ICE ICE Baybee -- Incremental Combination Exercise

Having again spent most of the week working nights, eating "dinner", sleeping, eating "breakfast" and then doing the whole thing again I had the need to do something, anything to keep my technical skills and conditioning from deteriorating further. However, I didn't have a lot of time so the masochistic perfectionist in me said, why bother working out if I couldn't do it for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, but the realist won the battle, I figured a 25-30 minute workout was better than nothing. When your scheduled is cramped you might as well take advantage of what you got.
I'm a big proponent of bag work and shadowboxing, it's excellent solo training and no great fighter is complete without it. However its hard to do well, anyone can swat at a bag a few times or do the fighting equivalent of an air guitar for 20-30 seconds, few people can do the round after round needed to polish their fighting craftmanship.
Hence the latest in solo training technology: ICE or incremental combination exercise (sorry back to the silly acronyms). Basically you build a combination, e.g.:
An offensive striking combination
  1. Jab
  2. Jab-cross
  3. Jab-cross-lead hook
  4. Jab-cross-lead hook-cross
  5. Jab-cross-lead hook-cross-lead uppercut
  6. Jab-cross-lead hook-cross-lead uppercut-overhand

Or breaking down the four count kicking combination and going through them in series, for example #3:
  1. Lead kick
  2. Lead kick-cross
  3. Lead kick-cross-lead hook
  4. Lead kick-cross-lead hook-lead kick

A provoked reaction:
  1. Jab
  2. Jab-high cover
  3. Jab-high cover-cross
  4. Jab-high cover-cross-lead hook
  5. Jab-high cover-cross-lead hook-rear kick (body)
  6. Jab-high cover-cross-lead hook-rear kick (body)-lead kick (head)
  1. Jab
  2. Jab-cross
  3. Jab-cross-side cover
  4. Jab-cross-side cover-lead hook
  5. Jab-cross-side cover-lead hook-cross
  6. Jab-cross-side cover-lead hook-cross-lead kick (body)
  7. Jab-cross-side cover-lead hook-cross-lead kick (body)-rear kick (head)
In this way you do non-monotonic repetitions and you have to keep thinking about which set you are on. At the same time you can start to feel how each move functions independently, that is, assess its technical perfection but on the subsequent repetitions see how it flows or assess its applicability.
A separate note: it's getting kind of chilly in my garage so I wore my wrestling shoes. This forces one to kick with the lower shin, hitting with the top of the foot cause the shoe to create painful pressure on the ankle, who knew that wrestling could contribute to proper kicking mechanics.



Never take your training for granted

Last week I started my one month rotation of "night float", that is, spending 7 PM to 7 AM in the hospital, while the hours are no more intense than my regular schedule they are only normal for someone living on the opposite side of the world. In other words when I want to train I neither have training partners or a facility available, the regularly scheduled practices that I would normally attend are right about the time I'm leaving home for work.
So what's a training masochist like me to do. Obviously I still try to set-up practice slots where I can, and got to workout Friday and Saturday with some of guys from my gym. I couldn't believe how much a week off made me miss training nor how much I had actually been taking my training regimen for granted. It was refreshing and a bit humbling to realize that I had taken a good thing and expected to last no matter what. I'll be grateful for the training opportunities I have this month and be more appreciative of them when I get back.
Saturday we worked on passing the guard by "jumping". One of the most frustrating things to deal with in an opponent is one fluid enough to jump past the full guard to half guard in an attempt to pass. Once in the half-guard the jump can be used to switch sides forcing the bottom player to constantly play catch-up. We jumped from three positions:
From a stymied passing positon, with your front more toward the floor, jump to the opposite side, rotating around your leg, landing face up, secure the grip around the neck and far leg.
Koala guard
Lower your weight, reach the near side arm over your opponent's shoulder and secure the kimono on the far side. Push your knee into your opponent's chest as you spring forward and roll out laterally, posting with your far leg. Secure the your free hand under their far leg. Note your opponent can defend this by blocking with the rear leg of the koala position, using securing a low guard position around the shins and then pushing to a kneeling position on top.
De la Riva
Pop the extended leg laterally off your hip and push the hook through as spring forward and spin on the formerly hooked leg.
At sparring I coached (mostly due to a wicked leg cramp...apparently 30 hours of not sleeping with minimal fluids will do that...who knew). This was the first day for new member sparring. And they rapidly learned that it is a lot harder than it looks, as they were paired off against more experienced club members. Everyone starts off gung ho, but after getting punched in the face and kicked in the stomach they loose much of their ability to string an offense together. However, this should not be seen as a defeat, rather it is a learning opportunity to see how well you fair under stress, how well you take the fear that is instilled by having someone trying to hurt you. The best part is how much more serious the people who spar become in their training, they understand the more repetitions in training the more likely they will do better in sparring.
Following sparring we covered the entering bait, that is, using gradual probing steps to draw your opponent's fire, learning what that reaction is, and using it to set-up offense and counter offense. The biggest mistake people make is standing in the range where the other guy fights best. Switch the range, open to draw the to you, close to force them into action, use these and see how you can make them play the game according to your rules. "Games" likes shoulder and knee tag work on this concept.
Leg evasions were also discussed and drilled. If your opponent is kicking you in your leg we will slow you down and eventually break you down entirely. Evade by stepping your lead leg back to the same line as your rear leg, as they spin through deliver the cross. We drilled this by evading and tagging the far shoulder as it came through on the spin.
We also covered the tiip defense, reiterating that the entering bait above can be used effectively to make your opponent kick and miss. Alternatively and more traditionally use a downward lead hand scoop to divert the kick and drive it hard into the floor, planting them there momentarily. For same lead, tiip follow with a rear kick to the back of their thigh, lead head hook, and rear cross. For same lead, rear tiip lead kick to the inside of the base leg, straight cross.
With my new goal of never taking training for granted, as I watched my training partner Jeff teach the arm bar and triangle, I picked up new nuances on how to both perform and teach the technique and I've done thousands upon thousands of arm bars, taught it to hundreds of people, and won major combinations with both those techniques. Maximize every minute of your day, from getting one more good repetition of a technique to savoring one more second of sleep, take no moment for granted.

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