Thursday, 29 January 2009

Helio Gracie, the father of Gracie jiu-jitsu, is dead at the age of 95. Gracie passed in his sleep early Thursday in Itaipaiva, Rio de Janeiro, after he had been admitted to a local hospital a few days prior for stomach problems.

“He passed the way he always wanted to –- quick and fast,” said an immediate relative, who asked not to be identified. The relative said Gracie’s body would be buried on Thursday.

The youngest of Cesalina and Gastao Gracie’s eight children, he learned traditional jiu-jitsu by watching his brother, Carlos, teach it, but his small frame made it difficult for him to execute the moves. As a result, he adapted techniques to fit his limited physical ability and gave rise to modern-day Brazilian jiu-jitsu. ...His impact on the sport of mixed martial arts was profound. His son, Rorion, was credited with developing the concept that became the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and another of his sons, Royce, won the first two UFC tournaments in 1993 and 1994. Two other sons, Rickson and Royler, also competed in MMA.


For what ever reason you're training, I would like to recommend you investigate aliveness, even if you're quite away down the martial arts path.

I first heard Matt Thornton of SBGi coin the term and credit should be given to him for pushing this topic at his workshops, on blog and training DVDs. Matt lays out the basic idea on the video below:

Basically there is not a physical endeavour you cannot train in alive fashion, this includes live firearms training and other weapons training. In same cases you may need safety equipment such as simuntion and other training weapons etc.

Some of the main advantages of training in an alive fashion are:

You develop your own game, suited to your body type and you find out what works for you.

You are actually training to do what you intend to do during a conflict situation.

You start to develop what I call fighters instincts, and what others call good habits whilst under pressure.

You don't have to base your training on second hand information from others about what works, as you get to experience it first hand, as many times as your need.

You should find your training also becomes a lot more fun and stimulating.

Below is a link to Matt's aliveness blog that contains a lot of great reading:

If you can grasp this principle, you will reach a higher level of performance quicker and learn to problem solve in the moment.

Working bad positions

Sometimes you end up in a bad position like here, where the other guy has you under control in the thai clinch and is about to rain in high knees to your head and body.

Option one is to change position and regain the control of him. However if you are about to take knees, you will have to block them to buy yourself some time to switch out and throw him to the ground.

Some people say you should never try to block knees but they're the ones who normally get knocked out during clinch work. It's never going to be easy against someone with a good clinch game but it's worth training bad positions or situations so at least if it happens you have been there countless times in the gym.

You can practice the techniques below in a safe and alive fashion, I recommend you wear a gum shield and a groin cup. Some people also like to wear head protection which is fine. If you put in the hours of drilling and sparing clinch work, you actions will become instinctual and you will get out of bad positions and best of all you will have fun. I like to work three minute rounds and if I reverse the position, I place myself back in it.

Working from a bad position in thai clinch i.e. you are taking high knees, one option if you cannot change the position, is to take the knee with a double arm block (think elephant tusks) and then capture the leg and switch to throw or sweep. The nearer your block to his hips the less power you take, however you have to make sure you do not leave a gap that his knee can travel into.

Once you have control of his leg/ hip, you can unbalance, hit and or turn him into a throw. This works well with an impact weapon or blade. At any point you can switch to wrestling or counter clinch but rule one is if you have to take knees, deal with them ASAP as dents to the head or body are not fun!

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Slide Show

Why do you train?

Same days start like this:

and end up like this:

I loved that car as well..., however the reality for most of us is that we are not in careers that have an element of danger. Go to must martial arts classes and after the first six months of starting people are probably training for enjoyment, fitness, self improvement and in some cases the need to belong.

Most pre planned attacks are ambushes and if you are ambushed the odds are against you surviving. The ambusher is already inside your OODA loop (Observe, Orient, Decide and Act) and you will be playing catch up.

Most of the world does not have a fair fight attitude; it’s all about winning any way you can. Assume it will be an ambush, there will be others involved and they will bring weapons to get the job done. If you’re training for self protection I recommend you consider adding these elements into your training because it will change the way you train.

Over the next year we will be looking at how you can bring the above elements into your training, building a portfolio of skills to help you survive what I call unwanted close encounters and best of all it’s going to be free!

Home work: Sit down and think about why you are training and how likely it is that you will be attacked; you may want to log your conclusions.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

General Principles for our off road system

I have started to write down principles to underpin our training:

Be aware that you’re training for self-protection not a match fight.

Assume it’s never a fair fight i.e. there is more than one person attacking you.

Assume that there will be a weapon(s) involved.

Train the skills but throw away rules. There are no rules in a self-protection fight.

Train to get safely away from a situation as soon as possible. Don’t let your ego write cheques your body cannot cash.

Train and drill soft skills such as pre fight talk, the fence, post fight details and awareness.

Train at conversation range.

Train and drill, from your fence, i.e. don’t train from a bai jong or muay thai stance etc but from your natural fence position.

Train to hit very hard with all of the body’s natural weapons but in such a way as to not cause you damage when doing so.

Train in a safe and alive fashion.