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4.30.2006

GJ Smoker II Take 2

We completed our smoker, the one that was derailed by a local tornado a few weeks ago. Only four fighters competed and they all did great. To finish up practice we worked on RATTLE for thai boxing and wrestling:
RangeRange Finder DrillDistance Shot
Work on shooting from increasingly far away, analyzing for effectiveness of the shot.
AngleCut KicksShooting of Circling
Begin circling your partner, when they say "shoot" take your shot.
TimingApplauded ShadowboxingSprawl Reaction
Partner ducks toward floor, sprawl
TargetAll of the drills contribute
LevelBody Punch
Partner extends punch, change level and deliver body punch under it
Shot Limbo
Take your shot under progressively lower levels held by your partner
ExecutionAll of the drills contribute
Next we worked on defensive reactions. Actually we worked the same reaction off different defense. For the cross:
  • High cover-cross-lead hook-cross
  • Parry-cross-lead hook-cross
  • Bob-cross-lead hook-cross (be sure to shuffle off angle)
  • Jab parry-cross-lead hook-cross
  • Tiip-cross-lead hook-cross
  • Lead kick-cross-lead hook-cross (rear kick-lead hook-cross-lead hook)
For the lead hook:
  • Side cover-cross-lead hook-cross
  • Bob and weave-cross-lead hook-cross (be sure to triangular step)
  • Tiip-cross-lead hook-cross (lead inside thigh kick-cross-lead hook-cross
  • Cover to clich-lead knee-cross-lead hook-cross
The cross-lead hook-cross reaction is elegant in its simplicity. We attack perpendicular lines with the straight cross and hook. We can pick high (head) or low (body) targets.
We finished by working on catching kicks. We worked on the ankle catch, here we need to move with the kick and away from our partner. That is, along the 45o vector off the centerline. The arm hooks and cinches tight to the latissimus dorsi muscle. From here we can pull or push, remembering that in muay thai rules you must hit to step. The foot can be thrown to the floor, sticking the foot and giving the back, use a hip pop forward and down. Kick the thrown leg. You can also knee to the underside of the thigh or throw elbows to the the top side. Jim correctly recalled that you can also throw punches catch the head for knees.
Smokers are not about winning or losing. Victories in practice are meaningless, losses are simply training exercises. The goal is to ready people for the mental and emotional psychology of competition. To make them more aware of the performance anxiety of competition. Suddenly a 2 minute round feels like 2 hours. With everyone looking and cheering it changes a few simple rounds of sparring into a emotional marathon. Smokers are a different kind of sparring, testing our emotional and mental fitness as well as our physical toughness.

GJ "I use the latest technology and science to allow martial artists to...martial artist"

I basically took yesterday off as I slept through my AM practice and then only coached the impromptu afternoon practice. We started with warming up by working RATTLE using:
Range Finger
Lead Leg -- Tiip, Lead Kick, Lead Knee
Rear Leg -- Rear Tiip, Rear Kick, Rear Knee
Lead Hand -- Jab, Lead Hook, Lead Uppercut
Rear Hand -- Cross, Overhand, Rear Uppercut
Obviously these are artificial, just a selection of techniques that demonstrate the small range corrections needed to throw each one. You could even do this with one technique, e.g. the kick going from "Drunken Pirate" to a round knee.
Cutting and catching
The key to successful cutting and catching kicks is angling. Thus on a cut kick you angle in toward your partner and away from the kick. On a catch you can angle in (catching at the knee) or out (catching at the ankle) but always away from the kick.
Timing
Using "applauded shadowboxing" we can work on our timing and read of our partner.
I held some pads for Jim and after doing so started thinking about the "Combat Algorithm"
A simple combat algorithm with a stand-up striking emphasis.
Essentially when you fight in a ring or cage either you or your opponent initiate an offensive action and there is a series of counteractions until there is a break or pause in the fight either due to fatigue, strategic reconsideration, or victory. Thus the offensive action is followed by an exit strategy, a desire to fight in a shorter range, or defensive reaction to your opponent. The offensive strategy must be a set of different tactics that can be re-used and played off of to generate momentum in the match. Successful exiting can break the flow or requires reentering off the provoked missed shot. Failed exiting means defensive action and offensive reaction. Examples of exiting are bob-and-weave and other evasive headwork as well as Checkmark and Jin. Staying requires pushing the offense despite the probable need to actively defend, i.e. inequitable trading with you getting the better of the exchange. The offensive push of staying is enhanced by transitioning the game to your strong suits. Examples of stay n' play might be dirty boxing, knees-elbows(-headbutts), trapping, clinching, or takedowns. Of course any defense action demands reaction and recycles the algorithm. Reactions must be simple and high repetition, so that they are so highly ingrained as to be almost automatic.
Great fighters have great basics, great coaches have great ways to train basics. Anecdotally, Lennox Lewis' coach once held a 3 hour seminar purely on the jab.

4.27.2006

GJ Big Kahuna

Following the warm-up (thank you Jeff) we reviewed the hip toss working on either the basic set-up or entrances from tie-up, plum, pummeling, etc. We then covered defenses for if your opponent steps in front of you from the side clinch to hip toss.
Reverse uki waze
By stepping in front of you to defend the anterior pressure of the the throw opens them for a posterior throw. After they step, sit extending your leg behind their ankles, pull them perpendicular to both your extended leg and use lateral pressure with your head on their chest. Transition to side mount.
Thigh lift (or inverted single)
An alternative is to underhook the leg with your far arm and lift, putting your partner on their back. A variation is to reach the near arm and anteriorly and grab the far arm posteriorly around your partner's near leg. Pull hard up and away (a lá the "baseball" throw).
Shuck and jump to rear mount
Use your partner's forward push and pull them forward as you free your head out the back door and then take their back.
Shuck and pull to rear mount
As above but take the back by kicking out the legs.
We also discussed the lateral and posterior hip toss. Both are basically identical to the hip toss. The lateral hip toss means posting your rear on your partner's hip and then throwing 45o off their centerline. That is, doing a half rotation on your entrance step and finishing it during the throw. The posterior hip toss remove is done "butt-to-butt", your partner is thrown over your hip in a posterior direction.
Our pad rounds:
  1. Dean Lessei 9 count
    Focus mitts
  2. Body-Head combinations
    Thai pads and belly pad
    • 1 Body: Jab to the body
    • 2 Body: Jab Body Cross
    • 2 Body Head: Jab Body Cross Lead Head Hook (NOTE: This is opposite to what was stated in practice)
    • 3 Body: Jab Cross Lead Body Hook (NOTE: This is opposite to what was stated in practice)
    • 3 Body Head: Jab Cross Lead Body Book Lead Head Hook
    • Punch Knee Combos (1 Knee, 2 Knee, Knee Cross)
    • Shovel Hook (1 Shovel -- Jab Rear Shovel Hook, 2 Shovel -- Jab Cross Lead Shovel Hook)
  3. G & P Round
    Focus mitts
    • Sidemount: 3 punches to far pad
    • Mount: 3/10 punches
    • Get bridge and rolled to guard: 10/3 punches
    • Guard: Holder feeds punch, defend and take back
    • Rear mount: Holder plants focus mitt of posterior side of arm, 3 punches
  4. Conditioning
    Thai pads. The rounds differed slightly for the first and second groups, due to me running the first and Jeff the second
    • Head kick sprawl
    • Pitter pat sprawl
    • Climb the wall with punches
    • Cricket Song drill or unrhythmic jumper squat sprawls
    • 3-6-9 kicks or n kicks-n kicks-sprawl n = 1-5 plus 10 push-ups
We finished with a drill to enhance our ability to "read" an opponent and combat reactivity. One partner would shadowbox for 30 seconds while the other clapped every time they threw a technique. The objective was to read the body and facial "tells" of their partner without having to worry about getting hit. We alternated this way for three minutes. In the second round we added sprawls every time the shadowboxer shot.
My students call me "Big Kahuna" after one of my top students, Jim, first started training with our club. After attending practice Jim, in a quavering voice, asked "Sir...what do I call you?" Without skipping a beat I said "Big Kahuna". It took a second before Jim caught the fact I was joking, but to this day I get a "Big Kahuna" thrown at me from time to time. Jim's confusion was well warranted, he came from a formal Japanese jujitsu background and wasn't used to the more violently relaxed world of mixed-martial arts.
Martial arts lends itself to a certain cultish mentality. Teachers, coaches, and fighters are given greater status in the martial arts than in other fields. Bullshit warrior mysticism coupled with a visceral fear of getting your @$$ whipped by your superiors and unhealthy performance anxiety leads to some strange social dynamics. I've seen people afraid to go talk to their own teacher, exactly the last person you should be afraid of. In the eyes of their disciples, these masters can do no wrong and are wise about all things.
Unfortunately this is far from the truth. I'm the "chief instructor" and pretty much grand poobah of my little club. I can tell you I know absolutely nothing. Sure I have multiple advanced degrees as well as extensive fight coaching and competition experience but that doesn't mean I know all about how you should live your life. Heck I hardly know how to live my own. Being able to fight dirty and take insane amounts of punishment does not give me some greater moral compass or right to pass judgment on the ethical virtues of others. I consider many of my coaches to be good friends and have sought their advice on matters non-martial just as I would other friends. Their martial arts and combat sports wisdom is that of experts, their life wisdom is that of friends you take it as it works for you. Unfortunately in martial arts, more particularly traditional arts, instructors are granted by their students omniscient knowledge and power over non-martial parts of their lives. I hope that my students understand that I'm a self-defense and fighting coach as well as a sound board and a friendly resource. Although I will strive to do and say the right thing, anything I say or do could inadvertently be wrong, just as I hope, any other person in their life would be. OK, less talk more hit.

4.25.2006

JKD & BJJ Must... have... calories... energy... fading...

Missed most of the JKD portion as my clinic time ran over today. Saw two interesting entrances of the lead hook:
Straight elbow to axilla
As your partner throws the hook do a side cover but point the elbow straight ahead. Drive the point of the elbow into the armpit while checking the rear hand with your lead hand.
Upward elbow to axilla
Rotate and pick up the hook with rear forearm while driving a lead upward elbow into the biceps intersection with the deltoid. Follow with a rear downward elbow.
In BJJ we worked a takedown set-up from single lapel control. Use two hands to grip the wrist and detach the hold then arm drag to the double leg or single leg lift to inside line outside reap.
We then played from the open guard with the feet in the hips, controlling both sleeves. Jack briefly described a few things to do offensively:
  • Extend and go to triangle
  • Extend and arm drag, take back
  • Pull the elbow towards the center and transition to oma plata
  • Transition to other guards: De La Riva, lasso, Koala, etc.
We did several rounds like this. Then Jack delineated some defensive strategies:
  • Compress the legs, that is, get the knees as bent as possible by grabbing the thighs and pulling to you.
  • Deny control by get the grips off the sleeves.
The older and busier I get the more important my nutritional demands become. Today I had not eaten for 6 hours by the time I started training except for some ice cream shortly before class. In other words I hit a glycemic low about 20 minutes into practice. When I was younger I ate more strategically, that is, all the time. Now that I (practically) work I often skip meals and since I'm busy do not have a stocked kitchen at home. This can lead to some poorly thought out snack strategies that then kill me when I need energy. I greatly enjoy the nutritional advice in "The Paleo Diet for Athletes : A Nutritional Formula for Peak Athletic Performance" (Loren Cordain, Joe Friel) and have a bang-up recipe for a protein shake, but fail to follow it. However to coin a phrase, fighter feed thyself...go grocery shopping.

4.24.2006

GJ "I cannot guarantee victory, but I'll fight anyone"

Today we started with a drill showing how easy it is to sucker punch someone. Three people were designated as sucker punchers while everyone walked around and spoke with each other. Without any verbal or physical cues the sucker punchers would tap people on the head.
Next we worked on scenarios using verbal and physical cues, that is, groups would start trouble with each other and go to pushing. Interestingly, people would take a lot and give a lot of territory before engaging. The leading expert on this, Tony Blauer, has a lot of really good stuff to say about this.
We then worked into pad rounds:
  1. SPEAR to padwork
    Using the SPEAR off a street punch we set-up two combinations:
    • Knee-thai side clinch knee-throw away
    • Knee-transition to plum, three skip knees
  2. Erik Paulson Olé
    With this round we started with 30 seconds of overhand-lead uppercut-rear hook-lead hook and then went into the round. We added the olé drill where the feeder walks head down at their partner who pivots out of the way.
  3. Reach out and punch someone
    Here we worked on the extension of our punches. Punches should reach out as far as possible with a strong extension. Too often we shorten our punches. We started and finished with 30 seconds of pitterpat, emphasizing extending the punches.
  4. Conditioning
    30 seconds head kick sprawl
    30 seconds pitterpat
    30 seconds climb the wall
    60 seconds of kick-cross-hook-kick-hook-cross
    30 seconds head kick sprawl head kick fall
Going with or against the punch to achieve the hip tossWe finished with more on the hip toss. We used the SPEAR to enter into the hip toss:
Against the punch
In this version stop the punch and then side clinch on the punching side wrapping the far arm before throwing.
With the punch
Stop the punch and then wrap the punching arm for the side clinch and then throw.
Next we showed two MESHwork techniques for the hip toss:
Hip toss-single leg
Your opponent hops with the throw (as detailed previously). This places their legs on either side of your leg. Pivot 90o and shoot a double leg.
Hip toss-leg breaker
In this case, your opponent defends by dropping their weight. Make sure one of their legs bisects your midline. Detach from the hip toss, reach down and grab their ankle, left and drop them on their back. Groin stomp optional.

JKD & BJJ "I can't hurt you physically but you will pay"

Saturday we reviewed the stick chokes and then worked three guard passes:
Shin slide through
From an already open guard posting up on one knee. Slide this knee through to the opposite side while controlling the same side kimono lapel (or underhook in no-gi). The opposite arm controls the same side arm. Post the head to the floor and slide through, use your free leg to kick off your partner's remaining half guard.
Head post
From the half guard get an under-over on the legs and post the head in the belly. Tripod while holding the legs and wait for them to adjust their half guard. Now walk around and gain control with the free hand under the head.

4.21.2006

GJ grrrrrr LA LA LA

I was bit late working in the ED but Jeff got everyone started with warm-up and started 3 minute pad rounds:
  1. Boxing to clinch
    In this round Jeff had the hitter clinch after each combination. Clinching must have
    • A safe and effective entrance. We must minimize the jeopardy in which we place ourselves when closing distance. Thus our hands must take the straightest route to the clinch either shooting individually or simultaneously.
    • A strong final position. Clinching whether offensive or defensive is to give us advantage. It should place us in a maximally effective position and destroying our opponent's posture.
    This drill highlights the skills of entering off strikes while showing the holder what clinching looks like.
  2. Reaction: Strike or clinch
    In this drill Jeff had the holder set-up a high cover. If the holder maintained their ground the hitter clinched. If the holder created space the hitter went for cross-hook-cross. Verbal and/or physical cues could be given to assist the hitter.
  3. Fall, Sprawl, Follow
    Along with a regular boxing pad round, the holder could call:
    • "Fall" -- Back fall, kick away, tactical stand-up, CHC
    • "Sprawl" -- Sprawl, CHC
    • "Follow" -- off any punch the holder could drop or fall to the mat, allowing the hitter to come in for the finish.
    This drill was designed to push the up-down nature of a fight as well as hone the killer instinct needed to finish a wounded opponent.
  4. Staccato Drill
    In this drill we checked the boxing guard (i.e. slapped our partner in the head or ribs) after each punch. Thus on a 3: jab-check-cross-check-hook-check. We did this for two minutes and then fed the last minute with regular reaction. The concept here was to improve and tighten up the the boxing guard
  5. Hook Refinement
    For this drill we made groups of three. One partner held for lead hooks while the other stood on the lead side of the hitter and created a "channel" with their arms and focus mitts for the hook. Each partner through 10 hooks and then rotated through 2 rotations. Here we attempted to clean-up the hook mechanics by forcing the hook to not loop and to remain parallel with the floor.
We then reviewed the hip toss (ogoshi) and hip reap (harai-goshi). We added the dropping (wrestling-style) hip toss. You can either throw the person and then drop to the ground, but ideally it works better to get the hip toss and in midtoss drop to knee you are throwing over and take the side mount or kesa gatame.
We next discussed (at least) four methods of defending the hip toss:
  1. Get fresh
    In this defense you literally put your hand on the hip or butt and hop with the throw. The hand creates space while the hop redirects the momentum of the throw.
  2. Sukui-nage
    Lower your center of mass (COM) forcing your opponent to sit on your thigh. Reach through with your hands grabbing behind each calf. Lift and scoop throwing your partner in front or behind you.
  3. Hip bump
    Lower your COM and bear hug your partner. Bump with your hips and tilt them to the floor.
  4. High crotch hip toss
    Lower your COM and reach your posterior arm between their legs. The anterior hand controls under the far armpit or at the neck. Use your legs to lift your partner. They will be slightly off angle so their own weight will rotate them horizontal. Pull them so that their belly button is on your hip and then rotate their body so that they fall in front of you.
We finished with 6 minutes of 1-2-3-4-5 kicks with the final minute being head kick sprawl. We then held the push up position for 1 1/2 minute with 5 push ups every 15 seconds.

And the title of this blog is in honor of Brittany's warcry. Ask her.

JKD & BJJ "A door close and three windows open"

In BJJ we covered a few ways to go from side mount to mount, that is a few open windows to make up for closed doors:
  1. Disrupting the legs
    Push or pull your partner's legs and use the space you create or the space created to find the mount. The mounting leg should be explosive either slapping the floor or kicking the lateral far thigh.
  2. Creating a track
    Use your inferior arm to create a track which your inferior knee can slide. Drive your head to the floor on the far side and slide your knee across.
  3. Lift your foot
    Retain strong head control. Use your inferior hand to grab your inferior foot and lift it superiorly to your opponents legs. Transition into the mount.
  4. Removing hip control
    Slide your superior knee inferiorly and in towards your partner. Scoop out the near arm. Pop the knee up as in #2 above, as your partner checks your knee with their far hand, insert the underhook and itsy bitsy spider their arm upward. Post your head on the far side and slide your knee through for mount.
  5. Kimura fake
    Grab the wrist with your inferior hand as if you were going to kimura. Then pop your leg over as in #1 above.
  6. Leg ride
    Push your partner's legs to the mat on the far side. Put your inferior foot in the crook of their top knee and roll your knee to the floor on the farside. Meanwhile obtain a farside head post and arm underhook. Itsy bitsy spider this arm superiorly and slide your leg through.

4.18.2006

Medicine Ball Drills, Preemptive Reaction, and G & P rounds

I trained with Jeff yesterday and worked some rounds with him. We started with some medicine ball drills:
  • Chest pass
  • Trunk twists
  • Trunk twists (other direction)
  • Posterior overhead drop, anterior pick-up
  • Explosive bounce pass
  • Clean and press, drop to push-up
Next we worked pad rounds, first focus mitts (3 minutes):
  1. Boxing Elements for MMA
    30 seconds of pitterpat
    Warmed up basic boxing and developed a multi-angle flurry: J-C-LU-O-LH-C.
  2. Entering to Focus Mitt Pummeling
    30 seconds of fast pummeling
    This round we worked boxing and the entrance to work focus mitt pummeling drills.
  3. Groundwork Striking
    • Sidemount: 3 punches to far pad
    • Sidemount: 3 hammerfists/forearms to far pad
    • Mount: 10 punches
    • Get bridge and rolled to guard: 3 punches
    • Guard: Holder feeds punch, defend and take back
    • Rear mount: Holder plants focus mitt of posterior side of arm, 3 punches
We followed with thai pad rounds:
  1. Thai Boxing Elements for MMA
    nLK-C-LH-nRK-LH-C for n = 1-5 (maybe I'll just call this drill Cricket Song)
    This round we worked basic punch-knee and punch-kick combinations
  2. Thai Boxing Elements in the Clinch
    30 seconds of knees
    Continuing off the previous round the knee is used to clinch (i.e. pummeling and takedown) or skip knees (3 knees turn until throw to kick range).
  3. Preemptive Reaction
    30 seconds 3 punches sprawl
    With this round after each combination the hitter creates space and throws a tiip as the holder re-closes distance. The objective is to generate a good defense by developing a better offense.
We finished with 2 x 5 minute of combat sports Tabata protocol conditioning. We added "Sprawl n' Fall" as well as "Fall n' Follow" (first fall to back, kick up, three punches, holder falls, follow to ground with three punches).
And like this picture:
Derrick Noble squares off with Thaigo Alves at UFC 59
Derrick Noble squares off with Thaigo Alves at UFC 59. Although Noble came out strong Alves was able to recover and pull out the win. I just like Derrick's shorts =D.

4.17.2006

Tao of Training

Rodin's Thinker in the context of mind-body-spiritThe concept of mind-body-spirit has been long maintained in martial arts. Recently I was listening to some of Tony Blauer's audio CD's where he discussed this concept and it made me start thinking. Previously, I proposed a Bio-Cognitive-Experential (BCE) model which talked about how training evolves your martial arts journey but in the end why do you train? That is, why do you do what you are doing for practice today.
First, rest is training. Our bodies need recuperative periods between training sessions. This functions on both an extremely short and long time scale. Rest periods and intervals are necessary between rounds and within a practice session. No one lifts weights constantly for an hour nor can you spar uninterrupted for the same period. Rest breaks exist, however short or seemingly inadequate. Similarly, taking a rest day is often not only desirable, "resting is training, too." Hardcore martial arts and combat sports training can be an occupation or as demanding as a second job, taking a vacation won't hurt.
Training no matter what kind is phasic. Your life outside the dojo/gym/ring effects the frequency, timing, and intensity of practice. Your coach or instructor's current goals will vary. Your health and injury status will wax and wane. The next event be it a certification test, competition, or seminar will dictate training values both before and after. This will alter practices and the why of training.
However the tao of training is more than that. I train in a Jeet Kune Do and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class where the class is roughly split into 45 minutes each of "striking" and "grappling". Many of my classmates divide themselves into these rough categories. They excuse perceived inadequacies in one portion of practice and then highlight their accomplishments in the other. Fundamentally this is like training your strengths and ignoring your weaknesses as well as evaluating yourself against others rather than using your own progress as a barometer. Sure you might be "better" at one but how close to perfect are you with either? That's like saying a million is closer to infinity than hundred. The body mechanics of stickfighting is not dissimilar to boxing or, surprisingly, wrestling. They all have hip motion, level changes, and footwork. So then by isolating our perceived strengths and weaknesses we are in fact slowing our development and understanding of not only combat sports as a whole but the element we might most enjoy.
Training is too often self-serving and egocentric. The best example is when people do focus mitt or pad drills. More people always run and get gloves than pads although they know that both sides will be doing the same number of rounds. Once the majority of eager hitters is trimmed the yin-yang of pad work begins. On one side the pumped, excited hitter and on the other the apathetic, bored holder. The hitter has the easy job: hit the target and defend when told to do so. The holder has the hard job, they are coaching, encouraging, and coming up with sequences as fast as they can. They are intercepting strikes and generating reactions. The holder is training both their offense and defense. They see how combinations work and train their reactions as much as the hitter does if they only try and do so. If you hold apathetically and concentrate solely on your time as the hitter you are only achieving half a training session.
Training is not about physical victory. When I train timing or sparring rounds with fighters, I push the action and try things that I might not normally do. I don't want them to fight me, but I want them to be exposed to a wide array of energies. If they beat me, they beat me. I'll tap in practice or get hit if it helps them win in competition. At this point it's not about me, but about them. However, by freeing myself from the anxiety of losing in the gym I learn and practice new skills.
I still show up to practice when I'm not a 100% or contagious. You can always learn by observing and taking notes. You can always contribute to training even if it is a simple as yelling encouragement, preparing equipment, or timing rounds. If wheelchair-bound Doug Blevins can coach football kicking how can I have an excuse when I'm tired or my knees are sore to not practice my art.
Thus the why of training has to be reviewed. Training is mind-body-spirit, do not solely focus on the body. Every time we practice we hone our brains and temper our souls sometimes with a great physical workout, sometimes not. So what if it was a "bad" practice for you. Did you contribute to others development? Did you learn one little thing? Did you at least get away from the house to clear your head? In other words, to quote sensei Doug Musser blackbelt in Danzan Ryu Ju Jitsu, "its been a good [practice] if you can go home and wipe your own @$$." This after one of his pupils broke both shoulders in practice and was unable to perform even the simplest of hygiene without assistance for six weeks.

JKD & BJJ Brutality

This blog is entitled brutality because I trained 4-6 pm Friday evening then worked 7 pm to 7 am in the ED, slept for 2-3 hours and was back training at 11 am until 4 pm Saturday.
We worked hubud with the single stick implementing:
Double Leg Takedown
From hubud stick shot, roll it over to hit the temple, then curve superior to the head, lower your level, and bring the stick behind the knees. Grab the stick with your free hand and finish the double, use your stick to lever against the proximal calves.
Posterior stick choke
From hubud you strip your opponents stick by cupping the wrist and pointing their stick toward the floor, apply pressure with the wrist against the punyo and pop the stick laterally with your thigh. Your partner loses their stick and shoots a double taking your down. Your stick ends up behind their neck. Hook your elbow over the stick and grab your wrist. Elevate the elbow and pull down on stick.
Anterior stick choke
Again your partner has taken you to the ground. The stick is in front of their neck, place it against your far side and their near neck, reach posteriorly to their neck and grab stick, freeing this hand to reach across their neck to grab your wrist.
Cross stick choke
Again your partner takes you down, but is holding your wrist keeping the stick far away. They throw a punch which your intercept at their shoulder with our elbow. Slap the ear and regrab stick in a reverse grip. Slide stick behind neck and set up a "cross collar" choke using the stick as the collar.
For BJJ we practiced attacking from the side-mount with the posterior collar choke from side mount and 180o armbar. We then drilled obtaining the mount from side mount. After practice I rolled a few rounds and then went off for muay thai sparring practice.

4.14.2006

Foul is the Smell of Victory

The smell of victory is foul because it is earned with blood, sweat and tears. Equipment gains an unholy odor and hardcore training is honored by a prodigous funk. The more you sweat in practice the less you bleed in combat -- Richard Marcinko in Rogue Warrior.
Warmed up with 2 minute rounds of:
  • Shadowboxing
    Standard MMA-style shadowboxing, that is, boxing/thai boxing with shots and sprawls.
  • Pummeling
    From over under position
  • Shadowboxing
  • Four count sprawls
    Any four count kick combination followed by a your partner shooting on you, sprawl in defense. Then switch.
  • Shadowboxing
  • Threatened stand-up
    Push away with leg kicks and tactically regain feet. Other side falls to back and repeat.
  • Shadowboxing
Next we worked on MMA timing but using variably timed rounds between 10 seconds and 3 minutes. One side was told the length of the round before starting with the intention that the shorter the round the more they would push the action. This was to encourage the simulation of different energies, the more aggressive the shorter the round. We worked four or five rounds in this fashion. Next we worked 2 x 5 minute drilling rounds using:
  • Standard boxing on focus mitts
    Standard boxing round, with occasional fall of "knock down shot" followed by strikes
  • Standard thai boxing on thai pads
    Standard thai pad round, with occasional fall of "knock down shot" followed by strikes
  • Pummeling with focus mitts
  • Takedown against the wall with focus mitts
    Partner pins holder to wall and attempts takedown. Once on the ground throws three punches to focus mitts.
  • Throw dummy
    Pick it up and throw it...duh
  • Alternating standard thai boxing on thai pads with throw dummy
    Rapid alternations between hitting and throwing
  • G & P Dummy
    • Side mount: Two punches head, two knees body
    • Knee on stomach: Three punches and switch
    • Mount: 3 or 10 punches
  • Takedown against the wall
    Partner pins to wall and attempts takedown, pinned partner defends takedown.
  • 1st takedown
  • Grappling
We finished with 2 x 7 1/2 minute broken into 2 1/2 minute interval MMA timing rounds, keeping one person in and rotating the others.

4.13.2006

GJ Tying Up Cats

Today we started with warm-up and then practiced break falls. We then discussed the hip toss, first set-up positions:
Front
The front set-up occurs typically from any tie up where you and your opponent are anterior to anterior. From here you will cross step your front foot and rotate 180o so that you eclipse your partner's hips with your own. Your hips displace their hips as your arms pull them through throw. The throw is accomplished by:
  • Rotation
  • Hip displacement from the front
  • Bending at the waist
Side
The side set-up occurs off a side clinch position, their arm over your shoulder posteriorly. That is, your anterior to their lateral side, in other words, your belly button to their hip. Control the body and far arm. Now step in front of your opponent, displacing their hips and throwing forward. This version is accomplished by:
  • Lateral pressure
  • Lateral hip displacement directed posteriorly
  • Bending at the waist
Next we talked about grips/holds for performing the throw, much of which I believe is dependent on the body morphology differences between thrower and throwee (uke and tori if you will):
Over
This version is essentially an overhook. Arm control is in the direction of the throw and over their arm. Body control is typically around the head. Hook their head/neck with your arm and punch for the floor. This works well if you are taller than your opponent.
Under
This version uses an underhook for body control. Insert an underhook for body control and drive that hand in the direction of the throw to the floor.
Hip/Low
This version works well if you are shorter than your opponent. Make a scooping motion at the hip with the body control hand, lifting them as you displace them.
Hug
This is the "wrestler-variant" in which rather than having individual arm and body control we bear hug and throw. This tightens the throw making it more difficult to achieve but also harder to defend. The hug can be over both arms, 50-50 (over-under) or double under.
Anything that uses the hip as pivot point is in my opinion a hip toss. We covered two variations:
Outside hip toss (Sambo variation)
This is a backwards side clinch set-up, their arm is not over your shoulder but across your front directed anteriorly. Your anterior arm has over control cupping just proximal to the elbow. Your posterior arm controls at the hip. Now step in using the side entrance set-up and hip toss. Their head will rotate in a small circle as their legs make a wider loop.

Outside reap (harai goshi)
"High on the thigh for harai" -- Shonie Carter
This is a hip toss with a reap, that is, rather than throwing them over your hip you throw them over your thigh. As you pivot/pressure and begin to displace use your reaping leg's thigh against their thigh, increasing the torque of the throw (longer axis, more force). There should be no knee stress. You must have good basic hip toss balance to advanced to what is essentially a one-legged hip toss.
For our pad work we worked on clinch fighting using a couple of different rounds and drills
  1. Focus Mitt Pummeling (focus mitts and belly pad)
    • Rip/Counter Rip
    • Break 3 Reclinch
    • Knees
    • Takedown
  2. MMA-style Dirty Boxing (focus mitts and belly pad)
    • Body Cover Front-Lead Uppercut-Cross-Lead Hook
    • Body Cover Front-Rear Uppercut-Lead Hook-Cross
    • "Fall" -- Back fall, kick to belly pad, tactical stand-up, cross-hook-cross
    • "Sprawl" -- Sprawl, pop up, cross-hook-cross
    • Evade to Back
  3. Punch Knee Combinations (thai pads and belly pad)
    • Jab-Knee
    • Knee-Cross
    • Cross-Knee
    • Cross-Hook-Knee
    • Hook-Cross-Knee
    With any combination ending with a knee you can transition your partner into three skip knees and turn, until you want them to throw you to punch or kick range (e.g. finishing with cross-hook-cross or head kick). You can also do the "Fall" and "Sprawl" sequences.
  4. Conditioning Round (thai pads) (4 minute round)
    • 30 seconds distance drill
    • 30 seconds 3 knees, 3 punches drill
    • 30 seconds wall squat with punches
    • 30 seconds partner carry
    • 30 seconds 3 punches, back fall, kick off, stand
    • 30 seconds wall squat with punches
    • 30 seconds 3 knees, 3 punches drill
    • 30 seconds distance drill
As for tying up cats...I have absolutely no idea what that means (although it does happen in "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Full-Color Collector's Edition)" (C. S. Lewis)). However should I ever see anyone doing that I'd beat them senseless with a tennis racket. Why? Because they'd stay conscious longer than with more robust sports equipment.

4.12.2006

JKD & BJJ A little flow

In JKD and BJJ last night we worked a nice flow:
  1. Angled cross collar choke
    Insert one hand deep and grab collar, thumb toward neck, palm toward you. Off angle toward your shoulder (the one with collar control). Adjust your guard so that your knee covers the collar control hand. With your other hand, grip the gi fold just over the trapezius (palm away), loop your elbow down and under the neck.
  2. Armbar from guard
    When people get choked they posture, trying to pull their head away. To do this they will extend their arm. Traverse the leg over shoulder to over the head, apply the armbar. Do not let go of the choke until the armbar is locked in.
  3. Sweep to cross arm bar
    Now to defend the armbar your opponent stacks you. Take your arm nearest their legs and slip it under their thigh. Lift this thigh as you pivot your legs 90o toward your far shoulder, and push your opponent to their back for the armbar.
If your opponent defends the cross armbar with the "flip off" defense (arm triangling their endangered arms) there are three clever ways to defend:
  • Pop their exposed elbow toward your feet.
  • Pop their endangered arm's wrist toward their head and then pull back toward you.
  • Set up a biceps slicer, by crossing your inferior leg toward their head, putting downward pressure on their forearm as you interspace your the widest part of your wrist in their elbow joint.
Of course there are a million ways to break your opponent down from the armbar position (e.g. goose necks, "shake-rattle-and-roll", striking, foot in the elbow, etc.).
I also saw an interesting application from half-guard using the forearm in the neck to set-up a choke (wing elbow to the ceiling) creating space for return to closed or hooks-inside guard.

Let Big Daddy tell you how-to win a major tournament

  1. Show up
    In order to win at a tournament you have to be at the tournament. People talk a lot about wanting to compete, thinking about competing, and when they should compete. Unless you have a family and career or are on injured reserve these are excuses. Just go, you'll be surprised how well you can do just by being there. The hardest thing about competition is the training, the next is stepping on the mat or through the ropes. The actual competition is a reward, you finally get to showcase your efforts, win or lose.
  2. No I in T.E.A.M. (Together Experience Achieves Medals)
    Fight sports are individually competitive but team trained. You cannot excel as a competitor without a good team, that is, proficient coaches and a group of fellow competitors of different levels. Every gold I win is due in part to the efforts of my team and coaches, and they own a small part of it. Similarly a defeat is shared by the team. A competitor holds the lion's share of responsibility for both victory and defeat but the team must bear some part of the burden. Thus recognize your achievement as a competitor and your contributions as a teammate.
  3. Train hard for the rules
    Competition is a game that is played. Unless you can play the rules you cannot win. Thus you must train a game that works within the context of the event, scoring points and denying that opportunity to your opponent. Training occurs year round while training for competition is a brief, focused interval where we hone skills specifically for the event. Understand the legal and illegal techniques, score yourself. Become facile with the periods of activity, faux activity, and inactivity that scored fight sports demand. In other words know when action either offense or defense is required, know when to appear active without actually doing too much, and know when to stall for it all, forcing your opponent to push. This can only be done by practicing before the event, not implemented during the event.
  4. Understand the odds
    In a tournament a victor must be decided, thus there is a 50% chance you will win and 50% chance you will lose. There is a 100% chance you will be injured, although the severity ranges from something you'd have picked up lazing round the house to a visit to the emergency department. I get abrasions, bruises and a more every time I compete. Much less often I've seen fellow competitors removed in an ambulance for heat exhaustion and fractures. There is a very small but significant chance you could die. But there is a small but significant chance you could die every day with or without competition. These are the odds, to compete you must accept them.
  5. Set victory as a goal and transcend that goal
    Setting goals of victory with positive self-talk, visualization, and mental preparation is very important. But realize that once you have trained and conditioned for the tournament its completion is inevitable. Enjoy the moment, if you have prepared and peaked at the correct rate victory will take care of itself. There is nothing more to be done in competition than compete, at that point practices are complete, whether effective or ineffective will be proven during competition.
  6. Prevention is the only sure defense
    Half of competition is defense, but no defense except prevention is 100% effective. Thus you can maximize your offense and training by denying opponents their offense. For example, people always want to know how to defend arm bars after they have been all but locked out. If your competition strategy is defending arm bars at this point, it's already too late. Your opponent has done several things right to get you to this point, the defense of the arm bar should have occurred long before it was implement, that is, its set up should have been prevented.
  7. The other guy has very little idea what you are going to do
    You don't train with these guys. Unless there is a massive amount of tape out on you or they've fought you multiple times they have no idea what you are good at. The things that people are used to seeing from you in practice that they defend easily due to repetition can often surprise someone who doesn't know you.
  8. Mr. Spock, Combat Athlete
    During a fight there is no emotion, find the Zen-like state of combat no-mind. That is don't get excited, frustrated, angry or respond to pain. When someone starts to breath heavy I know that they are tired or think they are about to win. When someone experiences frustration I know exactly where to attack, along the same lines that initiated their frustration. If I'm hurt I try not to show it, if I see injury I attack the weak chink in the armor.
And yes a woman did call me Big Daddy this weekend...

4.07.2006

Off to win the gold at the 12thPanAmerican Jiu Jitsu Championships

Won't be posting for a few days, thought about bringing the lap top but space will already be tight in my bag with me bringing my gi and my A-game. I'll be back in a few days hopefully with some gold medals. Best of luck to Team McVicker / Team Solid!
Poster for the 12th PanAmerican Jiu Jitsu ChampionshipsThe weather in Carson, be jealous or laugh depending
Training Plan 4/8/06
Training Plan 4/9/06

4.06.2006

GJ Muay Thai Chi

Today we started with shadowboxing to warm up. We then started with thai pad work:
  1. Dave Roger's Boxing 9 Count (2 min)
    This round was used to warm-up basic boxing cross-hook technique and get repetitions in on 3, power 3, and reverse power 3. Not to mention slightly different styles of entering into them.
    • Jab
    • Cross
    • Lead Hook
    • Catch (Jab) Cross
    • Lead Hook
    • Cross
    • Slip (Cross) Lead Hook
    • Cross
    • Lead Hook
  2. Joker's Thai Boxing 11 Count (2 min)
    This is my attempt at creating a similar combination set of punch-kick action and reaction drills.
    • Jab
    • Rear Kick
    • Jab
    • Cross
    • Lead Kick
    • Side Cover (Lead Hook)
    • Cross
    • Lead Hook
    • Rear Kick
    • High Cover (Cross)
    • Lead Hook
    • Cross
    • Lead Kick
  3. Kick combination round (3 min)
    This round was used to develop more punch-kick technique and combination, people either practiced four count kick combinations or did tie-ins:
    • "Jab Kick to 2/4" -- Jab-Rear Kick-Lead Hook-Cross-Lead/Rear Kick
    • "Jab Cross Kick to 1/3" -- Jab-Cross-Lead Kick-Cross-Lead Hook-Rear/Lead Kick
    • "High/Side Cover Thai to 2/4" -- High/Side Cover-Cross-Lead Hook-Rear Kick-Lead Hook-Cross-Lead/Rear Kick
    • "High/Side Cover Reverse Thai to 1/3" -- High/Side Cover-Lead Hook-Cross-Lead Kick-Cross-Lead Hook-Rear/Lead Kick
  4. Conditioning (3 min)
    • 30 secs pitterpat
    • Dave Roger's Boxing 9 Count x3
    • 1-3-6-9-12 Kicks each side
    • Joker's Thai Boxing 11 Count x3
    • Repeat if time allows
Next we worked on defense, juniors worked on set pattern:
  • Slip (jab) ("Strikes like cobra!")
  • Duck (cross)
  • Bob-and-weave (lead hook)
  • High cover (rear hook)
The seniors worked out of this flow, free forming it more. We then put one foot on the wall and worked our evasion. Essentially, since the wall inhibits any posterior movement and we do not step, we can only do two things here:The bob and bob-and-weave mechanics
  1. Bob
    The bob is a 45o anterior-lateral motion used to evade a punch or similar strike. We explode to this dynamically loaded position and then return to our "fighting stance". The objective is to unbalance and tire our opponent by forcing them to throw and miss. This unbalancing makes them open for counter shots, typically to the body and takedowns. Ideally "bob" to the outside line and decrease the number of offense weapons that can be brought to bear.
  2. Bob-and-weave
    Sometimes (lots of times) the "bob" places our head squarely on the inside, leaving it exposed to counterattack. In such cases, perform the "bob-and-weave", that is following the 45o angled cut, swoop your head in a tight half circle from inside to outside. Doing this instinctively rather than reactively can save you from the follow up shot after your "bob" and once gain decreases the number of weapons that can hurt you. Forcing a miss still unbalances and tires your opponent as well as setting up effective counters.
Evasion is very effective defense, however it must be understood within context. First, keep your hands up, unless you are extremely skilled and fiendishly fast eventually you'll get plastered. Next, your body cannot move faster than someone's hands, so proper RATTLE is called for as well as recognizing that you can only evade for so long (a lá the Millennium Falcon flying through the asteroid field in the "Star Wars Episode V: Empire Strikes Back"). Lastly, realize that evasion is part of the defensive game and has a time and a place. Bobbing and weaving underneath kicks is a bad idea (unless your shooting and taking the risk). With knees and kicks be sure your evasive movement from the punches is not setting you up for a devastating lower extremity combination.
We finished with kick defense, using leg cover. In thai boxing the body is essentially divided into three levels, and the kicks are picked up with the nearest limbs:
Low Line
The low line is a pure leg defense using the proximal part of the leg just below the knee to stop kicks. Ideally this hard target is placed on the distal part of your opponent's shin and top of their foot to cause damage, similar to a JKD knee destruction. The front leg is attacked more often so simply pick up your foot, plantar flexing to tighten the shin. Settle your weight and "catch" the kicks as if someone was kicking a soccer ball to you, one that you wanted to stop and control. Point the knee so that the femur (thigh bone) is perpendicular to your opponent's shin, allowing you to pick up both front and rear kicks to the lead leg.
Mid line
For kicks going to the lower abdomen and floating ribs bring your front or rear elbow to your lead knee, creating a shield. The other hand can cross center to increase the buffer created by your arm. Thus attacks to lead side are same side arm to same side knee contraction, while attacks to your rear side are lead leg to rear arm or cross body contraction. The elbow can go outside or inside the knee, outside if you want to hurt your opponent's foot, inside if they kick hard enough to hurt your elbow instead. Keep everything tight, it's easy to snap a pencil its difficult to snap a pencil glued to a brick (thanks again Matt =D). This is basically a mix of the low and high line defense.
High line
For head kicks we use two arms glued to our body to defend. Keep the side being attack closest and use the cross hand to pop over anteriorly to it increasing the surface area that the impact can be distributed to. In no situation do you reach to block, instead ride the kick letting the impact disseminate via your arms through your body. Immediately return your crossing hand to its guard.
In all cases of leg cover we are taking one to give one. This is a bartering exchange, I am accepting one of the kicks and trying to get the better of the bargain by reacting. In covering we hurt the person for trying to hurt us, in evasion we embarrass the person for trying to hurt us. Also do not look at your partner's feet, continue to look at their chest. Thus in practice we worked rounds of leg covering followed by rounds of leg cover with reaction. Those less experienced were encouraged to have their partner let them know which kick was coming.
For tiip defense we talked about using the lead hand to deflect the kick, hard twisting them on their base foot. We followed up with:
  • Lead tiip D (tiip) Rear kick (back of tiip leg)-lead hook-cross
  • Lead tiip D (rear tiip) lead kick (plant leg)-cross-lead hook
  • Rear tiip D (rear tiip) lead kick (tiip leg)-cross-lead hook (kidney)
Lastly we discussed cut kicks. Cut kicks use angling away and in so that we reduce the torque of the kick and attack the plant leg attempting buckle it. The angle is more important the taller you are, otherwise it is difficult to catch the plant leg.
And I almost forgot the title of this blog. Many people have the misconception that muay thai is "hard". Well it is, but not all the time. Training should always be approached intensely but not necessarily hard. Timing and drilling is light, to minimize injuries. If you want to hit hard you do it on the bag or the pads, not at the jeopardy of your fellow fighters during timing or knee play. Having fought a little I know that after competition I'm done for a week or two. Imagine fighting every month, you would train intensively soft to fight intensively hard. So train soft, spar hard

4.05.2006

JKD & BJJ Routes

I worked late yesterday so I only caught the end of BJJ. We were finishing our tournament preparations by drilling and doing rounds. After practice Jack talked about not having one way to pass the guard but many routes. As he put it the mistake your opponent makes dictates the pass (of course this means I must make a ton of mistakes wrestling with Jack =D). Jack credits this observation to Rickson Gracie.
Too often we insist on one method achieving something. But the method is dictated by our environment and situation. While a game plan and technique are important, they a adaptable. A plan is a proposed set of future events but must be flexible enough to adapt to the parameters of the now. Technique have general, universal properties and requirements but everyone makes adjustments for themselves and their opponent ideally finding the most successful way among many routes.

4.03.2006

Simple Martial Machine Body Types

It's been a few days since my last post. I've been training for the Pan Ams and not done a whole lot of teaching, so nothing too exciting to post. Last week I did a lot of gi wrestling and did some MMA timing Wednesday through Friday. Saturday we reviewed passing from the half-guard and Sunday we held our muay thai smoker that was cancelled halfway though due to extreme weather.
The tall and lanky lever-type vs. the short and stocky fulcrum-typeI've been ruminating on the concept of leverage in martial arts. Leverage by definition is the ease of work accomplished by moving a load around a pivot using a force. There are three components of a lever system: the lever itself, the pivot or fulcrum, and the applied force. Body position typically enhances or decreases the attainable leverage, why else would a lightweight person feel so heavy on the ground or a lengthy person feel so hard to sweep? Body position is a function of body dimensions. General body types have been ascribed to the humanoid form, such as endomorph, ectomorph, and mesomorph. An endomorph is short and stocky while an ectomorph is tall and lanky. Mesomorphs fall somewhere in between. Based on the leverage concepts in combat sports and self-defense and that we do have different shaped people, I propose the Simple Martial Machine Body Types:
Fulcrum Body Type
The advantage of the fulcrum-type bodyThe fulcrum body type is the smaller, more compact fighter. Their advantage comes in being the pivot point for their taller opponents and having a rapid, tight turning radius. A shorter fighter needs to be closer to their opponent than a tall one and has a distinct advantage when applying their lower center of mass (COM) against their partner's higher COM. Consider for example, pummeling for underhooks the shorter fighter wants and can achieve that position more readily and if their taller opponent's COM becomes slightly displace over their own they can be easily controlled or thrown. On the ground it is sometimes more difficult for the fulcrum-type to pin or sweep, although they can fit in more spaces along their taller opponent's anatomy.
Lever Body Type
The advantage of the lever-type bodyThe lever body type is the tall, more lanky fighter. Their advantage comes in the extension of their body, making it difficult for shorter people to move them or prevent from being moved. A tall fighter can work devastatingly from the outside, applying increased torque due to their lengthy limbs. However they need a minimum range to work at, if that is too greatly shortened they cannot bring their extended weapons into play. For example, in knee play a taller fighter can drag the shorter fighter's head and body down simply by pulling and stepping simultaneously using their length. On the ground the taller fighter can pin and sweep with greater ease by spreading their body to the mat or getting their legs underneath their partners. However, the lever-type has problems being unable to fit in the same black holes as a smaller competitor.
This is an argument that body types effect fighting style and possibly why you may be very good or have problems with certain people, your body type induced style may work well or poorly with theirs. However you must be able to work both as fulcrum and lever. That is, maximizing both your natural morphology but also adapting to achieve attributes of the converse body type. Leverage requires three components and being naturally capable of one does not mean forgoing practice of the other two.