Archive for fighting

The Art of Aikido in these Modern Times

Posted in Aikido, Martial Arts, Training with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 11, 2016 by Combative Corner

Gary Boaz

Over the last several years I’ve talked a lot about how I believe that the way aikido is taught falls drastically short of modern practicality. This has led to many misunderstandings. I’ve been accused of saying that aikido doesn’t work in modern times. That’s ridiculous. I wouldn’t waste 25 years of my life on something that doesn’t work. What I am saying is that I believe in the principles of aikido. Where today’s teachers fall short is in the presentation. If aikido is to survive, even to evolve we have to address the modern fighter. We have to train against hooks, jabs, uppercuts, knees, elbows, the groundfighter as well as modern weapons. I recently dug up an article discussing this and these next video clips will go along with those themes. 

If you want more examples of aikidoka doing this, check out Lenny Sly A former Tenshin practitioner, Sly is advancing his own aikido with what he refers to combative concepts. It’s great stuff. A word of warning, his videos aren’t always safe for younger ears or if you are at work. Regardless, his stuff works.

Sensei Gary Boaz

Reposted with Permission from Facebook

The other side of the coin to the traditional munetsuki kotegaeshi. Please don’t think I’m saying that kotegaeshi doesn’t work. That’s not what I’m saying. Quite the opposite. Apply the principles to a modern attack and see what happens. Get your butt outside the freaking box folks!

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Boxing; The Sweet Science

Posted in Boxing, History, Martial Arts, Miscellaneous, Styles with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 30, 2015 by Adam Thornburg

Boxing Sweet Science 2

Boxing Greek Fresco

image: wikipedia.org

Boxing is one of the oldest sports and martial arts ever. It has been in evolution since ancient Egypt but it’s modern form started around 1867 when the introduction of gloves and the removal of wrestling from the sport happened. The picture on the left is a Greek fresco painting depicting two youths boxing with gloves – the earliest documented source of ‘gloved’ boxing.  Since then boxing has kept evolving and each generation improves on something from the last.

Yet some things are still lost in the process.

Modern boxing, like modern fencing, and many other martial arts seem to only want the most athletic and naturally talented, and those qualities are the most prized now. There has been a diminishing in the amount of science put into the “sweet science” of boxing.  Most people agree that a fighter reaches his/her prime between 25-28 years of age.  These same people agree that most fighters should consider “putting up the gloves” around 34 or 35 years of age.

Fortunately there are still people like Bernard Hopkins (age: 50), Floyd Mayweather Jr.(age: 38), and Juan Manuel Marquez (age: 42) who seem to carry on some of the old traditions, and incidentally they seem to be the longest lasting champions around.

So maybe there is some merit in learning some old school boxing.

It may not always put on the “blood bath” that so many casual fans want to see, but it is better boxing.

Jack DempseyFirst let’s hear from one the most popular boxers that ever lived; Jack Dempsey. The Manassa Mauler was the hero of the twenties – known for an aggressive, smothering and powerful style of boxing.  As if he had dynamite in both hands, he fought heavyweights much bigger than him, and chopped them down with his skills.

“Tall men come down to my height when I hit’s in the body.”

-Jack Dempsey

We can learn from him many principles of developing power and proper punching technique (book link). As someone who started as what one might call “The bouncer of the wild west,” he has a technique to fight with or without gloves and importantly, how to keep ones’ hands safe.

From his book Championship Fighting he tells us about the power line of the arm. What is the power line?

“The power line runs from either shoulder straight down the length of the arm to the fist knuckle of the little finger, when the fist is doubled. You might call that pinky knuckle the exit of your power line.”

This may seem strange as we seem to be told to use the first two knuckles to punch with, but (bear with me) there is good reason in Jack Dempsey’s technique. He goes on to say:

“Unfortunately, however, the hand-bone behind the little knuckle is the most fragile of the five. It can be broken the most easily. You must not attempt to land first with the little knuckle. Instead you must try to land with the ring finger knuckle first.”

I have tried this myself in my boxing training, and it works well. When the front two knuckles are used even when the hand is fully rotated it bends the wrist, so it puts stress on it in addition to allowing power to leak out (via the bending of the wrist).  Strikes leading with the ring finger knuckle allows a straight shot down the arm through the hand and into the target.  Also it protects the thumb from getting jammed as easily.

Jack Blackburn

image: bleacherreport.com

Let’s move on to what we can learn from possibly the greatest trainer in history; Jack Blackburn. He trained the two greatest fighters of all-time; Joe Louis and Sugar Ray Robinson. Both of the these dominate champions learned the sweet science from Blackburn who was quite the boxer himself in his younger years.  He retired from boxing with a record of 99 wins, 26 losses, and 19 draws with notable fights with Joe Gans, Sam Langford and Harry Greb.  The classic stance (the Blackburn crouch) is used by both these champions and offers great defense.

The Blackburn Crouch

image: ianstreetz.com

image: ianstreetz.com

The head is tucked and tilted off the centerline so it automatically harder to hit and the tucking of the chin helps absorb the blows that do get through. The right hand is up in front of your jaw and mouth and is used to catch, and sometimes reach slightly to parry incoming shots while countering with the jab. You are controlling the opponent with both hands. The crouch promotes ease of head movement as well. Blackburn also emphasized footwork.  And yes, it is possible to have good footwork that doesn’t look like Muhammad Ali. There are many types of footwork and the one that Blackburn taught Joe Louis helped his style of fighting. He turned Louis into a boxer-puncher using small sliding and shuffling steps that allowed Louis to plant his feet quickly to deliver his stunning power shots. He used short steps to move around his opponents so even though his feet may not have been as fast he used them efficiently to make angles quickly.

A great modern example of these principals in work is Bernard Hopkins. He has a very similar stance, and way of fighting as  Joe Louis and Sugar Ray Robinson.  He has beaten more athletic and talented fighters consistently through his use the “Sweet Science.”

Great boxing still exists.  And if you look hard enough you can see the nuts and bolts, the years of toil, blood, sweat and tears.  If you are keen enough on the combative sciences, you may even see the interweaving of boxing’s past in the present.

Adam Thornburg

Boxing Student & Contributing Author

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The Education of Conor McGregor

Posted in Fighters, Mixed Martial Arts, MMA, Philosophy, ULTIMATE FIGHTING with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 16, 2015 by chencenter

Conor McGregor 2

In the mixed martial art world, people are still buzzing from Conor McGregor’s phenomenal 13-second victory over featherweight, undefeated champion Jose Aldo in UFC 194.  Some people may still be mumbling under their breath with distain, others may be scratching their head in confusion, but talent truly shines and at the moment, Irishman Conor McGregor is the beacon of mixed martial arts.  Currently he is 19-1-2, with his last defeat being 5 years ago/14 fights ago.

“…I see these shots, I see these sequences and I don’t shy away from them.. (if you do this) you are creating that Law of Attraction and it will become reality… I knew he’d (Jose Aldo) over-extend and I knew I’d catch him.”

But as crafty, confident and technical he is – there’s a higher level of skill that is being seen by all.  Easy to quote, easy to grasp (an understanding of), but hard to possess, is this melding of confidence, self-assuredness, courage, visualization, movement variation, and adaptability (to name a few).  So many people have put the mental aspect of fighting aside from “the game.”  The MMA world is full of fit and conditioned bodies, all striving to climb the ladder of success.  Few fighters strive to be different, try different things; some lack the courage or belief.  Perhaps with the growth of this 27-year old fighter from Dublin, the level of competition will reach an even greater height.

“If you can see it here (points to his brain) and you have the courage to speak it, it will happen.”

Bruce Lee said, “The way you think is the way you will become.”  He also said, more famously, “…Be (like) water.”  If you internalize what many of these teachers have said, believe it, and strive for perfection – success will come.  This is a lesson for all of us and something applicable to many factors in Life like; relationships, business and (in this case) sport & performance.

“Doubt is only removed by action.  If you’re not working, that’s when doubt comes in.”

Belief is not enough.  Anything that we require in life requires work.  But even when you’ve got belief and put in the work, how many of you continue to visualize failure? How many people continue to harbor the stressors that come with thinking “What if…”?

“…winners focus on winning. Winners focus on what they can control.  …Losers focus on winners.  People ask, did you learn anything (from Ronda, etc)… although I learned from watching the contest, the technical aspect of it… I already felt like the top before tonight.”

One thing that many people saw from the video that the UFC put out prior to the Dec. 12th event, was the huge amount of psychological warfare that Conor placed on Jose.  By watching the video (posted below), you can see the eagerness and tension building between the two combatants – but Conor, the aggressor, remains calm (if you want to call it that).  It’s the same taunting and prophesizing that helped give Muhammad Ali the legendary status he has today.  The only problem is you now have two fighters vying for the title “Greatest of all-time”  (Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor).  Floyd has a good argument as to why he should be (and we’ll explore that in another post), but with Conor, time will tell.  Even in an interview, LA Media Scrum (by MMAfigtingonSBN), Conor’s girlfriend wrote on his water bottle, “G.O.A.T.” Conor believes it, Conor’s girlfriend believes it, and in due time the world will as well.

But somehow it seems destined with Conor “Mystic Mac” predicting outcomes so precisely.  Here is what he said in UFC 194 : Exbedded on FOX (timestamp 3:10) –

“We’ll collide at that first exchange and that will be it.”

There have been many fighters to predict rounds, but how many have predicted one to the amount of exchanges?  It’s quite alright if you want to chalk it up to luck, that for someone who speaks so much will stumble on some truth – even a broken clock is right two times a day… but at some point, it goes to show you that mentally, if you open up and fully embrace this formula of success and are prepared to put in the hard work, the universe will manifest itself to you.

“Precision beats power, timing beats speed.”

When I heard this last quote,  I immediately thought of Bruce Lee.  Then I remember thinking, did this just come from a 27-year old fighter?  Because it sounded like it came from a physicist, or movement coach trying to boil things down to a simple understanding.  I was told that it came from Goethe.  Whoever said it first doesn’t matter.  The mark it makes does; and now it’s on the lips and minds of many.

conor-mcgregor-vs-hafthor-julius-bjornsson-of-game-of-thrones-fame-as-the-mountainBut the more I thought about this, the more I loved this quote because of its truth and relevance to the 13-second fight I just witnessed.  In Conor’s training we saw him playing body shots with The Mountain (aka. Gregor Clegane – real name, Hafthor Julius Bjornsson), from Game of Thrones (6’9, 400 lbs.), movement pattern work with Ido Portal and even snuffing out the flame of candles set about the room, with his punches (and kicks).

(Regarding the candles) Anyone who has ever tried this knows that it requires expert precision and tremendous quickness in order to pull this off.  In fighting, timing/rhythm will greatly disrupt, or stop an opponent’s effectiveness in attack or halt the opponent’s ability to start an attack.  If your timing is refined to the point that it enables you to move (and in this case, move and counter) at the very beginning of your opponent’s attack, the quickness of your attacker becomes of little concern.  It brings me back to Bruce Lee’s clip on Longstreet in which he says, “This time I intercepted your emotional tenseness.  From your brain to your fist, how much time was lost.” {CC article}

“When you face me, it’s a whole other ballgame.”

The message that Conor delivers in this statement, punctuates his determinedness, skill, undeniable confidence and flair – at the same time, alluding to the fact that those that face him are better fighters afterwards.  It depends on how you take it (losing).  But win or lose, there is something to learn, something to gain.  But what you should know is that when you fight Conor McGregor, you getting the whole Conor and you better not come to the fight with a singular approach – because that is just not going to work!

MICHAEL JOYCE

MENTIONED VIDEO

RELATED ARTICLE

CONOR McGREGOR’S #1 TRAIT

BRUCE LEE: ‘THE ART OF DYING” {PLUS VIDEO}

CONOR McGREGOR vs. THE MOUNTAIN

This is Push Hands

Posted in Internal Arts, Taijiquan, Training with tags , , , , , on December 28, 2014 by Combative Corner

For the first time, there is a complete video on YouTube regarding a martial, practical form of Push Hands (they way it was meant to be*).  Of course the late, great Erle Montaigue has dvds, and video clips on this extraordinary method, however now, his son Eli has put the movements together in one video whereby we can observe the progression and gain insight on how and why certain things are done.

Obviously many taijiquan practitioners are going to differ on this, but this important video is for those students and instructors who wish to impart an approach that more closely resembles the realities of combat, while at the same time testing your balance, posture, technique, etc.

For Eli’s in-depth article on Push Hands, click: Push Hands: Learn to Fight, not Push

* This summary was written by and reflects the opinion of taijiquan instructor Michael Joyce.

What’s Your Question For Lee Morrision

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 2, 2013 by Combative Corner

lee morrisonLee Morrison is one of the world’s best when it comes to teaching Combatives.  We’ve been in communication lately and after he finishes his workshops in Australia, he’ll answer our questions.

Please write your comment below

or write it in the comment section on our Facebook.

The Combative Crew

HFM : The Rise of a Fighting Methodology

Posted in Miscellaneous, Philosophy, Self-Defense, Training with tags , , , , , , , , on October 30, 2012 by hybridfightingmethod

The time for self-defense is over. Self-defense is dis-empowering and it is NOT what we do in the Hybrid Fighting Method (HFM). We are a fighting method – not a self-defense system. What is the difference? Well, let’s first look at what ‘self-defense’ actually means.

Self-defense means “to defend one’s self”…. which leads you naturally to the question – from what? When you think of self-defense, what image do you conjure up in your head? If you are anything like me, you conjure up an image of someone attacking you – maybe punching you, maybe stabbing you with a knife, maybe someone pinning you down on the bed – usually trying to stop someone from hurting you. You are the recipient of an action – a helpless and hapless victim – doing your very best to assuage your own demise. You are only ever reacting to what is being thrust upon you; forever one step behind until it’s too late to help yourself.

That’s what self-defense is. The very idea dis-empowers you from the start. A successful combative methodology ENABLES you to action, it doesn`t DISABLE you from it.

When you think of fighting, what image(s) do you conjure up in your head? Maybe with the popularity of combat sports these days, you think of two combatants in a ring or cage fighting for sport. And that is partially the case. The leading definition of FIGHTING is: “taking part in a violent struggle involving the exchange of physical blows or the use of weapons.” (Dictionary.com) A fight, for our purposes, can therefore be defined as A VIOLENT STRUGGLE.

Already you imagine yourself as a proactive part of your own survival. You are enabled. You are on the offense. You are a fighter…a survivor

What are you fighting for? A person who would attack you could want a number of things – your property, your body, your life. You’re not going to let them take those things from you, you’re going to fight! But how do you fight? That’s where we come in. Just like you need a specific tool for a specific job, you too need to choose an appropriate system for your life.

Are you a soldier? Carrying around an M16, dodging bullets day-in and day-out. Infiltrating terrorist cells and narrowly missing the end of your life due to IED explosions?

Are you a mixed martial arts fighter, training 4, 5, 6 or more hours a day getting in the best shape of your life for a title fight in 8 weeks? A fight with rules, a referee, a doctor on standby?

Or are you a normal person. You live in a house or an apartment or a condo, and you live your day to day life driving your car, taking the subway, working in an office, going shopping, going to the movies, and hanging out with your friends on weekends. It doesn’t make sense to learn how to fight like a soldier in a foreign desert. It doesn’t make sense to learn how to be a world champion athlete, when what you need is a way of fighting that was designed for an urban environment. Designed for your life. Designed just for you.

Military systems like Krav Maga or Systema, and sport combat systems like Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are great…..but you find yourself in elevators, in bedrooms, in line-ups, in coffee shops, shopping mall parking lots – and these are all places that attacks happen. In fact, the number one location in frequency for sexual assaults is your very own home. You will only ever be attacked in the place that you are. And you can’t limit yourself with the rules inherent in some of these “self-defense” systems, or you are already dead.

The Hybrid Fighting Method (HFM) was specifically designed in an urban environment for an urban environment. And at the end of the day, soldiers and cage fighters need to come home to an urban environment, too.

In HFM we begin by instilling a survivalist mindset – enabling you to overcome any mental obstacles that would hinder your fight. Then we teach you how to impose your will on a would-be attacker – shutting them down quickly and confidently in ways you never dreamed that you could. And make no mistake – you can! And finally, we teach you what are called “defensive tactics” – which simply means how to deal with what is being thrown at you while you shut your attacker down.

Learn the Hybrid Fighting Method and you will transform into an urban fighter – and also become the most dangerous person you know.

T.J. Kennedy

HYBRID FIGHTING METHOD

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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