Thursday, October 31, 2013

You're A Black Belt. So!

What belt are you? Does it really matter? No. Ranking systems do have a purpose. It's like moving through grades in schools. Based on your level in the curriculum of your style, you receive a rank. Karate borrowed it's uniforms and belt colors from Judo. When Funakoshi brought Shotokan from Okinawa to Japan, he was sponsored by Kano (founder of Judo). Combat sports like boxing and kickboxing don't have belts systems. You are a novice in boxing when you start. After 10 bouts, you start competing in the open division where for your 15th fight you might fight an opponent who has 30 fights. So, you go through the learning curve and hone your skills. I'm not saying that belts are stupid and should be done away with. I want people to train for the sake of training and not focus on belts and focus on developing skills. I've taken kids to tournaments who were green and under and they've competed against kids who had black belt ranking (I mentioned in an earlier post that kids can't be black belts for real until 18 years old!). The difference in rank did not show when they fought. It might show in kata (forms) where the higher ranking student has learned more kata for their rank. But fighting comes down to mastering fundamentals and being willing to duke it out. That has nothing to do with rank.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

How Can One Be Undefeated?

Yesterday I was talking to some of the guys at the gym about the perfect time to fight. Everybody wants the perfect scenario. This requires being in perfect shape, having a year to get ready for that one big moment. I look at it like this, once you decide to fight, get out there and go for it. Now here comes the, "What if I lose" thinking. If you are worried about losing, then don't compete. I've said in previous threads that one loses when one doesn't get out there and try. If you get out there and give your all, you are a winner. The only people who see it other than that are your friends and family members who don't fight. Fighters never rag other fighters. So, far all of my fellow competitors, you never REALLY lose.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Kid Black Belts?

Can a 7 or 8 year old be a black belt in a martial art? No! A black belt must be developed mentally and physically. A six year old can't defend himself against a 16 year old. The commerical karate and tae kwon do schools have created belt factories. They make a lot of money off of rank promotions. Kids who wrestle and box will squash these black belts for 2 main reasons. Number one, they don't really learn how to fight. If they fought there would be less students to make money off of. Number two, few kids would really spend the time required to get a black belt (several years).

Monday, October 28, 2013

When Is The Right Time To Fight?

Let's say you've been training for a while and a fight opportunity comes up. You get asked if you want to fight. What do you say? You might say you're not ready yet, you need more time. The next time an opportunity comes up, you do the same thing. After a while, opportunities are far and few between until they stop coming up. What happened? By the time you are ready and got the fight game figured out, you have your confidence and you feel that your conditioning is perfect, nobody wants to fight you. No, what really happened is that promoters and your coach thinks you are afraid and they don't bother asking you anymore. Once you decide to compete, be ready to just do it. What the worst that can happen? Oh, I forget. One could have that little bothersome thing, losing, happen. Why do we compete? Sure, everybody wants to win, but somebody has to lose. And in my mind you only truly lose when you do even try. So, get out there and do it, so 20 years later you won't be saying you coulda, whoulda, shoulda.

Friday, October 25, 2013

My Physical Conditioning At 47

Over the years I've always mixed up the physical conditioning aspect of my fight training. By the time I was 12, I could do push ups on my thumbs and on 2 fingers. I could sit in a split and sqeeze my legs to a standing position. I would go on runs with my big brother (who ran track) so, I got track workouts and hill training. My other brother was into bodybuilding and powerlifting, so I would go to muscle gyms during the 1980s and learn various techniques from the 2 methods. Training in Taekwondo and Boxing gyms, I would learn different methods of fight training to meet the demands of those sports. Cardio was key for both, and lots of functional training with bodyweight was key. I learned about ciruit and interval training. I even did some ballet and step classes and all the machines (universal, nautilis, cybex, stair master, etc.). As I added kickboxing and grappling training, I learned more exercises and impact training methods (bags, padwork, etc.). I would swim in the morning, go to the fight gym in the afternoon, and run in the evening. I've done the kettlebells, olympic lifts, plyo ball, etc. I would train TKD one day and the next box/kickbox. A lot was going on over an almost 25 years of full contact competiton. OK, let's get to the present. What does Rich do nowadays. I still mix it up because I never like set routines. I train Shidokan Karate, Kickboxing (elements of boxing, American kickboxing, and Muay Thai), and Judo (including some training in BJJ and MMA). I do lots of bodyweight exercises, lots of impact training (bag and pads), and lots of stretching. I train 6 days a week and my workout time is 90 minutes to 2 and half hours depending on the day (some days I train twice a day doing mid day karate or kickboxing workout and a judo workout in the evening). I will go through cycles that including weight/kettlebell routines and running routines. I can easily skip rope for 30 min, spar 8 to 10 good rounds (hard ones) kickboxing. I still have good splits. My Chinese split isn't what it used to be (after tearing ligaments in both knees), but it's coming back. I can easily pump out 100 push ups and I can get 30 straight pull ups after a hard workout. I just turned 47 years old this month and I still feel like I'm 27.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

KISS Method

We've all heard of the KISS method (Keep It Simple Stupid). THis applies to most things in life, especially fighting. When you look at the best atheletes in sports, they do a couple of things really well. An elite judo player has one or two throws and one or two specialty ground techniques. A boxer or kickboxer will have one or two techniques that if they land, it's good night. An MMA fighter will have a punch or a submission that is a high percentage go to move. Even though these athletes are well rounded within the realm of their sport, they have things they do best and they focus on making those things work. So, don't try learn a million moves (especially if you haven't mastered your basics). Keep it simple and perfect a few tools that fix everything.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Metamoris BJJ Video

This is an awesome highlight video of some of the best in BJJ. This is from the Metamoris. Incredible video and great music. Watch, learn, and enjoy.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Street Jiu Jitsu Vs. Sport Jiu Jitsu

I came across a discussion of street vs. sport BJJ, with Ryon and Rener Gracie. Take a little time to listen as they discuss the misconception people have about sport vs. reality. This can be applied to other martial arts in that what would be the wrong thing to do in sport may be the right thing to do in reality. Look at this example: You are boxing and get hit with a hard shot that hurts. You clinch and hold your opponent and the ref, says "Break". By breaking the fighters, the chances of getting knocked out increases. In a street fight, if you get hit and hurt, you will hold to protect yourself so that you don't get hit again.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

World Judo Championships Highlights

Here's a cool clip from the Judo World Championships. Some awesome throws. Watch and learn.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Glory Kickboxing

I hope you had a chance to watch Glory Kickboxing this past weekend on Spike TV. Great action and great fights. It is the organizations hope to get more American viewers. The main challenge is getting quality American fighters. There is talent here in the states, but we are behind Europe (especially as far as heavweights are concerned). Glory has put on tournaments to find American talent, so we will keep our fingers crossed as they develop. In the 70s, 80s, and 90s, we had kickboxing stars in the States. The sport went down in popularity in the 90s and MMA became popular by the 2000s. K-1 kickboxing ruled internationally for the 90s and well into the 2000s. Now Glory is putting a lot money into growing the sport again. The format is face paced and action packed. The style is blend of kickboxing and muay thai, so you see good boxing, low kicks, knees and some axe kicks and back kicks, etc. Hopefully it will catch on.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Judo Poetry In Motion

I came across the highlight of the 2011 USA Judo Nationa Championships. There throws in this clip are incredible and the choice of music makes the sport of judo look like a dance. This video will show that technique and skill of high level judo. Notice the movement and how the throws come off of off balancing an opponent.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Knife Attack

If attacked with a knife, run. I don't care how much knife defense you do in whatever kind of weapons defense training you do. If you get attacked with a weapon (knife, stick, chain, etc.), you will probably get hit with it. Here's a clip of a security guard in Thailand being attacked with a knife. The attacker is one tough SOB as you will see.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Important Styles Of Full Contact Fighting

If you were to ask me which styles are essential to all around full contact fighting this would be my list. Boxing - Best punching techniques, reaction, timing conditioning Judo - Best throwing techniques (especially with clothing), good position control, quick submissions Wrestling - Specilizes in take downs (especially taking away one's base) and position control, BJJ - Specializing in ground submission (unique in it's approach to fighting from one's back) Kickboxing - The rhythm of boxing combined with the most powerful kicks of traditional martial arts (round, front, side, spin back, spin hook). The only hand traditional technique modified for this discipline is the spinnng back kick. Muay Thai - Shin kicks to leg, body and head; clinching specialty; knee and elbow strikes There are other disciplines: Russian Sambo, Sanda (Chinese kickboxing), etc., and most of these styles are based on the list given above (having some influence from this major styles). So, pick a 2 or 3 from my list between striking and grappling arts to have a well rounded fighting style.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Combat Sports Help Self Defense Skills

I am in an ongoing debate with some traditonal martial artists who don't think that combat sports are the best method of training for self defense. They argure that there are rules, and referees, gloves, etc. They practice techniques that are illegal in competition (eye gouging, fish hooking, groin kicks, etc.). I always ask how many time they done these deadly techniques against a non-compliant, fully resiting, angry opponent. Sure some of them will talk about one or two altercations they had. Then they will tell me how law enforcement and military personnel are better prepared than the combat athlete. Well, the Army and Marines use training methods based on MMA. All cadets at the Naval Academy learn to box. Korean and Japanese cops have to train Judo. Combat sports use competition as a training tool. Through competiton you get to fight over and over again and live to tell about it. Rules are in place so that participants can go all out without dying. This is the only way to experience the closeness of reality. Spar with a decent amateur boxer, grapple with a grappler, or spar full contact with a bare knuckle karate fighter. If you've never done any of these things you are in for a rude awakening. If you can beat them with rules, how are you going to without.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Klitschko vs Povetkin

If you saw the Heavyweight title fight between Klitschko and Povetkin, this past weekend, you saw a boring fight. Povetkin tried to make a boxing match out of it, but Klitschko prevented it by laying on his opponent most of the match. At times, Klitscho used his reach and set up some good shots, even knocking down his opponent with a slick hook. But, being unable to stop Povetkin by KO, he held and grappled his way to victory. I felt the ref did a horrible job, letting Klitschko break some many rules without taking a point. I guess if you're the champ, you can get away with stuff. One of the Klitschko brothers already retired. Can't wait till this one does too so we can get more excitement in the Heavyweight division.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Fight For Money Or Love Of The Sport?

Here's a interview with Bernard Hopkins and Chad Dawson discussing a past pull out of Kelly Pavlik from a boxing bout. They discuss the business side of boxing. This applies to any combat sport that pays fighters to fight. Should fighters fight for the money or because they love to fight. Floyd Mayweather says he fights for the money. We still see Roy Jones Jr. fighting and he does it because he enjoys the sport. He doesn't need the money. Personally, I enjoyed fighting because I like to fight. I never fought for money. I made some decent pay days for some of my fights. I never fought for the kind of money Mayweather fought for. I've fought for as low as $200 to $15,000. Money was never the motivator. The challenge of competition was.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Keep It Simple Stupid

Martial Arts folks tend to be over analytical sometimes. People are always arguing what is best and what will and won't work in a given situation. The KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) method should be applied to martial arts. Don't try to re-invent the wheel. There is nothing can be created, because man has been fighting hand to hand since his beginnings. You can punch, kick, knee, elbow, head butt, grappling, gouge, and throw. That's about it.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

With so many martial arts available, students have the ability to learn a lot. To improve your hands you can box. To learn ground fighting you can do various grappling arts. There is still a lot of tunnel vision in the martial arts. Some stylists still think their art is better than somebody elses. To learn how to fight, you have to look at the world through the window of other houses. You have to go and try other styles and keep an open mind. The difficult thing for people to do is to remain humble. I am champion in kickboxing and Shidokan. I was an elite level Taekwondo player. Despite these accomplishments, I was always humbled when I boxed with Olympic level boxers or really good professionals. When I train Judo, I get thrown by older and younger guys. I am competitve and think highly of myself at what I am most proficient in, but I at the same time I don't know everything, so I am a student always seeking more knowlegdge. This goes for what I don't know and what I already know.