“King of the Mat” Drilling – The What and Why

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Deighton proudly showing off his “King of the Mat” belt along with fellow contender and brother Nixon

Many different drills and training methods go into a well-rounded education in Jiu-Jitsu, and one of the most common and productive methods is the “King of the Mat” drill. At Arashi-Do St. Albert we use the format quite often, sometimes even officially for the chance to win the championship belt for the day and take some pictures with it.

The basic idea is to take an objective that is relevant to what the class has been working on. If the last few lessons have been on bear hug escapes, the objective may be to escape a fully locked in bear hug. If a tournament is coming up, the objective may be escaping mount, getting a particular takedown or something else the class in general has been struggling with. The class is then split up into groups and take turns trying to complete the objective. In the example of the bear hug, one student bear hugs the other and if they manage to hold on for ten seconds they win but if the other escapes, they win. Each time, the winner stays in the middle as acting King, and tries to stay in as long as they can.

This drill works well for a few reasons:

  1. The matches tend to be short, but high intensity. If two students know they’re going to be doing something for a while then they will pace themselves but if they know they have less than a minute to make something happen they’ll really go for it.
  2. There are always going to be differences in ability and size in any given class, but every student has different skills that they’re particularly good at. Since King of the Mat usually sets very tight objectives and those objectives are different each time, all students get their chance to shine when it comes around to their specialty.
  3. The process is self-regulating for all abilities. If there are multiple kings on the mat that are rotating through opponents, the student that is more athletic or more highly skilled will remain in the middle having to fight fresh opponents every minute until they lose, so everyone tends to get the workout that’s right for them by the end of the class.

King of the Mat can be a tough drill both physically and psychologically, but it’s also a lot of fun and is an excellent way to make great improvements on a particular technique in a short period of time. Don’t be afraid to take chances and lose in class, at the end of the day everyone is on the same team, and training partners that push you to be better are one of the greatest gifts you can have on the mats.

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Give us a call at 780-217-0059 or send us an e-mail at tlarone@arashido.com for more information on joining our team and see the life-changing benefits of training in jiu-jitsu for yourself!
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Great Day at Spar Wars for ADMA St. Albert!!!

This weekend was Arashi-Do Martial Arts’ in-house tournament ‘Spar Wars’. In-house tournaments are usually humble affairs, but not when your organization spans 17 dojos in 11 cities! There were a ton of kids, all the divisions were packed with talent and very competitive, and while St. Albert is the newest member of the Arashi-Do family we could not be prouder of both our competitor turnout and their efforts. We brought a team of six mini monkeys and three juniors, and took home nine medals including six golds! Honorable mention as well to Pablo, who divides his time between St. Albert and the south location and took home some nice hardware himself. Even the students who didn’t come out with the results they were hoping for demonstrated great technique and fought their hearts out right to the bell. No one stays undefeated in Jiu-Jitsu and at the end of the day it is these qualities that determine long term success, not any one particular medal or tournament. Check out some of the pictures from the tournament here, and look for more to come on the Arashi-Do St. Albert Facebook page. In-house events like these are a great place to gain experience for those looking to compete in major tournaments like Mind Body Soul, and also provide opportunities to connect with our amazing community within the Arashi-Do network. We can’t wait to come back next time with an even bigger team!

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Give us a call at 780-217-0059 or send us an e-mail at tlarone@arashido.com for more information on joining our team and see the life-changing benefits of training in jiu-jitsu for yourself!

Why BJJ for Women is So Important

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“Woman must not depend upon the protection of man, but must be taught to protect herself.” – Susan B. Anthony

I started training in martial arts about fifteen years ago, and right from the beginning self-defense has been a priority for me. Not only is it comforting to know that I can defend myself and my family if necessary, the training is also fun and interesting to me. That said, I know that odds are on my side that I’m not going to have to use it. According to Statistics Canada, in all reported cases of violent crime against men, 84% of attackers were acquaintances of the victim and nearly all were involved in some form of criminal relationship or activity. There are still many benefits for men to train their self-defense, and it’s not that random attacks are completely unheard of. The world can absolutely be a dangerous place but the average law-abiding man, it would seem, doesn’t have as much to worry about if they don’t go looking for trouble.

The statistics of violence against women tell a different, darker story. In the majority of cases of violence against women the attackers were not strangers or acquaintances known from criminal activity, but family members or intimate partners – current and former. One study found that half of Canadian women had experienced physical or sexual violence since the age of 16, and 67% of Canadians said they personally knew at least one woman who had been a victim of violence. These statistics cover extreme examples, but they don’t even touch on the countless everyday encounters that aren’t ‘attacks’ per-say but violate personal space or comfort in public. Faced with these truths, self-defense training becomes much less hypothetical.

Not only am I a strong believer in self-defense training for women in general, but particularly in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, a martial art that not only provides tools for dealing with a larger, stronger attacker but also provides options for control, de-escalation and scaling. Very few martial arts have been tested in as many real-life situations across all walks of life, and keep things simple to maximize training time. At Arashi-Do Martial Arts, we follow the teachings of Mestre Sylvio Behring, an 8th degree black belt and one of the world’s foremost experts on self-defense. While we also love the sport of Jiu-Jitsu, self-defense is and will always continue to be a mainstay in our classes. Try 30 days of classes free with no obligation, and see for yourself what kind of impact Jiu-Jitsu can have on your life.

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Give us a call at 780-217-0059 or send us an e-mail at tlarone@arashido.com for more information.

The Benefit of Womens Classes in BJJ

I’ve gotten a lot of questions about this recently so I thought I’d write a quick article about the difference between a standard mixed class and the womens class from my perspective.

There’s a myth out there that the reason for womens’ classes are that different techniques are taught to men and women. This is a pretty widespread one and I think it has a lot to do with the idea of using strength and speed in BJJ versus technique. It may seem obvious to some but the fact is that even if you are fast and strong, it’s still important to be as efficient as possible. There’s always someone faster and stronger out there. Different techniques may be more or less useful depending on whether you are tall, short, light, heavy, flexible etc. but those differences exist in men just as they do in women. If as an instructor I feel that a certain technique is the best answer for a certain situation, I’ll teach it to everyone. If for some biomechanical reason it doesn’t work as well for someone, male or female, I’ll adapt the technique or teach them a different one.

Now in my experience, the big difference in womens classes is the natural direction that the class takes. Once you’ve been teaching for a while you start to realize that if you plan an hour of material for an hour of class time you’re not going to get through it all. Depending on what questions are asked, what difficulties people have or perhaps what they pick up faster than you thought, the class tends to unfold in a different way every time. That’s why more experienced instructors will tend to have a general concept for the class with a few techniques they want to cover for sure and then see where the flow of the class goes.

For self defense especially, women do tend to face different dangers and challenges than men do so even if the techniques are the same, the context of a different situation changes how I teach them. These questions about different cases may not get asked in a mixed setting or if they do there may not be as much time spent on them as in the womens’ classes. For example, I teach the same grip breaks to everyone but in one womens class we discussed the topic in detail of being pulled somewhere and having to make a decision of whether to stay connected and buy time or to break the grip right away if a quick escape to a crowded area in the other direction is possible.

Both classes cover both self defense and sport, but many women, experienced or not have found benefits in coming to both mixed and womens only classes to round out their knowledge.

 

Fb 30 day trial profileCome down to Arashi Do St. Albert and try out one of our great Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu programs like Fundamental BJJ, Women’s Only BJJ or Children’s BJJ for ages 5-7 and 8-14.

All those and you get a 30 DAY FREE TRIAL!  

The Stages of a Threat

Street Self DefenceWhen attacked on the street, one of two things will happen:

1. It will be a surprise attack, where you need to react immediately with whatever technique you have available.

2. The threat will build more slowly, where you have some time to plan for a proper counter-attack.

If you get forewarning of the attack, try to remove yourself from the situation before it escalates to a physical encounter. If somebody grabs or strikes you, you may need to engage your opponent for an unbalancing move, but this is not always necessary. If you have thought about possible scenarios beforehand, you may be able to de-escalate the situation, even if you have already been struck. Evaluate whether this is an isolated strike or grab, or whether there is a further threat to your safety. Granted, it is difficult to make such split second decisions in the midst of battle, so it helps to have done a considerable amount of thinking about possible scenarios beforehand. The nature of the threat can also be determined by knowing your opponent’s reason for attacking you. Is he looking for a fight? Is he venting his anger? Is he out to rob or control you? If you can’t de-escalate or get away, an unbalancing technique may be appropriate.

Once you have unbalanced your adversary, again try to get away. This may not always be possible, and you might decide to stay and subdue him on the ground. If you are the only one present, and there is little chance that somebody else will come and help you, a press to a sensitive part of your opponent’s anatomy may not be enough, because as soon as you let up, your opponent may again try to hurt you. A sharp blow, a breaking or dislocation technique, or a choke to render him unconscious may be more appropriate.

If it becomes necessary to engage an adversary, your actions must be done with full intent. You must be committed and powerful. A strike, grab, or unbalancing move does not work off of “technique” alone. Even if your technique is very accurate, if there is no power or intent behind it, it will not work. In the training hall, you might see people fly yards away when you redirect the motion of their attack. But on the street, the attack is not likely to happen with so much obvious momentum that you can really send your opponents flying that far. And if you can see the attack coming from a mile away, you can just as easily flee it all together.

How much force should one use? In theory, the answer is simple: enough to subdue the attacker, without seriously injuring or killing him. In reality, however, the answer is not so simple. If the attack is unexpected, you have little knowledge of your attacker’s motive, so it is more difficult to decide just how far to go. You must ensure your safety, until you no longer perceive a threat. The more you train in self-defense and chaotic situations, the easier it is to decide at the spur of the moment how much offense to use. This is because you train yourself to be more alert to situations that might require defense or offense, and so you are more aware of your own capabilities. If you train often, your mind will constantly be on self-preservation and, as a result, you will condition yourself to being ready with a moment’s notice.

Another interesting issue is how to determine when it is necessary to defend yourself at all, especially if it is a surprise attack. If a friend or co-worker pushes you from behind in an act of playfulness, it would be inappropriate to turn around and throw him hard on the concrete floor. So, even if you’re taken by surprise, you must still give yourself a moment to assess the situation.

Fb 30 day trial profileCome down to Arashi Do Edmonton and try out one of our great Brazilian programs like Fundamental BJJ, Women’s Only BJJ or Children’s BJJ for ages 4-7 and 8-14.

All those and you get a 30 DAY FREE TRIAL!  As well as our 30 minute Fast Fitness program for FREE!