This post is another one that is the result of a bunch of factors coming together. It started with the infamous Shane Fazen knife defense video from a while ago. Then there was a conversation about “internet experts” on a private mailing list I’m on. But what brought it all together was an exchange I had on Twitter with Pat Flynn. I’ll explain all of this in a bit and then try to bring it together into the point I want to make.
Let’s get started with the knife video. Take a look at this first:
First of all, I like Shane. I think his intentions are good; he always mentions avoidance and only fighting in self-defense. Second, the basic advice he gives in this video isn’t bad per se. It’s only when he shows that crescent kick that it turns sour. I’m not a big fan of critiquing other people’s videos but this one, I’m willing to step up and call bullshit. There are a number of reasons why I say so: Read More→
It took a lot longer than I wanted (life got in the way..), but my newsletter is finally live. If you want to sign up, scroll down this page and fill in the big-ass form with the “SIGN UP NOW!” button. You really can’t miss it… I’ll explain the freebie you get with it, along with what the newsletter is about, in a minute.
First, how to subscribe:
Just fill in your name and email address in the form and click the button.
One important thing: right after signing up, you’ll receive a confirmation email with a link you have to click. Otherwise, you won’t get the newsletter.
This confirmation is necessary to avoid abuse by those with bad intentions.
Next, what’s the freebie you get?
I show you the two resources I use every day, both in my own training and with my clients.
The first one is something I created and fine-tuned over the last 20 years. The other is the perfect companion to it. Together, they help you make continuous progress in your training, regardless if it’s for martial arts, self-defense, combat sports or even firearms training. It works everywhere.
How’s that for a teaser?
Finally, what’s the newsletter going to be like? Read More→
A friend of mine wrote an interesting blog a little while ago. Read it here before you read the rest down below. Bear in mind that he is outspoken in his views and opinion. In other words, don’t complain if what he writes upsets you: you were warned.
Don lived in Japan for many years and he is fluent in Japanese at a level most Westerners can only dream about. So not only does he have a more in-depth understanding of the country and its language, he also received a different kind of training than those who don’t speak Japanese well and only visit for a few weeks at a time (at best). I’d advise students of Japanese arts to take into account his writing when they study with a Japanese teacher. It can help you avoid all sorts of problems.
That said, I’d like to offer some thoughts on what he wrote. Be prepared for some rambling and jumping from one thing to the next.
Talent is overrated
As I’ve said before, I wasn’t talented when I started training at age 13. I was strong for my age, but I was neither flexible nor well-coordinated. I was also a slow learner and still am to this day. I was tenacious though. I very quickly fell in love with martial arts and would come home from class to train some more in my room. Or I’d be in the garden kicking and punching an old tree we had there. I also routinely showed up to class at least 30min. early and practiced on my own before the teacher arrived.
I was a lot of things when I started, but I wasn’t talented.
It’s been almost 30 years since I started training an I learned a lot since then. Some of my peers tell me I’m really good now. My critics say I’m full of shit and suck blocky nuts. The flattery strokes the ego and the vitriolic criticism is usually best ignored, neither changes anything about whatever skill I do have. Personally, I think I’m pretty good at some arts and OK at others. When I look at my teachers though, I see how much more work I have to do to be at their level. That’s the most exciting prospect for me, but I digress.
My point is that I only improved my skill level by working at it very hard for many years. That’s not a big deal, by the way. Anybody who’s good at something works at it to get that good. “Getting good” can only be done in one way: improve what you can do now so you can do it better tomorrow. The only way to improve something is to grind away at whatever is making it “not right”. The only way of doing that is knowing what is wrong to begin with. That’s where your teacher comes in. Read More→
A friend and I have been pestering each other for years with videos and pictures of horrible martial artists. We always try to top the last one we find and unfortunately, that seems tp be getting easier as time goes by. I blame him for exposing me to this shining light of a “Taoist Takedown Defense”…
Take a look at the video first:
If there ever was an epic fail of a takedown defense, this is it. Not in principle as such. Even though the sprawl is a dominant defense against the takedown in MMA, pivoting away is a legitimate technique in the cage and you do sometimes see fighters doing it.
They do it with skill and competence, unlike our instructor here.
They also do it against a committed, aggressive attack instead of a lumbering, stumbling, bent-over semi-rush like this “attacker” does.
Usually, I don’t find it necessary to comment on these kinds of videos. There’s rarely something to be gained and I don’t particularly feel the need to trash people all over the internet. But I’ll make an exception for this instructor here. Not only because of the complete lack of skill but also because of his open challenge when he receives criticism.
Watch this video, all the way to his challenge at the end: Read More→
I’ve written a lot about self-defense lately and apparently, this has given the impression to people that I either have something against combat sports (MMA, muay thai, etc.) and don’t train in them myself. Neither of those two statements is correct, on the contrary. I love combat sports, they’re great. I also competed in them when I was younger and still teach them in my classes and to private students. Given the feedback I received, I thought it might be fun to show some of the things I teach to students.
So here’s a basic striking drill for stand-up fighting. Take a look first and then I’ll explain the reasons behind it.
First, a couple of things I have to mention:
- We shot this video on my cellphone, near the end of class. The video quality is OK but not awesome, given that my cellphone isn’t a full-fledged camera. It’s all one take and there’s no editing. That’s also why you see the mistakes I and my student made (he was a little thrown by suddenly having to perform for the camera.) I chose to keep them in there instead of starting over until we did it all exactly right. That way I can point them out to you, because learning to correct the mistakes is an essential part of the drill.
- There should be more footwork. Typically, we move around a lot more when we practice this drill. Doing so would have made it more difficult to shoot the video and we’d also lose the best background we have in the gym. The yellow curtains aren’t great, but they sure are better than a dark brown one or one with lots of visual noise all over the place.
- We don’t do the drill at full speed or power. We reserve that for when we work on the pads. I’ve found that students get injured if I let them cut loose during the drills. So we hold back a little and focus on other things like timing, distancing, technique, etc.
- I’m still nursing a bunch of injuries and am not allowed to do certain things. As a result, the drill isn’t as smooth as it could be. I also have to adapt it a bit to make it work. This is most visible when I throw a right punch: I should be turning into it more. Right now, I can’t do that so I have to pull that punch a bit. But you shouldn’t. The same goes for my arm position in my on-guard stance, the way I block, the way I turn my hips into a kick. There are a bunch of things I should do differently, but right now, I’d only injure myself more by doing them.
- It doesn’t matter how I do each technique. It’s not about punching or kicking in an MMA or muay Thai way. If you do a lead hook or any other technique in a different way, by all means keep doing so. I have reasons for each of my technical choices and you might have other reasons for them. For instance, in the basic version of this drill we don’t drop our weight in the overhand right. I teach level changes later on in a student’s development because otherwise they don’t learn stability first. I also found it slows down a student’s progress in developing the ability to throw fluid/fast combinations if I let him lean or drop his weight from the get go.
What’s in in the drill?
Let’s take a look at the different components now:
- The entry. You have to start out of reach and then step in with the jab, followed by a cross and lead hook.
- The first counter. The partner fires a lead hook as soon as he blocks yours. You block that one and counter with another lead hook followed by an overhand punch (short, medium or long, depending on circumstances). Read More→
Warning: NSFW or kids.
Watch this video and then read the comments on Youtube.
Look at how many people are whining about overkill, five shots is too many, should have shot him in the leg, should have retreated, etc. I understand their emotional response but it is misguided, at best.
- Close quarters against a knife is a horrible place to be. The only advantage the officer has is that his weapon is already drawn and aimed. If his weapon had been holstered, his odds of surviving a sudden attack would have been terrible (and he knows it, LEOs train for this situation.) If you don’t believe that, watch the video in this post.
- Even with his weapon aimed, there is still no guarantee that he will be able to stop the guy, should he suddenly charge. There just isn’t enough time at that distance. If five shots seem excessive, consider 21 not being enough to do the job. Granted that is at the far end of the scale, but attackers routinely don’t go down when they are shot. Bullets aren’t magic solutions: they don’t make the problem suddenly disappear…
- As for retreating: if the officer retreats and the guy gets out of the house, the situation become more difficult to control. The guy could start attacking his kid or anybody else who happens to be passing by. Or he could end up killed himself. Don’t believe me? Watch this video: Read More→
Of all the things I was expecting to see in 2014, superhero mixed martial arts wasn’t one of them. Check out this video of Batman and Robin fighting Spiderman in a 2-on-1 fight under what looks like mixed martial arts rules.
Take a look:
Whatever you think of the fight, the intro as they got on the stage was pretty cool with Robin jump-kicking over Batman. Too bad they got their asses kicked. The takedown by The Riddler was cool too.
After a quick search, I found this site: Hardest Man. Turns out it’s a UK organization that is putting up the events. I have no idea why they are doing a super hero mixed martial arts division on top of the regular one, but who cares? It’s awesome.
Here’s another trailer from them: Read More→