Breaker, breaker…

As a kid in the seventies, that was CB talk. Truckers were the bikers of the seventies, heroic gypsy rebels of the highway. How things change… In the eighties, breaking was something the really weird poser kids did. In the nineties it was a laughable relic of the past. The advantage of getting older is that all your shame is decades behind you. Or at least, you can pretend it is. So when I heard that breaking was still happening, and there was this “Battle Of The Year” thing that was going on. I dug a little deeper…neat. I was in the middle of shaking up my personal world of martial arts. I’d had a blinding, brilliant revelation at 4am one morning, and in twenty minutes wrote out the entire 5×5 drill and teaching system. I was so excited I texted it to my fiancee, and called my best friend,…

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Building babes

My wife hit me, hard. Gosh it feels good to write that, for many reasons. It’s very pleasing to write “wife” instead of “girlfriend” obviously. It’s also nice to feel that great transition that can happen when teaching boxing…when a student goes from hitting you with a kick, to chopping you down with an axe-blow. We started getting serious about the unarmed training a few weeks ago. It’s not new to us, but we’ve switched up from some of our more familiar drills. I like to work flow drills, and build tactical awareness. Once that’s in place, I can use to the flow as a basis for corrections that build better technique, power, precision, speed, etc. It works for most students, but not all students. We talked about approaches, and what we enjoyed, and what we wanted. We settled out on a variation of my old Shotokan training. I would…

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Tough it out to give it out

The first person to dislocate my jaw was my brother. He started out as a really small kid. Small, frail…and temperamental. As he got older, that temper turned into a sinewy strength. In his teens, he was only small compared to a lowland gorilla. The sinewy strength was still there, but now it had some massive muscles to back it. Being the older brother, I had an advantage in training. So when we were sparring in front of a class full of my students, and he got me in a headlock, he panicked a bit. He told me later that as soon as he managed to get a grip on my head, the first thought that went through his head was “Oh shit, I’m grappling with Randy!” He jumped back as fast as possible, before I could apply my hands to him. Would have been a good move for him,…

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Kicking ass! Or not.

I had to think a bit tonight, have I ever kicked anyone’s ass? I really don’t think I have. I know I don’t want to, ever. I use the phrase from time to time, but it’s mostly because I think it’s a phrase people will understand. There isn’t a lot of reality to it. I’ve never won a tournament in my life, but I have a big string of second-places. You might think that means I kicked a lot of other people’s asses to get there, but…no, not really. Tournament sword fighting always feels a bit lucky to me. It’s always a gamble. I enjoy formulating strategies, and I’m quite good at it. If I tell a student how to beat another fighter, and they do what I say? They will win, I guarantee it. But I know it’s a gamble. When I see a fighter repeating a pattern, or…

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The monkey knife fight

Many years ago one of my best friends took an exclusive bodyguarding course. Very high level, a little hush-hush, real serious stuff. The first class was kind of interesting. At one point the instructor had them sitting around and asked them if they thought they could beat up Mike Tyson. It was a class full of hard-nosed, realistic types, and they all said no. My friend, having the double blessing of being Finnish and of the same rough and tumble martial arts school as me, said yes, he figured he could beat up Mike Tyson. I suppose the instructor might have smiled at this. Being a crazy whack job like all such instructors, it was probably a knowing smile. I imagine that he could read my friend pretty good, and knew what was coming. The rest of the class, reportedly, smirked at the cocky young fool. The instructor asked my…

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