Rear Naked Choke - Weak Side

So after you've taken the back, and you have a back mount position with an over-under clinch, sometimes, you might fall to what is called the "weak side". 

Let's rewind for a second, here. So the over-under clinch means you have one arm (let's say your right arm), over their (right) shoulder, and the other arm (your left arm) under their (left) arm. Both your hands are clamped together, pressing against their body.

So the "weak" side is the underhook side, which, in our example, is the left side. There's an issue here, in trying to do the Rear Naked Choke - your left arm is trapped!! So, we have to go through a process of freeing that arm, with minimal chance of them escaping.

What we do is we bring our right arm under their neck to grab their shoulder and pull them up... also, you use your right leg (which is hooked inside their right leg), and pull their leg back at the same time of pulling their shoulder up. This increases the possibility of moving them enough to get your arm out. 

Now that you're able to move them enough to get your arm out, slide your left arm UNDER your right arm, which crossed their neck to grab the shoulder, and let them drop into your left arm. This way, there is no gap in the transfer.

From there, your left arm grabs your right bicep, your right arm adjusts their chin to line up with your (left) elbow,  then your right hand enters behind their neck with the palm facing towards you (so they can't pull it down), then you turn your palm onto their head, and squeeze with your left arm.

Partners, make sure to tap, and people doing the technique, make sure to please release the grip after they tap. 

Please exercise great safety and caution when training this technique. 

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Rear Naked Choke - Strong Side

The Rear Naked Choke is one of the most amazing submissions moves, ever. No one is impervious to it! No matter how big or strong you are, everyone will go to sleep when their carotid arteries are constricted! 

This one is done when after you've taken their back, you are on the "strong side". What this simply means is that when you've taken their back, you've done an "over-under clinch", which means, one of your arms is over their shoulder, and the other is under the other arm. 
So from this position, you are on the "Overhook" side (which is the side that your arm is over their shoulder"). 

So first, just hold onto the clinch, let them settle down. Let them struggle a little. Then slap on the Rear Naked Choke. 

To put on the choke:
-your weak side, meaning the undertook side, grabs their arm and presses it close to their body. This is so that arm doesn't come loose and try to undo anything. 
-at the same time, your overlook side extends and wraps around their neck, grabbing your own bicep area.
-then, free your underhook/grabbing arm by pulling it back quickly
-then with either palm or fist, adjust their chin to line up with your elbow of your choking arm (this way you will be able to put direct pressure on the carotid arteries).
-then take the hand that just adjust the chin and bring it behind their head, palm side facing you when entering in the back.
-and finally, turn that palm forward, and squeeze with your bicep and forearm while simultaneously pushing down from they back of their head.

Count to 10 seconds, they should be getting a little limp, and once you feel that, count 7-10 more seconds to make sure they won't get up right away. That way they will be unconscious for enough time for your to make your escape.

Other stats - holding the choke for upto 30 seconds can cause brain damage, and 60 or more seconds can be fatal. So please exercise caution when training with your partner, make sure to tap, and respect the tap, and release. And in an actually self defense situation, use your judgement on how long you want to hold for. That's a decision you're going to have to think about and make. I'll talk more on this in our next video, which is the RNC from the Weak Side!

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Taking the Back

This is one of THE MOST IMPORTANT POSITIONS I can ever show you in self defense!! 

When you have the mount, which is the most dominant position on the ground, if you start raining down strikes to your attacker face, there's a good chance that they will roll over on to their knees and expose their back to you.

Once they have expose their back, then you literally TAKE THE BACK! You insert your legs inside theirs (these are called "leg hooks"), have one arm over their shoulder, and another under their arm, and both your arms are clinched onto them, you have successfully taken their back. Be sure to have your head close in, to one side.

This is a very effective control position, because there is very little damage they can actually do to you. You are also in a very good position to choke them out! 

Get yourself really used to this Taking the Back action. It is sometimes called the "Back Mount". Those leg hooks and the over-under clinch position happen all at once! The moment their back is exposed, go right into it without hesitation!

There's a good chance that the attacker will be flailing around trying to get out. Just hold tight, keep your head in close, and let them go crazy and exhaust their energy. This is purely a control position. 

Sometimes, when you roll to the side, your arms might come loose - don't let it! Keep them in close. If there's looseness in the arms, they could escape, so keep the arm wrap snug and close. 

Don't forget to modify your mount after your ground and pound, by the way. After you start raining down the strikes, it will make them roll to the side, and if you don't modify your mount, there's a chance they could roll you right off! So modify that mount, put the weight on your hands, then take the back!

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the World of Martial Arts

Artificial Intelligence and Martial Arts

ReleasedFeb 18, 2018

Does AI have an application in the world of martial arts? How soon before Skynet makes terminator models that can do a triangle choke? We talk about all that and more this episode.

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Leg Hook Takedown

So after you get the attacker in a clinch, they will do a number of predictable behaviors. One of them is to stop, after they are moving around, trying to shake you off. Eventually, they realize that they can't get you off, so they stop squirming for a moment.

That moment where they stop is your opportunity to do a Leg Hook Takedown. It is an incredibly effective move to take someone to the ground, and mount on top of them.

The ground gives you a significant position of leverage. Now, obviously, if there are weapons involved, or there is more than one attacker, you don't do this. 

But in the case of a one on one attack, and the person is much bigger, heavier, stronger, more athletic, and more aggressive than you, this is the best place to take them. From the ground, we can neutralize their aggression, and let them exhaust their energy.

One of the things you want to make sure you do is that set up step in between their feet, forming a triangle between your feet and theirs. That will give you the base and stability to take your other leg, and chop their outside leg back.

It is critical that you step out and forward with that same leg that chopped, to break the fall, and slow down the descent downwards. If you don't do that, the speed of the fall might cause you to get rolled off, ending up on the bottom. So step out and slow that fall down. It is also safer for your partner.

Partners, it is important that you just hold onto their back/shoulders under their arms, and gradually and slowly make your way down. It is a very slow and controlled descent downward - there should be absolutely NO injuries when you do this, because the takedown is so very gentle.

Once your partner is going down, put the weight down on your foot that you stepped out with, and make your way down into the mount position, where you are straddling on top of them. This is the most advantageous position in a fight.

The goal is to stay close. You are safer when you are close. If there's a little bit of space, they can either escape, flip you over, or strike at you.

Learn this one well, it is a classic self defense takedown technique!

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Plum Blossom Double Ended Staff Core Form

The Plum Blossom Double Ended Staff Core Form is a stout little set that has a lot of key staff concepts. 

First of all, it is done with a "double ended grip". That means both of your palms are facing downward when you grip it, kind of like motorcycle handles. This way you can slide the staff and use all parts of it.

So let's get into the main techniques here:
Hong - this is like a big blocking technique with the middle of the staff.
Lah - this is an out-to-in low sweep-strike. The motion is almost like hitting a hockey puck. The way I like to remember the name is, "La la! I scored a goal!" (I know, I'm strange, lol)
Pah - this is an in-to-out low sweep-strike. The motion is almost like paddling a canoe. The way I like to remember the name is, "I'm Pah-ddling the boat!" (lol)
Saht - this is a downward slamming/smashing hit. Pretty powerful stuff.

There are others, but those four are some of the biggies. When we get into the full form, I'll have a more comprehensive list of names with descriptions.

So, out for that twist step-Pah, cross step-overhead twist, into horse stance-Don Lon...that's a tricky move. And the follow up jump, turn, into the overhead block (if you've done the Breaking Holds Core Form, you're somewhat familiar with this mechanic).

Really punch the staff downward when you do the Saht technique, you can get a rattan wooden staff to bend, the way you see me doing it in the video. It takes a little practice to get that wobble, but keep at it. You are sending your energy through the staff, with just the right snap and pop to make it happen.

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Five Animals Core Form

So this is our first episode of our Forms Training Vlog! We're starting it all off with the Five Animals Core Form.

Ok, so first things first. Let's talk about what a "core form" is. At Austin Kung-Fu Academy, a core form is a short section of a longer, full form. This short section tends to represent some key movements and principle of the form that make it unique, compared to the other forms.

So now, let's talk about the Five Animals! 
So, this is mainly what you see in more of the Southern Kung-Fu styles like Choy Lay Fut and Hung Gar: Tiger, Crane, Panther, Snake, and Dragon. There are other animals, for sure, such as the Eagle, Monkey, Praying Mantis, etc. 

So what we do is we take some of the attributes of the animals, and apply it to combat. We don't necessarily try to "act" like the animals. Rather, we try to understand the energy of that animal, and use it to enhance our combat skill. 

Let's break it down:
Tiger - Strength and Courage
Crane - Balanced and Calm
Snake - Accurate and Adaptable
Panther - Speed and Agility
Dragon - Internal Power and Spirit

So we take these attributes and apply them to our movements. It is often thought that the Animal Styles were all about different postures that resembles the animal. That can be part of it, but the way it is expressed more in Choy Lay Fut is taking the character of the animals and applying it in our execution of any of our techniques. 

Let's apply this to a basic straight punch:
Tiger - Give the punch good physical strength.
Crane - Make sure you have good balance in your stance when you punch to maximize its effectiveness.
Snake - Make sure you aim precisely with your punch, don't let it waver or wobble around.
Panther - Give your punch good speed.
Dragon - Make sure to exhale from your gut when you punch, you could even let out a yell.

So all of those animal attributes can be applied to one single technique. 

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Armbar from the Guard

In street self defense situations, it is very common for the attacker to extend their arm towards their target, as either a strike or a grab.
In the instance that it is a grab or an attempted choke, they are inadvertently giving us the opportunity to do an armbar on them, depending on the position.

In this case, it is from the Closed Guard, where they are in between our legs in Stage 1. They somehow managed to sneak their arms through, and start posturing up and choking us. 

To this end, we grab the same side hand/wrist, hook the other hand under their leg, spin like a turtle on it's back 90 degrees, bring the other leg around and over the back of their neck. Once you are their, you pull your leg-grabbing hand back to grab their arm with both of yours. Bring their arm south, making sure their thumb side is facing up. Then, simultaneously, bridge your hips up while pulling their arm downwards with your hands. 

And THAT is the Armbar from the Guard! Go slowly with your partner, this joint lock happens pretty fast. Think about it - it is your whole body putting pressure on their elbow, as you are pulling down their arm like a lever. It is a VERY powerful technique. In fact, you can see Royce Gracie apply this in UFC 2 against Jason DeLucia!

The Armbar is a joint lock submission that UFC fighter Ronda Roussey was famous for. She won a good number of her fights with the Armbar, and was known as "The Arm Collector"!

But sport--fighting aside, it is a tremendously effective self defense technique that everyone should have in their toolbox. Anytime someone is in your guard and they extend their arm, take it and break it! We did it in the form of a choke, but it could have been a shirt grab, a neck crank, a hair grab, really, anything that has their arm extended. 

The challenging part is getting that 90 degree angle turn on your back. Practice that, once you get better and better at it, it will become easier.

When you are being the partner, spread your knees out kind of wide with a strong base, because it is very easy to get knocked over when they swing their other leg around.

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Double Ankle Sweep (Kick Variation)

The Double Ankle Sweep, and in particular, this variation is sometimes referred to as the "Kick Variation", is a great way to knock someone down who's in your guard, and decides to try to pick you up and choke/slam you. 

In order to do this, the attacker has to first bring their feet up by your sides (around waist or rib level). Then, they start lifting their hips to pick you up off the ground.

When you feel that, you actually should hold on for a moment, to make them think they will be accomplishing this, which then gets them to commit more to it. 

Once their hands have gotten inside to choke you, and/or you've gotten off the ground an inch or so, RELEASE the head and arm control guard position, and simultaneous grab both ankles (thumbless grip, and get your feet on their hip flexors.

You may just want to train that portion, to develop the sensitivity to that indicator. Once you feel comfortable getting into the position, then we do the actual sweep/takedown. 

What the sweep/takedown requires is you pulling on their ankles, pushing with your feet on their hip flexors simultaneously. Once you have chopped them down, it is important that you do the Technical Get-Up, which is basically putting your hands on one side of you, slightly behind you, putting your weight on them, and shooting your legs back. This is also known as "Base Get Up" or "Getting Up in Base".

It's a very real possibility that someone might get themselves in that position while in your guard, and their objective might not be to choke, or slam you, but rather, to strike you. The advice here is is to block your face, and when you feel the moment is right, to quickly grab their ankles and insert your feet. It will instantly put them on the defensive. 

Note for the training partner - practice your backwards break falls. To do a backwards break fall, you squat, roll back, slap the mat/floor with your palms down, arms extended, and keep your head up, not connecting with the floor. 

So please go slowly with your partner, especially if they are not used to doing backwards break falls. 

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Guard Stages 2, 3, 4, & 5

In self defense situations, always assume the attacker wants to punch you, that they want to damage you with strikes. Developing this mindset from the start of your training will help develop a foundation that you can rely and depend on, if you are in a (heaven forbid) a violent situation.

It is somewhat naieve to think that you will have self defense reflexes when you don't practice self defense movements. So this Guard Stages concept, in the world of self defense, is a non-negotiable. 

I've heard that some people who practice grappling oriented martial arts never learned this, and ended up getting beaten up in a street fight, because the reflexes that they had been training was all sport oriented, and did not translate very well in a street situation.

So here, we start from the Guard Stage 1 position, which we covered in another video. Now, if they:
-Decide to try to punch your ribs, you insert your shins and put them in Stage 2.
-Decide to posture up and punch, you help them up, put your feet on their hips, bridge up, and cover your face without blinding yourself., which is Stage 3.
-Decide to stand up and try to take shots at you, help them up, put your feet on their hip flexors, and shield your face (keep your hips down). Which is Stage 4.
-Decide to detach from Stage 4 and try to get past  your legs, you put one foot down (of the direction they are moving), and one foot up pointed towards them like a radar. If they switch directions, you switch your feet position! This is Stage 5
-(BONUS!) Decide that they can't get past your legs, they try to go back in and try to smash on you, you insert both feet on their hips, and put them back into Stage 4. 

From any of the Guard Stages positions, if they bear their weight down, gradually bring them back down into Stage 1. Especially when it comes to Stage 4 - DO NOT JUST OPEN YOUR LEGS TO BRING THEM BACK INTO STAGE 1!! They may fall down and smash into you. Bend your legs,  and gradually bring them into Stage 1. 

So you must learn to feel where their energy is. Chances are, when they are in the Stage 2, 3, and 4 positions, to get any real leverage behind their strikes they have to swing it a little more laterally, to do damage. When they realize they can't reach you, they will bear their weight down to try to get closer to you to strike. When that happens, that downward pressure is what you want to be aware of, and that is when you lower them down back into Stage 1.

So this concept and drill builds your sensitivity. Go slowly with it, and start with this order of the Stages:
1, 2, 1, 3, 1, 4, 1, 4, 5, 4, 1

What this means is that your partner needs to set up for the next stage with the striking orientation, and then, bear the weight down to go back to Stage 1. 

Once you are feeling pretty comfortable with that order, then mix it all up! Develop the reflexes and sensitivity to the different positions.

Have fun with this! This is the strategy we use to exhaust the attacker! Our first priority is to stay safe from punches! Then our second objective is to let the attacker exhaust himself. It is only after that, that we then think about end the altercation with a submission. 

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Guard Stage 1

This is Stage 1 of the Guard, a very important position for self defense on the ground, if you find yourself on your back. 

Sometimes this is known as "Stage 1 of the Punch-Block Series", and sometimes it is referred to as "Head and Arm Control". Whatever you want to call it, the idea is to have your legs wrapped around them, one hand wrapped around their neck, and the other wrapped around one of their arms.

It's sort of like a trap. It is very difficult (not impossible) for them to maneuver. It is also adaptable, in that, if the arm you wrapped comes loose, just re-wrap it. If the other arm tries to slide in, make sure to control the head/neck, first, then wrap the arm. The temptation is to wrap the arm first, because we see and want to respond to the immediacy of the threat. However, it is important to wrap the neck first, then the arm, because if you don't get the neck first, they can easily posture up and start whaling down punches on you. So, control the head/neck first! Then go after the arm. 

The beauty of having them in this position is that their response is very predictable, and for each of those predictable behaviors, there is a response. We literally train ourselves to react with the response in a very naturalistic, reflexive way. 

This Stage 1 of the Guard is like a spider web for the opponent. Once they are in the web, it will be just a matter of time before the spider reacts.

The goal here is to exhaust the attacker. Let them go crazy. Let them burn all of their energy out. Once you get the sense of them slowing down, then you should execute an attempt to submit them. So, you have to be patient. This approach requires you to be be observant and aware, as well. Be aware of their energy level. Find the right time and moment to execute.

So whether it is other control strategies, sweeps, or submissions, it generally all starts from this Stage 1 position. Make it your reflex, your habit, to bring your opponent here. 

This is where Royce Gracie confused the western world by defeating opponents while he was on his back in the first few UFC's. Ever since then, fighters of many disciplines of martial arts realized the power of the Guard, and how to incorporate it into their training.

Have fun with this, and make sure to communicate with your partner, as you are learning it. 

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Clinch, Pulling Guard, Triangle Choke COMBO!

How are you liking this vlog, thus far? So now we're going to string the techniques of Episodes 1, 2, and 3 together! 

If you're going to try this, you must make sure you know the techniques of those episodes well. So please go back and double check your proficiency with each technique.

Alright. So, here we go! This is a self defense situation! Your partner circles you like a shark, and then throws a punch at you. You shield up and drive in and establish the clinch!

Your partner is going to be struggling in your clinch and moving around and walking around - you stay on them, stick to them like glue. Keep a good base, and don't let your legs cross. 

After a few seconds of that, your partner will push off of your shoulders and scoot their butt back to attempt to break out of your clinch. Your arms come up and establishes underhooks, then you step up, squat, shoot back, cross your legs up high on their back, keeping your head up, and just chill.

Your partner will be going crazy, moving around, just stay stuck on them, make sure there is no space or room to punch your face. When they calm down a little, and start to lift up, wrap their neck with your arm FIRST, and then wrap their arm. Now you have head and arm control in the guard, also known as Stage 1 of the Guard.

Then your partner bears their chest down on you, and tries to put all of their body weight on you (they push off the ground with their feet to do this). At that moment is when you do the Heavy Chest version of the Triangle Choke. Pull them back-push on the side of their head/face, shrimp out, insert your right foot, then your left as they keep driving...grab their they keep driving towards you, hike your right leg over their shoulder, cross your legs, buck your hips up, and extend your arms, getting ready for punches. Then when they stop, swim your arms under their right while bucking your hips up, grab it with both arms, then left hand on their head, then left foot on their hip, wiggle back as your right leg gets glued against the side of their neck, then grab your right ankle with your left hand -pull forward. Then replace your left hand with your left leg, wrapping around your right ankle while right hand joins with the left hand going on the back of their head....and then 3 points of pressure: squeeze thighs, bridge hips up, and pull head down with both hands.

Partners, make sure to TAP! Person doing the technique, make sure to RESPECT THE TAP AND LET GO.

Drill this out a few times until it becomes more and more fluid. I recommend doing it 5 times each time you practice.

Connecting techniques like these gives you a feel of a fight, starting from standing, then doing a takedown, establishing control, neutralizing punches whenever they occur, and once the moment is right, apply the submission.

There you have it! This is great self defense training for beginners! But there is some work involved! It is not a quick fix type of methodology where you'll be able to execute right away. It must be worked at and developed. 

When you start building the proficiency, your training partner can give you higher levels of resistance, as you see us doing at the beginning. When you find your body reflexively moving like this, you start getting the sense that yes, you can effectively defend yourself with these moves.

Have fun with this!

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Triangle Choke


The Triangle Choke! This is an amazing technique! You are literally choking someone out with your legs! What could be better?! lol So, this video covers the Triangle Choke from a specific context. It is when the opponent is inside your guard (ie in between your legs), and you have a head and arm control position. They find that, because they are bigger, heavier, and stronger, that they could just drive forward and bear their weight down on you. I call this the Heavy Chest version of the Triangle Choke. Sometimes it is referred to as the Giant Killer Triangle Choke.

The strategy to get their weight off of you is remarkably simple: Simply squeeze your thighs, pull them back, and push with both hands the side of their head!! And VOILA! Their weight it is off of you!

Now that you've solved that, it's time to get them to give up, or get rendered unconscious, or worse. As they come towards you, put your feet on their hip flexors and grab their arm that is reaching for you. Hold them there, and when you feel that they are really driving forward:

-Hike your right leg back
-Bring your right leg over their shoulder
-Cross your ankles -Bridge your hips upward, stay connected like glue
-Bring your arms forward and apart to block punches
-Wait for them to calm down
-Once they calm down, bridge your hips up, and scoop their right arm across your body.
-Grab onto it with both hands, like you're riding a bicycle.
-Keep the right hand on their wrist, and left hand on the back of their head (so they can't posture up) -Detach your left leg, and place your foot on their hip and wiggle back
-As you wiggle back, attach the back of your right knee to the side of their neck, as flush as you can get it.
-Have your left hand grab your right ankle, and pull towards your face
-Take your left leg and bend the back of the knee over your right ankle, replacing your left hand.
-Take both hands and put it on the back of your opponents head.
-Apply 3 points of pressure - squeeze your thighs, bridge your hips up, pull their head down with your hands, all simultaneously.

And that is the Triangle Choke! There are ethical considerations with this move. 7-10 seconds can leave them unconscious, 30 seconds can lead to permanent brain damage, and 60+ seconds could be fatal. Exercise good judgement if you ever have to use it. I disclaim any responsibility from your actions with this technique. You are at your own risk if you try this move.

In the early UFC fights, you can see Royce Gracie defeat wrestler Dan Severn with this technique. But never mind about the world of sport fighting. This is a legitimately strong self defense tool that can serve as an equalizer. No matter how big or tough they are, everybody passes out when choked.

This technique does have quite a few steps to it, so it requires some extra time and effort in order to understand it and develop proficiency with it. Take it slow, step by step. Be the attacker, also, and let your partner do it on you. You'll have a better understanding of all the details when you understand both roles. Then once you have it down, you can connect this to other moves!

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Pulling Guard

This is an incredible self defense technique. Pulling Guard is a strategy where you pull someone down, literally in between your legs, and cross your legs over their back, and control their head and arm. It is only effective if you know the value of the guard, of course. So, the guard is a very unique idea in self defense. Generally speaking, if you are on the bottom of a fight, meaning, someone is on top of you, it means you are losing, and the top person has the upper hand. The guard, however, negates this idea. You can be on the bottom of the fight and win, if they are in between your legs! So from the guard, you can:
-Block Punches
-Submit them with locks and chokes
-Sweep them/knock them down
-Take their back

So in this video, we teach you how to pull guard after you have established the clinch, and they are trying to break out of it by pushing off your shoulders, and moving their butt back. Your hands instantly come under their arms and hook over their shoulders. This move is appropriately called "underhooks". After you have the underhooks, you do have to step up with both feet. Then you squat, and shoot your self backwards. Keep holding those underhooks and keep your head up, let them go crazy and exhaust their energy. Eventually, they will slow down and stop, and as they sit up, you get them into head and arm control position by wrapping around their neck first (so they can't posture up), and then wrap their arm. And voila! They are now in your trap! From here, depending on what they do, or don't do - all of which are predictable, we have a response, and I will cover each of those in upcoming vlogs. For now, let's train this pulling guard technique, and get proficient with it.

Oh, and if you've not trained how to do the clinch, you must go back and learn that first, otherwise, this doesn't make much sense.

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The Clinch!

So, we started a vlog! This is the first episode!

Ok, so, yeah. I have been doing tutorials, so it's not exactly a new thing I'm doing here. However, I'm specifically creating this as an intentional vlog series, so I can compartmentalize the different styles I cover in tutorials. That means I will have another training vlog on Choy Lay Fut Kung-Fu forms. And a separate one on Choy Lay Fut Kung-Fu basics and pad drills. And who knows, I may even start a Tai Chi one, although, I'm hesitant about that one because there are too many people ready to troll Tai Chi stuff, so I may leave that one alone.

So back to the topic at hand. The clinch. What a great technique! 99% of martial arts styles will tell you to stay standing and try to outstrike your attacker. While that strategy could work, it's not scalable, meaning, that will not work for the majority of folks, if you take into consideration that the opponent is:
-More Athletic
-Crazy Aggressive

I'm not saying that striking is useless. I'm a Kung-Fu guy, and our main bread and butter is strikes. I believe in using strikes, but not as the dominant form of survival. I believe in neutralizing their attacks, first, by getting into a safe position. From there, let them exhaust their energy. Then, I use strikes to improve my position. After that, then I'll go for a submission or escape. That's how I feel strikes can best be used. I'll use the strikes as a way to make them move in a way that's more advantageous for me to control them. I'll talk about this in another vlog episode.

There is one thing that is uncomfortable about the clinch strategy - you have to get in there! You have to get comfortable with the closeness. Look, I know you're probably a Kung-Fu or traditional striking based martial arts practitioner, or you've not done any martial arts at all, and this idea does not seem appealing. I get it. It's a personal space issue, and I totally, 100% understand, and don't blame you for not wanting to try or practice this. I was pretty averse to this, as well. Until I saw the undeniable and scientifically proven and scalable value of this strategy. And I realized, if I can avoid having my students do full contact, striking-based sparring for acquiring self defense skills, and have them work on developing these strategic and scalable tactics, I will be giving them way more realistic self defense tools to not get beat up. Yeah - it's uncomfortable, I get it. But, any type of combat training is uncomfortable. It is, after all, combat. So either full contact fighting with strikes - which is very dangerous to those involved, relies on athleticism, not scalable to size/strength differentials, quite demoralizing (people tend to quit once they start hard sparring), and injuries ALWAYS happen... or The training of managing the distance, getting in close, neutralizing attacks, patiently holding position while they exhaust, improving your position (if need be), and ultimately getting them to submit to your control.

This can be done cooperatively, lightly at first, and eventually, randomized with a progressively higher levels of resistance. It's a very safe practice, no injuries should occur, and it is done in a way where we are helping lift each other to prepare for a typical street attacker, always assuming the numbered list I outlined earlier. Both methods cause uncomfortability. Again, this is combat - it will be uncomfortable. But the training method of the latter is, IMHO, way more effective, way more scalable, way way safer, and very uplifting. We are preparing for the worst case scenarios. So, all that to say, please- give this clinch strategy a try. All of the videos in my self defense training vlog will be us staying in close, and understanding the science of leverage mechanics, distance management, and human bio-physics. I would much rather you have this as your reflex, than to think you should go toe-to-toe, trading strikes with a bigger and stronger attacker. I just don't want you to get beat up.

What more can I say? I will tell you this - I'll keep hammering this message, because I know it will take a lot of repetition, demonstration, and just exposure to help cultivate the mindset to consider this option for self defense.

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Hybridized Martial Arts Training

What's good, y'all? Santanu Rahman here!

You've heard of MMA, right? It stands for "Mixed Martial Arts". That basically means they take a variety of martial arts styles, and combine them to make a very effective fighter. In the UFC (Ultimate Fight Championship), the mains styles the athletes use is western boxing, kick boxing, Muay Thai kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and Wrestling. Sometimes people will have other arts they bring into the fold such as Judo, Sambo, and even Karate (by well known fighters like Georges St. Pierre and Lyoto Machida).

The concept was popularized by Bruce Lee in the late 1960's, with his philosophical concept of a martial art, "Jeet Kune Do", where he says to absorb what is useful and reject what is useless. He was coined as the father of MMA.

So the idea is a fantastic one, and in my opinion, what art is all about. It is about personal expression. 

Usually when we talk about the hybridization of martial arts, we generally talk about it in terms of combat. Well, I'm going to flip the script a little. I'm going to apply it to forms. Forms are pre choreographed solo routines that you can practice to build some basic attributes. 

Now, combining forms in the world of Kung-Fu is nothing new at all. Styles were constantly combined to create new styles. The snake and crane arts of Shaolin were said to make up arts such as Tai Chi Chuan. The style of Kung-Fu we do, Choy Lay Fut Kung-Fu, is a hybrid of Northern Chinese martial arts (footwork), Southern Chinese martial arts (fist techniques), and the Buddha Palm style (open palm striking). 

Well, I recently did a hybridization that was really bizarre, and cool. But before I tell you that, I need to tell you a little back story. I started my martial arts journey with a style called Shito Ryu Karate, from Okinawa. In Karate, we work a lot on "Kime", which is a snapping power. 

Now, Choy Lay Fut Kung-Fu is known for it's relaxed whipping power. I know how to generate this power pretty proficiently. We spend probably 75% of our adults Kung-Fu classes on developing this power on pads with a wide variety of drills.

So, Choy Lay Fut's forms are supposed to be done with that relaxed, whipping power method. But the other day I thought, "What if I tried doing the Karate Kime in my Choy Lay Fut forms?"

I tried it.....and I have to say......I KIND OF LOVE IT!!! To people of my Choy Lay Fut lineage, if they saw how I hybridized that, they would chastise me, and I would no hear the end of it about how wrong I am to do that. So, I won't make any videos of it (YET!). 

But I have to tell you, I absolutely loved it, 100%! It gave me a new way of looking at the moves, I was able to generate a lot of power, without needing a ton of cardio (as the typical way has you). Don't get me wrong, I was sweating and breathing hard, but I was not completely spent! It moved way slower and was staccato, which almost makes the art unrecognizable.

So I am finding that this is very much working for me, as my own form of exercise and working out. I might not teach it this way to my students right away...I want them to have a general understanding of the energy that was intended for the art. Then later on, I'll show them my hybridized method!

First Line of Defense - Jiu Jitsu

Hi Y'all! Santanu Rahman here! 

I love Kung-Fu! I love Kung-Fu so much, it is such a big part of my life. It is my health, exercise, strength, spiritual strength, mental strength, it is my everything. I have such a profoundly strong connection to Kung-Fu...I think about it all the time. I do it all the time. Kung-Fu is a huge part of my identity.


My primary mode for real self defense is in Jiu Jitsu. 


I know, I know. Look. Jiu Jitsu has been proven time and time and time and time and time and time again as THE MOST EFFECTIVE self defense system out, if done in a self defense manner. 

It is a completely scalable system that always assumes:
-The attacker is bigger and stronger than you.
-The attacker is heavier and more athletic than you.
-The attacker is more aggressive than you and wants to beat your face and body to pulp.

So Jiu Jitsu uses these principles to overcome this type of attacker:
-Leverage mechanics and timing over strength.
-Distance management, ie, if you manage your distance, you can manage the damage.
-Conservation of energy (don't exhaust yourself by doing random movements out of panic)
-Natural body mechanics - no special coordination, athleticism, coordination, strength, or flexibility required (the movements are not intuitive, but they are 100% based on movements the human body can naturally do without any athleticism required)
-Remaining Calm - It is very easy to panic, Jiu Jitsu teaches to be calm, and let them do all the work.
-Transitioning Smoothly - sometimes, we might make a mistake. Jiu Jitsu's process accounts for that, and trains you to transition into another position, if you somehow lost the one you originally had.
-Position Over Submission - In Jiu Jitsu, we're not trying to armlock or choke the opponent right away. We neutralize their attack, and gain a control position, and let them exhaust their energy. When we feel that, then, if that moment is right, we apply the submission. We don't go looking for the submission. We neutralize the attack, and let them exhaust themselves.

These principles hold true for street fights, physical bullying situations, and sexual assault. 

In Kung-Fu, the main strategy is to overwhelm the attacker with strikes. This is not a scalable strategy at all. If the attacker is bigger, stronger, heavier, more athletic, and more aggressive than you, it might not be the wisest idea to stand there and trade blows with the attacker!

Now, let me give you a very important caveat:
Most Jiu Jitsu schools gear more towards sports Jiu Jitsu, where there are weight classes, and no striking at all. While this can develop some great athletic attributes, my primary interest with Jiu Jitsu is to have a scalable self defense strategy. Jiu Jitsu can handle physical attacks ranging from the drunk uncle at the party, to egregious predatorial street attacks. But the trend has really gone towards sports. 

Even the purported self defense Jiu Jitsu schools are now emphasizing more "Jiu Jitsu vs. Jiu Jitsu" training, because of student retention for their businesses. I'll be very honest, I'm not interested in Jiu Jitsu vs. Jiu Jitsu. I just want to do the scalable self defense stuff, so we can protect ourselves in the most efficient and effective way possible. 

Some Jiu Jitsu schools really try to brand the Jiu Jitsu lifestyle, and that's all well and good. It's just not for me. My "lifestyle" is more the Kung-Fu way of life, which entails understanding hard and soft energies, Yin and Yang, how the elements in nature can create and destroy, and how to incorporate it all into your physical body, externally and internally through movement. I'm all about that stuff!! So when it comes to lifestyle, Kung-Fu is my jam.

But when it comes to self defense, the self defense basics of Jiu Jitsu is empirically the best way to go. I have incorporated it, and it Is my first line of self defense. I would love it to be all of my students' as well. I will rest better knowing that if (heaven forbid) you did get attacked, you'll have the right reflexes to deal with the situation in an efficient and humane manner. 

I keep up my practices in both, for they are both perishable. Thus, I'd love to practice with you! Helping you, helps me. 


What My Goals Are For My Kung-Fu Students

Hey y'all, Santanu Rahman here, writing this post! I just wanted to put my thoughts out there what my goals are for my Kung-Fu students. In particular, the adults, but also, the children as well.

Quite simply, I want to be able to walk through all the forms with all of you as a group. That's it!! Now, there are 22 core forms, and 24 full forms. So....yeah. It's a lot of material. LOL! But I believe we can make this happen!

Here's the deal:
Doing forms together as a group is a very uplifting experience. There is a group energy that gets tapped into, like no other. I really feed off of it. You will feed off of it, too. But I bet you I feed off of it more than you do, LOL! Just kidding, I have no way of knowing that! But, it drives me. The thought of that drives me. I want to teach you all I know so that we can all go to a park, say like Northwest Park, or Bull Creek Park, and do all of the forms in unison. That would just be amazing!

Now, in our classes, we teach you how to hit pads, how to block, offense strategies, and defense strategies. I feel that stuff is very important to help strengthen you, and get a sense of combat.
But for me, the big stuff is the forms. The forms are:

-A creative form of exercise
-A form of exercise that forces you to use your cognitive power
-A connection to the martial spirit
-A connection to Chinese culture
-A connection to the spirit of warriors who fought for the values they believed in.
-A meditation where you tune the outside world out and focus on the present and the self
-A builder of mind-body-spirit strength
-A highly individual practice that requires very little of the outside world

When we do it together as group, there is a connect, an energy flow that we feed off of from each other, that gives greater meaning and significance to the practice. At least, to me it does. It feels we are all united, in the journey towards self improvement.

I do practice the forms on my own, but, the thought of practicing with you, my students, drives me even more! I really love doing forms with you. So, learn as much as you can, and let's do this!!

The Art of Making Mistakes & Escape A Single Handed Shirt Grab Against the Wall!

Self Defense Technique - How To Escape from a Single Hand Choke Against the Wall. Also, Martial Arts Philosophy Topic - The Art of Making Mistakes.

A single handed choke against the wall is definitely an intimidating move. The fact that someone is using only one hand to choke you is signaling a message from them that they only need one hand to cause you harm. So it is best to know how to escape this situation. It's basically 2 steps:
1. Break the grip
2. Escape

Other variations of this technique have you elbowing them after you break the grip. Another variation is if they are really leaning in, you can guillotine choke them after you break their grip. My preference is to try to escape after you've broken the grip. I'd rather not escalate the situation further by trying to land hard strikes or submissions.

Also, I talk about the art of making mistakes. Mistakes are our friend. They are our teachers. However, they can be the thing that prevents us from taking action. How do you deal with mistakes and imperfections?

If you're ever wondering, "Where are some self defense classes near me?" You should definitely check to see what is offered in your community. Our videos serve as a reference and an intro, to hopefully prompt you to seek out face-to-face instruction.
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My Basic Philosophy

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I teach Choy Lay Fut Kung-Fu and Self Defense Jiu Jitsu Basics.

Our Choy Lay Fut Kung-Fu style is a great way to get stronger. We get stronger with body, with mind, and with spirit. Our physical structure is developed progressively, with attention to details. Our mental strength is developed by having to work our brain with our body as one - there are steps to remember, and discipline and motivation and perseverance to be developed for practicing. The spirit gets strengthened as well, by practicing putting our whole being into our techniques. It's one thing to mechanically do the moves. It's a whole other universe when you tap into your emotions, and put character and expression into your techniques. The combined strength of body, mind, and spirit elevates our sense of self, and improves our confidence and belief in ourselves. 

Our Self Defense Jiu Jitsu Basics is our self defense methodology. We generally get involved with the martial arts because of the idea of self defense. While our Kung-Fu is wonderful as strengthening our body, mind, and spirit, our Self Defense Jiu Jitsu basics gives us the best strategy for staying safe in a violent confrontation. We want your first level response to threatening situations to default to the Self Defense Jiu Jitsu basics. NOTE: WE DO NOT DO SPORTS JIU JITSU. This is purely the basics of self defense, be it a street fighting situation, a bullying situation, or a sexual assault. We use the principles of leverage, timing, distance management, energy efficiency, and natural body mechanics. 

Someone might ask, "Why not train Kung-Fu combat for self defense?" The issue here is that Kung-Fu is a striking based art, mostly. If someone is bigger, stronger, heavier, more aggressive, more athletic  than you, striking might not be the best option. Kung-Fu self defense strategies relies a lot on athleticism, and has an unscalable strategy, which is to land strikes. The problem is when you are in the range to land strikes, you are also in the range to RECEIVE strikes, does this make sense?

Striking can work, but there are far fewer guarantees in trading punches and kicks as a means to keep you safe, as opposed to Self Defense Jiu Jitsu Basics, where the emphasis is to control the opponent, exhaust them, then submit them. This is a much more effective and scalable strategy. For example, someone who attacks you who you might know, you might not want to destroy them with strikes. You might be better off escaping from their grip through leverage mechanics, and control their motions through positioning, and submissions. That being said, we do strike in Self Defense Jiu Jitsu Basics, but it is strategic striking to improve our control and our position.

I would love for all of my students to get holistically stronger through Choy Lay Fut Kung-Fu, and have Self Defense Jiu Jitsu basics as their combat default in violent situations. I've found that the two arts can very successfully co-exist in one person.

We are quite a unique martial arts school in Austin, TX with this kind of focus! I hope you' join us in this journey.