Archive for Training

Controlling the Distance and Posture in Silat

Posted in Silat with tags , , , , , , , on January 3, 2017 by Combative Corner

Control the distance, control the fight.

maul-mornie-2Bruneian Martial Art – Silat Suffian Bela Diri is a self defence system known for their positioning and distance control to capitalise on the opponent’s structure and balance. This is one of many options.

We train/learn to move our position i.e. training basic footwork (langkah) through the use of the blade, because we assume our attacker is always armed with either an impact or edged weapon. Training with that in mind we assume that every strike that comes from the attacker that lands to our body could be fatal or could cause serious injuries.

In training we try our best NOT to get hit, the goal as a self defence system is to come out of any physical confrontation with little or no injuries but in a real situation we do expect to get hit and we have training for that as well.

This clip was from the 2 days Silat Suffian Bela Diri Seminar in Hoofddorp, Netherlands, 21st & 22nd November 2015. The seminar was organised by SSBD Dutch Group Leader Marcel Horstman, and hosted by Master Cherry Smith at www.satriamudahoofddorp.nl Thank you Ivo van Adrighem for your patience in assisting me in my demonstrations and instructions.

Maul Mornie

*post is from FB post (w/permission) from 12/12/16.

So Real… You just gotta “Play” [repost]

Posted in Jiujitsu, MMA, Philosophy with tags , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2015 by Combative Corner

Ryron Gracie - Gracie JiuJitsuBefore I started saying “Keepitplayful” I would always say “KeepItReal.”  It was something I heard on the radio and liked.  Before long I was saying it on the mat and I noticed that students interpreted that as “go for real” or “go hard.”  When you tell someone to go for real in most cases they will apply themselves at 100% to avoid having their guard passed.

I agree that you should have the confidence that you can keep someone in your guard but I also believe that keeping someone in your guard for over 30 seconds robs you of the side mount survival practice.  Because i know it is so unnatural to only control and attack guard for 30 seconds and then allow space for your opponent to pass I came up with the phrase “KeepItPlayful.”

Only someone with a playful mindset can create the experiences that are necessary for comfort in all positions.

Ryron Gracie

(reposted from Ryron’s post, “It’s so real it requires play.” 3/11/15)

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

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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.

Push Hands: Learn to Fight, Not Push

Posted in Internal Arts, Martial Arts, Self-Defense, Teaching Topic, Techniques, Training with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 11, 2014 by Combative Corner

Eli Montaigue Mountains Push Hands

By Eli Montaigue of WTBA ©2014

Push Hands, is probably one of the most misunderstood training methods in Taiji.  Most schools of taiji teach push hands for the sake of doing push hands, to beat other people at push hands.
Taiji is about learning how to defend yourself in a fight. Pushing is not fighting.  No one is going to come up to you in the street and try to push you over. They are going to punch your face in, then kick you while you’re down.

I know people who have been training in push hands for many many years, and they are very good at “push hands”. If I play push hands with them, we are of equal skill etc.
However, I have been taught to hit from push hands. With these same people, when I start to put in any kind of strikes, they have no idea what to do. Because they have only trained in how to push. They might for example push me a little off balance, which makes me react with a strike. Followed by “you can’t do that, we’re doing push hands!” This only applies to a beginner doing push hands. Of course they must do it in a certain way, to learn certain principles. But if two advanced Taiji practitioners are doing push hands? You can do what you want. You can stand there and kick me in the groin, or head but me in the face. If I cannot stop you? My push hands is not good.

Eli Push Hands 1

picture 1

Ok, so how and why do we train push hands?

First up, stance!
Most schools of Taiji teach Push Hands from the same stance as they would use in the Taiji form. See picture #1.
This is a big mistake! The large stances in the form, are there for 3 main reasons. 1, to build heat in the legs to help the flow of Qi. 2, to strengthen the legs. 3, to stretch the legs. It is for health and exercise, and is in no way meant to be used for fighting.

The big stance in push hands teaches us many bad habits.  My father Erle Montaigue, use to teach big the stance to beginners, then he would advance them onto the small stance later on.
This is how he was taught.
However, after years of teaching, he found that the big stance, although easier to learn, was teaching the student nothing but bad habits. The big stance gives you a false sense of balance. What use is it to be able to hold your balance in a big stance, when you can’t fight from a big stance. In a small stance, you are more
mobile, you can protect your groin and knees, and you are
training yourself to be able to fight from the stance you’re already in when walking down the street.
The only way to deliver force from a small stance, without losing balance, is to use the same muscles as you would to strike. Via twisting of the waist, compression and release of the spine.
Thus training your body how to strike with power.

Eli Push Hands 2

picture 2

In a big low stance, you will be more likely to be training your body in the best way to push.

There are no pushes or pulls in Taiji, as they do not have a place in self defence. Unless your opponent is standing on a cliff edge!
{See picture #2}
It’s like if you were doing 500 squats every day and
hoping it would make you a faster runner.
You have to train the muscles for the work you want them to do. When we hold a big stance, this causes us to get into a forward backward weight change.
The pusher comes forward, the receiver evades by sitting back. See picture #1 again.
What’s the first thing you learn in self defence?
When someone attacks you, don’t sit back! You are
putting yourself in a vulnerable position. See picture #2.
In a small stance, when we shift the weight, this causes us to evade to the side, maintaining our forward intent. This now changes the intent of the pushing, from you attack and I defend, to you attack and I defend by attacking! In every attack there is defence, and in every defence there is attack. Basic Yin and Yang. See picture #3 and #4. Notice the closer proximity of the players, and that in Lu #4, it is applied with an intention of sitting to the side, rather then sitting back as in Pic #1.
This means you can maintain forward intent, and truly evade the attack. Sitting back does not get you out of the way of an attack. The closer lateral evasion also puts you in a
position to re attack.
The mind set is most important in Push Hands. Even if you are doing a pushing movement, you should have the body structure and intent of striking.

Eli Push Hands 3

picture 3

Eli Push Hands 4

picture 4

Hard or soft?
Ok here is where a lot of people get things wrong. Ever heard the quote “Steel wrapped in cotton?”.
This means we should seem soft on the outside. It does not mean we do things in a soft manor.
Anyone who tells you that you can defend yourself without using any substantial force, has clearly never been put under pressure.
What we do however is to structure the body so, that we have to use very little strength to get great effect. This is what P’eng training is all about. We learn this first in single Push Hands.

For example, when I do Push Hands with a beginner, but someone with much bigger muscles than me, their arms will get sore before mine. To them it seems like I have really strong arms, not that I am all soft and jelly like. But in fact my muscles are not stronger, it’s just that I am structuring my body so that I only have to deal with half the pressure.

The pressure of the incoming push, should start soft for the student to learn. Too much pressure in the
beginning can cause the student to use bad technique. But be sure to increase this to as much pressure as you can develop, as someone attacking you is not going to do so lightly!
From the receiving part, well you should use as much pressure as you need to. As you get more advanced, this amount will get less, as you will learn to move your centre around the force coming in.
Very soft training has it’s place, this teaches us to “listen” with our hand.
But to have this as your only practice? Well that would be like learning to kick without being able stand on one leg.

When I was learning push hands, if I did something wrong, lost my balance, or opened my guard etc,
I did not get pushed over. I got punched in the side of the head! Or kicked in the groin!
Two advanced Push Hands players should look like they are having a fight, not like they are dancing.

Eli Push Hands 5

picture 5

Ok now onto attacks.
In the beginning, for students learning the ground work for Push Hands, we do some “pushing” attacks. This teaches the beginner how the hold up a strong guard, stay grounded and move their centre out of the way of the
incoming force.
Then the power speed and aggression of the attacks are increased gradually, till they are full real attacks. Any type of attack can be put into push hands, from a practical cross punch, (see picture #5) to a silly back spinning kick to the head. It is most important not to see Push Hands as a competition!
It is a training method. Yes you try your best to hit the other guy, so you could say that you are trying to beat him. However, what you have to do in your push hands, is to use all types of attacks, not just the ones you’re best at. For example, if I was competing, I would only use the techniques that I knew were best for me. But this would not give my partner a very rounded training.

I would never throw a back spinning kick in a competition, because I know it is not my forte.
Same with grappling, I would not use this if I wanted to beat the other guy.
But I will use them in training, so that my partner gets to train against them. I still throw the attack as best I can, trying to catch my partner out. But knowing that due to the fact that I am throwing an easily defeated attack, I will most likely be the one to get hit. I have tested this one many people. They only train practical attacks, then they get hit by the silly attacks, because they are not use to them.

Eli Push Hands 6

picture 6

In defence though it is different. You see if you attack, you are not reacting, you have made a conscious choice to attack. But if you are defending, you are reacting to
something your partner is doing. And when you are training your subconscious to react, you want to train it in the most practical way that will be best for protecting yourself in the street.

Your first reaction in a situation should be to strike.

It is the quickest and most likely way to protect yourself. See picture #6. In my opinion, other methods such as arm/wrist locks, sleeper holds etc, should only be used when you know you have control of the situation. Perhaps there is a drunk guy in the pub, you have some mates there, you know there’s no real danger. So you would try to take care of the guy without doing too much damage.
But someone breaks into your home and catches you off guard, you have to protect your family. So your first reaction should be to strike. This is why we practice our locks and holds from the attacking part of push hands.

So to consolidate, if you have been training in push hands for anymore than a year, but don’t feel comfortable when someone is throwing punches at you, then your push hands has not done its job.
As I said at the top, what use is a training method that only makes you good at doing the training method.

Eli Push Hands 001

Eli is a guest writer for the CombativeCorner.  If you enjoyed this article, please check out the others that he’s done for us.

10 Questions with Eli Montaique

Standing Three Circle Qigong

Special thanks to Francesca Galea, Leigh Evans, and Lars-Erik Olsen, for appearing in the pictures

Proof read by Francesca Galea
Written by Eli Montaigue 04/12/2014

© Eli Montaigue 2014

____________________________________________________________________


eli montaigue profileEli Montaigue is a man of many talents.  He’s the chief instructor of the World Taiji Boxing Association, inherited from his late, legendary father-teacher Erle Montaigue and also the lead singer of the band Powder Monkeys.  Originally from NSW, Australia he currently resides in London, England.  Intent on spreading quality martial art teaching, he conducts many workshops throughout the year, locally and internationally.  For more information, visit the WTBA website at www.taijiworld.com

THE FOUNDATION OF ALL COMBAT : CONDITIONING

Posted in Mixed Martial Arts, Muay Thai, Teaching Topic, Training with tags , , , , , , on August 21, 2014 by Combative Corner

chris conditioningThe Empire State Building is one of the tallest and most historic buildings in the United States. For decades it has towered high above the New York skyline and stood as a testament to the innovative spirit of our culture, but this American “giant” could not have stood the test of time if it weren’t for one thing, a secure and solid foundation. Before you can build something that will last you must first lay a strong foundation to build upon.

This rings true to many things in life, especially in the Martial Arts. Most often when people think of “laying the foundation” in any Martial Art, they immediately think of basic stance, footwork, techniques, etc, but there is one huge building block that many forget about. In fact this “building block” should actually be the corner stone that supports the rest of the building. This building block is Conditioning. Conditioning refers to the fitness of the body, but more importantly the bodies ability to adapt and perform particular strenuous activities with relative ease over time with the proper sport specific training. Having and, more importantly, maintaining a proper level of fitness and conditioning is imperative to excelling in any martial art or combat sport. You must have the strength to throw punches, or the gas in the gas tank to throw kicks when you see an opening. It is even important in basic self defense. A person who is in shape and conditioned, will be much less of a target to an attacker. If attacked, they will have the speed to run away to safety, or worse case scenario their body will be stronger so they can survive the attack. Improving your fitness and conditioning is the first step to anyone’s journey in the martial arts.

Chris Clodfelter Knee Muay ThaiThere are many ways to improve your fitness and conditioning but one of the best ways to really improve your actual “fighting” conditioning is through “fighting” drills. The first drill is fast/hard drills. You can do this drill with a partner holding focus mitts/thai pads or by yourself on a punching bag. Start in a fighting stance in front of the bag or your partner holding the mitts, and throw continuous jab/crosses for 30 second intervals. The first 30 seconds throw the jab/crosses fast with little to no power working speed, then the next 30 seconds throw the jab/crosses slower and harder really working on your power. Repeat these 30 second intervals back and forth for an entire 3 minute round. You can also do this same drill with kicks, throwing fast round kicks for 30 seconds working speed followed by slamming 30 seconds of slower, harder kicks for power, then repeat. Another really good “fighting” drill to work your “fighting” conditioning is mixing exercises such as jump squats or push ups in with your bag work or pad work. Stand in a fighting stance in front of the bag or partner holding pads, then throw a hard Jab/Cross/Round Kick then drop down and pump out 10-20 push ups as fast as you can, then immediately jump to the feet and throw another hard combo, and follow it with 10-15 jump squats, then back to throwing a combo on the bag. Repeat this for an entire 3 minute round. The last conditioning drill is a popular drill all Muay Thai fighters use to build the stamina needed for a hard 5 round fight, Skipping Knees (Running man knees) on the bag. Stand in front of the bag, grabbing it with both hands at head level, and drive your knee straight into the bag, then skip and drive your other knee hard into the bag. Continue skipping and alternating your knees into the bag for the entire round. This drill is often called “Running man” knees because it resembles the “Running Man” dance.

Here is a sample workout you can use to really help jump start your conditioning routine. The work out consist of 5 rounds of anywhere from 1-3 minutes, depending on your current fitness level, incorporating some of the drills we’ve talked about. Beginners should do this work out in rounds of 1 minute, those with decent fitness should do the work out in rounds of 2-3 minutes.

Remember to always consult your doctor before starting any kind of conditioning program.

Round 1: Fast/Hard Punches
-30 seconds fast punches/followed by 30 seconds slower harder punches
-repeat for 3 minutes (1min for beginners)

Round 2: Fast/Hard Kicks
-30 seconds fast round kicks/followed by 30 seconds hard power round kicks
-repeat for 3 minutes (1 min for beginners)

Round 3: Jab/Cross/Kick/Jump Squats
-Throw Jab/Cross/Kick on the bag, perform 15 jump squats
– Repeat Combo and jump squats for entire 3 minute round (1 min for beginners)

Round 4: 10 Punches/10 Pushups
-Throw 10 hard fast alternating left/right punches on the bag, followed by 10 push ups
-repeat for entire 3 min round (1 min for beginners)

Round 5: Running Man Knees
-Throw alternating left/right continuous knees into the bag for the entire 3 min round (1 min for beginners)

CHRIS CLODFELTER

EIGHT POINTS MUAY THAI

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Make Your Own Quarterstaff

Posted in Miscellaneous, Training, Training Equipment, Weapons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 26, 2014 by chencenter

QuarterstaffIntroducing the newest weapon to my armory, the English Quarterstaff.  I don’t know how this fine weapon eluded me for so many years, but thanks to a fencing student of mine, I’ve found a new training tool.  Pictured here, in the lovely arms of my wife Jenny, is the might beast itself… a weapon constructed for no more than $12 USD.

Before I proceed, Jenny wants me to apologize for the mess in the background.  But you, my friends know – how could I possibly have the chance to fold clothes AND construct a weapon of such beauty?  The answer had to be, “The staff comes first.”

For those that aren’t familiar, wikipedia defines the Quarter staff as such:

A quarterstaff (plural quarterstaves), also short staff or simply staff is a traditional European pole weapon and a technique of stick fighting, especially as in use in England during the Early Modern period.

The term is generally accepted to refer to a shaft of hardwood from 6 to 9 feet (1.8 to 2.7 m) long, sometimes with a metal tip, ferrule, or spike at one or both ends. The term “short staff” compares this to the “long staff” based on the pike with a length in excess of 11 to 12 feet (3.4 to 3.7 m).

HOW TO MAKE ONE YOURSELF

quarterstaffIt started with a trip to Lowes Home Improvement, where I picked up an 8′ dowel rod 1 and 1/4th inches thick (made of poplar).  The price of this was only $7.50.  My next trip was over the the Dollar General, whereby I purchased one double-pack of household sponges and one black oven mitt.  As you might be able to work out yourself, this turn out to be $2.12.  My final stop was Michael’s, just next door in the ol’ shopping center.  Michael’s is a craft store and one in which I was only after one particular item – twine rope ($2.43).

When you get home and lay out all your supplies, the simplicity of the task is likely to smack you right in the face.

A few optional items that I used (that you may want to use yourself) were duct tape, a rubber chair end (1 & 1/4inch) and a walnut-color wood stain [again, going for more of an “antique-y” look].

  • After staining the wood and allowing it to dry, I taped the sponges to the end of the staff.  This gave it a soft, round, end, with quite a bit of cushion to it.
  • Then I positioned the black, oven mitt to the end (pushing the thumb inside-out) and tightly taping the lower half of the mitt to the staff.
  • Since the tape is rather “modern” and unattractive to look at, I meticulously wrapped the twine rope around the lower portion of the mitt.  This was a time-consuming process (approx. 45min – 1 hour) and obviously could be omitted if one wished.
  • Lastly, I applied a rubber chair end/stopper to the end of the staff.  I figured that if the staff was ever to be dropped or handled roughly, this would minimize splitting and damaging of the staff’s aesthetic.

THE PERFECT WORK-OUT

Needless-to-say, this quick and inexpensive project produced a superb training tool.  After only one hour of practice, my arms were killing me.  I’d be surprised to find a martial art weapon that works the arms and core like pole weapon training.

Good luck in the construction of your own! Please let me know if you have any questions or comments below.

MICHAEL JOYCE

WSFENCING.INFO

 

 

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