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.