Wednesday, November 21, 2012

11172012 Roy Harris Seminar

As promised, and quite frankly, well ahead of schedule, here is the video notes that Steve-o and I did the day after the Roy Harris seminar.  Any mistakes are all on us and nothing else.  The seminar and the techniques and training process that Roy gave us were amazing. 

First up, and for me the most important part of the seminar, is the section of moving through the controlling positions for maintaining the ability to work leg locks.  This has always been an issue for me:

Next up, the actual submissions that Roy went over.  Again, a great look at a tool that gets under utilized by just about everyone, myself included.  Probably more than most.

Roy's point at the end was certainly not lost on me.  That leg attacks get labeled as dangerous a lot.  Everything we do is dangerous.  It's about how its trained.  He suggests that the injuries associated with training leg locks are usually the result of the defender's actions.  And to minimize that if you're caught, no rolling in an effort to escape.  It's the rolling, when an ankle is trapped, that rips our knees.

I also like how we drilled the tactics.  After reviewing the techniques, we began stringing them together free form to build a conditioned response with them, moving across all the control positions as needed and applying the submissions as they presented.  We've been working thru the positions since the seminar and it's really helpful in learning a new set of skills. 

For those there, I hope this is helpful in review.   For those that weren't I hope it give you a heads up on some of Roy's thoughts on leg attacks.

Brown Belt Promotion

For those that don't know, Saturday was a big day for the academy I train at, Triton MMA in Woodstock.  Not only were we luckily enough to host Roy Harris, one of the "Dirty Dozen", the first Americans to earn their BJJ black belts, for a leg lock seminar but Coach Mike Budnik promoted me to the rank of Brown Belt. 

It was an amazing day and I'm still processing the moment and what it means.  I don't think the reality of it has sunk in just yet.  Not only did I receive this huge honor, but one of my oldest and best friends was around for the seminar as well and got to be present.  Thanks for being there, Steve-o.

Not only that, but several of my old teammates were present from Ohana as well along with all the coppers of different stripes I get the privilege to train and work with all the time.

And later, one of our fighters, Dan Hart won his XFO bout at the Sears Center.  Great day for the team!  Now it's on to trying to live up to the rank.  Thanks everyone for helping me get here.  I have video notes from the seminar itself.  If you've never been to one of Mr. Harris' seminars you should MAKE time to train with him.  His take on leg locks was absolutely brilliant.  I'll get those up at some point later this week.  Till then.

Monday, October 29, 2012

10/27/12 Chicago S7

Okay,  so I've been slacking.  Luckily, it's because I've been training.  For those who didn't realize, those down south are the obvious ones but let's face it- the organization did a lousy job of promoting its event, last weekend was the first S7 submission grappling event in Illinois. 

It's a new promotion put on by Herb Dean and a couple other of the UFC affiliated refs. The rules are slightly different than your standard IBJJF clone systems and they place a high premium on advancement to submission, awarding primary points for submission efforts.

I like the idea, and in practice I like the system.  However, it will take some tweaking and ref education to make perfect. I hope it gets the chance.  It was a very strong showing for Triton and personally, a pretty great day for me.  Gold in my division and gold in the absolute. 

Thanks coach, and everyone else.  Here's the footage of the weekend:

 And bout 2:

First absolute match:

And the absolute finals:

All in all an absolutely amazing day.  Thanks to everyone who had a hand in getting my game where it is.  And thanks to my coach, Mike, who kept me on track the whole day, despite having his own divisions to take care of.  Here's Mike with the most beautiful arm bar I've ever seen:

Well, that's it for now.  See you soon. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

07/21 Visit Home

I'm just back off a long weekend at the family homestead.  This, as always, gave me an excellent opportunity to work out with those members of the Bujin clan, and its extended family, from southern Illinois.  For those that were there, below is the video from the exercise.  I had some trouble from time to time with playback.  Hopefully, this is a hardware issued with my player on this end.

For those from up north who weren't there, have fun noticing how rusty my stand up is.  Enjoy:

In this, you'll also hear Clay try to figure out the camera and my recommendations for the Walking Dead.  Go figure.

Clay and I.

If I'm not mistaken, Clay actually references this little effort to keep us all in touch in this bit.

Tim, my first coach, and I working.  Yes, I felt as rusty and timid as I look while working stand up.  It's a risk of spending a bulk (like all recently) of one's time working BJJ.

Great training day guys.  Had a blast.  Enjoy the vids. I hope they're useful.

Friday, May 25, 2012

On Switching Schools

So, people in martial arts change change schools for a variety of reasons and come and go for different things and with different attitudes about their experiences at a given academy.  By the time you've been doing this since young adulthood or late adolescence you've said hello and goodbye to many training partners and facilities for several reasons.  I've been very lucky in my time to have said good bye to very few on unfriendly circumstances.

Conversely, I've had to deal with new training environments in different arts enough that it's well past being an event that causes nerves for me.  If anything, it's an exciting opportunity to take a different step.   However, it does not make it easier to leave a group of training partners full time.

This week, I said goodbye once again.  This time it was a much harder event than it has been in a long time.  Last night was, in all likelihood, my final night on the mat at Ohana Martial Arts as one of the students there.  For those that don't know, I travel about 45 in one way to attend BJJ classes with Chris at Ohana.  It has been time well spent.  Chris is an amazing instructor and the group of individuals that train there are equally as incredible.

However, for about a year Triton MMA has been open in my very own little town of Woodstock and it boasts an excellent BJJ program.  The owner, Mike, is equally amazing at what he does and since I've got to know him I've found him to be an excellent individual as well.  I count he and his senior students as friends.

So, for some time, I have struggled with the fact that I've had access to a great program that offers what I love to do 5 minutes from my house while I've been driving 45 minutes to a great program to which I have much loyalty.  Finally, I have come to the only decision that I could really make.  I've taken off the Nova Uniao flag and elected to switch schools.  After speaking with both coaches, it seemed to be the option that made the most sense across the most domains.  

Chris and the guys at Ohana, you are the best.  I will miss training with you all on a routine basis.  To the guys at Triton, I am thrilled and excited to be part of your academy and thank you for the warm welcome and acceptance.  It is an amazing new step in my journey that's been on going for so long I can't picture my life without it. 

For everyone else, I truly hope that you have such difficult decisions to make when it comes to electing where to train.  It is a major blessing to have such legit academies around me and I do realize how lucky that makes me.

On the upside, along this path I have collected training partners that run the gambit of organizations, arts, and affiliations and  to those who've I've become attached I still manage to get time with them here or there every now and again.  I have no reason, or desire, for it to be otherwise this time. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

05/14/2012 Roy Harris Private

On the 14th, I got the amazing opportunity to take a semi-private with Roy Harris while he was in the area conducting JKD training for one of his affiliates.  Luckily, he was also scheduling privates in BJJ with his off-time.  The hour that we spent working with him was just beyond words.

First up, let my just say that Roy is a stand up guy and great individual to hang out with, regardless of his many martial accomplishments.  Can't say enough about that.

Next up, he took on the topic that we had requested, his pressure game from top, and really broke down lots of great material for us.  More than just a collection of techniques, he really shared the background information and the "why" of the movements rather than just the tactics themselves.

It was a great reminder, to me, about the greatest thing in jiu jitsu.  You can take a position that you've used for years, in this case we worked out of side mount quite a bit, and suddenly realize that you don't know it nearly as well as you thought you did.  Then, you tack on his total relaxation during each of the movements and total eschewing of strength to make them work and you've pretty much summed up everything that is awesome about jiu jitsu.  All in an hour of superb instruction.

Money and time well spent.  Some post training shots:


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Yesterday was the annual Super Cop Boxing Exhibition here in Chicago.  For those not familiar with the event, it's a charity event for the families of officers who've lost their lives in the line of duty.  Active duty, sworn law enforcement officers sign up for exhibition boxing bouts and their departments come to cheer them on.  Bragging rights are the only pay off beyond the charity.  For more info on the organization here it is:

The past few years there have been a grappling division as well.  I'm not lying, I've been wanting this title.  There, I said it.  IBJJF medals are more highly valued among BJJers, NAGA is more widely recognized, but I've always wanted to win the cop grappling tournament.  I've given it a couple of tries. Gotten close a time or two, but never sealed the deal. Finally, the stars lined up this year.

The other competitors were great.  Each a class act and another cop.  Here's the breakdown on how it went:

Round 1

Round 2

And Round 3

It's not my most exciting work, but the strategy of the match worked really well.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Group Photo

For those you you down south and don't know the crew up here, this is the team photo at the end of yesterday:

Nate, Ryan, me, Chris, and Ron.  Couldn't ask for a better group of training partners and friends.  Let's remember to shoot this photo earlier next time so we can get everyone!

Ohana Matches from the Winter Open

Here, as promised, are the matches for everyone else that we managed to get on video.  Awesome job everyone, glad to be teammates with you all.

I have a couple of more to get to guys.  I will get them up as soon as I get time.

Alex's Matches from the Winter Open

As promised, here are my matches from the Winter Open:

Obviously, I'm listing my winning match first.  Next up, the bout for the gold:

So, it didn't go as well as hoped, but it was still a really fun day that let me learn some things and gave me some more stuff to focus on.  Additionally, it was a pleasure to roll with the other guys from my division.

Can't wait for the fall outing.

Winter Open Results

Hey everyone, nice work yesterday!  Had a great time.  For those that weren't there, I personally walked away with a silver for the day after going one and one in two matches.  Thanks again to everyone I rolled with to get ready.  Photos and video coming soon.

For now, here is the link to the results:

Friday, March 2, 2012

IBJJF Tomorrow!

Good luck to everyone tomorrow at the Chicago Open.  See you there.  Win, lose, or draw we'll have results soon.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

On Making Training Fun

As a brief follow up to my last post about making training fun, here are a couple of great examples of changing things up to enjoy training.  Both of these made me really want to be in those gyms, right then and there, working out.  The first is a shout out to the guys at my old school down south:

This was brilliant fun guys, thanks for sharing with the crew I hang out with up here. 

Next, is a great example from one of the greats of BJJ during class warm ups.  There is also a bit of unexpected consequence to follow.  Defiantly one you want to watch to the end:

How could you not want to work out after that...

Final Week Observations

One week out  now to the IBJJF here in Chicago.  So far, so good.  Prep has gone well, lots of extra mat time (thanks all), and regular conditioning.  A few observations about my training cycle this time around will probably go far in helping me next time around.  Turns out despite competing for a while you can learn something new about the process each time.

As we move into the last week of this, I've noticed another reason to shorten my train up next time.  BJJ has started to feel like work.  I guess if you want to win World Championships it needs to a little.  But that's not my goal.  I compete because it's fun.  I train in lead up to tournaments because it's fun.  Today I noted I was a little less excited to be on the mat.  Eight weeks is too long at this pace for me.  It's become work.  Noted, as before, I'll fix that next time.

As for this time, I'm pulling the extra workouts next week.  I was going to scale back to light rolling, stick to techniques, ect.  But I'm pulling all the way back to my normal routine of somewhere around three sessions per week.  In fact, I'm strongly considering just hitting up two, using some light cardio to keep the weight in check. 

In addition to getting some much needed recovery (again, I've found I'm not 25 anymore) I think what will be more important is getting my mindset back into the fun of jiu jitsu.  I want to love stepping on the mat each time I do it.  Even at the tournament. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Registraion Closed

Hope everyone got registered for next weekend.  Registration is closed per the IBJJF.  On the upside, the only changes now will be weight changes last minute. By in large, the only guys in your division are the ones listed now.  Don't forget to do you competitor information check next week.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Training Camp Woes

Okay, so we're just over two weeks to the Winter Open.  The good news is I've put on a lot (and I mean a lot) of mat time, repped all kinds of technique, worked takedowns a couple of times per week, hit my weights, and managed to be right in the middle of my weight bracket right on time.   Granted, that's a lot of good news.

On the downside, I tweaked my back on Monday night and had to take a light cardio on Tues followed by a full on day off on Wed.  Luckily, it feels better today just in time to head back to my regular night at Ohana.  What this has shown me, is that it's time to acknowledge that I just can't pull off the 8 week training camp any more.

Typically, I try to put on 5-6 mat sessions per week going into a tournament.  Add in 3-4 days of weights and cardio and it gets to be hectic.  Not a problem.   Well, at least in my pre-30's incarnation. 

Even before the back tweak I was worn down, too tired to think, and barely wanting to compete anymore.  It was a wall.  At six weeks I was great.  By the 7th I wanted to be done.  So, lesson learned.  I'm backing off a bit as we approach the Winter Open.

By competing at, pretty much, my standard walk around weight, I've eliminated the need to slowly drain off pounds.  I don't NEED the extra couple of weeks.  And I'm older, with more responsibility and just have less to pour into training.  I get beat up more and need to recover more.  I think next time, six weeks of heavy prep will be far better mentally for me to stay in all the way thru.   

Still, going into this thing now I can really say that if I get beat (a very real and likely possibility going into purple for the first time) it will just flat out be because the other guy is better than me.  I've prepped to the best of my ability.  So, 1.5 weeks and counting.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Winter Open Competitor List

So everyone knows, the competitor list is up on the IBJJF website for the tournament.  Pretty strong turn out by the look of things.  Here's the link:

This lets us do a little research:

 First guy listed in my division.  Unfortunately, a three year old video of the guy at blue belt is the most recent I can find.  I kinda suspect his game has evolved from this state.  But, it's a base line.

No joy with video on anyone else just yet, but they're all from solid teams. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Back to BJJ

Well, at least as it related to self defense.  Since the subject of training modalities came up in the last post, I thought I share this video that we made in response to a question about training BJJ and grappling for self defense from some friends of mine down south. 

This is kind of my thoughts on how BJJ training applies to self defense, in particular how it applies to my job in law enforcement.  It's about the thought process of looking at an art and looking at what you need it to do and making the two meet.  That's not to say that I don't enjoy the pure art of BJJ or the competitive side of just BJJ, but I also recognize the benefit that bringing my BJJ training to work can offer:

Training Methods

For you traditional guys, or at least those that started out in a trad art, that I know that aren't wasting their free time over on Karate Forums talking about fighting arts, this thread:

is a perfect example of why you should be.

It's been running on and off for a few weeks now and is discussing the merits and disadvantages of kata training in karate.  Well, it starts there and digs into what is kata and then what is karate as a whole.  You can go anywhere on the web and throw mud about someone's ideas.  The great thing about KF is the ability to have an in depth discussion with artists across a wide range of backgrounds civilly with intelligent points being brought on out each side.

If you've ever been in a traditional art, this discussion is worth your time.  Regardless of your background, Karate Forums is a great place to kick around martial ideas of all sorts.  I know this isn't really BJJ related, but the discussion was so good I couldn't help but pass it along.

Evaluation Footage from Newton

For everyone down south, here is some eval footage that we shot over Christmas that I'm just now getting around to processing.  Sorry for the delay guys.  Looks like the fights went well last weekend. 


And last:

There you go, Craig.   Something for Bryan to work over and tighten your game with.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Weight Check

With the tournament on the 3rd of next month, we're getting into the vicinity.  Now's a good time to check your weight and see how you're doing.  There will only be a limited window of time when you can email the IBJJF and get your category changed.  After the end of the month, you're stuck. So now is the time to start thinking about where you're signed up for and where you will be on the third.

I start checking frequently now so I don't get surprised the day of.  Remember, it's not set up like the NAGA, you have to weigh in and walk on the mat.  Don't try to cut so much you're miserable the day of.

No IBJJF Training Day on 2/14

Yes, it's true.  I've bowed to the pressure of a hallmark holiday instead of hosting extra training that night.  So, no extra training on Tuesday.  We'll be back the week after and, at that point, very close to the event. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Diaz Faces Suspension....Again


Okay, it might be silly in this day and age to test for weed in a post fight drug test.  It's not performance enhancing, doesn't help in recovery, nothing relating to what goes on in the ring.  Still, it's the rule under the athletic commission.  It's not a surprise, especially since it's the second time he's taken a hit for it.  If it's dumb to test for it, it's got to be even dumber to get caught using it.

Kron Gracie Interview

I ran across this interview with Kron Gracie on line a bit ago and had to share.  He talks about how to train, comfort, pure jiu jitsu, just about everything that's a big concept in the art. 

He's taken some heat from some circles about his claims that his grandfather "invented" the guard.  I don't know, apparently there is some footage out there from the early 1900's with a Judo or Fusen Ryu guy doing it.  I don't much care, maybe I'll do the reasearch at some point just out of curiosity but I think the people who point out that in this clip are missing the WAY bigger points that he's talking about.

Having grappled for a long time, and done pure BJJ for a while now, I can say that lots and lots of people I've run across haven't grasped these key points.  Some of them are, at their core, complex enough that I'm still sorting them out.  This clip is filled with high level concept.  Everyone should look at what they're doing thru it.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Principle Based Training Article

Here's an article I wrote for Karate Forums a couple of years ago.  It's largely based on my time involved in Bujin and is written from the perspective of applying principle based training to any art.  I've had luck applying it to defensive tactics for law enforcement as well as a teaching/ training model.

Any discussions/ thoughts welcome:

So what exactly is principle based training when it applies to the martial arts? 

The principles for your art are the core beliefs and responses that you will use to deal with conflict.  They are the framework around which all of your reactions are founded.  I believe that they are present within any systemized fighting art even if it isn’t taught that way.

I talk a lot about it here so I though that I would expound just a little bit about it as well as explain how it can be used by martial artist out of any style to make their approach to conflict more fluid .  I happen to come out of system that was built fundamentally around principle based training; however, anyone can apply this training methodology to what they are doing and, hopefully, increase their chances of surviving a fight.

Simply put, teaching fighting through principle is dealing with the larger picture of conflict rather than merely considering technique.  Practicing technique is good, repetition is the key to being good at a physical skill of any kind.  The problem comes when one trains in the fashion of meeting x attack with y defense.  This continued practice trains the body to respond in only one fashion to a premeditated attack with no variability.  Suddenly, when faced with true combat where things do not progress as anticipated, your reaction time becomes compromised due to an inability to cope with variables that did not exist in training. 

In reality, an attack may be thrown that was not accounted for during training, leaving the defender with no practiced options that he is effective with.  Even less dramatic, perhaps an attack that one has practiced against is thrown, but it is at a slightly odd angle, thus rendering a memorized tactic less effective, or not effective at all.

Conversely, a principle based training platform allows for more efficient responses by the student.  In this methodology, the student becomes concerned with meeting larger strategic objectives rather than applying specific techniques to a situation.  He is given a set of tools and trained in such a way as to apply them to meet these objectives.  This way, if unseen variables occur during a fight it is less problematic to the practitioner.  He simply continues to select tools to accomplish his strategic goal.  His mind does not become locked into attempting to perform a technique.  It remains fluid in it’s course to his objective.

This versatility allows the practitioner to responded more quickly to threats and allows for individual strengths to be exploited.  He does not have to remember what to use to forestall an attack, just that he needs to do so.  The situation will dictate how this is accomplished.  The process then becomes a goal oriented process, where the outcome is much more important that the way in which it is accomplished.

So how does one go about applying principle based training into his art?  Well, the good news is that you really don’t need to start all over again.  Think of it as a shift in mindset and fighting paradigm more than anything.

The first step is to look at what you’re doing in you style.  What are the strengths and weaknesses inherent to your system, and let’s face it, we all have weakness in our approaches to fighting.  That’s ok, despite what some people think.  The trick is to recognize them and work with them, not ignore them.

Really get a good feeling for what it is that you are doing.  The next step is to start thinking in broad, strategic strokes.  What is it that you are primarily to accomplish within your system in response to attack?  How do you plan on getting there?  What factors might stand in your way of doing this? How will you deal with these?  Remember, think big picture.    

Now, considering the strengths and weakness of your system, as well as the movements that you spend the most time using repetition to perfect, start mentally working though your best case response to a fight.  Start from the initial aggression and work through to the final end-game of the conflict.  Do this several times as realistically as possible.  Now, add situations where things go bad and you have to adapt.  With this information, start looking for similarities.  What is it that your system is teaching you to do from start to finish?  This will give you a good start on your framework.

For instance, if you are involved in a kicking art you might see yourself immediately moving in some way to gain distance and create a functional kicking gap in most of these situations.  It doesn’t matter if you do it via a stepping motion, retreating kick, or cartwheel.  What matters is that your initial motion is to move to a range where you can deploy your most dangerous weapon.  How you do that will become drills you work on to fulfill what has just become your first principle: Create distance.  No longer will you simply practice the transition to a back-stance in response to a predetermined attack.  Now you will consider it one of many tool used to create distance.  You will drill it against variable attacks, you will transition to other methods of gaining distance if it doesn’t work.  Your framework now has it’s first piece.  Remember, this is an example only.  I don’t claim to be a kicker.

Once you’ve established a set of principles, experiment.  Do they function across the board?  Will they hold up under the stress of varied attacks and situations?  Do they make intuitive sense to students who can then see intrinsic value in their application. 

If the don’t hold up, change them.  You may not get it right the first time.  Once they hold up in controlled drilling, will they do so in free-fight training?  Especially in simulation drills.

Now that you’ve established a framework of principles, how do you apply them to teaching/training?  Good question.

First, you start by teaching within the context of the principles.  Everyone has to understand why they are doing things.  This is why the framework needs to be intuitive to your individual style.  Once developed, use them.  Not just as questions on a belt test but also as an overarching theme to training.

Continue using repetition to prefect skills that you formerly thought of as techniques.  Now, practice them as movements; they are now tactics to accomplish you principles.  This is very much a mindset component to you training.  Once skill is developed in movement, there is no right or wrong answer to how a principle is fulfilled.  There is only well preformed movement and movement that needs worked on.  Principles that are adhered to and those that are ignored.  This is the new paradigm of your training and what will determine success or failure during the real thing.

A key component then becomes spontaneous attack and defense drills.  This allows students to respond to a threat chosen at random by the attacker.  It is a drill that allows for individual application of strengths unique to them and teaches them not to become rigid in their responses.  This is when they get a feel for applying principles free form and worry less about how they accomplish this.  You can certainly define the type of drills done to focus on specific scenarios.  For instance, you might limit them to grab defenses, to a tightly controlled set of attacks, knife threats, knife attacks, etc.  Only your training needs and your imagination can define these.  Contact levels can be altered as well based on what you are needing to work on.  At a lighter contact level, you may treat it as no armor and surface contact only.  For realistic simulation, you may armor them with caged head gear and kempo or mma gloves as well as knee and elbow pads and have them go at it.  Again, your specific training needs will determine this. 

Always continue experimenting and testing your principles, this is how growth occurs.  Test them with the spontaneous drills to see if they hold up.  Modify them if needed.  As you learn new movements from other sources, consider how they fit into your principles and therefore your strategy.  This will give you a good feel for not only how to train them, but also how to apply them within your current game plan.  This process creates a highly individualized fighter.  One who utilizes his own strengths withing the framework rather than mimicking his instructor.  This creates a fighter who is much more likely to successfully defend himself.

There it is.  Principle based training in a nutshell.  For those who are curious as to what a completed format looks like, I’ve included those used in the art I work out of.  I’ve posted them before, but I include a brief version here for examples sake.  They are not my own thoughts, they are the principles that I was taught and have held up well through years of doing this.

Step 1) Evade.

At it’s simplest, this is getting out of the way of an attack.  It may be through parry, redirection, open evasion, or blocking.

Step 2) Stun.

Again, simply stated, this is hitting the attacker back.  This serves as both a way to damage him as well as a distraction applied so that his mind is occupied with something other than attacking you.  This can be strikes of any kind at any range.

Step 3) Unbalance.

This is taking the individual center.  It can be as little as a destabilizing tug on a trapped arm or as complex as a takedown.  In this step you move to a superior position over your attacker and make it more difficult for him to do damage to you.

Step 4) Control.
This is control of the attacker as well as the entire situation.  It could be a joint manipulation, a choke from standing or the ground, a knock out, any of these will do.

A quick side note.  These should kind of go in this order.  However, in the fluidity of a fight, some movements will sever multiple functions.  For example, in response to a wide hook, one might evade by slipping under the strike.  A stun could follow as you drag a counter hook of your own behind the initial evasion.  It makes contact and knocks the attacker cold.  In this case, it serves as a controlling motion as well because the bad guys is taking a nap on the ground.  If you really wanted to split hairs, it is also an unbalancing movement because he had to lose balance to fall.  At this point, I’ll just be glad he’s out and I’m fine and leave the fine points to the post-event breakdown.

I hope this helps explain not only the basics of principle based training but also gives those interested a guide to developing their own set of principles.  Hopefully, if noting else, it will help give some ideas about more fluid training tactics and mind set training.  Thanks for taking the time to read.

Monday, February 6, 2012

02/07/12 IBJJF Workout in Woodstock

Hey all,

Looking at a couple of things for tomorrow night.  First up, some technical takedown work. Followed by some LIGHT randori for them.  We'll work on passing guard (ie. moving position from takedown to points for pass to dominate position).  I was looking at a no hands guard drill that would flow real well after that.

Then to free roll for the night.  Any suggestions?   

Friday, February 3, 2012

How Does One Not Agree

Seminar Review and Drill Day

For those who didn't get a chance, and had questions about, the Swafford seminar a couple of weeks ago, here is the video notes on the subject:

This is another movement for the seminar that I'm less capable with:

Okay, so that's not the full day of training.  The rest of today was spent working out of negative positions.  I'll be tearing it apart this evening:

So getting crushed on the bottom over and over again is less than all kinds of fun, but I'm hopeful that it will payoff come the IBJJF. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

IBJJF Registration Open

Registration is now open for the Winter Open.  There might be some confusion over the process.  The form requires an affiliate team and such.  Scott made some calls and as it stands right now we can sign up under Nova Uniao Hawaii and list Charuto as the coach. 

For one more hurdle, Charuto might not appear in the appropriate block just yet.  So, either hold up and wait till his name shows up or sign up under Nova Uniao Arizona.    Pain?  Yes.  But at least they didn't get around to making purples be members of the organization just yet.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

01/28 Mikey Swafford Seminar

On the 28th, I got the opportunity to join the Triton MMA gym here in Woodstock for a seminar given by Mikey Swafford, a BJJ black belt with extensive time on the mat with the Gracie family. The gym's owner, Mike Budnik kindly extended the invitation and it was well worth the time. 

One of the things that constantly blows me away about BJJ is the technical detail.  One of the hallmarks of a good instructor is his ability to show you details of moves you've used for years and make them better.  Mikey defiantly did this with a huge emphasis on being comfortable on the mat no matter your position.

The list of things we went over sounds simple: defending the side mount, defending the back mount, escaping from scarf, but the idea behind each was broken down into such functional components it was hard not to be impressed.  Also, he took on the concept of "connection" as Rickson Grace talks about it.  It was an eye opener to say the least.

Thanks again, guys.  Here are some stills from the seminar:


Here's me, Mikey Swafford (left) and Mike Budnik (right):

I've been focusing on the material this week during open mat and it's been very beneficial.  On the docket for later this week is doing a video of the notes I took after the seminar.  I'll get it up for everyone later in the week.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Day Off

Back to training today after a day off yesterday.  I can't tell you how good it felt to NOT get on a mat for the day, or push weights, or get on the treadmill.  But more importantly, getting some food with a bit of grease and to many carbs was equally as important.

Be sure with the run up to the tournament that you're not pushing too hard for too long each week. Get some down time, get some bad food here and there while cutting down.  On a last note for our crew, based on what I've found while working up for tournaments before, make sure you're getting  plenty of rest.  Like good night's sleeps, not the rushed few hours you're used to after staying up on a game console for too long.

Rest is just as important function of training up as adding training days. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

2011 Robson Seminar

For those not on the list, here is the group photo from December's Robson seminar:

Now, given the amount of information amassed during that I ran home and after scribbling notes, I got he chance to shoot this bit of video that is essentially my notes.  It's far from textbook, but for those there maybe it will jog your own memory.  It's been helpful for me:

Those you you there will note I do not even attempt to show the mechanics of the arm bar.  There's a reason for that.  I'm far too incompetent to even pretend to pull that off.  For those down south, particularly Bryan, this is the series I was working over the holidays.  

Lastly, here's us having fun with the final pic from the seminar:

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Rules Update Delayed

The rumors of rules changes abound for the IBJJF:

However, as of this morning, there is still no official word on the IBJJF website.  I know that this does not shock anyone.  If we're lucky, they'll get around to posting the 2012 changes about the time the Mayan calendar expires.  The persistent think I kept hearing was that the organization was going to mandate membership down to brown and perhaps purple this year.   If you've looked into this process, you know it's a train wreck.  Still, I can't imagine that they've waited this long with tournaments coming up to alter the process that much, so in this let's work under the "no news is good news" paradigm.

On another note, the Tuesday nite extracurricular session at my place is a go.  Sounds like it Ron and Alan so far.  Everyone feel free despite the distance.     

Weight Check

Okay, so after two weeks of slowing starting the diet work up to the IBJJF, I checked in yesterday at 174 with training gear on.  Not bad considering how badly I behaved over the holidays and tipped up to 182.  So, as for now I'll be shooting for the lightweight division.  Once registration opens I'll do a check to confirm that that's going to work before signing on the dotted line.

So, how is everyone else?  Where are you now and what's the target?

Here's a couple of articles I found out of my near obsessive need to read and research that might be helpful.
Weight cutting:

And general tournament strategy prep:


Friday, January 13, 2012

Back to BJJ

Not a training related note here, at least not for the IBJJF, but this is a great clip to debrief:

More than any other real world video I've seen, this sets the stage for my argument about why anyone out of a pure striking art should also train in grappling.  This might be the worst side control ever established by mankind, yet he manages to hold a cop down who continues to throw ineffective strikes to his attacker.

There's a lot to take out of this video if you're a cop.  If you're a martial artist that also holds true.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

More History

So, mother nature has conspired to keep me from training tonight out of the house.  Great, now I can set here and thing about all the great fried food I'm not eating.  While so confined, I took the time to dig out the final addition I was tasked with in regards to a Bujin handbook.  I present it here for you guys from Newton to whom it might have some use.

For everyone else who is not interested in such martial ramblings, the navigation bar to the right can get you to the IBJJF short cuts and video evaluation bits.  There is also an internet rumor floating around that the IBJJF has altered rules for signing up in 2012.  I will be digging into the truth of this tonight and might have some more solid information soon. 

For those looking thru the next passage, I never did get around to shooting photos for this, they are indicated by inserts into the text.  Feel free to cut, paste, add, and even take those pics or others if you think it would be good material for the newer guys down there.

White Belt: The Beginning Student

Level Introduction-
            White belt level in Bujin Bugei Jutsu is the start of a student’s journey of discovery.  It is the level where the basics of the system, both physical and principle, are taught and the knowledge combative martial arts is cultivated.
            It can be an intimidating time for the new student, aside from participating in drills designed to teach people to cause harm to another, the simple trappings of the dojo can seem overwhelming.  Bujin, like almost every other school of combat that traces its roots to the feudal orient, pays certain homage to those ancient practices.  From the training uniform, or gi, to the bowing on and off the training floor, the practices that fill the dojo are foreign to a large portion of potential students.  It is helpful to orient the student before their first class to the specifics of these traditions to relieve some of the anxiety they may have about getting it right.
            However, this has never been the primary focus of training in Bujin.  Practitioners with experience in other oriental arts will find that the art is much more devoid of traditional trappings than other karate based arts.  For now, we will proceed with the function, rather than the form of Bujin Bugei Jutsu.

The Primary Principle: Evade, Stun, Unbalance, and Control-
            Many potential students ask what the philosophy of Bujin is.  What is its essence?  It is, simply put, efficient combat and at the heart of this goal is Bujin’s overriding principle: to evade, stun, unbalance, and control.  All of Bujin can be boiled down to this progression through a conflict; and all of the drills and movements from here on out will reflect, in some way, this principle.  Due to this fact, a quick survey of these four elements is helpful to see where we are going.
This is the initial movement, whether by body motion, blocking, or redirection, that removes you from your opponent’s line of attack.  To put it simply, it is not getting hit and examples of it can take many forms.
**photo series**
1-   slip and parry outside of attack with safety hand
2-   block hook with boxing elbow guard high
3-   fading away from attack
4-   aiki slide to the outside of attack

This is the initial counter attack of a fighter.  It occurs after, or as a simultaneous event with, an evasion.  It should be impressed on the student, and sometimes even veteran practitioners, that stunning an opponent may consist of one, or multiple strikes of varying natures before the aggressor is sufficiently affected.  The process of stunning an opposing fighter should continue until he can be more easily unbalanced and controlled.
Examples of the stun phase.
**photo series**
1-   outside with parry, side stomp to knee
2-   deep trapping counter with upper cut to chin
3-   inside the house, parry, elbow to head
4-   eye gouge

            This phase of Bujin Bugei Jutsu’s mainstay principle deals with taking the center of one’s foe.  By unbalancing the attacker, the Bujin practitioner takes the center of his opponent’s power, limiting his ability to counter attack.  It is a prequel to control, although the line between the two may sometimes be a fine one.  The methods of unbalancing an enemy are quite varied and a few examples follow.
**photo series**
1-   head control and circle back and over with chin twist
2-   reaping movement
3-   judo throw
4-   fig 4 arm lock take down.


            This is the final step in the Bujin student’s defense.  Here, it is up to the student to decide, based on the situation and its severity, how far to take the concept of control.  This can take the form of a pinning movement, joint dislocation, choke, or, if needs be, the taking of the opponents life.
**photo series**
1-   choke from behind
2-   wrist lock with opponent face down on mat
3-   chicken wing arm bar, standing over
4-   knee in chest, cross to supine foe’s throat

A few points about the Evade, Stun, Unbalance and Control principle; this is a flowing principle, not a rigid set of laws or linked waza.  It is very possible, even probable, that things on the street or any combative situation will not go as planned. 
Therefore, it is required of the advanced student to be able to move in and out of the phases of a conflict (evade, stun, unbalance, and control) as needed.  If an opponent begins to retaliate, or refuses to give up his base, more methods of stunning must be applied.  Or, in turn, it may be more advantageous to forgo a serious stun if the opportunity presents itself for a quick resolution.  In some cases, such as a knockout situation, the stun may even serve to unbalance the individual as well as control him.
“Unbalancing and controlling is fine, but I always figured if I hit them hard enough they’d do that all by themselves.”- Tim Walk
            Obviously, this is a great deal of information for the beginning student to process, and he should not be asked to do so.  Due to the advanced nature of several of the drills required to become proficient with this entire process, they should not be taught to the novice.  So here at the white belt level the principles of evade and stun are focused on as well as the fundamentals of conflict.
            The basic stance of Bujin is based on the ancient Okinawain seanchin posture, where the legs are approximately shoulder width apart with one in a distinct forward position, weight should be distributed evenly over both feet.  On the front leg, the foot is turned slightly in across the center-line. 
**photo series of seanchin **
1-   front
2-   side
As one can see, there is a bend in the knees and the weight is balanced over the balls of the feet, to facilitate movement.  However, for more functional use, Bujin modifies the stance somewhat, and these can be see below.
**photo series- modified seanchin or fighting stance**
1-   front
2-   side
Notice, the rear leg is back just slightly further and raised on the ball of the foot.  This modification is useful in maximizing the big muscles of the calf in entry movements.  Also, the torso has shifted somewhat to the inside of the stance and become less square.  This presents less target area for an opponent to take advantage of.  It also moves the lead hand closer to any aggressor, therefore, putting a potential weapon that much closer to an effective range.
One must be careful to not turn to far sideways, thus giving the enemy an easy shot at an unprotected back and kidneys.  Also, notice the hands, they are up in a ready defensive posture and relaxed.  This will become important later.  For purposes of keeping names straight in this handbook, we will refer to this modification of the seanchin stance as the fighting stance from here on out.
**photo series- examples of the fighting stance at work.**
1-   “closer jab hand”
2-   “closing the gap”
3-   low center line coverage” as the lead leg blocks a groin kick
4-   “evasion” springing off line to the outside of an attack
Moving in the fighting stance is critical not only the practice of Bujin but in the execution of effective self defense.  The following movements should be practiced until they are second nature.
**photo series**
1-   straight motion “up the middle”
2-   backing away straight
3-   slipping to the outside
4-   switching stances with a semi-circular step
       5-  straight to lead side/ straight to back side
6    turning away from attack

At first, these motions should be practiced stationary, and then progress to movement up and down the floor with a single action.  After the beginning student has grasped this, a sufficient amount, the stance drills should be varied to simulate more realistic movements combinations.  Some examples would be:
1-   straight in/ turn away
2-   back away straight/ slip to lead side
3-   forward slip and to the side/ switch step to other lead
4-   sideways to back side/ straight forward
Once the student has the concept of moving form stance to stance, imagination should provide and endless supply of more and more complex movement drills to practice.  These can be predetermined ahead of time and performed to a count, or in a more advanced drill, the student should be able to move through the fighting postures above on the call of the instructor.

At the white belt level of Bujin, we introduce only the simplest of weapons used in stunning one’s enemy, once competence here has been attained then we begin to move into more complex attacks and combinations.
The basic hand attacks that a beginning practitioner should be proficient with are the jab, cross (or reverse) punch, backfist, and elbows.
**photo series (all front and side shots, varying target arrangements)**
1-   jab with horizontal fist
2-   with vertical fist
3-   cross horizontal
4-   cross vertical
5-   backfist from lead hand
6-   reverse elbow
7-   lead elbow
For attacks with the legs and feet only simple kicks should be stressed, such as the front, side, round kicks, plus the use of the knees as weapons.  This slower kicking progression will allow the new student, who may not yet have developed good balance skills, to learn at an easier pace. This focus also keeps the younger students from giving up their base too easily, even though we have not brought this concept up yet, we are already training them to it.
**photo series (front and side, varying target arrangements)**
1-   front kick with ball of foot
2-   side kick to bladder area
3-   round kick to midsection (break down to two pictures both front and side)
4-   front knee to groin
5-   back knee to target, grip top of target
These attacks should be practiced in the air, with a focus on learning the proper form and on focus mitts and kicking shields, to emphasis penetration and power.  With all attacks, it is important to stress that we are always attacking through the target, not just striking its surface.
**photo series**
1-   cross to an opponents head, no body reaction
2-   cross through his head, creating a rotation of the body.

As with footwork, it is helpful to set up these attacks in combinations with one another in a premeditated fashion and have the students perform them, then progress to the students doing them at the instructors command while he varies the attacks and the tempo.
It is often useful with the new student to practice kicks with a 4-count kicking drill designed to work on balance and form.  This drill has the student either standing or supporting himself on a wall while in the fighting stance.  On the count of one, he lifts his kicking leg to a chambered position.  Two is the kick and hold in extended position and three is the return to a chambered position.  The instructor’s fourth count indicates a return to the fighting posture.
**photo series (each with pics for each count)**
1-   front
2-   side
3-   round

Defense in Bujin can be carried out in many different ways.  One can block, parry, trap, or use body motion to confound an aggressor’s attack.  All of these amount to evasion, one of the primary principles of Bujin.
Despite the many methods of defending one’s self in Bujin, they all work off of the basic fighting posture, with the hands up and a second principle, that of centerline, as illustrated below.
1-   front view, man in guard, hands up.  line drawn directly though him labeled center line.
This principle shows us that the line, drawn vertically through he body, creates a centerline.  The relationship between a person’s hand and foot placement and this centerline, define what area he is susceptible to being struck in.
**photo series (with centerline drawn and opening labeled)**
2-   jab hand across to rear side of body
3-   cross hand across to jab side
4-   lead hand down in karate block
5-   both hands down as if shooting for takedown
So as we can see, defense in Bujin will revolve around protecting our own centerline, while creating openings around our opponents. 
Before beginning the actual defensive maneuvers used by Bujin practitioners at white belt level, it is helpful to make a few comments on the general hands up posture of the system’s fighting stance.
**photo (front and side waist up posture, centerline drawn on both)**
There are several important things to point out in the above photographs.  First is the placement of the student’s hands, loose and relaxed, each on its own side of the centerline.  For speed in retaliation, it is important to start with loose muscles rather than tightly flexed ones.  The posture of each hand on its own side of the centerline ensures that one does not needlessly leave an avenue of attack open.
From the side shot, we can see that the student is centered over his centerline, not unduly leaning forward or backward, which can lead to being taken off balance.
**photo series**
1-   a) leaning forward while faced off, b)being pulled down forward
2-   a) leaning back, b) being pushed back to a fall
Also from the side, we see the lead hand extending forward a bit.  This gets the jab closer to a potential attacker and serves to disrupt the adversary’s depth perception. 
Now, working with these concepts as our core of action, we can move on to the specific the specific movements of defense.
 The kake-uke parry, or “hooking block” is an easy and effective way to aid in evasion of an attack.  Later, this parry will also be the cornerstone of entering into the unbalancing and control phases of conflict.
This parry is taught with a fluid, semi-circular motion.
**photos (front and side)**
1-   chamber and block lead
2-   chamber and block reverse hand
The second defense worked at this level out of the fighting stance is a low line defense against a kick to the groin or legs.  This block is done by simply lifting the front leg to cover the low centerline.
**photo series**
1-   against front kick to groin
2-   against round kick to leg
Wrist Locks-
            As explained before, getting out of the way of an attack (evasion) and hitting an adversary back (stunning), is only half of Bujin’s driving principle.  Unbalancing and control also play an integral role in any conflict.  One of the tactics used by practitioners of Bujin for these purposes is joint locking techniques.  These movements can be applied to the wrist, elbow, shoulder, knee, or ankles.  For the purposed of white belt learning, they are confined to the wrist.
            It is important here, before discussing the actual forces applied to the wrist joint, to make a note of the word “locking”.  This is a term used for convenience by students of Bujin.  Locking would seem to indicate the immobilization of a joint by outward influence, but this is only part of the story.  These movements, while useful for pain compliance, are meant to destroy joints, rendering them useless.  They are designed to tear ligaments and tendons, while destroying bony articulations.  This should always be borne in mind while practicing these movements. 
We train them by going to a “tap out” level of force and great care should be utilized while students are learning the necessary mount of force to apply to achieve this effect.  There are four basic wrist locks taught in Bujin Bugei Jutsu they are: forward (maya-takube), reverse (yushiro-takube), twisting (koda-gaieshi), and inverted (tate-takube).
**photo series joint locks being applied to self)**
            For training these movements, progression should be started from a simple “handshake” posture.
**photo series**
2- into reverse wrist lock
            Then progress on to various grabs and pushes.
**photo series**
1-wrist grab high
2-into forward **caption- note the defenders use of his forearm bones to increase the leverage and pain on the nerves of the opponent’s wrist, we call this tactic “wheedling”**
3-small insert of forearm position.

1-cross arm grab
2-into inverted **caption- note the use of the back hand to trap the opponent’s hand to the arm, thus ensuring the proper alignment of the wrist is maintained.  Also, the parallel to the ground nature of the opponent’s arm.**

2-into twisting lock. **caption- notice the defender pressuring the opponent’s elbow across his centerline to minimize the chances of counter attack.**

            Any system that concerns itself with unbalancing a foe will inevitably put its students to the mat.  This has become especially important since several high profile mixed-martial arts competitions have shown the world the values of cross-training in ground arts. 
            In Bujin, with a structure that is designed to control an attacker, students will spend a great deal of time taking opponents down and finishing them on the mat.  To safely be able to train for this, the students must first learn how to fall without hurting themselves.
            Break falls are started at the white belt level with basic rolls and falling from a kneeling position.  This decreases the intimidation factor for new students and begins to familiarize them with mat work.
            The first rolls we do are simple forward rolls, these will be useful later in rolling out of throws and joint locks, as well as for several counters while ground fighting.  The students begin by tucking the chin, and raising the arm of their led leg, then tuck and push forward over the extended shoulder.  The body should make a diagonal contact with the ground, minimizing the time the spinal column is in contact with the floor.  Momentum should carry the student back to his feet.
**photo series**
1-ready position
2-tuck and entry to roll
3-mid roll
4-return to feet **caption- notice how the student regains the balls of his feet**
4a-inset on foot plant
5-ready again
            Rolls should be practice initially in a straight forward fashion.  Once this is easily accomplished, back and side rolls should be added to the progression, as well as rolls in a zig-zag pattern across the mats.
**photo series (four or five pics)**
1-zig-zag rolls
            This part of the training can be made fun by having students roll over bo staffs or under shini strikes.  An opponent with focus mitts for the student to strike at the end of each roll can also add an extra cardiovascular component to the exercise.
            The next phase in white belt mat work, break falls, should be thoroughly described and demonstrated before the students try their hand at it.  There are four basic falling postures covered at this level: the front, both sides, and to the back.  In each the principles of the fall is the same, to dissipate the force of the fall over a great surface of the body, and to minimized the force transfer by the use of counter force on the ground.  Breathing plays a particularly important role as well, and students should always practice while forcefully exhaling at the point of contact.
            The fallers head is protected by turning the face to the side in the front fall, the shoulders during side falls, and by tucking the chin to the chest during back falls.  This is a critical point that should not be overlooked.
**photo series (heading: the kneeling front fall)**
1-kneeling posture, arms to the side
2-falling, head turned arms coming forward
3-impact, arms slapping first
**photo series (heading: the side fall)**
1-kneeling posture
2-turn to the side, foot kick out
3-mid fall with arm posture
5-guard position
**photo series (heading: the back fall)**
1-kneeling posture, arms folded
2-fall back
3-impct with slaps
4- recovery to guard
            It should always be stressed to students that these falls and rolls are not ends unto themselves, but are preparation for further steps in Bujin’s progression.  These are building blocks, not techniques, which later on will be cultivated into a toolbox of information and knowledge that will aid in defensive situations.

            Sparring at the white belt level should be a very controlled process, with emphasis on skills and movement rather on free fighting.  However, early sparring is essential to cultivating a “real-world” feel, as well as developing a certain “fighting spirit” mandatory in the advanced student of Bujin.
            Sparring should be an exercise in movement and breath control at this point.  Some types of sparring would be:
1-hand attacks against evasive footwork
2-foot attacks against footwork
3-hand and foot attacks against parries from the fighting stance
4-sparring against someone wearing focus mitts
            The sparring at this level should rely on limited contact, however students should be encouraged to wear hand, groin, and head protection.  Most Bujin students prefer kempo gloves for their versatility, and caged face headgear for its ability to protect against knees and elbows.  Some will also wear simple shin pads, which extend over the top of the foot, this tends to be less cumbersome than traditional karate foot gear.
Examples of sparring drills for white belts:
**photo series (header- hands against evasive footwork)**
2-stance movement out of the way
3-repeat with different combinations

**photo series (header- attacks to parry from stance)**
2-step and parry
4-repeat differently
**photo series (header- sparring against focus mitts)**
1-attack with mitt
2-mv. back
3-attack again
7-repeat differently
            As one can see, sparring, even at this level, should be spontaneous.  This allows for the development of a mind that is not rigidly fixed in technical jargon and movements, but one that understands and comprehends the flow of combat.

Angle Drills-

            Kata, or prearranged forms, holds a much smaller place in Bujin than it does in other systems of martial arts.  Still, it can be a useful tool.  In Bujin Bugei Jutsu, kata is used to teach movements, both of footwork and hand or foot combinations. 
We make no claim of ancient origins of these forms and therefore the bunaki, or application, is often very apparent.  In other instances, movements that would appear to have no useful merit are included to teach a principle of body mechanics or to set a foundation for a different, practical skill.
For the adult white belt student of Bujin, there is no prescribed kata.