Thursday, January 28, 2016

Chasing the magic

I touched it, at least for a moment on Sunday.  Ha, don’t get cute with that.  

I touched the magic I have been chasing.

What is that “magic” you might ask.  Best way to describe it is to share a conversation I had with Dillon about it.
Me - Do you know of a Japanese term meaning effortlessness?

Dillon - What's the context?

Me - That's the rub, hard to put into words in any language
The feeling is when you are just doing the motion as if you are doing kata or just in the air.
Then when you use that same amount of effort with a person, especially a resistive opponent and they go flying through the air like Hong Kong wire work

Dillon - I mean, in martial arts my go to for that would be Kano's Seiryoku Zenyo.

The "maximum effect/ minimum effort" from Judo.

But I don't know of a term for "effortless" in the same sense as we'd use it.

That is close, probably as close to what I’m trying to express as I’m going to get.
As far as I know there is no succinct term or phrase meaning:
Real time, practical use of martial arts nerd stuff that seems like bullshit until someone half your size tosses you get across a room, or hits you so hard it feels like you crapped out a sizable portion of your skeleton and you just want to lay in the fetal position for a few minutes.

These things have happened to me.  The magic I seek is the ability to reliably and consistently do that to bigger, stronger resisting opponents.

I have written about training geared to get from 0 to proficiency as quickly as possible.  The magic is going from proficient to mastery, to effortlessness

I think I am on the trail.  I touched it on Sunday.  On Sunday we had a VPPG (Violence Prone Play Group) meeting.  The idea of VPPG is there isn’t a student / teacher relationship.  Everybody that attends is tasked with bringing a problem they want to bang out, or a general idea they want to work on.  When it is their turn everyone else helps to solve the problem with insight / experience from their unique perspective.  Then there is some form of sparring / dynamic resistance to test out the potential solutions.  Everybody works on that idea for themselves.  Then we move on to the next guy

It started with Greg’s request
Me - Anything in particular you want to work on?
Greg - Yes, basic trips if getting to the dead side isn't an option. Some of the old timey ones from some of your videos you've posted.

I thought he wanted to work on attacking the legs from 0.  That is cool because that is part of the Katamedo Jujitsu curriculum anyway. 
Effort and prep time are what allow Batman to fight against super powered demi gods

So, following that example I put work in to prep for the VPPG.  Working ashi waza (leg techniques) no Gi, from striking (in offense and defense).

I reviewed The 65 throws of Kodokan Judo DVD’s from the USMAA.
I took mental notes as Phil Porter Sensei, an American pioneer in martial arts who has coached Judo at the highest level explained how Ko Uchi Gari (minor inside reap)works.  I won’t get into too much detail, but I mention it because his ability to translate esoteric martial arts ideas into physics, kinesiology, biology that I can understand is outstanding.
If the “magic” can be understood through science, then it is obtainable.

Side note as I was writing this blog I contacted Mike Makoid.  I told him that I would be referencing the DVD’s and asked if there is a link readers could click to purchase them.
To paraphrase Makoid Sensei, access to those DVD’s is benefit of attending the USMAA National Training camp.

I have never endorsed a product on the blog before.  I don’t see a penny from sales.  So when I encourage anyone who enjoys a throwing art to get these DVD’s I hope that attests to the quality of the information they hold.  Clearly no book or video can replace a good instructor and training buddies to roll with.  However, these DVD’s are an excellent supplement to your training.

Click the link below, register for National Training Camp, spend a weekend training with some of the best Instructors in the Country, take the DVD’s home with you.  
Easy -  Peasy  - Japanesey

Now as Paul Harvey would say and now for the rest of the story.

If the “magic” can be understood through science, then it is obtainable.

It is real, it is not just demonstration side show sleight of hand nonsense.

The idea of maximizing positives and minimizing negatives is a part of it
I’m sure I’ve written it here as well, but many times when I am teaching I talk about how you can’t make yourself instantly stronger.  If you could you would turn into to the Hulk, or you would flood your blood stream with Venom like Bane in times of need and training would be unnecessary. 

You can’t make yourself instantly stronger, but you can remove everything that makes you weak, bleeds off your power. 

You can also maximize the strength that you do have.  I talk about the “tyrannosaur triangle”, bringing the threat to where you are the strongest, as opposed to breaking your structure in an attempt to deliver force into the threat.

Another aspect of maximizing the strength that you have is sometimes described as  - Old man strength

Here is an entire article on the subject

The Urban Dictionary defines it as  - The crazy insane strength you gain when you become an old man
In context:
Did you see grandpa pick up that keg of beer?
Yeah he has sick old man strength

Although ligament strength developed over a youth of rigorous labor pays off later in life, I feel a more significant factor is experience using strength.

An example that comes to mind is training with Steve Jimerfield.  Steve is very strong.  However, we will be working on something and he will show me some sort of bone alignment, or tightening of ligaments, or finger extension.  When he does it in that way, it isn’t just a little stronger, it is exponentially stronger, scary stronger.  No bullshit practical applications of the “unbendable arm”

I know the magic is real.  It can be explained, it can be obtained.  I have found it from time to time.  I have felt it with Jimerfield.

I have also felt it with Marc MacYoung.

Just as removing anything that bleeds power from you, and maximizing your strength is part of it, minimizing their strength another part of it.

Putting weakness into them, for lack of a more elegant term.

One of the first times I played with Marc he brought me down to where he is strongest, twisted me up in such a way that all my advantages in size and strength meant nothing, stepped in such a way that all my avenues of escape were blocked, then chucked me across the room.  
That was very cool!

Here is a picture from after that seminar from when Lise tossed a dude twice her size through a wall.

A concept I use to help explain this is unlocking gates.  If I can unlock the gates (break the framework) you need to use force against me, then clearly it becomes much more difficult for you to do so.

Inversely I can lock gates (create a frame work) in you that allows me to move you to where you do not want to go.

Dillon mentioned this idea is like playing with one of these

Collapsing or creating structure with their skeleton

Factors in being able to scientifically reproduce “the magic”:
  • Removing anything that robs you of power
  • Maximizing your strength
  • Minimizing their strength (unlocking gates)
  • Sensitivity

Sensitivity is putting these all these ideas together, and being able to switch gears between them as the circumstances dictate.  This can be seen in things like casting a net in Kung Fu, or the rowing exercise in Aikido

Back to last Sunday, we are working on the above mentioned factors, some specifically, some by coincidence.  

Greg is working with Dillon on ashi waza (leg techniques).  No Gi, from striking (light sparring). The leg sweep Greg is working on is most often a trip with the thrower landing on the opponent and transitioning directly into ground work.

Dillon is built like a fire hydrant, genetically engineered not to be thrown.  Without getting too inside baseball or bogged down by details, as Greg reaps the leg he drives Dillon back sending him through the air.  So much so Dillon had to cover his head as he landed so he didn’t crack his skull.  
Holy shit!  
Greg tosses me, and Jake the Snake.  Now it is my turn.   

Ko Uchi Gari has never been one of my favorites, until that Sunday.  
Minimal Effort, maximum effect.  
Guys didn’t just trip, guys flew off my leg.  Very cool!

Sadly, I didn’t catch that on tape.  I was busy doing it.  I’ll see if I can at the next VPPG play time. 

Until then, in his own search of this magic Dillon has been learning Bagua.  Part of his homework is to find applications of basic Bagua forms.  So for your enjoyment here is some video of Dillon throwing me all over God’s green earth using the throwing applications of one small part or on Bagua form

Train hard, train smart, be safe

Find the magic.  Even if you never do the search itself will be worth it

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Victory has defeated you

Been a long time since I rock and rolled.

I'm back, sorry for the delay

That is one of the things I will be writing about on this installment of the blog

Post Batman by 40 I have had ups and downs.  .
There is no stasis, no good enough.  There is only improving or deteriorating.
Victory had defeated me.  I grew complacent to some extent.
No longer.

I have learned a lot, I have access to experts, and thanks to Omar Ahmad I have a group that supports the effort and holds me accountable to a higher standard.

Now time for Beyond Batman.  Prepping for my 43rd birthday, my 25 year high school reunion, and re-firming the foundation of continued progress.

Steve Jimerfield often says you should be more fit when you retire than when you were hired.
Challenge accepted.

This point was driven home recently.  I responded to a lift assist.  80 something male had fallen and could not get back up.  When I entered his house I noticed several framed pictures of Karate competitions and various rank promotions.  My partner and I helped him up and waited for the ambulance. While we waited we talked about Karate and martial arts.  He spoke of all the things he used to do and how he missed them.  He wondered if he would need to move to a rest home because he can no longer get around.  I was polite and we had a pleasant conversation.  However, the whole time we were talking I couldn't help but thinking to myself, no fucking way.  I'm never going to allow myself to be this guy.

That call made me think of my Dad

That is him in the North-stars shirt

My Dad is older than that guy.  Everyday he is on the treadmill or lifting weights.  It has been that way since around '86.  His quality of life is exponentially better than the guy I helped.  Dad enjoys his life and is still capable of doing the things he digs (Hunting, Fishing, etc...).

After that lift assist I called my Dad to thank him for the example he has set for me and for my daughters.

I want to  be the guy that was on the mat practicing martial arts the day he died.  Not the guy stuck in a chair pinning for the days he used to do martial arts.

I want to be like these guys
Bronx Judo and Martial Arts

I hope that link works.  The video is posted on Facebook, not YouTube so there may be some technical difficulties.

If you can't see it, the video is of a 90 year old man in randori with a 75 year old man.

I figure the best way to be able to move then, is to never stop moving

Hence project  - Beyond Batman
What worked - best practices

  • Running 3 times per week

What can be improved

  • Incorporating compound movement, and kettle bell exercises along with suspension body weight exercises into my strength training.

  • Developing runs that better help me achieve my goals and timing them so that I hit them with fresh legs

  • Logistics - how do you make this work with you life / available equipment
  • Time Management

I challenged the group I mentioned earlier to list their goals, with a deadline and to list the steps necessary to achieve those goals.

Here are mine

18 month goals 43rd birthday / 25 year class reunion

205 lbs 
A) Because that is a light heavy weight in the UFC 
B) Putting in the work needed to achieve the Batman by 40 results got me down to 195, so my goal is to be that lean but have 10 more lbs of ass kicking muscle
C) I don't really care about that number as long as the performance objectives are accomplished.

40 Min 5 mile
6 min 1 mile
35 pull ups in one minute
65 push ups in one minute
70 sit ups in one minute
35 dips in one minute

Here is the 1st 12 weeks of my plan

Figuring out where I want to go
Setting a reasonable time to get there
Breaking the work down into manageable daily assignments
Increasing incrementally (boiling the frog) enjoying the progress, and the process with out burning out.

This method has served me well

Now time to apply it to other areas of my life, especially business.

After Violence Dynamics this year, it was the holidays, and I wanted a break.
I took the progress the school has made for granted, and fell behind the 8 ball.
Victory had defeated me
No longer.

This maybe secret, may be another cross over blog w/ Randy King, maybe part of Randy's book.
So, I won't get into a lot of detail here but Randy King has been helping me with business and marketing.
He has broken it down in a way my brain understands.

It takes prep time and and consistent work 5 or more days a week

Awesome, that is how I roll

Do you know why....

It might look familiar.

  • Figuring out where I want to go
  • Setting a reasonable time to get there
  • Breaking the work down into manageable daily assignments
  • Enjoying the progress, and the process with out burning out.

Plan the work, work the plan.  Keep grinding it out.  Small work everyday yields big results over time.

Easy to say.  Time to put up or shut up.

So - Accountability, no bullshit, this is the standard I will hold myself to, this is what you can expect from me.

New Budo Blogs weekly
New video content monthly
Here is a sample

Please like and follow our YouTube channel

Writing assignments -
I owe:
Garry Smith
Loren Christensen
Kevin Keogh
Rory Miller
Each a writing project.  These will be delivered by the end of January.

With the help of many, but especially Anna Valdiserri my book will be done this year.

One book per year for the next 3 years.

Four traveling seminars a year.

I have planned the work, now it is time to work the plan.
Nothing to it but to do it.

Manageable daily assignments / tasks
Enjoying the progress, and the process with out burning out.

Thank you for your patience.
See you here next week.

Train hard, train smart, be safe
Keep moving