Sunday, July 24, 2016

Back in the saddle (Part 2)

Previously on The Budo Blog...
Back in the saddle refereed to being on the road again.  Travelling cross country with Gary Rudenick.

This time it will refer to being in a gi.

Back in the saddle part 2 - back in a gi

I don't usually wear a gi.  To some folks that may seem at best nontraditional at worse heresy.
However, non traditional is actually more traditional.  Huh?  is that a Zen koan?  What do I mean by that?

What became a gi was just what was convenient to train in at the time.

Look at some of the first photos of Judo / Jujutsu (at the time interchangeable terms) being practiced. A jacket for some throws and tights, with what looks like wrestling shows (Kind of like modern Sambo)

These guys just wanted to train comfortably and not wreck their regular clothes.

I just want to train comfortably and not wreck my regular clothes.

So we (my school) usually roll in gi pants and a rash guard.  Throwing on a jacket when needed for some throws and clothing chokes.

Like this.  So this picture clearly shows gi pants and a rash guard.
But honestly I just like the goofy expression on my face and how big my arm looks in the picture :)

I was traditionally trained, and as such I wore a gi for much of my training.
Smell has a strong memory trigger.  There is a distinct aroma to a sweat soaked double weave Judo gi.  If you know it, you know what I am talking about.  If you don't I can't put it in words.
Being in a gi, smelling that smell again, brought back fond memories.

Why I was in a gi again?  I was part of the board for a formal test.
I have written about the testing process at camp the last few years, you can review my thoughts here if you like

I was very impressed to say the least.

There are too many martial arts schools with "self defense" portions of their testing process that have no idea about self defense.  Lots of retrofitting situations to fit skills that their art practices.  As opposed to working on principles applicable to how criminals actually attack.

You also see a lot of lip service paid to running away.  Yeah you should run away, ok that is done, gather around and watch how to hit them with a snapping back fist.

If you never practice escaping, if you never practice moving around another human body and running away.  How do expect to do it when it counts?

This skill is difficult enough that people that can do it well make millions of dollars doing it in the NFL

You think Defensive Linemen talk about moving past someone that is trying to stop them?  Or do they practice it a lot?

Even for those rare places that actually practice this skill for self defense.  Have you pressure tested it?

If you don't, if you haven't you should play with it.

How you might ask.  That topic deserves a blog of it's own, and honestly that is information that I don't just give away. So....

Blatant self promotion warning !!!!

Violence Dynamics Next Gen  - Edmonton Alberta Canada - 07 / 28 - 31 / 2016
Violence Dynamics (Prime) - St. Paul Minnesota America (Duh) 10 /20 - 23 / 2016

The people at camp had clearly played with it and they were tested under pressure.

It was great to see counter ambush and goal oriented fighting (in this case fighting to the goal of escape) directly incorporated into their regular training.

For this portion of the test I ran one line and David Bleeker ran the other

Dave is one of my favorite people and I don't like many people.  I try to steal as much Judo from him every chance I get.  That is him between Gary and I.  As you can see he is a big dude.  He is also a multiple time National Heavy Weight Judo Champion.

The people testing had to work their counter ambush against us, fight to escape, and yell fire as they were running away to bring attention to the situation.

If those three things were not accomplished they failed the entire test that they had been preparing for for a year.

Dave and I had the advantage of size, strength, initiative, experience, and intent (we can both be kind of mean) over everyone testing.  Awesome you don't get to pick your assailant, and if you can make it work on us, it works.  Confidence through competence.

Some of the people testing had trouble with the idea and tried to have a Judo match with us.  They got slammed until they realized they had a far higher chance of slipping past us and escaping than they did trying to win a "fair fight".

Shows the importance of practicing this under pressure.  Best to learn these lessons here with Dave and I, who can be mean but genuinely care for the people we are working with, as opposed to someone trying to take them to a secondary crime scene.

Fantastic test and the participants did well.

 I can sum up how good a test it was and how well the participants did with one story.

On the other line a 100 and nothing lb,  5 foot noting, teen aged young woman slipped past Dave.  We don't give anything for free.  Somehow Dave caught her as she was running away and now she was stuck in front of this giant. I'm not sure how she did it, it looked like a Ko Soto Gari (minor outside reap) but she threw Dave, then completed the drill running away and yelling fire.

There was kind of a hush.  (You are not supposed to applaud during the test)  No one knew what they were supposed to do exactly.

Dave got up with a slight smile on his face, nodded at me and went back to work. (One of the reasons I love Dave).

Under pressure this young woman used very basic principles to throw a larger, stronger assailant all but effortlessly.  Probably the coolest thing that happened at camp.

Just so you can fathom how cool that was, understand that I have never seen Dave thrown.  No one throws Dave!  Omar doesn't throw Dave, I don't throw Dave, but a 100 and nothing lb,  5 foot noting, teen aged young woman threw Dave.  And Dave was happy she did.  Too cool!

One of the great things about camp is there are multiple classes going on at the same time.  The classes are very informal, you can come and go as you please, and you can switch between the martial arts and law enforcement classes throughout the training camp.

However, because of this there are times when two different classes I wanted to attend were happening at the same time.

As problems go, that is a good problem to have.

How does one choose?

Giri 義理  is a Japanese value roughly corresponding to "duty", "obligation", or even "burden of obligation" in English.

There are people at camp that I have obligations to.  People that have worked hard to help me.  I don't get to see these people as often as I would like, and I miss them.  As much as camp is about training, it has also become a kind of family reunion for me  So as much I'd like to be in two places at one time, the choice was easy and I spent as much time as possible with the people I drove 10 hours to spend time with.

Day 2 of training camp started with  Marine Combatives taught by Alex Hendrix.
The next class was Judo with Gary Rudenick.  After watching the ne waza randori (ground skills freestyle) portion of the test last night Rudenick Sensei noticed some things he wanted to work with the next day.

Gary's class was some fundamental ground skills.  Very basic, but it is mastery of these basics which causes growth to mastery.

Gary also worked on a variation of Ude Gatame that he noticed lots of people could have hit in randori if they could have seen that the opportunity when it presented itself.

Seeing the same thing from different perspectives is one of the best parts of training camp and vital to sustained progress.

This is true for martial arts and tactical teams.  If all your training is in house.  If all your information is from one source.  You run the risk of becoming incestuous.

Why do you do things this way?

  • That is the way we have always done them
  • That is what the Instructor told us to do
  • Its has always worked

Who have you fought?  How has it been tested?  What are the best practices - how do the best in the world do it?

You don't know what you don't know.  Receiving training from outside sources broadens your perspective to things you haven't considered, and may never have considered with out that exposure.

The next class was Systema with Dennis Maginn, followed by competition Jujitsu with Omar Ahmad.

Omar discussed how many of the people that were successful at the USA Combat Wrestling national team qualification won with knee and ankle locks.

Knee and ankle locks, oh great, my favorite! (That was sarcasm)
Surgically repaired knee, surgically repaired ankle.

Most classes that I am not teaching I take ukemi for the instructor, because I am good at it, which means they can pound on me, with out breaking me so the students can see the application, and for selfish reasons because as Uke, I learn a lot by feeling things that can not be seen.  This was not the case for this class.  Primarily because I tap to these locks far sooner than most.  So the students don't really get to see the application very well

Kurt (I do the splits) Valdez took the thumping this time around.

Trent Williamson was my partner.

Trent is tough, and an intense competitor.  I let him know, hey man my old shitty knees don't bend all the way they are supposed to, be gentle with me.

He replied, they will now.

Trent was very cool.  He and Dave took a lot of time to work with me on the knee and ankle locks.
Truth be told I was a little scared, but doing things you are afraid of is important and necessary mental training.

Rory Miller writes in his book "Drills - Training For Sudden Violence"

One of the most catastrophic failures in self-defense is to do nothing.  There are many ways to freeze, many reasons that people take damage or acquiesce to attackers.  Sometimes they feel they need a plan.  Sometimes they are in denial that the event is happening.  Rarely the victim doesn’t know what to do.  Often, the victim does know what to do, but can’t seem to make him or herself do it.
Fighting is unpleasant.  It hurts, for one thing.  You have to get very close, touching close, to people you would normally avoid.  It can smell bad and there is the definite possibility of messy spills.
You won’t enjoy defending yourself from an assault.
Make it a habit to do the things you don’t enjoy.  Immediately, efficiently and without hesitation.
If you are going to jump in the cold water, jump.  Don’t work yourself up to it.  As long as it is safe (the water is deep enough, no rocks…) jump.  Jump with your whole heart.
If you study martial arts and think that there is an aspect of training that is useless or that you hate, do it.  Do it until those feelings go away.  If you think that kata is useless and boring, excellent.  Facing that boredom is the center of self-discipline.
If the very idea of competing in a tournament makes you nervous, you must do it.  That is fear, a low level fear, and facing fear is the essence of self-defense...

As you do things you are afraid of, maybe even your own taxes, you will learn and see how little there is in the world that is actually dangerous.
Not only does this drill make you tougher, it also makes you smarter, and in the end, wiser.  The person who acts when everyone else hesitates is a hero.  

Omar put on a great class and I'm excited to incorporate more leg attacks into what I teach

After lunch Michael Abels taught some Kenjutsu aspects of Aikido

The day ended with JKD taught by Richard Bustillio one of Bruce Lee's original students.

Another great day.  I was exhausted and my gi was soaked.  I spent the day doing what I love with some of my favorite people in the world.  Another great opportunity to spend time with, learn from and get beat up by Steve Jimerfield Sensei.  Fantastic day, well worth the trip

As is tradition when we got home to my Sister's house Gary and I had a cigar and "Marky Mark" and debriefed the day.

If you find your self in a seminar learning environment I suggest writing down the one best thing you learned from every class and find someone to talk about it with after class.  This helps process the information better and makes learning easier.

After we debrief we usually check in with our loved ones back home.
This is what I read on my wife's social media

July 8 at 9:59am ·
People often ask me how I do it, how are you able to be a police officer's wife? Up until this year it was easy, I know he trains hard to be able to come home to us and I pray everyday for his safety. I'm not sure how to make it through everyday now. Officers are being ambushed and murdered for doing their jobs! People are quick to judge cases of cops killing people without all the facts or proof of what actually happened! If you weren't there you don't know what really happened. Then when the truth finally comes out they deny it!
We have 3 girls who adore their Dad!!!!How do I help my girls understand people HATE their Dad because he's an officer? They want to kill him! How do I tell them they can only tell people we know & trust that he is a police officer and they can't proudly yell it from the rooftops? How long can I keep them from hearing the news of another officer shot?
Please help me continue to pray for Kasey and all of our friends who are fellow officers everyday! It's the only way I can make it through these tough days.
We are a Blue family, that means we stand with every officer, everywhere! 💙 If you can't support us please unfriend me

I'm having a blast, and my family is having a hard time back home.
To be continued...

Your friendly neighborhood Silverback Samurai will return in "Back in the saddle part 3"

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Back in the saddle

So, anything newsworthy happen since the last blog post?

I don't mean to make light of recent tragedies, it is just sometimes if you don't laugh you start to cry.

Clearly many things have happened locally and across the nation since the last Budo Blog.
Also the last Budo Blog was like "War and Peace" long.

Randy King gave me some good advice along the lines of - no one besides people that already know you and like your blog are going to read your posts if it takes them 45 minutes to read it.

Too long didn't read  - can keep good information from getting to folks that may need it.

Clearly many things have happened, this blog helps me process those things.  It also has to be of use to everyone that may read it, and presented in a way that can be more easily consumed.

So, this will be "Back in the saddle" Vol 1

I spent a lot of time in the saddle last week.  Driving from northern Minnesota down to Mankato (southern Minnesota) to pick up Rudenick Sensei.  Then continuing on to St. Louis for the USMAA National Training Camp.

I had my phone plugged into the radio playing every Metallica and AC/DC song there is or listening to classic rock radio on Pandora when Rudenick Sensei had clearly had enough of the deep cuts of Metallica's early work

Driving cross country listening to classic rock with an old bearded guy....reminded me of an episode of Supernatural.

Clearly I am Dean

I love training camp.  It is a great opportunity to see old friends and spend time with family.  Both the family you are born into and the one you chose.

It is a great opportunity to get away from it all.  Molly's description of Valhalla.  For the next three days all I am going to do is fight and feast.  Turns out it was a good time to get away from it all.

On the road, busy training, disconnected from media I had no idea what was going on.

Things have been going really well for me on the Beyond Batman training project.  I did not want travel to throw a monkey wrench into those gears.  So I started camp at 0500 with a sandbag strength workout.

{Sand bag product review to follow}

We made it through St. Louis traffic and road construction just in time to get a coffee at the hotel coffee shop and get our gis on before camp started.

The camp started with an opening ceremony and this year an awards ceremony.  Awards from the Katamedo Jujitsu Training and Nutrition page.  Omar Ahmad started the page as a place to share nutrition, fitness, and training information with the purpose of encouraging members to strive to be their best and in doing so inspire their students and others that observe their efforts.

I won the award this year.  Not so much that I worked harder or had better results than the others.  I think I won on the sheer volume of selfies I posted

Here is a screen shot of the photos from that page, except for Omar's giant calf they are all me

I was honored to be recognized for my efforts.  Now I have to work even harder to hold on to the title
"This is not last year and I am not done here" - Rob Bailey

Training camp started with Kurt (Barnacle Boy)Valdez teaching Tae Kwon Do in the main room 

Here is a picture of Kurt getting whooped by his lovely wife.  
The couple that throws together grows together

On the other mat Steve Jimerfield Sensei was starting his Talon class

 Nothing brings back the PTSD... I mean memories like taking ukemi for the Talon class.

After that Omar Ahmad was up for self defense, and I got to switch from being beat up by Jimerfield to being beat up by Omar.

Great class!  The focus was on counter ambush from behind and follow up.  Fighting to the goal, in this case the goal was escape.  Also addressing situational awareness and the need to keep yourself from being buried in your phone when you are out in public.

This would come up again in the Jujitsu test and in the Violence Dynamics class I presented later in the camp.

Omar's class worked great to set up mine which gave me more time to play.
I was very pleased with how the class went, everyone worked hard, and seemed to learn something and have fun.  It seems arrogant to review my own class so instead I'll give you part of the lesson plan to review what was covered

Training Goal:
To use Aikido as a mechanism to play with fundamental principles that are useful to all participants regardless of their primary training system

Learning Objectives:
Participants will demonstrate proficiency in:
Oyo Waza Practical Application
Kansetsu Waza Joint Locks
Nage Waza         Takedowns
Osae Komi Pins
Atemi Waza         Striking
Jyu Waza         Free Style

Discussion 5 Min
Hinge Joints – Hiji Hishigi (Elbow Crush) 5 Min
Takedown (2 variations)       10 Min
Pin         5 Min
Gliding Joints
Pressure Test and Jyu Waza 5 Min
Tomiki Aikido / Judo Discussion

Ball and Socket Joints – Ude Garami 5 Min
(Arm Entanglement)
Takedown (2 variations)        10 Min
Pin         5 Min
Pressure Test and Jyu Waza 5 Min

What is your take away?         5 Min


Aikido is a form of Jujutsu.  When you break it down Aikido is primarily:
Joints Locks – Kansetsu Waza
Throws – Nage Waza
Pins – Osae Komi
Striking – Atemi Waza
Practical Application – Oyo Waza
Ahmad Sensei just did a fantastic class on self defense.  Which makes my job easier.  We will work everything from counter ambush or from offense covering Oyo Waza and Atemi Waza.
From there we will work the fundamental principles of how locks work.  That way you won’t have to memorize any techniques, rather you will be able to improvise locks when the opportunity presents itself.
That is known as Takemusu Aiki or spontaneous technique.
That is regarded as the highest level of Aikido.  That is also the concept I believe Makoid is referring to when he speaks of “Old Man Judo”.

From there we will use locks to take Uke down covering Nage Waza.  Finally we will maintain the locks to pin Uke on the ground covering Osae Komi.

I have found people learn best through play, and feeling things for themselves.  Feeling is believing is an old Aikido maxim.  So we will play with these ideas through several different pressure testing methods and freestyle variations.

We will be using Aikido as a mechanism to play with fundamental principles that are useful to all participants regardless of their primary training system

Nathan Corliss was nice enough to take Ukemi for me

That is him working his way out of a choke with a Talon

We discussed camp afterwards, the following is a paraphrased version of what he had to say

Many have  commented to me they make the effort to attend yours and Gary's classes. It's some of those little details and variations that help adapt to our differences.

I know that's the case for me too. I had specific people I wanted to attend, You, Gary and Jimerfield.

Its the body mechanics work and methodology of teaching technique that appeals, Its broken down well and helps me to pass on techniques to others who don't train.

I'm also glad you discussed the basics of social and asocial violence. Important topic for others to think about levels of force to apply when necessary and how avoidable some are.

Kurt was going over it in class last night. Working the ambush getting to that dead angle then, do what you wish. At least you know its being passed on.

After my class Ron Treem taught a Karate class while I continued to get beat up by Jimerfield Sensei

The next class was taught by Michael Makoid Sensei.

I enjoy Makoid Sensei's instruction especially "old man Judo".  This was one of the best classes at camp. The focus was principle based Judo.  Specifically structure and power generation.  Makoid Sensei had different Instructors show their favorite version of Tai Otoshi (Body Drop)

Using Tai Otoshi as a delivery method Makoid Sensei demonstrated that no matter the variation of the throw, the principles that made Tai Otoshi work were the same.  

That is a tough act to follow.  Following that act was Eric Holien

Getting to know and roll with Eric was one of my favorite parts of camp this year.
I recognized his name as a Facebook friend, but I guess a part of my brain didn't put it together that he was also from Minnesota until I saw he was scheduled to teach martial art aspects of western wrestling.

Martial art aspects of western wrestling?  Hell, those are a few of my favorite things.  Who is this guy that they have teaching that?  So I looked him up.

He is not all that far away from me.  It would be great to set up training opportunities.  I hope he is cool.  Please be cool

Eric was on a Military Wrestling Team while he was serving over seas with lots of competition experience, especially with Eastern Europeans.  (If you don't know Eastern Europeans have a well earned reputation as very tough grapplers)

What did Eric teach?  Principle based Wrestling (are you starting to see a trend here?)

That is the core of Katamedo Jujitsu.  The principles of the grappling arts are common, only the rules differ.  Whether the rules are department policy or rules of engagement for professional use of force, state statutes for personal protection or sport rules for competition in any grappling or mixed martial arts setting.

The most confident fighter is one who can compete on equal ground no matter what the rules.

For personal protection and professional use of force you have to be able to compete on equal ground no matter what the rules. Confidence in this is built through competence. Competence is built using modern sporting methods to prepare practitioners for the situations they will be called upon to face and train them to deal with those situations in the most realistic manner safely possible.

Eric had a great class.  Again I don't want to sound arrogant writing that I liked Eric's class because it is a whole lot like what I teach.  However, as I have written several times - If you use the chisel of successful application to remove everything that does not work what is left regardless of it's original source material is going to look pretty similar. Clearly there will be some variation do to different application and plain personal preference, but you will find similar forms to provide a specific necessary functions.

COOL! We can be friends

We can set up cross training and represent the north central region.

I guess I need to start taking some ginkgo biloba or start doing Sudoku or something to help the old memory.  It turns out that Eric is also in Law Enforcement and we actually competed against each other in a 2007 Jujitsu tournament.

That tournament is no longer held.  However, with Eric's competitive experience, if things go my way with the C.A.T.C.H. project maybe we will host a tournament to replace it.

Much, much more on that to follow.

The day ended with the testing board.  The test deserves more time than I have left in this blog.  So like a Quentin Tarantino flick I am going to go out of chronological order and come back to the test later.

After a long hard and fun day I was treated by my Sister Kay and her Husband Jim to a wonderful meal.  Then, as is tradition Rudenick Sensei and I enjoy a cigar and a "Marky Mark" in the back yard debrief the day and prepare for tomorrow.

On the road, busy training, disconnected from media, getting away from it all.
Good day, time to enjoy the Budo Buzz

My phone started blowing up with texts from friends on the tactical team.  Especially from one buddy in particular.  One buddy who's previous job was with the tactical team in Dallas Texas.

Now I knew what was going on...

Ok, so as promised I will break this blog into segments.  I will leave you with this dramatic cliff hanger.

Until next time

Train hard, Train smart, Be safe!