Tuesday, June 30, 2015

It's Harder Than It Looks

A lot of times viewers look at fights and say, "I could be that guy". Or they will criticize fighters if the get hurt, tired or lose. Now it's OK to have an opinion and feel good about yourself, but if you don't have any fights, then be quiet. Unless you are feeling what the fighter is at the moment, then you can't have an opinion. There's an old saying, "Everybody has a plan until they get hit". A good shot will change one's strategy. So, remember if it was easy, those criticizing would have already done it.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Why Contact Is Necessary

This past weekend I saw some live action at Center Stage. The NFC fights (MMA and Kickboxing) were held. I coached a couple of fighters that night and there were a lot of good fights. Yesterday on TV, I watched the HBO boxing and enjoyed some of the sweet science. The thing about contact fighting sports is that they remind us that theory goes out of the window when you get hit. Watching combat athletes shows you what good conditioning (or lack of) and good technique (or lack of) can and cannot do. A lot of times matches are won on heart. In martial arts theory, they don't teach you that some opponent's are just outright tough and can take your best shot. Raw combat shows you that it's not rocket science, it's more about the effort and intent of a fighter's technique.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

In The Office (Boxing Years From The 90s)

Boxing is a great art and sport for developing not only good hand techniques, but for getting in great shape. Try a few rounds with a decent boxer and you feel fatigue like you've never experienced. I learned so much from Boxing because I had the opportunity to train with really good fighters. I trained with all of the top local middleweights in Atlanta during the 90s including Olympians and top contenders. A few of the guys I sparred with would go on to win world titles (not because of me of course). Here's is a sample of my daily training from Doraville Boxing Club back in the 90s. I would spar with not only boxers, but all of the kickboxers would come to the gym to spar. There were not a lot of fight gyms like today. Fighters visited each others gym more and we got a lot of good work. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17FMUgHvzZg

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Shidokan Open World Championships on TV

The cool thing in European countries is their coverage of martial arts on TV. In the states you will see Boxing, MMA and Kickboxing. In Europe, you will see traditional martial arts in addition to the other sports. Anyway, here is some of the action from the World Championships held in Budapest this year. Check this out. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwM-JmzC3xM

Friday, June 19, 2015

Does Competiton Weaken Art or Improve It?

I was reading somewhere online that competition/sports application of martial arts waters them down. There is a lot of critics of martial sports like tournament karate, taekwondo, and judo that say that the sports version has weakened the effectiveness of the art. Olympics competition is bad for some of the these arts. I say they are wrong. Competition is how martial arts are popularized. It provides an outlet for those who compete. The critics are ususally those who have never competed on a high level in anything. They will say that the rules won't allow them to do their techniques. Rules in combat sport allow competitors to apply stragies 100% against a non-compliant opponent. They are wearing uniforms, playing on a matted surface, they might bow and shake hands at the start of a match. So, if are not complaints about these things, then why is there problems with some of the rules (taekwondo has not face punching, boxing no kicks, judo no leg grabs, bjj no hitting, etc.). Yes, they are sports and not street fights. But get kicked by Steven Lopez (TKD Olympian), get thrown by Rhonda Rousey (UFC Champion and Judo Oympian), escape the choke of Roger Gracie (BJJ World Champ), and tell me these sports athletes are not dangerous to engage on or off the mat. All of these arts were made popular through competiton. They are practiced worldwide because of sport. Not because they were kept away from the public because of they were to lethal to teach. The self defense experts all use training modalities that come from combat sports (boxing, jiu jitsu, etc.). Then they create simulated scenarios for practice. Competiton provides a challenge of body and mind that one can transfer to their art. Even with the limitation of rules, atheletes are aware of the techniques that can be used in reality. All they have to do is start breaking the rules. Now, the self defense experts and traditionalists are going to say that bad habits are ingrained from rules. But that's because the don't have any experience in competiton.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Martial Arts B.S.

I was talking to a guy the other day and he told me about one of his instructors who created his own style and had the ability to breaking boards with the vibrating palm technique. He also say that no one could hit this guy as his defense was impenetrable. Now, if someone had the ability to touch something and do damage, don't you think that every pro fighter in the world would be paying top dollar to learn from this guy. Would the Military and all government agencies be hiring these instructors? Now for the disciples of these guys to say that they would keep it secret and not share, for the simple fact that they showed you, it's not secret. If one had that type of ability, they would keep it secret (like a superhero). Or if some instructor had that ability they would be making tons of money training boxers. I'm sure Floyd Mayweather could afford him. In looking at the Kata Bunkai experts, showing all of these hidden meanings and techniques that you can't practice on people without injury. A lot of the bunkai (explanation) we see today were mysteriously found as MMA became popular. There are grappling applications of the Kata and what not. There are some many theories as to what the originators intended when the created them. It's OK to theorize what this and that means, but it doesn't matter if you don't spar or fight. Most of the techniques I personally use when I fight, aren't in any of the katas anyway (feints, footwork, timing, spin back kick, etc.). Techniques that are valid in Kata are open hand strikes (knife hand, spear hand thrusts, knee stomps). There are straight forward and obvious. But using the double knifehand block as a throw, not likely. A lot of what we do in martial arts is part of the culture (counting in Japanese or Korean, wear uniforms, lining up by rank, bowing, etc.). Yes, we practice and appreciate these cultural traditions, but some of us take it to the extreme. Having been a competitor for most of my life, it's funny to me (especially in the Traditional Korean styles), when instructors are referred to as Master and Grandmaster. They have high ranks and lots of stripes on their belt, but their skills can't be verified. In styles that emphasize competition (judo, BJJ, full contact karate, etc.), rank is not as big a deal because most of the instructors have gotten in the ring, cage or mat. So, they've earned respect.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Muay Thai, Kickboxing, Full Contact/American Kickboxing

There are many styles of kickboxing out there. There's Muay Thai, the science of 8 limbs, where fighters used punches, kicks, elbows and knees. There is American or Full Contact Rules kickboxing, which evolved out of tournament karate. All kicks are above the waist, shin and foot pads are worn, no holding and foot sweeps allowed. There is international rules kick boxing. For a long time there was low kick rules. It was the full contact rules with low kicks, no clinch techniques like Muay Thai. Which is harder? All of them, because you can be good in one but not the others. Back in the 80s and 90s, many kickboxers fought in more than one style of kickboxing, so they could stay busy. K-1/Glory rules are real popular now. This format is a cross between the styles of kickboxing where you can see techniques from Muay Thai, Karate, Kickboxing, etc. There is minimal clinching, knees but no elbows. It is faced pace and has a high knockout ratio making it exciting for fight fans.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Relaxed Power

Like everybody else in martial arts, when I started, I thought you were supposed to try and hit things as hard as you can. What I mean is, that you have to exert external force (use your musccles). Over the years, I've found that I can generate more efficient power throw being relaxed. When you are taught to execute a strike, you are told to stay relaxed and at the moment of impact, tighten and exhale, and then relax. You try to hit hard and feel that you need to lift a little heavier and maybe get your muscles bigger and what not. Even experience fighters get tight while trying to deliver a hard blow. This tightness is seen through body language and even though they may be able to hit hard, they are not always maximizing their power. I am going to share two clips from my evolution in relaxed power. Here's me in my 20s. I used a lot of muscle and there is explosiveness in moment but a lot of tension. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LFd2nwrHbA Here's me in my 30s. You will that I am relaxed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZiKwilIjbCw So, relax and develop your technique. Endless repitition is the key to perfection. No short cuts.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Looking Mean & Being Tough

In a lot of the fights I watch today, I see guys trying to look tough and intimidate their opponents. Sometimes before a cage fight, you will see the guys refuse to touch gloves before the round 1 begins. Sometimes you will see guys tough gloves at the beginning of a round and try to sucker punch their opponent. I can honestly say that I've never been angry before, during or after a fight. I've seen guys refuse to shake hands after a fight. Sure, I've had guys try their elementary mind games, but they've never phased me. Be focused on the task of winning. There are no emotions. There is only clarity of mind and executing your plan to attain your goal. Remember it's not personal and don't take it as such.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Pad Training

There are many ways to hit the pads. Many times coaches will call out combinations or have fighters work set combinations. Here is a round of free style pad work. I am working with fighter Jaral Bowman and I will catch and attack instead of calling out combinations. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbsTl0Smeb8