Cultivating Awareness

When I demonstrate a technique, I do want you to perform it the way I do. Last night we did wrestling, and explored some pinning movements from a couple of traditions. I try to show the technique clearly, and then break it down visually and verbally so that people can have the most understanding before they try it for themselves. What I can’t demonstrate is the feel of the technique. The integrity of the connection between my opponent and I. When I go around and check on everyone’s application, I see a common error repeated. The physical expression of the error differs from student to student, and sometimes that needs to be addressed, but usually fixing the common error does the job. I’ll look at the students trying to apply the technique, and I see that the crossing of the arm is at the wrong place, the wrist is at…

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Valkyrie Women

The Valkyrie ladies are getting tired of beating up men in class. They have decided we needed to recruit more women, and our current method of reaching students doesn’t seem to be working. So, they put together this video in order to recruit more women to their cause. Please share it around.

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Transition to the Bridge

You see the knife in the hand, and all your training tells you to do anything other than what you are about to do. Block, parry, run, kick, grab the hand and wrest the knife away…anything other than pick your knees up, drop to a squat and expose your back to that blade. But you do it anyway. You drop low as you see the knife start to arc, almost picking your feet up, you bend your knees so fast. For the merest hair of a second, you squat low. The knife is starting to curve forward, but you don’t see that anymore. You can’t change what you are about to do anymore than the knifer can. From the low squat, you drive forward, back exposed but under the path of the cut. Your shoulder slams into the attacker, one of your hands dropping low to trap a thigh. It’s…

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Jab, Hook…and Cut

Jab. Jab. Jab. Over and over, feet moving around, playing at measure, dodging each shot that comes back at you. Constantly sticking that left hand in your opponents’ face, over and over. Watching for the subtle signs, watching for you opponent to anticipate, to plan a counter that will actually land…that’s your moment. The moment when they think they have you, when they know you so well, have read you so perfectly, that they know the next jab you throw will be the one that puts you on the canvas when they counter.  That’s when you throw the right, low to the body…into that big gap that they left. Now they are back to thinking about what you are doing. Their head is still stuck for the moment, though…still holding on for you to do that jab the right way again. You feed them another right, since they refuse to…

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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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A look behind the doors

If we had doors to hide behind, anyways… Putting together the first promo clip for the Valkyrie WMA Assembly was a bit of a challenge. Our camera has been busy. I leave it on a table at the side of class, and encourage students to take a few shots if they are sitting out or taking a break. Since December, I’ve downloaded over four thousand shots from the camera, and a few dozen videos. None of us are photographers, so it takes a few hundred shots to do what a pro could do in one or two… I still had to make some decisions about what to showcase. It would nice to share some of the workout. Lots of people ask about our boxing, and the 5×5 drill, so it would be nice to show that as well. I could show off the drills and detail work of the students,…

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