Archive for Blog

10 Questions with Hoch Hochheim

Posted in 10 Questions, Self-Defense, Training, Violence, Weapons, Women's Self-Defense with tags , , , , , , , on January 6, 2017 by Combative Corner

hoch-hochheim-profile-pic

What got you into the martial arts?

That is a very long story, but even as kid, I was always interested in tactics and fighting. Maybe movies and TV spurred my interest? The how-to tricks. A vehicle to learn this stuff was martial arts, which I started in 1972 with Ed Parker Kenpo. I was about 18 years old? No kids back then. But martial arts were never my end goal, just a ways to learn those tactics and tricks. I personally find martial arts themselves to be distracting. All sorts of biases and things happen in this training process that gets one off the path of clean, unarmed and mixed weapon, generic fighting.

Incoming mob/crowd, you have 30 mins to teach a complete novice how to fight. What do you teach them? 

The suggestion in the question is – me and a group are about to be bombarded by a mob or group? My questions to best answer that question is who, what, where, when, how and why? The answer has to be customized for the situation. Who is the mob? What do they want? Where are we? When is this happening? How specifically will it happen? Why? If IO knew that? I could answer something.  It is so, so situational.

Short times? Generally, I almost never, ever do short, self defense training classes. I have to be really be pushed, coerced or “guilted” into doing one. Fighting info is too big and too perishable as it is for people in regular training. I know some people that like to do that but I don’t for that reason, I am just not geared up to cover short segments/deals. I do have do a speech on “Who, What, Were, When, How and Why,” though. A speech, nothing physical, that is pretty important for all to know and that speech can be squeezed into all kinds of very short or longer time frames.

As a self-protection expert, what do you consider to be under-taught or under-appreciated concept in the self-protection field?

The seamless mix of hand, stick, knife and gun training is way, way and foolishly under-taught. No matter where in the world you live, no matter the laws and rules, criminals and enemy soldiers use knives, sticks and guns. You fight them, you pick up their weapons. “We live in a mixed weapons world” is one of my opening mottos.

It is commonly taught that if someone demands your wallet or purse, you should throw it to the ground and run. Is this good, universal advice? If not, are there cues as to when we should do this or not?

Many instructors just say “always run away, which is “simpleton” advise. “Simple” better advice is “run away, if you can.”  Based on military and police history as in crime and war, you should pick and choose and gamble with just “turning around and running away.” Sometimes the mugger wants your watch and ring too, not just the wallet. They chase you. Then, they also chase you out of a predator instinct. The military once called it “The Caveman Chase.” And remember, you are easier to kill from behind, another long known concept that goes back as far as Alexander the Great. Easer to kill, not because you can’t see the attacker, but the attacker can’t see your face, doesn’t personalize you. Much more about this in my knife book. The goal is an “orderly retreat,” as a method to leaving, whatever that is situation-by-situation. Also, who are you leaving behind when you run? How fast and far can you run? How fast and far do you think the attacker can run? What clues do you have that you can run? Maybe the physical make-out the robber? I can’t answer that with any certainty.

A common argument in the self-defense community is that if you really want to protect yourself, buy and carry a gun. What are your personal thoughts on guns and conceal and carry?

Oh yes, on the handgun. But you just have to figure out and be trained on how and when to use it. Well, the whole who, what, where, when, how and why to use it. That goes for  any weapon for that matter. But I use the breakdown for training.

  1. There/Not There – why are you “there” in the first place? Why can’t you leave?
  2. Pull/Don’t Pull – When and if do you pull the weapon out?
  3. Point/Don’t Point – Is the weapon out, or ready in some way and concealed in some way? Bladed body, etc. Or, do you point it at the enemy?
  4. Shoot/Don’t Shoot – All of these require an essay to dissect.

If you look at the entire self-defense community, the majority of people learning to defend themselves are men. Men with little or no fighting experience are often concerned (apart from being harmed) with defending themselves and getting sued, taken to court and/or arrested. What do you tell your students/clients who are concerned with this issue?

In the end, remember that for citizens in modern times and civilizations, your willingness to fight, no matter how righteous and defensive your actions might be, may often end with you going to jail, with considerable legal fees and maybe with some added doctor bills to boot. You may well be vindicated later but at a physical, emotional, and monetary loss. You can very easily be arrested and you could be sued. Violence sucks. It’s a negative experience. But you are stuck in that nasty  vortex.

Regular people should fight criminals to escape (and a criminal could be your drunk Uncle Harry. Once he attacks you he is officially a criminal). So, winning for most, regular people is just fighting to escape. No over kill, no maiming, no killing unnecessarily. (My courses are called “Force Necessary”) You fight to win, but what is winning?. There are 5 ways to “win,” or to “finish” a fight, whether soldier, citizen, security or cop.

  1. You leave. You escape from the opponent (using the “Orderly Retreat” concept), with no physical contact.
  2. He leaves. No physical contact. You use threats, demands and intimidation to make the opponent desist and leave.
  3. He stays. Physical contact. You inflect less-than-lethal injury upon the opponent. Injure and/or diminish to a degree that the opponent stops fighting and won’t chase you.
  4. You and he both stay. Physical contact or verbal control. You control as in arrest, contain and restrain. You capture and, or escort the opponent. Or, you detain/capture the opponent and await the proper authorities.
  5. He dies. Lethal methods. We fight criminals and enemy soldiers. Sometimes we kill them.

I get concerned that so many systems teach fighting like everyone you struggle with is a Nazi commando doomed to a neck break or scooped out eye balls. The system you train in, the things you say on the web, the tattoos you have, the names of the weapons you carry, your associates, everything can be used against you in court. I can tell you story after story about this.

Many self-protection specialists say that self-defense is more of a mental game than a physical one. Is this your opinion? Why or why not?

That is one of those intellectual hair-splitters that I don’t care to hair-split. I guess you need both but to what “exact” percentage at any given time, I can’t say. 50%-50%? You could be mean as hell in your head, but gas-out in 40 second fight. Then your mean/tough mind is in a skull on the ground getting bashed because you didn’t physically train enough. It’s both sides seamlessly working in unison. Why split it? Some folks got it, some folks can get it, some folks never will.

Women and children are the most victimized individuals in any society. Should women and children be taught differently than men? Why or why not?

“It’s a mixed person’s world” is one of my mottos. In many ways everyone should be taught differently. Every person is a different size, shape, strength, age, fitness level, job, situation, etc. with weak spots, ailments and laws to work around. There is no cookie-cutter fight system for all. In the end, it is the responsibility of each person to find their favorite things they can do well, for facing the problems they most likely will face. The instructor is supposed to facilitate that process, not make cookie-cutter robots. At some point you can teach statistically high “blanket” items like “hand striking” of course, especially in the beginning, but we can’t forget the eventual, necessary customization. And customization and prioritizing shouldn’t ignore lesser, probable events. Crazy stuff has  and can happen.

Another big concern and why so many people are doing jiu-jitsu now is the perpetuated line that “most often the fight will end up on the ground.” In your experience, do you find that this is true? Either way, what traits/abilities are essential in someone to adequately defend themselves?

Well, for starters, when I did jujitsu it was a different time. Lots of standing solutions and takedowns. Judo was the ground wrestling arena. Today, the Brazilians have utterly redefined the term, as well as advanced the ground chess game.

But I think that everyone should be able to up, down and fight everywhere. I don’t like to see Billy Bob’s Kick boxing school on one street corner, and “Big Ralph’s Wrasling” school on another corner. Fighting is fighting and you fight where you fight. Seamlessly. Standing, kneeling, sitting and on the ground. You fight where you fight, with and without weapons. That is the end goal for me and what I teach people to pursue. But, in order to amass an education in these subjects we must meet experts in each of these fields. Again, all sorts of biases and things happen in this training process that gets one off the path of clean, unarmed and mixed weapon, generic fighting.

A collaboration of criminal justice colleges years ago came up with the four common ways we hit the ground, as best they could from research.

  1. We trip and fall
  2. We are punched down (usually sucker punches)
  3. We are tackled down
  4. We are pulled down

The very fact that you can often land on the ground, is reason alone to worry about it. I am a big fan of generic, MMA-ish, fighting with an emphasis on ground and pound. MMA has become very clean and generic for it does. It wants to win and system borders be damned. Plus, nothing replaces ring time -to quote Joe Lewis.

We are now in the New Year. What resolutions do you have and/or goals for the year?

I am supposed to be retired, you know. HA! I hope to trim my seminar schedule down to one USA city a month, one international city a month and one Sunday a month in the Dallas/Ft Worth area where I live. Technically, this means I am home two full weeks a month, but I can already see this is stacking and packing up differently than I planned for 2017 already. But, I would like to teach way less, write way more, and just hang out with my wife most of all.

Bonus Question What book or resource (besides your own material) have you suggested or gifted most and why?

Oh man…DON’T get me started on THIS list, as I recommend a different book in every one of newsletters every three weeks for years, but here are just a few.

  1. Smarter Faster Better : by Charles Duhigg. Tremendous, enlightening, myth-breaking into on performance
  2. The Talent Code : by Dan Coyle
  3. Streetlights and Shadows : Searching for the Keys to Adaptive Decision Making by Gary Klein
  4. Anti-Fragile : by Nassim Talib
  5. Bounce  : by Matt Syed

For more information on Hoch Hochheim and Force Necessary please visit his website.

http://www.forcenecessary.com

PLEASE FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK, INSTGRAM AND/OR TWITTER

The Fence – Fending off an Attack Before it Begins

Posted in Safety, Self-Defense, Techniques, Training, Violence, Women's Self-Defense with tags , , , , , , , , on November 10, 2015 by chencenter

[Read Entire Article]

If you’ve watched The 3 Main Postures video, you have some knowledge of what the Fence is and why we use it – but let’s go a little deeper, shall we?

The Fence, or versions of it, is as old as physical conflict itself.  But it wasn’t until the amazing teacher, author and martial artist Geoff Thompson (Coventry, UK) and his club really started to bring it into popularity as an effective way of managing the dynamics of physical altercations.  As a doorman (aka. bouncer), Geoff was able to learn quickly just how effective and important this technique can be.

WHAT IS THE FENCE?

The Fence is a temporary barrier we use to keep a potential attacker under control. All the Fence postures that we recommend start off with the body in a non-threatening position, with the purpose being – to lessen the aggression/intent of the person trying to harm you and to by you time to scan for help, plan an escape route, find an improvised weapon, and/or prepare to pre-emptively strike.   [READ MORE]

MICHAEL JOYCE

OUTFOXXED.COM

10 Questions with Michael Joyce

Posted in 10 Questions, Fencing, Kungfu, Self-Defense, Taijiquan, Women's Self-Defense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 16, 2015 by Combative Corner

Michael Joyce CombativeCornerMichael Joyce is the creator and chief writer at CombativeCorner.Com.  He is also a teacher, martial artist and movement aficionado with a passion for taijiquan, fencing and self-defense.  He is also a massage therapist who has been in practice since 2006.  In 2011, he self-published a concise, straight-to-the-point book titled The Golden Thread – Essential Principles of Self-Defense, that was heralded, not only by his peers but also by some of the best in the field.  Continuing his pursuit to create, teach and empower, “Coach Joyce” as he prefers to be called, is hard at work on various projects, many of which will be mentioned in this interview.  So, without further ado…

“It’s a communication thing.  And if we don’t have this communication with ourselves, if we can’t bring joy into practice, we’ll eventually leave it.  Some people even get injured by it. My answer is communicate more, add joy and seek to dive deep into what Bruce called ‘the honest expression of the human self.'”

What prompted you to begin your studies of the martial arts?

big-brawl-movie-poster-1980-1020203414My first experience was when I was 10 (or so) and my mom put me in a Karate class (trial basis).  The teacher had me doing the basic punches and blocks, but it bored me to tears.  I must admit that I was caught up in “what I looked like”…and not what I was necessarily “doing.”  I wanted to move like Jackie Chan, not Chuck Norris.  And it was Jackie (strangely, not Bruce) that led me back to the martial arts – after seeing a film called “The Big Brawl” (which Jackie thought was going to be his big break into Hollywood; but wasn’t).  It was an amazing film (in my opinion) that showcased Jackie’s talents brilliantly.  I would have to say that it was Jackie’s moves, and later, Bruce’s philosophy that kept me fascinated for a long time to come.  Then, as a freshman in middle school, my friend handed me a flyer for a local Kungfu class.

It was here, in this Kungfu class that I began to understand… that it was only through the dent of hard work that I would achieve anything great; anything of value.  And luckily for me, my teachers Jim Holoman and Jack Heineman were fantastic, giving and open to helping me further myself as a martial artist.  Also, it was through this class that I was able to get a taste of what some of these other art forms were about: like Tai Chi, Xingyi and Bagua.  Little did I know that I would later find Taijiquan (Tai Chi) to be the biggest and deepest ocean of them all… and I was more than happy to take a swim.

What is one thing that you have found through the martial arts that you wish others would find?

One thing I wish more martial artists would embrace would be that once you have solid footing in your martial art (and this works for hobbies and jobs too), that is to say, once you’ve found and understood the principles and have a strong foundation in the basics, “follow your bliss.”  This statement was made famous by mythologist, lecturer and author Joseph Campbell – and it’s such an important statement and life philosophy that I feel that too few people bring it into their life as a martial artist (at least as much as it should be).

This is not to say that if you’re in a formal class you “do what you want.” I’m not saying that. But when you’re engaged in solo practice, add as much joy into practice as you can muster.  This bliss will help motivate you, feed you with long-lasting energy and keep you eager to continue practicing.  It’s a communication thing.  And if we don’t have this communication with ourselves, if we can’t bring joy into practice, we’ll eventually leave it.  Some people even get injured by it.  My answer is communicate more, add joy and seek to dive deep into what Bruce called “the honest expression of the human self.”

Being such a “Jack of all trades” (taijiquan, fencing and self-defense)…what gives you the most joy?

When I hear that question, I never immediately have an answer.  It really depends on the day.  Let’s tackle each of these individually, shall we?

Fencing

Fencing and sword-fighting became a fun past-time as soon as I saw movies like The Sword In the Stone, The Princess Bride and Willow.  So needless-to-say, I was pretty young and impressionable.  Like most youngsters, I grew up with the image of the sword as being a noble and gentlemanly art.  Therefore, even to this day, I feel a sense of nostalgia and childhood energy every time I pick up a weapon (a sword particularly).

Tai Chi

Taijiquan came to me at a very important time in my life.  Because of the intensity of my kungfu training (namely, what I put myself through), and my lack of understanding (at that point) in how to exercise properly, I developed low back pain in my late teens and early twenties.  I wish someone had come around and told me that I shouldn’t be doing all the exercises and stunts that they showed in kungfu movie training montages.  I digress.  When I went to college, I came in contact with a superb teacher through a class he did at St. Louis University; Mr./Sifu Herb Parran.  He was the first to show me the beauty of Hunyuan Taijiquan, which I later found to a wonderful form of low back pain therapy.  Therefore, to answer the question – When I feel that the world is moving a bit too fast, I enjoy taijiquan.  When I walk outside, and the weather is beautiful, I really enjoy taijiquan.  Taijiquan is just another form of play to me and it connects many of the things that I love: movement, physics, meditation, nature, finding that “inner calm”, and artistry.

Self-Defense

As much as I am a nature-loving taijiquan/yoga/movement junkie, I am also a safety-minded, social and combative scientist.  We are all shaped by our past.  Luckily, my past is pretty great, but that doesn’t stop one from thinking, “how might all of this go away?”  The people in my life, just like the people in everyone’s life (close people), really help make Life worth living.  Violence is scary and ugly and requires a survival mindset that includes: detection, avoidance, communication skills and fighting skills (sometimes running skills also).  Self-defense training was a necessity to change myself from an uneasy, unsure, skeptical martial artist, to a confident one.  With women being the highest victimized of any population, I reached out (very early on) to women.  I put together a system of self-defense called Outfoxxed and it quickly became and still remains what I feel as “Priority 1” of my Life’s goals – teaching and empowering women.  Speaking of this… my wife and I just re-vamped our website and recently uploaded our first YouTube video.  Please check it out! [website] [YouTube video]

Jiu-Jitsu

Perhaps the easiest and most enriching endeavor one can do for themselves is to learn and play jiujitsu.  Like taijiquan (and even fencing), some small details seem to swing doors of understanding wide open, and I love that.  With jiujitsu, the movement-lover, the social and physical scientist is let out to play – all you need are mats (or sometimes a carpeted floor).  As a student of Rener and Ryron Gracie (GracieUniversity.Com), I know I can watch their videos, feed off their high-energy and also know that I am being taught correctly.  The only downside to this (especially since I do so many things), is being able to properly invest the time.  Currently I am able to squeeze in only 3 hours a week – which is only a quarter of what I wish I could invest.  The one thing I know about myself though and because jiujitsu and I mesh so well together is that I’m never, ever going to give it up.  To add… I’ve got one heck of a training partner; Brad Vaughn (his CombativeCorner interview is next!).

What teachers in your past have really made an impact on you?

207559_502968047582_8028_nThere have been so many teachers that it’s hard to count; plus, I already spoke of three.  (lol).  With that said, and in order to keep this answer a bit shorter, I am going to go with the teacher that was the most impactful.  That person is my taijiquan teacher, Master Chen Zhonghua.  I first met him at a Kennesaw State University workshop in the 2002 or 2003.  What struck me most was that he was a teacher that not only wanted you to learn the form well, but to actually feel what the body needed to do in order to produce the desired result.  I still had what he called “that wushu hardness.”

 We started to do some push hands, and not the choreographed press, stick and flow exercises – real pushing!  He was able to find a point of leverage from anywhere and that greatly impressed me.  After each off-balancing he would say a word in Mandarin that I instantly understood to mean a combination of “Look at this!” and/or “Do you see/understand?”  I know this because he would point and show either what he did to create the result, what I did wrong or both.  “This is the Practical Method,” he would say.  He was the first taijiquan teacher that did it all – showed me, allowed me to see the inner-workings, and blow my mind (all at the same time).  It wasn’t too late after that workshop that I decided to sell my car and journey to the Edmonton, Alberta to become his full-time student and gain my certification to teach Hunyuan & Practical Method Taijiquan.

What is it about Tai Chi (taijiquan) that you enjoy?  And is there anything that you don’t like about it?

To do taijiquan is to physically feel freedom.  To get good at taijiquan to reach heaven.  Is that too dramatic?  Well, I ask anyone who has maintained a consistent practice of taijiquan for at least a few years to speak differently.  How you feel this, is difficult (if not impossible) to put into words.  You must feel it for yourself.

As for anything “I don’t like” about taijiquan… I would have to say the near-sighted, our-system-is-superior, zealots.  I especially despise the fact that these people exist in every martial art system.  People can really take the fun out of things sometimes.  I remember another teacher of mine Dr. Yang Yang telling me a story about the late Grandmaster Feng Zhiqiang and how he never had anything bad to say about another person or martial art.  He would never say that they were doing something wrong, he’d just smile and simply say, “I don’t understand it.”  Because, in my view, a technique either works or it doesn’t work.  The same technique may work in theory, but not work when under stress.  It’s your job as a student to find what works and doesn’t work for yourself.  It’s the teacher’s job to help steer you to the best of his or her ability.

What brought you into fencing?

As you might have been able to tell from a previous answer – fencing seemed to find me.  He-Man had a sword, Voltron had a sword, Lion-O from Thundercats had a sword.  There was Conan the Barbarian, Dar The Beastmaster and even those Jedi Knights from a galaxy far, far away.  Everyone who would seek to vanquish evil had a sword.  Seeing as there wasn’t a fencing club, or fencing salle in my area I never had a chance to study formally until I got to college.  I started with an extraordinary teacher at St.Louis University named David Achilleus (Trovare di Spada).  At that time he was associated with a group called The Baited Blade and taught a very passionate and fun foil fencing class.  Today, he is one of my favorite “fencing purists;” a fencer who stays true to the history and principles of the weapon he chooses to wield.

Would you tell us a little about your passion for movement?

Michael Joyce Lizard CrawlThe art of movement is something that is slowly becoming more of a mainstream sort-of-thing, thanks primarily to people like Erwin Le Corre (movnat) and Ido Portal.  We are essentially intelligent apes – animals that spend far too much time sitting, laying, watching and typing – and not enough climbing, hanging, crawling and dancing.  When we are young, we explore movement, but at a certain point we get to a point where we feel like we know it all.  Slowly, as time passes, we get more accustomed to not moving, no longer exploring, and no longer growing.  Understanding not just movement but the way YOU move is very very important.

When you bring more (conscious) movement into your life, you will likely find a great treasure – a way to improve function (which carries over to your daily activities), increased energy (which relates to productivity and is linked to happiness), and very importantly staves off injury, pain and illness.  What started as a child, one that loved to climb trees, explore the woods, build forts- became ME; a man that didn’t want to give that up.  Instead of building forts, I do yard work and remodel my home. (lol)

What got you into teaching Women’s Self-Defense?

When I transferred to UNC-Greensboro, a more close-knit community, I would hear horrible stories of rape, shootings, and other forms of violence on the regular.  If one was to set aside gang violence, and the Monkey Dance (nod to ‘Rory Miller’) that most men end up doing to prove who’s in charge… it (for the most part) leaves women and children.  Children obviously need to be taught something at an early age, but that is more of a parental responsibility.  Women, on the other hand, are the most victimized member of any society and typically find themselves without any training whatsoever.  With my love for women and to see them taken care for, came a brutal realization… that many men will not take care of them, and worse, choose to harm them.

Lauren BurkIn 2007, I decided to write a concise, to-the-point book on self-defense.  I had never written anything longer than a college essay before, and before long, I was in a bit of a writer’s rut.  I wanted to produce something that could supplement my workshops and give my students some important and potentially life-saving reading material, but the motivation wasn’t quite there.  Then in 2008, there were two senseless murders of two lovely young women, Eve Carson of Chapel Hill and Lauren Burk of Auburn.  I had never met either of them before, but reading about them and speaking with the Burk family, I knew that they were smart, fun and caring young ladies that, doing nothing wrong, met with a violent end.  With this event in my mind, I knew exactly who I wanted to dedicate the book to, and that I needed to get this information out – I needed to do what I could – as soon as I could.  With renewed vigor, I finished the book within weeks and self-published it on Lulu.com (The Golden Thread).

Today, my wife and I conduct classes, lectures and workshops on women’s self-defense known as the Outfoxxed Program.  We are currently working hard at producing a series of YouTube videos, blogs and other materials to help prepare women for what they may (but hopefully may not) come across.  It will certainly take more than my wife and me (Outfoxxed.Com)…but we are determined to make a big impact.  If you want to help us help others, please visit our YT Channel and subscribe (and share!).  We are also here, always, if you have any questions, suggestions, or concerns.

Beyond just the subject matter, what do you hope your student’s understand?

Beyond the message to “Follow your Bliss”? Not very much (in the realm of martial arts).

However, if speaking to my self-defense students, I’d like to make sure they understand to go beyond the palm-heel strikes and knees to the groin.  The bulk of the “attacks” in your life will likely start off insidiously, and unfortunately by someone you know (and trust).  If you don’t communicate and/or take action when someone crosses a personal barrier then it will be harder and harder to get out of that situation.  Your intuition is what will kick things off.  Learn to trust it.  Communication may be an avenue to persuade your aggressor to “take a hike.” Learn to use the voice (insert nerdy ‘Dune’ reference here*).  I say “the” because there most certainly is a voice, an inflection that produces results. Most husbands know what I’m talking about! lol.  This is seldom talked about in self-defense, but might be enough to deter a possible attack before it gets physical.  There is also a way of using your body effectively that produces results.  Some of these movements are very simple, but without the practice will never become reflexive.  Learn to use your body.

What are some of your future goals?

My wife Jenny and I are hard at work creating material for our Outfoxxed YouTube Channel.  We are looking forward to engaging with more women and help to bring a change.  Viva la revolution! I am currently working on two books: my first fiction novel (which I won’t reveal quite yet), and another book on self-defense.  But this won’t just be any ol’ book on self-defense, this is going to be very comprehensive and quite special.  With the success of these venture, Jenny and I will hopefully be traveling more, teaching more and enjoying all that we can out of this great Life.

BONUS QUESTION (via T.J. Kennedy)

If you had only one hour to teach a complete beginner self-defense class, knowing they’d have to use it to fight off imminent multiple attackers, what would you teach them?

I can always count on T.J. to ask the hard-hitting questions!

I would break the lesson-plan into quarters.  The first 15 minutes will be spent on effective movement, and positioning/obstacle-creating.  The second 15 minutes will be on the Trinity Block (love it!), striking and breaking contact/not getting trapped.  The third 15 will be (because I will assume that none have been in a single fight before) stress inoculation drills whereby there will be a lot of pushing, cursing and posturing (one-on-one). In this drill, they will have to utilize what they learned from first and second quarter to move, check your surrounding for a possible weapon and finding the right time to preemptively strike (if available at all).  The last 15 will be 3 students against 1 (depending on the number of students) and will consist of 3 minutes of mayhem.  Momentary evasion, wrestling, and “bad-guys” pinning the “good guy” will likely occur.  At the instructor’s command the “bad guys” will jump off and the “good guy” will have to perform push-ups (or at least maintain a plank).  Then back into the fray!  [Lee Morrison style] The good guy will go through about 3 rounds of this punishment.  Without fail… they will understand physically and mentally how difficult it will be to survive the real thing and at the same time feel more prepared.

Thank you all for reading!

FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK & TWITTER!

5 Ways to Choose the Right Gym

Posted in Martial Arts, Miscellaneous, Training with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 9, 2015 by Combative Corner

The tree has been taken down, the decorations have been packed away, the presents have been exchanged, and the last Gingerbread man has been eaten. Yes, the hustle and bustle of Christmas is over, and after all the holiday parties and eating at 14 different relatives houses, its time to get back in shape for the new year. New Year’s is by far the busiest season in the Wellness and Martial Arts industries. Everyone is ready to change their ways and get in shape, but before you make those changes you have a choice to make, which gym is the best ?

Eight Points GymFirst of all that question can be answered in a few different ways depended on what your goals are. For instance, if you want to become the next great Muay Thai Champion or fight in the UFC you might not want to sign up at the local YMCA and expect to go places, but no matter what your goals are (get in shape, learn self defense, or become a fighting champion) there should be some basic things that all good gyms who want to see you succeed have in common. Choosing the right gym and trainer is the MOST important step a person can make to actually reaching their goals and making LASTING changes that go from whimsical new years resolution to concrete lifestyle change. Below are 5 simple things to look for when shopping around for a gym. It doesn’t matter what kind of gym (Fitness, Muay Thai, Jiu Jitusu, Gymnastics, ect), these 5 simple things should be present.

1 Good Gyms and Trainers have Nothing to Prove: *I see this one all the time in the “MMA” gyms. Some guy with 2 amateur fights and a closet full of “skull” T shirts opens a “gym” out of a store front or someones basement. He has no real experience to speak of, so when new members come to class he goes hard on them to try and prove (to himself and to the prospective member) that he knows what he’s doing. It can also occur in the fitness industry. The so called “personal trainer” you hired who just got their PT certificate in the mail after taking a 4 hour class, doesn’t really understand how the human body works or how to invoke real change so he just screams “One More” or pushes you way past your limit to prove to you that his work outs are hard and he knows what he’s doing. This is an extremely dangerous situation and a HUGE red flag. If you are at a gym with this problem you are basically risking your health every time you come to class. A good trainer and gym who are well educated in their craft should have NOTHING at all to prove and their focus should be on building members up not on using members as dummies, showing off how much they know.

2 Good Gyms and Trainers have a Clear, Repeatable “Roadmap” to Success: *When going on any trip you need clear and precise directions on actually how to get there. When you get in your car to go somewhere that you aren’t quite sure of, you plug in your GPS and it guides you and gives you the road map for the destination. Gyms are no different. When you walk into the gym and sit down with the trainers they should be able to lay out a road map detailing how they will help you get from the starting point to reaching your goal. They should have a repeatable process that they have done with clients and members in the past to help reach goals. If you go into a gym and some guy is teaching head kicks one day to complete beginners, then showing those same beginners crazy 8 punch combos the next day, that is a red flag and you should probably look else where. You definitely should be able to see a system in place to build people up from complete beginner to advanced practitioner.

3 Good Gyms and Trainers Actually Charge People: * This is a no brainer. A real business that is good at what they do charges for its services.

4 Good Gyms and Trainers have a Credible Resume: * The person or gym training you should know what they are talking about and have a credible resume you can actually fact check. In this high tech age of Smart Phones, Ipads, and Google, its easy to type in the name of a potential gym or trainer into the search bar to see if claims they make on their website actually exist. If a guy says he is a 15-0 Kickboxer who has fought in the UFC 3 times, then when googling his name nothing comes up but old pics of him and his Frat brother “Leon” hanging out on the beach during spring break, chances are he’s lying. Always do the research so you know exactly what you are paying for.

5 Good Gyms and Trainers Believe in You: * Making changes is hard, reaching goals is difficult. There are times when you will want to give up, times when you will wonder if its worth it. In those times, you need a support system, someone who believes in you and believes you can reach the goals set before you, even when you don’t believe it yourself. A good coach and good gym family will have a positive uplifting atmosphere that inspires people to be their best and reach for their goals. If you are always surrounded by negative energy or an overbearing trainer that always points out what you doing wrong but never tells you when your doing something right, its not going to be to long before you give up on your dreams of ever getting in shape or learning something new. When you choose a gym your choosing a partner to come alongside and invest in your life to help you make lifelong positive changes, so make sure you choose a gym that wants to see you succeed and believes in you instead of just looking at you as a paycheck.

KRU CHRIS CLODFELTER

EIGHT POINTS MUAY THAI

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK & TWITTER

Improving Your Muay Thai with Sparring Drills

Posted in Muay Thai, Training with tags , , , , , , , , on October 22, 2014 by Combative Corner
Chris Clodfelter Kick 1One of the best ways to really improve your overall Muay Thai is through proper Sparring and Sparring drills.  Proper Sparring is used to develop timing and distance and should focus not so much on power but on attacking and defending with good Muay Thai technique.  It is NOT a competition were you are trying to ‘beat” your partner to a pulp or show him how good you are.  It should be positive learning experience were both you and your partner are improving together.  Sometimes when your new to sparring you might draw a blank soon as the bell rings and then spend most of the time dancing around occasionally throwing a jab or leg kick.  One way to really help the “newbie” and “experienced professional” alike get the most out of each sparring session is through Sparring Drills, actually putting yourself in different situations where you take the “thinking” out of it and you just “react”.  There are tons of really good drills that a good Instructor can help you with, but today we’re only going to cover a few and hopefully give you some ideas on how to really jump start and improve your sparring sessions.  Enjoy 🙂
Teep vs Boxing:
In this drill each person has a “job”.  One person can only box or use hand techniques and the other can only Teep or Push Kick.  As one guy steps in to Jab or throw a Cross the other guy lands a Push Kick to the leg or body.  This is an EXCELLENT drill to work on timing for the Teep.  It can also be helpful to the other person cause it forces them to learn how to use their boxing effectively with out getting caught with a pushkick on the way in.  Try this drill for a couple 3 min rounds switching “jobs” each round so both guys get to work the Pushkick and the Boxing.Three for One:
This is a really fun drill that helps you really learn how to attack back in combinations opposed to only throwing single techniques the whole time.  One person can ONLY throw ONE technique (a Jab, a Cross, Teep, Round kick, ect), the other person must defend the one technique and fire right back with a 2-3 punch combo followed by a kick.  For instance, one person will throw a jab then immediately the other person defends the jab and fires back with a Jab/Cross/Round Kick.  They continue this for the whole 3 min round then switch every round.  One big rule with this one is that NO MATTER if you get hit or defend the ONE Technique you HAVE to fire right away with your Three Technique Combo so you get used to firing right back in a fight.  This is a great drill that really forces you to attack back with combinations!Round Kick vs Jab/Cross:
In this drill one person throws either a Jab or Cross and the other person counters with a round kick.  If a Left Jab is thrown it is countered immediately with a Right Round Kick to either the leg or the body, if a Right Cross is thrown it is countered with a Left Round Kick to the leg or body.  Kicking can deliver a much more powerful blow in a fight than punching but the key is finding your proper distance and timing and thats exactly what this drill will work.  In the beginning go slow and as you get the timing better you can speed the drill up a bit.

Tit for Tat:
This is by far one of my favorite drills for developing proper Muay Thai technique while also working on getting hit and firing right back.  In this drill one guy throws a 2 to 3 punch combo followed with a leg kick or body kick defends and fires right away with his own 2 to 3 punch combo followed with a leg or body kick.  This drill should feel the most like actual sparring with both guys moving around and throwing techniques like they would in a “live” sparring session.  This takes all the guessing and wondering out of it and allows you to turn your mind off and just react.  This is also a great drill for developing your combos.  When firing your 2-3 punch combos use a variety of different techniques so you don’t get stuck doing the same combos every time in “live” sparring.

With all these drills it is important that you be safe and HAVE FUN and take care of your partner, because without them YOU wouldn’t be able to train.  Every time you step out there to spar you should be learning something so relax, put the ego aside, and really work on getting better and improving.

10 Questions with Sally Arsenault

Posted in 10 Questions, Jiujitsu with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 7, 2014 by Combative Corner

Sally Arsenault CombativeCornerI (Michael Joyce, CombativeCorner Founder) came across Sally when researching jiu-jitsu uniforms and rashguards.  There were 3 things that caught my eye: (1) She’s a passionate practitioner of jiu-jitsu and it showed in her writings. (2) She doesn’t hype herself up and honestly strives for improvement on and off the mat and (3) she’s the same size and stature of my wife, Jennifer.  It’s always exciting and empowering to see dynamos in action.  After catching up with her on Facebook, she agreed to give us an interview – and we’re overjoyed and honored to add her to our Combative Corner family.

[above photo credit given to Aggro Photography]

What brought you into jiu-jitsu?

There were a lot of different things happening leading up to my trying jiu jitsu. I used to get up every morning at around six to lift weights and it was never much fun. Then my training buddy moved away and it became more of a chore than anything. I used to read some of Tucker Max’s stories on Rudius Media and a couple of the blogs he hosted covered weight lifting and Mixed Martial Arts (a few of those writers cover MMA and for Bloody Elbow now including Ben Thapa and Tim Burke). There was also a blog called The Bunny Blog by Erin Tyler. She had been getting into Muay Thai and wrote about how satisfying her training was so I began developing an interest in martial arts. Around that time I was robbed at gun point a couple of times and felt pretty vulnerable so everything kind of came together. I tried Muay Thai first but quickly switched to BJJ. Where I’m so small, it made sense to learn a martial art that a small person developed to defeat a larger person using leverage and strategy rather than strength.

Tim Burke [website]

Ben Thapa [website]

Tucker Max [website]

Erin Tyler [website]


How does jiu-jitsu add to your life off the mat?

Jiu-Jitsu has gotten me into the best shape of my life.  I’m much healthier now at 38 than I ever was at 28 or even 18.  I also met my boyfriend at jiu-jitsu, but aside from him, I find that spending my free time among people who work so hard to improve themselves has motivated me to consistently improve my life in every way.


If you had to name them right now, what would be your 3 favorite submissions?

My three favorite submissions are the triangle from guard (vide0), the belly-down arm bar (video) and the arm triangle (video).


You’re also a writer for Breaking Muscle.  How did you get that gig and what is your role there?

I injured my knee a couple of years ago and started reviewing some of the gear I had around the house.  BJJ is a sport that’s been primarily practiced by men and where I’m 5’0 and about 105 lbs, there wasn’t a lot of gear that would fit me back in the day.  I wasted a lot of money on ill-fitting gear and wanted to prevent others from doing the same.  I also started interviewing my teammates and other people in the martial arts community that I wanted to learn from so my little blog started accumulating content.  I’ve been a big fan of Breaking Muscle for a long time and when I saw that they were looking for martial artists to contribute, I submitted my blog for consideration.  MY BLOG

Initially I was a guest contributor but eventually I was kept on as a weekly contributor.  That’s actually another thing I learned from Tucker Max.  In his article, “How to: Find a Mentor (and Succeed Even if You Don’t), he said, “To earn a position, start by giving lots of work away for free: If there is a person you specifically want to work for, learn about them, figure out where they need help, do it, then give it to them.  FOR FREE.”  I feel very fortunate to be a part of the Breaking Muscle team and considering how many talented writers and athletes are out there, I’m still kind of surprised they chose me!

Tucker’s article: [link]

One of the articles that I eventually wrote for Breaking Muscle talked about life lessons I had learned.  One of them came from talk show host Kelly Ripa.  On their show one morning she was telling Regis that she was going to be on the cover of a magazine.  Regis teased her, saying wasn’t she special?  Kelly’s response was “Why not me?”  Why shouldn’t she be on the cover of a magazine?  I never actually thought they would say yes when I asked to be a contributor at Breaking Muscle but I remind myself of Kelly’s words in those situations.  Now I always ask for what I want even if it’s likely I’ll be rejected.  You never know who will say yes! Enthusiasm goes a long way.

Life Lessons article:  [link]


What do you like and dislike (if anything) about competing in jiu-jitsu/grappling tournaments?

What I really like about competing is that it’s the ultimate reality check.  No one is going to go easy on you at a tournament and if you have a skilled opponent, they will help to identify the weak areas of your game.  Training with the same people all of the time, you get into a lot of the same battles over and over again, so it’s a great way to get a fresh perspective.  I’m not a huge fan of competing but I would like to go and compete in New York or Boston at some point.  I expect that there would be more women in my division at those tournaments.


Do you supplement your jiu-jitsu training with anything?  If so, what might that be?

Yes, I supplement my BJJ training with strength training and cardio.  My training outside of BJJ varies but I basically read Joel Jamieson and William Wayland’s work and do what they say.  Joel Jamieson has coached UFC Champions like Rich Franklin and Demetrius Johnson.  He actually wrote a book called Ultimate MMA Conditioning and just came out with the Conditioning Blueprint DVD that helps athletes understand energy systems and build a training plan tailored to their performance needs.  I also use Jamieson’s BioForce HRV system to evaluate my fitness level and monitor recovery to prevent over-training.

Joel’s site: [website]

William Wayland is based int he UK and has helped guys like UFC fighter Luke Barnatt to develop knock out power in their hands, in addition to overall strength and conditioning.  He’s the author of Powering-Through and contributes regularly to Scramble’s blog.

Book: [website]

Scramble: [website]


What is your message to women in regards to studying the martial arts (or jiu-jitsu in particular)?

My message to women is to be authentic.  If you want to learn jiu-jitsu, learn jiu-jitsu.  Remember why you are there.  Be a good student and the rest will follow.

BJJ classes are usually made up of 90% men and 10% women, if you’re lucky.  There is so much content available online about women and jiu-jitsu, I would recommend they carefully consider what they buy into.  I feel the most self-aware and well-articulated insight and advice regarding women (and men) training in jiu-jitsu has been contributed by Valerie Worthington on Breaking Muscle.

Val: [website]


Are you a fan of the mixed martial arts? Why or why not?

I love mixed martial arts.  I’ve always been impressed with the innovation and heart shown by the athletes.  The UFC is coming to Halifax in October and I can’t wait!

What are your short-term martial art goals?

I teach a women’s beginner class at Titans Fitness Academy in Halifax, NS.  My short term goal is to perfect my own basic techniques and help the students in my class to do the same.  It’s so fun to learn slick, new techniques but I’m really enjoying drilling the basics again with them.  I did a study on the most common finishing moves since the inception of the Invicta Fighting Championships and it turns out that they’ve been sticking to the basics too! [link]

My women’s class info: [link]

What are some of your favorite things to do outside of the gym/dojo/mat?

I actually don’t have a lot of free time.  I work full time, I write my articles for Breaking Muscle and Jiu Jitsu Style if I have something lined up, I train and teach a few times a week and on weekends I go to visit my boyfriend and train at his club.  I’m also resuming Certified General Accountant certification classes very soon.  It’s hard to find the time to do much else.  I like to shop online if that counts.

Bonus Questions
If you were an anime character, what special power would Sally have?

I don’t know a lot about anime but I think if I had a special power it would be to make myself twice as heavy as a I look so I could squish people at BJJ.

I’d like to give a shout-out to my sponsors, if you don’t mind.

Thank you Jesse Bellevance at Killer Bee Kimonos for the amazing custom gis! You can save 15% on any custom gi with code CUSTOM15.  People can also save 10% with code FACEBOOK10 on all other Killer Bee products.  Bill Thomas at Q5 Combat supplements has also been so supportive, keeping me healthy with their amazing products. The ones I use the most are the Amass Whey Protein, Krill Oil, Joint Armour, Warrior Green, BP8 Stinger and Vitamin D3.  Shipping is free in the US and you can save 10% with code SALLY10.  Finally I’d like to thank Martin Blaise of Aggro Photography for the amazing photos he’s provided me with.

Interview with Jesse at Killer Bee: [link]

Custom Gi Preview (Women’s):  [link]

Killer Bee Gi Reveiew: [link]

Thank you very much, Michael! I wish you and your readers all the best!

FOLLOW COMBATIVE CORNER ON TWITTER & FACEBOOK

Why Practice Tai Chi? By: Sifu Herb Parran

Posted in Health, Internal Arts, Taijiquan with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 17, 2014 by Combative Corner

Herb Parran Tai Chi 2Tai Chi is practiced by ten percent of the world’s population and is vastly becoming the most popular exercise in the world. Tai Chi is a valuable tool for improving health in a corporate setting. Companies see that Tai Chi improves productivity by helping employees to be happy, relaxed, and creative.

Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese art, in the beginning it was purely used as a martial art. It was also a guarded family treasure passed down from generation to generation. Now many all over the world practice Tai Chi for health, relaxation, stress reduction and a state of well-being. There are many styles of Tai Chi, the most practiced is the Yang style. Other styles include Chen, Sun, Wu and Wu Hao, however the principles are the most important. Tai Chi is an internal art practiced slowly to gain balance, endurance and flexibility. Its form is a continuing motion from one posture to another.

Herb Parran Tai Chi 3Tai Chi differs from most arts because people of all ages can practice it. Many people with disabilities and illnesses practice Tai Chi as therapy. No one is restricted from practicing Tai Chi, and yet Tai Chi can benefit the fittest athletes, just as it benefits elderly arthritis sufferers. Tai Chi has no belt or ranking system because the benefits of Tai Chi can be felt and not seen.

By practicing Tai Chi’s relaxed movements every day, we allow the muscles to release tension on the bones. Tai Chi recognizes that the body always wants to be in most healthy posture possible.
Guidelines about fall prevention in older people from the American Geriatrics Society recommend tai chi balance puts less stress on the body throughout the day and you will find that you have more energy as Tai Chi practice improves your balance. According to a balance study conducted by Harvard and Yale University, Tai Chi practitioners fall and injure themselves only half as much as those practicing other balance training. For aging Americans, the simple act of falling can be fatal; it is the sixth largest cause of death for older Americans.

Other Benefits of Tai Chi:
• Boosts the immune system
• Slows aging process
• Lowers high blood pressure
• Increases breathing capacity
• Reduces asthmatic issues
• Alleviate stress responses & stress level
• Aids senior citizens to improve mobility
• Improves balance & coordination

Sifu Herb Parran
314-397-2560
www.TraditionalTaiji.com

%d bloggers like this: