Monday, June 14, 2010


I LOVE wrestling (or "rasslin'" as it is called in the Deep South)

It is physical chess. It embodies good conditioning, strength, speed, endurance, and intelligence. Done well, it is a formidable addition to your body mastery and your fighting vocabulary.

So before you go get tangled up, what are some key things to think about when grappling:

1) Going Down
Not much can happen in grapping until you get to the floor. There are a lot of ways to get there including single/double leg takedowns, throws, tackles, scoops, lifts, etc. There are some good common sense ideas about doing so with the highest percentage of success and control. Bear in mind tip number 2)

2) Do not get your head byond your lead toes
keep your head back and down, but NEVER let it extend over your toes. Once you do, you will get pancaked or sprawled to the mats at a disadvantage.

3) Hips in, insteps down
Do not dig with your toes. A good drive will stand you right back up.
You need to have your hips driving and pushing through constantly. Keep your insteps down so your opponent cannot get under your hip mass.

4) Off your knees
NEVER be on your knees. Instead, get on your insteps, with your hips driving through.

5) Make your opponent uncomfortable at all times
You should drive your hips and ride our opponent such that he always has trouble breathing and feels your weight pushing through. This helps make him tired and keeps him from developing a good defense.

6) Take the head/spine out of alignment at the earliest opportunity
and keep it from being re-aligned the best you can. Doing this takes away a lot of strength.

7) Use large muscle groups whenever possible
Your hips/legs and back are your primary drivers in wrestling. Use them rather than your arms/chest whenever you can. You will get much better results and last longer. This includes putting on the submissions, meaning that you should use your legs and back rather than arms and chest to get the tap.Lifts, drops, takedowns, and throws should also rely and the legs and back for power.

8) Chains
Every high percentage move has high percentage escapes - which lead to other high percentage follows-ups ad nauseum. Train in chains so you can get a feeling for the fluidity and mobility of real technique chains when you wrestle. Be as ballistic in the training as you can safely be without injuring your training partner.

9) Take The Base
It is important to remove your opponent's base at every opportunity, and to keep doing so in order to ensure that they cannot recover. Use arms and legs to wrap opponent and turk the legs to keep the base offline. At the same time, you must be careful not to give your opponent your own base. Keep your hips away, and driving in and down.

10) Pane of Glass
For the takedowns, imagine a pane of glass vertically between the oppnent's heels. This pane must be broken with your foot or leg, or you have not penetrated deeply enough to load onto your hips.

Happy "pretzeling"

Friday, June 11, 2010


Went into 7am Yoshinkan beginner class at RYA on Wednesday.
No matter how long I do Yoshinkan, it is always great to work the basics. They just never ever get good enough (and I am sure they never will). The basic motions of Yoshinkan are designed to help condition the body with ukemi, strengthen the legs and hip with kihon dosa, unify the breathing and movement with shumatsu dosa and create the platform for all the rest of the good technique you will do as an aikidoka.
It is like a pyramid, where the amount of time spent on the basics determines ultimately how high the pyramid can be built. It was traditional to go back to the basic curriculum after every rank test and begin all over again, applying all the new things learned in the past grading.
There is always a temptation to want to rush on into "the fun stuff" and learn new techniques, new forms, and jiyuwaza combinations. However, over the long term, nothing is more important that having good basics and then working them over and over again until they are part of your muscle memory.
See you Wednesday!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


Got into aikido Weds 7am beginner's class after a while away.
I missed the energy of having a bunch of people together in the morning, and it was good to train with Sensei Mike.

I was asked to help Alan train for his 1kyu test on Saturday.
1kyu is a big exam, mine was 45 mins, and the last step before shodan.
By this point, your techniques should look crisp and clean, and you should be showing some of the key principles of movement, and the foundations of good jiyuwaza.

Sensei Mike's aikido has changed. His movements are smaller; more powerful. His aikido is evolving, which is great. Today we worked on hijiate kokyunage, which has a lot of things to learn.
  • dynamic motion from the instant of contact
  • loading uke's balance onto your hips
  • hips moving on a downward angle to project uke
  • extension and zanshin
All in all, it is a very interesting series.
Alan looks good. I am sure he will do fine.

I'll be trying to get into the Weds sessions more, so I can get some teaching time and work on my basics again more.

See you there!