Friday, December 28, 2012

My Karate

My Karate Experience

When I was in high school, I learned a Kata (a form which is a structured sequence of techniques) from a friend. He learned it from his Dad who had black belts in Ninjitsu, Shotokan Karate, and Aikido. Since then I have been training this Kata and will continue to do so for the rest of my life. I strongly believe in the saying, "A single Kata takes a lifetime to master". This simple 12 count Kata done in a horse stance, has evolved with me over the years. The Bunkai (breakdown and interpretation) has drastically changed numerous times and continues to do so. There is a constant dynamic between understanding and not understanding. Many people who quit Karate encounter something they don't understand and they judge it incorrectly and close themselves to it. When I don't understand something in Karate/martial arts, I give the benefit of the doubt that the people who invented and carried the style were high level experts that knew what they were doing. So during those times of confusion, I simply keep training and put in the reps until the answer presents itself. And the answer has always presented itself in due time. The answers themselves change overtime too.

The Karate style of breathing that I learned was very constricted and tense. I use this breathing for health and fitness because it strengthens your internal organs. In actual fighting application, this kind of breathing is also realistic because when your in the fight of your life, chances are your not going to be calm and collected, in such a stressful crisis situation, even breathing becomes difficult, so you need a forceful strong technique that fits the moment. Once you accept the crisis situation and are able to use such a breathing technique, then it is possible to control your breathing and become more efficient, which will take you towards the ideal state of being in the zone.

Yoga and Martial Arts

My Yoga experience

High school was extremely stressful for me. Thankfully I was able to experience Yoga and meditation during these dark times in my life that planted some good seeds in me. At the time it was easy for me to appreciate Yoga and meditation because I experienced the benefits first hand, during those classes I felt very relaxed and at peace. Even though I never pursued Yoga as a primary interest, I learned as much as I could whenever I encountered it. There is a single principal I follow for Yoga, "The mind affects the body and vice versa". I apply Yoga to martial arts so that I know my mental and physical condition at any given moment, knowing this helps grounding me in reality, and being more realistic can be a big advantage over my opponent. One I understand my state, then using the principal I control my mental or physical state to put me in a better position. Yoga has been fun and easy for me to relate to because it has many common grounds with martial arts, like stretching, stances/postures, breathing and meditating. Another reason why Yoga appeals to me is because of the age old saying, "The mind is the ultimate weapon", and through Yoga I am able to develop more control over the mind by learning the skill to link it with the body.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Combative Solo Training ebook review

Combative Solo Training by Jeff Liboiron
ebook review by Wmpyr

This is a 100 page ebook from fellow martial artist and Youtuber BeCombative. First of all I have to say that I really enjoyed reading this ebook. The intro starts off with a bang! After hearing an intense story like that, you just know the rest is going to be good. The author is a Senshido instructor, and to me this was a big interest because I have always enjoyed the works of world famous reality based martial arts instructor, Richard Dimitri founder of Senshido. In regards to realistic, tactical, and practical self-defense, CST does not disappoint! The writing is clear and simple, easy to follow photos, a nice intro to each segment that ends with many tips for you to do. The style presented in here is obviously focused on solo training, this is very easy for me to relate to, because that is my specialty as well. The core of CST in my opinion is good old straight forward Boxing, but with kicks, knees, elbows, headbutts, and other "dirty moves" for the street. There is also an emphasis on using the open hand in a variety of ways over the fists for many tactical reasons which he covers in great detail. He also goes over the clinch, grappling, and striking on the ground while keeping your eye open for multiple opponents, weapons, and hazardous environments. Proper mind set and solo training drills are covered too, in short, this is a complete system that guides you to become street ready.
My favorite part of the book was the drills section on Shadow Fighting designed for you to get started immediately and work towards your own program that suits you. Highly recommended!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Knives I recommend to you

On Youtube I get asked quite often, what knife do I recommend?

This is a very tricky question because, yes I am familiar with knives, yes I teach knife combat, but I don't know anything about you.

Generally speaking a medium to small sized utility folder is a good option for EDC/SD (Self-defense) when you include general legality.
One of the best knives that fits this criteria is the Spyderco Delica. There are more affordable knives that are similar such as the Schrade Team Primos knife that I got from Primalpunch. It had a $40 price tag but you can get it online for $20.

Another good starting knife in the $20 range is the Smith & Wesson Urban Camo Karambit if you are into martial arts.

Once you become more experienced and learn better knife care and knife combat skills, then I suggest you get better quality knives that will cost more. It's also good to have experiences with a variety of different types of knives so that you have a wide range of knowledge and experience. Fixed blades, neck knives, tactical knives, survival knives, hunting knives, diving knives, throwing knives, double edged knives, butterfly knives, slip joint folders, and even multi-tools.

I can tell you which knives that I like the most out of the ones that I own.

My top 4
SNAGette by Krudo Knives
SNAG live blade folder by Krudo Knives
BG911 by Knives STI
P001 Bodyguard by Knives STI

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Written Response to Sensei Rick from DTGTaihojutsu

No Technique is 100% Foolproof!

This is my written response to Sensei Rick's Youtube video, "No martial arts technique is 100 percent foolproof".

I completely agree that when a person begins to think that their technique is 100% foolproof, this is a recipe for a disaster. In fact I believe that it is a good thing to have the attitude that your technique has absolute no guarantee to work. Simply because this is reality and gives you the mindset to prepare for dire circumstances. After all you want to prepare against quality opponents, not weaker opponents.

Back when I was training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, I had a nightmare that took my skills to the next level. In this nightmare, I was in a street fight with some guy, and ended up on the ground, I had him in an Americana Armlock. I cranked it all the way and he was not in any pain, the move appeared to not be working at all. I began to panic, I didn't know what to do, I started to worry that I was going to waste all my energy trying to finish him and get fatigued, I was worried that by not applying pain, I was giving him opportunities to reverse me and who knows how good his attacks are?! I was worried that his friends may come out of nowhere and start kicking me on the head. And then I woke up in a cold sweat, breathing hard. I hated the feeling I had, so I decided that from this point on I would never rely on one technique, I would transition to another technique. In grappling, the way we do combos are through transitions.

So in class I became obsessed with transitions. In sparring, I was always waiting for the resistance so that I could immediately switch to the next move, or next position. Whatever they did I made sure I had an answer. Before I knew it, I had an entire game plan mapped out based on the BJJ positions. In my opinion this is what separates a blue belt from a white belt. Not only does the blue belt know all the basic positions and techniques, they also have a general game plan, an answer to every common response in all the positions and techniques, this is why back then, there was a huge gap between a white belt and a blue belt.

When I was training at a different BJJ school, one day my instructor said to me: "why do you do transitions when it's better to not transition and just finish the guy right there?" This statement turned my world upside down! I was like what do you mean? I have to do transitions, they are stronger than me! Aren't transitions the way to go to develop higher skill in BJJ? Wait I don't need to do transitions? Transitions were everything to me. But he had a point. I began to realize that I had openings, and I was relying too much on transitions. Rickson Gracie said something along the lines that the idea of BJJ is to take your opponent to a worse and worse situation until you checkmate them and they give you the finish. Sure I was adapting to my opponent's response but that meant that I was always one step behind, because reaction comes after action, and I was not taking them to a worse and worse situation. I would sweep guys and get the side mount, from there I would transition to full mount, but there were guys who could bench press me off, so I would transition to knee on belly, and then go back to side mount, we would just exchange moves. So then I realized the most important concept in BJJ. To make things get worse and worse I needed to be Sticky like glue. So as I did the transitions on my opponent I would be sticky as possible, laying on them like a sack of potatoes and make them move me around, I slowly wore them out. To me this is the Helio Gracie style of BJJ, where a smaller weaker person would use technique and superior body mechanics to protect themselves against a larger more athletic opponent.

The reality of this beautiful strategy is that depending on how fit, how skilled the opponent is, it can take a long time. And you might say on the street, time is of the essence, so this is a bad plan. But the reality is against a true threat of quality, this is the most logical game plan. So if it takes time to take out one person, against multiple attackers you basically have no chance. The reality is that against multiple attackers, you can't be engaged with them, you have to run. I remember back when Gracie Jiu-Jitsu was exploding on to the scene, Rorion Gracie was asked, what about multiple attackers? And his response was, yes Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is limited against multiple attackers, but then again, show me a style that can handle that situation effectively. I have to agree, for a long time, Hollywood has brainwashed us into thinking that one person with higher quality can defeat many opponents of lower quality. And this is simply not true. One lion is not going to defeat a pack of wolves, it's the other way around.