SW Portland Martial Arts Blog

The Full Panoply

April 13th, 2024

We do a lot of different stuff at the gym, so much stuff that it’s sometimes difficult to explain all the different pieces. No problem. Here’s a rapid fire series of one second clips that hopefully gives you a feel for the place (although some of the shots are from outreach gigs)  and what we do.

What are We Doing Today in Kids Class?

April 6th, 2024

How do we choose what we’re going to do from day to day in kids class? If we supposed to be providing a broad, general survey of martial arts… how do we do it?

We keep it pretty simple and rotate between 3 things: striking, throwing, and ground grappling. That means on any given day, we might be doing any one of those things.

Yeah, but back to the original question, how do kids know what to expect? Well, if they really pay close attention (or ask) they’ll notice that we simply rotate through the three. One day we’ll do striking, the next throwing, the next ground grappling… and then the cycle repeats. If they are super sharp (or again, ask) they’ll notice that there’s a second cycle where we rotate between wearing the Gi (the funny pajama looking jackets) and not wearing the Gi. That one goes: striking, throwing, grappling, striking, throwing with the Gi, grappling with the Gi, repeat.

Two more things confound this cycle. One is that on Sunday, with the older kids, we start to put the three things together, allowing them to strike, throw, and grapple. And the final factor is that we throw in games, self defense drills, handstands, burpees, kata, and whatever else we can think of to keep things fresh.

The end result is (we think) a broad introduction to the world of martial arts.

Strength At Length

April 3rd, 2024

Do you struggle with persistent mobility issues that don’t respond to traditional stretching, foam rolling, or bands? You should sign up for Scott Hagnas’ Strength At Length seminar.

What is it? It’s a 6 week course designed to improve your functional mobility.

Who is it for? Anyone, of all ages and abilities, looking to improve their range of motion.

How much does it cost? $175 for members and $200 for non-members.

When does it meet? Sundays, starting 4/21 from 2-4pm.

Where does it meet? 6309 SW Capitol Highway – CrossFit Hillsdale.

Where is the registration and more info? On our events page. Hope to see you all there!

Technique Triumphs

March 3rd, 2024

Want to be move faster? Improve your technique.

Want to lift heavier weights? Improve your technique.

Want to look cooler while you lift? Improve your technique.

How does good technique make you faster? Spend the time to trim off excess movement and you will be faster. Trimming off excess movement is efficiency, which is just another word for technique.

How does good technique help you lift heavier? If you understand how to position your body relative to the weight so that you can exert more leverage, you will be able to lift heavier weight. Leverage is just another word for technique.

How does good technique make you look cooler? Humans know good movement when we see it. We are all drawn to the beauty of a well executed athletic movement. A well executed athletic movement is just another way of describing technique.

So yes, technique triumphs. Don’t just yell louder as you do thrusters (unless that’s improving your technique), get the bar into a good rack position and transfer the power of your legs into the press.

Themes of the Month

February 23rd, 2024

For our BJJ program, we have started doing monthlong blocks. What does this mean? Well, February has been (and continues to be, for another six days) half guard month. Why? It helps students and teachers alike get a little deeper into the meat of the art and I think, more importantly, it helps us all connect the dots a little more efficiently.

One of the tricky parts of BJJ (and indeed, any martial art) is the vast depth of techniques, positions, and strategies. This difficulty transfers to the communication of the art. How do you teach/learn such a deep thing? Do you focus on the basics? Do you expose students to a wide variety? Do you construct small games that center around core concepts? If the goal is to develop functional understanding, the answer to the dilemma must be: teach what helps people get better faster.

The themes seem to be helping people get better faster. Does this mean we have found the silver bullet? Heck no, because there is no silver bullet. We have found something that happens to work at this moment, for our gym. Undoubtedly, things will change. If they didn’t, I’d be worried.

For now though, I’m enjoying the half guard deep dive and hope everyone else is too. They at least say they’re enjoying it.