10 week jiu jitsu course; class #1, move #1
So, a change from the normal “krav talk” to start the year off—my gym is offering a 10 week course in bjj with the renowned “Lethal” Lana Stefanac. Knowing i need improvement on my ground game, i’ve signed on and i’m pretty stoked about it.
The first class was no let down. we started with a mild warm-up to get the blood moving and the limbs limber. then we went into our first of two techniques:
The Rear Naked Choke
this is a “blood choke” meaning it cuts off the blood flow to the brain. no blood to the brain, no oxygen to the brain. no oxygen to the brain, you go to sleep. period. in about 3-4 seconds. when it’s on right, it’s very effective, and very fast.
we learned this choke starting from the ground, sitting behind our opponent. in the numerous video’s i’ve watched, there are a many ways to play this choke, but we were taught some really spot on pointers when they showed us how to do it. the steps are:
1. you have your opponents back
2. have your opponent in a “seatbelt grip”
3. your head is smashed next to your opponents head
4. use your head to push your opponents head into your bicep
5. release the seatbelt and grab your ops trap
6. with your free hand, push the ops shoulder away, sinking them deeper into your arm
7. as you push on the shoulder, slide the arm up so your hand holding onto the ops trap can switch to your own bicep
8. on your “up-stretched arm” rotate your palm to face you and slide it behind your ops head, grabbing your other bicep or shoulder
9. now take the arm that is around your op, and press that elbow down into the ops chest as you…
10. pull your shoulders back into their sockets, and upwards with a strong shrug
the combination of pushing into their chest as you choke in an upwards motion forces your ops head into a shitty position and closes/distorts the triangle created by the space in your arms—the space in which your op is trapped. closing that space around their neck cuts off blood flow to the brain and puts them to sleep.
what was really nice about this class is that we spent almost an hour working with just the one technique. we spent about the same amount of time working on the second technique too. but that’s another post. for now i’m replaying the move in my head, in slow motion. reliving the chokes to make sure the mov is burned into my brain.
here are some video’s that show the rear naked choke, although their instruction is different from what we were taught, the concept is the same.
from Bas Rutten:
from Matt Hughes:
from the US Army:
and of course, from MMA Candy:
one thing i’ve noticed in some of these videos is that they’ll perform the choke while there’s still a LOT of room between the bicep and the ops neck. (the last link is especially guilty of this) everything should be TIGHT and SNUG. no pockets of space, that space means your op can potentially escape. remember—NICE AND TIGHT!
Be the change you want to see in the world.
— Mahatma Gandhi
So, I want to talk for a minute about self defense…
Many of you who follow my blog are also practitioners of Krav, or soem other form of self defense. That’s great. I’m a strong believer of the idea that force is sometimes needed to protect either yourself, your loved ones, or even a stranger(s). But there is another form of self defense that some of you may know about, and some of you may not. I first came across this method in the movie The Peaceful Warrior. There’s a scene where the protagonist is mugged by a few guys, and his instinct is to ask his teacher for help—i.e. he wants his teacher to kick their ass because he knows his teacher can—but instead, his teacher (nick nolte’s character) tells the protagonist to give the muggers his money. then he tells him to give them his pants. and his jacket, his watch, everything he has—he must give to the muggers. the idea is that if the person or persons mugging you are willing to risk their freedom for some petty cash or belongings, then they are in deeper need than you. this idea was very recently brought to mind by a gentleman in New York who did exactly the same thing:
I found this story on facebook, and as such, i reposted it. it in turn received a number of comments and re-shares. but what struck me funny was someone commented that we need more people like this. i agree, we DO need more people with this mentality. but instead of just thinking “yeah, we need more people like this…” why don’t we each decide to change how we think about these things, and actively decide to do this ourselves? it seems simple enough, and it doesn’t take much more than a conscious effort to hold this new mindset. If we want to see change in the world, we have to start with ourselves. If we change how we view the world, we’ve effectively made the change we were seeking.
So… yes, knowing how to defend one-self is important. but more important is learning how to recognize another fellow human in dire need—more-so than ourselves—and learning to be open to that person, and actively doing something to help create a change in that persons life as well. when you read the story, its amazing how much the mugger has changed within the time of the mugging, to the end of a dinner.
I’m not exactly a “god-fearing” man, but i did have to go through a 12-step program a number of years ago, and i’ll share this quote, because it fits:
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things i cannot change, the courage to change the things i can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
the key is being able to recognize the difference between the two. and Mr. Diaz had the courage to change the things he could, as well as the wisdom to know that he was able. So, know that your first option in self defense does not have to be a physical attack, but it can be a verbal defense. Just don’t go shouting in your attackers face, that WILL backfire (don’t ask how i know this…).
Peace and love. and remember, it all starts with You!
October 31, 2011 at 11:39pm
we’re on the brink of something big. question is—are we ready to leave all the bullshit behind? are we ready to be Humans again? when was the last time you made someone smile?
i dunno about you, but i’m ready. that much i am certain of.
Everyone really needs to watch this. It might make your day. Powerful shit right here, this is what we need in this world.
(Source: staybrutalalex, via lonelycoast)
September 27, 2011 at 3:00am
The importance of footwork.
a funny thing happens when you shrug off a skill that you’ve spent a good deal of time cultivating. when you come back to that skill, you think it’s all still there, in your head. and it is—kinda sorta. this is also called “being rusty”.
i am definitely rusty.
while all this crossfit training is all swell and good—part of the reason i got into crossfit was to develop the strength and conditioning to further my krav. today was a good day for krav. as posts before this, it has been, literally, a couple month’s since my last krav class. the decision to go tonight was based on the level of soreness in my legs from last weeks work. i saw today as an “active rest day”. it was active, but there was no rest. sweat poured off me the entire class, as is the norm when taking krav. and even though i’d intentionally taken a level 1 class because i knew before going in that i need to reacquaint myself with the movements, what i wasn’t counting on was how sluggish i felt on my feet.
in crossfit the emphasis is to keep your weight in your heels for the majority of the movements. air squats, back squats, kettlebell swings, dead lifts, cleans, snatches, presses—they all require you to drive through your heels and explode upwards through the hip. in krav the emphasis is to stay on your “toes” so you can be agile, and quick. here one second, over there the next. to put it simply, the crossfit knocked the krav out of my feet. so now i sit here pondering footwork and how to improve it.
the cost of poor footwork:
- tripping over your own feet.
- being slower… to the kick, to the block, to the defense, to the attack…
- it could cost you the fight.
why is footwork important? being able to control the movement your body is everything. if it wasn’t for footwork you wouldn’t be able to dodge, weave, or slip a punch. you wouldn’t be able to snap off machine-gun groin kicks. you wouldn’t be able to burst into the attackers attack. you wouldn’t be able to dance around your attacker and pick them apart.
to throw some possible training drills on the table for footwork, i dug around and found these:
Bruce Lee on footwork: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxTg6f_fYT0&feature=related
Muhammad Ali on footwork: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9iM6JHnA5Xo&feature=related
The New Zealand All Blacks doing some footwork drills: http://vimeo.com/23347924
Some Dude (youtube user kyryllo ): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6y0YYBUGP0
a question to all of you.
i’ve noticed more people subscribing / following my blog. thank you!
currently it’s centered around krav maga and my general (and not so general) thoughts on self defense. i’ve mentioned that i crossfit in previous posts, but i’ve generally kept most of my thoughts on crossfit to myself.
is anyone interested on reading my thoughts on crossfit? or should i keep the focus on krav? (they DO compliment each other very well)
Day 98: the string around my finger…
- clear the hands from your throat
- stiffen your arm
- twist the lightbulb
- pull 90° to the thumb
- buck and LOOK where you want to go
- let the buck move your opponent, don’t muscle it
- focus on the throat
- punch through the target
- open the hips
- aim for their nose
- trace your shoulder along the wall
- one hand reaches for the sky, the other touches your knee
- your first move needs to be the most VIOLENT move of your life
- attack the eyes
- push the head to the side and up
- bring the elbow up
- rotate on the ball of the foot
- palm up, and shoot out at 45°
- dip, use your legs
- bring the knee up
- its exactly the same as a stomp
- PLUCKING HANDS!
- reach for the back of your head
- bend your knee, this will put your hip behind your foot
- drive through
- flow your moves.
Day 97: the nuances
today was good. despite the wrecking soreness in my legs, we learned a bunch of the nuances of some of the techniques.
1. bar arm / carotid choke = pull at 90° from the assailant’s thumb. your plucking arm should be perpendicular to the attackers hand / thumb.
when slipping out from the headlock, use your shoulder as a shoe horn. this will prevent the head from getting caught in a headlock.
2. side kick / back kicks = keep the foundation knee bent. this will bring the hip down behind the knee and put more body weight into the kick. bring the knee high, then bend over and “stomp” your heel into the assailant.
3. buck, trap, and roll = it’s not about shooting the arm up and over the assailant, it’s about bucking over one shoulder and rolling.
4. leverage on the neck = push the head to one side and up. never push straight back (unless your thumbs are in their eye sockets), over and up because it allows for more manipulation of the assailant.
5. soft techniques = with the majority of wrist locks, the trick is to go with the attack, not against it. think: “bend over, and turn around.” done—
Day 90: zombie fighting school
as i sit here listening to k-earth 101 via iTunes, i am reflecting on the days classes. the thing about conditioning, no matter how much improvement i seem to make, it’s never easier than it was before. there are always more walls just a bit past the ones i just jumped. but, crissy* has helped me become much fitter than i was before i started crissy, there is no doubt about that. running has improved, strength has improved, coordination has improved, body mechanics have improved, endurance has improved, spirit has improved, heart has improved, confidence has improved—all around i am at a different level now than i was before both physically and mentally. and yet, conditioning still never gets easier. we ran a similar workout as what jeanette ran on thursday, warm up to powell and back, circle of death with musical bags, and then a mini wod:
35 star jumps
45 lunge jumps
65 kb swings
then for fun we did one-handed over-head squats with a kettlebell, 10 on each side, then a handstand hold for time. sadistic. i guess i’m saddicted (WOMP).
an hour later i stepped into christian’s level 2 class. the last time i took his class, i was thoroughly impressed with him as a teacher, but due to timing i haven’t been able to take another of his classes since. our material for the day:
touching shoulders with multiple partners
touching shoulders with one arm inoperative (dangles limp to one side)
all level 1 chokes with multiple partners
all level 1 chokes with one arm inoperative (dangles limp to one side)
knee + clinch work
space and base
bear hug from the front, with arms caught and free
now that i’ve written it out, it doesn’t look like a whole lot, but christian’s attention to detail really made this class today. he did a great job of stopping us when needed to show us what he’s seeing wrong, demo the correct way to do it and why.
1. the knees from a clinch: he stopped the class almost right away for this. some of us in class (i was in this group) were clinching but not staying centered which made us (me) throw knees from a further position which didn’t allow our hips to open up and drive power into the targets. once fixed, i could notice the difference immediately—MUCH more powerful.
2. mind your surroundings at all times. be aware of the people around you, in a real confrontation you have no idea who the target’s friends are.
3. mind the thumbs. always always ALWAYS—plucking hands. leave em out there and they’ll get broken and they’ll also rob you of power in your defenses.
4. space and base: arms straight as manageable, aim for the hips, and drop your weight. do not bend over. bending over compromises your balance.
christian also mentioned another thing in class that i thought was great, but i’m torn over how i feel about it—keeping a journal for note taking. while i agree this can help, i’ve since changed my methods since college and i now take very few notes. a extremely respected teacher (lou danziger) from my college told my class one day “i don’t take notes and you shouldn’t either. they distract the student from paying attention to what’s being discussed. and because they’re taking notes all class, they miss the class. they should just pay better attention instead.” (this is paraphrased, but is pretty close to verbatim). so i took his advice and instead of taking notes, i doodled in his class instead while i listened to him. for whatever reason, knowing i have nothing to fall back on forces me to pay better attention. the fact i can remember this much about the classes, one, two, sometimes 5 hours after class is a tribute to this method. anyways, regardless—in some way, this blog is MY notebook. so, yeah. take notes. write shit down. help yourself remember it. whatever it takes, have a reference for yourself.
*crissy, aka crossfit. yes, i have given my gym activities persona’s. it makes me laugh.
Day 88: fast forward…
ok, another quick chime in just so i can get this out of the way and touch on some things. for the next couple weeks, i’m dropping the crossfit so i can focus on krav. i committed to the upcoming level 2 test later this month, i have to be “crispy clean” for it.
class last night was level 2 with trey. it was a super small class (4 people, nice!) so we were able to get some close attention from trey during our drills (really nice!). this was a good class since i was feeling rusty on pretty much ALL of my krav. for the first time since i started level 2, we actually put on the boxing gloves to do a little sparring. we drilled the the hook punch to death, as well as the associated defenses; absorbing defense, inside defense with 1 counter, and inside defense with 2 counters. after playing with the gloves on, we moved to working with the choke from behind with a pull. really glad we went over this because i had not yet seen this defense. trey taught it slightly different from what i saw on a youtube video of the same defense, but whatever. the way he taught it made sense logically, and that’s all i ever ask for.
after working the choke defense (which in all honesty, felt sloppy the entire time i was working it…) we moved into a stress drill: 5 push ups, 10 hammer fists, get around a defender to the next pad holder and throw 5 knees each side, then 5 more push ups, followed by the choke defense we just worked on. all in all, it was a good class. feels good to get back into the krav and be able to focus solely on krav.
the next post in line will talk about what’s been happening for the last month, as well as my training plan for the next couple weeks.
i love this. trouser shorts and sock garters FTW.
Days 81, 82, 83, 84: blurrrrrr
holy shit! i’m WAY behind on posts and i’m not exactly sure what i want to talk about. so i’ll type, and we’ll see where this goes… hopefully it’s fun.
so, i do know that after being out for two weeks, i wasn’t sure how to proceed with coming back—should i dive into the deep end and pretend i can swim, or do i take it easy and wear the floaties? seems like i’m doing both… because of the crossfit and conditioning classes i have been able to go at it pretty hard. this is usually done by taking xf or conditioning, followed by a krav class. but if i need to take a day off or cut out a class, i’m doing so. i’m finding it extremely worthwhile to pay attention to what my body is telling me, even if my brain doesn’t want to pay attention.
the break down for the last few days is as follows:
04/26/10 Day 80: crossfit / level 1
04/27/10 Day 81: level 2 / level 1
04/29/10 Day 82: conditioning / level 2
05/01/10 Saturday: crossfit
05/03/10 Day 83: crossfit / level 1
05/04/10 Day 84: level 2
just looking at that schedule brings the pain back to life. put simply, there has been a lot of running involved. i’m not a fan of running, in fact—i fucking HATE running. but… i have been seeing the results i get from running and i am liking the results. but on the flip side, just in the last couple nights, i have noticed the fatigue because i am getting gassed way to easily in kraal. i am certain its from the “go hard” attitude doing xf or conditioning before a krav class, but there is no easy way out of hell. so i “suffer” through this and wait for my body to catch up.
i ran my first 5k, in just over 30 minutes (31:15). considering how i feel about running, i am pretty stoked on that time. i also learned how to “kip” my pull ups. i am and will continue to be a HUGE fan of strict, dead hang pull ups, but this kipping thing is pretty interesting. i’m feeling soreness in muscles i didn’t know how to work, and the momentum generated from kipping allows for more pull ups. this is good news for those wods that Rx 40+ pull ups, trying to dead hang those is a terrifying thought. next is figuring out the butterfly kip. the level 1 warm ups have been interesting as of late too, a lot of variations on the touching shoulders drill: targets are being changed (shoulders, abs, knees, feet), attacks are being added (choke from the front and shooting bearhugs), as well as scenarios involving third party defense (groups of 4, 2 stand back to back with the other 2 facing them. you protect the person behind you from the person in front of you). these variations have added a new dynamic to the drill (in a good way).
my side kicks (with & without advance) and my back kicks (with & without advance) need work. getting there, but still need repetition to drill the techniques home. no more bouncing back from the kick, or falling over. also need to work on the buck, trap, roll. even though i was gassed when i did it, that’s no excuse for the sloppy performance. and gassing out—this is being worked on every time i go to krav / xf / conditioning. and as shitty as the running is, it helps so much, it’s difficult to ignore it.
running a 5k. i had no idea there was so much snot, sweat, and drool. fucking disgusting. i must relearn the snot rocket (thank you neti pot). last week i tweaked my wrist throwing hook punches. barney showed me that i’m not keeping my wrist straight when i throw the hook. so even though it feels ok 80% of the time, but there’s that 20% where i run the risk of really fucking my wrist up, possibly even breaking it. so now i get to relearn how to throw my hook. burpees. they never get any better. easier? maybe a little. but they still haunt my nightmares.
this concludes our test of the emergency broadcast system. if this was a real test, you would have heard instructions following the tone. this was only a test.
The skeptic does not mean ‘Him Who Doubts’, but Him Who Investigates or Researches, as opposed to Him Who Asserts and Thinks That He Has Found.
— Miguel de Unamuno