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Showing posts from December, 2018

"In Victory, Tighten Your Helmet Cords"

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I had finally made it to the gym, after a packed holiday season day full of chores and errands. I felt like crap, hadn't slept well, and had been busy all day-- but I still went. And I'm glad I did. I always am. I sat through almost an hour of traffic to make the evening fundamentals course since I wasn't able to get to the afternoon all levels class, and as a beginner I always appreciate the slower pace. We worked much the same techniques that that all-levels classes did, but with fewer variations. 

When it came time to roll, I was doing better than I figured I would. I went (sort of) even with a new blue belt, and got a tap from a triangle choke (my first) against a bigger, new guy with a wrestling background. For the final round, I was paired up with someone about my size, and I was doing well again-- passing guards, getting mounts, etc. If it were a competition, I would have been way up on points. 

Then it all fell apart.

He was able to escape my side control, take my bac…

AAR: 12/18/18, Baseball Bat Gi Choke

Technique of the Day: Baseball Bat Choke from Knee Slice position, with the added fun of using the Gi if you couldn't pass the grips.

Thoughts: Knee slice starting to feel a bit more natural though it's definitely not my preferred way to pass yet (too many places to get caught/sweeped, at least when I do it). I still love the baseball bat choke but it definitely requires patience-- especially with someone sweaty, it's tough to get/pass the grips. The variation we worked on today (pulling the gi out of the belt and passing it behind to secure the choke that way) is very cool but probably above my pay grade right now.

Rolls: 2 minute rounds x10: knee slice on top with reverse de la Riva/knee shield or quarter guard on bottom. Switch bottom/top then switch partners.

What Went Well: Got a few taps (including on people bigger than me) and a solid takedown (couldn't get the single leg so kicked out the remaining leg). Was able to defend a few things from higher belts.

What C…

AAR: 12/17/18 1200

Technique of the Day: Same as this morning. Knee slice pass into a baseball bat choke.

Reflections of Technique of the Day: Tried to smooth out the pass since I had already worked it today. Choke was a little harder with a different partner-- even during drills, he was a big guy who was framing hard which proved to be a challenge when I was trying to get my grips. I also still have trouble making the second grip (palm up) when folks are sweaty (I, for one, am sweaty 30 seconds after I get on the mat).

Rolling: Situational roll from reverse de la Riva and knee shield. 2 minutes each side, 10 rounds. 20 minutes total rolling.

What Went Well: I still don't know many sweeps or reversals so I'm trying to get better at fighting before I wind up in terrible positions. I'm still getting reasonable success with the Kimura-- almost got it (I think?) on a tough blue belt.

What Can Improve: Said blue belt showed me afterward why I didn't get the tap-- needed to transition either …

After Action Report (AAR): 12/17/18, 0630: Knee Slice Pass into Baseball Bat Choke

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First off, write out all the good things, everything that went well, from your failures. Be detailed and generous with yourself. A lot of good things will have happened. It’s rarely all bad. Then note how you handled your failure. Did it affect your life and your relationships? How so?

How did you think throughout the preparation for and during the execution stage of your failure? You have to know how you were thinking at each step because it’s all about mindset, and that’s where most people fall short.

Now go back through and make a list of things you can fix. This isn’t time to be soft or generous. Be brutally honest, write them all out. Study them. Then look at your calendar and schedule another attempt as soon as possible. If the failure happened in childhood, and you can’t recreate the Little League all-star game you choked in, I still want you to write that report because you’ll likely be able to use that information to achieve any goal going forward.

This life is all a fucking m…

Who am I, anyways?

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One of my earliest memories of my martial arts career was, sadly, not a good one. I had just failed my purple belt test in Shito-Ryu Karate. I was just shy of 5 years old. I had been training for a couple of months with my brother (9 years old) and my father (adult). Apparently, I couldn't remember my kata. I couldn't remember any kata.

I never did have much talent.



Fortunately, what I've realized as I've gotten older is that martial arts, and indeed most endeavors, are more about the work you're willing to do more than the inherent physical or mental talent that you have. I was never physically gifted, and never particularly athletic. But that very first martial arts class ignited a passion in me that's still going strong almost thirty years later.

What follows is a brief biography into my martial arts career, so that anyone reading this can know where I'm coming from for any future discussions.
As I wrote above, I started in Shito-Ryu Karate at the age of …