July 18th, 2016
There is a position that is so bad that if you are put there, no matter how good your striking skills are, you should abandon them and focus on escaping using your grappling skills. That awful position can vary from person to person. For me, if I am caught in the rear mount, it is a good time to forget about trying to hit and time to switch on the grappling escape mode.
The more skill you have, the better you will know when to hit and when to escape. The more you know your “bad positions” the better you will be at avoiding them and not panicking and flailing when you get stuck in them.
Hit. Grapple. Mix them together.
July 9th, 2016
There is a confusing cliche that gets dropped at martial arts schools on a daily basis: “get rid of your ego”. Aren’t you supposed to win? Aren’t there points and submissions and trophies out there that require an ego?
The trouble, I think, comes in acknowledging the value of competition while also acknowledging the value of community (your training partners). How do you compete and still be kind, respectful and friendly with your fellow martial artists? Rather than checking your ego at the door, think of your training as a way not just to make you better but also to make everyone you train with better.
To this end, talk to your partners about how they beat you and how you beat them. Suggest ways in which they might shut down your game. All these efforts will result in both your evolution and theirs. Acknowledge the pursuit of improvement in both yourself and others. It is a group endeavor.
On Tuesday, we followed this basic idea by picking apart one student’s sparring game and trying to come up with ways to shut it down. It made him adapt. It made us adapt. Good for individual egos and the group.
June 24th, 2016
Often when you go to armbar someone, they grab their hands together and hold on for dear life to prevent the finish. There are many solutions, of course, but one is to use a technique called the biceps cutter.
Basically, it involves cramming your radius bone deep in your partner’s elbow crook and then twisting it. Fun stuff. It either makes them tap or let go of their hand. And if they let go, you can get that armbar you wanted.
June 16th, 2016
Early on in the requirements, we teach a block called the frame. What is a frame? What is it for? Confusingly, there are a few different things in martial arts called frames. In this particular case, we are talking about the block that protects your head against strikes.
To do the frame, simply grab the back of your neck with one hand and then press your forearm tightly against your head so that your elbow points forward. It should feel snug and should also obscure your peripheral vision. Now tuck your chin to your chest. This tightness will provide a structure that covers your temple, chin and jaw.
The frame is designed to absorb damage when you are close in with your partner. It costs you mobility but gains you a helmet of sorts. Like a helmet, it only absorbs some of the impact and you will still feel a bit of a rattle from bigger shots.
We teach this block early because it is simple and effective. Watch the above video for an illustration of the technique and some drills to get started with using the frame.
June 6th, 2016
Someone coming at you with boxing gloves can be intimidating. So, if you’re feeling terrified at the idea of getting hit with a glove, slap boxing might be a beautiful way for you to work yourself into the world of boxing.
It’s simple. You box with open hands. Instead of punching each other, you slap each other. In general, it is a little easier for beginners to maintain a slower pace and hit lighter with slap boxing than if they have the gloves on. The awesome news for people who aren’t complete novices is that slap boxing isn’t just for beginners. People with skill can simply raise the speed and contact level to keep things interesting… or they can keep it slow and see all the things that they might miss out on noticing at faster speeds.