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
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Dan Donzella Rocks….


I don’t do the math often, so I’m stunned every time.  I’ve been involved in martial arts for over 28 years….

After all that time, the most important lesson as far as I am concerned was from Dr. C. Jerome Barber, my main instructor.  He always encouraged us to explore other systems, styles, and schools.  As a TacArnis minded guy, this makes a lot of sense since it exposes a student to different movement styles ‘because you won’t be attacked by someone who moves like you’ as Jerome would say.  Jerome trains in defensive firearms as well as martial arts so his mentality has always been a practical one.

As a life lesson, though, training with other styles is a way to stay in that ‘newbie’ or white belt mentality.  After 28 years of training, I still get nervous about stepping onto someone else’s training floor, but that’s the point!  It’s humbling, frustrating, and exciting.  In the end, it makes you a better teacher, student, and person if you are willing to ‘put on your white belt’ every once in a while.  Submitting to someone else’s system – especially when you have your own way of doings – is not an easy thing to do, but shows respect to another view point.  And, as far as leadership goes, sometimes the best way to ‘lead by example’ is to be willing to follow.

On, August 25th I attended a seminar with Dan Donzella at Ken Swan’s school .

I’ve known Dan since the early 90’s and I want a blood transfusion or the secret to his diet – he has not change one iota!  Fit, fast, lean, and skilled as ever.

Dan’s no-nonsense approach to training has always impressed me.  His style of movement is intricate at times, but he has a knack for breaking it into bite size elements that make it easy to learn quickly.

Dan intended the seminar to cover his Beginner and Level One curriculum, but he took the time to give me some one-on-one work on higher level material.  The material blew me away, but also Dan’s generosity because he had so many other students to teach as well.  Ken and his students were gracious hosts and training partners.  From the time I registered/paid to the end of the session, I think just about all Ken’s student’s took a moment to say hello.  As training partners they committed to mastering Dan’s curriculum and worked hard.

Training with Dan, Ken and his students was a great time.  Ken’s school is minutes from me and I could have just dropped in to say hi and hang out with him instead of getting on the floor, but it’s about the training.  That’s what bonds us.  Taking Dan’s class was more than training, it was a sign of respect, cooperation, and camaraderie.  I could have walked in with the mentality that I had already ‘been there done that’ since I’d trained with Dan before, trained in Arnis for over 23 years . . . but I walked away with a head full of new discoveries from “old” material, and reconnected with a long time associate.  Besides, if I expect students to follow my instruction, I should be willing to follow someone else’s on occasion too.

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Congratulations to Dan for his partnership with the Syracuse PD.  During our conversations, I was glad to hear that the Syracuse PD is taking advantage of his knowledge too.  He teaches a defensive tactics program specifically designed for Law Enforcement Officers (LEO).  As a martial artist, Dan is great but as a TacArnis minded kind of guy, the topper for me, is that he’s a shooter too – just like my instructor.  His mentality about training has always been a practical one as well.

T.A.W.G. Workout Rewind 5/20/11 – Power and Focus training


Form, Power, Focus, Speed… This is the technical progression from the Kenpo influence on TacArnis training.

Tonight’s workout targeted POWER and FOCUS by using a ‘functional training’ approach.  It’s challenging, fun, and good strength/conditioning to boot.

GOALS/OUTCOMES:

  • Using objects as visual and ‘touch’ references to develop awareness of where energy is going and how much energy is being creating
  • “POWER” training using the 10 pound medicine ball to ‘trick’ the nervous system into recruiting more muscle/energy than just empty hand alone
    • – it’s also a lot of fun to bounce that ball around the room.
  • “FOCUS” training with a focus mitt (no pun intended) held in both hands.  This helps students ‘see’ where their energy starts and where they send it because they know where they are starting/sending the focus mitt when the throw it.

Many times – especially as beginning students – we only ‘throw’ our energy TO the bad guy  instead of THROUGH the bad guy.  By using this type of drill/training, students learn faster, get stronger and better conditioned – as well as ‘smarter’ about their movements.  Students ‘own’ their learning since they observe what they are doing, adjust/orient themselves, decide  what to fix or repeat, and act by trying again.. and again.. and again.  This is the OODA Loop in action.

For Self Defense focused martial arts, this is a BIG win win since they are learning to operate independently –  to succeed –  by using the OODA Loop.  I won’t be there to tell them what to fix in a crisis or in daily life.  Don’t get me wrong, I still coach and guide things, but this approach builds self confidence vs. the ‘is this right?’ (constantly seeking the teacher’s opinion about what’s right or wrong).

Real training vs. “REEL” training


Training for reality is about effectiveness.

Training for making a ‘sizzle video or  “REEL” or for demo is about image and presentation.

Both have a place in martial arts BUT it’s very important for instructors to know the difference so we don’t teach ‘show’ when we need to be teaching ‘go’ skills.

Here are some links to videos when I did a keyword search using “self defense, moves, techniques, demos”
1.  Which are “real” or ‘REEL’ self defense and why?
2.  Which one (or ones) accomplishes the ‘mission’ whether it’s ‘real’ or ‘REEL’ training.

Contact…. Right, Left, and Center!!!!


thank you note for every language

Image by woodleywonderworks via Flickr

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T.A.W.G. Workout Rewind 4/12


Thanks to Tom, Tony, Rick, Andy, Sabrina, Alex and Dianne for an awesome class – again!

A special thanks to Andy for joining us.  He brought a great work ethic, energy and enthusiasm.

Training Objectives/Outcomes:

  • The “Layering” of movements – head movement, hand blocks, footwork.
  • “Train like you fight” footwork – practice movement to find ‘avenues of escape’
  • FMA blocking is ‘zone defense’ not ‘point defense’ movement.

We even made the time to shoot the “Hand Flash” drill for the “Skills and Drills” article.

Apologies for no T.A.W.G. Workout Rewind for 4/5/11 – Michele, Tom, and Tony sweat a lot while we tried some twists on standard training drills.

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.