Developing Basics – stand-up and ground (diary entry)

The x-guard being used in BJJ competition

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25.07.11: Write down 5,000 times "I am never beyond or above basics". This is something that goes through my head time and again. I have just recently returned to the normality of running my regular children's MMA and self protection class in Coventry after a mad four days working with my coach, Mo Teague. Mo has been running a six week intensive instructor training programme for his Hard Target System. My time away training and assisting with the programme came at the end of two hard weeks of getting back into regular formal training at the Oxford Martial Arts Centre. To say I feel humbled is an overstatement. My old taekwondo instructor, Ian Ferguson, who was never my greatest fan, gave a few sage words of advice in the two or so years I trained under him. One of them was the adament statement that you are never beyond or above basics. He was right.

Tonight's rather quiet lesson focused on subtle shifts and variants from the basics, inspired by my recent time with Mo. We began with boxing on the focus mitts and then moved onto attack, defence and counter-attack movements. We looked at parries, covers, rolls and slips. This was concluded with Mo's dominance sparring exercise. This specific training exercise prohibits students from leaving a small restricted zone. We began with one-for-one attacks, urging each person to come back with a counter-attack immediately after receiving an attack. This aggressive game of boxing ping pong in a limited area encourages students not to retreat or cower. Moving onto kicks we looked at defences from both straight and round kicks. We then applied the same progressive sparring principle we had done with the boxing with kicking-only and then kickboxing.

The ground section began with a revision of the arm-bar/shoulder lock/triangle choke combination introduced last lesson. Once this was becoming fluid we change tact completely I introduced the x-guard, which is an extension of the long guard training we have been covering over the past month.

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