Friday, February 13, 2015

"Fifty Important Elements in Martial Arts" by Badger Johnson

Fifty Important Elements in Martial Arts

01. Air sense - Knowing where your body is in 3-D space. Learned in tumbling, springboard diving, spinning in dance, pivoting in broken field running.

02. Ground sense - Knowing how to unbalance the opponent in top control, how to prevent being swept when in top control. Using the x-guard with up-kicks. Training shrimping, various escapes and rolling to a better position.

03. Contact reflexes - Using various flow drills to learn to coordinate hand movements. Using beats and binds.

04. Understanding ‘aliveness’ - Using footwork, energy and resistance in training, avoiding the static, pushing the dynamic, learning pressure and negative pressure (attack by drawing).

05. Understanding delivery systems - This is the framework used for applying the moves, defenses and attacks in a particular range. Mobility, efficient guard, methods of application. Applies to many areas of self-improvement. Development requires a strong purpose or desire. Includes the essential methods of training.

06. Cardio base training – This the basis for emotional content, intensity and ferocity. I discovered that the basis of high intensity flow is derived from being able to sustain an effort, to surge, to actively recover between surges. Otherwise, after a surge you have a fade.

07. Understanding training zones - Including active recovery, burst, tempo. You have to have experience in all the training zones. Based on Heart Rate max and perceived effort.
o 60 % effort - basic active recovery
o 70% effort - easy
o 80% effort - tempo
o 90% effort - lactic threshold - feeling of pressure, but sustainable
o 95% effort - VO2max training zone - sustainable for 30-40 seconds
o 100% effort - Neuromuscular / Burst and 100% plus effort - sustainable for 15 seconds

08. Strength development – Making areas that are normally weak even in strong individuals strength in grip, forearms, neck, abs, posterior chain, calves, hamstrings (retracting), triceps (jabs), jaw muscles (taking a punch). Mainly involved in maintaining defensive structure and posture, on the ground, head up, issuing power from short chamber position, retracting the weapon, gripping the weapon, grip fighting, resisting a punch (medicine ball training).

09. Fast eyes - Understanding and familiarity with all the ranges - having experience in all the major alive arts allowing nearly instantaneous deconstruction of movement as it happens.

10. Conceptual speed - Feeling of being in the zone, lost in the movement, lack of conscious control; (instinctive flow).

11. Short power development - Since it’s important to be able to strike from where you are, without chambering, development of short power is needed. A ripple or pulse from the hips, closing a fist, shaking the shoulders, sudden inclination or twisting.

12. Ground path power - Being able to ‘sit down’ into an attack, limiting rebound, transmitting all energy into the target. An example is slamming straight of the rear leg all the way up to the forearm and the wrist tilt punch, directing the energy up into the target limiting rebound.

13. Eyes wide open - When sparring, there is a natural tendency is to close the eyes when punched. Through use of training gear, goggles, helmet. Practice keeping eyes open until it eliminates the grimacing reflex.

14. Comfort in Bleeding - fear of seeing one’s own blood, losing the desire to resist or contend at the sight of blood, touching the face, being worried about blood loss. All these need to be controlled.

15. Seeing tells - Developing fakes and feints is important. Part of being able to do fakes and feints is knowing what tells are seen. Pulling back the fist, clenching the fist, face turning red, face turning white.

16. Insertions - Through rhythm and timing developing the ability to insert a technique on the half-beat, though an opening. Developed primarily though Sinawali.

17. Broken rhythm. Attacking into the opponent’s attacks, at start, during development, at the extension. Getting the opponent’s timing and subdividing their beat. In fencing ‘counter time’ is an attack that responds to the opponent’s counter-attack.

18. Footwork – Various methods include penetration step, fencing lunge on heel, krabi-krabong walking step, boxing sidestep. Manipulation of your center of gravity puts you in advantageous positions.

19. Waist bending - Fade away, bob and weave, and other evasive moves done “in the pocket”.

20. Ground flow in grappling - Ability to sense and anticipate the opponents’ moves, using landmarks and proprioceptive senses. When pulled, add energy to unbalance. Ability to unbalance from bottom control. Slow rolling.

21. Active anticipation in grappling - Luring opponent into giving a limb, ducking under and into a collar choke.

22. Grip fighting; wrist control - Wrist control denies the opponent’s attempt to grab. Stripping the grip, gripping to an arm drag, resisting grip being stripped.

23. Wall fighting - Like ground fighting, positional dominance up against a wall or the fence.

24. Ability to relax under pressure - using head or neck control, rubber guard, posture control to prevent posturing up, using various guards, using smothering top control. Closed guard; Open guard; Half-guard; Butterfly guard; Spider guard; X-guard, de La Riva guard; Deep half-guard.

25. Importance of positional dominance over single technique - Single techniques are not guaranteed to work if positional dominance isn’t achieved. In positional dominance you can relatively easily free a limb or technique while preventing a counter attack. With PD, you can flow to neutralize an attempted attack or initiate an attack. There are a few sub-types. Top control, full favor, partial favor, bottom control, partial/full (rubber guard), knee-in-belly top control.

26. Understanding of types of positional control - This includes partial, full, in favor partial, unfavored partial.

27. Use of tools to drive the empty hand. - Learning coordination, reinforcement, augmentation,  training with heavy weapons. Various footwork patterns are developed due to weapons torquing.

28. Developing hand-eye coordination, hand-to-hand coordination. - Through repetition, gaming, anticipation, improving reflexes, paired movement is developed.

29. Having a dominant side game and a non-dominant side game. - Flowing from regular to southpaw stances and positions. Learning escapes from position on both sides. Having both a left and a right lead. Having a footwork game from both sides. Spinning left and right.

30. Ability to develop your own training methods – Methods include self-coaching, identifying needs and developing game plans to accomplish those, using journaling to see progress and predict outcome. Knowing that there’s a 2-week lag in training outcome is key.

31. Specific defense in all zones, - Including C-M boxing, peek-a-boo defense, rubber guard, grip stripping, pulling guard, sprawling, wall fighting, grip fighting.

32. Development of various games. – Methods include slow rolling, slow flowing, stick flow, throwing flow, slow striking flow, crushing top game, binding bottom game, x-guard game, pummeling and collar-tie game.

33. Understanding the limits. - Multiple opponents, situational awareness, ambush, disarms, unarmed against weapons.

34. Understanding performance-based training. – Does not matter if one is doing sport or full contact sparring with gear, the proof is in the ability to perform.

35. Understanding low-attribute-based methods. - Your system must be effective for the weak or the small, and not based on overwhelming by power or strength, which can lead to a stalemate. Use of leverage, position, posture and timing.

36. Mastering the Ego (tapping out).  - Some people get to a certain level, but don’t want to test themselves for fear of having to tap out, or have their methods exposed as not effective in certain ranges. A very hard lesson to learn, perhaps best done in play. Slow rolling, catch-and-release sparring. Letting the opponent bring their A-game, putting yourself in bad positions to start.

37. Rooting out hypocrisy, misconceptions and errors in training. - Sometimes we cling to ineffective methods, and keep repeating things which don’t really work. Sparring with a member of your own gym, not going to train in other gyms, entering as a beginner.

38. How to maximize your training dollar. - Some things just can’t be reliably trained on a continuing basis. High attribute skills deteriorate like ring rust. Learn which training aspects are necessary and sufficient to maintain skill and ability and conditioning and make sure you do those consistently. Consistency and longevity trumps almost all systems and styles.

39. Understanding the use of gear. Using the right gear for the right range to prevent injury. Minimizing gear, essential gear (eye and groin protection). Start out with extra gear, over time, working with familiar opponents, reduce gear and not incur injury is important. Learn what gear should always be used, like eye protection. Don’t be afraid to use gear, especially in certain ranges. Use wrestling ear protection, use mouth-guard and spend the money to get a good one.

40. Learning to set goals. - Set up training goals, set short-term, medium term and long-term goals, set up events to enter, keep a journal and analyze it for trends. Learn how to taper, how to catch a peak.

41. Recognizing and understanding transparency. - Transparency is basically reducing inertia. You don’t want the methods to get in the way of training, you don’t want to incur injuries. Reducing the barriers and thresholds to getting out there, making it less of a conscious decision and just something you do, like going to work is key. If something is giving you trouble, look for ways to make it more flexible, more comfortable, while not reducing effectiveness. Putting brakes and shifters on the handlebars of modern bicycles is an example. Going to clipless pedals which promotes efficiency and energy transfer in the power-train s another.

42. Learning how to conceptualize. – Practice going from the specific to the general, general to the specific. Whenever you’re making a specific concept, at the same time try to step back and generalize. Talking about ‘the enemy’ think in terms of ‘how am I the enemy?’, ‘what are the internal and external enemies?’ When generalizing always look to find specifics.

43. Learn how to build your framework of knowledge and understanding. - Find landmarks. Find disparate things, which share aspects. Look for methods of cross-training. Look at things as having a pyramid structure, find the base and the peak.

44. Learn how to find the fun in training. – Enjoying your training is key. Using gaming, turning work into a game.

45. Learn how to let your opponent bring their “A” game. - All too often we try to repress, win, beat the opponent, but if you do, you won’t learn to broaden your own game. Employ this strategy in personal relationships as well. Always try to apply lessons in life to martial arts and apply martial lessons to normal life.

46. Discover what type of learner you are. - Some people learn better with visual, some hands on, some need the written word. Try different methods. When working with students ask questions about how they learn best. If you can come at a problem from multiple angles, you can finally understand it.

47. Discover how to get optimal feedback. – Methods include video taping yourself, working on equipment, getting a partner’s opinion. One of the hardest things is to see one’s self. Work in a mirror, get video of yourself, think of how you would defeat yourself, to uncover limitations. Know your limitations and work within them, but occasionally set up ways to break out of them.

48. Learn how to journal. - How to keep journaling, what to journal, how to use your journaling. Use of electronic journaling, blogging, tracking diet are all important guidelines and landmarks. Since we only benefit from training down two weeks past, we often forget where we were. With journaling you can look back and spot trends.

49. How to develop power. - The hips, the shoulder, the waist, the forearm, the fist, the environment. One clever way to get power is jumping off the cage. Get a rebounder, jump rope, jump on one foot, skip, dance, tumble, use cables and rubber bands. Heavy hands, towing sleds, pushing sleds are ways to add resistance to normal movements.

50. How to bring out your killer instinct. - Base training with bursts, self-hypnosis, imagery, dramatic music while training, watching videos while training (stationary cycling).

-by Badger Johnson 1-19-2015

Please check out Badger Johnson's other essays:

NOTE:  My sincerest appreciation for Badger's gracious consent for permission to archive his essay to my site.

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