Archive for April, 2009

Full Lesson of Sparring

April 23, 2009

Yesterday was a full lesson of sparring where we did mostly tennis match sparring though near the end of the class there was some light sparring.

While sparring with Riri and Basrull who were going harder on me and punching me with a bit more force, I started to feel more comfortable with the CM1 movement and the contact of their punches against my elbows felt pretty solid. I appreciated the increased resistance and was a good test of how well my CM1 was doing.

The CM1 movement and hunchback position is also starting to feel a lot more natural and I am starting to get used to the limited vision.

Several things that need working on:

  1. Keep on forgetting to move hands constantly
  2. Sometimes when doing CM1, my hands block past the centre line leaving the side of my head exposed.
  3. While doing CM1, found it hard to maintain rim-shot range without backing off. Punches closer in that range still feel pretty heavy. Perhaps this is where CM2 comes in?
  4. Footwork is improving but I found that when fatigued, it tended to go crappy. Back left calf hurts! 😛
  5. Still moving backwards but making a conscious effort to circle or sidestep now.
  6. Sometimes during a strong punch towards my guard (especially when sparring with Riri), even if it was in the correct position, I found my guard being blown open for a short while. Do I need to bring it in tighter?

At one point when I was sparring with Albert after a round with Riri, I was literally out of breath and extremely exhausted and ended it prematurely. On retrospect I should have gone on to see how to operate in times of fatigue and it would lend valuable lessons in incorporating TES (tight economical structure) in my game.

I also found it difficult to mount an offense when Albert had his guard up. Only when he started punching me could I use my reach advantage to sneak some hits in. I don’t quite get it as it seems so pointless to hit a good guard so how do you actually get past that? Something to think about as it seemed very energy inefficient unless you are confident you can overpower him.

Watching Riri and Basrull spar was very educational in picking up what was working and what wasn’t. I showed Riri the video I took and he picked up things from his video that he didn’t notice while sparring like how he turns his body too much when being attacked and his straight body posture. Next week, Riri is going to help video me while I spar so that should be pretty educational and I am looking forward to that.

Light sparring begins and why CMD is unique

April 20, 2009

We had 7 people who came today which bodes well for our growing CMD class! Have several potential regulars! Now just to get them to buy their own gloves so that we don’t need to get ‘sloppy seconds’ :P.

Today Roderick and I moved on to some light sparring which represents the next level of sparring from ‘tennis match’ sparring where you each take turns to punch each other.

During my sparring session with Albert, noticed that i was still slightly panicking and expending a lot of energy to defend myself. The punches just seem to come so fast and i was just doing the CM1 movement without quite seeing what was happening. Was particularly uncomfortable when Albert moved forward towards me. Need to incorporate more circling around and using the jab punch to push him away. The jab push worked quite well in the beginning till Albert hooked his arm around my jab hand and then gave me one! Nice little trick to note and I guess stresses the importance of keeping your jabs quick.

I however didn’t take too many in the face (and those I did were when I was punching) and I’m slowly building up confidence in utilizing CM1. The movement feels more natural now and smooth.

Another thing I noticed was my tendency to smack my ear with my shoulder when doing diving-board punching. This was rectified by concentrating on reaching out.

Today in my quest to get more people interested in CM, I posted a thread in Lowyat and someone asked me what was unique to CMD as compared to MMA? That got me thinking for a bit.

I don’t profess to know CM or even MMA a lot, but I have never seen the CM1 movement or diving board punching anywhere else. But then it kinda dawned upon me that the techniques weren’t just what made CMD unique. It was MMA for the everyday guy! Not too brutal, structured and with a strong focus on footwork, solid defense and easy to learn.

Anyway here’s a quick vid of my friend Ida doing her ‘crazy’ tiger uppercut defense 😛 and followed by Albert working in slowly his punches with Riri, on his 2nd lesson.

CM: Not just the hand movement

April 17, 2009

Found an old post of Rodney’s from this site. I have bolded the sections which I found particularly interesting.:

Hi Jeff,

I think Phil and the guys answered this really well. Here is my 2 cents

I believe this is an important post and it is in answer to questions posted on this forum and others. The HUGE and I mean HUGE misconception out there amongst those who have limited training or understanding of CM is that CM is only the defensive positioning of the hands near the top of the head. This could not be further from the truth. This has been perpetuated by those who came to one of my seminars years ago or a seminar where I was specifically asked or told only to coach that part of the CM. Just another reason I have gone on my own- if anyone attends one of my seminars today they will realize straight away that CM is a whole lot more than they thought it was.

Secondly to this, what I coach on my DVD’s is not the whole CM. With the exception of the sparring 101 DVD most of the information I put out on CM was to help people improve their defense, something I felt was lacking in MA/MMA. However if you chat to any one of my athletes they will tell you that on any given night at my gym we work the entire game from stand-up, clinch to the ground. We work at times self-preservation against weapons and so forth. All of this encompasses what we term the CM Defense Program. I recently read of a guy who taught a seminar in the UK, he called an athlete out who knew CM and went on to show how useless CM was against a blade…. this is exactly what irritates me about MA as an industry- idiots who don’t know what they are talking about. This instructor simply showed his ignorance of the CM Defense Program- thinking that the defensive hand posture was all there was to it. Not to mention that I view it as a compliment that he feels CM is such a threat to what he does, that he needed to take time out of his own international seminar to discredit it

Sure the name Crazy Monkey came from that hand positioning and was it not for a very good friend of mine who went on Safari who witnessed a troop of monkey’s doing a similar action while defending themselves from another invading troop- the name would probably not exist today. When we talk about the CM today we talk about the CM Defense Program. The CM hand position is only and in fact less than 1% of the total amount of the entire PROGRAM. Those who train with me on a regular basis- know that outside of what makes CM obvious and notable are the more integral and most important components of the vehicle we call CM Defense Program.

I am going to outline things here otherwise it will take pages (The http://www.mymalife.com membership program outlines these better).

  • CM has its very own coaching & teaching style. The way we coach is very different to most other MA or MMA training groups. We believe in intelligent training initiatives, client focused and most importantly performance based- but set out in such a way that it encompasses a broad spectrum of the MA population (Military, close protection, law enforcement, self-defense, fitness, wellness etc). I am yet to find any other single MA program that has such a wide scope of use, with little or no change to the engine that drives it.
  • CM Defense Program is not just the hand defense, but also our own and unique clinch boxing game. The way we approach grappling and Vale Tudo. This also includes and is not limited to elbows, knees and so forth.
  • CM Defense Program is one of the very few MA programs that actively coaches and integrates mental game training as a natural process of training in it. Sport and Performance Psychology is a huge part of the CM defense program. But we approach this from a healthy perspective not one driven and fueled by paranoia or religious, mystical nonscence.

This is only a few aspects that make up the CM Defense Program. No disrespect to some of those in the SBG, but most of them have very limited exposure to CM or at least in so far as it extends past just the defensive hand positions to the CM defense Program itself. We don’t endorse anyone who coaches our program unless they are part of the STWA or more specifically a CM Defense Program Certified Trainer. Many of the gyms under the STWA banner are still in the process of becoming certified…. I will be putting a list up in the next couple of days of who is actually licensed to coach the CM Defense Program. If you go to one of those trainers and watch one of their classes you will see a very different program that is currently offered by many unlicensed trainers or seminar wanabee coaches.

This is exactly why I have decided to do my own thing, so I can focus on the CM Defense Program, ensure high standards and that clients training in the program are getting the right coaching methodology. A while back a saw a well known MA coach demonstrating my material on a DVD, it was simply crap and is not what I coach. This guy had never trained with me at all but was trained by someone else who never spent much time with me either. All he showed was a very bad version of the CM defensive hand positioning and nothing else. This is what happens when you don’t actually train the program yourself and think taking notes on the sideline actually gives you full insight to what is going on

The end of all of this, CM is an entire program, not just the hand positioning that made it famous

Jeff I am happy you found an excellent group to train with, my advice though is this, unless the group is part of STWA, more specifically CERTIFIED and LICENSED in the CM Defense Program don’t think for a second that you are getting or seeing the entire package- expect and know it is probably less than 1 percent! Secondly if you do or are getting a chance to train with a CM Defense Program Licensed Trainer- realize that the hand postion that is relatively unique to the program is not the program at all- merely a small percentage of it

Those very thoughts crossed through my mind on how CMD is applied in a situation against weapons without realizing that I was still a long way from understanding what CMD is.

When you do see the content out there and the youtube vids, the hand movements seem to be the most distinctive part of CMD so you can’t really blame people for thinking that’s what CMD is all about. But it’s another matter entirely when you profess to rubbish a martial art which you don’t fully understand (something that I have unfortunately been guilty of as well).

However I don’t see this misconception dying anytime soon until CMD becomes more public about what it teaches. I am unaware if this is intentional or merely just because CMD is a new martial art.

I understand the logic of keeping CMD techniques private especially when there has been a lot of plagiarism and people taking CMD techniques and calling it their own, but I think at the end of the day, it doesn’t quite matter.

Anyone can claim that they teach a martial art for e.g. karate, taekwando by looking at the wide amount of material on the subject there but without the proper certification and instruction, what does that amount to? It’s not just the techniques that make a martial art, it’s the training style , philosophy and the community that
evolves around it. That is something that cannot be easily emulated from watching a video.

My personal opinion is that a wider range of CMD material should be made more accessible to the public. When I tried to get my friends to sign up to CMD, they went home to google/youtube it, only saw the boxing elements and decided that it’s not for them. In fact, I was under this same misconception myself when I signed up for it!

A larger showcase of what CMD techniques are like would serve to dispel misconceptions of what CMD is without devaluing the benefits of being an official member of the CMD program. Of course there will be haters and people who post criticism of it, but that’s unavoidable unfortunately in the martial arts community. What is important is that those who are genuinely interested in CMD get enough information to make an informed decision to give it a go.

CMD vs. Wolverine

April 17, 2009

Had a strange dream last night. Fought against a female Wolverine with adamantium claws. Started doing CMD out of panic but obviously…indestructible claw against puny bone…kinda obvious what the result is.

Don’t ask me what I think its meaning is though I did for a nanosecond wonder if it would be better to just surgically implant claws into my hand rather than learning martial arts :P.

At least she was hot.

Initial Thoughts on Grappling

April 16, 2009

Albert my instructor, mentioned how Rodney prefers to allow the person to get up rather than get into a proper grappling fight.

I believe I have the same inclination to prefer a stand-up from my limited experience with BJJ. This is not to detract from BJJ, but rather a personal preference and choice.

  1. My leg flexibility isn’t there (can’t even touch my toes) and a lot of BJJ moves are rather difficult for me to do. Obviously this can be worked on.
  2. I really like my reach advantage which although gives you some benefit in grappling, I really like it from a striking perspective.
  3. My main purpose of learning CMD is to learn a practical martial art. Going to the ground in many cases is not practical especially when on the street. In the majority of cases, people only attack you where they have an advantage, be it numbers or weapons. CMD retains the option of dealing with multiple attackers.

Will continue BJJ to see how it goes as it’s a bit too early to make judgments and it’s always good to get some solid grappling fundamentals as you need some of them if you are to be able to get away from having a fight taken to the ground. The people at the studio I go to are nice and the ‘rolling’ really gives you the feeling of a real scruffle.

Lack of Visibility when defending with CM1

April 16, 2009

The lack of sight while defending with CM1 can be alleviated by moving hands but is not overly important when dealing with a barrage of quick punches.

All you need to do is keep sight of chest as that’s where you can read his attacks and take note of keeping him squared towards you.

Basic Defense Against Takedowns

April 16, 2009

Covered a little bit about defense against takedowns. I noticed I was vulnerable to it while being too focused on punching quick in front.

Hunchback stance makes it easier to sprawl when a takedown attempt is coming in.

Two options here.

  1. Maintain Distance
  2. Sprawl

Maintaining distance

Use jab hand to push against his shoulder as he tries to charge in. Light steps in a larger and larger arc. Tiring for the charger.

Sprawl

As you are being pushed in, flay and extend legs out in a Y shape and keep knees off the ground.

As his forward momentum pushes in, the extension of legs bears your body’s weight on top of him which brings him under you and in a good position to knee or strike him.

Another option is to also look into hooking your hand around his neck as he dives in while sprawling. This gives you an added choke possibility.

Notes: Need to work on this as still a bit anxious when being taken down. When strength difference is great, the sprawl may not be effective.

Footwork

April 16, 2009

Focusing back on the stance before moving first:

  • Hips square
  • Feet are square, helps to point both feet forward to keep hips square (found this awkward and hard on the ankle. Perhaps due to lack of flexibility as it was a constant fight to get it to point forward.)
  • Right leg forward, left leg back for southpaw stance
  • Knees bent
  • Back foot is lifted up to give you a springboard to push off from and to keep it light and moving.

Actually moving with it:

  • Keep distance between feet as even as possible even when moving.
  • DON’T BRING FEET TOGETHER!!!!! This reduces balance and easily deteriorates to a bad posture to punch from. Maintain the same distance as far as possible.(this for me was the hardest part to do and I found that as I got more tired, the legs automatically started coming together. Calves ached)
  • Neutral/Normal Stance > Wide Stance (loss of mobility) > Narrow Stance (unstable platform)
  • Hips continuously facing the opponent
  • Push off with the left foot when moving to the right and vice versa.
  • Movement begins with the push-off, and NOT the extension of the leading leg. (incorporating this made the movement a lot easier).
  • Knees relaxed
  • Do not end up tiptoeing on both feet!

Footwork Drill

  • Place a central marker on the floor and keep a 1 metre distance around it.
  • Circle around it imagining it’s your opponent.
  • 5 revolutions clockwise, 5 revolutions counter-clockwise.
  • Do not change footwork

Notes: Found it tougher to go in the direction the back leg is in (in my case the left side). Also realized that in sparring with the other new students of CMD, their tendency is also to move in the direction their front leg is in.

Since my natural tendency is to go counter-clockwise, while orthodox stance students is to go clockwise, think of using the movement instead to sidestep and block them off from turning. I can forsee this gets less important as students get more used to moving both directions but perhaps it is a natural tendency to watch out for to take advantage of (wishful thinking :P)

Things I have learnt from CMD thus far

April 14, 2009

Hunchback Stance

Hands and elbows tucked in close, neck and shoulders hunched, back curved, knees bent and hands on your head at all times.

Back leg on slight tiptoe while front leg grounded. Hips square. Weight distribution about equal.

Constantly move hands to introduce unpredictability and also aid peripheral vision.

The point is to minimize exposed surface area and protect your most vulnerable areas.

Duck when being body shot rather than moving your hands down which exposes face.

CM1 Movement

While hands are on head, lift them one at a time and aim to contact the incoming straight punch with your elbow or the upper sections of your arm.

Keep it tight and unpredictable.

Reuben’s notes: Found it hard to see while doing CM1 movement…even when constantly moving. Was hard to deal with a barrage of punches while maintaining sight of the opponent leaving me a bit oblivious as to what my partner was doing.. Will need to recheck what I was doing wrong.

Here’s Rodney demonstrating CM1
Eye Focus

Centered around torso area but eyes relaxed. Imagine a triangle extending to the shoulders.

For punches to begin, they have to move the shoulders first so relax eyes and learn to read punches.

Never focus concentrate on face lest you be distracted, or captured in his gaze. Never focus on hands as they are too fast.

Keep to the torso, and relax.

Reuben’s Notes: Need to work on this as frequently lost concentration while under attack or attacking and then perception of partner’s punches became very poor.

Diving Board Punching

Punch as if you are diving. Punch is slightly on a diagonal line forward. Extended fist should be directly on your centreline. This minimizes being counter punched to the face as well.

Slight inward corkscrew of hand while lifting the shoulders up that protects side of head and chin while punching.

Extends reach slightly.

Reuben’s Notes: Found it rather tiring on the shoulders and had to resist the urge to bring head to shoulder rather than shoulder to head. Smacked my ears a lot with my own shoulders while beginning this.

Combination Theory:

Start with a jab, end with a jab to the face in any combination

The end jab to the face gives you time to get back to your defensive stance as it necessitates a reaction.

As you develop further, this is not necessary but its a good basic to start from.

Sideway Stepping:

Not sure what this is called but instead of endlessly circling in a sparring session, move directly sideways. This blocks his route of turning and puts you in a good position to counterattack and take the initiative.

Reuben’s Notes: Saw it in one of Rodney’s youtube vids and tried it in sparring and was quite effective. Need to figure out footwork.

Jabs:

Most important punch. To gauge distance, to push away and to create openings. The punch that is used the great majority of the time.

Jab has slightly more range than a cross due to its frontal position. Controls space in front of you.

Reuben’s Notes: I really love the jab. Fast, annoying and not easy to avoid. Took southpaw stance although right-handed to give jab more oomph at the cost of a weaker cross. Found this also easier on my legs as I am used to leading with my right leg. Does this reduce my frontal burst speed as the back leg is weaker on push off?

Being KOed

Top of head and stomach are not as vital as the jaw area as they are more resilient. Jaw area is weak and if punched strong enough, will cause sufficient vibrations in skull to cause unconsciousness.