Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Drill Post #22: The Simple Foot Trap

Throwing, sweeping, take-downs and tripping are four broad categories of manipulating someone to the ground. As with everything else, there are pros and cons to each method, a various degrees of suitability according to body type, skill level and amount of time one might want to devote to making something functional.

When I was at the Inosanto Academy, in the Maphalindo ("Maylaysian Filipino Indonesian") related classes, Dan Inosanto would go back and forth between Bukti Negara curriculum from Paul DeThouars, and Filipino foot trapping. The Bukti Negara material required much more sophistication to make workable: very effective but requiring an understanding of power lines, anchors and so on. The Filipino foot trapping curriculum by comparison is much smaller and quite simple. That is not a negative, not a critique, but rather, a very positive thing.

Does anyone out there not understand that the more complex and precision-requiring a tactic is, the more likely it is that it will fail? I didn't think so.

A simple foot trap is often very effective without even knowing the optimal direction in which to push or pull the opponent. That is because we take for granted our constant ability to adjust our balance through movement, and as soon as that's interupted, our stability quickly collapses, and we most likely fall down.

In the recent fight between Pacquiao and Mosely, there was an exchange where Manny fell down, and indeed, when the slo-mo was played back, it showed Mosely inadvertently stepping on Manny's foot. All it took was that one moment.

To train the foot trap in flow, the trainer throws light but smooth hand combinations at the trainee, and as the trainee defends wth parries and covers (along with footwork), he also looks for stepping comfortably on the trainer's foot (keeping it light and un-crunchy for training). The defender should help keep the trainer from actually falling down during the drill.

This form of tripping is robust, does not put you in an unnecessarily vulnerable position, and is low maintainence. What's not to love?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Upcoming Interview

Hi All,

Just a quick shout that I'll be doing an interview with Matt Numrich for his JKD newsletter. He has interviewed many JKD instructors, so you may want to check into his site.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Drill Post #21: The Guarding Hand

The hand that is not striking while the other hand is striking is often, if not always, referred to as the "guarding hand" because it is thought to be most responsible for immediate defense during your attack (at least from the waist up). If you are throwing a right jab, the left is the guarding hand, and if you are throwing a left cross, then the right hand is the guarding hand.This is of course simplified for the sake of discussion, as someone might feel that head movement is more important than the guarding hand, for example.

Various systems stress the guarding hand should "always" be, on the cheek, centerline, by the armpit (many Gung Fu styles), by the side of the face on the striking arm side and so on. Which is correct? All and none. The problem is the "always" of it. Having the hand up by or in front of the face as a default is good, as it's at least potentially in the vicinity to defend, but to be more specific, the important issue is, where is the most immediately threatening hand of your opponent? Is it close to the right or left side of your face? Close to your face in the center? Your ribs?

To train where to put the guarding hand, play with this drill. "A," the trainer, steps into "B," the defender's, striking range, and B stop-hits with a jab. As B is doing so, A will have one hand clearly more close to B, so that B knows where to place his guarding hand. A varies which hand he places where, every time he steps in and B stop hits. A does not defend against the stop-hit, as this drill is all about the development of B's guarding hand, so B should take care to control his stop hit by either stopping short, or lightly placing his hand on A's chest.

If the threatening hand of A is close enough to, say, B's chin, B will actively monitor (place his hand on that hand), but if it's not within six inches or so, B will not reach to touch that hand, as it may be a deception to open another line for a strike.

This is an easy way to make placement of the guarding hand a comfortable instinctive action.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Drill Post #20: Root Technique Shadow Boxing

There are many ways that Bruce Lee was smart and insightful about his training. One thing not commonly known, I believe, is that he knew that many things took a great deal of repetition to cultivate, and since repetition is boring, he developed many ways to approach the same goal to keep it more interesting. He had a number of ways to strengthen the same muscle group, for example.

As discussed in Drill Post #11, there are many ways to approach shadow boxing. One approach to add to your training is "root technique" shadow boxing. For example, take the jab or finger jab as a root technique, and then play with everything you can think of relative to that, defensively and offensively. Starting with some offensive examples; jab, cross; jab, lead hook; jab, rear hook. Then jab, leading to kicks (the visualization being that the opponent moves to a kick range in response to your jab). Sometimes complete your jab before the follow-up, but other times, just start or get halfway to completion before the follow-up. That is, the jab could be a deliberate fake, or you simply see the need to change up during execution. The initial jab may be practiced moving forward, backward, right, and left.

But there's more! The defensive aspects of this drill are as important and possibly more important than the offensive aspects. Remembering that someone's counterattack (inadvertently or deliberately) could come anywhere between initiation and completion, we have to be able to interrupt our jab at any point to move to a defense. So imagine during any stage of your jab; a hook coming on your outside or inside line; a high or low jab or cross coming over or on the inside; body hooks coming on the right or left. Your jabbing hand or your rear hand may be the hand that defends (if you didn't just slip or bob and weave). So for example, half jab, drawing it back to cover high or low against a hook coming on your outside line, and then without pause continue into your attack.

Time-hits (simultaneous defense and attack) can and should be integrated. For example, jab and immediately draw the jab back as a cross parry while simultaneously throwing the cross.

As usual, the options are endless and limited only by your imagination.