Monday, September 30, 2013

Manufactured Vs Natural Strength

I am about 160 lbs. For fitness, I practice martial arts (karate, boxing, kickboxing, judo, grappling etc.). Most of these are with training partners and includes a lot of sparring. So, I am working against the resistance of these partners. On top of this there's supplemental training (bag work, skipping rope, pads, etc.). Now let's say you are 180 and drop down to 160 or if your are 150 and bulk up to 160, what are your chances of beating me? Will you have an advantage because you came up or down in weight? I say no. Reason being, is that my body will function more efficiently at it's natural weight. Now we always here the old saying that all else being equal, the stronger athlete wins. But, that's usually never the case. For the most part, the athlete who is good at what they do usually wins.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Contact Sparring Is Necessary

Drilling techniques in scenarios that say if he does A you will do B is cool. But you have to spar live. I do feel that drills serve a purpose, but I also think that they develop routine habits. What I mean is that they can make you predictable. I consider pretty good at reading opponents because I pick up on patterns. Fighters like to drill patterns of what they will do. Now, you don't have to learn a lot of patterns to be effective. What you have to do is take what you do and learn to apply it differently. You have to constantly change as you fight, so your opponent doesn't get used to you. Don't be predictable. When I hit pads, I don't like for combinations to be called out to me (when I was fight training). The pad work must be live (this requires a good pad holder that you train with regularly). Next is sparring with some contact. Light easy sparring won't do it because the speed is not the same and you won't react properly. So, put on the head gear, 16oz or 18oz gloves, shin guards, etc. and hit a little.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Is It Battle Tested?

I have talked about competition being the laboratory for martial artists to see what works and what doesn't in reality. In the karate circles there is a growing interest in kata application (bunkai). Theories suggest that the blocks are trapping and grappling techniques and that all of the time prior to these recent developments, everybody was just stupid and wrong because there instructors didn't know the bunkai. These individuals and the self protection/reality defense guys say that ring/cage/mat combat sports aren't real fights. This is true, but I will tell you that any technique that you have never and never get the chance to apply to a non-compliant, resisting, adrenaline fuel advesary won't work. A grappler slaps on chokes, locks and throws on a daily basis. A kickboxer and boxer throw full powered blows at a training partner daily. When these martial artists compete in their specific sport, they apply their techniques 100 percent against a trained opponent who knows what they are doing. I say that if I can land a spin back kick on a professional kickboxer and drop him, I can easily land a kick to an attackers groin.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Classic BJJ Match Jacare Vs. Werdum

Here's a classic BJJ match with two legends. Ronaldo Jacare and Fabrico Werdum. Both have been champions in grappling and they are both top fighters in MMA. Check them out.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Techniques of Conviction

Have you ever fought or sparred with someone who caught you with a technique that you knew was coming and you couldn't stop it? Why does it work over and over again? Because the deliverer of this technique believes in it. Becoming good a a few things gives you the ability to do this. In previous posts, I've talked about being a jack of all trades and master of none. I'm not saying that you should learn new things. But, you should always come back to the basics.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Gi or No Gi Grappling

Do you have to train in the gi to learn grappling? There are forms of grappling that don't require a gi (various forms of wrestling). I enjoy training in a Gi (as you know, I play Judo). The gi provides more handles and provides more control over an opponent. The gripping is different and you have more room for error in your moves. No gi has less grips and there is less room for error and less submissions available. In a gi, a lot more chokes, set ups, etc. To randori in a gi is awesome exercises as you develop the grip strength of a gorilla and this is useful in no gi. So, if you ask my opininon train in a gi even if you compete no gi. I personally think it is more difficult in a gi and more basic without.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Defensive Skills

In martial arts, you learn to be defensive and then attack. I teach you to be offensive and your defense will be a by product of your offense. Covering up and block are done only when you can use evasive skills to defend (footwork, slip, bob, weave, etc.).

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

European Shidokan Open

This weekend a few of us will be heading to Geramnay for the European Shidokan Open. This event will feature bare knuckle karate, gloved karate (like k-1 style kickboxing) and some Thai Boxing and MMA fights. I will record some of the action so you can study some good old combat. We will look at what techniques do the most damage and determine what is and is not effective. Here's a web link for the evenet.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Mayweather Vs Canelo

By now you know that Floyd Mayweather defeated Canelo Alvarez this past weekend. Floyd outpointed and won by decision. It was an impressive win for Floyd, but I told folks that Floyd will only pick fights that he know's he will win. There fighters out there that he is stil avoiding. Sure, he argues that it's about money and he's the best, and blah blah blah. But he needs to fight Manny, Bradley, Martinez, Rios, Alexander, etc., before claiming to be the best.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Undefeated Fighters

Whenever you hear of fighters with undefeated records, don't beleive it. Sure on paper they might be but the reality is that everybody at one time losses. A lot of well know fighters in martial arts just lie about their records. In sports like boxing and kickboxing it's hard to lie as records are better kept. But you can be undefeated in these sports if you have your own promoter and they pad your record. A guy like Floyd Mayweather is undefeated but, we know he avoids fights that could result in a loss. Now there's nothing wrong with being an undefeated champion but they should keep their mouth shut about it and not claim to be unbeatable. Nobody is.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Practical Kicking

The martial arts are known for various methods and philosophies on kicking. Do you need to know kicking for self defense? Not really. You could learn boxing and mix in some judo/wrestling and you'd have good self defense skills. In kickboxing back in the day, there was a mandatory kick count of 8 to make sure fighters would kick. If not, it would turn into a kickboxing match. Folks watch tournament karate and taekwondo and see spinning, jumping, double and triple kicks and say, cute but not effective. Now I always say if I can land a spin back kick on a world class fighter, I sure as hell could in a self defense situation. But when you look at most fights, it usually boils down to who as the bette hands. The main reason being, is that it takes a lot of practice to be a good kicker. You have to be in good shape and you have to get lots of practice under pressure. Going back to kickboxing, even though it's called kickboxing it is more like box kicking. Now, I want you to develop and practice your kicks because if you can land a leg technique effectively the dividends pay well. Here's a nice clip of some kick KOs.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Style Insecuriy

Here's a funny one for you. In addition to working as a personal fitness trainer, martial arts instructor, I also do seminars. Anyway, I send emails out all the time to different groups. I recently sent an email out about my boxing seminars and got a weird reply. It was from a kung fu guy stating that his school produces competitors who compete in national level events (sanshou, sanda). He made it a point to say that he was kung fu (as I am a combat sports guy not bogged down by a style). It was obivious that there was some insecurity going on in his reply. I responded by thanking him for taking the time to read it and if he did not want to receive emails in the future to click the unsubcribe tab at the bottom). The interesting thing about traditional stylists is that they tend to be insecure and tend to stay in their on little world. In order to be enlightened, one has to step outside his or her comfort zone and open their minds to other things.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

SOG Andre Ward

I think that Andre Ward is the last American boxer to win a gold medal in the Olympics (2004, so you young fighters to need to get with it). Ward is not as well known as Floyd Mayweather, but he is the best in the business. He wan the Super 8 Super Middleweight tournament that featured the top champions from the major boxing organizations. Here's a highlight of the champ.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Fighting Is Self Taught

Fighting is partly self taught believe it or not. I'm not say that you can just read a book and go fight or you can't learn anything from somebody else. People will show you the basics (how to stand, movement, etc.) but you will teach yourself how to apply them. When I hit the pads or mitts, I prefer to not have punches called for me most of the time. Why? Because I will throw what my body feels like it will land on a live opponent. Ok, that might not make sense if you haven't had a lot of fights or sparring. You have to get experience through sparring and fighting first before the other stuff (bag, pads, etc.) really makes sense to you. After I learned how to stand and what a jab was, I watched fighter train and what I saw was a lot of self motivated athletes get in and train. Coaches would walk around make a suggestion and guys would do it. Nobody told them to run or do exercises. Over time they watched the good fighters and took mental notes and just did it. I don't think I ever had a coach say to me, "Go over there and do 5 rounds of bag work and 100 sit ups". It was as simple as, "I don't know how to do this, so I'll go over there and work it till I get it". You learn through self exploration to fight.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

American Full Contact History Lesson

I've mentioned in some old posts how full contact started in the U.S. Karate tournament fighters wanted an outlet to test their skills under a realistic contact method in the 70s. This gave rise to American Full Contact Karate, then American Kickboxing. I came across clip of Joe Corely Vs. Howard Vanderbeck from 1975. Joe was the first big time promoter of kickboxing and is the creator of the Battle of Atlanta (one of the major karate tournaments in the U.S.).

Monday, September 2, 2013

Where are the fighters?

These days there are a lot of people going to various martial arts clubs. With MMA being popular, guys are going to MMA and BJJ gyms to be Ultimate fighters. In the traditional martial arts schools, I see a lot of adults in martial arts programs. The funny thing is that when tournaments come up, these same young, able bodied adults shy away from COMPETITION. I'm not saying that one has to compete, but the guys who talk the most and take sparring in the gym to competive levels are usually the guys that don't go to tournaments. I've hosted Karate, Judo, Boxing, Kickboxing and MMA events, and I will tell you that in most cases (about 15 events), I always have a few that will compete. I always have a group that talks the talk all they up to about a week before the event. Then they will stay out for a week after the event. Once again, if you are not going to compete then never act like you intend to from the start. It's not just my gym. It happens in every martial arts style. Get out their and fight. Don't be scared!