Sunday, August 30, 2009
I am often asked about techniques from the Head to Head position. I always begin by explaining that there are basically three categories of Head to Head:
1. H2H Nuetral - where there is distance between ourselves and our opponent, and neither has the advantage
2. H2H Bottom - where we are underneath and our opponent on top
3. H2H Top - where we are on top (sprawling) and our opponent is underneath
The first is pretty much an artificial position in that it mostly occurs only at the beginning of a match-fight - it hardly ever occurs in real fights and doesn't occur much even in match fights other than at the beginning of the match.
The second occurs mostly when we have escaped from our opponent's side control and are on our knees but he is still in dominant position on top. here we have to focus on either sit-outs, fading back to guard or various leg shooting strategies.
The third occurs when our opponent has successfully escaped to his knees but we have maintained top position or when our opponent has taken a shot at our legs and we have successfully sprawled.
For a couple of simple and fast turnovers that will put us in a more dominant position and ready to attack - JUST CLICK HERE.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
I've just arrived home from New Zealand ... it was so good to see my friends there. The mats are all doing very well - and the trip was topped off by my class last night at Geoff Grants place in Wellington, where we had sixty keen bodies on the mat till 11pm! See the few attached pics. I look forward to getting back and seeing everyone again, mid november. With only three hours sleep under my belt, as I had to get up at 3:30am this morning to make the early flight back home ... I might take the rest of the day off and take it easy.
Tomorrow I am having Ray Floro come down from Sydeny to run a knife session at my school, so I need to be bright eyed and bushy tailed.
More posts when I am more awake ,
Monday, August 24, 2009
I arrived in New Zealand on friday night and after a nice afternoon snack and great chat with good friend Geoff Aitken, I took a class at his expansive academy in Christchurch. it went really well ... afterward, Geoff, Leonie and I headed out to our usual haunt at Kostas's and had a nice dinner. Eight hours later I was on a plane to Auckland - where I was picked up at the airport by Takapuna legends Warren and Mark. The seminar, hosted by Glenn Tarrant and Mike Fooks, was a load of fun. We did stand-up MMA work for the first 3 hours, had a 20 minute break for lunch and then hit the mat again for a few hours of BJJ. I loved it - and I am pretty sure that everyone else did to .. we did a very technical class - my favourite style of teaching! I had the pleasure of awarding two new blue belts, but here's a pic of me with Inger Craven - mother of two young children, a great blue belt, and one of my favourites (if that is allowed) as she always has a smile on her face. Well done Inger!!
After a good nights rest I headed out first thing on sunday morning to teach for Karl Norton and Steve Cockell. As usual, Mike, Andrew and Travis came along as well to continue with their two day, four session training extravaganza! The session at Karl's was great also, with everyone walking away with loads to work on between now and my next visit n November! After good byes were made, it was off on the two hour drive to Hamilton, where I now sit in a local Starbucks. Yesterday afternoon I ran the session for Phil Beale at his new full-time Dojo. A beautiful place - a great mat (soft - cool!) and a fantastic group. We covered a variety of topics and the three hours slid by more quickly than I would like. Thanks Phil - congratulations on providing your students with such a first-class facility!
Tonight I am off to teach for Steve Wallace at Combined Martial Arts Academy. Steve is a good friend of Phil's - and the fact that they have schools located quite close to each other, they are good friends and more than happy to attend each others seminars - in true and authentic (old school) martial arts spirit! So more fun tonight - before leaving for the four hour drive down to Napier to stay with my friend Shayne Cox tomorrow night. Then it's on to the legendary Geoff Grant's school in Wellington on Wednesday. Am I ever glad I didn't listen to my mum and get a REAL job.
Stay well ...
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Much of our serious learning takes place when we gorge ourselves on information in deep learning environments or situations. When we really sink our teeth into a subject, when we ‘live’ the experience rather than just brushing up against it, we take ownership of new skills.
This is one thing that is nice about overseas training; without the distractions of everyday life, answering the phone, making a living, etc – we can fully immerse ourselves in the learning experience. Whether it’s surfing, learning a new language or training in BJJ, by immersing ourselves mentally, physically and emotionally in the experience we open ourselves up to the possibility of real and dramatic gains.
To a degree the same sort of thing can be experienced during a training seminar situation. Certainly when I conduct/deliver seminars I try to pick one or two topics and fully immerse the class in that subject matter. In a normal class situation this is more difficult to do, and usually we only have time for one or two techniques and then it’s time to wrestle or spar. During a two or three hour seminar though, I always try to pick a topic – and systematically develop the idea from a wide variety of angles and in as much depth as is practical. Ideally, everyone walks away with a deeper understanding of the subject matter; and even more ideally, with the type of understanding that may well spill over into other areas – giving the participant more bang for their learning buck.
Immersive learning is natural for us; we make big gains quickly when we drop ourselves deeply into a subject. Learning a new language at school is one thing; living for a month or two in a foreign country, and even better, in a part of that country where no-one speaks your language, you tend to pick up the local lingo pretty quickly. When we need to, when we have focus and desire, we learn effortlessly and quickly. Opening ourselves up to the concept of deep immersion is something that some may find difficult at first; but like most new endeavours, the first time is usually the most difficult.
Just know, that as far as I see it, anyone, anywhere that has excelled at any skill, has at one time or another, immersed themselves deeply in their given subject matter. Just brushing up against something is very much better than zero-exposure but don’t expect extraordinary results.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
In many ways, we (as a species) are soft and seemingly ill-designed for the natural world (red in tooth and claw). We lack claws, sharp teeth, the speed of reflex that animals have … yet, we have fought our way to the top of the pile and become the dominant species on our planet. There are several reasons for this; but the one I want to talk about in this blog is the ability we have of being able to read patterns and bring order out of the chaos that surrounds us.
Each and every one of us has the amazing ability to interpret data that we gather from our external world and bring it together in a way or form that has meaning to us. We have become so good at this, that we can glean scant information from the external world, fill gaps in the data and extrapolate from it, allowing us to make predictions about the future – something animals cannot do.
Our brains actually cope with the external world by creating shortcuts. We have to create these shortcuts for several reasons: firstly, there is often not enough time to follow a process at each and every one of it’s points from beginning to conclusion, we need to leap ahead in order to keep up with what’s going on. Another reason is that there simply may be pieces of the puzzle that are missing, so we need to skip ahead in a desperate attempt to find the next bit we need to make sense of what is unfolding. We are both very good and very bad at this. Or more accurately, we are so used to doing it, that it feels natural and often we don’t even realize we are doing it. We are masters of filling in the missing bits … and masters of skipping ahead.
Imagine that our traffic lights (traffic signals) were designed with say, five lights instead of the usual three. In theory, it would make it slightly easier for novice drivers, giving them more time to work out that the traffic is going to come to a stop. In reality though, we don’t need much of a pattern to make a pattern – and we can all work out, in an instant, that yellow means that the traffic is about to come to a stop. This is something that we take for granted, but it is in fact, one of skills that really separates us from the rest of the natural world. We learn from our past, (by remembering) and we combine those lessons with what is unfolding in our present to make out patterns that allow us to make strong predictions about our immediate future.
Making meaningful sense out of a seemingly chaotic event is central to the concept of intelligent fighting. As our opponent subtly shifts his weight one way or the other, we know he is about to either mount or switch to a headlock – and we begin to respond accordingly. The more time we spend in a state of action, the more quickly we will develop out abilities to draw patterns out of seeming chaos. Sometimes, slow-motion training/rolling can help us with this, particularly in the formative stages of our development. This way we can pay more attention to the how things unfold, which moves precede others, which sets of circumstances provide fertile ground for which types of attacks, etc.
Humans are the best trackers on the planet; not because we have a better sense of smell or better eyesight than animals do – we do not – we are the best trackers because we can make sense of very little data, we can make predictions based on what we have seen before, we can make intelligent guesses and correct as we go. We are – the PUZZLE MASTERS.
Monday, August 17, 2009
I think this is my 400th post ... times flies; it seems like only yesterday that Geoff grant in New Zealand suggested that I started blogging. "What's blogging?' I asked ... 'you need to do it!' he replied, before setting up my blogger account that very day. I must say I have enjoyed the process of blogging - it is a way for me to throw my thoughts out there, pretty much unfiltred and un-spell-checked ... it's nice tom be able to present a polished class or technique to a class but it's also nice to be able to just throw it out there 'hot off the press' so to speak. So thanks Geoff - for all your wonderful - AND VERY MUCH APPRECIATED HELP - and for dragging me into the world of the blog.
Note the pic: Here with Geoff in Wellington - at the Mt Victoria Dojo - one of the very best schools in NZ. Geoff's mat is always filled to over-flowing - testament to his personable teaching style and great haircut! I am heading out to New Zealand at the end of this week to visit all of my great friends there - I am really looking forward to it - and have some great training ideas in store. See you all soon,
Friday, August 14, 2009
It's been a big week ... but a great one.
I have just arrived back from Canberra (Australia's Capital City) after three days of teaching military and federal police defensive tactics trainers. The training took place at both ADFA (Australian Defence Force Academy) and RMC (Royal Military College) ... I arrived home in one piece, after working three long days with some of Australia's finest with only one rip in my shirt ... all in all, a good outcome.
This morning, just after I had finished with my private classes - a surprise arrived on my doorstep. 248 kilo's worth of Kettlebells from my friends at AUSTRALIAN KETTLEBELLS. Melissa and I screwed together the Kettlebell stand that they had also supplied and we stacked them up in my home dojo. And so the saga begins ...
My very best thanks to AUSTRALIAN KETTLEBELLS!!
Melissa loves the pink ones ...
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
We need our heroes – we always have! Over the years, I have certainly had my share of own martial arts heroes – people like Rigan Machado, Richard Norton, Benny Urquidez, John Smith, Roy Jones Junior, Miyamoto Musashi and others. Such people have mastered skill sets that I myself aspired to master … but it’s also important to remember that our heroes are only human after all, just like the rest of us, and it’s a seeming impossibility to find a role model that excels in every aspect of life. It’s also important to remember that our martial arts aspirations represent only one aspect of our lives. There are many faces of success and happiness – and many areas in each of our lives that we should want to do well in.
It’s very much more useful to construct a ‘composite hero’ in our mind’s eye … an imaginary figure that embodies all of the traits that we admire and try to emulate. After all, even the great Achilles, had his short-comings … he was just in it just for the glory; nothing else mattered and in the end , that weakness brought him down. Quite often our heroes are people who are exceedingly good at one specific thing – but when we take a closer look at the whole package – they are left wanting. As indeed we all are!
Quite obviously, different people excel at different aspects of their lives. It’s just like it is on the mat; some people are good at some things and others are good at other things. In life I know some people who are great at financial stuff, but bad at health and fitness – others are great at martial arts but not so good with their finances, others great at relationships but don’t know how to find joy in their own company … and so on. In our quest to ‘tick all the boxes’, and have success and happiness in all aspects of our lives, it can be useful to look to our ‘composite hero’ for focus and direction.
Our history is steeped in the mythology of our heroes (and heroins). Do a google search on the topic of the modern monomyth – THE HERO’S JOURNEY – it makes for interesting reading.
When hero’s fall, and they often do, we need to remind ourselves that we are, all of us, only human. Hero’s, in the more traditional sense of the word, usually live extraordinary lives. The fact that the way they live their lives is ‘other’ than ordinary, often leaves them open to criticism – but keep in mind, without such figures to hold in our hearts, how much less beautiful would each of our own lives be. We need our hero’s … and they need us.
Friday, August 07, 2009
Last night we an another Bulletman (Adrenal Stress Training) course at my school. Fourteen brave and enthusiastic men fronted up for the three hour session. Our three Bulletmen, Cam Rowe, Alex Ucize and John Brown did a fantastic job - in both the woofing and the Bulletman fights. None of the 14 attendees knew quite what to expect - and based on their comments during the debriefing session that followed, I think most were very surprised at the both the format and the results.
My wife Melissa played a superb 'guardian angel' and her constant 'whispering' kept everyone on track through the series of scenarios that were presented. Although the Bulletman battles are a big and very important part of the night, ultimately it was the concept of APPROPRIATE RESPONSE that were were trying to drive home. Having everyone deal with the verbal 'woofs' and, sometimes ridiculous scenarios that the woofers presented was challenging and very interesting. Most of the attendees inquired as to when we will be running another course. Our next one though, probably later this year, will be offered and designed for women only. I can't wait! Another great night ... spent with great company ... a real blast.
Thursday, August 06, 2009
Just did my Kettlebell workout.
The best thing I like about my Kettlebell workout is the fact that if I only have 20 minutes to spare - I can still get a great overall strength and conditioning workout without having to pack my bag and head off anywhere. You can keep a kettlebell in the corner of your room - and it will just sit there and stare at you until you pick it up and start swinging it. Paint some eyes on - give it a name - call it Wilson ... the kettlebell is a great workout partner who will never say 'no'.
My workout is pretty simple (some of these kettlebell athletes do amazing things). I do two sets of ten of each of the following exercises:
- The Power Clean
- Single Arm Row
- Floor Press
- Front Squat
- Single Arm Jerk
- Kettlebell swing
- Pullover (laying on Swiss ball)
it's probably pretty lame workout by a serious Kettlebeller's standard but it gets my heart-rate up and I finish with a nice sheen of sweat and feeling in need of some protein. A quick and efficient work-out. If you want to know more about the many advantages of Kettlebell training there are stacks of good sites on the net. For those residing in Australia or New Zealand, check out: Australian Kettlebells
Workout done - time for a snack - then off to pick up my boy Felix from school, then onward to the evening classes. Looking forward to them!
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
I was recently engaged by Chuck Norris to design the third degree black belt curriculum for his UFAF organization. The work consisted of creating a technical manual and a series of IPOD movie files to accompany it. Basically it was constructed as an MMA syallabus and is now know as the ISDT curriculum. A couple fo fridays ago, I spent the day delivering the new material to several hundred UFAF Black Belts in vegas - the evening after, there was a huge banquet dinner where a few people received acknowledgment for their contribution to the UFAf case - Dave Meyer and I included. A couple of other good friends of mine, Australia's Richard Norton and the UK's geoff Thompson have also made significant contributions to Chuck's organization - a pity they couldn't be there this year also! The pic showcases Chuck, myself, dressed nicely you will notice, Dave, Aaron Norris and Ken Gallagher. I may not have my best jeans on - but I am at least wearing a tie ... that has to count for something!
Sunday, August 02, 2009
The technical development of MMA, as a seamless tapestry of stand-up, takedowns and groundwork, is still in it’s embryonic infancy. There is much work to be done and I predict that the next decade will see dramatic and profound improvements in both MMA technique and MMA coaching methodologies.
The most common approach by far is what I call the 3-coach-approach. That is the various aspects of stand-up, takedowns and groundwork are treated as totally separate and distinct phases of the fight dynamic. The simplest MMA training model consists of Muay Thai on Mondays and Wednesdays, BJJ on Tuesdays and Thursdays and Wrestling Clinchwork and takedowns on Fridays – or something similar. This cross-training approach is great but it leaves much to be desired in terms of ‘connecting’ these things up. In fact, each of these approaches needs to be slightly modified from their original forms when the goal is to seamlessly connect them together.
The MMA recipe of 2020 will certainly be a very different one than what most people are using today. I may as well continue with the cooking analogy – so here goes …
Imagine two countries, say China and Greece – suddenly were connected up via a giant bridge … now the Chinese have certainly worked out how to cook rice – and the Greeks, have certainly perfected the art of cooking lamb – so it seems kind of logical that the first thing that aspiring new chefs would work out, once the two cultures became one, would be to see if they could successfully combine those two (already perfected) cooking styles. Let’s transplant this thinking over to MMA …
The most common kick thrown on planet earth today was without doubt – the Round Kick. The most common takedowns executed on our spinning globe today were probably the double and single legs … so if we are to connect up the two world of takedowns and kicking (for example) it makes sense to look at how these two things might go together. The interesting questions to ask are …
-How the rear leg (basic) round kick can set up a single and double leg?
- How the lead leg round kick might set up the single and double leg?
- Are there any ways in which the kicks need to be slightly modified to set up a better double or single leg?
- Do the delivery angles of the round kicks need to change slightly to better set up the double and single legs?
- What distancing issues are there in combining round kicks with the takedowns?
All these questions are actually pretty easy to answer, once the questions are posed and some time is spent in drilling on the mat. The reason why the simple re-combination of these common elements hasn’t hit the mainstream is because most of the people who have spent much of their training lives working the round kicks havn’t spent enough time working technical single and double leg takedowns – and visa versa. So good kickers are often doing bad takedowns, and good wrestlers are often doing poor kicks. The lamb chefs don’t understand rice and the rice chefs have never seen a lamb. But the bridge has been built and the two worlds are now connected – it only takes the right chefs, with the right amount of experience in both cultures to start creating new delights that will inevitably be regarded as simply mainstream.
Who can say that martial arts training is boring … what a time we live in!!!