Archive for the ‘Kenpo’ Category

30 Aug 2012

  • Posted by Steve Spencer
  • 3 Things the Martial Arts has to come to grips with to survive

    1- MMA Is your re-brand

    While many martial arts view MMA as a bunch of savages, and completely different from their own refined martial art, the overlook the fact that their target audience is increasingly draw to it.  To many people who would have studied Karate in the past, MMA means simply:

    The ability to fight on the feet as well as on the ground, and not be embarrassed when my friends ask me about my hobby.

    Make sure your gym offers some elements of standup striking, as well as some grappling, and call yourself an MMA gym.

    Why? Because it’s what people are searching for.  Google Insights for Search show searches for MMA growing each year, and searches for Martial Arts, Karate, Kung Fu, and all of the others declining.  Like it or not, your branding needs to change or die.

    Stop hating MMA.  Start seeing the value it striking as well as grappling, and get on the bus, while keeping the elements of your art that make your gym so good at that aspect.

    2- You have to offer it all or die

    There are no islands.

    You will nto be able to survive in the long run as just a BJJ dojo, or just a Muay Thai or Kenpo facility.  If you don’t offer all of the elements your students will find somewhere that does.

    This includes Grappling and Striking at a minimum.  But you can’t even just think of BJJ when you think of grappling anymore… Wrestling will need to be a part of your training as well.

    3- The Gi is going the way of the T-Rex

    I know… It is going to break a lot of hearts, and traditionalists will fight this tooth and nail.  but even in BJJ competitions they not only offer Gi and no Gi divisions, but we are starting to see more interest and participation in the no Gi side than we are in the Gi.

    Bottom line: Your students can walk proud in a pair of fight shorts and a t-shirt.  But dropping by the 7-11 in their Gi after practice looks about as cool as if the marched in wearing a their Dungeons and Dragons costume.

    Does this mean there will be no place for the gi, or that there isn’t value in training with it?  No.  But if you don’t offer any no Gi classes now, you had better start.

    3 Jan 2012

  • Posted by Steve Spencer
  • Wrestling or Fighting Pre-Match Playlist

    Whatever your sport, Wrestling, Karate, BJJ, or MMA, nothing gets you as pumped before a match as a good playlist.

    Unfortunately, I’ve been looking for months, and if you’re not into a bunch of screaming or rap a good pre-fight playlist is hard to find.  So for a while now I have been sampling various lists, and built one that I think really works so I wanted to share it.  I hope you like it!

    Burn it to the ground by Nickelback

    Click Click Boom by Saliva

    Coming Undone by Korn

    Cult of Personality by Living Colour

    Demon Speeding by Rob Zombie

    Down with the Sickness by Disturbed

    Feel so Numb by Rob Zombie

    Freight Train by Brand New Sin (optional)

    Hair of the Dog by Nazareth

    I Don’t Wanna Stop by Ozzy

    I Wanna Rock by Twisted Sister

    Indestructible by Disturbed

    Invincible by Adelitas Way

    Let it Die by Ozzy

    Let it Rock by Kevin Rudolph (a bit lighter, but I love the message)

    Meaning of Life by Disturbed

    Move by Thousand Foot Krutch

    Porn Star Dancing by My Darkest Day

    Rockstar by Nickelback (another optional one… good rock, but less in tune with the message)

    Scum of the Earth by Rob Zombie

    Sound of Madness by Shinedown

    Stand up and Shout by Dio

    Stronger by Kanye West

    Ten thousand Fists by Disturbed

    We Rock by Dio

    Whiskey Hangover by Godsmack (optional)

    Note: Okay, so maybe Porn Star Dancing doesn’t fit the Genre and should be considered optional.  But I just love that song :)

    Let me know if you have more, and I’ll add them here!!

    1 Mar 2010

  • Posted by Steve Spencer
  • Reno MMA, Karate, and Martial Arts at the Lions Den

    I spent all of last week in Reno, Nevada on business.  One of the things I was really looking forward to on this trip was a chance to meet, and train with a living legend: Ken Shamrock.

    I spent 3 hours at the Lion’s Den in Reno Tuesday night.  The first things that I noticed wit the gym were that it’s very clean, well lit, and comfortable.  There are adults and kids there, and it’s an open, welcoming atmosphere.  I know that a lot of MMA training centers, and even just fitness facilities in general, can create an atmosphere where you feel a little out of place when you walk in.  Almost like you’re intruding on some one’s private club.  Not so here.  The workers were very friendly, and made sure I felt welcome and knew what classes were being taught.

    That leads me to my next impression.  The breadth of opportunities of things to learn was really impressive compared to most places.  Not only did I get the chance to train some grappling with one of the best on the planet (more on that in a minute), but there were classes on Kenpo Karate, Jiu Jitsu, Boxing, MMA, and even Judo.

    My first class of the night was “Leg Locks and Grappling” taught by Ken Shamrock.  Okay, so I think it’s important here to cut through the hype, and tell you what I was afraid of, and what I really found:  I have never met Ken before this experience.  I ahve seen him on The Ultimate Fighter.  I have watched him fight in the cage for years.  But what would he really be like?  Let’s don’t kid ourselves, the UFC generally does a pretty good job of using The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) to paint one person as the “good guy”, and the other as the “bad guy”.  Sometimes it is almost like reading a comic book.  In the season with Ken, they painted him pretty poorly.

    So what would I find?  Would he be difficult to deal with?  Would he be too intense for non-professionals, screaming at me to not be such a “girly man?”  I wasn’t sure.  But I was curious to find out.

    What I found was really neat.  I have never done leg locks before, so my technique was really terrible.  But Ken came around, and was very kind, very patient.  He had me move aside for a moment, and showed me how to do the move.  Not only did Ken show a level of skill that anyone who needs to improve their game could benefit from, but a level of patience and caring that would make me open to sending my kids to his classes.  I was very impressed, and pleasantly surprised.

    After my Grappling class, I watched the boxing class for a bit before starting my Kenpo.

    Some of the guys were preparing for some upcoming fights, so they were working in the cage on a combination of boxing and takedowns.  Ken was watching from outside the cage, calling in advice and encouragement.

    Watching Ken was another opportunity to really see what made this guy tick.  He was so patient, and eager to help.  As the fighters would move in the cage, Ken would subconsciously move as well; he feet moving, his body twisting slightly in empathy for what the fighters should be doing.  It reminded me of the scene in The Incredibles, when Hellen is feeding the baby, and moving her mouth as well.  It showed how intently Ken was thinking about, and wanting to help this guys.

    I finished of the night with a bit of Kenpo, and some no-Gi Judo.  By that point I was pretty much ready to crash.

    Can’t wait for my next trip out to Reno, and the Lion’s Den though.  Thanks Ken, and crew (especially you Heather!) for lettign me come train with you!

    21 Jul 2009

  • Posted by Steve Spencer
  • Training at East West MMA

    IMG_0267My son (Ty) and I are always looking to improve our game.  We have been doing Judo and some Jiu Jitsu for nearly two years now, and definitely plan to continue doing that.

    But we have tried several other things recently to round our game out a bit.

    There is a gym that opened up relatively near my home in Riverton that I had been meaning to check out.  This weekend I did, and here’s my report:

    East West MMA (The sign out fron says “Karate”, but they teach a lot more than that.)

    When I walked in to the the building, and started looking at the facilities I was really amazing by how big it is.  The way the building is set back off the street, and down ina  bit you really don’t realize how lare it is until you really get down into it.

    The space for training was big enough that with a large numbe of us there was still plenty of room not only for everyone to train, but also for everyone to spar, at the same time.  This is really unique in comparison to some gyms/dojo’s.

    Also, at the back of the room in this picture was a trampoline that allowed you to jump into a foam-filled pit.  this ended up being really nice.  My kids had a blast on friday night while I was sitting in on my first class.

    Though you can’t tell form this picutre, the floor has great padding under it, and we were able to take some pretty good falls without gety hurt.  I did end up with a few carpet burns, but I think that a long-sleeved under-armor style shirt and my Gi pants should primarily eliminate that.

    Oviously I have not been attending for a long period, so I can’t tell you a lot about their training, but I will tell you what I know so far:

    It was nice to see them doing training in striking, as well as in ground work.  I have absolutely no Mauy Thai background, and not a ton of Karate, so the workout was not only very instructional in my technique, but it really got my heart pumping.  This seems like a great place if you are looking to burn off a lot of calories.  A fair amount of the workout seemed to include pushups and things like that.  Some people like that type of training because it builds strength and cardio, others hate it and want to focus on technique.  I won’t throw my bias in one way or the other, but just let you know what seems to be included, and then let you decide.

    We also had some great sparring.  We put headgear, and had to try to take down an opponent who had boxing gloves on and was pummelling us with strikes.  Obviously being a big guy with a Judo background was nice in this exercise, but it was an amazing workout, a ton of fun, and really built good relationships between class members.

    A lot more takedown and ground submission sparring and training followed.

    The gym is very clean and new, the people friendly, and the skills of the teachers seemed to be very good (Bryce arm=barred me about a hundred times I think :)

    I still love my Judo class and will be sticking with it, but I intend to attend East West regularly as well to learn new skills.  I was very impressed, and will be writing more about my experiences in the coming weeks and months.