Posts Tagged ‘BJJ’

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I found it strange when “No-Gi” became a thing. Not the concept of training without the kimono, which I do at least half of my training time, but the label. I see the necessity, the value and the realism of it. But the moniker, and the way it stuck and the eventual dogma that has become associated with the concept of No-Gi training is just, well…weird.

Here is why I think it is weird to be dogmatic about no-gi training, and by dogmatic I mean the viewpoint of those convinced that training with a gi is somehow less realistic for self-defense purposes. Do these people plan to only fight naked? Because I YouTubed it and I found very few completely naked fights (although there are some bizarre things turned up by a Google search for “Naked Fighting” and I don’t recommend this search).

All joking aside, I understand how this came about of course. The more grip dependent bjj became in sportive and sparring contexts, the more divorced from real fighting it became. I agree that spider guard has extremely limited application to a street fight. But this is the extreme example, and too many folks confuse the part for the whole in regards to usefulness in martial arts training in general. For example, if you think that the patty-cake drills frequently found in Wing Chun, JKD, FMA styles, etc. are direct reflections of how the fight would or should happen, then you understand nothing about violence. Moreover, you missed the point of those drills. Drills like those are like chain wrestling or kata: they are segments of techniques connected with likely transitions, not necessarily linked for practicality but for flow and fluidity to enhance sensitivity, receptiveness to changes in energy, angle recognition and building of attributes useful in an actual fight.

Back to BJJ and No-Gi grappling, I find it especially strange that I don’t hear criticism of wrestling or boxing as “unrealistic” methods of training for fighting. Rarely do I see a comment on a boxing video the way I see on BJJ competition videos such as “This shit will get you killed if you try it in a street fight.” Yet, I don’t think it is even arguable that a bjj competition is more of a “fight” than boxing by far.

And now that I said that and surely pissed off some BJJ haters, let me elaborate: Boxing is extremely useful and valuable for a street fight, in my opinion. My opinion, however, is that the rules of boxing are far more strict than boxing.

Here is a comparison:

What can you NOT do in BJJ competition that you CAN do in boxing? Strike. That’s about it.
Now what can you NOT do in boxing that you CAN do in BJJ competition? Clinch for extended periods of time, throw, sweep, grapple, choke, attack joints for submissions and the list goes on.

Please understand, this is not saying that one is superior to another. This is just to point out the absurdity of comments like the example given above that are ubiquitous on BJJ videos.

Back to my original point, I suggest that training in the gi, with accessibility of grips, is potentially more realistic for self-defense. Understanding how to grab, hold and control someone is very important when not in effective striking ranges, and whether you want or not, most likely the fight will hit a range where striking is not the most effective tool for the job. And while the clothing an attacker has on may not identically match a gi, there will be comparable grip opportunities, that with intelligent training can be modified to fit the occasion. Training with complete restriction against grabbing the clothing can limit this ability.

If you are training for a No-Gi competition or MMA, then of course, don’t become too dependent on gi training. Although, it is arguable that there is still some benefit to training with the gi for some portion of a fight camp for MMA. But that is a subject for another time.

So in summary, unless you are training for No-Gi comp or MMA or specifically for battling nudists, there is a benefit to be had from training with the gi, especially as it pertains to self-defense. And even at the sport level, there are attributes to be gained or polished by wearing the gi. Sport is sport, whether wrestling, boxing, fencing, whatever and one should develop a filter for absorbing what is useful and discarding what is not for varying contexts of fighting.

Knife defenses, and fighting with a knife in general, are voodoo sciences. It is very difficult to train, with any sense of realism, how to defend against a knife wielding attacker. The reason that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is such a practical, powerful and useful martial art is due to how realistically the techniques can be applied in training. Striking arts cannot be trained as realistically as grappling arts. Weapons arts have to be trained even less realistically.

I am NOT saying any of this to insinuate that training in weapons or weapons defenses is a waste of time. Just the opposite: we have to exercise extreme discretion in how we train against weapons. Because there are so many variables to a weapon attack that must be estimated in practice, some practitioners tend to take a bit too much license in making up ways to defend and disarm an attacker. I have seen some dangerously ignorant approaches taken in this regard. Many disarms you might see floating around martial arts schools or videos online might feature an “attacker” leaving his weapon hand floating in space while the defender makes an elaborate series of strikes before stripping the knife away.

As I say in the video, statistically (for what that’s worth) most people who will stab you won’t reveal the knife until it is inside you. Don’t watch movies or most martial arts techniques to learn anything about knife attacks, watch prison videos. Survivors of knife fights go to the hospital; losers to the morgue. I do my best to research and pressure test everything I ever show or teach, and knife stuff is the hardest even though I have access to some of the most brilliant minds on the subject in the world.

Without further ado, here is a video of what I feel to be a realistic defense in to a potentially realistic knife attack. I hope you enjoy.

Too many times I hear and read, when showing a self-defense technique, “You shouldn’t have let the attacker get that close,” or “you should have gone on the offense.” Here’s the thing: self-defense techniques are about dealing with a situation gone bad already. If you could preemptively end the situation or avoid, then awesome, do that. But when you are caught off guard and placed into a negative situation is when you need the techniques the most.

Having said that, I at least wanted to put out a video showing a jiu-jitsu option for going on the offense when you can. In this video the fight has ensued and you are squared up with the opponent. Here’s what happens:

1. You manage the distance until you decide to engage.

2. You close the distance with a jab to cross or overhand right, which if it lands, great, but at least opens the opponent’s hands to get you into position for a single leg takedown.

3. If the opponent is unaffected by the strikes to the extent he stops your single leg setup, you can transition to a dirty boxing clinch. The dirty boxing clinch allows for strikes and throwing potential as demonstrated in the video.

I’ll let the video show the rest. Please like, share and comment on the YouTube video! Thank you all!

If you got into a fight tomorrow, what do you think would happen? What do you think the most likely attack would be? How would you defend against it?

Below is a video I shot with Funker Tactical for their new Martial Arts YouTube channel on how to defend against a sucker punch. Far and away, the most common attack on the street is someone trying to punch someone else in the face. Arguably, this is more difficult depending on the degree of indication someone gives you prior to the attack. A “sucker punch” is one that comes from someone who hasn’t given typical indication that his intention is to fight. It is exceedingly difficult to defend against something about which you have little to no forewarning.

In training martial arts, you will see a variety of techniques on how to deal with such an attack. The video illustrates my favorite, from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, using a non-threatening posture preceding the attack, moving into a clinch range to nullify his punches, then throwing him to the ground. I could have used more strikes during this, but when it comes to strikes I like to be selective, energy-efficient and not create unnecessary space. Also, after securing the clinch, a variety of takedowns could be used, depending on the posture of the attacker.

Why Grapple?

Grappling benefits the smaller, weaker person vs the larger and stronger attacker. The larger person can hit harder and reach farther. Preemptive striking as an alternative, would require the defender to be faster than the attacker. It is a mistake to ever assume you will be faster or stronger than the person attacking you…why would someone attack someone physically superior to them? Also, this situation, as I describe in the beginning, may not actually result in a fight. Just because someone is being aggressive and confrontational does not necessarily mean a physical fight has to follow. If you had a possibility to diffuse or avoid a fight, and you instead chose not to do so, then you have failed.

This Isn’t My Idea

I didn’t invent this technique. Let me make that clear. I was taught this technique by Royce Gracie, and I assume he was taught by another family member in turn. I think everyone has his own take or way of performing a technique once he learns it, based either on preference or ability. I mention this to pay respect to my teacher and to not misrepresent any concepts that are not totally my own. Having said that, there are millions of techniques out there, some better than others for certain people, and constant revisions and improvements. This technique isn’t perfect, but there is no such thing as a perfect technique. Martial Arts is a game of percentages focused on what can keep you safest in a fight. Training is the thing. So go do it.

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Funker Tactical, famous for putting out amazing gun & gear tactical training videos and the like are expanding to include more martial arts! The Funker Martial Arts channel recently launched on YouTube, featuring some awesome technique videos with martial artists such as Doug Marcaida, Fred Mastro, Ryan Hoover and yours truly. It is awesome to get to work with these guys! We have filmed several videos that will be released periodically. I hope you all enjoy the techniques as they come, as well as the sample below. Check out the Funker Tactical and especially their new Funker Martial Arts Channel!

I’ve been switching things around and showing more standing BJJ concepts and techniques in videos lately. Here is a nice chain of sweeps and submissions starting from standing position. I hope you like it. If you do, then please share and subscribe to my YouTube Channel.