Archive for the External Arts Category

10 Questions with Brandon Vaughn

Posted in 10 Questions, Bullying, External Arts, Jiujitsu, Karate with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2015 by Combative Corner

Brandon Vaughn CC

The CombativeCorner is proud to bring you this special 10-Question Interview to you today.  Brandon Vaughn is not only a masterful teacher and martial artist, but he’s also Coach Joyce’s close friend and training partner, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu training center owner, author, and contributing CombativeCorner writer since the very beginning.  For those of you that would like to get to know him even better, please read this interview that we did with him, check out his bio here, or train with him in person at KIelkin.com. Without further ado, I give you the man… the Legend… Brandon Vaughn. {wild applause}

How did you get involved in Karate?

Shortly after high school I took informal lessons at a traditional Isshinryu club with a friend for a few months. Later, after College when I moved to Winston Salem, my wife and I decided to look into Martial Arts Schools. She knew how much I wanted to start training again and she thought it would be something we could do together. After looking around at nearby Martial Arts schools my wife brought home some information for local Karate & Kung Fu centers. I didn’t want to train at another Taekwondo school as I still felt a strong connection with my old Taekwondo Instructor and dojang. I was ready for something different. I dropped by to check out one of the schools my wife looked up, Karate International, and talked with one of the Black Belt Instructors. I liked what she had to say and that they incorporated weapons training in advanced classes, so I enrolled us that day. My wife wasn’t too happy that I made the decision without her, but we started classes that week and she loved it. Twelve years later, not only are we still training, we also own our own dojo.

What was it about the discipline, history and art of Karate that appealed to you?

There was nothing about Karate in of itself that attracted me to it. As someone that has struggled with ADHD and Anger Management most of their life, I think I’m drawn to the traditional martial arts on a subconscious level. The structure and discipline that accompanies traditional martial arts training calms and focuses me in a way that I can’t really explain. It’s almost as if I’m not the same person when I’m not training regularly. There’s a feeling of disharmony. I feel less stable, less in control, I don’t like that feeling. It doesn’t matter what style I’m training in, as long as I’m able to practice martial arts I’m happy.

What, in your opinion, is the hardest part in running a successful martial arts business?

All the hours that you have to put into the school off the mat. People don’t realize just how much time and effort goes into running a martial arts school full-time. Not only do you perform all the roles associated with traditional businesses, (Owner, Customer Service Rep., Office Manager, receptionists, etc.) you also have to be a teacher, a mentor, a leader and on occasion a counselor. That’s enough to stress out even the most ardent individual, but add to that the fact that you’re basically your own product and every time you step on the mat or volunteer to teach a P.E. class or speak at a school assembly, you’re demonstrating, not only the effectiveness of the style you teach, but your ability to teach, motivate and inspire others effectively. It’s no surprise that instructor burnout is so prevalent in the martial arts industry.

Anti-Bullying is a subject very close to your heart. Can you tell us a little about that?

As someone who was bullied when they were younger, I know all too well the effects that bullying can have on a child growing up. It’s not just the physical abuse (e.g. pushing, shoving or hitting) but also the verbal abuse (e.g. teasing, name calling or intimidation) that victims of bullying, some as young as 3 years old, endure on a weekly or even daily basis. In school I was picked on for everything, from the way I talked to the complexion of my skin and it was that constant harassment that was the driving factor behind me begging my mom to sign me up for martial arts when I was thirteen. I was tired of being bullied, tired of feeling helpless.

What I gained from my three years of training at Lee Brothers Tae Kwon Do was so much more than the ability to defend myself. I found a level of confidence and self-esteem that I didn’t have before. I also found something that I excelled at, which for me was equally important. As a martial arts instructor I’ve spent the last ten years doing my best to give those same benefits to every student I teach.

The effects of bullying can be both dramatic and everlasting. Depression, anxiety and substance abuse are just some of the issues that can result from repeated bullying that can persist into adulthood. We need to get away from this outdated idea that bullying is an inevitable part of growing up. Instead, we should be giving children the tools they need to effectively deal with bullying, explaining to them why it’s wrong in the first place and teaching parents and teachers how to identify instances of bullying when they occur.

Over the last few years, you’ve become more involved in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu… Why the change from what you’ve been doing?

Nowadays, the martial arts are practiced more as a hobby or sport than a means of survival. Most modern day practitioners only train in a single style and while this may allow them to become very proficient in their chosen art, it often times makes them close-minded when it comes to seeing the benefits that other martial arts may have to offer. They develop a sense of superiority regarding the techniques that that have spent countless hours perfecting, forgetting a simple but vital truth-  That no one style is going to work in every single situation.  As the popular saying goes, “There are no superior martial arts, only superior martial artists.”

I believe that as a martial artist, in order to truly be able to defend yourself in any given situation, you have to train in more than one style. This was also something that warriors of the past knew with absolute certainty. Yes, they may have specialized in a particular style of fighting or mastered the use of a specific weapon but they also practiced other arts. When the sole purpose of your training is to protect yourself, your loved ones or your land, there’s no room for foolish notions or petty squabbling about which style is best. It doesn’t matter how good you are on your feet, if your opponent manages to take the fight to the ground all those strikes, kicks and punches that you’ve spent months or even years perfecting go right out the window. Thanks to a friend of mine who wrestled in high school and had no qualms about taking me to the ground when we used to spar, I learned that lesson first hand. It became abundantly clear that my self-defense skills were lacking in a key area and I was determined to remedy that.

Unfortunately, there weren’t any Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu schools were I lived at the time so I’d have to wait to several years before I could officially begin my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training.

What has been the biggest obstacle(s) for you in the recent years?

One of the biggest obstacles has been keeping up with my own martial training, specifically my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training. When you run a martial arts school full-time and teach five days a week, the time you have available for regular training drops dramatically. With Karate and other stand-up arts you can easily practice as long as you have a bag to work out on or a clear space to practice kata. However, with Brazilian jiu-jitsu, nearly every technique needs to be practiced with a partner to be truly understood, so having one or more training partners that are readily available is an absolute necessity.

Add an injury to an already challenging lifestyle and keeping up with my personal training has become even more difficult. A severe fracture to my fifth metacarpal (aka boxer’s fracture) has pushed me to the limit, physically, mentally and emotionally. Teaching, training, running a business, and life in general, have been more than challenging while dealing with a serious injury.

Besides Karate and Jiu-Jitsu, what other 2 martial arts do you admire most and why?

That’s a tough one, believe it or not I keep a mental list of all the martial arts that I’d like to train. I’m not sure I can pick just two, but Wushu or Kung Fu as it’s more commonly known as, and Eskrima currently rank at the top of my list.

I’ve been fascinated with Wushu ever since I was in elementary school. I would stay up late watching Kung Fu Theatre and copying the moves. Inevitably my mom would hear all the commotion and come up stairs to tell me to get to bed. When I heard her coming I would jump back into bed and pretend I was asleep. I love the fluid movements, the way one technique flows seamlessly into the next. Attacking, blocking, trapping, countering, they all seem to happen simultaneously. I also like the fact that Wushu practitioners can employ each of their weapons (hands, feet, elbows, knees) equally in a fight. It’s like Muay Thai, only prettier. [Laughing]

In the past year I’ve been learning more about the Filipino martial art of Eskrima, specifically the Doce Pares system. I like the fact that Eskrima practitioners learn to apply the same techniques using a stick, a knife, or empty handed. It’s also a very practical style to learn as far as weapons training goes. Nowadays the average person doesn’t walk around with a Bo staff or a pair of Sai tucked in their belt, but most people carry a pocket knife or could find something that mimics for an Eskrima stick in a self-defense situation.


What martial artist(s) currently give you motivation (living or deceased)?

It seems like everybody says this, but Bruce Lee is definitely one of them. He was one of the first Kung Fu instructors to go against tradition and teach Kung Fu to non-Chinese students. He then literally fought for his right to do so. Bruce was also one of the first martial artists to realize that strict adherence the natural doctrine of any single style of martial arts can limit both your growth and your effectiveness as a martial artists. It was this realization that prompted him to throw out years of Wing Chun training and dive into researching other martial arts. The results of which were Jeet Kune Do.

Another one is Dave Kovar, known as the “Teacher of Teachers” in the martial arts industry. Even if you aren’t familiar with Master Kovar, you’ve probably either heard or read his Instructor’s Creed at least once. When my wife and I first started running our own dojo we became members of MAIA (Martial Arts Industry Association). The Instructor Teaching Tips, Mat Chats and Combative Fitness Drills that Master Kovar recorded for the MAIA Instructor DVDs were an invaluable resource that made it easy to incorporate fitness as well as Life Skill Lessons into our class lesson plans.

In 2011 when my wife and I attended our first Martial Arts Super Show we had the opportunity to attend Dave Kovar’s Instructor College. At this point we had been teaching for seven years and officially running a dojo for six years, but we were still able to learn a wealth of teaching tactics, techniques, and tools that we still employ to this day and have started to pass on to our own team of belts and instructors.

Last, but not least would be Jet Lee and not because he is an awesome martial artist and movie star, but because he both sees and believes in the value of the spiritual side of the martial arts, as much as the physical side. Martial Arts are much more than just self-defense, they are a path to self-discipline and spiritual peace. This is something that the majority of people that take martial arts either never train long enough to realize or are too close minded to acknowledge.

How has the practice of yoga helped you?

Let’s face it, as beneficial as it is, stretching is boring! Yoga has given me an alternative way to maintain my flexibility outside the traditional static stretches that I had been doing much my entire life. It has also helped keep me in shape. I don’t even go to the gym anymore, trying to master some of these crazy yoga poses is all the work out I need. [Laughing] Yoga is also one of the many things that I do to center myself and calm my mind, along with playing guitar, origami, and obviously martial arts.

What other endeavors are you passionate about?

Several years ago I got really into writing. Unfortunately my schedule has been so hectic the past few months that I haven’t had any time to focus on that passion in a while. Hopefully that will change here in the near future. I’ve decide to initiate some life changes that should provide me with amble time to do everything I love without feeling overwhelmed. Anyone that is interested can check out my first attempt at writing, The Lycan Chronicles, at lycanchronicles.blogspot.com and my current project Knightfall at knightfallseries.blogspot.com.

Bonus Question

If you could see any bout, between any martial artist (in their prime), what would be the match-up?

Ooh! Chuck Norris vs. Bill “Superfoot” Wallace

For more info on Master Vaughn, hit him up at his websitewww.kielkin.com

Or, visit his profile here on CombativeCorner.Com

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Cus D’Amato on Fear

Posted in Boxing, External Arts, Fighters, Miscellaneous, Teaching Topic with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 13, 2012 by Combative Corner

Cus D'Amato. Portrait

Cus D’Amato [1908-1985] was a man of great integrity, knowledge and heart.  Most famous as being the manager and trainer of champions Floyd Patterson and Mike Tyson, many martial artists outside of boxing would come to learn about him through his brilliant insights on fear and the psychology of fighting.

“Boxing is a sport of self-control. You must understand Fear so you can manipulate it. Fear is like fire. You can make it work for you: it can warm you in the winter, cook your food when you’re hungry, give you light when you are in the dark, and produce energy. Let it go out of control and it can hurt you, even kill you….Fear is a friend of exceptional people.” [Fire 50]

On Recognizing Fear

“Fear is the greatest obstacle to learning in any area, but particularly in boxing. For example, boxing is something you learn through repetition. You do it over and over and suddenly you’ve got it. …However, in the course of trying to learn, if you get hit and get hurt, this makes you cautious, and when you’re cautious you can’t repeat it, and when you can’t repeat it, it’s going to delay the learning process…When they…come up to the gym and say I want to be a fighter, the first thing I’d do was talk to them about fear…I would always use…the same example of the deer crossing an open field and upon approaching the clearing suddenly instinct tells him danger is there, and nature begins the survival process, which involves the body releasing adrenalin into the bloodstream, causing the heart to beat faster and enabling the deer to perform extraordinarily feats of agility and strength…It enables the deer to get out of range of the danger, helps him escape to the safety of the forest across the clearing…an example in which fear is your friend.
The thing a kid in the street fears the most is to be called yellow or chicken, and sometimes a kid will do the most stupid, wild, crazy things just to hide how scared he is. I often tell them that while fear is such an obnoxious thing, an embarrassing thing…nevertheless it is your friend, because anytime anyone saves your life perhaps a dozen times a day, no matter what how obnoxious he is, you’ve got to look upon him as a friend, and this is what fear is…Since nature gave us fear in order to help us survive, we cannot look upon it as an enemy. Just think how many times a day a person would die if he had no fear. He’d walk in front of cars, he’d die a dozen times a day. Fear is a protective mechanism….By talking to the fighters about fear I cut the learning time maybe as much as half, sometimes more, depending on the individual.” [Heller, 60]

The Next Thing…

“The next thing I do, I get them in excellent condition….Knowing how the mind is and the tricks it plays on a person and how an individual will always look to avoid a confrontation with something that is intimidating, I remove all possible excuses they’re going to have before they get in there. By getting them in excellent condition, they can’t say when they get tired that they’re not in shape. When they’re in excellent shape I put them into the ring to box for the first time, usually with an experience fighter who won’t take advantage of them. When the novice throws punches and nothing happens, and his opponent keeps coming at him…the new fighter becomes panicky. When he gets panicky he wants to quit, but he can’t quit because his whole psychology from the time he’s first been in the streets is to condemn a person who’s yellow. So what does he do? He gets tired. This is what happens to fighters in the ring. They get tired. This is what happens to fighters in the ring. They get tired, because they’re getting afraid….Now that he gets tired, people can’t call him yellow. He’s just too “tired” to go on. But let that same fighter strike back wildly with a visible effect on the opponent and suddenly that tired, exhausted guy becomes a tiger….It’s a psychological fatigue, that’s all it is. But people in boxing don’t understand that.” …[Heller, 61]

“… However, I should add that at no time does fear disappear. It’s just as bad in the hundredth fight as it was in the first, except by the time he reaches a hundred fights or long before that he’s developed enough discipline where he can learn to live with it, which is the object, to learn to live with it…”

“Every fighter that ever lived had fear. A boy comes to me and tells me that he’s not afraid, if I believed him I’d say he’s a liar or there’s something wrong with him. I’d send him to a doctor to find out what the hell’s the matter with him, because this is not a normal reaction. The fighter that’s gone into the ring and hasn’t experienced fear is either a liar or a psychopath…” [Heller, 67]

The Hero and the Coward
“I tell my kids, what is the difference between a hero and a coward? What is the difference between being yellow and being brave? No difference. Only what you do. They both feel the same. They both fear dying and getting hurt. The man who is yellow refuses to face up to what he’s got to face. The hero is more disciplined and he fights those feelings off and he does what he has to do. But they both feel the same, the hero and the coward. People who watch you judge you on what you do, not how you feel.” [Heller, 97]

10 Questions with Keith Owen

Posted in 10 Questions, External Arts, Jiujitsu with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 19, 2012 by Combative Corner

How did you become interested in learning the martial arts?

I grew up in a single parent household and my mom couldn’t make ends meet.  I had wanted to do martial arts since I was 7 but we just couldn’t afford it.  I saw a karate demonstration at my school at that age and knew that I “had” to do martial arts.  I didn’t start taking martial arts lessons until I was 16 when I got a job and started paying for them myself.  I never looked back.  In the early 90’s after I got my black belt in Kung-fu I saw an article on the Gracies and was intrigued.  They were beating up everyone.  Later I saw Royce Gracie tap out Dan Severn with a triangle choke and thought that’s the martial art I need to train in.  I found Professor Pedro Sauer in Salt Lake and I never looked back.

What personally drove you to learning jiujitsu?

A small guy can beat a big guy using technique. Think of what a big guy like me could do using Technique? I thought this was “the way!”
If you had to pick 3 of your favorite techniques, what would they be?
  1. The Fog Choke-Keith Owen “Lights Out”
  2. The Triangle Choke and the 10th Planet “Gansta Lean”
  3. Deep Half Guard
  4. Hip Compression- Keith Owen Favorite Moves Vol 1
  5. The Biermbolo -I’m playing with this-I suck at it
  6. The Twister and the truck-10 Planet
  7. The Eziquel choke-Keith Owen “Lights out” via James Foster
  8. Arm in Guillotine

A little more than three..sorry.

Who are a few of your mentors and what impact have they had on you?

I don’t know about many mentors but I have numerous people who have had a profound effect on me so since you asked I’m going to share.
  1. My Wife Shirlane- 21 years and going strong.  She should have divorced me a long time ago.
  2. Professor Pedro Sauer-The best instructor in the world. He has forgotten more then I know.
  3. Sifu Joesph Cowles- My Wu Wei Instructor and former student of Bruce Lee
  4. Tren Long- One of my purple belts who has produced all of my videos and my toughest student.
  5. Matt Owen (no relation) One of my purple belts.  He and his son Dylan are the rock of my school.
  6. Dean Heileman who got his black belt before he died of Cancer.  Got me motivated in Jiu-Jitsu.
  7. Royce Gracie for showing me “The Way.”
  8. Allen Hopkins-One of the most technical black belts of the Pedro Sauer Association-He helped me out a lot going up the ladder.
  9. Professor Sergio Penha in Las Vegas for being a great example and giving me another perspective of Jiu-Jitsu.
  10. My Mom-The most emotionally tough women I have ever met.

and I’m forgetting my friends, Damon Tong (My business mentor), Rob Smith (one of my instructors) and Rob Namer (my firearms business partner).  I would not be where I am without the help of these people.

How do you feel about martial arts for: the dojo, the street, and for competition? 
You asked about Martial arts and not specifically BJJ so I’m going to give you my opinion of the Martial arts in general.  I think a lot of martial arts are practiced in the dojo and then the instructor brags about how street lethal their martial art is.  They never test anything out to verify.  I often say that most martial arts instructors have four years of martial arts training repeated three or four times over. Competition is a little closer to the street because you are going up against another human being – but the rules of the contest can make a person lose their edge and fight by the rules. For instance,  MMA doesn’t allow groin kicking or eye gouging.  Kicking the guy in the groin and eye gouging are great self defense techniques for the street.  Just look at the guys who get kicked in the groin or eye gouged in MMA they typically need time to recover.  I’m a big fan of martial arts for the street and for competition, you just need to put it in perspective for what you are doing and know that there is a difference.  Just because you have one down doesn’t mean you know the other.

Are you a big fan of competition fighting? Why or why not? (and if so, who do you like to follow)

After having said my previous comments- I love competition bjj and I love MMA.  My favorite BJJ competitors are Marcello, Saulo, Jeff Glover and Roger Gracie.  My favorite MMA fighters are Johny “Bones” Jones, Anderson Silva, Nick and Nate Diaz, Clay Guida and GSP and my son Alex Owen (laughs).

What is your stance and/or concerns about online learning?

Well, since I have a lot of videos and an online download site  (www.keithowenonline.com)   I think it would be a bit hypocritical to say that it’s a bad thing (laughs).  Seriously,  I think the internet has made bjj more accessible then ever to the masses.  It really helps in getting students everywhere better.  I do think that the best way to train for the average person is too have an awesome bjj instructor to show you the technique, then you go to as many seminars as you possibly can and then you top it off with online or video training.  I think that would be the perfect regimen.  This is a great time to be alive and training in BJJ and Martial arts in general.

How effective (do you believe) jiujitsu is in self-protection?

This comment is going to piss a lot of BJJ guys off but Jiu-Jitsu is not my first martial art for the street.  It’s my back-up martial art – done if I’m taken down, slip or take someone down if I get attacked.  The pavement, parking lot, side of the road, gravel, snow, ice, wet grass or a field of stickers is no place to ground fight.  I want to knock that mutha out or be able to evade and escape if a weapon is presented or their is multiple attackers.I also don’t think in many cases that arm bars are very effective in ending a fight in a life or death ground fighting situation.  You could break a dedicated opponents arm and in many cases he could keep on fighting.  It’s far more effective to use some kind of choke that would make an opponent pass out.  I think on the other hand if you are just a stand up fighter and you get taken down then you are in a world of hurt, so Jiu-Jitsu is important but for me it’s my last resort in a real fight. I’m not going to put up my dukes and then run over and jump into the guard (laughs).I would also like to add that the gi is a very effective tool to practice self defense.  Many attackers are wearing coats and pants and the more opportunity you have to choke a dude out, the better.
What elements of jiujitsu would you teach your wife/daughter or loved one for self-protection?

Collar Choke, Arm Bar and Triangle Choke from the Guard because that is where they will likely be in an attack situation.  i know I said that the arm bar wasn’t very effective but it’s hard for an attacker in a rape situation to get aroused when they have a freshly dislocated or broken arm and anyway, the police can have a free clue as to who the attacker was.
What is one thing that you’d like to emphasize to the beginning jiujitsu student?
I don’t have just one but the first “things” I would emphasize is to have fun, play around and get better.  I want my new students to work on getting rid of their ego so that getting better is the goal and not having to win at any cost.  Many guys don’t like to tap out and they take it personal.  They will often quit because they think they are lousy at Jiu-jitsu and since they are lousy it’s no fun.    We also can’t afford injuries at this level because shoulder and knee surgeries are expensive and people’s spouses aren’t too keen on letting them come back after a sever injury, It would be a shame if a potential world champion quit at the beginning because of ego or injury.    I promise that if they get rid of ego, do their best, keep an open mind, come to class, take care of their partners, get addicted to BJJ and stay loyal that I will take them to Black Belt Jiu-Jitsu Mastery, I promise.
Bonus Question
You’ve got 6 months to train… the money is on the table, who would you personally like to “have a go at.” (it could be anybody, living…dead. just a fantasy questions)
I would  train (friendly) with any bjj black belt for free as long as they have good technique.  I would super fight anyone for money though, What the hell (laughs).
·
Mr. Owen, we thank you greatly for giving us this interview. 
Readers – if you’d like to learn more about Mr. Keith Owen, please visit his website by clicking the picture at the top of the page.  For his instructional videos, click here.

Should We Condition Ourselves To Take A Hit?

Posted in External Arts, Self-Defense, Teaching Topic, Training with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 27, 2011 by Sifu Freddie Lee

Recently I read a post on Tim Larkin’s blog entitled, Conditioning to Take a Hit, and it gave me some things to think about.  Ironically, contributing author Freddie Lee was just finishing a YouTube video on fitness/conditioning/sparring with his FMK Todai.  I would suggest everyone read the original article first, followed by myself and Freddie’s input on the subject.  The world is full of varying opinions, but before you engage in any conditioning program, we at the Combative Corner hope that you are doing it for the right reasons and in the appropriate manner.

Coach Michael Joyce

There are two sides to conditioning; the obvious physical side, but also the understated psychological one.  Naturally, as we grow, the more we experience the more acquainted we become with pain.  Many of us martial art fanatics have images of Shaolin monks hardening their bodies to resist virtually anything; including direct strikes to the throat or groin.  Obviously from a health and injury prevention standpoint, this sort of training is ill-advised.  This is just my personal opinion.

As citizens of this modern world, it is not necessary to condition ourselves as a sports combative athlete would.  However, if you’re a person who has experienced very little in the realm of pain, it might be a good idea to “harden” your body-mind to withstand (at the very least) a moderate amount of striking (like what is pictured above).  The body can be “trained” to withstand a great deal, but it is the mind that must be “hardened” as well.  This conditioning can (in my opinion) best be trained through proper training drills, whereby the mind is not focused on quantity or of boring repetition, but of situation-like “give-and-take” between you and your partner.  Proper state-of-mind in self-defense helps in the production of courage.  Courage, along with the grit of “I can give as good (or better) as I get” will help to produce the positive results you wish to see in the fight.  Physical conditioning (as in “proper fitness & health”) should serve as your basis.  It should go without saying that the fitter you are, the more capable your body is to performing well under the extreme demands of a fight.  However, it should be understood and understood firmly that “Conditioning” involves a holistic approach and should be a skill-set that is slowly built upon.

Comment below if you have any questions or need any clarification

Sifu Freddie Lee

The main form of conditioning should be in overall fitness training, that is the healthiest. As far as conditioning in taking hits, forearm development through repetitive contact during normal training is required for men & women. The arms will be blocked & parried in self-defense situations & a Martial Artist must be able to withstand this natural contact. Fact is, men & women will need to harden their forearms to take damage so that their center line or vital areas of their bodies do not take the damage instead. Shoes will protect the feet so men & women don’t have to worry about developing shin strength like some competition fighters, this is optional, but I do not see it as too healthy if done with too much force as you are breaking down the bone & I wonder about the long term effects. Forearm hardening development I see as healthy as you are simply hardening the muscles, & the women I have trained have shown that they are more than capable of withstanding a decent amount of force while developing this part of the body.

As far as the center line is concerned, purposefully striking the vital areas of the body such as the face, throat, neck, sternum, groin area, etc. is not healthy & not advised even for the experienced Martial Artist. The abs can take hits in a healthy way as long as it is done progressively & periodically. Ab hardening in the form of somebody delivering slight force to the abs with a palm strike or exercise ball can serve to help the practitioner develop proper breathing methods to withstand real strikes. Proper breathing techniques will prevent the individual from getting their wind knocked out of them. So I would say, for serious Martial Artists, ab hardening is necessary, but it has to be done in a safe way. Never at full force, progressively from soft to hard, & to be done periodically. Once the proper breathing is developed, then simple ab exercises are more than sufficient & that type of contact training is no longer as necessary.

If men or women cannot withstand a decent amount of force to their forearms & abs, they cannot realistically expect to survive deadly confrontations of self-defense. Replace those forearms & abs with the vital areas of the body, & you will see there is no way they will be able to withstand these serious attacks. Of course we do not want to break noses, give black eyes, have broken teeth, broken ribs, broken knee caps, & things like that, that is obviously unhealthy training. But it shall be expected, your forearms & abs should be developed. The palms need to be developed in order to deliver an attack that will be sufficient to stop an attacker. Fist development can be optional as they can always use the palms. Fist development can be unhealthy if done improperly. Elbows & knees are naturally very strong, so not much concentration needs to be focused there aside from proper technique.

Comment below if you have any questions or need any clarification

Article by: Michael Joyce & Freddie Lee

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Joe Rogan’s Sick Side Kick

Posted in External Arts, Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Techniques, Training, Videos with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 11, 2011 by Combative Corner

Joe Rogan is not your typical stand-up comedian, actor and commentator, he’s a martial artist with some pretty devastating moves.  This technique, which he has been perfecting since his early days in Tae Kwon Do, is soo amazing that UFC Champion George St. Pierre, wanted to video it so that he could re-watch and perfect for himself.  What do YOU guys think?

The lines are open…. (comment below).

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Secret to Gracie Jiu Jitsu Mastery

Posted in Day's Lesson, External Arts, Jiujitsu, Philosophy, Teaching Topic, Training with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 20, 2011 by chencenter

Two very lucky members of the Combative Corner, Michael (Founder/Left) and Brandon (Contributing Author/Right) get their second workshop with two giants in the world of jiu-jitsu teaching, Ryron & Rener Gracie.

Here are a few of the highlights and insights that will benefit us all!

Michael Joyce

As many of you know from my last article regarding Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, Brandon and I had the opportunity to take a workshop with Ryron in Virginia and due to a last-minute change, we received his brother Rener in our home state of North Carolina.  It was a special privilege for me as Rener was gracious enough to give us an in-depth interview (if you missed it… you can catch it here or on YouTube).  Personally, it was very special to meet Rener after speaking with him in January (for about an hour and a half) and now, to meet this master-teacher (and all-around-great-guy) face-to-face.  The workshop went splendidly as this future blue-belt (me) began to truly understand a fundamental aspect of GJJ… the hooks (and Superhooks)!  With a little spot-on coaching from Rener, I was (and still am) well on my way.

But what pulled the whole lesson together was something that I think all students should understand.  As we gathered around Rener and he began to field our questions, he posed this question to us,

“How does someone reach black belt status?”

Answers came from from each area of the room.  A common word that was said by one, and was surely thought of by the rest of us was the word “Practice.”  But Rener mentioned that there are many students that practice intensely (even with them at the Gracie Academy)… come to class regularly and it still takes quite a bit longer (than expected) to reach the next level.  So what really makes the difference?  The ANSWER?… [Keep reading]

Brandon Vaughn

The one thing I admired about Rener was how much encouragement he gave everyone at the seminar while they were working on the techniques he was showing us.  He didn’t just throw in a “good job” here or a “that’s it” there.  He seemed genuinely excited when he saw someone finally “get” the technique and in my opinion that is the sign of great teacher.  I was also impressed by how approachable Rener was for someone who is so well known.  I have met plenty martial artists who love to walk around like they’re “too good to be in your presence” and none of them were half as talented or did half as much to benefit the martial arts as Rener and the rest of the Gracie’s have.  I consider myself truly lucky to have attended not one but two Gracie Jiu-jitsu seminars this year. They are addictive!

The Answer:

(Paraphrasing)  “The difference between a white belt and a black belt is the amount of time it takes to ‘make the recovery’ – from acknowledging the result/defeat/submission, to understanding and internalizing the result.  Many immediately, after being submitted, want to “go again” and there are others that get incredibly frustrated with themselves (even beating up themselves on the drive home).  “Making the recovery” is, again, about:

Acknowledging – Understanding – Internalizing

Make it work for you!

Michael Joyce & Brandon Vaughn

 

Final Note:

On an additional note – Rener made this connection- that the difference between him and each of us, is only that he understands (obviously in a very deep way) the possibilities (i.e. technical or strategic options) sooner, and has, therefore, a much more sensitive (and thus effective) “threat detector” when grappling.  Learn to understand the game of jiu-jitsu… because (in the words of Rener Gracie) “You cannot master that which you do not understand.”

Interview with Rener Gracie (part 1) : HERE

Interview with Rener Gracie (part 2) : HERE


Keep Your Noggin’ Safe with ‘The Trinity Block’

Posted in Day's Lesson, Discussion Question, External Arts, Self-Defense, Teaching Topic, Techniques, Training with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2011 by chencenter

Our very own, T.J. Kennedy, gives us a new video on what he terms “The Trinity Block” [watch the video below].

It seems that whenever there is a discussion on blocking, in both martial art and self-defense circles, everyone has their own personal take on it.  And there are others that are down-right against blocking of any kind.  Some get hung up on names and origins and in order to stay true to tradition will remain – what I would call “bound/shackled” – to their system’s method.

Looking over the Facebook comments, I saw all the above.  Some even came out saying that, “This may work, if it won’t if….”.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, however, it is highly beneficial to understand one key concept and one that T.J. brilliantly puts forward in this video, and that is, that our actions must come from a natural, behavioral response.  The Keysi guys did not come up with it, the Krav Maga people did not come with it, nor did the Irish Stick Fighters (where T.J. adopted the name from)…

it comes from a natural response to guard ones head!

Let us know what you think, however in this (one author’s opinion) “The Trinity Block” of which I use a slightly different variation* of is the most natural and practical method of defense.  Obviously the key (like anything in the martial arts) is about timing, velocity, direction, and most importantly to consider, that every situation will be different.  The temptation will always be the guard the head, protect the eyes, nose, temples and throat.  By using “The Trinity Block” and having the mechanics become reflexive, you’ll find that even the hardest of strikers (watch the video below) stand little chance of getting in.

Michael Joyce

ChenCenter.Com

*I personally use a variation of this block that I call “The Fonze.”  Like Arthur Fonzarelli from the t.v. show Happy Days, one hand comes up along my top of my head, like I’m brushing my hair back.  The other hand comes across the forehead and assists the other.  Like the Trinity Block, the wrists are relaxed and are in direct contact with the head.  (more on this variation in a later article.)

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