Friday, March 11, 2016

New Blog - Please Update!

Faithful readers, honored guests, I'm writing to announce my new blog, that will replace this one. There will be a broader range of topics, and hopefully be more fulfilling for me, and more interesting for you. I'll still keep up with martial arts training logs, but will also be blogging about general health and fitness, nutrition, prepping, and whatever else. I'll leave this site up as an archive, but I don't plan to post on this site any more. 

With that, you are cordially invited to update your bookmarks, and head over to my new Fit to Live blog at

Cheers, see you on the new blog!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Krav Maga, 3/10/16

Today the warmup wasn't as intense. We had a smaller class size too (four students today vs eight on Tuesday, but the rain may have something to do with it).

First we worked on an arm drag drill, then did a "head block" or "head catch" or something off a one-handed collar tie. Basically, uke puts one hand behind your head, and that forearm on your clavicle, for control. You turn your body, catch his arm as you escape it, and ram the top of your head into the side of his (for gravy you can step behind him for a trip / gedan ate kind of thing). In both the arm drag and head thing, the guy's reaction of pulling away from you (or trying to stop you) just helps you do the technique on him. Aikido, anyone?

Next we worked on one guy doing an arm drag into a rear naked choke. Then into a bear hug from the rear (under the arms). For the bear hug variation, the other guy would counter by:

  • Dropping his weight
  • Throwing alternating back elbows to the attacker's head, until enough space is created to....
  • Turn around and push his head into place for an enthusiastic knee strike, hammerfist, etc
Then we moved on to a standard pummeling drill, working on footwork, and imposing our will vs flowing with our partner's energy. There were karate-like ideas here, of being relaxed until it was time to exert. Relax while pummeling, then BAM into the guy as we come into position.

Lastly we worked on three different ways to deal with a muay thai clinch, and drilled them back and forth a good bit:
  1. The "CPR" technique; Put one hand over an arm and one hand under, both on his chest like you're doing CPR on him, and push away. When space is made, get him into a clinch of your own, and he does it to you.
  2. Reach around the back of the guy's head and secure an ear (or eye, or whatever). Then with the other hand, grab under his cross-side elbow, and twist both like a big steering wheel. Difficult to resist! Then secure a clinch of your own and it's his turn.
  3. If you can't do either of those, use a hand to spear between your head and his, and push his face away by his eye region (kind of like gyakugamae ate). Replace with your own clinch, and trade turns. 
We ended the class by putting it all together. Flow drills, to help get lots of reps and build reaction time.

As I drove to the class today, I could not get the smile off my face, in anticipation of training. As I came back, I was wishing I had spent the last several months doing krav instead of BJJ.

Krav Maga, 3/8/16

So I went to the trial class Tuesday, and really enjoyed it. We started with an intense warmup. Actually, it was less of a warmup and more of a "wring you out" session. The stretching portion afterwards was heaven compared to the conditioning.

We drilled foot movement in all directions, and a 1-2 punch combination focusing on body rotation. Then we partnered up to work the following drills with focus mitts:

  • 1-2 punch to focus mitts, then step off the line to a safer position (while practicing footwork)
  • Same thing, followed by the mitt holder shooting for a double-leg takedown
  • Same thing, adding an "arm block" to defend the takedown
  • Same thing, following the arm block with an arm entanglement and counter attacks to finish

Next we did a choke-from-the-rear defense which was similar to what I've done in aikido and judo, except instead of ending with a waki-gatame or takedown, there were more knees to the face, etc to finish.

Then we did a similar drill when the rear choke is replaced with a knife to the throat. Like in aikido with Pat, a knife can change things real quick. The drill ends with bad guy getting stuck with his own knife.

At the end of class, we put it all together. One guy would be in the middle of his group and perform the following, in sequence:
  • 1-2 punch to a guy holding mitts...
  • ...after which a different guy tries to double-leg you, and you have to defend, arm entangle, and finish.....
  • which point, guy #3 either chokes you from behind or holds a knife to your throat, and you deal with that as practiced.

It was all nicely paced and controlled, but still intense. Seemed like a good group of people, and there were no thugs, like I've found (at least a few of) in BJJ classes.  I joined the school, and I'm going to my next class in a few minutes!  I guess for now I'm a Krav practitioner!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Sad Tidings, and New Developments

There have been a few recent developments in my martial arts life; man, things are always interesting and challenging. After the euphoria of getting to pursue Judo again (alongside BJJ) on my lunch hours, it was quite a blow when my Corporate Overlords (good call, Pat) decided to tighten up our lunch schedules at work.

For the past 6 years, as long as everyone got their work done, it didn't matter how long we took for lunch. No one cared. Last week, all that changed. Doing several BJJ classes, and Judo study sessions per week, was taking 2+ hours for lunch (driving time, class, showering, etc). So my work friend and I had to cancel our gym memberships at the BJJ place, which is also the space we used to practice Judo a couple times a week. In a nutshell, my throwing and grappling studies sadly ground to a halt.

I'm not complaining, I know I still have it better than most people do, with the job I have, and they had every right to tweak their expectations. I take SOME comfort in the fact I'll still be able to pursue karate, but that progress has been slow.

The powers that be aren't completely locking down lunches to one hour - we can get a little more, we just have to make up the time elsewhere. But they still don't want us gone for 2 hours.

It was crushing me to have to halt lunchtime martial arts, but there is a possible solution.  There is a Krav Maga school 6 minutes from where I work. The schedule is good, they have lunch classes, and the classes are only an hour, so I can do a few classes per week, and just work 30 minutes late on those days. They also have some classes that start 15 minutes after I get off work so those are possibilities too. The lineage is good too; it's in the "Fit to Fight" organization, which split off from KM Worldwide. The head of the organization was a high ranking guy under Darrin Levine of KMWW.

I've always had some interest in Krav / Combatives / "Reality Based" arts. The only thing I really don't care for about them, is how *in general* a lot of their practitioners pooh-pooh the value of traditional martial arts (some of which is justified, but they paint with too broad a brush for my taste). When it comes to martial arts, I don't get into the exclusivity, the "my art is better than all others" mentality. Of course I had to deal with that in BJJ as well. I learned from Pat, "all martial arts are the same". ;-)    There's something to be learned from all of them.

I'll continue to study karate, but I'm going to a trial Krav class today, to see how it goes. I'll report back here!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Judo, 2/22/16

Today Mitch and I worked on all yellow belt throws for him. He's getting really good at them, and consistently throws me with hiza. I went through all yellow, orange, and green belt throws. I'm feeling much better at ukigoshi, which used to really frustrate me. I threw some very nice-feeling taiotoshis today too, and practiced transitioning into an armbar on either side, depending on how uke reacted after being thrown.

We spent the last third of our time with vigorous ground randori. Worked up a great sweat!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Study Group, 2/16/16

Today Mitch worked exclusively on his yellow belt throws (osoto, deashi, kosoto, and hiza). We were both really getting some good hiza gurumas today! I worked on all of those, plus all orange (ukigoshi, seoinage, sasae, and koshiguruma) and green belt (kouchi, ouchi, ogoshi, and taiotoshi) throws. That was a lot of throwing, so it was mainly a review, spending more time on the ones that felt wonky. Probably the wonkiest one for me today was ouchi, for some reason. Sometimes I nailed it, other times, it was a miserable failure, haha.

Today we actually went through lesson 1 (all 4 "slices") of the Gracie Combatives curriculum. We did the standard Trap and Roll, punch block variation, headlock variation, and open guard pass. Mitch hasn't seen the videos yet, but he will watch them before the next time we practice. Then we'll ad the Reflex Development Drill to the end of it.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Judo Study Group, 2/11/16

Sorry in advance for the short update today; super busy!  We reviewed all yellow belt throws again, and went over all orange belt throws. I tried a few reps or okuriashibarai, but I'm gonna need a lot more practice with that one!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Judo Study Group, 2/10/16

We went through all yellow belt throws today, as well as ippon seoinage and sasae tsurikomi ashi.  Everything felt really good. We practiced kosotogari from a failed deashi, the way Pat originally taught it to me, and I think I have better success with it that way.

We ended the class with light, standing randori. It was fun, and I got a very slick kibisu geashi. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Judo Study Group, 2/1/16

Today we went through all yellow belt throws, sasae tsurikomi ashi, seoinage, koshiguruma, ogoshi, and ukigoshi.

Polished it off with light standing-to-ground randori.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Study Group, 1/28/16

We got LOTS of reps of the yellow belt throws (osoto, deashi, kosoto, and hiza). Then we worked on sasae tsurikomi ashi for a good while. This is one I have limited experience with, but I felt like it was going ok! We ended with 10 reps each of ippon seoinage.

Nothing but live rolling today. Oh, I also showed Mitch how to do an arm triangle choke.