• Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Posts posted by j-squared

  1. I would argue worst case for bjj is multiple attackers. Rolling around on concrete in broken glass is bad enough, without them having a friend to kick your head in while you do it.


    This is absolutely true, but then I would argue it's situational, for example, not until a woman is on the ground, or grappling with someone from a standing/kneeling position, that they know they need to apply violent self defense. For example, think of a date rape scenario, everything can be fine until you say no to the unwanted advances, then the sh!t hits the fan, on ground of your opponents choosing, which is likely indoors. 


    You don't need to be a great grappler, but you need to know how to deal with basic grappling situations so you can get up when surprised.

  2. Lately, the term “aliveness†and “practical self defense†have been thrown out there in regards to martial arts and styles. I wanted to put some meandering thoughts out there and see what others thought on the subject.


    There are multiple reasons for practicing the martial arts. Some choose it as a hobby, for fitness, for sport or possibly for self defense. I’m going to focus the thoughts on Self Defense for this lengthy piece.


    When I break self defense training down into two core components, I get the actual movements or techniques and also what I refer to as the mental toughness, or killer instinct. It is in a way what aliveness training gives you, the mental fortitude to accept ahead of time that you are willing to do violence on another if necessary.


    Many schools are good at the techniques, but maybe not so good at the mental toughness. Many places do a good job of the mental toughness, but perhaps are limited in their curriculum.

    Note the basic punnett square below:




    Like a good street fighter without training, you can do well enough with just the mental toughness. Similarly, a person with good training and technique, will do well enough, when push comes to shove even without a ton of mental toughness training.

    I think it is obvious that your preference should be a school that has a complete curriculum of solid techniques, as well as providing the necessary mental training necessary.


    Many people poo poo traditional martial arts as being non-relevant for self defense, and I can see where they are coming from. Many schools started to focus so much on the kids, that the violence training part got watered down. Then when those kids grow up and start schools of their own, they are starting from a watered down perspective.


    This created an opportunity for schools that marketed as being “deadly†or “mean†and “nastyâ€. Schools that went hard, hit hard, and pushed the mental toughness. Schools that want to sound tough, so they say they are used by Navy Seals, or Israeli Commando’s or some SWAT team somewhere. The concept of being “mean†or “Nasty†is not new, and not invented by these “hardcore classesâ€, targeting knees, groin, eyes, throat has been in every system since the start of hand to hand fighting.


    One thing in martial arts that kind of concerns me are incomplete systems. When someone says they formed their own style by throwing out the bad stuff and only keeping what works, it sets off a red flag in my head. Do they really think those “bad†moves were in the system for no reason at all? Or to be bad on purpose? Maybe they just did not fully understand it, or could not make it work for themselves. So they throw stuff away, then their students throw stuff away when forming their own schools, and what are you left with? Something possibly quite incomplete.


    This extends into the systems the Navy Seals learn, or Israeli Commandos use. They only use their hand to hand when their rifle, handgun and big knife don’t work. And by the way, their hand to hand only has to work long enough for their teammate to help them out. How are those moves and that training practical for an unarmed civilian by himself in a different setting?


    While this may seem like I’m picking on Krav Maga, this all could have been said about a different popular art in the 1980’s, and a different one in the 1970’s, etc. Saying you are learning Krav Maga is like saying you are learning Army Combatives. Krav was invented by Imi Lichtenfeld and taught as a supplement to the regular training a soldier may get. All Krav Maga is not the same, when it was brought to the U.S. it had to be changed to work for civilians in civilian settings, not just for soldiers. Different people that brought it here added different things, so that there are now different Krav Maga versions. What was added? Who added it? Where did it come from? How was it tested? If you add moves from a traditional martial art to make it work better, why not just learn that traditional martial art in the first place?


    My point is that you need to look at the school and instructor and not the style so much. There are traditional martial art schools that are very good, and use aliveness training to teach the mental aspects, and there are traditional schools focused on kids or sport or fitness. There are Krav Maga schools that are truly excellent at technique and mental training, and there are Krav Maga places that got their certification to teach after a couple weekends of training. There are good and bad; Tae Kwon Do, Kenpo, Japanese Karate, Kung Fu, Krav Maga, etc. places.


    How do you know? Visit several times.

    • Do they practice self defense in a realistic manner?
    • Do a lot of Law Enforcement and EMT’s train there?
    • Does the instructor do a good job of explaining the movements?
    • Is the class mostly physical or technical or a mix?
    • Do they work timing and footwork?
    • Do they add stressors to provide realism?

    My last point is that I’ve talked to many people from these “combatives†classes they took and how awesome they were. When I ask what they did, they say, “Lot’s of push ups, situps, squats, burpees,…†I say that sounds more like a fitness class than a self defense class. Well, then they say they hit pads too, so then it sounds more like a kickboxing class. Fitness aspects are important, but also not at the expense of valid technical training. And that fitness topic will be a thread of it's own soon.

    • Like 2

  3. For fun, get the book "A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson. The author and a crazy friend attempt to walk the AT.


    Seriously you need to be walking a lot, especially hills if you can. 

    Gear wise there are a few items you can not skimp on:

    Boots: this will make or break your ability to dot he trail

    Pack: To carry all your stuff, get fitted professionally by an outfitter

    Sleeping Bag & Tent


    If you have good equipment on the above, it makes log backpacking trips possible. Enjoy your journey.

  4. I keep forgetting to post updates - bad me.


    I live in Michigan, it's been cold and recently we have had some snow. I intentionally do not own a snow blower, so I can get some exercise shoveling snow. I've been doing that, and unfortunately have not been doing my side goal of a 5K every week. I'm OK with that, I still average over 10,000 steps a day, but I just can't get the gumption up to run in the cold anymore.


    I still continue my regular martial arts and kettlebell workouts. I am having good success with the 24kg bell, in lifts, rows and ballistics. I use a mix of the 20 kg and 24 kg in hour long workouts, up from using just the 16kg bell for so long.


    Health wise, I feel great, no sickness, no lingering aches or pains. I still do some regular joint mobility work, to stay loose throughout the day.

    • Like 1

  5.  I just worry that the school will try to single kids like him out because they want to get that money.  

    I feel like we need to teach the whole child, not just their math and reading skills.  Make them into great adults.  


    The school you send your child to is only part of their overall education, not the be all of it. Plus learning is a lifelong process.


    My daughter is a junior in high school now, and is in art classes in high school, but also goes once a week to a special art class, for additional enrichment. 

    My son graduated high school last June, he was in the concert band, symphonic band, wind ensemble, jazz band, marching band, even played with the civic youth ensemble from the DSO. He recently took some money from a job and bought a guitar and is taking a lesson on that.


    My point is that, as parents, you use whatever school you choose to send you kids to as just one tool in their overall education.

    With that said, reading is the most fundamental skill. Without good reading skills and reading comprehension skills, it will make science, math, history, social studies and even art and guitar playing more difficult. Without knowing your child, I can't make any real advice of which path you should take, whether it is extra art at home and more reading at school,  or more reading at home and more art at school. However, I can say that building a solid reading foundation will help your child with everything else later on.

  6. Seth has some good recommendations and I will add a few more:


    What are their qualifications other than a Crossfit certification? Crossfit level 1 is a weekend long. If that's their only education in training others, consider moving on. Or rather, would you let a doctor with only a weekend of training operate on you? Would you take karate lessons from someone with only a weekend of training? 


    Look for other certifiable training such as NASM, ACSM, ACE - probably the most difficult and most prestigious is a CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist) from the NSCA.

    Go to their web and facebook pages. Are people posting they will miss sessions because of injuries? 

    Look at their posted WOD's - is there a rhyme and reason or are they completely random?


    One of the best things about Crossfit is their commuinty, and the encouragement you can get from it. Make sure you will get along with the community, otherwise you won't get that benefit.

  7. Squats with weights and Bosu squats are for two different goals and are two different animals.


    If you want to get stronger, burn more calories, gain size, etc. you need to have your feet as rooted to the ground as possible and use weights, the heavier the better.


    If you want to work all those little balancing muscles, you can do bosu ball squats (or one legged squats).


    I like the bosu ball for balance work. Not as a replacement to other things. These are some things I do with it:

    ..Every once in a while, stand on the ball and do rounds on a heavy bag

    ..Practice throwing kicks from the ball

    ..Stand on the ball and block strikes/punches from others.

    All as a complement to overall training, not as a man part of training. Bosu balls are popular in physical therapy for the reasons you mentioned, it's hard when recovering and forces you to recruit more of the body. Physical therapists are not trying to make people athletes, they are trying to get them to have normal mobility.

  8. If you are unsure, you should directly ask your instructor and also the organizers of the events. 


    At our school, we are not very strict on the uniform, and we welcome visitors to wear their existing uniform, or just regular work out gear. 


    What we do not allow are people to represent themselves as being from our school without our permission. For example, we have a MMA team, if someone trains for a few weeks and decides to fight in a competition without the coach's consent, (believe it or not, people do this)  they can not list or announce they are trained at our school. In fact one of our fighters was fighting someone, and during the introduction the opponent was announced as self trained, which is a clue that their instructor did not think they were ready and did not give him their blessing. The fight was over in less than 90 seconds. Being self trained is like a lawyer representing themselves in court, they have a fool for a client. 


    With that said, I don't believe you should enter tournaments with any school's insignia on it without that school's permission, especially if you are not training there regularly. You could probably enter with your own design, but that is basically the same as stating that you are the head of your own system. There are already plenty of self promoted soke's and masters out there.


    I would simply compete in a blank uniform. But it's best to ask your instructors and the tournament officials.

  9. Two workouts yesterday, one early morning and a quick one int he evening, because I was bored.


    What I found out form early morning workouts, and doing a lot of swings or other kettlebell ballistics, is that if I don't eat something first, I have a hard time finishing the workout. I had been having some small amounts of food before early workouts, but my increase the intake.

  10. I completely stopped using the 16kg bell, and use the 20kg bell and 24kg bell exclusively now. I use the 24 for pressing and rows where I use a ladder arrangement for reps (clean then 1 press, then clean and 2 presses, then clean and 3 presses, etc) and the rest is a little longer. I use the 20 for some metcon workout, where reps are high and rest is short.


    As far as your friend, I think 16 would be a minimum. I usually would tell someone to pick a weight they can press overhead about 8 times, and go from there.


    Absolutely love the fitbit, great tool to see if you've been a little active or not.