Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Rodney King seminar in KL

Despite my super busy schedule (PC Fair's here again), I managed to sneak some time off to attend an awesome seminar by the founder of Crazy Monkey Defense Program (CMDP), Rodney King.

This is Rodney's first seminar in Kuala Lumpur and having attended his seminar in Singapore before, I would have to say Rodney is an amazing coach with crazy skills.

Day One - Crazy Monkey Defense
Altogether there were around 12 of us and we were introduced to the basics of the Crazy Monkey Defense. Although few of us were familiar with CMD, it's always refreshing and enlightening to train under the Chief Mentor himself. Instead of showing us a bunch of techniques, Rodney shared and talked about the mental aspect of the game: apprehension, fear, pride, control and how they relate to the respective range and skillsets of CM1, CM2, CM3 and CM4.

We were put through few drills not really for the sake of learning few techniques, but more for us to experience the "concepts" of CMD in action. Every drills allow us to experience and reflect not just only on our boxing skills, but to truly understand how important is the four main drivers (Balance, CMD, TES and Conditioning) in a fight. We were allowed to do wrong initally so that we can experience for OURSELVES the difference between the right and wrong ways. This holistic approach to coaching an already functional fighting skill like boxing is what set the CMDP miles apart from the typical I-teach-you-follow martial arts schools. Which is why Rodney prefers to see himself as a coach rather than a teacher.

Day Two - Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
With two superb and committed coaches in KDT Academy like Sam and Vince, I managed to pick up a decent ground game over the last few years although I'm more a standup guy. Having attended seminars from awesome BJJ fighters & trainers like Adam Kayoom and John Will, I wasn't expecting much from Rodney. I mean, Rodney is so well-known for his Boxing or Muay Thai that to me, it has overshadowed his BJJ credentials (Rodney is a BJJ black belt under Rigan Machado).

Boy, was I ever so wrong! Although I don't profess to know much about BJJ, what Rodney taught and shown in this seminar totally blown me away!! It's not so much about the techniques (although they were awesome too), but more about his APPROACH to BJJ. His approach to Jits is quite radical in the sense that there were so simple, yet so effective that you wonder why didn't you think about them (or use them) earlier. But like any functional fighting skills, concepts and strategies will only work if you put in the mat time.

The day end with some free rolling without any submission. Rodney explained that if everybody is so eager or afraid of the submissions, they will be a hindrance to learning. So removing them will allow us to learn more in this instance.

Day Three - Mixed Martial Arts
Final day and my favorite thingy, MMA! Again, using the Crazy Monkey Defense as the coaching methodology, Rodney showed us a progression from standup, takedown and striking from the controlling or dominating position. And then he showed us an escape from bottom back to standup. All using only a few high percentage techniques.

Rodney mentioned the drawbacks of focusing exclusively on sports BJJ (pure grappling) and how this might develop bad habits (translate bad for your health) in a self defense situation. He said that the original BJJ was meant for the "streets" and can be applied both for combat sports or self defense.

Interestingly, Rodney shared that having a set of great fighting skills meant nothing if you do not live a good life, or set a good example to those who know you or look up to you. This is because some people define themselves just by how well they fight. Take away those skills, they have nothing else in life, just like an empty shell. Personally I find this very meaningful because we should strive to be a better person first before striving to be a better fighter. It's our deeds that define us, not our skills. Probably why many people like and respect polite and humble fighters like Randy Couture or Matt Hughes.

My only regret is I failed to take time off to bring Rodney for some sight-seeing in KL. Thank goodness for Mikey who managed to do the honour before Rodney left.

Kudos to Rodney for a great seminar and look forward to seeing you returning to KL soon!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Alive and Kicking

Last 2 months we have been working on our kicks, specifically Muay Thai low kicks. For warm-ups, we have been doing 2,4 and 6 punches, each followed by 2,4,6,8 and 10 kicks. This adds up to 30 kicks per set and on the average about 90 kicks per session. By then, I would be totally exhausted and burned out. What a warm up!

Finally I get to learn the much feared Muay Thai thigh kick. But our variation involved a switch step. I failed to understand why this is so (or I forgot to ask) because personally I prefer the typical "step 45 degree and kick" technique. I was taught to switch step fast and use the hip rotation + swing the arm back to generate the power for the kick. Easy to understand, hard to do for me. I'm afraid I have little flexibility left in this "chubby" and "seldom workout" body of mine. Still I'll train hard coz this is one kick I really want to learn.

During sparring, what I suspected became true: I was too slow to execute the kick without telegraphing it to my opponent. Without the switch step however, it's easier to execute, especially after some neat punches. Some of the my kicks landed on the side (the lower ribs) of my opponent instead of the thigh. Not sure if this is good. I also found out that I'll get deck in the head if I don't protect myself when kicking. The plus side is that it means I can move in and use boxing to counter kicking.

Wanna see a clumsy old man kicking? Click HERE.