Sunday, July 26, 2009

Marcos Escobar BJJ Self Defense Workshop

Just came back from an awesome self defense workshop by Marcos Escobar, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt with many championship titles from prestigious BJJ/grappling competitions.

Although I already had some training and exposure to self defense from my Karate and Boxing background, I was keen to see it from the BJJ perspective. I also took this as the opportunity to meet up with few friends like Aaron and Eugene.

The seminar started with Marcos introducing himself and asking the participants to do the same. Marcos is a real friendly guy and the informal atmosphere in the gym made this seminar fun and interesting.

Marcos started by explaining that self defense begins with awareness: why prevention is better than any fighting techniques. Some of the key points from this seminar are:

1. Don't give chance for people to approach you within reaching/grabbing distance.

2. Listen to your instincts, if you see a person coming towards you and you feel something is not right, quickly move away.

3. Avoid deserted or dark areas. Let people know your whereabouts.

4. Don't clench your fists. Open your palms to face the aggressor/s and ask what do you want? This is ironical because after a period of training like a boxer, I tend to keep a boxing guard but this might be interpreted by the assailant as you wanting to fight him/them. So it's back to Kissaki Kai open palms and use them as a fence against your aggressor. The Crazy Monkey Defense hands posture on the forehead  should be seen as compliance in a self defense situation.

5. If he only wants your possessions, surrender it. Avoid a physical altercation whenever possible.

6. Keep fit so that you are able to run or fight if you have to.

Marcos taught escapes and counters from the common wrist grabs, holds, bear hugs, chokes and from the ground. Lastly, he demonstrated how the BJJ guard can be used against rapist or those who have pin us on the ground. It's refreshing to see how the armbar can be used against someone who's trying to choke you on the ground. Very smoothly done. The seminar ended with Marcos asking everyone to find some time to practice what they have learned or pick up some sports or martial arts. Marcos presented his workshop is a simple and easy-to-understand manner without all the martial art terms or hype. He's also a very approachable and down to earth person without any of those macho posturing you typically see in many martial arts gurus.

Marcos guys then put on their BJJ gi and started rolling - open mat time! They all can't seem to get enough of BJJ and every single roll is fun and exciting.

PS. It's great to know you Alex Padilla and happy to finally meet you in person Jason. :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Clinch Boxing

Been working on CM3 and CM4 range last couple of weeks. The clinch is one of the infighting tool I've managed to use successfully in many sparring sessions ever since I first learned it. One of my personal favorite is the Muay Thai neck tie or plum position. I slapped it on with devastating effect during many sparrings last year but sad to say it's no longer working as well as I wanted it to now. Not because it's no longer effective but rather Vince has taught us a whole series of counters and escapes to this often used clinch: with pummeling, shrugging, underhooking, slipping, takedown and etc.

I was taught to slap it on tight, control the opponent neck and spine then transition from double collar tie to single collar back to double to disorientate, unbalance and lock-up the opponent as you put in your strikes during all the phases. Recently I've learned a better approach than moving from side to side with the opponent in my clinch. Happened when Vince sparred with me last month and played a pressurer/angler game. It's the first time I experienced the Crazy Monkey Straight Jacket Clinch in action. Vince moved in fast to close the distance between us while hitting me with his tricky combos. Once he caught me in a Muay Thai clinch, he started pushing me backward to the wall. I tried to stay calm and work my escapes but my limbs are trapped against the wall. Then he overhook one of my right arm and while hitting me continuously, grabbed and overhook my left arm too, using just one of his arm. With both my arms trapped, Vince unleashed a punishing combos of hooks & uppercuts to my body and head with his other free hand. When I tried to put my shin into his abdomen to push him away, he grabbed my leg and did a single leg takedown then moved in to some final ground and pound. Whew, talk about textbook MMA.

Imagine all these started from the clinch. As Patrick later taught me, it's better to push the opponent into the wall than jerking or swinging him around. Use the wall to trap him or limit his movement while striking him continuously. This is the beauty of clinch boxing - once you have someone in a Muay Thai clinch, Straight Jacket Clinch, Greco Roman double or single collar tie, you can choose to KO him, submit him, slam or throw him, take him down or just lock him up. More to come...