Diary / Training Notes

Grappling Point of View (diary entry)

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26.05.12 Vagabond Warriors 2.2 As a change from previous Vagabond Warriors seminars this year, we looked at everything from a grappling perspective. The usual structure and model – C.S.I. (Clarification, Scepticism and Individuality) and the Hierarchy of Training (Specific Training, Attribute/Cross-Training and Functional Fitness) – used to base all training activities. The exercise decision chart, a Ken Robinson lecture, a functional fitness circuit and the compass/martial path map were all amongst the material used in today’s seminar. Physical activities began […]

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Drilling all Ranges and Transitioning through Grappling (diary entry)

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21.05.12: After a student-led warm-up of functional fitness exercises, we went back over last week's basics. Last week we focused on some muscle memory exercises (routines designed to create better retention of techniques). This week we revised the ranges covered by bringing them more into regular freestyle routines. We started with the fence, working straight and hooked hand strikes. Then these were done through all the postures – kneeling, seated, on the back and back against the wall. In this […]

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Vagabond Warriors Taster Session at Telford (diary entry)

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My mandate for tonight’s Vagabond Warriors taster session was to orientate it around wrestling/grappling in MMA – working around the double-leg takedown.   After a functional fitness warm-up led by resident MMA coach Scott Stewart, I ran the lesson along the following drills:   Footwork/sprawl movement drill – student mirrors coach’s footwork. Coach prompts the sprawl by dropping and touching the back of the student’s thighs. Drill with added jab/cross to targets Drill with added knee strike when coming up […]

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Owning the Basics (diary entry)

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Today we focused on specific drills to improve fundamental techniques. After our regular warm-up, involving footwork and general combative movement at all ranges, we went right back to sharpenign up the basics using a series of repetitive conditioning exercises. We began with self-defence and the fence – that dividing line between soft and hard skills in self-protection. This was just a case of drilling the touch/strike behaviour. The student adopts a natural position with their defending hands disguised by passive […]

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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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