So at the park in Panorama today. Was doing chin-ups. Corner of my eye, a guy on a mountain bicycle strolls in. Instead of going to the push-up bars, I notice that he just decides to do pushups on the ground. Afterwards he gets up and does a few punches like he’s a fighter or something.
OK. Mini-chuckle. This old guy thinks he’s a fighter, LOLz.
I do my chin-ups. Not too much, my last set of 6. He calls out to me that it’s good I know my “breaking point.”
I say “oh yeah”, unsure of what to say next.
I ask him how many pushups he just did. He said that he’d just done 54. “Right after a month long break.” He was taking it easy today. He said that most people were unable to do even 40.
Heh yeah, I agreed, thinking about how people in the Bicycle Kitchen, young fit dudes, were playing with this As Seen on TV device called the Perfect Push-up and were unable to do push-ups.
Then he started talking about how people who could bench press could barely do any push-ups or squats. Big muscular guys couldn’t handle push-ups. Big muscular guys who could power squat and power clean all this weight, but were unable to do a simple free-standing squat, mostly because they lacked the range of motion to go all the way down.
Then he started talking about how he was able to beat these big guys. Not just plain old regular cheeseburger-stains-on-a-bib-fatasses, but those with strength, those who had strong grips and were trying to beat his ass. He recalled a story about how he’d done a few grapples and choke holds on a guy twice his size (he was about 5’9, 175) and was able to win. He was doing a lot of energetic and enthusiastic bodily technique demonstration that more or less sort of convinced me that he was indeed a fighter with such capability.
He said he’d been training in numerous styles of fighting. Black belt in jiu-jitsu, black belt in judo.
OK, I guess he was a fighter then.
What ensued was a crumpling of mini-lessons that I found interesting, complete with demonstrations and some of which I was the unwitting victim.
- He said that training muscles was all about “stored energy” and “quality” of training. He relayed a story to me about how a crew training for some kind of martial arts group, ran for an hour, swam for an hour, and did 45 minutes of weightlifting 2 or 3 times a week. Result: they got into fighting shape for training in his hyper-intensive Mixed Martials arts group.
- In his own practice, he talked about sharpshooting and accuracy amongst elite fighters. He said that at best, they contact was there to protect against the shock of contact in a real competition, but they would go at most 70%. So going at 70% meant somewhat stiff punches but no knockout blows.
On Street Fighting:
- He called martial arts “insurance” for the body.
- He said that running away was a very underrated tactic. Made me think of the Tony Jaa scene in Ong Bak
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- If someone makes comments behind your back, always take a step forward before turning back.
- Tendencies of street fighters: He told me that most people on the street were punchers and the trick was to last a minute and let them tire themselves out.
- Arms Up: He told me about keeping both arms in front of the face to protect against “what I didn’t see.” Also the key when blocking some kind of unexpected foreward lunge, as when my lip was busted on the Metro, was not to leave any space between the forearm and the face so I wouldn’t end up hitting myself. While deflecting that foreward lunge, I could lunge forward myself and find myself in the core vital areas of the assailant.
- Arms Up, Again: He stressed the importance of the inside core of the body for maintaining positions of power. In fights, there isn’t much pushing or gripping as much as there was pulling. If somebody were to grip you, he demonstrated ways of escaping. Of course, this probably required tons of getting used to.
- Arms Up, x 3: He said that putting the arms up was something so basic and so instinctual. From the arms being up you could land a good punch.
- Good Punching: The key to a good punch was keeping the arms parallel. He said that he didn’t know too many fighters who didn’t have 2-lb weights to practice their punching form. Three lbs was too much because it strained the joints.
- Hitting the head: Showed me the difference between hitting someone in the chin and the forehead. Hit someone on the chin: resistance. Hit someone on the forehead, they fall over.
- The importance of blocking: He told me about making people start over once they threw a punch and you rejected it with your block. 45 degree angle block BTW.
- Usurping the bases: as someone who trained in jiu-jitsu, judo, and grappling, his key to fighting seemed to be premised on tripping and slipping. When he did a demonstration on me, damn he tripped the hell out of me with something that swept my right leg. Oh yeah, and he swashbuckled my shoulders with his left hand pushing my back forward, and his right hand pushing my chest backward, which made for a very awkward feeling of being “swashbuckled.”
- The key to beating a bigger opponent: Strangling and chokeholds. This would require being behind them. Indeed, he got me from behind and very lightly showed how he could pretty much kill me with a little corkscrewy kind of move on the neck.