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Grappling Drills for training in Melee conditions Part 1

 

When it comes to team fighting in steel completions the ground is “lava.”  Meaning if you have three points of contact on the ground you are “dead” and become an obstacle on the field for others to trip over. For most sword fighters grappling and take downs where you are not allowed to go down with your opponent is one of the most challenging aspects of our sport.  Here are a few drills to help improve your odds with grappling.

Step 1: Understanding Balance Points

The first part of becoming a great grappler is understanding how to tip an armored opponent.  This drill helps you develop the feel of grappling.

There is a lot of variations you can do with this drill. Changing the position of the feet, starting close, or far apart. The important part is not moving your feet. This drill will help develop your balance and timing. Eventually you are using your head and hips to counter what your partner is doing. Start off in any stance you want. Grasp your partner’s forearms, one hand under and one hand over as shown in the video. You can only push and pull with your arms, no head butts or other crazy things. Experiment with different stances and learn the strengths and weakness for each. This drill is a great core workout and makes for a good warmup before practice. The first person to move one of their feet looses.

Step 2: Counters and Defense

Once you have a grasp of how to tip your opponent now you are ready to learn how to defend yourself from getting tipped using your footwork and core strength.  There are a lot of ways to practice this step.  The easiest way to learn is do the Push Pull Drill from the previous section and add one step for each person to use.  If one person steps to pull you off balance can you correct or even gain the advantage with a counter step?  Here is a suggested defensive stance to try.

Many times beginner fighters freeze when they are rushed with an aggressive opponent who charges straight in for a grapple. When that happens the more aggressive fighter grabs their opponent’s shoulders and throws their opponent before they have time to think. When you were experimenting with different stances during the Push Pull Drill, you might have learned that the more narrow your stance the harder it is to push you back, however, you are vulnerable to a side attack. However, for this drill that extra strength to a front attack is exactly what you need. When your opponent rushes straight at you meet their aggression with your own. Step directly into their attack, make sure you place your lead foot in between your opponent’s feet. Reach an arm around their back, make sure you are not crossing over your center line. Sink your weight on your hips, like what you learned from the Push Pull Drill. If you get the timing and placement down for this drill take it one step further and do a forward hip toss.

Step 3: Adding Movement

Now that you have the basics down time to put it into motion.  This drill is a simple movement drill to start teaching timing and spotting the perfect motion to do your take down.

In this drill each person has a different objective to “win.” Both people will start in a tight grappling position against a wall.  Instructor Janeal Ironside is representing the first person.  The first person’s job is to get to the opposite side of the room.  Instructor Nicholas Ironside is representing the second person.  The second person’s job is to turn their opponent around.  This drill is not about throwing your opponent, but using your core, footwork, and timing, to control your opponent.  Once that element is mastered you will find your throws will become much easier.

This article gives you a preview into the type of training found at Ironside Medieval Combat.  If you like what you see come give one of our classes a try!  We also offer online classes for those of you who live far away – Sign up for Online Classes.

We would love to hear from you. Let us know if these drills are helpful.  We also take requests for anyone wanting to learn more.  Find us on Facebook for all of our latest and greatest updates.

Vocabulary Conversation when Converting Techniques to Left vs Right.

We have been working hard to enhance an already amazing fighting system, Stockton Multi Style Escrima. Traditional martial arts predominantly trains right handed versus right handed. However, in steel fighting it is common to face left handed opponents. That is why we started working on a project to enhance Stockton Multi Style to include this new challenge.

After getting some great feedback from a number of outstanding martial artists, and great conversation with instructor Nelson Pinto, we came up with two ways to look at this conversion. The two terms are reverse and symmetric. The below video shows the difference between these terms. For our conversations in our new video series “Escrima to Sword and Shield” we will be using the symmetric version of the techniques.

Training Power and Body Mechanics

When it comes to generating power in martial arts it is about fighting smarter not harder.  Raw strength is a great asset for martial arts, however, muscles often distract from using body mechanics to increase your power.  The other benefit for using body mechanics is conservation of energy.  You can throw a significantly high number of hard hits blows faster and longer when you use body mechanics instead of the muscles in your arms.

Phase 1

Use this drill as a warm up to start training your core to help generate power instead of your arm:

This drill is designed to practice the downward strikes at the neck and shoulder. The strike comes in at a 45 degree angle. When practicing this strike on a straight pell like the one in the video it is normal for the sword to slide down. Make sure your initial contact is edge on at a 45 degree angle to the pell. Be sure to over exaggerate your movements as you learn this drill. It’s about teaching your muscles timing and firing to add speed and power to your strikes.

Phase 2

This next drill is training your feet to step in time with your body’s swing. Many new fighters will strike before their feet are on the ground, which results in having a foot in the air as they are trying to hit.  That means they lose 25-50% of their power from poor footwork.

Be careful with this drill! You will need about 3 feet of rope with some kind of weight on the end. I used a 2.5 pound weight. Do not go heavier than 2-3 pounds. You just need the weight to get the rope moving and feel the drag of the rope. Start with the rope a little shorter as you learn this drill, then you can go longer once you get the hang of it. Start by just swinging the rope around your head like a cowboy. Focus on the feel of your core muscles and how you are engaging your muscles with this movement. As you get used to the movement start to add steps. You want all of your muscles to move in the same direction driving your power into your opponent

Phase 3

Time to put it all together and start learning how to apply this technique in a fight.

The secret to this technique is turning your body into a whip.  Your hips generate the power sending it through your shoulders into your arms.  Once the power has been released you pull your hips, shoulders, and arm back to create that extra whip at the end.  The video above is a quick explanation of this concept.  If you want a more detailed explanation of this technique check out “Team Ursus: Jeffery Galli Polearm Training Exercises.”

This article gives you a preview into the type of training found at Ironside Medieval Combat.  If you like what you see come give one of our classes a try!  We also offer online classes for those of you who live far away – Sign up for Online Classes.

We would love to hear from you. Let us know if these drills are helpful.  We also take requests for anyone wanting to learn more.  Find us on Facebook for all of our latest and greatest updates.

Advancing Your Footwork: Training Videos Included

In our previous two posts we covered the Foundation of Footwork and Principles of Fighting.  Now it is time to combine those skills and start learning how to use them in a fighting scenario.  Here are some intermediate drills to start building your skills up.

Many forms of martial arts use a footwork star to help with placement and spacing.  When it comes to attacking and retreating it is important to attack and retreat on different lines.  This optimizes your rate of success allowing your feet to become part of your defense.

 

 

To get started the Sawtooth Drill or Circle Drill #2 both make great warmups.  They help develop the muscle memory needed for the next step in this training.  Ideally you want to be able to use these stepping methods without having to think about them or look down on the ground to make sure you are in the correct place.

The next step is to get your footwork synchronized with the timing of your opponent.  The Elastico Drill and Speed Drill Part 2 are the building blocks for this next drill.

Pendulum Drill

https://youtu.be/380-FUNXptY

Even though this drill is borrowed from another fighting system the concept is incredibly useful for armored fighting.  When applying these principles to other weapons keep your range in mind.  Longer weapons are better at longer distances and shorter weapons are better at closer distances.  However, the ebb and flow of fighting is universal across the different styles.

This article gives you a preview into the type of training found at Ironside Medieval Combat.  If you like what you see come give one of our classes a try!  We also offer online classes for those of you who live far away – Sign up for Online Classes.

We would love to hear from you. Let us know if these drills are helpful.  We also take requests for anyone wanting to learn more.  Find us on Facebook for all of our latest and greatest updates.

Principles of Fighting: Timing and Flow

One of the principles of fighting is timing and flow.  Timing is knowing when to apply your techniques in a fight.  Flow is the easy in which you shift from defense to offense, and from one combination to the next.  The application of these principles are the first steps into becoming an intermediate fighter.  Beginners are working on getting the basic steps and strikes done correctly.  Intermediate fighters start working on the application of those techniques.

Learning timing can be a little tricky at first.  Many fighters get impatient and want to boss the fight.  It is important to choose a pace setter for this drill.  This drill is about learning the timing of your opponent and when to time your advantage.

Elastico

https://youtu.be/55qPgTu81Mo

This drill is from new instructor Nelson Pinto. Elastico is an escrima drill. Escrima and unarmored sword fighting can teach great instincts, especially for a fighter that likes to play the range game. Elastico, in Portuguese, means rubber band and is referring to the back and forth movements of this drill. The version of the drill shown in the video is a beginner level drill. Once fighters get more experience then footwork and movements are added. When learning this drill have fighters stand so far away from each other it isn’t possible to touch one another. The first fighter leans in with a strike (it doesn’t matter what type of strike). The second fighter leans back as if they are dodging the strike. As soon as the first fighter’s strike passes the second fighter should lean forward to answer with their own strike. Remember the first part of this drill is about timing, going from defense to offense.

Once fighters are comfortable with their timing they can start to add variety.  This next drill incorporates a block and counter stike pattern. Practice the sword strikes without movement first before adding in Elastico and Footwoork.  Remember the purpose of drills is to form correct habits and build muscle memory.  That can’t be done if you rush through these.

Speed Drill

https://youtu.be/2XiL3tE0rPI

Ideally this drill should be done with a shield, however, we filmed it without shields so you could see what is happening better. This drill is designed to train muscle memory for going from defense to offense very quickly. Keep in mind a drill zeros in on very specific skills. The focus for this speed drill is one block and one strike. In Escrima the block is called the roof. As soon as you make the block drop your elbow to your belly button for the strike. Once you get the strike immediately bring your sword back up for the block again. As you practice this drill get your shoulders and body rotation into the timing. One should never fight with just their arms. The more you over exaggerate the motion when you are doing this slow and learning the easier it will be to train the smaller movements with speed.

When you get all of this down you can start to blend in other skills such as footwork.  Here is a way you can incorporate footwork with this specific drill:

Speed Drill Part 2: Adding Footwork

https://youtu.be/VT1gx2gYfOw

This drill is taking the striking movements learned in the Speed Drill combined with the steps learned from the Sawtooth Drill. Ideally you will want to work with a partner for this drill. However, it can be done with a training pell as well. Your partner will not move their feet in this drill. They are going to throw an on side strike then block your strike. You will start by blocking, then step in a direction to throw your strike. This is developing your transitions from defense to offense along with learning to take advantage of your opponent’s momentary weakness as they recover from their strike.

This article gives you a preview into the type of training found at Ironside Medieval Combat.  If you like what you see come give one of our classes a try!

We would love to hear from you. Let us know if these drills are helpful.  We also take requests for anyone wanting to learn more.  Find us on Facebook for all of our latest and greatest updates.

1845 N Circle Dr Colorado Springs CO 80909 719-947-2844 info@ironsidemc.org M-Th: 5:30pm-9:00pm Friday: 6:00pm-9:00pm Saturday: 8:00am-12:30 pm