Monday, June 12, 2017

What Martial Art do you believe is best for self defense?

I was recently asked: What Martial Art do you believe is best for self defense? Read my response below.

The practitioner is far more important then the system they practice in my mind. "You are the weapon. Anything you use is a tool" is how Doug Marcaida says it as I recall.

That said, systems that I wish to master in order to be proficient in Self Defense are:

1) Jeet Kune Do - Open to all arts, trapping from a boxing stance, no way as way, Bruce Lee, Dan Inosanto :) Works all 4 basic unarmed ranges, kicking, boxing, trapping and grappling.
2) Krav Maga - Highly functional and streamlined. Trains and conditions very hard. Interested above all in function. Trains against multiple attackers and guns. (filling two holes left out of the Jeet Kune Do curriculum)
3) Brazilian/Gracie Jiu Jitsu - Proven over and over to be one of the best (if not, THE best) 1v1 system out there. Improves on the basic ground work provided in KM and JKD, while you keep those seperate techniques as "surprises" for your single art BJJ guys. You will have some options they have not studied. The weakness of this system is against multiple opponents, you have the first guy tied up like a pretzel, only to have his buddy kick your teeth out. KM and JKD give you the tools and mindset to work in the other ranges and against more then one attacker.

If I could add supplemental training to that base, I would include.

Kali - Fills that weapons range, that extends beyond kicking, knives, stickes, etc. The flow drills they teach are also awesome. A worthy art all by itself.|
Judo - Throws, throws for days. A cousin to BJJ, this would add a number of excellent options for getting the other guy(s) out of commission and on the ground. Sambo is another honorable mention in this category.


Firearms training - For that final range beyond knives and sticks. every military uses firearms. It totally makes sense that the use of handguns, shotguns and rifles should be included in the personal training of someone looking to defend themselves or others. Integrate those skills into the other arts you practice.

This will likely be a life long pursuit of mine, to get where I want to be, but I feel like it is a good road map. :) Mad respect to all the arts, I believe they all hold value, but these are the ones I choose to focus on.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Avoiding the pitfalls of Inner Dojo Training

In sports or video games, sometimes in your local social group, a few people will start to show skill above the rest. They soon start to dominate the local competition. It is there they face a crossroads. Stay in their local group and be a big fish in a small pond or step outside their local group and continue to grow by finding people who can challenge and push their skills and make them better.

Martial arts schools can in very insular, very self contained worlds. If you only spar against people who know the exact same moves and mindset as you, your skills are limited and your game will almost certainly contain holes.

Solutions to the problem? Travel and train with others in different arts, from different schools. Find athletic people who are untrained but who are willing to do some friendly sparring with some basic safety guidelines, see what their natural reactions are and how your skills interact with them. If they would have done a "dirty move" at some point, ask them to point out when and what.

Expand your minds. Keep learning. Flow like Water ladies and gentlemen.

Until next time,
Travis Henry

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Friday, January 6, 2017

What the Financial World has that Martial Arts needs.

Financial Guru Dave Ramsey has some great information out there, he believes some radical things, like humans can go through life without using debt, (crazy, right?) In a world where credit cards are the norm, living like Dave requires a lot of hard work. Not unlike achieving your maximum potential as a martial artist. Much of Dave's philosophy crosses over really well.

Check out this grab bag of my favorite Dave quotes.

"The only way you delay momentary pleasure is based on the nobility of your vision."

"You will hit what you aim at and if you aim at nothing you will hit it every time."

Lose weight is a dream. Never going to happen. A goal is lose 30 pounds in six months.
Specific, Measurable, Your Goals, Time Limit Written. (What about gain the splits in 3 months? Does this apply to us? I certainly think so!)

These sound a lot like another philosopher I really enjoy reading.

Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do. - Bruce Lee

Always learning, always applying, let's go!

Check out Dave's video, "How To Set Your Goals In 2016" (oldie but a goodie) and his most recent, How To Accomplish Goals In 2017 for more inspiring thoughts!


Thursday, January 5, 2017

How a Murder lead me to Jeet Kune Do

I went to college in Ada Oklahoma, a small town  (population 15,000.) Crime is not something I thought about a lot as a college student, the campus is well patrolled and the town definitely has a small town vibe, friendly people, cowboy hats and pickup trucks. When major violent crime happens it is a big deal. Best selling author, John Grisham wrote a book called "The Innocent Man" based on a brutal murder (and wrongful conviction) that happened back in the 1980's in Ada. I was largely unaware of this at the time, but my sensibilities began to change as I joined the Criminal Justice program and discovered that our fair city had a growing crime rate, and unfortunately as of 2015 is one of the Top Ten Most Dangerous towns in Oklahoma. This was not made real to me however, until the murder of Generro Sanchez, a fellow student at the local university, East Central.

To quote, "The victim, Generro Sanchez, 18, of Stuart, had agreed to give Murray a ride to Walmart for $20. Once in the truck, Murray pulled out a stolen handgun and forced the victim to drive into the country.

He shot Sanchez in the head inside the slow-moving truck as he begged for his life, prosecutors said. He then pulled Sanchez from the truck after it had crashed into a tree and shot him again in the head."

The criminal, who also believes he is "king of the world" and claims to see ghosts was found not guilty by reason of insanity and is now in a mental institution.

This lead me to some deep introspection. The best defense to this situation is to not be in it, avoid the problem at its root, but say, just say, you were helping a new friend out, giving them a ride, and they pulled a gun on you? I would want options. I had taken some Taekwondo classes, they did not have those answers. I started doing some research and found Krav Maga. They had some very interesting gun disarms, and definitely trained under pressure. In fact, their Black Belt curriculum trains against carjackings specifically.

 This was something I wanted to learn, but the hand speed, the hand speed required to pull that off. Then I found this video by Tommy Carruthers. My word, he is fast. He served as my entry point into the Jeet Kune Do world, and boy, did I love it. I started reading Bruce Lee, found a local school and started studying. I then discovered Dan Inosanto and boy, did I take off from there, he opened the door for JKD Concepts, being permitting to study all arts together in a holistic manner, and my word, how I have loved that principle.

Years passed, and now I find myself leading a martial arts club at our church, where we can freely study any and all of the self defense applications the human anatomy allows for. It is my hope that through this club I can do some good in the lives of those who train together with me, and perhaps through hard work and research we can grow into the best people and martial artists we can be, and if, heaven forbid, we found ourselves in a crazy situation, we would have the tools to do some good in that time and in that place.

2 Timothy 4:2 reads in part, be prepared in season and out of season, it would be my hope for anyone who is reading this, who works hard, studies hard, trains hard, that if that moment every comes, that you would be blessed with the skill, courage, and quickness for good to triumph, to protect those you love, rescue those in harms way, and stop evil in its tracks.

Blessings, thanks for reading,
Travis H.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

How Ronda Rousey could have won UFC 207

With news coming out of UFC stating that Ronda Rousey is out with a broken jaw following her comeback attempt in UFC 207, it is enough to make any serious student of the martial arts ask some serious questions. This fighter was absolutely dominating her weight division, until her devastating knockout by Holly Holm and then taking this beating from Amanda Nunes a few days ago.

What do we as martial artists take away from this? Ronda has been an amazing Judo player, went to the Olympics, dominated UFC for a good long while, even winning with her striking game like this time verses Sara McMann.

I think even in that fight though, the issues are there, Ronda simply has an issue with guarding her head. She does not slip, bob and weave in the manner of the boxer, she does not block hard with the ridge of her arm in the manner of Tae Kwon Do or Karate, she does not block and counter with the blow and ebb of Jeet Kune Do or Wing Chun, she does not destroy the limbs of her opponents like a Filipino Martial Arts practitioner "defanging the snake"would, She does not stay out of range entirely like a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu might, until the time comes to grapple (this might be her best option, she has trained extensively with the Gracie's but her temperament seems to demand she answers punch for punch.) She does not dance away in the manner of the Capoeira player or float like a butterfly.

She just keeps her head on her centerline and gets hit in the face. Let this be a cautionary tale for us guys, even the best can progress still more.

We got options guys. Let's train them. Let's use them.

Until next time, guard your head!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Fighting Measure - Attack without Limit

Yesterday at Living Water Martial Arts, we worked on the Fighting Measure, or measuring distance and timing in a fight.

Having every martial arts tool at the ready is something I am deeply interested in. For example: Tae Kwon Do and Karate teach a round kick that strikes with the instep of the foot, or the part of your foot that is covered by the shoelaces. Muay Thai teaches a round kick that strikes with the shin of the leg, in other words, a little higher up the leg then Tae Kwon Do or Karate. Krav Maga and Muay Thai also teach a round knee strike, still farther up the leg.

If the human body, our common basic anatomy possesses the ability to use each of these tools, then why don't we train them all? Why do some arts neglect tools that are available to the human body? (This could also apply to only training to kick at certain heights, low or high, why neglect the totality of the tools available to the human body? It seems simply to be nonsensical.)

I understand the concept of specialization and mastery, as Bruce Lee famously put it, "I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times." I understand this. You want to sharpen and polish a tool to make it sharp and effective. However, I feel that in order to make the most use of the tools we have been given, we should practice all applications of our hammer, our wrench and our nails, not only use a hammer's claw and forget how to drive a nail.

How do I marry these two ideas together? Mastery and Totality? In a word, Concepts. Dan Inosanto has already coined the phrase in Jeet Kune Do, the idea of something as it relates to Bruce Lee's teachings, of a Concept, for example, throwing someone off balance might be a concept, how you do that mechanically is up to you.

When thinking of the Fighting Measure, or using the right tool at the right distance, I like to think of the line of attack, if we imagine the face of a clock surrounding our opponent, we might throw a round kick at the 3 o'clock position, striking their rib cage, perhaps their floating rib. Now, the distance might change slightly on us, if we are at the edge of kicking range, the Tae Kwon Do/Karate Kick is a great tool, slightly closer, the Muay Thai shin kick is ideal, closer still, the Knee strike from Krav Maga and Muay Thai. If mentally we train ourselves to judge this distance, find the timing, and use proper tool at the proper moment, without artificial limitation, (My art does not strike like that!) it is there that I believe, great success will be found.

Attack without limit.

Until next time my friends.
Travis Henry