Saturday, June 28, 2008

New Ceiling Fan

Fridays practice was postponed due to Tony and Mike being way to tired today from training and work at their respective firehouses. We were going to do a workout in the park due to a new driveway being put in by the garage but Mike did stick around and put in my new ceiling fan which will help keep workouts more bearable as it keeps getting hotter outside.
Due to our missed workout I did a scaled down version of the CrossFit WOD for today. I didn't do the 800meter runs because of my Mortens Neuroma in my right foot. The first picture above is of the setup I used to do the WOD, took me just over 16 minutes and I was smoked (probably due in part to my not getting it done until 9:30 at night).

The second picture is the setup I used for todays short workout - sled dragging and pulling. I attached my 20 foot rope to a winter sled and loaded it up with 90 pounds and did 6 sets of hand over hand pulls toward me (facing the sled) alternated with 6 sets of dragging it back to the starting position. After the sled work I immediately did 3 farmers walks with the 45 pound plates about 80 feet each. This was my first experience with a sled so I didn't push it to hard. I think I'll need to use about double the weight for the hand over hand pulls next time.
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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Skill Day

We introduced some new skills and drills with todays practice, specifically the sprawl, body surfing, and 4 way hook drill. Since we are working toward incorporating some basic ground fighting and introduced a basic defense against takedowns (a sprawl) as well as some introduction to moving around once on the ground (body surfing).

Roll Call: Tony and Mike

Warmup – 2x3min/1min jumprope
2 rounds of - 10 pullups, 8 ring push ups, hip stretch, 10 overhead squats with PVC pipe, 10 back extensions, 10 GHD situps
1:10 rounds 3 times (10 sec used for change over to next station)
Basic sprawl – we did the straight sprawl and back up more or less from a wrestling stance instead of a kickboxing stance

Body surf drill – we used a medicine ball for this today, a physio ball is more comfortable and that’s what we’ll be using next time. We focused on just rotating around ball.

Shadow boxing
Rest for 1:10 between circuits

Defense Circuit 3min/1min 2 circuits
Maize ball (1st round 10’, 2nd round 8’)
Speed bag
Rope line

Shadow Boxing 2 rounds of 3min/1min

Mitt drills 2min/1min 2 circuits

  • 4 way hook – left low hook, right low hook, left high hook, right high hook. After each hook the holder throws the boxer returns with 2 punches (left hook and cross or cross and left hook).
  • Top and bottom bag

Glove Drills 2 round Robin’s for each of below each segment 1:10min (so each person had roughly 4 min of each drill ½ on defense and ½ offense)

  • Jab defense – slips, or catch
  • Jab cross defense – slips, catch, shoulder roll, or cover
  • High low – one person can jab high and the other can jab low (limited sparing)

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Great workout on Saturday, our conditioning focus day. We did some new drills: box, mirror and a different take on pad training. Thankfully the weather has been cool since the ceiling fan isn’t up just yet. We were able to keep things rolling the entire time so no rest except between rounds.
Roll Call: Tony, Mike
Warm-up: 2x3min/1min jump-rope (last 30sec double under’s for each round)
2 rounds of 10 pullups, 3 ring dips, 10 overhead squats with PVC pipe, hip stretch, 10 GHD situps, 10 back extensions
Box drill 3min (2 steps forward, 2 steps to right, 2 steps back, 2 steps left – keeping it alive with punches, slips, bob and weave)
Mirror Drill 1:10 rounds 2 round robins (one person moves and the other follows maintaining distance entire round – each person worked with the other 2 as both follower and initiator)
Defense Circuit 2x3min/1min
Maize ball (1 round bag hung from 10’ next round from 8’)
Rope Line
Speed bag
Shadow Boxing 2x3min/1min
Anything goes for both rounds (we did do some focus on the foot jab and distance though)
Thai Pads 1x3min/1min
We alternated (Tony and Mike) lead foot jabs for 1st ½ round and the 2nd half we did foot jab thai round kick. This was something different, just to make it fun and mix things up.
Offense Circuit 2x3min/1min
Heavy bag hands
Heavy bag hands and feet
Top and bottom bag
We did the “Big Wheel” routine with a basket ball performing 4 reps of each move 2 times per set and completed 3 rounds. A video of this can be found at
I would have used a light medicine ball but I have those at the office and not at my home gym.
Next week’s skill workout we’ll be adding the front roll and the sprawl as we start introducing some of the basics of moving to the ground for fighting.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Workout change

We are going more live in our workouts now, meaning more contact and reaction drills. Thursday we focused more on technique, this Saturday will be a greater focus on conditioning. Up to this point we have been alternating practices focusing more strictly on boxing with those focused more on Thai Boxing but since Mike and Tony now have the fundamentals down rather well we have shifted to more merging both together and will alternate a skill focused day with a conditioning focus day.

Roll call: Tony, Mike

Warm-up: 2x3min/1min jump rope
2 rounds of 10 pull ups, 3 ring dips, hip stretch, 10 overhead squats with PVC pipe, 10 GHD situps, 10 back extensions

Defense Circuit 3min/1min 2 circuits
Maize ball – first round with long chain (longer swing time), second with short chain (fast swing)

Rope line – greater focus on pivoting off line and back in

Shadow Boxing 3min/1min

  • Round 1 – focus on kicks
  • Round 2 – hand, foot, and hand and foot combinations as well as defense
Offense circuit 3min/1min
  • Heavy bag – hands only
  • Heavy bag – hand and foot
  • Top and Bottom bag – jab, double jab, jab cross, as well as slips and circling footwork
Glove Drills (worked in round robin fashion with 1:30min rounds – by finish each person completed 2 3min rounds with a 1:30 rest)
Jab defense – working catch and slips with a focus on counter attacking

Focus mitts 3min/1min
Alternated Mike and Tony hitting the mitts so each did 2 rounds, off rounds spent on the speed bag (they were given a choice of bags to work and both wanted to work the speed bag since we haven’t spent as much time using it).

3 Rounds of:
10 Pull-ups
10 Burpees (no one likes these but they are a fantastic exercise)
wait time between stations was spent on jump rope.

The weather has held out well this week (fairly cool) but I’m sure that will change soon enough so I’m happy to say that we’ll be putting up a ceiling fan in the garage gym (it’s not air conditioning but it’ll certainly make it more bearable – thank you Laura for the thoughtful Father’s day present).
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Monday, June 16, 2008

Self Defense

I mainly deal with training on this blog but I thought I'd write a bit about “self defense”. Self-defense isn’t just about being able to overcome an attacker (or multiple attackers) but mostly about being able to avoid confrontation when you can. Looking like a victim or an opportunity to those out for easy cash presents a great way to get into a confrontation. While working as a bicycle messenger in Washington DC I saw many messengers with ratty looking bikes, they were dirty, spray painted, etc but if you looked close they were good (think expensive) bikes. Whenever you made a delivery you always had to leave your bike outside and even with a kryptonite lock it could be stolen (I had mine stolen while it was locked with a kryptonite in the stairwell of a locked building). Part of the trick, I learned later, was to make your bike look like crap, if it looked like a valuable bike it was a target. The lesson here isn’t that you should look like someone living on the street with no money but not to look like an easy opportunity.

Too many people see fight training and self-defense as being the same, its not. Training to fight does prepare you better for when a confrontation takes place but true self-defense is realized in avoiding that confrontation. Many people who train want to show others that they can “handle themselves” in a fight and go looking for one. I, personally, don’t want my students to be like that – I want fighting to stay in the ring. I don’t mean to say that you should walk away from all confrontation since that’s not really possible – if you are truly threatened and can’t remove yourself safely, or a loved one is in danger then confrontation is unavoidable – but avoid confrontation or disarm a possible one when possible.

Tony Blauer is an excellent instructor in this area. He trains people to be ready for a fight and what to do to avoid it as well as how to react once it actually happens.
A recent video posted on Crossfit does an amazing job at illustrating how to avoid potential confrontation:

Always be vigilant, know who and what is around you, sense the atmosphere.Avoid a fight when you can, the ring is a different matter since you are there to fight.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Heavy Day

We worked it hard last night, I was actually to beat to write this up after the workout which is why I'm posting it now. My goal was to focus on basic training; as a result we did a lot of bag work on various bags.

Roll Call: Tony, Mike

Warm-up: 2 x 3min/1min Jump rope (last 30sec of each round double unders)
2 rounds of – 10 pull ups, 8 ring pushups, 10 overhead squats, hip stretch, 10 GHD situps, 10 back extensions

Footwork/Agility 2min/30sec
  • Forward and Back
  • Side to side
Defense Circuit 3min/1min 2 circuits
  • Maize ball – working in and out, slips etc
  • Rope Line – bob and weave up and back
  • Heavy Bag – working distance and moving around the bag
Shadow Boxing 3min/1min
  • Thai round kicks with full spin (follow through)
  • Combinations – any foot, hand or hand and foot combinations we have worked
Offense Circuit 3min/1min 2 circuits
  • Heavy bag – kicking focus (foot and hand foot combinations – last 30 seconds each round continuous work)
  • Heavy bag – punching focus (hand combinations only - last 30 seconds each round continuous punching)
  • Top and bottom bag – we used a smaller and faster bag than in the past, focus was on jabs and jab cross, mainly just being able to land consistently
Finisher “Quarter Gone Bad”
3 rounds
  • 15 sec 75lb thruster
  • 45 sec rest
  • 15 sec pull-ups
  • 45 sec rest
  • 15 sec burpee’s
  • 45 sec rest

Just for the record here is how everyone did in the finisher:
  • Thruster 5-5-5
  • Pull-ups 8-6-6
  • Burpee 4-4-4
  • Thruster 4-3-3
  • Pull-ups 7-7-6
  • Burpee 6-5-5
Tom (me)
  • Thruster 5-6-5
  • Pull-ups 11-12-10
  • Burpee 5-5-6

This workout ended up being a rather brutal one – at the end everyone was ready to call it a day. By the time we were up to the finisher I gave Tony and Mike the choice of glove drills or the “Quarter Gone Bad” and neither wanted to do any more punching (our Offense Circuit was 6x3minute rounds of punching).

Our next practice is Saturday at 10am-Noon.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Tyson and training

Everyone in boxing and fighting knows who Tyson is. Before his downward slide Tyson was known for his evasion of punches and speed, this video illustrates some of his Fight Camp training and the techniques used. Pay particular attention to the repetitious nature of his training – they keep drilling the same things over and over.

Some say that 1,000 good repetitions are needed to learn a technique or combination, others say 10,000. The take home message here is practice, practice, practice the basics. The Japanese Samurai who were involved in frequent combat only practiced a few select moves, over and over, they didn’t keep adding more and more complex techniques. Mastery of the fundamentals is what makes a truly great fighter, not flowery or complex techniques and once you have some mastery of the basics you have greater freedom to adapt and improvise.