Sunday 27 February 2011

Week 40

Wrestlers pummel

Worked the basic roll ensuring good hips and structure. Both looked to take down each other through hip control. My thing to wotk on is to keep facing forwards with the face, I tend to turn as I bump in.

We also looked at throwing the elbow on the change and the arm drag.

Lat sau
So tonight started the making of corrections.

1. Headbutt the punch: When doing the cross defence I was leaving too much of a gap between face and shoulder so when seeing it come the trick is to nutt the punch. Of course the arm is in the way but this concept ensures a tight and effective defence.

2. Stick: Wait and feel, no need to go on the next count or beat. Feel it and the arm coming through to be high needs to start low. This will give you the centre and prevent getting boppped on the nose.

3. Tough stick: So when there are lots of changes going on, wait, wait, feel and take it when you are on the outside again. As the arm raises turn the shoulders to dominate the centre and take him off his centre.

Grade 1 and 2 notes

Grading Summary

Paul Caswell

Grade 1


Very Good form throughout. Correct fist alignment and maintained locked elbows throughout the whole test. Impressive.

Balance, Footwork and Posture.Good focus. Needs a little more drive from the backleg at times. Good posture but too high in stance. Maintained good guard. Feet coming together on offline.

Pre Fight
Good pre fight posture. Good power on the pads with no drawback before shot is thrown. Accurate on all shots. Watch weight after landing the punch.

3 Drill
Very high standard. Excellent chop forwards to initiate attacks. All Laps were full with a good grip and control with the exception on the Lap before initiating a change as the mindfulness on the Lap was lost. No back fist before changing. Very good form. Used small movements and stayed relaxed throughout.

Lat Sau
Giving gaps by pushing from the wrist rather than locking at the elbow. Remained relaxed and adjusted well on the change when the first attempt didn’t go to my face. Good footwork throughout. Lost centre line on the punch – started punching side to side rather than one fist over the top of the other.

Closing Comments
Fantastic technique, focus and power throughout the grade. Passed by a clear mile. I really enjoyed seeing you apply the concepts and you showed a great understanding of the style.

Grade 2

Swing Defence

Very Good. Moved in quickly and with correct distance judgement. Correct angle maintained. Defended successfully. Maintained balance after shot. Strong structure.

Destroying balance, posture and stance.
Watch weight distribution when pushing on partner. Still too high in stance. Shoulders not square when destroying partners stance. Demonstrated posture breaks, shoulder rotations, stance breaking and arm push/pulls.

Focus pads
Nice and crisp. Displayed good accuracy. Solid technique.

3 Drill
Good speed. Defences broke down at speed. No extension on laps at speed. Footwork needs work. Adjusted well when under pressure and offlined but a little slow to react. Inside/ outside lap reaction a little slow and occasionally incorrect. Poor Lap on piston punch (pulling into the body rather than extending towards me). Posture poor on hit through the centre (leaning sideways). Needs to watch being trapped on hit through the centre. Good pak awareness. Good shoulder alignment on defences. Needs minor adjustment to hit through the centre defence.

Lat Sau
Demonstrated good composure under pressure. Good footwork and posture. Turned the wrong way on the cross defence. No centre line on stick. Turned away on stick. Gaps on punch defence.

Pyramid 7
Good effort. Locked well. A little tired.

Closing Comments
Really good effort throughout. Lots to work on but know you are mindful of what adjustments are needed we will make sure that together we get you there. You have a good innate understanding of the style and I’m confident that through training and visualisation, you will pass with flying colours next time.

Monday 14 February 2011

Post grading day

The day started off early as I got up with the boys and already was feeling the nerves and apprenshenion of the day ahead. In order to take my mind of it all I hunted on YouTube for the previous night's action from the first round of the Strikeforce Heavy weight Grand Prix. Arlovski got KO'd, again. An arms straight job, very messy. Fedor got mugged by Bigfoot.

On the way to the grading I almost crashed my car 3 times due to my tunnel vision. Arrived there nice and early and jumped in the car with Slippers and the Panther. Nerves were rife in the car which made me feel better, at least I was not alone. Joyfully pumping his fist out of his car window, Martin arrived and it was on. Time for the game face.

Well a mix of emotions really so I will go through each grade.

Grade 1:

Started off with punching, lots and lots in lines. Singles, doubles, triples and a pyramid up to 7. My focus was my posture and my elbows. Drive from the elbows and relax was the internal mantra. In the feedback Martin was extremely complimentary about my punching saying elbows keeping straightening even in the bunches of 7.

Footwork: Driving forward with double punches, the legs were alive with active readiness to go on the call. Felt strong and determined. Footwork with a partner moving around the room. This was something I was quite apprehensive about as my visualisation work highlighted too much weight on my front foot and thus making off lining tough. Being cognisent of this made my footwork better than ever before. In the feedback Martin remarked that he wrote in his notes that I was on fire.

Pre fight: Meet and greet and trigger touch. This is where I tried hard to compress and explode with a poker face. As soon as I saw the pad and it moved, bang. All my focus was on that pad. My posture and balance was not perfect at the end of the move.

3 drill: All I wanted to do was lap well and attack strong. Martin started to smirk which vexed me somewhat as I assumed I was missing something and thus waiting for bad news. Thankfully not as in the feedback Martin was most positive about my 3 drill.

Lat sau: Hell on earth, hard, confusing, awkward and this is only for grade 1. Felt like it fell apart, started to make adjustments from my wrist, lost control of the centreline.

I did pass and according to Martin with flying colours which was my goal. Mentally it was very hard, more so than physically. Yes it was tough on the body. Stuff hurt, stuff ached and lactic acid coupled with adrenaline was the order of the day but the mental pressure of the situation was incredibly hard.

Grade 2:

Started very well for me with some pad work. Made me feel alive and in the moment again. It turns out that my footwork let me down as I habitually rise and fall. Thus need more discipline as I have in sparring; the anti-takedown mma/wing chun hybrid stance.

Destroying balance: I was working with Slippers here and thought about the main areas of the body where balance can be affected. Worked the head, shoulders, hips, double lap, tai chi style push on whole body and leg destruction.

3 drill: Shocking. Fell apart at speed. Laps disappeared, limited defence against attacks, crap lap on the piston punch, naff hit through the centre, confusion over inside and outside gate lap. Although I did manage to find the elbow on the over extending pak sau defence.

Lat sau: Hell on earth. Speed overwhelmed me, crap stick with zero control of the centre, generally poor poor quality.

Unsurprisingly I failed but it did give me lots of learning points to develop and refine.

Great to see Slippers and Stable Joe passed, both truly deserved it. It is great to reflect on my own journey through the martial arts that this is the first time I have experienced failure and been positive and encouraged by it. Not running away and making excuses. I want to stick at this and become outstanding. Only the path of hard work and sound application will see me through.

In closing, this was tougher than fighting at Seni in the BJJ tourney. Tougher than my first semi contact match in Lau Gar. Tougher than being hit by Mikhail Ryabko. Mentally this was hard. Very hard. It was not like training at all. Martin applied a pressure unfelt previously. Perhaps it was the pressure to perform knowing how tough Martin is in looking for errors. The positive is that I have been though it once so next time the pressure will still be incredibly hard but at least not new.

Part of me wants to never grade again as I am very sacred about failing as in my mind the standard to pass grade 2 and further grades at the moment seems unsurpassable.

Sunday 13 February 2011

Grading day

Been doing some more visualisation work and realised my footwork is weighted wrong for off-lining so I have been trying to fix it by being much more aware of my rear leg. I can only off line better when there is less weight on the front leg.

Oh how the nerves have started and it is 3 hours away from starting. I am also flapping about what food to eat...

Saturday 12 February 2011

Week 38

Finally the pre grading session after the snow last year prevented the grading from happening. Going into the class tonight I was convinced that I was only going for grade 1, as it turns out I am going for both which fills me with determined excitement and nerves. Been doing some visualisation practise to make up for not being there today (Saturday. My first session has shown me that the lap of my left arm in the 3 drill is bent so I have been working that straight. I am going to put everything into it and if I fail I will be very upset, but being a newly formed realist and not letting self criticism be my undoing, I will then have new and specific training goals.

Off to do some more visualisation. I will post my grading report tomorrow night.

Saturday 5 February 2011

Week 37

A very quiet class tonight, only 7 of us. Before class a painful rumour developed about the the class moving to Greenwich. It is now Saturday night and since 7.30pm on Thursday this has been plaguing my thoughts.
What do I do? Should I struggle to the land of the Meridian? Should I look for somewhere else. The past few days have been a familiar yet uniquely unpleasant time. Familiar in that I have looked for a new club many times in the past but always because it was my choice. Unpleasant because this choice was being forced on me against my will. Thankfully the class if staying put. I can now maintain my focus and learning under Martin's tutelage. This is a huge relief for me as I feel that I am starting to settle into WWC and the class is made up of outstanding people.

In retrospect the class was good in that I learnt to become slightly better at footwork. Sparring was swift in the changes but consistent for me. I managed to work my game. I have noticed that in waiting for an attack so I can attack at the end of theirs, people don't like non action. Curiously this means I expend very little energy. If I can manage to not get frustrated and be patient, I am going to see and react in a much smarter way. It also gives me the opportunity to develop a tight defence.

So now I am looking forward to Thursday. Next Sunday is the grading. Already nervous thinking about it...