SW Portland Martial Arts Blog

Summer Martial Arts Special

June 23rd, 2017

Train martial arts all summer long for only $30! If you are 13 years or older and a new student to our program, you can sign up today and train through August 31st, 2017 for only $30.

The sooner you sign up, the more training you can squeeze out of your summer. You are welcome to come to any/all of our martial arts classes: Boxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and Mo Duk Pai.

This offer is for our adult martial arts program only. Not valid for kids program or CrossFit.

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Camp 2017 Class

June 11th, 2017

I was asked to teach a class titled “How to use BJJ to get out of bad situations” at MDP camp this year.  What follows is my class outline that I handed to all the students.

Let’s start with some term definitions. Jiu-Jitsu means “gentle way” in this class a bad situation, means “on the ground, with someone on top of you”.

In this class we are going to: 1) Examine the general methodology of BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu). 2) Examine a specific technique (for getting out of bad situations. 3) Examine the relationship of the methodology of BJJ generally and the specific technique we learn in the class to how we practice MDP (Mo Duk Pai).

Let’s lay out the general methodology of BJJ fIRS. The general methodology is meant to give the student of BJJ tools that are most likely to work against a fully resisting opponent within the context of BJJ rules.
1) Learn a technique by yourself, without a partner.
2) Practice that technique against a non-resisting partner.
3) Practice the technique against a specific resistance from your partner.
4) Play a constrained game in which both partners have a definable way of winning.
5) Play an open game in which both partners have a definable way of winning.
Next, let’s lay out the specific methodology of the BJJ technique we will be doing. The technique will be “bridging”.

Learn to bridge by yourself. Bring your head off the ground. Grab your imaginary partner’s arm with both your arms. Grab (on the same side as the arm) your imaginary partner’s foot with one foot. Bring your free foot as close to your hips as possible. Lift your hips off the ground. Roll (toward the same side as the grabbed arm & leg) on to your hands and knees.
Have a partner put you in the mount position. Their knees are just outside your hips. Their hands are on your shoulders. Execute the technique.
Have your partner slowly but persistently try to march their knees up into your armpits (A.K.A. The Evil Baby ™April Henry). Try the technique against this specific kind of resistance. Have your partner slowly but persistently strike at your head and body with open handed strikes. Try the technique against this specific kind of resistance.
Have your partner sit on top of you in the mount. They try and hold you down. You try and get up. You may use the bridging technique, or some other technique.
Play the game of BJJ. See if you can submit your partner. Start from the mount position.

Finally, let’s look at how this relates to MDP by asking some questions and doing some MDP drills and games.

In MDP, what are the ways we test and see if our striking skills work against a resisting opponent?
In MDP, what are some things we do that are equivalent or similar to steps 1-5 in the BJJ methodology?
What are the limits of the BJJ methodology? What are the limits of the MDP methodology?
Do some slow speed full reps.
Do some street sparring.
Do some street sparring starting from the mount position.

Movement and Martial Arts

May 19th, 2017

Spin the human!Many martial arts classes feature movement staples like the push-up, squat, and pull-up.  It makes some sense.  These motions will make the students stronger, better, and presumably nudge them in the direction of being better martial artists.

I’d like to propose a more purposeful insertion of fitness movements in martial arts class.  For instance, yesterday in kids class we were working on switch step roundhouse kicks.  So I had the students do movements that involved rotating and switching their feet.  We could have done push-ups, of course, but there is no obvious connection between the push-up and the switch step roundhouse kick.  My idea then, is to keep the fitness movements in class but have them be related to whatever technique we’re working on.

To put it another way, let’s try not just squatting for the sake of having a better squat but because we are martial artists, let’s squat so we can have a better double leg takedown.

The Benefits of Kids Class

May 2nd, 2017

I want to talk about what we, as teachers, gain from having a kid’s program at the school.  This is not to discount the gains that the kids themselves make from training.  They make huge strides in their problem solving skills, athleticism, martial skill sets, and awareness.  The kids get amazing benefits from training…  likewise, the adults who teach them get amazing benefits.

Teaching kids class will help your triage skills.  You must, as a teacher, learn to let go of small infractions and tend only to the things that are going to cause actual problems.  If you shout at every child who looks down at the floor while punching, many of the students will give up.  Instead, it pays to casually mention to the whole group “look forward when you’re punching”.

Teaching kids class will build your patience.  Many children lack basic social skills and listening skills when they enter class.  Not only do you have to be patient with them comprehending a roundhouse kick but you also have to help them figure out how to work with other students who they don’t know.  The reward, as a teacher, is when after months of classes, the child who used to stare at the ceiling and wait for someone to pick them as a partner instead runs confidently and finds someone on their own.

There are many more benefits but the point is this: many martial artists that end up teaching classes think that teaching kids class is a waste of their time.  It’s not.  Teaching kids will make you better at teaching adults.  I know when I started teaching, I had no interest in teaching kids.  Now it is hard for me to calculate how much better my teaching skills are because of running a kids program.

April 18th, 2017

Tonight in sparring class, we wrapped three fighting principles into one technique.

The three fighting principles were: extension, bridging the gap, and independent motion. The technique was the skipping front kick.

In the skipping front kick, you move the lead leg (which is also the leg you kick with) first. This is independent motion. The purpose of this is to disguise the action. If the kick was excuted by first moving the back foot forward, then your opponent would have an easier time seeing the kick coming and an easier time countering the kick.

Next, after moving the lead leg first, you hop forward. This helps cover the distance between you and your opponent, the very definition of bridging the gap.

The final step of the skip kick is to extend the leg. Since the word extend is in the previous sentence, I won’t even bother to point out how the kick includes the fighting principle of extension.

The truth is that you could probably fit all 26 of the fighting principles in there. That may seem like it makes them so amorphous as to be useless. To the contrary, the fighting principles are not exclusive. They are merely ideas that help us see techniques from different angles, thus hopefully allowing us to apply those techniques in different situations.