Every now and then, my martial artist friends will gather to exchange technique and advice. We meet up in a park, don our protective gear (note: groin guards have been seriously underrated in my life- after the face, the groin was the most popular target for me) and spar, grapple or teach each other tricks that our disciplines don’t cover. I’d like to take a moment to take an inventory of my injuries.
My injuries include:
- Injured right ankle, probably from resisting a takedown or an awkwardly distanced kick. [Note: it’s seriously hard to put weight on it.]
- Injured left ankle (not as bad as the right)
- Injured left knee, not too sure how
- Hyperextended elbow, from Manchoon’s devastating elbow bar which I refused to tap out of until it hurt too much
- Sprained neck from Andrew’s headlock throw.
- Sprained thumb from Jeff teaching me how to defend against someone in half-guard.
- Many, many scratches from stray fingernails during grabs and throws.
- Bruised forearms and shins from successful blocks and unsuccessful kicks.
- A swollen nose from an elbow and a wooden knife across the face.
- An increasingly large cold sore from the trauma of being repeatedly hit (and very cleanly roundhouse kicked) in the face over my splint. (For those who don’t know, I recently took a sword hilt to the face which pushed a tooth out of line, so I got it cemented back in place for 6 weeks- it’s due to come off in mid-March. The teeth are mostly fine, but my lips are constantly grating against the cement.)
- A lower back injury from an incorrect throw.
- A sore mandibular joint from a few hooks.
- A raw throat from a very effective rear-naked chokehold from Manchoon.
Lessons learned include:
- When behind someone, a good way of controlling them is picking them up (with your legs, not your back!), knocking their legs aside with one knee, and letting them fall.
- When being mounted in full-guard (I don’t even know if I’m using correct terminology), trapping their head to your chest will make striking ineffective and will force them to expend large amounts of energy to escape.
- When being mounted in half-guard, break their centre-line-dominance by shifting one of their hands to the ground.
It’s possible to apply a kimura (shoulder lock) by sitting up and reaching around their elbow to grab your wrist, before pinning their elbow to your chest and lifting.
A good escape is trapping one of their hands on the ground, planting one foot firmly on the ground, sweeping the other foot to meet grounded-foot and tossing with your hip.
- If someone has you in a clinch, machine-gun uppercutting to the abdomen is an effective striking-way to get out- don’t worry about what they’re doing, worry about what you’re doing. If they drop their hands, shift the target to their face and get some distance.
- Alternatively, if you need to defend yourself in a clinch, drop your hands and use both forearms to dull the impact of impending knees.
- If someone is pressing a combination attack, hitting them hard in the face is a good way to disrupt their momentum. (Sorry Bert.)
- If your training partner/opponent has longer reach than you, don’t keep your distance and wait for a good time to enter, because you may not get that opportunity and they’ll pick you off with their long jabs and kicks. Enter at the first chance you get and stay there.
- Tiger-claw is not in the slightest suitable for sparring, unless you want to rend the flesh from your training partners.
- Being hit on the right side, under the ribcage, can induce nausea. I have no idea why. According to my knowledge of human biology, there should be nothing there but intestine.
- A punch to the face hurts surprisingly little when you’re full of adrenaline. Admittedly everyone was holding back, but it would have to be quite the spectacular punch to knock me out/to the ground.
- If someone raises one leg in a guard, grab it, pin your head to their chest and spin to take them to the ground.
- Fingers to fingers if you want your kote gaeshi to be more effective. But you CAN throw someone with it.
- It’s easy to get someone in a chokehold if you can slip past them on the outside. Be wary of others doing this to you.
- Keep your guard up! Even as a feint, if one gets through, it’s going to hurt. Exaggerate less.
- If doing a chasing punch, extend the left arm to obfuscate before entering.
- Retract your kicks faster than you send them out. It’s not worth kicking someone, even if it lands, if they can grab your leg.
- Same-hand jab-hook combo seems to be effective.
- When you’ve been thrown, move fast to get back up, or take your time to set up a counter-grapple. No matter how tired you are, do not do this the other way around.
- Being hit in the eye can cause temporary blindness. Props to Andrew for not letting it show.
- It’s a good idea to cut fingernails short before sparring, or especially grappling.
- It’s easy to abandon all training and just charge at the guy, overpower their guard and hit them repeatedly. However, this kind of attacking/training is very limited and most definitely cannot be relied on. For someone who is dedicated to improving, they will find a way to defeat a desperate berserk attack. It is important not to take shortcuts for short-term results.
That’s all that comes to mind at the moment, but thanks to the boys for some really great exchanges, and apologies for all the injuries I contributed to. Thanks also to the girls for the support and patience for watching their boys roll around in the grass and limp back to them afterwards. Peace.