Wrestling to Lunge: Mechanics of Speed

As part of our usual rotation, last night’s unarmed portion of the class was a wrestling focus. We started with a variation on the fireman’s throw, and then worked some ground defenses. We had a lot of fun, and when the time came to pick up the swords…it looked like everyone still wanted to do a little more wrestling. So I asked what the group wanted…and we spent the entire night working on wrestling. In the last hour I introduced some new guards. We moved from the closed guard to the butterfly and x-guard, and talked about different grapevines. We started to work with the omoplata, but stopped short of using it as an entry point for the more usual bar hammerlock. The class wrapped with a lively session of sumo wrestling, which really showed the development everyone has gone through. After months of work, everyone is starting to show…

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Better than Better

I’m not sure how anyone can have the smug confidence that what they are doing is one hundred percent the right thing. I do believe in self-confidence…what I’m talking about is the confidence that allows you to feel like you have the right to criticize someone else’s approach to western martial arts. People who have only a few years exposure, a decade at most, flippantly sorting people into slots and patting each other on the back over interpretations of a long dead art that is only just starting to see real signs of coming back to life. I’ve learned a lot watching the UFC grow and change. It was clear from the beginning that BJJ was the ultimate art, and no one who trained in anything else, or trained in any other way, had a hope in hell. Wrestling was for muscle-bound lunkheads, completely misguided by their incorrect training. Striking…

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Not Quite Flamenco

Just a quick update today. Off early to work. Jobs care not for the aches of muscles, it seems… Took the opportunity to work with some of the material from Puck and Mary Curtis’s “From the Page to the Practice” overview of Spanish Destreza in class last night. The footwork was already familiar to the students, so I took about ten minutes to demonstrate the four general techniques and have the students drill them out a bit. Straightforward and easy to understand, everyone picked it up really fast. We moved on to slow work immediately, trying to chain the techniques together and see what worked, what didn’t, and what we wanted to learn more about. I’m considering moving to the destreza language for teaching in class. The method laid out in the pdf is easy to understand, and offers an elegant approach to explain technical actions using english. The interpretation…

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Little Voices

That first big punch that lands on you drops your skill down to about a quarter of what it was. If it’s the first time you’ve been seriously hit, it’s a crossroads that will determine your fighting life for ever after. You can shrug off and tough out lesser blows, but the one that really rings your bells is the test. Just one of many in the life of a fighter…all important. Swordplay is one of those martial arts that lends itself to a false confidence, and to fantasy. Bereft of bloodshed, and the true fear of it, our only judge of the reality and effectiveness of our systems becomes tenuous. We are unsure how to evaluate ourselves, so we are forced to rely on the wisdom of others. Truth can evaporate. People can spin wonderful webs of logic, and build a solid looking fantasy out of dusty cobwebs. Others…

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