Return of the Vagabond Warriors Workshop (diary entry)

put up your dukes

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The junior section was an open session. By popular request we looked at takedowns and groundwork from an MMA perspective. I continued the theme of handling headlocks from the previous lesson. We drilled slipping out of the hold from its early stage and then countering it when the hold is on. The second counter brought us to a possible arm-bar finish. The arm-bar brought us to application from the guard. We practiced the technique, brought in a fluid specific exercise to train positioning for the technique and then trained it at increasing levels of resistance.


We moved onto the shoulder lock (known as an oma plata in Brazilian jiu jitsu) and the triangle choke/strangle. Both of these moves are superb basic attacks from the closed guard and also work well as contingency tactics if the arm-bar fails.


Vagabond Warriors


The class was introduced to the CSI concept – Clarification, Scepticism and Individuality. We discussed how objectives are often askewed in martial arts training, how critical thinking is frowned upon and how training is centred on an art, system or method. At Vagabond Warriors we seek to provide an intelligent approach for the modern student who cross-trains and wants to get the most from his experiences. We clarify the objective of everything we do; making sure that everyone is clear about their goals and what they intend to get out of the whole training experience and every single exercise. Scepticism and critical thinking are best approaches I have found that can apply rationality, reason and certain humility to training. It keeps you on your toes and pushes you to test everything, being mindful of personal biases and other psychological trips. Rather than put an intangible thing like a specific system at the centre of training and trying to work everything else around the said system, we put the individual at the centre and guide their training via the reality of different situations.


We began the practical side of things with a simple muscle memory fence drill. This also teaches target familarization. Its immediately obvious safety flaw is that it doesn’t provide a realistic amount of contact. So, we over-lap it on the focus-mitts. Focus-mitt training for this requires that pads are held as close to the selected target as possible and that the coach handles them in a way that best replicates how an opponent will act. Lacking from both drills is any realistic degree of resistance from the attacker, which can be found in a simple one-on-one S1 versus S2 exercise. This exercise has been a mainstay of CCMA’s approach for so many reasons. It addresses the asymmetrical nature of a real fight and restricts you to over-ride your primal urge to fight like for like.


We then went through the process of developing the focus-mitt exercises. This included combining ranges, flash pad work, physical feedback, footwork with sprawls and then finally making a distinction between sport and self defence objectives. These exerises were done in isolation and then added to the mix. We have covered this in previous Vagabond Warriors sessions, but due to the everyone turning to this one being relatively new to the currently methods I thought it best to take them through the journey. However, there was some completely new material, such as the single pad with grappling, which not something I have taught outside my own private training sessions.

The lesson finished with a series of functional fitness exercises. Once again, great enthusiasm was shown all round with a great work ethic. We also had people training who had prior injuries and reconfirmed the individualistic apprach we take, as they adapted well to all the demands placed on them.

DON'T MISS: The next Vagabond Warriors session scheduled for Saturday 25th June 2011

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