Archive for February, 2010

Today’s longsword seminar at the University went quite well. Very few attendees, but that allowed us to devote more personal time for each student. Whilst we’ve given the historical combat training there at the school before, unlike the last series which focused on dagger and hand-to-hand techniques, tactics, and strategies, this seminar was singularly about longsword. We focused exclusively on the interpretations of the earliest works and intentions of “the German style” of Johannes Liechtenauer.

Chris has been really delving into the cutting edge (heheh) of Liechtenauer research and interpretation. One of the trademarks of his work is the primacy of attack, vice the later Italian focus on learning and working from “guards.” Quite an interesting philosophy.


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Wednesday was another snow day. The Federal Government was closed, our office was closed, the roads were treacherous, and much snow digging needed to be done.

I was able to work from home, but only made a partial day of it.

However, with both me and the roommate home, we did something unusual. We did a PT session. Twice. The first one was a pre-lunch session, and was devoted to hand-to-hand striking practice. First on the heavy bag, with lots of practicing various strikes and combinations, but most importantly, getting the strike correct. You can hit the bag (or a body) ineffectually and potentially damaging to yourself. Or, you can do it in a way that is powerful, fast, and relaxed. This has to do with relaxation and alignment.

So, we worked on that, with the addition of some hit-to-body work to show and practice application. Then it devolved into light deadlifting with the EZ Curl bar (and some cleans-and-presses were thrown in), and that finally developed into a circuit for my roommate:

Three Rounds:
– 5 DLs, EZ Curl bar (135 lbs)
– 5 high pulls, kettlebell (32 kg)
– 5 high pulls, kettlebell (24 kg)
– 5 high pulls, kettlebell (16 kg)

Meanwhile, I had been doing various uncounted demonstrations of the movements, and then did several types of military presses with the kbells, including a couple sets of the double see-saw press with the 16 and 24 kg kbells (switching the bells for the two sets).

A good session indeed.

Later, pre-dinner, we were feeling froggy, so I led him through that TACFIT sample I downloaded from Coach Scott Sonnon a couple of days ago. Again, a brutally simple 4 bodyweight exercise workout. Very nice indeed. He did a good job going through it. Before starting out, I had purposely underdressed in board shorts and water socks (and a sweater) to go outside in the wind and snow for some snow shoveling. I wanted that cold training boost.

Anyway, it was a good day for that sort of thing, snow shoveling, workouts, and the like.

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The following SOP addresses the Procedures that shall be followed when short bladed combat is imminent or already occuring.

The Procedures are arranged as Plans A through D, with Plan A the default Procedure. Contingency Plans B through D are listed in order of preferential deployment.

Plan A

You shall:
1. Bring to bear a gun, the caliber of which shall be no less than the diameter of your little finger (males) or middle finger (females).
2. Bring all the friends with guns you can manage.
3. Apply tool(s) until desired result occurs*.

Plan B

You shall:
1. Bring to bear a sword, and/or machete, and/or long heavy stick.
2. Apply tool(s) until desired result occurs*.

Plan C

You shall:
1. Control the body part of the opponent that has or potentially may acquire a sharp object (if both hands of the opponent, for instance, come up with sharp objects, it is incumbent upon you to control both).
2. Bring to bear your own sharp object and apply directly to the opponent’s body, point first, as deep as possible and in a percussive manner.
3. Repeat Step 2 until desired result occurs*.
4. If you are denied opportunity to use the point, use the edge in the following manner: apply the edge at a shallow angle and, while keeping contact with the opponent’s body with the blade, slice *away* from yourself in a filleting motion.
5. Re-attempt Steps 2-4 until desired result occurs*.

Plan D

You shall:
1. Follow Step 1 of Plan C.
2.. Similar to Step 2 of Plan C, bring your own improvised object or hard body part to bear against the opponents face, until they agree to give you their own sharp object.
3. Follow Steps 2-5 of Plan C.


SOP Note 1: These Procedures indicate a MINIMUM of actions to be taken, in the preferred order, when involved in the scenario.
SOP Note 2: These Procedures cannot hope to encompass the scope of every possible option. Creativity and initiative are encouraged, provided the main content in the order in which it was given are followed.
SOP Note 3: The writer(s) of this SOP cannot be in any way held liable for any negative results gained by following these Procedures either explicitly or approximately. Use these Procedures at your own risk.

* Desired result = cessation of aggressive activity by opponent.

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So, for something different tonight, I downloaded a sample of Scott Sonnon’s TACFIT. He provides the sample if you register here. In this case, the sample workout was the Israeli Special Forces workout that apparently he provided them at some point.

I’ve looked at Coach Sonnon’s stuff over the years, and thought about trying it out–you all know how I love to learn and try new stuff. 🙂

He Russian Martial Arts style and fitness solutions were always the counterbalance to the Systema of Vasiliev and Ryabko on the American continent. They often end up in the same place, but take different paths to get there. Where Vlad uses almost completely intuitive training, letting you learn everything through experimentation and “feeling,” Coach Sonnon intellectualizes everything, providing tons and tons of explanation. He doesn’t skimp on mind-body connection, though. His stuff is all about that–he just tries to understand all of it and explain it. Each style of instruction probably fits different types of students.

I’ve noticed that some Vlad-trained instructors (such as Kwan Lee and Kevin Secours) teach a combination of both, in different proportions.

Lots of history there. Anyway. I downloaded it and gave it a try. I like it. This progression is almost criminally simple, though the exercises aren’t. Which is okay. I was looking for something simple to progress through, and exercises which are a little more gymnastic than the typical calisthenics than what I do with the SEAL workout.

Basically, there are four exercises and you do a couple of reps for each exercise (depending on your level) within the span of a minute. That’s one round. The extra time left in the minute is your rest time. Brilliant! Really. You have 20 rounds, therefore you are limited to 20 minutes.

Since he puts this out for free, I’m okay with delineating it a bit more. The beginning level is only two reps per minute of each, then four for intermediates, then six for the hardcore types. As it was my first time seeing the workout, I chose the beginning level. 🙂

The exercises are a little bit exotic, but not too much. But I’ve found they’re excellent full body movements, and fairly intense. You start off sitting in a butt-to-floor squat, hop down on all fours, then back up again. Second exercise is rolling all the way back and attempting to pop the floor with your toes. Next, you do whats called a Springing Tripod. He explains it best:

A little note here–this was the hardest one for me, and I still haven’t mastered it. Everything I’ve learned (and taught) in the combat arts says not to post like that when you fall, and my instincts went totally against it. I got a few in, but most of the time, I collapsed into some sort of break fall. I’ll work on this, and see what happens.

The fourth one is type of “plank” where you extend out straight (with you hands and feet on the deck) then, keeping hands and feet in place, you pull back into sort of a crunch with you knees and feet turned to one side. Sorta like this:

I did okay with the previously noted exception of the Springing Tripod. Those drills are neat and I can see and feel how they will develop both your strength and your stamina in the 20-minute format. I did about five rounds, took a breather set or two, then went most of the way to finish, ending up with one more rest set on the way. My hands were hurting from the Springing Tripod, as you can imagine from hitting the hard concrete floor with just a thin carpet layer on it. I’m glad to have learned these, and like having an alternate bodyweight circuit. I’m going to keep using it for a while, and may actually purchase some of his stuff.

He’s very big on both training the principle strength drills, and drills that facilitate mobility and recovery. And he can do playful, EF-type stuff, too:


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Well, did get a decent PT session in out here in the Springs, in amongst everything going on out here. Including an impromptu funeral to go to on Saturday.

Started off with 20 minutes interval riding on the stationary recumbent bike in the tiny gym. It started up kicking my butt… but I felt better as I went longer. By the time I was done, I was tempted to keep going and up the level. After some decline crunches and supermans (“supermen?”), I did a sort of de Vany protocol with pushups–15 inclines on the ab bench, 10 from the floor, 8 declines with feet on the bench, hands on the floor.

Another compound set of crunches/supermen, then hit the cable tower for 15 pulls/bicep curls light, 10 pulls/curls medium, 8 pulls/curls heavy. Then a third crunch/superman compound set. Finished off with 10 or so bodyweight bench squats and then stretching/cooldown.

Hopped over to share the tiny pool with a mom and two kids, where I did a couple of underwater laps, then jumped into the jacuzzi. Went back and forth between the cool pool and the jacuzzi. Nice finish to the PT.

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Whilst the Mid-Atlantic region is being pounded by Mr. Snowstorm, I’m back out in the Springs, enjoying a beautiful, clear, nearly 50 degree F day. I was feeling like buttocks yesterday, so I did nothing but hydrate and then go to the jacuzzi. This morning I felt great, and started the day off with a simple warm up in the comfort of my hotel room, before the walk to the office.

– 3 x 10 body weight dips (using two room chairs, feet up on one, hands on the arms of the other)
– 3 x 10 abs (reverse crunches, alternating crunches, then regular crunches)
– 3 x 10 legs (bodyweight squats first two sets, then 4-count lunges on the last set)

And there you go. A nice start to the day.

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