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

Integrated Training: Fitness/Conditioning and Performance/Conditioning


It’s been a while but I’m back on track after nursing two frustrating injuries back to ‘working’ order.  I’m not 100% yet, but at least I can do some things.

The lemonade I made from this big bag of sour lemons was spending time thinking about how to train in a way that will:

1.  Allow my body to heal while I’m attempting to avoid getting fat, dumb, and lazy.

2.  Maintain some level of performance/skill during recovery/healing.

3. Aid healing/recovery with a little activity.

Believe me when I say my usual tendency is to dive in and tough out the recover, but at 43… my body isn’t as springy as my mind thinks it is so I have to adhere to my own “Train Smart” motto to avoid taking two steps back in the recovery area.

SO… How do I get the most bang out of shortened workouts?

INTEGRATION!   Blending fitness conditioning with performance conditioning so I can do maintenance in both areas with shorter workouts.  Shorter workouts mean less risk of breaking myself again and integrating fitness and performance training means changing motions more frequently and reducing breaking myself through repetitive motions.

I haven’t reinvented the wheel by doing this by any stretch, but it was a good lesson to take out of this injury.  Thinking ‘tactically’ about my workout routines in order to accomplish a clearly defined goal (stay fit, heal, avoid re-injury) was more important than just following a routine or ‘system.’

I had to rethink what it meant to ‘train smart’ in this case.

Here is the full routine that is highlighted in the video:

  • WARM UP
  • 100 rope swings (single and double)
  • 10 front steps/rope swings
  • 10 back step/rope swings
  • 10 forward ‘triangle’ steps/rope swings
  • 10 backward ‘triangle’ steps/rope swings
  • 10 sidestep/cat stance/rope swings
  • WORK
  • 100 double foot skips
  • 100 running skips
  • 100 ‘Ali shuffle’ skips
  • REST SWINGS
  • Repeat the footwork/swings again
  • *repeat the WORK/REST cycle for 3 rounds*

Here’s another application of an INTEGRATED training model for Quarterback training.

Inner Tube + Duct Tape + Flat Rope + Play Sand = DIY Bulgarian Bag Fun


This is my DIY (Do It Yourself) “Bulgarian Bag

After tripping over this exercise tool and watching some videos of how it is used, I thought it was a pretty nice way of getting a challenging workout… but the ‘real’ ones that Ivan Ivanov created are a bit pricey to test drive.

But, thanks to youtube, I found some DIY tutorials to cut the price from $211 – $155 (Leather costs more than canvas) down to about $30.00.

It is ugly, but like my camera equipment, its a tool for getting ‘pretty’ results not to look pretty.

Cut the inner tube, fill with sand, roll the ends toward the inside of the arc (better handles), and zip tie them closed.  Then duct tape the ends tight for grips.  I added the flat rope loops for some of the spinning exercises and to vary the hand positions for triceps/bicep exercises.  Mine came out to be around 39 pounds at first, but was too heavy to start with so I reduced the heft to about 30 pounds (between the 26 pound “medium” and the 37 pound “large” bags Mr. Ivanov sells) which is probably still a touch heavy, but my pride won’t let me go any lighter.

The variations on bulgarian bag exercises are endless, but this is a series of simple (but definitely not easy) exercises that I started with:

5 Rounds of:

10 “open spins” (full circle rotations to the left for 10, then right for 10)

10 push ups (which I varied with ‘frog’ push ups and ‘climber’ push ups)

5 Rounds of:

“Snatch Jumps” (execute a classic ‘snatch/clean’ motion’ with the bag landing – GENTLY – on your shoulders then jump/throw it back to the start position)

10 Repetitions of the TacArnis Concept Footwork patterns.

I shot the video on on my deck for better light and more room (because my wife likes nice things in her house to stay nice) – please don’t think I’m all hardcore/Rocky IV about this stuff.  It was 30 degrees and the deck was a little slick.  I have enough room for this routine in my basement and the floor is much safer there.

There is a learning curve to using the Bulgarian Bag, but I know that applying the “Form, Power, Focus, Speed” training concept from the Kenpo/FMA blend that is the foundation of TacArnis, this will be a fun/challenging addition to my fitness program but also develop kinesthetic awareness that translates to TacArnis training as well as overall health/fitness.

I strongly suggest ensuring you have enough room and a safe space to exercise in with something like Bulgarian bags or any exercise routine for that matter.

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.

MCMAP – and we’re not talking fast food.


Forget about the demo for the MMA guys in the beginning. It’s nice but meant to be pretty and informative. Pay attention to the “Last of the Mohicans” challenge and the choices that the MMA guys DON’T make because, though they are incredible athletes and tough as nails with incredible techniques, they haven’t trained to make ‘field’ choices.

The “One Mind, Any Weapons” approach translates well to civilian training. More than focusing on mastering techniques with various weapons, a strong focus on training the brain makes a student responsive, adaptive, and effective because he (or she) can size up what they have, what they are facing, and what they need to.

I especially like the emphasis on conditioning and mentality in conjunction with technique.

T.A.W.G. 3/22 workout fun as usual


Thanks to Tom, Dale, Sabrina, Dianna, Rick, Tony, and Alex of another fun one.

Training Objectives/Outcomes:

  • Footwork vs. “Stance”
  • Tactical Arnis is a high mobility system
  • Controlling your movement while disrupting the bad guy’s
  • Intro to the T.A.W.G. footwork patterns.

The difference between training ‘footwork’ and training ‘stance’ is difficult to grasp for some, but the great thing was to watch Sabrina and Dianna (very new students) working through the confusion.  It was just as interesting to watch some of the more experienced students making connections and sharing their lightbulb moments.

Next week: Scenario games!