2006 IKF World Classic Tournament

This weekend, July 27-29, Joe, Matt, and I are competing at the 2006 IKF World Classic Tournament in Cedar Rapids, IA. Be back Sunday with an update.

My House

My Ring

My Belt



Simulated Victory

Many self-defense, sports, law enforcement, and military experts advocate simulations in their training (e.g. Tony Blauer, "Training at the Speed of Life, Vol. 1: The Definitive Textbook for Police and Military Reality Based Training" (Kenneth R. Murray), and "Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience" (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi)). Simulation prepares athletes, soldiers, and the lay person by recreating both the biological and psychological stimuli and responses of a real event, i.e. a competition, a battle, a presentation, or an assault. Yes, simulation is practice, but it is practice that maximizes optimal repetition of a specific event, rather than isolating technique, developing fitness, or learning new strategies. In essence we integrate what we do into the mold of the event the simulation is emulating. This past week has been simulating the IKF World Classic Tournament:For me this training stirs the creature that roils in my heart, boiling for conflict. The creature that loves to fight, pitting its pure meanness against whatever odds set before it. It growls and hungers to battle, to emerge victorious regardless of the odds, despite the pain, and with blatant disregard for basic human decency. It is the bad intent, the mean streak, and the cruelty let loose in a socially acceptable setting. I can't wait.



Transition Timing

This is actually an idea adapted from my JKD instructor Jack McVicker, the idea is to isolate specific tools and ranges but then to combine them via the transitions necessary to move from one to the other. For our training we worked three ranges/tool sets:
  1. Jab and tiip (lead and rear)
  2. Boxing (no kicks or knees)
  3. Knee play
We did two minute rounds spending anywhere from 15 to 30 seconds in each range. In the 3 seconds needed transition from one set to another, all rules are off either side can (safely) use any tool to bridge the gap needed to move from knees to boxing to long range kicking.
You can break any fight down and isolate skills like this. For example, if we are getting ready for a grappling tournament we might do rounds of first take down interspersed with rounds of passing the guard and escaping from disadvantage position. For MMA you might put in G & P rounds and clinch work with takedowns.
This a cerebral more than a physical exercise. People become fatigued and get hit in this because transitions are where are the most difficult moments in a fight, the "rules" of engagement are most variable at these moments. At no point are you allowed to become "comfortable" thereby replicating some of the unease experienced in competition and hopefully modeling adaptive behaviors for these situations.



GJ The Zen of Competition

Our pre-workout was:We then started practice with We then worked into 3 minute thai pads rounds
  1. Basic thai warm-up
  2. Finishing with a tiip
    Following each combination (everything more than a single kick, jab, or double) throw a tiip. While I primarily use the lead/front tiip it is often advantageous to use the rear tiip if you just punched with your rear hand and especially if you just threw a rear kick.
  3. Knee Disposition
    We worked "standard" disposition that is what to do after throwing a knee and wishing to reopen the range. We also covered going to knees (trace the hand over the head to plum) using the three knee turn sequence and finishing with a throw to punch or kick range. Alternatively disposition can be achieved by switching to wrestling, either pummeling or taking a shot.
  4. Conditioning
    The 1-2-3 mat shuttles, 30 seconds of pitterpat, four count combination sprawl drill (details)
We worked several 2 minute rounds of timing before splitting the MT fighters off for a little more fun, 30 second rounds ofThe fighters did well, never breaking the mien of combat zen, the beautific expression of being detached whether the fight is going well or poorly, whether tired or fresh, in injury and in health. In all a 13.5 minute round of continuous barrage to the arms and core...throwing punches for a 2 minute round is going to be cake...

And for a final thought we turn to Bruce Lee: Forget about winning and losing; forget about pride and pain. Let your opponent graze your skin and you smash into his flesh; let him smash into your flesh and you fracture his bones; let him fracture your bones and you take his life. Do not be concerned with escaping safely--lay your life before him.

Tomorrow I have the fun idea of transition timing...stay tuned


JKD & BJJ Jack's Flow

We worked on a flow (a meshwork if your will) first introduced a few months back:
  1. "Judo Chop" Cross Collar Choke
  2. Straight arm from guard (opponent postures to defend choke)
  3. Flower sweep to mount (opponent stacks to defend arm bar)
  4. Start attacking with cross collar choke from mount (opponent controls arm for bridge) transition to cross body armbar
  5. Opponent defends armbar with chain grip, feed inferior leg between arms and next to neck. Remove superior leg, opponent sits up, fall to guard while locking triangle



GJ "Disposition"

We reviewed the knee flow and three man knee drill from yesterday. For the three man knee drill we discussed disposition, a term that doctors use to describe where a patient will go from their service, e.g. home, to another service or specialist, or back to their primary care doctor. In fighting we also have to worry about how we will dispose of our opponent. After a combination we must do something to either move to a position of, at best, advantage or, at worst, neutrality. In Thai boxing the biggest infraction of this occurs after knees, many people just sort of drift away from their opponent rather than forcing them into a bad or neutral spot by moving them to punch or kick range. In MMA you are either going to return to a longer striking range or take them down to secure advantageous ground position.
We then worked into 3 minute pad rounds
  1. Movement
    We started with 1-2-3 mat shuttles and 30 seconds of pitterpat. We then started working basic thai warm-up but forcing our fighter to move more, either opening or closing distance or telling them to circle. Movement is key and must be forced with thai rounds, since it will be forced in a fight. A fighter cannot be left to stand and be allowed to hit the pads at their convenience, since this will never happen in a fight. Make them move.
  2. Interrupteds (fighters) / Pick 2 combinations (others)
    Fighters worked interrupted pad rounds (hold with focus mitts), one way to help the holder do this is to call a multiple count (3+) combo and hold it the normal way, gauging how your fighter does this (and lulling them into a false sense of security) and then holding a 2 followed by the multiple count combo which you will interrupt. Do not interrupt each one and use different hands and kicks to hit them.
    Everyone else took one or two combinations and worked on them within the context of basic thai boxing.
  3. Interrupteds (fighters) / Kick to knees (others)
    In kick to knees, we use poor kick form to drop the foot near our opponent as part of our step to close while grasping the neck. Throw three knees and turn your holder. Repeat until they say "throw" or "throw to X" where X can be punches, kick, or whatever. Here we cover the aspects of using a kick to enter, the knee as a weapon, and the disposition of an opponent from the knee range.
  4. Angles
    In our last round we worked our angles, using punch and punch kick combinations. The Corkscrew comes into play here, too. Essentially imagine someone standing behind our opponent and you want them to see you fully uneclipsed.


Blackorby Muay Thai Fight Camp II "I love to go into the third round and win"

We headed over to Peoria yesterday to the new Peoria Athletic Club at the Riverplex (which is WAY to nice a place for me and my sociopathic children to train at -- they have pretty girls that sell smoothies!). We started with a light warm-up skipping rope and shadowboxing. We then started practice with 6 rounds of sparring, 2 with each partner.
Our next we focused on knees, starting with shadowboxing focusing on knees, either extending horizontally or clipping our shoulder. We then worked a knee flow tying up in plum throwing three knees, transitioning to side Thai clinch with three knees, and back to plum. Always keep neck control, flowing from one side to the middle to the other. We then used this in a three man drill, the fighter worked hard knees on the pads with one partner or did knee play with other.
We conditioned with interval sprints (basketball court back and forth) and combinations. First we did alternating four count kick combinations, both sides with pads. After 5-7 of ONE four count we did a set of sprints, and then went to the next. Then one side gloved up and did interval sprints with sets of:We then did 9 more rounds of sparring. We then did some final drills:




Today Jeff, Matt, Marty and I worked out. We started with two sets of 2 minute rounds of focus mitts spaced by 2 minutes of shadowboxing, we then repeated the same with thai pads. Next we worked several rounds of timing. Marty showed how he closed to boxing range against taller guys. He uses a slight vertical duck dropping his head safely between his shoulders while closing. This can be used as fake to set-up kicks. Heres a primer on how little guys can hit big guys:



GJ Fight Cooking

I started an hour early with Jeff we worked 10 minute rounds of four count kick combinations followed by high tiip-kick combinations. Jeff then held four rounds of interrupted pad rounds in which the holder calls a combination but then occasionally and throws a reaction in the middle of the combination. The fighter defends and goes immediately to their reaction. This is a high level (I say pompously) way of simulating the clusterf#c% that can occur when to fighters meet and trade.
We warmed up the regular practice when some action-reaction combinations:
  1. Jab action reaction
    • A: Jab
    • B: Catch-2
    • A: Catch-high cover-3
    • B: Cover-cover-cover
  2. Jab kick action reaction
    • A: Jab-kick
    • B: Catch-leg cover-thai (C-H-Kick)
    • A: Cover-cover-leg cover (depending on height of kick), advanced can consider catch, cut or evade
  3. Kick cross action reaction
    • A: Kick-cross
    • B: Leg cover-high cover-thai (C-H-Kick)
    • A: Cover-cover-leg cover (depending on height of kick), return kick
    • B: Leg defense of appropriate skill level
The point here is to treat these drills not as gospel but as ingredients from which you create your own fight recipe. All technique is a cookbook you have to make what benefits you and gives you the greatest enjoyment. Never think that this is the only way of doing it. As coaches we serve as guideposts but in the end what you take from a drill and make your own is what makes you improve.
We then transitioned into some attribute enhancing drills:
  1. Low Close Corkscrew
    Your partner advances throwing J-C. Change level and step forward on the 45o angle throwing a front or rear body hook, pivot to face your partner. New folks can just have their partner advance without throwing punches.
  2. Kick Catching
    Your partner will throw a slow kick to your midsection. Catch the kick and pull gently allowing them to rotate on the ball of their foot, then push them off giving them the elastic collision of the kick. Then kick them and they will do the same for you.
For pad rounds we did
  1. Thai warm-up
    I did this but added a tiip after each combination.
  2. Body kick evasion to head kick
    Base on the fight camp we added the body evasion to head kick.
  3. Leg evasion reaction
    We also added the leg evasion and reaction with C-H-C.
  4. Conditioning
    Like last practice: 1-2-3 mat shuttles, 30 sec of pitter pat, four count kick combinations with sprawls, sprint for last 30 seconds.
Fighters had the added joy of doing all their pad work with headgear and shin pads on.

We then did approximately 25 minutes of timing rounds.

We finished with some damnably hellacious 6.5 minute conditioning training from Jeff:My opponents need to know four things
  1. This is my house.
  2. This is my ring.
  3. This is my belt.
  4. And you're my b!tch for the next 8 minutes.



MT "Fortune favors the brave...and favors the prepared brave even more."

Did some more training today in anticipation of the 2006 IKF WCT less than three weeks away. Jeff and I started with the kick-cover-kick-cover-kick-cut and pass to head kick drills covered at the fight camp. Joe, Jeff and I then did several rounds of hard, fast timing. We finished with a Tabata protocol interval conditioning round (20 s/10 s activity/rest):All told an 8 minute round, looks easy until you try to go as fast and as hard as you can for each 20 second interval.



GJ "Little Things"

The fighters started early with some mental and physical conditioning:With the start of practice we did 6 minutes of shadowboxing. We then reviewed some material from the fight camp yesterday, specifically punch-kick offense and leg evasion defense with both sides wearing gloves and shin pads.
For our pad rounds, 3 minutes, we worked on:
  1. Thai warm-up
    This round used basic punch and kick combos. I like using a progression, e.g. jabs, jab cross, 3, reverse 3, 4, H-C-H, C-H-C, kicks, punch kick combinations, four counts, and then reactions. Fighters followed (almost) every combination with tiip.
  2. Knee combos and disposition
    We used the knee variants of the four counts but making sure disposition was performed. Disposition is how we get rid of our opponent after kneeing the stuffing out of them. We used the lead hand-lead knee push to C-H-C or C-lead head kick as well as the rear hand-rear knee pull to H-C-h or H-rear head kick. In this round fighters finished each combination with a head tiip to the pad
  3. Chain reaction
    In this drill, the holder would enter a reaction pattern and continue to hold reaction until the hitter opened range on the angle and threw a tiip. This is another form of disposition getting out of the close range stay n' play range.
  4. Conditioning
    1 mat, 2 mat, 3 mat shuttle and approximately 30 seconds of pitterpat then kick combos #1-4, tiip variation #1-4 (start with tiip finish with kick), and knee variation #1-4 with a sprawl after each four count. Repeat the kick combos from the beginning if time allows, most folks can get through them all about twice.
We finished with 30 minutes of 2 minute rounds of timing with a 10 second interval in between. All the folks I worked with pushed me with good effort and tried combinations. Good job.
I finished with an incoherent speech on little things. Little things are important. Being able to enjoy a sunny day, scratch an itch, or wipe your own @$$ make it a good day even if your boss got mad at you, your significant other broke-up with you, you messed up at work, or an experiment didn't work. Little things are not a right, they are privilege, cherish them and take advantage of them. Some folks can't even get out bed let alone train or compete, be happy for your chance and put things in perspective.


Blackorby Muay Thai Fight Camp I "I love to fight and win when I'm tired"

Ryan Blackorby came over yesterday and ran an excellent, free, 3-hour muay thai fight camp. We started out with warm/up conditioning using:We then worked on our defense using kick evasions:We discussed head kicks, which should target the neck rather than the superior head. There are two methods for this:We then went quickly through basic offensive combinations:We finished with sets of 3 x 2 minute rounds of sparring. Combinations and guard are my watch words.

We then had Bill Henry from the Sports Enhancement Center explain a pre-fight conditioning program using both long slow distance training and a metabolic strength training program. Very informative and helpful.

Ryan finished talking about mental training, that is, programming the software necessary to fight. A motivated athlete is a winning athlete. The mind and emotions are part of the arsenal of combat sports. Ryan talked about positive self-talk, self affirming statements, and emulating the winning mindset in practice would be reflected in the ring. Lastly, I love to fight and win when I'm tired.



MT "My house. My ring. My belt"

We ran to the Hill and did Tabata protocol style hill sprints. Basically 20 seconds to sprint up the hill and then get back down as fast (safely) as possible, if time elapsed you kept your position resting 10 seconds, and then immediately took off up the hill. We did this 8 times. On the run home we stopped every minute to do 10 push-ups, the run back got a lot faster.

We then worked a series of 2 minute rounds throwing and critiquing sets of combinations. I worked:And I got another video for you all, featuring the Turbine From Hell, Ramon "The Diamond" Dekkers:


GJ Speed Kills

The Charming Killer
(I just figured out how to embed video, so enjoy)

We started with cardio training before class:The pad work rounds were, for set 1:Set 2:Set 3:We then worked 3 minute MMA style rounds:
  1. Sprawl, Fall and Follow

  2. Focus Mitt Pummelling
  3. Groundwork Punching
    • Side mount -- 3 hammer fists
    • Triple threat pull to rear mount
    • Three punches to one side (prop mitt on triceps)
    • Shift to mount -- 3 to 10 punches
    • Allow to be bridge and rolled -- 3 to 10 punches from guard
    • Reset
  4. Conditioning
    No time, just finish as fast as you can
    • 1 mat-2 mats-3 mats shuttle
    • Knees (3 mats)
    • 1 mat-2 mats-3 mats shuttle
    • Pitterpat (3 mats)
    • 1 mat-2 mats-3 mats shuttle
    • Alternating kicks (3 mats)
    • 1 mat-2 mats-3 mats shuttle
    • 3 Punches Sprawl
We then discussed some more of the technical aspects of fighting. My philosophy if your not going to do it in real life either sport or self-defense, why bother training it. Utility can be beautiful, functionality can be aesthetic. Hence martial art. Granted application is conditional certain tools, tactics, strategies, and concepts work better in certain situations and some are universally applicable.
One of these deals with relaxation, only when we are relaxed can we move quickly. And speed is essential for fighting, on order to cause damage the only way to maximize our momentum and kinetic energy is to move faster, we cannot change our mass. A relaxed muscle can accelerate much faster than a tense one. Furthermore, we can train relaxed both slowly, maximizing technical prowess, or quickly maximizing functional delivery. With a tense structure only slow is available. In essences, "speed kills".
Next we discussed knees. Knees are loaded by the flexion of the hip and delivered by the forward thrust of the hips. This minimizes the surface area of your knee making contact with the target, i.e. the tip of the femur, thus maximizing the pounds per square inch delivered. Although the movement is awkward it is more efficient and damaging than using a larger portion of the thigh and spreading out the force over a large area. We therefore worked on the hip thrust on our partner followed by two punch-knee transitory combinations:We finished with several 2 minute rounds of timing. Everyone did an excellent job, working slowly but smoothly and putting together offensive combinations, defense, and reactions. It was excellent high cereberal content low trauma training. Perhaps my admonishment that I'd KO anyone who tried to take my head off worked.



GJ Chok Dee

Today Peter, Joe, and I started early doing a new roadwork set. We did 3 x 3 minutes with 1 minute rest:The one minute rest break was used to walk back to the start point.
The gym we workout at was closed, that is, we had a set practice time the employee that was supposed to be there was not. So we warmed up the rest of practice with in the gravel parking lot:Since we were stuck in the gravel parking lot and inappropriately attired we worked on things that might happen in a gravel parking lot when one is inappropriately attired namely self-defense. We reviewed the mirror drill and ECT for the haymaker.
At this point (about an hour into practice) the gym was opened up for us and we were allowed in to the air conditioned sanctuary of the gym. We worked pad rounds:
  1. Tiip combinations
    We covered tiip-2 and tiip-3 as well as intercepting and entering tiip, e.g. holder would flare arms and advance or retreat forcing the fighter to pick up the tiip. Tiip-2 is to score points and frustrate your opponent by hitting as quickly as possible to sting. The tiip-3 is the combination to use after hurting the midsection, allowing a barrage of punches to land.
  2. Tiip rereaction
    In this drill the holder could feed any reaction, e.g. high, side, body lead, body rear, leg cover, mid cover, head cover, the fighter would defend, react with 3, and then exit on the angle, e.g. Checkmark or Jin, as the holder encroached the fighter would throw tiip. That is, reacting again to an opponent trying to chase them.
  3. Tiip kick combinations
    This round worked using tiip and rear tiip to set-up kicks. The tiip is used as a jab creating the space needed for the power shot of the kick:
    • Lead-lead: Use the initial tiip to Drunken Pirate to the lead kick.
    • Lead-rear: Allow the initial tiip to drift out laterally, setting up the angle for the kick.
    • Rear-lead: The initial tiip to does not retract instead drifting laterally, allowing the angle and the step for the lead kick.
    • Rear-rear: Use the rear tiip to set-up the Drunken Pirate to cover the range.
  4. Conditioning
    We did staggered shuttles with pad rounds x 4. Thus one interval was:
    • Shuttle run to first mat
    • Shuttle run to second mat
    • Shuttle run to third mat
    • One length on pads, e.g. pitterpat, C-H, alternating kicks, knees, etc.
    • Run back and repeat
As an aside on Saturday we did some attribute enhancing drills, specifically tiip the puncher/punch the tiiper and kick the puncher/punch the kicker. The tiip verison shows the optimal and suboptimal ranges from which to use the hands vs. the legs. In addition the rising knee of the tiip is good to fake with, both to drop your opponent's hands and opening the high line and to bait them into closing and impaling themselves on a subsequent tiip. At the same time the puncher learns to bait, close range, and draw the kick (see "Tao of Jeet Kune Do" (Bruce Lee)).
The kick version again shows the better and worse times to use your kicks vs. your punches. It also delineates the importance of angling. People will take a kick to punch you in the nose. The kick targets are important, kicking the legs saps power and reach from the punches because your opponent cannot load heavily on the front leg. Kicking the body tires your opponent and draws the guard low, your battering their ribs and diaphragm making breathing difficult, to protect this their arms drop, opening the head. Head kicks are knockouts and score points, even a covered head kick is felt and by throwing them you open or reopen the mid and low lines.
Over dinner this evening I watched "Chok Dee: The Kickboxer" (Diafat/Giraudeau/Lakshan) the movie version autobiography of French muay thai champion Dida Diafat. This is an excellent movie and inspiring for fighters anywhere, as it shows Diafat's misspent youth, training, and rise as a champion. By the way, chok dee means "good luck" in Thai.

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