Diary / Training Notes

Vagabond Warriors at The Martial Arts Show Part 2 (diary)

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 27:  WBA World Heavy...

LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 27: WBA World Heavyweight Champion David Haye in action with the medicine ball during his Media Training Day at The Haymaker Boxing Gym on October 27, 2010 in London, England. Daivd Haye will fight Audley Harrison on November 13, 2010 at Manchester Evening News Arena. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife) Late in the day isn’t always the best of slots for free seminars, but nevertheless we still filled our second outing at the show as […]

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Vagabond Warriors at The Martial Arts Show Part 1 (diary)

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A little bit of pro-activity and a lot of aggressive on-the-spot selling alongside some genuine support we filled up the first Vagabond Warriors session of the weekend. I have been connected to The Martial Arts Shows since was The Martial Arts Festival, the brainchild of Kwoklyn Wan. Martial arts trade shows are not my favourite places, but somehow Kwoklyn manages to create a good atmosphere and books some of the nicest martial artists in the UK and internationally.   The […]

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Fighting through the Postures & Submission Clinic (diary entry)

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10.05.12 Odd numbers inspired me to begin our training with two-on-one exercises. I feel that not only is this a great way to develop more self-defence orientated skills – such as fighting multiple attackers – but also develops what I call 360 degree coaching. This means that a students attack and defence coordination can be carefully monitored and they can experience the best type of physical feedback possible next to sparring. We did this by placing one student between two […]

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The student becomes the teacher and the lesson leads itself (diary entry)

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30.04.12 "They are not YOUR students! You do not own them." – Shihan Chris Rowen, Goju Ryu Karate "I am not your instructor. You teach me; you teach all of us. I am just your guide" – Stevie B, Mongrel Close-Quarter Fighting Method (somewhat paraphrased) The two above quotes from two wonderfully different martial arts teachers have stuck with me and at the core of the way I teach for several years now. The first came from a man who […]

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Covering an Issue (diary entry)

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Due to the postponement of Vagabond Warriors 2.2 and the filming of the new Vagabond Warriors functional fitness video, I was able to book in a private lesson. My client requested that I go through my interpretation of "The Cover".  For my full thoughts on all this, please read "Take Cover". Today's lesson began with a warm-up involving prompting a defensive reaction from the student, striking with focus mitts. This was repeated with the student in a "code white" position […]

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Back to stand-up! (diary entry)

25.04.2012: After the Easter break it was time to get back into some stand-up training. After some functional fitness warm-ups, this included some line-work featuring the pendulum method for front kicks and straight knees, we looked at combination work. We drilled several boxing combinations first as part of shadow boxing and then with partners and finally on the focus mitts. This helps provide a better overall view of the combinations. Next we put the hand strikes under pressure with the […]

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Deconstructing the Single Leg Takedown (diary entry)

A single leg takedown attempt.

A single leg takedown attempt. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) 19.04.12 This was my third time teaching at Telford’s excellent Kyushinkai Martial Arts Centre. In the lead-up to Vagabond Warriors 2.2 I took a one hour MMA class. Vagabond Warriors adopts a ground-up model for teaching. This means that I allow the experiences; problems and general input of those who I coach determine the direction of the lesson. In this instance several of the participants had recently competed in the cage and […]

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Layering (diary entry)

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02.04.12 After a regular warm-up of rolls, breakfalls, snaking and crawls, the class did some low intensity sparring – touch contact striking, stand-up grip-fighting and ground sparring. We did a series of games to cover these areas too, including wrestling for a focus mitt and touch-the-head. These would be layered with tecniques and more intense sparring. The stand-up sequence covered a combination that blended two techniques from the same side, followed by a reverse one. Working a see-saw like action […]

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The Switch! – Vagabond Warriors Write-up (diary entry)

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Vagabond Warriors 2.1 saw the return of some familiar faces from last year when the method was in its prototype phase. Andras Millward (wing chun and FAST Defence instructor) had previously suggested that the white board approach might be better delivered using a PowerPoint system. He was able to see how that idea had been fully embraced. Andras has since used the Vagabond Warriors approach to radically change his own personal training and the way he teaches his classes. He […]

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Kick-Catching (diary entry)

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26.03.12 Today's lesson focused on issues surrounding the kick-catch. We looked at a safe way to catch the kick, defend against getting caught and follow on techniques from both sides. We began with our usual series of functional fitness exercies – blitzing, footwork, bear crawls, snaking, alligator crawls and various breakfalls and rolls. We then went straight into kicking. Using a simple Keysi Fighting Method drill from their "Dekem 'n Rekem" programme, we worked three kick exchanges with a catch […]

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Reinforcing Combat Behaviours in Telford (diary entry)

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22.03.12: Tonight’s session was pure MMA. We focused on the development of combative behaviours, looking at stand-up and ground. We warmed up with specific movement exercises, which would be layered with techniques, pressure-tested with specific training, integrated into MMA sparring and then further reinforced through functional fitness exercises. The warm-up exercises consisted of shadow boxing, touch contact striking, “heads and knees” game, 30% pressure grip fighting and 30% pressure ground fighting. By having a trusting partner and being wary of […]

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Concepts and Games (diary entry)

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19.03.12: Today’s session melded two concepts. We followed on from a combination taught last week and brought it under the umbrella of applied warm-up exercises taught tonight. These exercises were simple two-player games designed to teach concepts of certain ranges. First up was just some simple touch contact stand-up sparring, to work targeting and footwork. This was then changed to a game of heads and knees – when heads are called both participants aim to touch the other person’s head […]

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Move to fight; fight to move (diary entry)

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12.03.12 Today, we got down to the business of fighting. There was no pretense about anything else. If you look at Iain Abernethy's excellent "Martial Map" you will see that one of the three circles of his ven diagram is classified as fighting. It has overlap into both martial arts and self-protection, but it also has its own space of unrelated and distilled fighting. Tonight we were straight in there and it can be quite a liberating feeling. No philosophy […]

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Short Circuit (diary entry)

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The best laid plans and all that! Tonight saw me make a surprise return to my regular class after being let off jury duty a day and a half early. It has been a rather odd week and I am very grateful to Richard Barnes for covering my last Monday. I was rather enthusiastic about getting back into the subjects we were previously covering, but for reasons best known to medical science, I decided that it would be good to […]

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In Absence (diary entry)

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Unfortunatley, due to circumstances beyond my control, I was unable to teach tonight’s lesson. Richard Barnes, 3rd Dan British Combat Association Geoff Thompson’s Real Combat Method taught in my stead.   According to his report, training began with a 15 minute circuit of exercises as a warm-up. This was then followed up with work on the fence and discussing issues relating to striking first. This is still a highly contentious issue and even more so in children’s self-defence. Aside from […]

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Vagabond Warriors 2.0 Write-up (diary entry)

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This was the launch for Vagabond Warriors in 2012. Last year’s seminars and workshops were prototypes for the event I envisioned. Having the fantastic venue at Telford meant I could fully explore and represent the Vagabond Warriors concept.   The day began with a PowerPoint presentation. After coach information and a brief background on the history of cross-training I took the class through the Vagabond Warriors’ approach to training. This began with Clarification, Scepticism and Individuality (CSI) and then moved […]

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