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Application at the expense of technical perfection

I've asked the question in practice recently, "does your mighty instructor fight a technically perfect fight." My guys want to say yes, mostly out of loyalty and politeness, but in truth the answer is no. I doubt anyone has ever fought a technically perfect fight, there are too many internal and external variables that take the ultimate combat stud we are in practice on the pads and makes them a little more full of mortal foibles when the chips are down. Perhaps this is an artifact of rarely allowing ourselves to see ourselves train, we don't tape or have spectators for practice like we do for events. Perhaps I'm just overly critical, but if we fall into the trap that victory means excellence then we allow our ego to rather than our needs direct our training. Just because you got away with something once doesn't make it right it makes it lucky. We must practice endlessly for technical perfection, but we must also accept that realities of application, that we will make mistakes when the chips are down but that by repeated, correct practice we will minimize the repercussions of those less than desirable actions while maximizing the effects of the things we do right in the fight.

This is my MMA fight from the Total Fight Challenge, February 25, 2005. I was pretty ripped for this fight due to the same day weigh ins, so that's dehydration (and a profound inability to tan) your seeing. The Monday after I fought, unbeknownst to me, I was diagnosed with a rip roaring case of mononucleosis, explaining why I'd been feeling so tired for the past few weeks before the event. An ultrasound a few weeks after that revealed my spleen to be at the upper limits of normal, that is I'm lucky that between training and fighting I didn't end up in the emergency room with a splenic rupture. I also have a subtle limp, my standard prefight ritual is to thoroughly mess up my knee about 3-4 days before the fight, after weeks of it being solid as a rock. During the fight look for a lack of extension on my punches, allowing my significantly shorter opponent to reach out and tag me solidly in the nose and snap my head back, fortunately I've killed all the weak brain cells. This probably could have been remedied by more sparring w/ smaller gloves. I could easily have thrown a solid head kick and had been doing so for weeks up until my knee worries. We end up on the ground due to his take down attempt, all I did was step over his sacrifice throw (this is clipped from the video due to spectators moving around). I also just ride him on the ground, with poor mount control. In essence I'm suffering from a lack of commitment and being reactive rather than being proactive, but I still scratch out the win by rear naked choke set-up with punches to his right orbital socket.


GJ The Rise and Fall of the Martial Empire

Historians and social theorists have models that describe civilizations. One model (possibly more) describe all civilizations essentially in formative, growth, peak/expansion, decline, and dissolution stages. I think that similar models can be applied to martial arts. In my training applicability and functionality built on sound judgment have been the core of what a martial art should be, thus, in my opinion an ethically sound purely functional martial art is the peak of combat evolution. That means that a style like boxing, wrestling or Brazilian jiu-jitsu would be formative, while highly applicable they are also highly specific dealing with only a fraction of applications. Styles of MMA range from (pre-)formative to growth stages as they are more functional but all the rough edges have yet to be smoothed out. Styles like traditional jujitsu, tae kwon do, and many forms of karate are in the decay and dissolution stages, they lack real world use except on the most esoteric levels and are marred by adherence to doctrine rather than scientific evidence.
Kick-Cross-Hook-(Jab-Cross-Jab-Cross)-slip-spin uki-waza
As your partner throws the last cross, slip outside and clinch at the waist, step up and sit behind your opponent dragging them over your extended leg.
Jab-Cross-(Cross-Hook-Cross)-parry to side Thai clinch takedown
Obtain underhook control and hand control of the neck, take a pivot step back as you pull their head forward down. Use the underhook to pull them over their head and roll them to the floor.
Side Thai clinch to hip toss, uchi-mata, or harai-goshi
From the side thai clinch put your hips in front of your opponent and hip toss, alternatively reap the near (uchi-mata) or far leg (harai-goshi). You can either control the neck or reach across to the far arm and use that to throw.
Slip irimi nage
Slip place one hand on the hip and drive up upward at a 45o as you drive the other hand across the neck and clavicle in a downward angle.
Corkscrew to single
Use jab-cross while stepping on the cross throw the lead hook, from here shoot to the single, lower your level, drive and pick up the leg, finish the single.
Reverse corkscrew to double
Use jab-lead hook stepping with the hook to the straight cross, shoot the straight double from here against their "parallel stance" against their weakest axis.
Arm dump
Parry the cross, shoot your other arm across their elbow. Clasp your hands and suck it to your chest, then bend forward and twist in the direction of the trapped arm, to drag them to the mat.


JKD & BJJ/GJ Sleep when your dead

Vacillate. I like this word, I use it all the time, just not correctly apparently.

This was a full weekend, after being on call Friday night I went right to JKD and BJJ. We reviewed the Gun Turret position and added to it:
Single Leg Variation
Use your anterior leg to hook thier leg as you stand-up and pull back. Immediately take the shot.
Dive Bomber Sweep
From a tight "in the gun turret" position your opponent grabs the back of kimono and tires to pull you away. Use your free hand to grip their sleeve and then swing your posterior leg through as you five your head between their legs, trying to swing 360° through to your belly as you sweep them backwards.
Knee Bump
In the case where your opponent has passed your Koala Guard. They are sitting on one of your thighs, controlling your sleeve with their far hand. Regrab their sleeve and bump them forward with our top leg and quickly come on top.
Capoeira Koala Defense
This is actually a defense. Push on their shoulder with your free hand, as they try to so the single leg, swing the leg medially and up laterally over their head, while keeping space with your hands.
In Goshin Jitsu we worked on some striking rounds:
  1. Walking the Body
  2. Permutation Kick Combination
    Using kick combination #1 (lead kick-cross-hook-rear kick) we covered permutations of the kicking combination:
    1. Regular Same: Step out in the direction of the kick, then continue in that direction for the cross, hook and rear kick.
    2. Regular Opposite: Step out in the direction of the kick and then switch directions for the cross and hook, switching to their far side for the last kick.
    3. Switch Step Same: Use a reverse step, i.e. step with your kicking leg and then throw the kick, continue in this direction for the cross, hook and rear kick.
    4. Switch Step Opposite: Again start with the reverse step but switch directions on the cross and hook to get to the far side for the last kick.
    Thus you can not only find the "style" you are most comfortable with but also increase the number of variations on the same theme that you have.
  3. Shadowboxing/Pad Round Switch Off
    In this round we switched between shadowboxing and hitting pads, each time the holder could choose anyone and initiate the round with a reaction. This forces people to switch gears rapidly, experience different "energies", and stay a little more on their toes than they might be used to.
We also covered the arm drag to trapped arm guard flow:

The expanded  arm drag to trapped arm guard flow

It is important on the triangles to use all three dimensions to maximize the pressure on the neck. It is also important to realize that the SPiNE concept also comes into play, your opponent gets weaker and less able to defend the triangle the more you extend their head away from their COM. The closer to horizontal the line between your two COM becomes the stronger your triangle becomes relative to their ability to get out.

Body Weight High-Intensity Training (BWHIT)

High-Intensity Training is the "modern era’s version of one-set-to-failure strength training, producing even greater muscle mass and power in less time" ("High-Intensity Training" (John Philbin), "High-Intensity Training the Mike Mentzer Way" (Mike Mentzer, John R. Little)). I've used it with excellent results to build usable strength for combat sports, however with my current schedule getting time for hitting the gym is becoming more and more difficult. Many combat sports athletic trainers are now advocating body weight exercises for greater results (e.g. "The Naked Warrior" (Pavel Tsatsouline), "Combat Conditioning: Functional Exercises For Fitness And Combat Sports" (Matt Furey), "Dynamic Strength" (Harry Wong)). I'm proposing to combine these two modalities into a quick home workout capable of being done in 30-45 minutes. The only pieces of equipment I propose to use is a pull-up bar and a stop watch/timer.
Combat sports are described as anaerobic with intervals of intense cardiopulmonary activity broken up by rest periods (e.g. rounds or tournament). Thus according to Philbin we want the time under tension to be 48 to 72 seconds and increasing the intensity by 3-5% at 12 reps or time when under tension exceeds 72 seconds. A 75 to 90 second recovery time is used between each exercise. A total of 2-3 full body workouts per week is the goal.

  1. Sit-ups -- Knees bent 45° and pressed together
  2. Sit-ups -- Knees bent 45° and apart
  3. Sit-ups -- Knees bent 90° (shins parallel with the floor) and pressed together
  4. Sit-ups -- Knees bent 90° (shins parallel with the floor) and apart
  5. Sit-ups -- Legs straight up (perpendicular with the floor) and pressed together
  6. Sit-ups -- Legs straight up (perpendicular with the floor) and apart
  7. Sit-ups -- One leg straight and elevated, one knee bent 45° and elevated (switch every three)
  8. Sit-ups -- Legs straight and elevated, knees pressed together and apart (switch every three)
  9. Sit-ups -- V-sit
  10. Neck Bridge ("Combat Conditioning: Functional Exercises For Fitness And Combat Sports" (Matt Furey))
  11. Neck Bridge
  12. Neck Bridge
  13. Pull-Ups
  14. Pull-Ups
  15. Pull-Ups
  16. Push-Ups
  17. Push-Ups
  18. Push-Ups
  19. Dive Bomber Push-Ups ("Combat Conditioning: Functional Exercises For Fitness And Combat Sports" (Matt Furey))
  20. Dive Bomber Push-Ups
  21. Dive Bomber Push-Ups
  22. Squats
  23. Squats
  24. Squats
  25. Calf Raises
But you will ask, how do you increase intensity by 3-5% once you can do 12 reps in approximately 60 seconds? The answer is to switch bilateral exercises to unilateral exercises, e.g. changing push-ups to staggered push-ups to one-handed push-ups or changing squats to "pistols" ("The Naked Warrior" (Pavel Tsatsouline)). As I progress with this experiment I'll detail some ideas for increasing intensity.


GJ "Like a bull on acid"

This evening Jack McVicker came over and did an hour workshop introducing the concepts of Jeet Kune Do and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He covered the basics of the Rapid Assault Tactics (RAT) showing how to inflict pain enter into the straight blast and transition into head butts, knees, and elbow (HKE). His description the straight blast is the title of today's blog. He also covered the three link meshwork from the guard of kimura, hip bump, and guillotine choke.
Following Jack's presentation the advanced guys worked a few rounds:
  1. Kick the puncher
    Use tiip and thai kicks to hold off the puncher
  2. Clinch the puncher
    Using the four paths to clinch, clinch off the puncher's offense.
  3. Dirty boxing
    Using focus mitts stay close and work short hooks, upper cuts, and crosses. Use the rip to step out and create space or open the distance and have the hitter flow into longer range punches. Also throw in the clinch.
  4. 3 Knees Turn Lap
    With the thai pads, throw three knees and turn your partner, "walking" them down and back on the mat.
We finished with takedowns from the double under position, always remember to use the concept of the Combat Chiropractor when in the double under position, this will often break them and force them to fall without ever having to do a "real" throw:
  1. Backbreaker
    Simply apply head or shoulder pressure superiorly (pushing) as you scoop out the hips (pulling). You can hook the leg to trip simultaneously.
  2. Knee bump
    Scoop the hips toward you generating kazushi (off-balancing), then bump laterally with knee to trip them to the mat. You do not need to lift them up, just lighten the amount of weight they have loaded on their feet.
  3. Hip toss
    Use the double unders to throw the hip toss, often you will need to "break" the column of the spine, or to step out laterally before switching into the hip toss.


JKD & BJJ Gun Turret Sweep

We worked from the de la Riva guard today:

De La Riva Tilt
Put one hook from the outside behind the knee, control the same side ankle with your hand. Opposite hand controls the same side sleeve. Tilt while pulling on the sleeve, levering the leg up. Transfer your shoulder to their hip and slide your shin across their legs. Secure the underhook.
Push Back Tilt
Push you opponent away, off-balancing them to their posterior. Feed their kimono under the leg the hand that was gripping their ankle. Tilt as above.
Gun Turret Sweep
As you push away they stand-up, sit up and curl forward, pass their sleeve under their leg (a lá the "pump handle slam") to the hand that was gripping the ankle. Pull them toward you as you block the same thigh as the controlled arm. Tilt 45o anteriorly over the controlled side. Secure top position as above.
Single Leg Takedown
This time as you push way they retreat further, slide both feet to the outside line and use the hand that had sleeve control to lever you to standing. Attack the single leg with strong forward pressure, head at the pectorals, with their leg between yours.