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The SF Martial Arts Thread

Clouseau

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We are probably several here who have a Martial Arts background. It would be great if we could share our experiences, whatever the disciplines. For me it is as important as my love for style, and it's somehow related. You have to show a certain dignity and sprezz when you're into Martial Arts, and the clothing/equipment is important.

My Martial Arts journey started when i was a kid, i practiced fencing. I lived close to the Republican Guard, that has an old tradition of fencing practice and dueling. The Master was very impressive, a thin guy with a mustache, he was very old. His picture was in the Larousse dictionary to illustrate 'fencing'…

Then it's not before my 20s that i went back into Martial Arts. It was still related to fencing as i started the path of Kendo. I practiced for 25 years, won ranks and medals. I learned Japanese to understand my masters, and went several times to practice to Japan.
I also practiced Aikido and Iaido, and studied the old school of Ono ha Itto Ryu for 15 years. (kata practice).

Sadly, i had to quit Kendo 4 years ago due to an old knee injury. But i had discovered Tai Chi Chuan a few years before, and it's now for around ten years that i am practicing. Of course i study an old school and there is some weapon practice too, so i feel at home.

Kendo.jpg
I'm the tall one

TC3_opt.jpg

And what about you guys ?
Let's discuss Martial Arts !
 

LA Guy

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I have studied martial arts since I was 14. My parents were super reluctant to me, since martial arts in Hong Kong have a reputation as being for streetfighters and gangsters. So started by training in Shaolin Southern Fist. I quickly progressed to Shotokan, and studied that and Kenpo, but really, used both of those to complement kickboxing. I competed in "American Kickboxing" which has a much smaller strike zone than Muy Thai. I ran into a Brazilian jiujitsu school purely by curiousity and accident - the Machado Bros opened a school just across from my favorite bakery. I was mostly interested in competing in MMA, so after obtaining my blue belt, I competed for two years, first as an amateur, and then as a pro (but a low level pro - things were much less structured then and fights were mostly in bars and hotels and in outdoor cages), for two years. I quit after I suffered a bad knockout loss, calculating that my doctorate would probably be more useful to me than earning $200 a fight.

I stopped training for a long time after that - I was 28, and 14 years was a long stretch already. I still trained on my own, but mostly kickboxing. I didn't formally train at all for about 4 years when I moved to the Boston area

When I moved to Moscow Idaho, I found a small jiujitsu club and practiced there, fairly intermittently, for a couple of years, but infighting in the group turned me off and I took another hiatus until 2016, when a really good jiujitsu black belt and Olympic level (he was the Brazilian champion twice and Olympic alternate for the same) judoika moved into town, and have been training ever since. It's actually my longest stretch training consistently in jiujitsu. Then I had a real health scare, and was reluctant to even really work out as hard I was used to doing. That was after working out hard with no unscheduled breaks for over two decades.

At 44, I can't train full blast 5 days a week anymore, but I still manage 2-3 and can still hang with the young kids, including some active fighter. Being in a smaller town means that you can train with the neighbouring UFC fighters (one is belted under our instructor), while in big cities, you rarely get that type of experience. It's a terrific test of your abilities against full time fighters. The great thing about jiujitsu is that you train 100% effort and contact, so there is no ambiguity about a match or even a round. I find that my knees and neck and sometimes my elbows, all alway a bit injured from competing and practicing hard when I was younger, as well as being an amateur, and very bad, mountain biker, require me to take some weeks easier. This is one of those weeks.

Anyway, that's me.

Oh, and I have the privilege of being able to be an assistant striking coach for our MMA team, which has several promising amateurs as well as a handful of pros.

Our gym is pretty young, but we are a good group.

Here is part of our team. I'm in the cap and the leather jacket. Weirdly, I instinctively took off my shoes, even though the fights were done for the night.
The guy in the Pride tee is our striking coach and one of the best karateka I've trained with. He is a many time national champion from the Ukraine. The guy in blue is a pro fighter who just won here, and the big guy in the back is another MMA fighter and also coach. The angle in this picture is really deceiving, since every guy there outweighs me by 15-100 lbs. The guy in the back is 6'5" and 280 bs and the guy in the blue is 6'3" and 245 lbs. The striking coach is a bit shorter than me, at 5'10" and 195 lbs. but he is much thicker.

 

Jmm722

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I did Kenpo from 5 to 17 years old, became a 3rd degree blackbelt and was on my studio's demo team for tournaments. I believe it was technically shaolin kenpo because there were pinions and katas, as well as a lot of self-defense and sparring.

I just started jujitsu with one of the Gracie gyms in NYC, but it's hard to not instinctively use strikes to get out of holds/grapples.
 

Botolph

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My son just started Sanchin and seems to enjoy it. I tried Shotokan when I was about 17 but I had to quit to work more hours and help out at home. Pretty tough discipline!
@Clouseau, I had no idea, fella!
 

LA Guy

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I did Kenpo from 5 to 17 years old, became a 3rd degree blackbelt and was on my studio's demo team for tournaments. I believe it was technically shaolin kenpo because there were pinions and katas, as well as a lot of self-defense and sparring.

I just started jujitsu with one of the Gracie gyms in NYC, but it's hard to not instinctively use strikes to get out of holds/grapples.
Which Gracie gym? If you want to train with a world class team, though you might not get as much personal attention as you'd like, Renzo Gracie's is hot fire right now, but Marcello Garcia is probably also up there in technique, and the man is a true wizard. If you want to get thrown into the fire, Unity jiujitsu is for you - it's full of young killers! I've also heard good things about Essential BJJ, and JT Torres is a monster of a practitioner. But unless you are looking to be the next world champion, pretty much any gym is a good gym as long as the head instructor is a good teacher, you get enough mat time, and there is a good, positive, culture within the gym.

Yeah, try not to be that spazzy white belt who hits people. It's generally frowned upon. Also, to be perfectly honest, it really doesn't work that well unless the other person is really new as well. For the more experienced BJJ practitioner, especially those with MMA or other striking experience, a strike from the bottom is usually just opens something up. If you are already in a bad position, stretching your arms from your body is just a good way to get them trapped, and you will lose your frames and grips. A lot of the game is just that - isolate limbs, the neck, break down the defensive structure, etc...

I've been kneed in the head, taken elbows to the face, etc, while on the ground in a dominant top position, and while it's certainly unpleasant, one of the strengths of BJJ is that it really eliminates the effectiveness of nearly all strikes from the bottom because most of the torque comes from the legs and the hips, and if you are in a good offensive position, you've generally bypassed the legs and are controlling the hips. This is why, in MMA fights, hitting someone from the bottom, or even when you are being taken down, is generally not seen (with notable exceptions) because it's generally a bad strategic idea (again, with notable exceptions.) Take my advice fwiw though. There are so many people who are way better and more experienced than am I. Fwiw, and only since you know the belt system now, I'm a third stripe purple belt with a Rickson Gracie lineage. I consider purple belt to be like a bachelors degree. You know enough stuff to be semi-competent, but you are still far from expert level in anything. (white = freshman, blue = sophomore/junior, purple = bachelors, brown = masters, black = doctorate.)
 

rnguy001

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BJJ blue belt, had been training for several years but due to laziness, injury and being a pu$$y I quit for a long time in between. When I started up again 2 years ago things actually began to click. train about 2x/week at most but that's plenty for me since my fingers and elbows are always sore. Still get mat anxiety so been working on that. it's an amazing martial art. Never seen another martial art that offers so much ability. I'm a fairly athletic and strong guy at 180lb, and routinely get destroyed by 140lb guys. It's an eye opener to know that there are just levels to fighting.

I used to want to tell people all the time abut BJJ but recently have decided to keep it on the down-low. the fewer that actually practice it the better for me. ;)
 

LA Guy

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BJJ blue belt, had been training for several years but due to laziness, injury and being a pu$$y I quit for a long time in between. When I started up again 2 years ago things actually began to click. train about 2x/week at most but that's plenty for me since my fingers and elbows are always sore. Still get mat anxiety so been working on that. it's an amazing martial art. Never seen another martial art that offers so much ability. I'm a fairly athletic and strong guy at 180lb, and routinely get destroyed by 140lb guys. It's an eye opener to know that there are just levels to fighting.

I used to want to tell people all the time abut BJJ but recently have decided to keep it on the down-low. the fewer that actually practice it the better for me. ;)
I don't think that the mat anxiety ever goes away entirely. The fact that everyone says that there is no ego on the mats suggests, correctly, that there is a ton of ego on the mats.

I guess that the only thing that I would say is that as you go up in experience and skill level, and provided you are not vastly overpowered, you know that it's very unlikely that someone a couple of belt levels under you, the BJJ prodigies and basically pro-BJJ fighters aside, are really going to pose an offensive threat to you. At worst, you are going to get stuck because they are big and while they can't do much to you, they can shut down your offense just by clutching and grabbing and smooshing and generally stalling a lot. That said, if you are up against someone your own skill level, and who has comparable physical abilities, there is always some stress in the rolls. Because no one really likes to tap, especially against a real peer.

I'm 185 lbs, but frankly, I should be closer to 170-175 lbs. At our weight, we are probably in an optimal position to really learn, insofar as we are not so big that we have to hold back in most rolls, but we are not so small that you end up always in guard and very possibly getting just physically overwhelmed.
 

rnguy001

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^ 1000% all of that.

I'm not an ego driven guy in real life and I'm really friendly on the mats. I dont do 'dick moves' and I always do a lot of catch and release if I feel my partner is in a bad position and we're trying to learn. sometimes like you say I'll go up against a monster and they make my offenses/sweeps difficult because they just grab and 'tank down'. Even though I'm not an egotistical guy, like you said I dont like tapping. So I have to work really hard to get out of bad positions --> gas out --> worse position --> more anxiety etc etc.

my friend who's a similar level is much more light-hearted. he taps early and often and always seems relaxed and just keeps rolling endlessly.. he doesn't flop, but he also has a great attitude in that he taps, resets and rolls again. I find when I'm super relaxed and confident my rolls are endless fun. even against higher belts if I'm relaxed and having a good time I'm really flowing and tough to handle. "keep it playful"
but the minute I get in my own head, and start to worry about losing or tapping - I tense up and it's like I forget everything.

I guess a lot of it is ego. I want my instructor to respect me, I want my buddies to respect me. thing is I think they do and I'm the one that just needs to chill the fck out. I've been working on this aspect more than any one technique or drill.. I feel if I can get over myself I'll reach that next plateau..

thanks for the advice Fok. keep it coming.
 

Piobaire

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Is anyone else a practitioner of the Scottish martial arts? Mike Myers was a grand master.
 

LA Guy

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Is anyone else a practitioner of the Scottish martial arts? Mike Myers was a grand master.
It's actually Canadian martial arts.

Kidding. The official Canadian Martial Art is hockey fighting.
 

Piobaire

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It's actually Canadian martial arts.

Kidding. The official Canadian Martial Art is hockey fighting.
I believe the discipline is known as fuck-u. Mainly head butting and eye gouging.
 

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