling armbar). We talked about using but not relying on our natural gifts to build a grappling (or any) game. Thus a tall fighter uses long range attacks but cannot be unfamiliar with inside boxing. A flexible grappler set-ups submissions from unlikely positions but does not expect their flexibility to save them from every bad position or submission. Training our strengths into our game is important as not letting our weaknesses define it. Yes we should do what we are best at, but we should also hone our roughest patches to be our sharpest weapons.

2.16.2006

GJ "Look like a fighter"

Started with trying to tape our improperly cut mats...long story. Jeff ran the practice through warm-ups and then we worked on tackle/takedown "castle" defense:
  1. Barbican: Rapid push on head and shoulder or both shoulders
  2. Outer Bailey: Inserting the forearm next to the neck to set up for knees, punches, and elbows
  3. Inner Bailey: Sprawl -- hips into mat through their shoulders/head, laces to the mat/balls of the feet to the street, use hands for head/arm control
  4. Keep: Inserting underhooks (crucifix) or going for guillotine
Next covered some basic shot skills:
  • Your partner places their hand lightly on your head, your job is to shoot directly from this position, penetrating with your lead knee and stepping through
  • Shooters walk: Roll your lead knee to the mat and step through
We split into junior and senior students. Joe took the junior students and covered basic kicking and kick angles:
  1. Rear leg outside lead thigh
  2. Lead leg inside lead thigh
  3. Hop (perpendicular angle) rear leg outside lead thigh
  4. Step rear leg to back of lead thigh
  5. Cross rear leg kick to inside of rear lead thigh
  6. Step lead leg to back of rear thigh
  7. Rear leg across both thighs
  8. Lead leg across both thighs
He then covered drilled jab, cross, and hook. Meanwhile the senior students did the following 3 minute rounds:
  1. Basic boxing
    "3 Cross" -- Jab-Cross-Lead Hook-Cross
    "Reverse 3 Hook" -- Jab-Lead Hook-Cross-Lead Hook
    "4 Cross" -- Jab-Cross-Uppercut-Cross
    "Overhand 4 Overhand" -- Jab-Overhand-Uppercut-Overhand
    "2 Body Head" -- Jab-Cross-Lead Body Hook-Lead Head Hook
  2. Unorthodox boxing
    "Overhand 3 (Cross/Kick)" -- Jab-Overhand-Lead Hook(-Cross/Rear Kick)
    "2 Overhand Uppercut" -- Jab-Cross-Overhand-Uppercut
    This round started with 30 seconds of pitterpat. Placed emphasis on targeting, that is, picking a small spot on the focus mitt and punching 3" through it. I also echoed the words of Tim S, "Look like a fighter", as annoying as those can be, they ring very true. By training and taking on the characteristics of a fighter we can become one and rather than having to adopt the roll, it will adopt us.
  3. Basic Thai boxing
    Focused on punch kick combinations (1K, 2K, KC, four counts)
  4. 4 minute knee skills
    Worked 30 seconds distance and three knees-three punches. For distance drill the feeder holds one pad in front of the fighter and keeps the fighter's hips tight to the pad by pulling in with the other hand at the hips. The feeder keeps forward pressure forcing the fighter to push back and turn the feeder. When the feeder says "distance" the fighter pops their hips back to create and delivers to same-side knees with the knee on the same side as the anterior pad. The three knees-three punches drill is a continuous drill where the fighter throws three skip knees from clinch and then reacts with cross-hook-cross-lead hand head control-rear hand head control and repeats the knees. More advanced fighters can switch between leading with a cross and lead hook-cross-lead hook-rear hand head control-lead hand head control. The last 30 seconds were three knees turn continuously.
  5. Conditioning
    1-3-6-9(-12-15) kicks one side
    1-3-6-9(-12-15) kicks other side
    10 squats
    Approximately 30 seconds of pitterpat
    10 push-ups
    And back to the top. Intermittent sprawls were thrown in, the last 20 seconds were jumper squat sprawls.
Recombined the groups and finished with more conditioning, 1 minute rounds:
  1. Holding push-up position, 5 push-ups every 20 seconds
  2. Sitting up holding legs 6" off floor, adding horizontal and vertical flutter kicks
  3. Pitter pat with domino sprawls (each person sprawls after the person to their right)
  4. High knees with domino sprawls
  5. Holding push-up position, 5 push-ups every 10 seconds

2.14.2006

JKD & BJJ Happy Valentines Day...just use the last six inches

This will be short, I got a knot in my back during training and sitting erect and typing is rather discomforting. Essentially three notes
  • JKD: (Fake) lead low kick to shin-rear Thai kick-savate kick to solar plexus
  • BJJ: Scissor sweep --> loop choke (pushes elbow off) --> cross collar choke (pushes away) --> straight arm bar
  • On passing guard control lower leg by grabbing pants legs and stretching away. Other hand secures head control.
  • Breaking boards is crap

Little things that all of us can improve in our Thai Boxing

Think you're THE bad@$$ of the ring and the owner of the Thai pads, try working on these:
  1. Body Mechanics
    Strikes are thrown by your body not simply your limbs. Thus the legs and hips pivot to throw a punch and the punch rotates fully into the target. Kicks are thrown off the ball of the base leg, with a full enough rotation that your base heel is pointing towards your opponent and your hips are maximally abducted.
  2. Limb Independence
    Often times when we throw a jab the rear hand drops and vice versa. Or when we tiip our hands move. Why? They have nothing to do with that strike, don't help us develop anymore power, and none of the neurological or structural connections are the same. Cheating doesn't help, when you do curls your isolating your biceps and you should not be throwing the weight by using your back. Similarly when I tiip my hands cannot help me do it, just as the lead hand throws independent of the motion of the rear hand.
  3. Striking "Negative"
    Most of us are really good at throwing, but less adept at the post-landing-the-shot stage. The "negative" or return to guard is as important as hitting the target. Make sure your kicks are elastic and your punches returning directly to your head. This is done fast and tight, with the same exactness and precision as the "positive".
  4. Accuracy
    Targeting is often neglected in bag or pad work, especially the Thai pads. We excuse power for accuracy forgetting that a softer kick can do more damage than a poorly placed powerful one (not that power should not be developed). Also it's safer for your holder if they are reasonably sure you'll hit the target rather than them. Thai pad gear is made big not for the striker but to protect the coach, thus we need to unleash our devastating strikes to a specific chosen spot on the pad rather than arbitrarily on its surface.
  5. Conditioning vs. Efficiency
    A fighter can "always" be in better shape. I remember getting ready for my first amateur Thai fight a few years ago and getting frustrated by what I felt was a lack of conditioning shortly before the regional tournament. My coach, Ryan Blackorby, grinned at me and said, "of course your out of breath, those were the hardest rounds I've ever held for you." The flip side is that we must always be improving are destructive efficiency, that is, using the absolute minimum amount of energy to achieve our goals. Thus mechanics and RATTLE must be optimized for the fight we face.

2.13.2006

GJ Champions love conditioning, losers quit

Started early with Derrick, Dan, and Jeff warmed up with
  • J-C-LH-C
  • J-H-C-H
  • J-O-LU-O
  • J-C-LBH-LHH
  • 4 count #1: LK-C-LH-RK
  • 4 count #2: RK-LH-C-LK
  • 4 count #3: LK-C-LH-LK
  • 4 count #4: RK-LH-C-RK
Then went into 12 x 5 min rounds of grappling. Good guillotine finished by opening guard and putting one foot in (chokeside?) hip. Jeff and Dan finished with 3 x 5 min Tabata protocol rounds on the G & P bag, throw dummy, and Thai pads (pitterpat, CH, kicks, knees, head knees, head kick sprawl). After these fights I'm not holding pads for a month. Regular practice started warming up while the conditioning was finished.
Started with focus mitts
  1. Proper vs. improper level changesLevels
    Low line (body) shots are delivered by bending the knees to both dynamically load the punch but to also prevent getting drilled in the head as you switch lines. Tuck the focus mitt inside the belly pad to reduce the body shot impact:
    • "1": Jab
    • "2": Jab-Cross
    • "1 Body": Body Jab
    • "2 Body": Jab-Body Cross
  2. Checking our guard
    Using the same combinations we now remind our partner that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, for jab and cross the hand goes from the head to the target back to the head. The "pillar" is set, minimizing the exposed target area. Failure to do so earns a quick focus mitt slap. The senior students added
    • "3 Body": Jab-Cross-Lead Body Hook
    • "4 Body": Jab-Body Cross-Uppercut (use the elevation from the body cross to add to the uppercut)
  3. Reaction
    One of the most demoralizing things to happen to a fighter is after each great combination they launch they get an onslaught right back -- this is reaction. They attack, you react. You attack, they react, you react. Think of it as the ultimate in the last word. No matter if I'm knocked out, I will throw my reaction (before falling to the canvas). The cover comes high to protect the head as you encroach to lessen the "sweet spot" impact/No-Man's Land effect
    • "High Cover 3": Lead cover the cross-Cross-Lead Hook-Cross
    • "Side Cover 3": Rear cover the lead hook-Cross-Lead Hook-Cross
    The senior students added:
    • "3 Body Cross": Jab-Cross-Lead Body Hook-Cross
    • "4 Body Cross": Jab-Body Cross-Uppercut-Cross
  4. Conditioning
    The key to conditioning is not only improving your level of fitness but never showing you're tired or in pain. On the inside you may be a quaking puddle of fearful mush but on the outside you are serene Buddha-like fighting machine. 30 seconds of:
    • Pitterpat
    • Squats
    • Bob and weave
    • Pitterpat
    • Sit down and stand up
    • Pitterpat
Next we transitioned into knees with minute drills:
  • Skip knees on wall
  • (Light) skip knees to partner's abdomen
  • Pendulum on wall
  • Pendulum with curve knees on wall
  • Light curve knees to partner's abdomen
  • Knee to chest on wall
We followed up with body control
  • Thai clinch (plum)
    Hands pull forming two hooks over the neck or head while forearms push into clavicles. Step one foot up next to their foot, other foot rotates back approximately 180o, reposition by hip movement assisted by twisting head.
  • Side thai clinch
    From plum partner tries to weave inside, shoot overhook on this side and trace other hand over their head, forming the "praying mantis hook" on their neck. Circle far foot back approximately 90o as you pull their head down.
  • Posterior side clinch
    Partner has (loose) plum. Pop their elbow up and trace your head down the inside of their triceps and under, pop head up on the outside, and make a pivot so that you belly button points toward their hip. Form a wrestlers grip on the far side at their floating ribs (with or without the far arm trapped) and perform the "combat chiropractor" breaking their posture laterally.
  • Over-under (50-50)
    One underhook, one over hook. Pop the underhook up, create space, and throw curve knee to this side, then drop low to hips, closing space, and "combat chiropractor" them backwards.
  • Double underhooks
    Pop underhooks high, clasping hands behind skull, work open low line with knees. Pop underhook grip to hips, close space, and "combat chiropractor" them backwards.
We finished with some "dancing", 1 minute each of
  • Pendulum
  • Squats
  • 5 push-ups 10 second hold
  • Skiing
  • Mountain climbers
  • Running in place (last 20 secs with high knees)
  • Spider-man
  • Sprawls (running in place for juniors)
I wrestled four more 5 minute rounds after practice.

2.11.2006

JKD, BJJ, GJ, OMG, TMI, SMERSH and other alphabet soup...ROTFLMAO

Jeet Kune Do worked the destruction to kicking, picking up the jab with the elbow destruction followed by a shuffle or Thai kick. We then worked into interceptions with the kicks off of progressive levels of boxing (jabs, jab-cross, jab-cross-hook).
BJJ worked a review of the jumping to the guard. Note: Catching someone who weighs 100 pounds more than you is one heck of a workout. I worked two "flow" rounds with Richardo escaping the mount and passing the guard.
Proceeded over to GJ where we started with 2 x 3 min shadowboxing, 3 x 2 min pummeling, and 8 x 2 min timing. Practice split and I worked more timing rounds with the newer senior students followed by many-on-one knee play and first takedown.
Two issues came up, the first being combinations, when asked we must have 3 (or more combinations) that we want to use ready to go, going in without a combination and reaction plan defeats the purpose of timing. Second if our combinations are stymied the reaction used to shut down your game plan will typically be the same each time...because it's working. Use this to set up a variation, that is to counter their counter. Fighting is planned but not with out a healthy amount of adaptation.
I also covered basic shot defense:
  • Stance: The way you present yourself offensively and defensively is important. The line of sight of your opponent is a critical consideration.
  • Hooks: Underhooks are in my opinion the best approach to controlling your opponent's body.
  • Push off: As they shoot, use your hands on their head/shoulders to push them ballistically away (the barbican of wrestling ?).
  • Sprawling: Hip pressure down and through the mat, legs are flat on the mat with the laces down, in training arms are straight creating the arch of the upper body. We control our partner's head and arms after the sprawl (the bailey?).
  • Underhook/Guillotine insertion: If all else has failed, insert the underhooks and set up either a crucifix or guillotine position. This can be done standing or pulled to the guard. Alternatively use this lock up to sacrifice scoop through your opponent (the keep?).
By the way SMERSH means Death to Spies, for more information check out Wikipedia. I guess for our club SMEROP Death to Opponents might work better...

"There's a method to the madness, I'm just not always sure what the method is."

I've missed a couple of practice blogs this week, so this will be summary of the highlights. This week I covered some self-defense concepts with the junior students at Goshin Jitsu. The self-defense progression that I follow is:
Awareness/Intuitive Response
The first thing people need to do more of is paying attention to both their environment and themselves. We spend a lot of time training for self-defense, but then lose that by first not acting on what we perceive and then not listening to our inner voice. Observe who approaches you and assess their threat level. If despite your keenest observation nothing appears wrong but still feels wrong, listen to yourself (a lá "Use the Force, Luke)!
One of the drills we use is to partner up and then close our eyes, you have to describe physical characteristics of your partner. A variation is to engage in intense physical activity (such as pitterpat) before closing your eyes to model the "blood deficit" to the brain in moments of stress.

Exit Strategy
Live to fight another day is an axiom of self-defense situations. Before the fight starts, the consideration of how you will extract yourself as well as friends and family from the scene must be performed. High levels of awareness can lead to immediate tactical withdrawal avoiding an altercation, and goes in the "win" column.

Fact Check
Note this does not have to occur in the middle of the altercation but are issues to consider briefly in the now and extensively beforehand.
  1. Nobody initiates a fight they don't believe they will "win".
    If a guy is starting trouble with you, your goal is to make him lose. Fleeing the scene is a winning strategy for you and a losing one for him, he wanted the fight. In a mugging, resistance often makes you an undesirable target, you don't have to beat the mugger, just delay him enough to make you an cost ineffective victim. Essentially, based on their goal and what they know that you don't, what can you do to turn the tables on them.
  2. What are you prepared to do?
    You have to set the limits of the engagement. Are you willing to hurt, maim, or kill this person? Or do you want to just control them or escape? Different situations call for different responses, a rapist can come in two forms: a stranger or a familiar. The stranger is more easily dehumanize, but if the rapist is a friend or "loved" one can you do the same? I am of the opinion that if someone attacks me with the intent to hurt me, I will lay down my life in order to send them home with one testicle. Consider it a bull$h!t samurai mentality, but I am committed to at the very least leaving my mark on this person for life. However, should I be threatened by a mugger who wants my wallet, he can have it...unless he then tries to hurt me. I can replace my $3, I cannot replace my life. The willingness to sell myself dearly only makes sense when the chance of damage or death is going to happen anyway.
  3. You are going to get hurt
    No matter how good you are no technique is foolproof. In any fight be it the street or the ring you will get hurt. The objective is to accept and minimize this effect. It is OK to feel pain after the altercation, but during an assault no agony or injury will stop you. This is why we train and train hard, the more you "hurt in training the less you bleed in combat"("The Rogue Warrior's Strategy for Success" (Richard Marcinko))
Ted Nasmith's picture of Tolkien's ''Oliphant''One way to consider the use of your hands and arms in a fight is to think of yourself as a series of walls in a medieval castle. That is, if that castle could move (say we stack on the back of an gigantic elephant). Anyway to invade a castle, the aggressor must break through several walls, each of which can launch waves of defenders and weapons. Each set of walls has a strategic worth and goal, they are used and discarded as the battle changes. A self-defense situation is similar, we must use our hands as range finders, methods of communication, and an arsenal of striking and grappling weapons.

Ranging Perimeter/"Barbican"
The first defense encountered in a castle is the Barbican. This is the same concept as the Fence described by Geoff Thompson (see "Dead Or Alive: The Choice Is Yours : The Definitive Self-Protection Handbook" (Geoff Thompson), "Art of Fighting" (Geoff Thompson), and "Three Second Fighter : Sniper Option" (Geoff Thompson)). Essentially, extend your arms palm towards your attacker in a very placating posture, using your hands to "bounce" of their forward pressure. After one or two bounces action is required and a new wall of the castle comes into play or we go directly to the Engagement phase. The Fence is an excellent point in which to perform psychological warfare on your aggressor via "verbal jujitsu" (Thompson describes several brilliant strategies such as yelling "I don't want to fight" an instant before blitzing your opponent).
Diagram of a castle

Offense Perimeter/"Ballium" ("Bailey")
The engagement perimetersThe set of walls between the barbican and the castle proper is called the Bailey (Ballium in Latin). These are thicker walls with more counteroffensive tools. This is the S.P.E.A.R. system described by Tony Blauer. Essentially the S.P.E.A.R. system uses a generally applicable, simple, trained flinch response to enter the Engagement phase.

Covering/"Keep"
The Keep walls are only used in defense when the preceding walls have fallen. That is, you've done multiple things wrong to get to this point. You are either being pummeled mercilessly or in a bad position on the ground. Covering up, minimizing damage, and then using micro-adjustments in position to reestablish control, e.g. clinching and controlling the centerline or shrimping out of sidemount.

Engagement
Finally, in scant seconds, the engagement begins following scouting of our foe, analysis of intelligence, and (hopefully) breaking them on the walls of our "castle". This is all the "martial arts stuff" be it striking, throwing, or submission but necessarily follows the progression described above. We cannot hit someone unless we first defend their attack. A throw or takedown off an attack needs a set-up, no matter how minute. Different styles have different primary targets, jeet kune do seems to like the eye ball and groin, while krav maga has a preference for the throat and knee. I like all of 'em:
  • Spectacles
  • Testicles
  • Necktie
  • Knee
My basic stance modification between (Thai) boxing, MMA, and wrestling/grapplingAs mentioned previously I've been adapting my "stance" for training in different combat sports. But rather than thinking of these fighting postures as three unique concepts I think of them as three variations on a central theme. I like using the opposite corners of a box as the two reference points for my feet. All three have bent knees and are light on the balls of the feet, I don't like to bounce, as is typically done in boxing. I try to remain as erect as possible with my hands high and tight on my head in Thai boxing since the threat of takedowns is so low but the head shots are so high. I prefer to have my line of sight above that of my opponent, it means that I have longer limbs then they do and can hit from further away. If not I need to close and work from the clinch.
For MMA my hands remain in their high guard, but due to the increased threat of takedowns I have widened and lowered my stance. I still try to stay light on my feet but I want to make sure that my opponent has to go through my line of sight to shoot. I don't lower myself as much as when I wrestle because this decreases my punching efficiency too much and completely kills my kicks and knees.
Finally, for wrestling I like to use a long low stance, loaded on the balls of my feet. My arms drop so that my "elbows are in my hip pockets", takedowns are the threat here, not punches to the head. I lose my erect posture to drop me lower than my opponent's line of sight. They will have to cross this line for the majority of takedowns and I'm better set up to arm drag or obtain underhooks.
It should be noted that level changes in striking and wrestling are the same. We bend our knees to bob and weave or to throw body punches in a surprisingly similar manner to the level change used to shoot. Thus these stances are not static and immutable, instead they are the central reference point to which we return after altering arm or leg position, level, or range.

2.08.2006

JKD & BJJ Methods to Asphyxiate Your Foes

JKD worked on improving kicking coordination with
  • Rear oblique kick-shuffle kick-Thai kick
  • Parry jab-rear oblique kick-rear oblique kick
  • Parry jab-rear oblique kick-lead oblique kick
  • Parry jab-rear oblique kick-lead savate kick
On the savate kick, the kick enters at 50% going directly upward (this is achieved by pointing the hip at the target) and exits at 100% as if it were a round house kick. The toe is used, since savate uses the shoe, hitting specific targets -- neck, kidney, solar plexus, femoral nerve, etc. The foot is used as a jab striking in rapidly and in multiples.
BJJ reviewed jumping to the guard and I tried the flying arm bar from triceps control with same side lapel control. We also drilled "pummeling" after jumping to the guard. We then worked into gi chokes:
The 'dimensions' of the cross collar chokeCross collar from guard
  1. Insert hands as deep as possible into the collar "make your index fingers touch". It helps to "open" the kimono and insert the second hand under the first.
  2. Wrist curl toward you.
  3. Wrist flair laterally and pull laterally.
  4. Use lats to pull (row) your partner, either pulling them to you or you to them.
  5. Do a "crunch" pulling in with legs.

"Karate chop" choke
Insert one hand deep thumb toward neck. Pivot to opposite side of hand keep pushing leg tight to partner's side, other leg overhooks back. "Chop" the side of the neck and grab fold of kimono. Return to closed guard and choke. If they push, take armbar.
Loop choke
Looser cross collar control, hook forearm across neck and slide other arm over back of neck placing hand and wrist under biceps. Lean toward over arm side. If the roll, get sweep and mount. If they push off the overarm elbow, switch to cross collar. This is a good technique for scoring a quick advantage.
Defense of chokes are "secret" techniques because the best defense is to not be put in the position/submission, at that point you've already made one (or more) mistake(s). The best defense for anything is not to be there! For the kimono chokes, never let your opponent have control of both lapels. However if they do get the choke sunk, push of their chest and look to the ceiling, while inserting on hand on the top hand side weaving over the bottom hand and under the top hand. Place hand on ear, keep fingers as far away from the bone breaking leverage of the choke.

2.06.2006

Orthodox vs. Unorthodox

The concepts of an orthodox and unorthodox fighters are quite common. An orthodox fighting style can be taught, while unorthodox fighting comes from a combination of natural talent and continued successes. Take for example, this past weekend's third UFC Championship match between Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture. Liddell is an awesome but extremely unorthodox fighter. He uses an extremely low striking guard and big almost sloppy punches yet is a devastating knockout artist and rarely has his own bell rung. When he's taken down he just stands up, regardless of the wrestling or jiu-jitsu background of his opponent. If anyone else tried to fight like he does, they'd lose and lose bad. But he does it successfully, although I do not believe that he could teach his method successfully to others.
Orthodox fighters can do well, being supplied with a general skill set that can handle most situations. However, they must be flexible enough to break with doctrine and adapt with the events around them. Unorthodox fighters provide a strategic aberration and tactical conundrum that can foil an orthodox fighter but are dependent on the athlete's natural abilities. However, being unconventional for the sake of being unconventional is not a sound basis, being unconventional for the sake of repeated success is. It can be suggested that all successful fighting styles were originally quite unorthodox but with time and modification became quite orthodox. That is, the unorthodox tactics of a system's progenitor were simplified and codified into an orthodox, teachable, system. That's how most of my hellacious drills have evolved.
Thus the orthodox fighter must adopt unorthodox thinking to become more formidable and develop. An unorthodox fighter must have an orthodox reserve for situations unsuitable for an unorthodox approach and for transmission (teaching) of the style. A recent example of unorthodox applications for me has been my overhand-3-kick combination: jab-overhand-lead hook-rear kick. People seem so ingrained that the uppercut follows the overhand that the hook comes as a surprise, followed by the "fact" that the hook is too short of a punch to be followed by a kick, alternating between their distal thigh and head adds to the frustration. I'm also playing with jab-lead hook-rear uppercut, which is also landing. In grappling, people often do the same thing over and over, e.g. always passing to the same side or the same way. In practice it is important to drill a high percentage move, but it also important to do something "unorthodox" for you if your "high percentage" move isn't working or in case it doesn't work in competition.
Todays technical drill of note was a continuous 5 x 1 minute drill using:
  • Thai pads with reaction
  • Punch mitts
  • Punch mitt pummeling
  • Punching down to punch mitts
  • Kick up to thai pads
  • Pad switch breaks were done on the G & P dummy

2.04.2006

JKD, BJJ & GJ The day you quit learning, quit training, and then go shoot yourself

JKD warmed up with the oblique kick, shuffle kick, and Thai kick progression. Then we worked some low line kicking interception off boxing.
BJJ started with jumping to the guard:
Basic jumping to the guard
Using a staggered stance, jump the rear leg first then the the front leg (as if throwing a jumping kick). This is the fastest way to get the jumping guard while simultaneously setting up the mechanics for a flying armbar or triangle. Grip is on the lapel and elbow, establish kazushi (unbalancing) by shaking or with a quick forward snap. I have been jumping with both feet rather than this interval leap, so this was corrected today (learning point #1)
Jumping to the guard to ozeki kiel (s.p.)
From the guard (partner standing), hook one arm around neck, catching the inside of the other. Drive the free fist into the neck, "underneath" the rear hooking arm.
Jumping to the guard to double underhooks
From the guard (partner standing), pummel arms inside to double underhooks, release guard and set up takedown, e.g. hug the waist and break, inside/outside leg reap, etc.
Jumping to the guard to arm bar
After jumping to guard, partner collapses forward, arms outstretched. Immediately pivot, barring the arm you are controlling with the sleeve. You can use the hip to pivot, but speed and fluidity are maximized when you swing the leg over the head freely. Alternatively, hook the opposite leg (with lapel control hand), to ease into arm bar. Tilt over to floor.
Jumping to the guard to handstand sweep
After you jump to the guard, partner again collapses, create arm underhook (elbow at ankle), other hand reaches back and palm pushes on floor. Lock the leg and sweep 45o over posteriorly over the locked leg. Use the arch of the body aided by the "handstand" against the controlled foot.
Jumping to the guard to star sweep
If the handstand sweep fails because your partner steps back with free foot, do a reverse roll over the shoulder hooking the leg and stand up. Lift the leg and takedown.
Jumping to the guard to reverse arm bar
After jumping to the guard, partner tries to push on your knee. Underhook this arm and cup elbow, your partner's arm should be caught in the crook of your elbow. Roll same side knee over partner's triceps and lock arm.
Reverse arm bar from standing
  1. Partner controls same side lapel, get "over control" on lapel and apply downward pressure with elbow.
  2. Loosen kimono neck lapel with free hand
  3. As you step back with gripped side bring elbow down and through
  4. Cup elbow, catching their wrist in the crux of your elbow, simultaneously step back with other foot.
Following practice Jeff and I did a 35 minute grappling round, with continual bursts. Jack watched and coached, following that Jack worked passing the guard with me. General notes:
  • Compress the open guard grabbing the thighs, deny your opponent the extension and strength of their legs.
  • In the spider guard use the extension of the guard to unbalance your opponent.
  • I need to increase the texture of my grappling rather than continuously rolling. When superior position is reached, I'm to eager to switch up rather than just working from the position I've attained.
  • Start passing immediately, trying to get to half-guard, rather than hanging out in guard and allowing submission attempts.
Interestingly all these points reinforce things that I thought about in the full and half position blog. I just don't do them. He also showed me some tactics from this position:
Basic position
Control sleeve with shin inside elbow and opposite hand controlling same side pant. Other leg is across belt line. Do not move.
If they stall out...
Kick with shin, forcing the post on the free hand. Then use shin on elbow to "cast like a fishing rod" over your same side shoulder, loading on legs. Then dump forward and come to knee on stomach.
If they pry your hand off the pant leg...
Control their sleeve on this side and reestablish open guard. Look for triangle. If they hug legs, lift elbow and spin for oma plata.
If they retreat...
Sit up and arm drag, use free hand to push forward, insert leg between their legs. Go immediately to back if possible, otherwise use a Marcello grip to roll on side and take back.
We also talked about passing guard, I need to work on
  • Placing underhooks as needed
  • Driving with my head on the chest and up into the chin
  • Head control is more important then leg control, I need to reach all the way through to my partner's shoulder
Thus learning points #2 through #1056.
It was funny as Jack was explaining these things I must have looked put off or confused, but I really was just tired. I said as much, I love to learn new things and to have a competitor and teacher of such high level available and willing to show me how to improve is great. In martial arts as in life, we should always be learning new things from our teachers, students, friends, families, victories, failures, successes, mistakes, books, magazines, the internet and (rarely) television. What's the worst that can happen by being exposed to new concepts and ideas, I'll contemplate it and determine whether it improves some aspect of me and make me become a better person? So thanks Jack for spending the time to help me.
It was sparring day in Goshin Jitsu, so we started with shadow boxing and then did many rounds of timing. We split the class so that the MMA fighters could work off the walls. Meanwhile Joe started rounds with several of the others only to re-break his hand. The non-sparring guys then did a 2-on-1 two minute round of "knee play" after that we covered some aspects of leverage in the clinch, turning your partner, space, and head control:
  • Turning your partner: the simplest thing to do is from plum step up with one foot and then half turn by stepping away with the other.
  • "Pecker-to-pecker": Knees have to have an open space between you and your partner to be effective. Thus if your partner has plum/head control, "duck walk" your hips to theirs and then hug.
  • Creating space: Use the plum head control as a pivot point, driving your forearms and elbows into their clavicles as you simultaneously drive your hips back to open the space for knees. It's sort of like praying mantis kung fu meets a strip club...
  • Removing the plum: My personal favorites are to either (a) swim my hands through the midline and establishing your own plum, and (b) pushing your opponent's head sideways but placing your palm on their jaw.
We then went to Potbelly's and ate with Steve "Rainmaker" Turnberry, Black Belt of Romance.

2.03.2006

A Plethora of Training

There is a bountiful harvest of fantastic training opportunities locally in Champaign, disregarding opportunities for supplemental training with friends or fighters getting ready. If I had the time and my body could handle it, I'd do nothing but train:

TimeMonTuesWedsThursFriSatSun
11:00 AMJKD & BJJ
11:30 AM(Fitness Ctr)
12:00 PM 
12:30 PM 
1:00 PM 
1:30 PM 
2:00 PMGoshin Jitsu
2:30 PM(SWSMAF)
3:00 PM 
3:30 PM 
4:00 PMWrestlingWrestlingWrestlingIllini Judo
4:30 PM(SWSMAF)(SWSMAF)(SWSMAF)(SWSMAF)
5:00 PMBoxingBoxingMuay ThaiBoxing 
5:30 PM(Lifelines)(Lifelines)(PAC)(Lifelines) 
6:00 PM    Goshin Jitsu
6:30 PM JKD & BJJ   (SWSMAF)
7:00 PM(Fitness Ctr)Goshin JitsuIllini Judo 
7:30 PM (SWSMAF)(SWSMAF) 
8:00 PM   
8:30 PM   

Key:

Supplemental "Underhooks save your life man!"

Did a few MMA rounds with Derrick, Jeff, and Jim today with the gracious loan of part of the mat by Illini Judo. An interesting observation and discussion occurred today from Jeff, that of the takedown and defense in MMA. When we perform a takedown in MMA it is typically set up by strikes. With a less experienced fighter or poor wrestler, the strikes and shot can be straight in. With more experienced fighters this tactic fails, thus to increase our chance of takedown, the CorkscrewTM becomes a more effective method of setting up the shot.
Same Lead Corkscrew
Lead Switch Corkscrew
In general this Corkscrew is easier if (a) your opponent is the same lead as you and/or (b) you can shoot of your current lead kneeFor this Corkscrew it is higher yield if you are in the opposite lead to your opponent and/or (b) you prefer to shoot off your rear knee
Remember that we can shoot off an angle but we cannot shoot at an angle. Defensively, your reaction is also important, if you cover and close distance it is easier for your opponent to take you down. If you defend by evading at the angle, using the Checkmark, it will be more difficult for your opponent to set-up their shot. In addition, by pressing the action and advancing it makes it difficult for your opponent to shoot, they have to stop their retreating motion first. Active defense of the shot is a progression starting with a
  1. sprawl
  2. underhook control for guillotine/kimura/counter throw
  3. using the shot's momentum for a body heave
The cage or ropes change the offense and defense of takedowns. If we want to takedown, it is more efficient to obtain underhook control and then push to the wall, then use the wall for our takedown. It would be less efficient to start the takedown away from the wall and have the motion of the takedown intersect with the wall, unless you are a high level wrestler. From the underhook position the diaphragm obstruction pressure of the shoulder can be levered into the wall. In defense, using the increased levrage provided by the cage or ropes a single underhook can defeat a takedown while providing free punches to the head.

2.02.2006

GJ RIP Carlson Gracie Sr. 1934-2006

Today Carlson Gracie Sr. passed away from liver failure. Carlson was an icon and a pioneer in both the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and mixed-martial arts worlds, creating one of the world's premiere MMA teams (Brazilian Top Team) as well as putting Chicago on the map in the realm of competitive sport jiu-jitsu. His legacy to the fighters and martial artists within both combat sport and self-defense is immeasurable. Even those who never trained with him owe him a debt of gratitude as an ambassador of BJJ to North America and the rest of the world.
My own story with Carlson is trivial: shortly after his book ("Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: For Experts Only: Classic Jiu-Jitsu Techniques from the Master (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu series)" (Carlson Gracie, Julio Fernandez)) was published I was watching one of my friends wrestle at the Arnold's and a short, robust man with silver hair leaned into my field of view. So I pushed him gently on the shoulder to reestablish my view and all of a sudden I'm looking into Carlson's eyes. I retracted my offending hand and said, "Sorry, sir, haven't read your book yet, sir!" He grinned, got out of my way, and returned to watch the match. From then on he would smile and nod whenever I saw him at a tournament. Unfortunately, I regret never having him sign a copy of his book and now I never will.
Following our warm-up we worked on some knee combinations, reviewing the deep-head knee and curve-deep knee combinations. The in rather than up motion of the deep knee is hard for people to grasp, mostly because we say knee and it is in actual fact a pelvic/hip thrust with the distal end of the femur. The senior students put together a kick to knee combination, finishing with upper cut-overhand-upper cut, while the junior students were introduced to the Thai kick.
Next the seniors did 1-2-3-4-5-1 kicks alternating on the thai pads while the junior worked alternating kicks on one side. We then followed it with the kick catching drill, working on opening the our partner's hips and getting them rotating on the ball's of their feet, while simultaneously teaching the basic mechanics of catching the kick. After the catch the kicker rebounds off the lats (with a little help from the catcher).
The rebound nature of Thai kicking seems contradictory since it makes the kick deposit less energy as it is an elastic rather than inelastic collision. An elastic collision has the following conservation of energy equation:
1/2mv2e pre = 1/2mv2e post + Ee deposited
And for an inelastic collision
1/2mv2i = Ei deposited
By simple inspection this would mean that an inelastic strike would be more energetic than an elastic one, since the post-strike kinetic energy is not lost from the deposition of energy into the target. However, two factors must be considered. First, the addition of a physiological negative (return of the strike) will increase ve pre, such that ve pre > vi. This means, that the deposited energy from an elastic kick is less than an inelastic one, but not as much as intimated from a cursory examination of the conservation of energy equations. Second if we do not return our strike to its starting point, unless we kill or disable our opponent with our more powerful inelastic strike, we leave ourselves wide open for retaliation. Karate believes in a one punch one kill hypothesis, while muay thai does not. Perhaps this is why karate leaves its punches extended and desires maximal energy deposition via inelastic striking. Another caveat should also be mentioned, muay thai does use an inelastic kick when a recovery is not required, for example when kicking out a leg. If we make the bet that an inelastic kick will topple or unbalance our opponent, we commit to the kick with the gamble that it will disrupt our opponent enough that they cannot react. We finished with some more throws, first reviewing the reverse uki-waza:
From a punch or grab, defend or break the grip and get to a side clinch position. Sit down and extend one leg behind both of your partner's feet. Use the body lock and head pressure to pull them backward over your leg, not onto your body. The objective is to trip them, not blow out their knees with your ponderous derrière.

Yoko-wakare (side separation "Kodokan Judo" (Jigoro Kano) pg. 94)

Control over one elbow and at the head. Sit to the neck control side, extending the leg closest to our partner across both their legs, and pulling them forward into a kesa gatame (side headlock). This can almost be thought of the contrapositive to the uki-waza.
We then followed up with a discussion of what happens when bad sacrifice throws happen to good people. That is, we tried our throw but our partner did not fall down:
Koala position
Your legs are anterior-posterior to their legs, hug with posterior arm and grab wrist with anterior arm, block far knee with anterior foot. Trip forward. If they come on top of you twist to rear.
Scythe sweep
You've butt flopped directly in front of your partner, insert one inside hook at the knee, other foot in hip, control same side ankle. Use equal pull (on ankle), push (at hip), and kick (hook) to sweep. Either escape or engage in grappling.
Double shin bump
Again a failed throws puts us directly in front of our partner. Both hooks inside, place shins on partner's thighs, control both ankles. Pull ankles and push up and back with shins to trip. Again escape or engage as necessary.
Two 1 min hook coordination drills:
  • Place one hook inside of your standing partner's knees. They will disengage as you try to keep it with just your foot.
  • Place high inside hook at proximal thigh. Partner does a high knee and steps back, disengaging hook. Reestablish similar hook on opposite side. Chase across room.
We finished with timing and still some of the senior students do not understand that this is jogo (Portuguese for play) and not sparring. It sure the fuck isn't fighting. Timing is like flow grappling, the combat sports version of technical tag, an interactive drilling activity promoting development of combinations. If you want to spar, spar. If you want to fight, fight. But in all cases act like a fighter by training like one and remembering that victories in practice don't count. I would rather lose every time in practice if I won every tournament and fight I entered. Unfortunately this cannot realistically be achieved or promote a strong competitor, but it bears witness to those who are the big fish of their own small ponds, the "champions" within the school who never go to the big water and face the real big fish. Training for the sake of one's own ego is a self defeating and sorry pursuit.

2.01.2006

JKD & BJJ Short Kicks and Triangle Chokes

Jeet Kune Do has some brutal kicks delivered at extremely short range:
  • Oblique Kick using the rear foot to the knee, trained to shin
  • Scoop Kick (Bean/French Dip) bring the foot up and out, using the top of the foot to "scoop" the groin
  • Heel Hook Kick using the the heel to deliver a shot to the upper calf and lateral tendons of the hamstrings
The "regular" arsenal of longer range kicks include:
  • Shuffle Kick essentially a quick round house kick with the foot to the groin, trained to inside of the thigh
  • Thai Kick a standard muay thai kick with the shin to the outside of the thigh
Using this arsenal we started with a progressive low line coordination drill
  • Off the jab, oblique kick reaction
  • Off the jab, oblique kick (defends by retreat "pike")-Shuffle Kick
  • Off the jab, oblique kick (defends by retreat "pike")-Shuffle Kick-Thai Kick (Rear-Lead-Rear)
We also worked punatuken (3 shot drills) with "advanced" practitioners inserting a reaction to the final kick by your partner, e.g. leg defense, picking up the kick, leg evasion, or knee destruction. We finished up with hubud (Filipino energy drill/pummeling) and over-under pummeling while inserting our kicks. The essential key was body mechanics (or should it be dynamics) to create enough space for the kick and being able to deliver it forcefully.
Today in BJJ the class was divided up and the purple belts taught technique (Jack was very hoarse). I showed the triangle to my group. In my opinion there are essentially two ways to enter the triangle:
  1. Controlling an arm/sleeve and the head/lapel, keeping the head low and the arm control to guide into the triangle submission. For example, if someone tries to pass by going under your leg, this set up will often times be used.
  2. Leg grab, that is, shoot one leg over your partner's shoulder and catching them in a loose (or tight if your able) triangle. This happens when you go for the triangle from the open guard.
In either case once we have started to enter the triangle it is essential to control our opponent. This can be done by
  1. Retaining head control with lapel or neck grip
  2. Grabbing your own shin next to your partner's head and switching to cross hand arm control
  3. Setting the best triangle you can, i.e. the leg grab
The triangle is often lost here, because we do not secure a full triangle and rather than controlling the position we have and adjusting we lose the attack entirely. In order to finish with the triangle the area between your thigh, leg, and your opponent's arm must be minimized.
The Anatomy of a TriangleTightening the Noose
The Anatomy of a Triangle
Tightening the Noose
Profile view of the initial triangle position
Profile view tightening the noose
We create a hangman's noose tightened by three dependent variables:
  1. Angle
    Your body should be more than 45o off your partner's midline in the direction opposite the side with the arm through. Since you have crossed the arm over your body, they will "typically" point in the direction you need to go. To increase your angle, use the same side hand on shin control free your other leg to push in your partner's hip. Alternatively, keep the triangle position and hug the far arm, either getting the armbar submission or pulling yourself into a deeper angle.
  2. Minimizing the knee angle
    Pull your free leg foot toward your posterior. We cannot shorten our legs, but we can decrease the angle between the two. This decreased angle between the thigh and leg forming two sides of the triangle, minimizes the area. You will need to contract your calf and hamstrings, this also decreases the available area within the triangle
  3. Tightening the noose
    Finally, perform a crunch, pulling your bottom and top together, this will push the through arm further across your body and create increased pressure by driving their shoulder into the choke.
If all else fails, hug your partner's head to finish the triangle. Using these principles, I showed three entries:
  1. Opponent tries to pass with one hand under
  2. From open guard
  3. Off an armbar that is pulled out