September Vagabond Warriors Report (diary entry)

"Vagabond Warriors" is perhaps the CCMA service that means the most to me. It is intended to be more than a seminar. It's a think tank and an open forum for revolutionary training ideas. By using the C.S.I. (Clarification, Scepticism and Individuality) model we are always about change. Not change for change sake, but everything we do and everything that we work on is up for review. This is what makes us very different from the majority of combative systems. We are willing to say that we are wrong and, in fact, we are compelled to look for error. More instructors now preach about stepping outside of their comfort zones – it has become something of a cliché across the leisure and self-help industries. Vagabond Warriors challenges everything and everyone to the point that you never meet a state of contentment. Nothing is above critique and we accept that there is always room for improvement, which might mean starting completely from the beginning again. How is that for discomfort! 

Before we began the physical I gave a brief overview of the history of combative cross-training. Contrary to popular belief, it did not begin with MMA or Bruce Lee or E. Barton-Wright or even the

This was the first session that started piecing together certain principles of progressive training. We began with the Clarification, Scepticism and Individuality definitions and an outline of the day's activities. This was followed by a warm-up that both presented the concept of relevant training methods in line with time management and then left the mats open for personal interpretation and expression – turning shadow boxing into a fully comprehensive form of callisthenic and conditioning exercise. We then moved into some partner activities, including two-on-one escape drills. The shadow boxing has both self-defence and sporting (MMA) relevance, depending on what you have in mind. The escape drills are a distillation of the dynamic that defines self-defence frontline civilian tactics – it’s about escape and avoidance as opposed to dominance.

We worked through the Hierarchy of Training. First we selected hand strikes through the Strategy One versus Strategy Two pressure tests. These techniques can be generically categorized as straight and round. These techniques were then specifically trained through different progressive exercises. These exercises were designed to show the strengths and flaws in the selected techniques. Flaws can mean that either the technique is not versatile enough or requires support tools in certain situations.

After specific training we moved onto attribute training. This is intelligent cross-training. We selected western boxing and muay Thai through a proactive pad-work drill. The structure of these arts provides parameters to develop speed and coordination. The pad-work was divided up into a straight forward flash-pad drill, a defence-only pad-drill and then combined them both for a hands-only version of the proactive drill. The final part of the hierarchy is functional fitness. Before embarking on an intensive six station workout of exercises designed to improve straight and round strikes everyone did three two minute rounds of bear crawl side ways chasing and pad grappling through postures. These exercises worked generic grappling principles and fitness.
The intensive circuit was as follows:

Straight punching with resistance bands – one hand out straight and the other striking
Press-up and straight strike
Loading up and dropping a heavy bag before hitting a pad with a straight hand strike
Pivoting vertical barbell with a weight in a hook strike movement
Oblique side raise and hook strike to the mat
Rapid round strikes to a stationary bag with a rattan stick

We rounded up things with a discussion on better approaches to training – such as thinking like a coach and applying critical thinking to all aspects of martial arts training.

DON'T MISS: Vagabond Warriors cross-training seminar on 22nd October. Contact to book your place now.



Recommended VI provides links to various subjects discussed in the seminar including controversy over kettlebells.

Resistance bands have proven to be far more than just an aid for recovery. I consider highly durable versions of these, particularly those used for adding resistance to press-ups to be the best available. Please steer clear of those that have fixed positions and get the powerline wrong i.e. those that are pulled diagonally from your hip! Amazon have a wide range. Here's a good site with links to different bands specific to the type of training that was carried out on Saturday.

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