Friday 17 December 2010

Week 32

The pre grading mock.
Martin ran through the components of the grading and gave us some tips to work on.

Firstly we looked at footwork; basic stepping, with punches and the sticking to a partner drill. I still need to get that rear leg working better and more dynamic. Last6 night I recorded a count to 20 so I can play it back and 'explode and drive' on the count. I have tried to count without rhytmn. So tonight and tomorrow I am going to spend some time working on this.

For me (grade 1 exam) much time was spent on lat sau. Making sure all punches go to the chin and there is no predicted pattern or deviation based on my partners arms. Keep it relaxed from hand to shoulder, make it effortless. For me, thinking of punching with the elbows and not the hands helps.

In other news the road up to the 'hall' was an ice hell, fingers are crossed that the predicted snow will not affect the grading this Sunday.

And for H, looking forward to whenever you return.

Friday 10 December 2010

Week 31

After trudging through snow and ice to get to the hall an old style warm up of jogging was required to get us all thawed out. Tonight was drilling basics with the looming gradings in mind.

3 Drill: Working the basic roll with precision and purpose, making every move count. Ensuring the laps take them into their void or pinned to lead leg hip. I was working with Paul who is very strong and found myself getting fatigued quite quickly and thus becoming unable to relax. My backfist felt more like it was going for the target as opposed to stopping at the block.

Footwork, footwork, footwork: Basic arrow step up and down the hall. Ensuring the legs are loaded pre launch. As I type this morning my legs feel heavy and tired after the exertions of last night’s footwork. Note to self is to spend some time over the next 9 days devoting time to getting quality footwork reps in.

Lap/punch: Worked this on the pad. Legs loaded, strong lap into his void, extend the arm on the punch and drive from the elbow. What else?

Prefight: As they walk forward, maintain the fence with a stopping push on the chest. If they walk forward again and contact your fence, drive in with the punch. I was working with Nick for this and quickly discovered that a big is walking forward, for me, the initial stopping technique will be collapsed. Perhaps combing it with a subtle off lining step to maintain the fence. ‘Meeting’ them. After the first fence maintainer, as soon as they move forward then drive in with the punch. When simulated on the partner, you should go armpit deep on him with your punch.

Swing defence: Again I had the painful pleasure of working with Nick. He was defending my punches with his bloody iron forearms. Last night I was happy to focus on committing with forward energy. A confidence gaining exercise for me.

Ended the session with a pyramid set to 9. Tried, through the pain, to focus on my elbows and not the build up of lactic acid.

Friday 19 November 2010

Week 30

3 drill: Off lining work. Warming up with giving partner strong and deep chop as so to put them on their back foot. The receiver needs to feel where the pressure is in the leg and respond with appropriate off lining footwork. Would like a lot more time working on this to feel that internal spring. I was working with big Nick who was giving me some good hard forward pressure, I was trying to feel and move but felt more like I was bouncing back to get out of his line of power. I was also going into negative posture too. Might get the missus chopping me to sort this out.

Swing defence left and right: Commit to going forward, get in to the eye of the storm and make the arms long, the punch intercepting arm is palm down as this is a stronger structure than palm up. There is some off-lining but no stepping sideways as this bad juju. I was working with Sav and Nick here both coming in with big strong swings. Worst case scenario: You see the punch at last minute and are not physically engaged to blast into their centre, so, cover the head with the elbow clasping own head with hand as you compress down into yourself. Move toward his centre covered up. You will be knocked off balance slightly as you are inside and covered up, as soon as you post on the rear foot give him the good fist news. Off the left hook attack you can after take head control and turn around on himself.

Pad training: Fast and chaotic in 30 second bursts with 10 seconds of rest. Must stay more compact in movement and stance as I become wider based.

Sparring: Despite the frustrations of my failing double lap attempts and both Kam and Ayyaz lumping my nose and skull, I did enjoy sparring tonight. After we had finished Kam gave me some tips on how to find the arm for the double lap as well as my own guard.
1: I tend to cover my head along and have a short guard so as advised I must have a longer guard as this will prevent (lessen) the continuing sore nose on a Friday morning. Longer and stronger guard it is.
2. When hunting for the double lap I was foolishly grabbing without setting up. Kam recommended either having stronger attacks to the face to get their hands up or throw annoying yet firm jabs to get the hands up then double lap.
Therefore I make it my mission in sparring to learn to use a better guard and hunt for their arms properly. This and this alone. Oh, and to stop bloody grappling.

Thursday 11 November 2010

Week 29

3 drill warm up in Ice Station Zebra: The warm tonight was quite literally that. Poor Andrew was berated for wearing his gloves and reluctantly removed them only to have cold digits for the rest of the session. The focus was to move the partner with forward pressure on attacks whilst keeping good body structure, so no leaning, reaching and keeping the feet under you in balance.

Pre fight work: Feeder wore a pad on the right hand, would walk towards defender who would gently shove away (palm thrust on chest) to maintain own distance. Feeder holds pad up and as he moves forward step towards him and drill the right hand. During the training I got talking to Nathan about this very blog. He is currently working the punching pyramids with the goal of a 23 pyramid! This got me thinking about my next goal after reaching my current punching one. I have it lined up but will reveal when I finish the 200,000.

Mr Pointy: We then moved onto looking at ways of overcoming said aggression type. We began by investigating the left hand pointer. We worked from the idea that he is going to be close and in your face. His hand is going to be in our face and down our centre so somehow we need to recover our own space and be in a position to attack. We need to make sure that we get to the outside of his hand and pull out the defensive fence. Whilst engaging in conversation initiate lap and punch. Keep hold of the wrist as this will inform you of his intentions. I was working with Mart for this and he realised that only when the held arm twitch was it time to follow up with elbows.

Mr Pointy right: As above in terms of re-gaining own space and this time you attack with pak and punch. The follow up for this one is repeater punches. It is important to keep correct alignment through the elbow-forearm-wrist-fist with good range on the punch. The range comes from a long piston of the elbow. My mistake was that I was lifting my elbow higher than the wrist, need to keep it lower as the punch is driving upwards to the chin.

Double lap from hell: The key is to make contact and lap at the same time but make sure the lap down down to you knees. Looked at a variety of painful follow ups from the headbutt, to palms to face, to head control to shiving into the wall via arm jolt.

Next we worked the double lap in the 3 drill (backfist or the change) with followups but hard to move like water. Take the tension out and just rep softly yet swiftly.

Following and leading footwork plus mistake highlighting. This was a case of highlighting and ironing our errors in following and leading footwork..

Sparring: Nick and his magnetic chop keeps making me feel messy. I need to solve a problem so will spar with him whenever I can to feel uncomfortable, awkward and frustrated.

So for me this was the first session in the new hut, which was very hard to find after a drive along a sinister track. It is cold, dirty and in the twilight of it's existence, so perfect as a training venue.

Tuesday 26 October 2010

Week 28

Monday night class at Tristan’s. The theme was integrating the hands and feet to work as one.

Started by working continuous punches against the pads. The feeder’s job was to walking around the room backwards, the puncher’s job was to follow and maintain distance, same beat to punches and making sure the feet are active, alive and working. At any given moment the feeder can walk forwards, puncher then has to offline and step in with a punch then continue chain punching.

3 drill: focus with intent and footwork with moving forward with at least 1 of the 3 attacks in the 3 drill. I noticed with myself that whilst moving forward my laps tended to suffer. I was working with Stable and found the final lap with palm was always tough. Could not get enough extension on the lap. Must do better.
We then moved onto working the one armed 3 drill. Keys given was to keep the shoulders square, ultimately to make the movements small and compact and to ensure all attacks move towards the target.

Out of range entry: Using the 1 armed 3 drill. Make sure not to step in to close the gap but reach and turn the shoulders to get the inside gate lap. Why? Because if we step in then we have closed the gap and committed too soon. By reaching we are losing nothing. When contact is achieved, there is a strong possibility that he will throw the other hand. If so we can then move in and crash his centre.

Entry technique: Employing the above which is said to be 16B and ends with a trap and hot.

Sparring: 1 minute rounds.

Pad training: Pyramid to 7

Finished with a run through of SNT

Thursday 21 October 2010

Week 27

The first hour tonight was designated to grading specific work. So I had the pleasure of working with H on the 3 drill and lat sau.

3 drill detail worth noting is that all we need to demonstrate in the 1st grade is an ability to change when asked, to fully extend the lap as well as being relaxed in the arm when being lapped, all attacks forward to the face, defence energy is forward without zoning out. Thankfully Martin highlighted some gaping holes in my 3 drill in that I kept hitting the arms and not the face. So for me this is my target to sort out. Amongst the training, H chose to sidetrack me with his story of the week which was so funny that I bent over laughing. In addition we briefly chatted capoeria and the beauty of it and the merits or not of it’s effectiveness. H recounted a clip he saw where the said stylist got battered. This link suggests otherwise

Lat sau: Previously the aspect of training I would have happily never done again yet tonight training with H we managed to roll correctly and for an extended period without the deltoid burn that was apparent in previous sessions. Nice relaxed arms were the key for me. As we hat to test each other’s forward energy of the punches I learnt a simple lesson. Whenever you take the hand away to cover the face, place the bloody thing on the face. Mine was a few centimetres away and deservedly got hit in the hand which twated me in the face. At least H’s punches were going where they were meant to.

Next we moved on to a pair of sparring techniques: Lap punch – chicken wing elbow – horizontal elbow to the chin. The extended version was an uppercut then elbow the face. Felt nice to use the elbow as a lever to enter and control their space. Martin also demo’d the tighter power of using the elbow to lever gaps in standing grappling.

Sparring: Felt like we had not this for ages. The routine was 1 minute defend, then attack followed by both attacking. I got a bollocking for shit footwork – my stance was far too shallow. We then had a brief break to work a low solid base. The drill was to push our partner back by using deep but short steps. Utilising the legs to do the work. From then on I endeavoured (when not tied up) to work the footwork. For me this was to the detriment of my hands but I feel like I really need to sort out the feet first. To get a better feel I was using the footwork to press my partner back. A few notes on who I sparred with.

H attacked with tight shapes and excellent forward energy. Made me believe that if I did not defend then a fat lip would be my gift.

The Last Samurai palm striked the crap out of my face. He likes to hold the wrists so need to muse a cunning escape plan. Maybe rolling and rotating elbows would work?

Kam was constant forward energy, no breaks but so relaxed and precise in his movements. Reminded me of the sparring technique we practised and managed to employ it just once. Too busy trying to keep my stance sensible.

Paul wants to tie up and grapple, very strong, will be a menace when that strength softens and becomes octopus-esqe in his grappling.

Z has great hip awareness, won’t let you get near him, posts his arms well into the hips when looking to tie up. Time to pull out the flying triangles... This video has some tremendous takedown action, a shame that it is so rare in judo.

Pure commitment to technique

We ended with a pad training circuit. A new one for me tonight was the 1-2-9-10-9-10-3-2. AS always, jolly good fun.

Finally and sadly tonight was the end of an era. After 16 years the school hall of Waddon Infants is to be demolished. The school has relocated so the developers are to move in and make a killing. I first walked through the doors of this school in 1997. When I came back this year, it was exactly the same. The old hall has served Martin and his students well over the years. I am sure he will be quite sad at leaving but change is an inevitable part of life. Time to look forward to a new chapter. Timely words I guess as no training for me next week I will be undergoing the small matter of a snipping procedure. Pics and audio files to follow...

Thursday 14 October 2010

Week 26

The main detail from this lesson was the work on entry techniques and swing defence.

Entry techniques.

1a: lap and punch, trap and punch
1b: lap and punch, lap and punch, trap and punch
2a: pak and punch, kau sau and punch
2b: lap and punch, pak and punch, kau sau and punch
3a: pak and punch, tan and punch, trap and punch
3b: lap and punch, pak and punch, tan and punch, trap and punch
4a: pak and punch, body shot, tan and punch, trap and punch
4b: lap and punch, pak and punch, body shot, tan and punch, trap and punch
5a: lap and punch, lift hands, gut hammerfist
5b: lap and punch, lap and punch, lift hands, gut hammerfist
6a: inside gate lap and chop, chop to neck
6b: inside gate lap and chop, arm x-trap and punch
7a: lap and punch, hit through centre
7b: lap and punch, lap and punch, hit through centre

Swing defence

Step forward and into him, extend left arm forward not out to the side hunting for the arm as the right hand connects with his chin. I was employing the palm to the chin as I felt this had a higher percentage of being successful. In addition I quite like the security of the palm over the punch. For me it is bigger and structurally better in this particular situation. My problem is I have small fists.

Friday 8 October 2010

No touch...

The no touch K.O. martial fraudsters

It bothers me deeply that ‘high ranking’ people are peddling this tripe. It actually saddens me too. If these techniques were so effective, so extreme and so deadly why are these not part of the basic curriculum in these styles? Why are the military, police and security personnel not employing these methods on the troubled in our society? Why am I as a school teacher not using this to restrain children without touching them? Why do we not see these methods employed in MMA, boxing or any other tournaments? Cleary because they are worthless, meaningless and do not work. I feel sad that someone like Leon Jay actually believed he could do this on a street guy. He looked rather embarrassed. As for George Dillman, it appears that all the money he is making is fuelling his rather robust appetite. Fatty, learn to control your palette and not the minds of your students. The benefits for all will be far greater.

However there are similar yet much more credible examples of ‘no touch’ style work that are not a fraud, that are much cheaper to learn and less reliant on pin point accuracy in the chaos of combat. For 3 years I trained in the Russian military art of Systema. The sparring in Systema is a game of sorts but essentially based on the notion of movement. If someone is going to attack you then there are several options open to you.
1. You get hit.
2. You move out of the way.
3. You do something to the attack.
4. You do not see it until the last moment and reflexively flinch out of the way.

Much of Systema videos out there look odd and as if the receiver is taking falls for the attacker. Not until you think about the hows and the whys of that type of training within Systema will you make sense of that type ‘no touch’ work. The main master Mikhail’s words have been translated into ‘Psychic work’ but this is wholly inaccurate as he is referring to using the flinch and escape response in the receiver of the hits. To learn the no touch work or flinch qork, get down to Systema gym and feel the sheer pain of their work and the very basic theory of proper no touch work.

So, Georgey Boy, do some hard work, loose the fancy badges and lofty titles and be honest with yourself and with your students. And out down that sticky bun as you read this.

Week 25

One armed 3 drill

No Martin tonight so Tristan did the majority of the teaching. Nice and thorough, technical yet appropriate to all levels, good job all round. The basic roll is inside gate lap - chop forward - roll over with backfist - pak sau and continue. Took a while to get used to, I was working with H. We seemed to get it down pretty well...

Lat sau

Hard and awkward. Z and Trist talked about crossing the wrists and why the arms do what they do. As I throw the punch to his chin, he intercepts by punching towards my chin, thus cutting the angle of my punch so it misses past the target. As soon as I feel him on the outside I must extend my arm by popping or straightening the arm. If this does not happen then his punch will land on my chin. As he makes contact on my arm he then throws a punch at my chin with his opposite arm. I then do as he did and cut/grind/attack his punch with one of my own.

I also found that my hands were jamming each other. Z noted that I was not pulling or retracting my hands quick enough after each punch. When I did, it seemed to flow better. Finally, in the air, both Z and Trist said lat sau is chain punching to the chin. Add a partner then they just become slightly interrupted by deflections. I also ran the gauntlet of checking H's punches and got one in the mouth for my sins. At least he was one target.

Pad training.

Ran throgh a range of pad training combos. (1 2 3 2, 1 2 1 14, 1 2 7 3 2, 1 6 3 2, 1 10 3 2) with the focus on use if the feet. Knowing that the first few hits are to damage and move him but the final 2 is the KO gift.

First form

Need to video this as too much info for my small mind to take in.

Sunday 26 September 2010

Week 24

The month of reps continues. Tonight had a slightly different approach as we were looking at snatch attacks against the long guard and the short guard.
Snatch attacks against the long guard.

L V L stance: lap / lap hit.
L v R stance: forward: pak / lap hit.
R v R stance: pak / pak hit.
R v L stance: lap / pak hit.

Snatch attacks against the tight guard:

Pile in with a four hit combo 1-2-3-4
Hit right and step in, left hit as you control his left arm, chain punch.
There others but my mind is clouded so probably best not to embarrass myself with my bastardisation of techniques.

Pad circuit of 11 stations, 1m30s with 15 seconds rest between each set.

Saturday 18 September 2010

Week 23

Still September is the month of reps. Very similar to the last 2 sessions except that this week we also trained the chicken wing entry to get kau sau. I also realised that I need to do 200,000 single punches to account for both arms...

Thursday 9 September 2010

Week 22

September certainly is the moth of reps. Z had us working in a similar pattern to Martin last week. Worked lots of footwork drills, pak, lap, arm drag drills. Worth noting was the use of knees on the head and arm trap. The skipping and swapping of the feet is to post better for the knees to the torso. As noted by H, the end of the technique is to get up on the balls of the foot to maximise the transfer of energy into him.

We also spent a lot of time working the dynamics of the body and head hook strike. Z had us working opposite knee to shoulder before hitting. This was important as it provides you with the correct body mechanics for the hit. I really enjoyed this part of the training tonight as I went into myself and loved the solitary repetativeness of the training.

As we had no pads, we were working the pad combos in the air with footwork. Not done this before so found this both an interesting twist and a decent work out.

Sparring was very interesting and diverse as usual. H had a great variety of compact attacks, Paul loved to tie up and grapple, Ish controls the forearms and works from there. All I can remember at the moment...

Tuesday 7 September 2010

Week 21

September is the month of reps so this was the...

Session of reps, each round lasting 2 minutes, each technique was done on both left and right hand side.
Lap and punch.
Guard change (right hand forward), pak and punch, chain punch.
Snatch attacks in 3 drill off lap and chop, lap and punch.
Arm drag.
Head and arm trap.
Head snap control.
Action reaction: lap and punch, 45 degree forward pressure, hit through centre.
As above but end with lap punch against the pushing energy.
Pad training circuit. 2 minutes at each station with 30 seconds rest. 11 stations in total. Good old fashioned pain and suffering.

Sunday 29 August 2010

Week 20

From the wrestlers pummel.

Repping the arm drag as it is important to get the timing correct as well as the correct control of him and you after the arm drag. Martin reminded us again that we are primarily strikers and are leaning basic grappling skills so we know how to understand their main positions and not be caught unaware if ever found in these positions. We need to know how to work against them.

We then looked at repping the head snap against the wrestler who leans too much into you. Similar underhook needed but the other hand snaps the head to the side and then push down on the back of the head, he is then set up nicely for a barrage of knees.

The final technique we looked at was the fake hip clasp, when he drops his hips as a counter to your low shoot attempt, slip back up for head control and throw k-bombs.

Attacking the lead arm.

If he has a street guard, you need to change your guard hands, engage the legs and have them ready to explode, become compact, focus the eyes and be just outside of punching range. It is a fine balance of distance and must be practised. Explode forward with pak and punch, leave the left arm extended as it will protect the head from a follow up attack. Follow up with punches to finish the job.

Sparring and ended with a very tiring pyramid to 7.

Friday 27 August 2010

Week 19

Action-reaction. For people who are tense and resistant this is a good way of getting them moving by using their energy against them. This is a concept that we used to use in BJJ and Systema, it was talked about all the time in tai chi chuan but I never felt it was taught well or that I managed to begin to understand it. In BJJ I used to use it to get triangle chocks and bow and arrow chokes. In Systema is was constantly used to create movement in the opponent, perhaps what I need to do in my wing chun is to become less thinking and just try to flow more. I found in this lesson the more I think then that is when I make mistakes and loose flow.

Martin showed us the beginnings of this action-reaction drill from the lap/punch out of the 3 drill. When the punch is blocked, give energy by lifting the arm up and across his centreline at a 45 degree angle, when he feels this forward motion he will want to push against it. Let him and simply lap the arm and punch. We looked at various attacks from here; hitting through the centre, arm drag, kau sau, x-arm lock trap. To my memory, this was about creating gaps, feeling them and maximising your use of them.

Pak/lap drill: Working more reps – punching on every lap, then punching on every pak then inside gate lap. A final combo was working the inside gate on a cycle rather than selectively – pak, inside gate pak, lap and punch and repeat the roll. The partner is simply feeding punches forward. Don’t be shy about working it slowly and building it up.

Pad training. Started off with chain punching, as always Martin goes out of his way to emphasis that chain punches with fights. The pattern was start in pre fight stance, throw first shot hard by employing explosive footwork to compliment the hit, then follow up with several seconds of punches. For me, for the first time since I started back with Martin did my initial punch feel like anything reasonable on the pads. I felt like i had good feet and body structure. However I did notice that towards the end of each chain punch series my rear foot was lifting. So I need to make sure that i sit down and drive through every single punch.
Progressed to looking at the use of the lead elbow by again driving with explosive and balanced footwork. The drill was L punch, R punch lead elbow, then L punch, L punch, lead elbow. Got lots of practise with our weaker arm. Ended the session with a pyramid set to 7.

Tuesday 24 August 2010

Week 18

Attack from 3 drill (the lop and chop).

Instead of flowing into the regular lop and chop , mini lop the front hand and seek the rear hand and lop that as you chop through to the neck with the left hand. This helps to develop broken rhythm in attack, especially as the 3 drill has a certain rhythmic feel to it. When in deep you can go for kau sau and hit.
The defence for kau sau is to push and pull. The arm that is being clasped in kau sau pull the elbow down and back to the ribs as the other hand pushes forwards ending in a combat ready position.
From the kau sau we looked at applying a chicken wing control. In training we practised applying slowly as it really wrenches the shoulder, if you have tight shoulders it can be very painful, so work it slowly. Word of warning, this must not be tried on someone bigger and stronger, won’t work. I mean that in a realistic combat sense. I was working this against Nathan, I am 5 8 and 75kg wet through, he must be scratching 6 foot and 110kgsFor a good tight chicken wing, keep the arm close to yours, hold his bicep with your hand.
We then played with inserting the uppercut which as always is a very nasty technique to employ. From this as the head goes back

Wrestling pummel:

Worked the basic pummel in order that if we are ever in this close position, we can use it to our advantage. As stated elsewhere, we are not grapplers, we learn elements of grappling to better understand it and work it to our advantage to enable us to strike, which is our bread and butter. Make sure as you swim, you have the same hand and foot forward, hips are far enough away so partner can’t clasp his hands together and that the shoulder going forward, is going forward. It should be as if you are each bouncing off each other as you contact with the shoulders. Most importantly, keep it soft and relaxed, only use power and speed at the right moment.

Firstly we looked at taking an arm as he goes for his underhook, get wrist control and pull it to your side, work slow to begin with and get the right timing, this can be quite tricky when picking up this technique. Essentially this is an arm drag followed by wrist control. Then you can insert a number of techniques, we looked at; rising face elbow followed by other elbow horizontal to the face. This is a nice and compact as well as devastating move. Then we looked at applying a key lock or Americana after the arm drag and wrist control, as soon as you feel as if he is trying to escape, do not fight for the control, let it go and follow in with chain punches.
Chain (pad) punching
As Martin stated this is our bread and butter as this is what wins fights. This is also something i need to devote myself to in my own training at home. I spend all of my training time at the moment doing Power Yoga. Need to put more time into my wing chun practise, I won’t get good by thinking about it...
l r l – head hook l – l r l
l r – body palm – r- r l r
l r – body punch – r r l r


Focussed on what I need to do to improve rather than trying to be aimless and just fight, so, I made sure I had tighter feet, hands and composure and measured approach
Panther had to run the gauntlet, it was his birthday, but what intense training for 2 minutes when he was attacked from all directions. He did real well.

Friday 6 August 2010

Week 17

Chain punching against the pads.

This drill was used to practise having high quality punches with locked elbows as this will ensure you are punching through the target and not on to the surface of it. Another attribute it trains is tight and precise footwork. These are two things that will maximise the success and quality of our hits, this drill also highlights the corrections that need to be made with punching and footwork.
The drill then can be developed in several ways, the holder breaks the rhythm of your punches by standing firm when they choose, by moving back at different speeds. This simulates either your punches missing the target, your target moving back quicker than you are forward and them just digging in and eating punches. If they dig in then use a hook palm to the skull which will move them and give you another line to continue the punching attack. Martin said this was one of the problems with the rigidity of traditional wing chun and the lack of heavy contact training they do. When hits stop or miss, you need another option, one of them is to change the angle of them with you in a dominant position. The hook palm to the head will do this for you. Secondly if they move back quickly, it is vital that you keep punching to close the distance. It feels naff but has a marked psychological impact on your opponent. In order to maintain punching over distance, use flying change step to cover the distance quickly. The punches will be out of beat count with the feet, hands moving faster.

Arm drag series

Working the reps quickly to keep up the temperature of the class.
1. Regular arm drag when arm on shoulder, as hitting move the grabbed elbow towards the opposite hip, this will increase the negation of the free hand to hit. The punch has the elbow aligned with the fits, hit into the jaw line and soft tissue of the neck.
2. Uppercut attack – sink the spine as arm dragging to get under his arm. Make sure the back of the fist faces his chest.
3. Swing back and hit early. This is nice a sit really messes with their spatial orientation and before they can centre themselves, they are being hit,

In fighting sparring techniques:

Here we were investigating the concept of action-reaction and Martin was showing us some of his favourite techniques to use in sparring. He said that he always uses simple and non-complicated techniques. All of the following looked seamless and simple yet as usual not as easy as Martin made them look. That is the true sign of quality movement, be it martial arts, football, tennis etc. is that if it looks easy and effortless then it clearly is at a level that we should aspire to perform.
Partner is holding the back of your neck in half can opener position (his right hand), you have got strong wrist control on his left arm with your right hand, your left hand is pushing against the crook of the arm on your neck. The techniques below need to keep a good strong wrist control. It is important for his brain to receive a consistent message as well as the add ons of action reaction you are feeding him.
Push hard against the arm and this will produce a reaction by him to push off, use this energy and come off and around and hit with an uppercut to the jaw. Make sure there is a slight bend in the legs as this will give more power to the hit.
Same push as above but this time he is aware that when you release you will hit so his elbow starts to flap up and down to defend the hit. Now you need to employ the twitch hit. Push hard and hit your own ribs with your elbow (left) then come over the top of the elbow crease for the hit to the jaw. Ensure the twitch is fast to evoke a sound
From a slightly different position (right wrist control, left chop intercepted, forward energy) you are trying to use kau sau to get in and hit to the body. Martin likened it to a spazzy flapping elbow. Essentially the left elbow goes up, down, up. By doing this quickly and erratically the elbow enters and controls his elbow and just ends up in the right place to kau sau with the left. Nothing fancy, quite the opposite, messy but simply effective.


Perhaps this is the part of training I enjoy the most yet find the hardest. I had lost of great experiences this session – working for the double underhook lock up as few people look for this, I find it very very tiring but look to use the stamina challenge to focus technique and working under pressure when very tired. This was something I used to enjoy in BJJ. I would try to out work my partner and give them a good hard fight as I never would give up from a cardio perspective. I am trying to do this in wing chun sparring, never give up no matter how knackered I become. Growth through hardship. Things that I need to work on are
1. Footwork: I have the awful habit of having a very wide lateral stance, I need to focus and tighten it up by having more consistent ‘tightness’ to my stance.
2. Body alignment inefficiency: Martin pointed out that I lean side to side when looking to enter and apply techniques. I need to keep my spine vertical and more disciplined. Compact motion and movement.
3. The three ranges: Martin said that we need to work on making the transition between the 3 ranges (Entry range, in fighting range and grappling range). He said the transition between them are not smooth and thus too easy to read. When sparring with Kam this was most apparent to me (in retrospect) he stuffed my double underhook attempts with ease, kindly lumping my forehead and blackening my left eye in the process.

Friday 30 July 2010

Week 16

Pak / lop drill:

Further detail and practise form last week. One detail was to ensure good range. I assumed this meant appropriate distance between you and your partner, but Martin meant range or length of the technique. Get it to his hips and not creeping across his centre. This will ensure he is on his heels and rocking back. A second detail was making stronger grabs and snatches of his wrist. This was most apparent for me when Stable Joe worked his own special ninja death grip. I then tried on him but as his forearms are the size of my upper arms, snatching was a real challenge. I lost a little bit of my elbow discipline.
We spent more time this week on changing on the lop and hit, keeping the rhythm smooth and also the inside gate lop and change. When working the inside gate lop, start nice and slow to develop correct precision and feel. Off the pak, turn the hand over and pull in and to your hip (this will get him coming forward), follow immediately with a lop with the opposite hand. Give it good range and he will be back on his heels, for extra nicety, chamber the elbow back on non lopping hand and punch to the chin. Continue the roll.
When working with Rooney I found that for me, it is best to feed the punches with my eyes closed and to go with the energy he was giving. With my eyes open I was too busy watching his technique and almost struggling to alternate punches. Special needs I know.

Snatch Attack: This was a longer range and applied version of the technique we had just been learning. It is fast, deceptive and disruptive to receive as your arms are being manipulated quickly and punches are coming in. Too much info to process. So if your partner holds a standard guard, use your leading hand (LEFT for sake of argument) to lop his lead hand, right lop his right hand then punch to chin with left. Initial lop is path clearing, second lop must have strong snatch and long range.


Headlock defence: push the head (palm out) so his head turns away then pull hand back so thumbs rests politely on the eyes. Visually for me it looks like a long and languid changing of the cars gears from first to second. Need to be hip aware, if he gets them close, push and post off them. If he steps inside and looks to throw, go with the motion, put your head towards his knees and pull on his opposite hip (reach around him), pull him around and over you onto the floor. You will (should) end up in side control with him lying on his side. Post hands on the floor and land sky knees to his back. When posting the hands on the floor ensure placement that puts a negative curve in his spine.

Double underhook defence: If he comes in low and grabs with his head not on your shoulder, but under your arm pit, get the hips away, insert head side arm between his neck and head and reach under his armpit, with the other hand place across his shoulders and clasp hands. Underarm should be palm up. Pull in tight to your chest and wheel him over. It is vital for the control of him that you pull him in first.

Pad training:

Focussed on correct body mechanics not power, keeping the movements compact. Connecting the hips and the shoulders in the movement and the arms are a manifestation of this.

Friday 23 July 2010

Week 15

Anti grappling: Double underhooks

This material is from the level 3 program and level/stage 3 deals with all matters anti-grappling. This evening we started off by focussing on the double underhooks position. Initially we practised working the body lock on another. Keys are pulling their hips towards yours, maintain a strong palm to palm grip and keeping your own centre of gravity lower than theirs. IN part, this ensures you are harder to take down. To complete the takedown from double underhooks, level the elbows at the same time down and up. They become off balanced very quickly and the takedown is a matter of keeping control as you dump them down. When feeling the position, it was most uncomfortable and unpleasant. When studying BJJ this was a position we rarely played with. We tended to focus on single and double leg shots, throws and sweeps for takedown.

This was a very new experience for me tonight. So from this position, Martin talked about this being the worst case scenario as if someone knows this position, then they know where to go next and it is clearly not a good place for you. The next stage was defending the position as the go for the underhooks, arms are around but hands not yet clasped. There are several key movements to remember. Firstly, you need to drop the hips (arse) back then down . This double movement will ensure you have both space from his hips and your centre of gravity is lower and thus harder to manipulate. As the hips drop back and down, you need to insert the outside of your hands towards his hips, keep the arms straight. This will now create vital space and make him attempting to get the grip very, very hard. It is also important to maintain a good structural alignment, keep the back straight but angled. Of course we can’t stay in this stalemate forever so we need to work an escape. As we are not a sport we can look to manipulate the eyes to get him moving away. Bring the hands up to his face, thumbs down, so the fingers fall into the soft tissues of the face. Protective reflexes will start to kick in and he will look to move away and you push his head back over his spine and centre of gravity. To make it easier, the elbows should not stay out as you push the head as you are not using the correct muscle groups, try to get the elbows closer together, engage the lats.

The second escape involved same initial anti grapple, try to squeeze his elbows together, take an elbow with your opposite hand, use the same side hand to take it off and away then pass it across your centre which puts him in a sort of arm triangle. Stand up and push his face on the jaw then strike with the elbow where you just pushed. If he does pull out an arm, great, you can still give him more good news with little strike threat to yourself.

Finally we looked at throwing punches at our partner, they crescent under and go for double underhooks, we then looked to practise the above escapes. Interestingly the attacker threw 2 types of punches. We started with tight and centred wing chun punches which felt really hard to shoot under for double underhooks. I wanted to drop right under and go for the double leg. I felt the punches were going to prohibit my double underhook attempt. We then had to throw higher elbowed boxer style. This felt much easier to come under. The lesson is therefore, our style of punches are better.

Pak lop drill:

Continued from the last session I attended. Again working the basic lop and punch with the change (leaver the fist there), then pak and punch. The change for each is simply doing 2 of each technique, so if you want to change on the lop, follow it with a lop with the other hand. The inside gate lop is off the pak and the key is to turn the hand over and pull them in. The pak and lop get them going backwards, the inside lop lobs a spanner in the works as it brings them forward. I was training with Martin and we had a good system during this drill, when one makes a mistake, then the other take his turn. A good tip I picked up on the lop technique was keeping the elbow low and the hands almost looks like it is moving laterally as the wrist stays under the fingers. When you start to look for or reach for lop sau and pak sau in this drill, the elbow will come up and the lats are not engaged, it just felt more efficient.

We then looked to apply these techniques as entry techniques against a boxer pikey style guard.

Regular guard = lop (L) pak (R) hit (L)

Symmetrical guard = pak (R) pak (L) hit (R)

We also looked the using the inside gate lop but I have forgotten how to apply it.


Really enjoyed it tonight, I changed my approach by trying to stay with the system as we were both attacking at the same time. For those training partners i had the absolute pleasure and privilege to spar with, thank you for your time, patience and pain. I left last night with battered arms, a bloody nose, a bruised chin but a stronger spirit. I need to ensure that if i am holding with one hand, the other is pistoning or hitting. I was also trying to spend time and an awful lots of energy going for the Thai clinch and taking the back.

Saturday 10 July 2010

Week 14

The arm drag series.

In this series the feeder is holding the pads as after the arm drag we are looking to strike the pads. The focus was not on power delivery but timing, accuracy and quality reps of the techniques. Also added to the below during the feeding was the feeder simply holding the pads in number combos to add variety to the training.
Feeder puts pad on;

1. same side shoulder; arm drag across and hot to the pads. 2 options are to maintain hold of the elbow and hit with piston repeaters or leg go and chain punch, driving the feeder back with forward driving punches.

2. As above initially but reverse the motion and drag his arm across his centre, this is a very disorientating move, will work great if he is holding tension in his shoulder as the whipping effect will be dramatically greater, hot the pads.

3. opposite side shoulder; head and arm trap, secure face tight into his arm and then knee to the pads (which is being held at chest height).

4. same side hip; kau sau and hit to the pads driving forward with each one.

Pak/lop drill: Developed by Martin this drill aims to enhance co-ordination and timing as the hands are doing separate movements in different directions. Therefore independent movement in each arm and thus of each other, is being worked on. The feeder simply holds a low guard and whenever a hand is pak’d or lop’d he must replace with the other

Stage 1: For the sake of argument, start with the right hand. Simply lop and pak each of his arms with your right hand as he replaces his solar plexus height centreline guard. Ensure your elbow stays relatively fixed in position for each lop and pak, keep the elbow down and this will secure the lat muscle being used. Start to raise the elbow and the deltoids come into use and you will tire quickly, in addition to being poor technique. The energy for the pa/lop needs to go towards his hips and he should feel as if being pressured on to his heel and turned. My error was that I was stopping at the end of each pak an lop, instead of, what felt like when Martin did it to me, the pak/lop almost flowed to the hips and did not have a definite ending. Perhaps I was fixed on doing hard and secure techniques by pulling down more than across. IN terms of grabbing on each technique, this session was very hot and arms were sweaty and greasy. It can be done with and without the thumb. With the thumb ensure a tighter grip but harder to hit off more efficiently, conversely, the no thumb grip is not as powerful and controlling but allows easier release when hitting off.
Stage 2: Changes. This can be done on either a lop or pak but in order for a change, you do 2 of the same technique. For example, I lop his right arm, then lop his right arm with my left and continue the roll of pak/lop. It is quite a small movement, should not be hunted for as it is there right in front of you, keep that elbow low. Practise the change on both techniques.
Stage 3: Inserting punches. Practise with lop first, as you lop, hit forward to his chin with the other hand, land a soft fist on his chin with a bent arm. In reality this becomes a fully extended arm so we are in the habit of practising the correct range for our punches. They should not be extend by the time your hand hits the chin, the bent arms ensures the elbow can still drive forward and lift to its full extension and range of motion. The lop and hit should be simultaneous. Development: Insert changes, then practise pak and hit with changes, then practise hitting on every lop/pak, then with changes. It is vital hat the feeder can keep on replacing the hands. In addition, we must be mindful of the quality of the pak and lop when inserting the punches. Our feeder can keep us alive to how we are doing.
Stage 4: Inside gate lop. This is used as a change, but the key is turning the hand over and circling for the inside gate lop. Keep your elbow and wrist controlled, don’t allow them to weaken by loosing structure.
Stage 5: All of the above from stage 3 and 4 in a continuous flow.


One side attack and one side defend. I was trying to use a variety of defensive styles and tactic so my partner is not facing a wing chun style all of the time. I used the following methods. long range wing chun guard, soft short range guard, classic stand up guard, covered head in positive posture, grabbing. Perhps next time I will ask if they want me to do this or regular wing chun guard.
Pyramid set to 7. Keep those shoulders down, the neck loose, don’t allow the tension to lift the shoulders and sink the chin. Breath and embrace. The pain will be over soon. Don’t give up as you will growth immensely from working with and through the hardship.

The grading Syllabus: Development, intro and Grade 1

What follows below are taken directly from Martin's grading syllabus.

The Grades Explained

Let me start by saying that I believe in this grading system. It is what is necessary to get from beginner to expert. It is delivered in what I believe to be the order of importance. It is your short term training goals. It is not however an easy system. Anyone looking to grade should realise that you’re going to need to train hard to earn them. Too often in martial arts schools it seems that as long as you pay your money, you will get your grade. Not here. If you pass, you will know you deserve to. Please don’t let this concern you all however. It’s up to me to make sure you are ready and I’ll always be honest if I think you are ready or not.
The information within may seem complex but it will all make sense once you start training the specifics for the grade. You will notice as the grades get higher that the details for each movement are reduced. This is in fact because the applications are so much more complex and would require a book to explain them here so the necessary concepts or movements become a list rather than a detailed breakdown. In some cases such as the emergency attacks, the information is totally removed due to the danger of using these attacks.

Remember. The grading syllabus is here to make you concentrate on specifics and even force you to train some of the things that perhaps you don’t enjoy doing yet will ultimately make you a better martial artist. Some of the material within the grades may well change over the years as I teach an organic system that I constantly evolve with new training ideas. I believe that you never stop learning and I still love finding new and exciting ways to express my system.

It should also be noted that as you progress through your grades and attain the necessary standard, you shouldn’t just forget what you have learnt and move on. With this in mind it will be expected that a student going for a grade will have to join in with the testing for all the previous grades. For example a student who is hoping to pass grade 6 must first re – pass grades 1 – 5!

The final grade (the black sash) should be everyones aim. The standard for attaining your black sash will be high and the material will not be disclosed before hand. Of course it will be hard and it’s designed to test your mental strength as well as physical ability. The purpose of the black sash is a final affirmation of the journey through the system and I can promise you that on the day of the test, you will be in a place where you will feel you could conquer anything.

Grade 1 – Balance, Footwork, Posture and Punching

‘No matter how big the attacker is, he has a chin and therefore can be knocked out. If your punch is hard enough and quick enough so that it lands without warning then you maximise your chance of knocking your attacker out without them even throwing a punch. But balance should never be compromised. As long as you have balance then you have the potential for power. As long as you remain balanced even after punching, then you can continue to attack and capitalise on your initial advantage or make good your escape. Our style is aggressive. The best form of defence is attack. Be first with your punch and be ready to follow up. This is where it all begins………’


The fist must be formed correctly. This means the fist must be as tight as possible without tension in the forearm or bicep. The punch should be driven from the elbow and along the centre line. Elbow power must be maintained at all times whilst the forearm remains relaxed and pointing at the target. Shoulders must be back and the elbows down. Single and chain punches will be used to analyze technique and ‘rate of fire’. Endurance, accuracy and power will be tested on the focus pads.

Balance, Footwork and Body Structure

The feet should be at a 45 degree angle. The width of the foot at grade 1 should be as narrow as possible without losing balance, punch power and the ability to keep the hips and shoulders square. The legs must be bent, the rear knee pulled in and the hips square. Core muscles and lower abs should be engaged and the spine upright. The lats should also be engaged. Shoulders must be square and never further back than the hips. The neck should not be bent. The weight should be 75 % on the back leg but the student must have his weight on the balls of the feet.
When moving, the drive should come from the back leg. With the rear leg bent the muscle is already engaged. The rear leg pushes and the front leg lengthens the stance. Pressure should be felt on the inside of the ball of the rear foot. The front foot lands and then snaps the rear foot under the body weight again. Weight must not increase beyond 25% to the front leg at any point! The student must demonstrate all of this on their own, with a partner, with their guard up and whilst chain punching.

Mastery of pre fight, pre emptive striking, hunting down and basic takedown.

The fight ready position (FRP) must be applied. Hands must be up, in a non threatening manner with the strong arm back and the front arm forward. The arch between thumb and finger should be directly under the attackers chin. Legs must be bent with muscles already engaged and ready to push forward. Eyes should be on the chin. ‘Trigger touch’ punching and ‘meet and hit’ punching will be tested. Punches must be delivered without drawing back, legs loading (bending – they should already be bent) or any other movement that may warn the opponent. The purpose of the FRP means that everything is ready to go. The very next movement must be the step and punch. Once connected the student must demonstrate their ability to remain in balance and hunt down the opponent whilst throwing more shots or escape.
In addition the student must understand the theory of pre fight awareness and how to project a confident manner.

Focus pads

Left and right punches on the pads while moving around. When moving into range, this must be done with footwork rather than leaning or distributing more weight onto the front leg. Accurate, solid punches delivered without drawing back are essential.
Pyramid set to 5.

3 Drill

All attacks should be towards the partners face, not the arms. Lap’s should be in the correct direction and strong. The defences with the exception of the pak sau must be moving forwards and the arm that is lap’d must be relaxed.
The required standard for grade 1 is to show the ability to change from one side to the other, remain relaxed and maintain form.

Lat Sau

Punches must be towards the opponents face and not become specific blocks. The arms stay relaxed throughout but the shoulders remain square even if they are getting hit!
The required standard for grade 1 is to show the ability to change from one side to the other, remain relaxed and maintain form.


Explain and demonstrate the three basic theories of Wing Chun.

Thursday 1 July 2010

Week 13

Against the fully covered head:

The opponent is standing and holds a classic protective head posture (you have already thrown a left right combo to encourage the cover up). Take a lazy lap and use this to turn him as you step around and hammerfist to the back of the head. Use repeaters and following footwork to complete the motion. If they stay in posture but do not fight back, give them a double palm push to move them away and escape.

If they take a very low defensive posture, step deep into the armpit and heel palm to the back of the head. Ensure the fingers are facing down the head to secure more of the hand landing. In addition, the elbow can strike the spine. All of these 3 moves work most effectively with sinking the weight as the hits goes in. Another attack when opponent in low posture is to kau sau the elbow and uppercut. Martin labelled this as the ripping uppercut move. It felt crisp and nasty.

We then looked at 2 methods when the opponent has the same guard but is standing up tall after the initiating punches. Firstly was using the lifting elbow after the 2 hits, this opens his guard and will startle, follow up with lop and hit to head. Secondly we looked at doing first 2 punches then following up with a right left hooking heel palm to ear/jaw area. As a loosener, worked this combo on the pads.

3 drill: cheeky hits of the backfist:

Sinking and dropping the weight to hammerfist the groin. This can be done in 2 subtly different ways. The first sinks down and hits through the guard, the second involves lifting the arm and coming under for the hit to the groin.

Thirdly is circling the hand down and to the solar plexus.

Fourthly, rotating the fist back and up to hit to the chin.

Finally, lifting the arm held and hitting to the ribs.


Worked in several incremental ways.

1: one defend and other attack
2: both attack and defend freely
3: one attacks as the other aims to spoil.

Really enjoyed sparring. Felt relaxed and looking to work consistent energy. Was a bit naughty in spoiling Giant Nathan's sparring by closing the distance and tying up and head clinch range. Enjoyed the close range grapple and the brief chess match that ensued.

Ended with a pyramid session to 7

Friday 25 June 2010

Week 12

Punching: Got warmed up by punching out a pyramid to 13.

Footwork – basic stepping footwork, then added single and double punch. Final combo was double punch followed by elbow (folding wrist into chest). Then moved onto the pads to work double punch and elbow combo.

Arm drag series: remove and double palm push, remove and swing back and attack, remove and uppercut and head control

Pad circuit

Saturday 19 June 2010

Week 11

Footwork: basic stepping and then stepping with punching to the count. An interesting development was chain punching then moving to the count whilst chain punching. A subtle way to work on integrated co-ordination and torque alignment with upper and lower parts of the body.

Anti-grappling; grip breaking:
Initially we investigated different ways of breaking single hand to single hand breaks. First thing is to hit, work the break whilst hitting. All involved rotations of wrist and elbows.
High double hand grab: Give forward energy, turn arms to high/low, step deep between his legs and shoulder butt into the same side chest of opponent. Same side as if not then you are crossing his centre and gifting him your back. Once bumped, follow up with a upward elbow, snake is for neck control and knee to lower limbs.

Pad training circuit: Usual pain and suffering. This session I was focussing more on speed than power. A few times my ego got the better of me and I started to go for power and technique got looser. It was also pointed out to me by a pad holder that my stance to too boxer (wide base)and not enough wing chun (narrow). Had to focus hard to maintain the Wing Chun stance probably because the wider base is more comfortable. Therefore easy. Walk the hard path.

First form: Apart from being a nice warm down, ran through the whole form once, starting to pick it up. First 3 sections OK, rest is vague at best.

Friday 11 June 2010

Week 10

3 drill: Investigated body shots from the backfist attack.
• Hit through to the abdomen, piston back inside to face followed by lap and hit to chin.
• As above initially but instead of piston, crappy chop to the outside gate and hit to chin.
• Backfist, step to the side, turn and hit to floating ribs.
• As above but fake the body shot and slide across his centre to other side and hit to body. The beauty of this technique is that the fake sets up the opponent to compact on one side on prep for the hit, as they load you pass to the other side and attack the open soft part of his body, complete with hit to the chin.

Martin touched on the limitations and positives of the 3 drill. In a previous post I touched on my ideas about the limitations of the drill. For Martin the key one he talked about was how it developed a certain muscle memory in terms of the expectations of movements due to happen in a given order. Your defence at times can be happening before the attack instead to being alive to it.

Pre emption pad training.

In the pre fight posture, ready to go, palms open and pointing at the target, elbows in, looking and talking to the chin, compact body, core activated, weight just off heels on balls and ready to drive forward.
• Partner flashes the pad, we had to close the distance and hot once with the right hand. Maintaining relaxation, giving nothing away (telegraphing), making sure the hand moves first and forward. Extend the elbow through the punch.
• As above but this time the partner steps forward with the pad and we had to meet and engage with the punch. Then moved into hitting with 3 punches.
Sparring ideas: Looked at use of mun sau (inquisitive hand) coming through to subtly trap the rear hand and hit to chin. Enter with punches to gain contact, trap and hit to chin.

Sparring: One side attack whilst the other defends. Stayed quite compact and relaxed, Martin said my stance was to shallow, I kept standing parallel at time, need to keep depth (just as in the 3 drill). Have to stay ground as I was coming high on my hits at times. Despite initial reservations, I really enjoyed the session. Took the hits and stayed calm, look forward to the rest of my martial life...

Saturday 5 June 2010

Week 9

3 drill warm up. It still amazes me the different feelings (tension, softness, skill) working with different people. Trying to be consistently consistent in the basics of the 3 drill

Grip breakers: Starting from the last resort and working backwards. The shoulder bump: Turn and step into his void as pointing the same side grabbed arm to the floor and bump with the shoulder to his shoulder/pec. Don’t go past his centre. This grip is tremendously hard to maintain if this is being done to you, it acts against the grabbers elbow then the bump breaks his balance. After the bump, lift the elbow up to his chin, sending the head to the sky.

We then looked at how using the same initial move above to taking the back. The arm that is being held, drop the knees as lifting the arm, rotate under whilst leaning on him until at his ¾, takedown or move out and hit.

Only the brave:
Use of the head butt, separate the arms of the grab, drive from the legs up into the soft parts of the face with the hard parts of your head. Just above the hairline, not the forehead.

Another idea is the thumb smash into 2 hand to one control (with the little finger, chase the thumb then run away from it). Finally the smallest, bread and butter motion, hand roll to the thumb and press into inside gate lap.

When grabbing to control:
(no thumb) look to hit off by popping elbow up and forward, pak and punch entry, feed energy to him and hit. Make sure the non striking hand is kept with forward pressure as hitting with the other hand. Contact keeps his brain engaged, gaps give time for reactions.

With strong and solid partner, turn elbow so own elbow uses his as a lever to turn his shoulders, drop the shove (pop elbow) against his upper arm without breaking initial contact and hit, use off-lining footwork.

Entry punching:
Not looking to KO, looking to enter in his space and get him on the back foot and in negative posture. Coming in from out of range feels silly as we are hitting the air. Ensure the left arm is straight and high and the chin is tucked down and into the deltoid. Prevents head shock from a powerful hit. One of the limitations with the wing chun stance, as outlined by Martin is the gap between the chin and the shoulder when entering into an opponent. Simply does not offer enough real world protection. When used with aggressive body language this can add to the disruption of his balance and posture as he will know that it is on and not shadow boxing. Kau sau control and hit. Ping back elbow against their natural reaction to forward pressure is to push against it.

Friday 4 June 2010

Class notes: lat sau and 3 drill limitations

Lat Sau: Corrections and points to note; make sure both hands hit towards the face and go over the previous punch. Just need to make sure I stay present and focussed.

The change: on the long (inside) punch, feel the pressure from the arm into the feet and step to adjust balance accordingly. Don’t keep tension in the shoulders to avoid being moved or bounced.

Elbow lap: Ensure forward pressure punches, thus making him believe the content of the hits, off the inside punch, keep the hands alive and lap at the forearm and pivot his centre and hit to the body and finish with a head shot.

Body shots: Practised on static opponent to develop the correct range and body mechanics. Start by standing opposite partner in classical stance, falling side step to transfer weight to the front foot and turn hips for torque. Penetrate his core with good solid hits. Essential to never forget that a body shot equals open head, if you are going to hit to the body, make him puke and scream otherwise it is probably worthless.

Kau Sau; Insert the pak and punch to gain entry, keep forward pressure through the defended punch and bring the hand back to clasp the elbow to lift and give the good news. If we meet a dude with solidity and won’t turn the shoulders, use his tension to step around to take his ¾, hit to body then to the line from the ear to the chin.

3 drill corrections and points to note: backfist over, imagine trying to break the nose
Keep hitting forward and through to the centre
Keep wu sau up in defence
To night I was much more present in trying to keep my shoulders square and not to turn on laps.

Ended with another pad training cicuit. Good mental training moreso than physical for me as I am learning to stay present in the moment and trying not to think of the pain and suffering...

Martin poised the questions of what are the limitations of the 3 drill and lat sau. Here are my ideas and I look forward to being corrected.
• They are static in nature and focus entirely on the torso.
• Kicks, multiple opponents and weapon awareness appear to be outside of the drill.
• Are they only to be done on the feet? Can they be done on the knees, floor, sitting?
• Becoming a slave to the drill, doing rather than exploring? That perhaps could be to do with the practitioner over the drill.
• It is wing chun against wing chun as oppossed to street style work

Friday 28 May 2010

Class notes: fight posture

Punching and footwork warm up: Good old fashioned getting the body ready for the main class. IN the footwork we were looking at moving rapidly and crisply on the count

PFP (pre fight posture) touch response: Initially we looked at it from going forward and backwards from the defensive chest push. If going backwards use it as a rebound effect to move you back and off line, away from the right hand as this is usually the one to get thrown first. First round of practise was getting the fist to land softly on the chin, arm bent. This to make sure that if the shot was fully completed it would be hitting the correct target with the correct depth in the head. We then moved onto putting the punch beside the head but elbow deep.

Rolling flinch response to the right cross: (this is part of the grade 6 syllabus but he is looking to insert a simplified version for grade 1) Martin likened this motion to rebound, as soon as you go back the body is using the motion to load for an attack. He said it is a 3D motion as spin to roll the punch as you lean away in prep for the loading of the hit. Essential detail is to tuck the chin into the shoulder tightly. This keeps the structure compact and able to absorb hits better than if the chin is disconnected from the shoulder. On the rebound engage the right elbow and drive into his chin.

3 drill: Inside gate lap sau: Slowly looking and feeling where we can use it in the 3 drill. This then turned into 2 hands to 1 elbow control (gwai sau) half and full. This was initiated after the chop as we are on the inside. They block the punch (inside lap and punch form chop), take the wrist to the hand, rev the holding wrist and make sure the move backwards under the pressure of the gwai sau. Half relates to arm control, full relates to full arm control with own elbow almost in and on their centre. If he block the hits from gwai sau the simply reverse chop and punch.

Pad training circuit training. 7 station, 2 minute rounds with 60 seconds rest in between. Held first then had my fun and games. Today my forearms are still tired and my right hand has a slight shake to it. I have not been this sweaty since grappling. Thankfully my hands stayed free of cuts and abrasions.

Round 1: 1(LVP) – 6 (RDP) – 3 (LHHP) – 2 (RVP)
Round 2: 1 – 2 – 1 – 14 (LHE)
Round 3: can’t remember...
Round 4: 1 – 1 - 2
Round 5: ?(LBF) – 2 – ?(RBF) - 1
Round 6: 1 – 2 - ?(LLHP) small step to the left to enable whole hip use. – 3 - 2
Round 7: 1 – 2 – SLIP – 2

Of course all above rounds can be used as shadow boxing too.

Thursday 13 May 2010

Class notes: grading details

Back to basics with the focus on grading specific detail. Martin was very clear about what constitutes a fail and that he would be strict with fail detail. The main thing to avoid is negative posture (hips further back than the hips) as all power and options are negated by NP.

Footwork: balls of feet, but on the inside of the feet, legs alive and ready to drive forward. Imagine a band around the knees – leg far apart then it will snap, knees too close together then it will fall down, we want to keep the band up. When stepping, ensure the back leg keeps up and is not dragged. Shoulders square but feet @ 45 degrees. When inserting punching (air or pad), don’t load the punch and drive the elbow forward as the legs engage motion.

Pre fight posture: Looked at the trigger touch and meet and hit variations. Martin confidently talked about confidence in having good posture and crashing in with a strong punch. Used the palm against the chest (web strike V), keep the forearm bone aiming towards the target.

3 drill: off lining footwork when under pressure but ensure motions are kept tight and no NP, on the backfist drive forward and hit through centre into neck. Ensure a full lap sau. In addition, try to lap him into his void as this will affect his posture and balance. Keep attacking and defending with relaxed and forward energy, make sure that the energy is forward and along the centreline and not off to the side as this will create gaps in own defence. Also, look to change the tempo and look to break the rhythm and timing of opponent by hitting on half beats.

Thursday 6 May 2010

Class notes: lap and punch


Lap and punch drill: working correct energy, keeping shoulders square and back, maintain a centred posture relative to partner. Counter to the lap is to move with energy and step off line. My error was that I was stepping too sideways and not close enough, this meant I was out of range for punching. This moved into hitting the pad after being laped. Other key points to note were turn the hand over and pull down as this engages all the correct muscles.

Entry punches against street guard:

Lat sau: Keep the shoulders square, inserting arm dargs

Hand on shoulder: arm drag; turn hand over and circle

Thursday 29 April 2010

Class notes: lat sau

Entry punches against the street guard: Unknown to me, this later in the session turned into the lat sau drill (detailed later in this blog entry). Martin said that many systems battle for the space that the arms occupy and thus have methods to work with this stimulus. If a guard is held, we want to aim for the chin and crash the distance. If we get stopped by the arms, we can feel for gaps and energy and advance from that, in addition, if we don't get our punches stopped then we have access to the chin. The drill started from outside kicking range, close the range quickly with a jamming right hand punch followed simultaneously a straight left, making sure the elbow is straight. This is because it prevents his punch, we are inside his arm, our left might even go high and tall. Matters not, what is most important is that this arm is straight as it negates his right arm. From here we looked at several options: The repeater punch if his left stays low. If the left arm lifts as he tries to escape the ‘stick’, let it go up and switch to a compact uppercut.

Lat sau: Basic roll and initial details, stick on arm and repeaters.

Stance: I asked about the negative posture which he often refers to. Shoulders should not be further back than the hips as this takes the power away from your body leaving you with only the power in the arm. Low rather than high because you are more compact and able to use the whole body power. He kept reminding of the need to be compact, think not of hitting with the hand but with the hip (from which the rest is connected).

Application work: From the same hand on the same shoulder position we looked at using the arm drag which leads into options such as following up with hits, the flying choke or releasing him back to face as crashing in with punches. From opposite hand to shoulder we use the head and arm trap. Head to the arm then pull in to the crook of the arm, takedown or elbow... A great counter is to go soft and have a good posture. Similar to my experiences in Systema, holds need tension to work against, soft and loose can’t be controlled as easily. Seems to create space and has a wonderfully startling effect on their hold.

Pyramids: To 7. No matter how much relaxation is mentally sent to the lactic in the shoulders, the elbows can still go forward but the hands feel empty and spasmodic. Ergo, pyramid much more as only working through the pain, the acid and disbelief will growth occur.

3 drill: Change detail, I had been chopping but Martin said it has evolved into a resemblance of a left or right cross, aiming the little finger along the jaw line of partner. Much more intrusive to be on the receiving end of and shifted me towards negative posture. As a result, will begin to employ.

Thursday 22 April 2010

Class notes: elbow power

No Martin tonight so Kam and Z took the reigns.

Ran through the form once, some came back. Enjoyed standing and learning, posted info above about the form and a few articles to outline and remind of the purpose of the form.

Elbow power:
Lots of focus on this today, in the 3 drill, opunching, chopping. Linked to this was engaging the lat muscles. I found it very hard to put my mind in my lats and engage them, but Kam said that when the elbow is down and moving along the centre, the lat will engage. Thankfully this explanantion made something almost esoteric, quite simple and something I can apply.

3 drill off backfist:
body hit, x trap, tan sau. 3 drill initial block pak sau

Pad training:
Focus was not necessarily on the numbers of the combos, but having elbow extension. I kept hitting with bent elbow, something I am very aware of in my own punching practise and am working on improving.

Friday 16 April 2010

My fear pyramid as of now

I have thought long and hard and tried to make sure that fears not dislikes have been listed, from the peak down.

Verbal anger and aggression.
Freezing in the face of raw aggression.
Being hit in the face. 
Failure: as a husband, a father, a chef, a teacher, a depatment head, a martial artist, physical prowess diminishing with age. 
Hitting the head of another.
Opening formal letters.
Checking bank account.
The dark and the tricks the mind plays about what lies beyond the field of vision. 
Speaking to a group of adults and wondering when I get the tap on shoulder and the whisper in the ear 'I am on to you, you don't belong here.'
Saying no to people.
Receiving negative jugdements, related to fears of failure listed above.
Calf tearing again unexpectedly.

Never done this before, read about it years ago in Geoff Thompson's book Fear, the friend of exceptional people. Glad to have done it as one of my fears means I have exposed my mind and thinking. Part of me hopes that only I ever read this, the bolder part of me hopes others do and criticise what I write so I may grow from the hardship.

Thursday 15 April 2010

Class notes: neck manipulation

Started off this week by looking at;

Arm drags: firstly from the position with your partner having their hand on your shoulder, then from lat sau and finally at the end of the, out of the 3 drill. In lat sau, the first punch (right) lands short but the second (left) one is very deep with a fully extended arm, the right simultaneously grabs and opens their arm
for the drag. Make sure the elbow lifts and the path of the arm drag is circular. This makes the motion more efficient.

Pad training: looked at 3 combos:

1-2-1-14 (LVP, RVP, LVP, RHE)

1-2-3-2 (LVP, RVP, LHP, RVP)

1-6-3-2 (LVP, DSP, LHP, RVP)

Noticed that on the final hit I was making a right mess of it, over extending, not relaxing enough, poor distancing. Must do some shadow boxing of these and even some visualisation to consolidate.

Catch wrestling neck manipulation: Nasty and feels like nothing at all. Come under neck, forearm out, other hand grasps by interlocking fingers, 2nd arm (hairy part) is flat against his head (ear area). Rotate and can open. Put ridiculous pressure on the neck and head. No effort my end, lots of pain his end.

3 drill inside gate lap and arm drag: Revising last weeks 3 drills and extending from the inside gate lap, swap to other arm to inside gate lap and arm drag.

Growing confidence through confident teaching. Martin is very confident in his abiliy to have a strong hit and the consequences of this on an opponents chin. I feel as if by hearing his confident and positive words that I am becoming more confident in myself, perhaps more empowered is more approproate a label. I am aware that this is not a false sense of security, just beginning to believe in the potential of my hands and thus myself.

Forward pressure from the Real Deal: He has excellent and a little intimidating forward pressure on his 3 drill. You know that if you were not to defend, your face would be smashed to bits. It is good for me to train with him as I can work on my posture and mind not collapsing under pressure

Friday 9 April 2010

Class notes: Put your toe in the bloody water

So last night was my first session with Martin. I remember texting my wife before I went in to say that I was racked with nerves. I walked through the doors and into a familiar sight; an exuberant Martin most welcoming and warm. The infant school hall made me feel comfortable as I had spent so much time there in the past training.

This is what we did; (my notes as I remember and not set in stone accurate. Any errors are all mine and a reflection on my bottom rung of the ladder-ness)

3 drill: - forward pressure - make each hit direct and aiming for target, not merely there as something to be 'blocked'
- taking the lop sau - over the top, never underneath as this gives them a path to come over and into your centre
- lop sau - to his hip - engage the lat and grab with thumb
- develop feeling for gaps and hit through the centre
- inside gate lop sau after first chop - key is to drop the elbow in the lop, this uses the correct muscles with the most efficiency. Also worked on the non-grab lop sau by using the web of the hand
- chops are from the elbow from the centre (as the punch) as opposed to my judo chop style hinging from the elbow

Pad training: Power in the first hit, extend the arm and hit with enough tension in the fist to whilst keeping the forearm soft as possible, fist to height of the wrist, elbows in tight, feet to move with the body. All of the pad training was from the pre fight fence position, left hand forward.

Combo 1: left hand lead touch the pad twice - right fist, left hook palm, right fist
Combo 2: hits the left arm - go with motion using immoveable elbow left palm strike - right fist
Combo 3: extended feed for outside gate lop sau - 3 hits with right fist and drive forward with each.

Pad training development: worked on random variations of the 3 at pad holders discretion, then moved into using hands on hands working relaxation and softness.

Anti Grappling: escape from the can opener. Looked at understanding the head control and how to apply it correctly - tight head and neck control. Elbows in tight and close, drive them forward as this will make the head pull down much easier, puts lots of pressure on the back of the head. Counter: palms on face and drive back up and over his hips whilst applying forward pressure, keep him stumbling. Swim 1 arm in, then the other for own can opener and drill continues.

Pyramid punching: (all x10)

doubles, then doubles with other hand forward
7's then back down the pyramid. I felt good up to 5's then the lactic kicked in and it all went stiff and sour. Something else to work on there then... I held the pads for Grandmaster who was solid, consistent, relaxed and sharp for all of the pyramid.

After the session I had a brief chat to Martin about where this is going, his honesty and mine in the training journey ahead. I felt very pleased to make this first step. I look forward to what will be a challenging and rewarding training future with Martin and his group of students.

On reflection 24 hours later, I am aware that I made many small errors tonight but am looking to develop these into positives and thus a decent level of skill.

Wednesday 31 March 2010

My martial arts history to this point

Lau Gar: 2 years. All started in Ellesmere Port in October 93 under Brain Nelson. The training was hard with the focus on competitive semi contact point fighting. We had to do gradings every 3 months and this was the kung fu syllabus. I really enjoyed doing this but remember spending little time on it in class in terms of applications of the forms. Did a few competitions and enjoyed them immensely. Moving to London for University, Brian referred me to Curtis Page. He was a tall, lean fighter, great reflexes and incredible kicks. My most vivid memory of Curtis was watching him in a tournament do a rolling axe kick and score with it. Here I met my first mate down south, Damo. Over the next year or so we spent much time together training and hanging out. Training focus waned, the class became very small and the instructor was doing his best to keep it going but my motivation slipped. Outside of training I was an avid reader of martial arts mags and books, in retrospect, these filled my head with different ideas as well as building potential insecurities. Specifically fear of attack and needing to learn the ultimate martial art. Damo went to a demo of a wing chun school in Croydon. I had read about wing chun, the martial art that Bruce Lee sort of made famous. It has been known as scientific street fighting. So to an insecure young man, I needed to investigate.

Wing Chun: 18 moths Martin Workman. Martin at the time was 19 and to my eye a very gifted wing chun guy. The first session we did, he got me to hold a pad at my chest, he stood on one leg and hit the pad with a lateral elbow strike. I was instantly impressed with his power and technique. At the time, Martin was part of the National Wing Chun Association, who were a break away from the James Sinclair tribe. The twp top guys in the association had developed an interesting syllabus. Lots of footwork drills, basic shape drills, 1-2-3- drills, entry techniques, a great pad work syllabus. I really enjoyed training but kept reading outside and started to learn about the ancient fighting art of taichi. Reading fed my mind, I made my excuses and moved on.

Wudang Taichi Chuan:
6 months, Ray White. I read about a no nonsense guy called Dan Docherty teaching a style of taichi that was tournament tested and focused on developing a strong body and spirit through hard training. I really enjoyed the training, my best mate Jonny trained with me and we had a right old time. We trained in Stockwell, the dojo of Sid Hoare (a legendary Judo player). The simple end of this class was the dojo closed and no club near was available to train in. Instead of going back to Martin, I found an apparent fighting taichi style in Holland Park.

Old Yang style Taichi Chuan: 3 years, Paul Brecher. This was a great 3 years, I learned the old yang style long form and associated training methods and forms, lots of qigong, methods from Wudang (the predecessor to taichi) and dim mak knowledge. Perhaps the highlight was a week in the Spanish Hills at a retreat learning and training. Towards the end of my time with Paul, I lost my way as I started to question his teaching methods. This was my failing not Paul’s. He is a great guy whom I have total respect for and we still keep in touch to this day.

CQC: 1 year, Joe Hubbard. I hooked up with Jonny again and found Joe in Kingston teaching the methods of Hock Hockheim. This was a synthesis of Pacific rim systems. It is 5 different systems (Hand to hand, stick, knife, gun, etc) and very systematic in it’s syllabus. 10 levels for each module. It was good stuff but me and Jonny were not his favourites and unfortunately were treated without the same martial affection. Downer really, they were good times.

Warriors Escrima: 3 months, so I moved to a Filipino specific class, a student of Krishna Godhania. He was teaching some new material out of the States (Sayoc Kali), it was pure knife fighting, almost to an anal level. Got bored so tried some thing mental.

Harimau Pentjak Silat: 3 months, Scott McQuaid. This was a crazy time, training in a public park at tea time in Kingston. Hard, hard traditional training in a most demanding art. Scott was clearly a gifted guy in his chosen discipline. I binned it because I simply found the training too rigorous on the legs. Lots and lots and lots of low stance training.

Systema: 3 years, Greg Coveney, Darren Pickard. I did some research, and this new system was making an appearance in the mags. Now the internet was starting to develop and saw some vids. It looked both interesting and fake so thought about having a go. Simply put, loved it. I stopped after 3 years because 1 session was on fear and street fighting. So, Darren, Greg, Barry and me, donned the mma gloves an went at it. It scarred the shit out of me and mentally found this very hard to deal with. I left by making some inane excuse about money or my car or something. Instead of facing my fears with the guys who I am sure would have helped me through, I put my tail between my legs and left.

Wudang Taichi Chuan
: 6 months. Found a local class and popped along for a while, it was really great, but because my head as always was looking for something new I had not tried, I got attracted to BJJ as I love, love watching UFC.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu: 2 and a half years years, Ricardo Da Silva. This is the most physically demanding system I have trained in. It made me fitter, stronger and less scarred than anything studied. Because of the honesty of the training (there is no room for paper tigers, they get found out very quickly) it was a great bunch of guys. Some of who were and still are successful pro MMA fighters. Lots of humility in that dojo. I used to go 3 times a week, Ben was born and I stepped down to 1. Found it hard to make progress and just tick over at once a week. A reduce in training meant sessions were harder to keep up with the rest. I would give them a jolly good fight as I became realised good cardio and the desire to keep fighting went along way. So I looked elsewhere for training that permitted me once a week.

Some action of me sparring...

Wing Tsun
: 3 months, Lee Heron. An interesting group, lots of skill differentiated, very thorough syllabus, no flexibility in methodology. Which led me to muse a return to Systema. Not bound by rules, syllabus, etc.

8 weeks. Back with the Maidenhead boys. Some faces are similar, others not, the group still energetic, fluid, fun and firm. I love the free experimentation in and out of class. At home, I started focusing on stick work and various strength training centred around the 4 core exercises and Russian yoga. But as usual my lack of focus and discipline to one style kicked in and I moved on.

Wudang tai chi chuan: 12 months. learning many thinks with Norman - variety of pushing hands, short form round, sabre form, handstands... Wont talk too much about the last 12 months as where I am now and why is detailed in my original blog post.

I have met and trained with some wonderful characters and am sorry if I have missed anyone out.

And to the final path, Wing Chun with Martin... The syllabus is concept not technique driven, he will fail you in a grading on your first mistake = Growth through hardship. How can I not grow?

Saturday 27 March 2010

The Background

What follows is a letter I recently wrote to a former instructor of mine who I trust, respect and value the opinion of. I have come to a cross roads in my training after 17 years (now aged 36), a martial mid life crisis if you will.

Hi Martin,

Hope all is well with you. Great to see you have got some vids on YouTube at last. Seeing your videos got me thinking, dangerous I know. I hope there is some cohesion to my ramblings. I guess I am after your advice as I respect your opinion and honesty.

I started martial arts for many reasons way back in 1993. Fitness, fear, Bruce Lee admiration, the mysticism and romance of the Eastern Arts.

Fear used to be my main reason for training, looking for ways to overcome it. Yet the more I tried, the more, in retrospect I failed. As soon as the contact and psychological pressure got heavy in training, I made excuses and went to look for the next system to make me capable in self defence. It is hard to admit but I think I was looking to get my hands dirty without really getting them dirty. 4 years ago I came back to your class for a couple of weeks and I was amazed at the subtle differences in the 10 year hiatus since I last walked through your doors. But my mind took my focus to grappling as you demoed some amazing transitions on the floor in one of your classes. In my head I thought ‘Thhis what I need to learn, I want to be this good on the floor’. This led me to investigate a tough and mainly enjoyable 3 years in BJJ. I learned essentially in BJJ about the pain and contact of grappling and would quite happily now go and wrestle with anyone as my fear in the sphere has been confronted and understood.

As you know I went along to Lee Heron’s wing chun class for a couple of months hoping to find answers from the stand up perspective. He has some interesting ideas and clearly a well thought out ‘progressive’ system but for me lacked the essence of what I experienced in your class. It is quite hard to put that essence into words, I just know that there was a difference. So I went back to BJJ but fell out of love due to feeling like I was not making progress. For a couple of years I was going 3 times a week, Steph had a baby so I had to trim it down to once a week. It soon became apparent felt like each week was just about maintaining my level and not moving forward as fast as the others.. I got quite good at having a tight defence, giving them a tough hard fight, but got frustrated as I felt I was not getting my blue belt when others were. People who I was dominating in sparring, or some lads were also doing the MMA training and I felt they got promoted as they were part of the Team. But who am I to judge?

I have always felt a great sense of excitement when I started investigating a new system then a sense of letting myself down for not sticking around in anything for more than 3 years. At the moment I am training in tai chi and have been since May last year. I do enjoy it, but feel like I am learning solely a martial art and not a functional martial art.

Over the past few months I have started subscribing to Geoff Thompson’s podcasts and find his words to be very inspirational. He talks about growth through hardship. I recognise that in my martial arts training history, when hardship (physical, psychological) creeps in, I pack it in and move on. On question is, do you think it is something I should think about overcoming at my soon to be middle age? I know in terms of stats, the chances of me being mugged or attacked are slim, and if jumped I would probably drag them to the floor as that is where I would feel safest and most competent. I guess in my path through life I am looking to always grow and learn and conquer my own fears and growing from this.

Then I noticed that you have developed a grading system. This also got me thinking about what have I achieved in 17 years in the martial arts. Well I have a few grading certificates from my first art; Lau Gar Kung Fu with Damo in the dark and distant past. However, I have read that if you train in Geoff Thompson’s art, the grading is earned and not given. I assume from reading your class blog, the same case is for your system. Part of me wants to feel a sense of achievement in my training from specific goals that have been set. Part of me wants to feel a sense of achievement in my training, that might be doing a grading as it is something that is measureable and tangible but also earned. Part of me is also an over analytical perfectionist who trembles with the fear of performing in front of others. Recently, my Head teacher asked me to do a short presentation to the rest of the staff. I found it very hard; sweaty, shaky voice, tunnel vision. Put in front of a room full of kids and not a problem at all. I was pleased that I did it afterwards as next time it will be easier, or more emotionally manageable. The first one will be my reference point. So, I know I am a contradiction: I want to stop being a contradiction. I want to grow from stepping out of my comfort zone but am scarred of stepping out of my comfort zone.

An example of this is the idea of coming back to your class. Part of me feels like a failure for not sticking with it all those years ago, I had such fun with you, Damo and the rest of the guys. Part of me feels like turning of the internal dialogue and just focussing on the now (taichi) and forgetting about growth and fear, but I do find it hard to do. Part of me is excited about the idea of stepping through your doors as I know the lessons I will learn will be hard, challenging and I will fail a lot but will grow from this.

Linked to the above points are some things you mentioned on your YouTube clips and about aggression and relaxation. I want to develop the ability to move with the fluidity, relaxation, confidence and aggression that you and your students demonstrated on the clips. I understand these concepts but am poor at applying them. I rarely was aggressive in BJJ, generally defensive. Used to fight a lot from half and full guard, not in a stifling way, always looking to submit but never have understood how to work aggressively with relaxation and confidence. Perhaps it is because I am scarred of aggression, my own interpretation of aggression is about pain (emotional and physical). Maybe I am confusing anger with aggression? Maybe it is angry aggression that I am scarred of?

After the rambling, I guess the questions are this? Would you think it suitable for me to come back to your class? If not, where do you think I could address and confront and understand my internal questions?

In using so many words I have also demonstrated a lack of understanding of the concept of economy of (typing) motion