More Burpees and Bulgarian Bag stuff…


Though I am a firm believer that regular skill practice is important; I’m still a proponent of fitness/conditioning as a cornerstone to good martial arts/self defense practice.  The upside to breaking out of the ‘gym rat’ workout mind is that I can work out anytime, anywhere as long as I have enough space to swing a jump rope or a bulgarian bag.

  • 50 Burpees
  • 5 Open spin/Burpees (left and right) x 5 sets
  • 6 Power Snatch/Arm Throw x 6 sets
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Burpees, Body Weight, and Bands


In a previous post I mentioned “Instructional Alignment” is a fancy way of saying that TacArnis uses the same concepts to instruct that students will apply as tactics.  This goes for our conditioning/fitness component as well. The conceptual lesson of “FLOW” is challenged when we combining conditioning exercises with TacArnis strikes/drills – creating ‘gut check’ experience.  As a drill “FLOW” is a basic drill in FMA to teach the more important idea of “FLOW” as a state of mind – KEEP GOING!  Even when you are tired, stressed, scared or injured.  KEEP GOING!  Taking concepts out of the physical drills and recognizing them as Concepts/Ideas means remember that they can be applied in other ways – and that is the bigger lesson.

I know I’ll catch flak from FMA/Martial arts purists out there, but the goal of TacArnis is not to teach “FMA” as “FMA.” It is to USE “FMA” and other martial skills (and ‘non martial art skills’) in order to “Train Smart” for self defense success.  The concept of “FLOW” as a state of mind is as important (if not more so) than mastering a drill that is meant as a primer for basic physical skills.

  • Burpees (0:08 to 0:29):  I have to confess that I have a love/hate relationship with the Burpee exercise, but it’s like one of the best whole body exercises you can do, so I do it.  For this workout we did the following:
    • 1o burpees w/4 punch combo (Jab/Cross, hook/hook) Tom punching
    • 1o burpees w/4 punch combo (Jab/Cross, hook/hook) Paul punching
    • 10 burpees w/single and double siniwali
    • 1o burpees w/bob and weave defense and 4 punch combo (Jab/Cross, hook/hook) Tom punching
    • 1o burpees w/bob and weave defense and 4 punch combo (Jab/Cross, hook/hook) Paul punching
    • Total 50 burpees per person.
    • NOTE:  You can give the ‘focus mitt guy/gal’ a longer rest by having them not burpee if needed BUT it will add time to the overall goal of 50 burpees (or whatever total number you are shooting for).
  • Body weight (0:30 to 0:36):
    • 10 body weight/partner squat lifts combined with bob and weave defensive movement Tom lifts
    • 10 body weight/partner squat lifts combined with bob and weave defensive movement Paul lifts
  • Bands (0:37 to 0:39): SOLO
    • 2 x :60 intervals continuous motion w/the band wrapped around your chest or waist to ‘punch it out’ – Tom
    • 2 x :60 interval continuous motion w/band wrapped around your chest or waist to ‘punch it out’ – Paul
  • Bands (0:40 to 0:52)
    • 2 x :30 intervals continuous motion with partner hold (use the stick to save your hands) stick and empty hand – Tom
    • 2 x :30 intervals continuous motion with partner hold (use the stick to save your hands) stick and empty hand – Paul

Agility and Footwork


TacArnis streamlines training by using ‘Instructional Alignment’ built on a concept training approach… which is fancy teacher talk that simply means:  We use the same basic ideas/theories (Concepts) to teach different skills and abilities.  The major advantage is the speed for the learner.

  1. New material can be learned more quickly because the format of instruction is familiar from prior lessons.
  2. Movements/patterns are built ‘into the bones’ of students quickly for application under stress.
  3. Concepts/tactics grow beyond ‘techniques’ because students apply the same movements under a different stressors/situations.
  4. Students will be ‘faster’ because they can adapt the same patterns of movement to fit situations instead of the ‘if the attacker is doing this, you respond with that…’ approach (which slows down the OODA loop process considerably).
As a student and a teacher I stress ambidexterity in training as well, so notice that I move the patterns with both left and right leads as well as using both my left and right hand w/ the stick.
This vid was shot after about 70 burpee combos with stick strikes, focus mitt drills, and pistol draws, so ‘when’ you include this type of training into a class can add a challenge factor as well.  This was like trying to rub my stomach and pat my head while tap dancing – but it still beats a day on the treadmill as far as I’m concerned.

4 Friends Seminar, October 8th.


On the heels of working with Dan Donzella, I have the chance to share the floor with three excellent martial artists.

I jumped at the chance to do this seminar for a lot of reasons – like the chance to work with Frank Heinan and John Kovacs, but, the big reason is the chance to see Keith Roosa in action.

Keith has been digging into Ising Atillo’s “Attilo Balintawak” and I can’t wait to compare/contrast what he is learning to the “Cuentada Balintawak” version I learned from Bobby Taboada.

As students of Dr. C. Jerome Barber, PhD, we were both required to explore other arts and systems while we were training with Jerome.  This goes for all his students.  When we find another system that seems like a good fit, Jerome encourages us to explore it as deeply as possible.  Thanks to this “Liberal Martial Arts” approach to training I’ve been introduced to many great systems and artists, but Bobby Taboada and Balintawak (Cuentada Balintawak) were such a powerful influence on my growth and understanding that they still remain a major component both technically and conceptually in TacArnis training.

I can’t wait to share some of the fundamentals Cuentada Balintawak and share the floor during the last hour with Keith, Frank, and John. But, like I said, I’m going to be picking Keith’s brain (and ‘stealing’ a few drills and skills if I can) while I’m there too.

It’s never been glorious…


HeroCraft

Image via Wikipedia

Life, let alone combat, from earlier times tends to be romanticized when people begin talking about ‘the good old days.’

I cringe when I hear comments from martial artists like “I wish life was like it was back in xyz…”

Here are some reality check videos from a few of my favorite “geek channel” shows to remind us that we have it pretty good on a daily basis – let alone when it comes to fighting/combat/self defense.

The trade off seems to be that modern society is obsessed with ‘working out’ and ‘conditioning’ because we have it so good that we are our own worst health risks…

The Blacksmith/boxer probably didn’t have to do too much ‘conditioning’ in order to be ‘fit to fight’ by the old standards.

The Farmer/Foot Soldier probably didn’t need to take PT tests too often and probably was very familiar with death/killing/slaughter given the daily life of herding/selling/butchering livestock.

The Herder/Fighter was VERY familiar with long stretches of boredom and having to be vigilant in all weather conditions – as well as fighting off the occasional rustler, coyote, wolf or other predatory threat to his herd.

And the idea of ‘women’s self defense…’ in a time when women lifted, carried, pulled, cleaned, killed, washed, built (and yes fought when they had to) probably would make them chuckle – women were tough as nails (maybe even tougher than some of the men) because of the work they did.

Sensory Awareness… Beyond Self Defense, I love TED Talks!


TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design and is the acronym for an amazing event that brings the best of the best in each of these fields together. By the ‘best of the best’ I don’t mean just technical skill or artistic ability.  TED conferences are about positive change, making a real impact on the world around you.  For example this talk about Listening and Hearing… spend 7 minutes and change (pun intended) watching this TED Talk.