Jasper Roberts - Blog

Friday, September 18, 2015

2015-09-18 Let Me Break it Down For You

As you know once in awhile I post on a topic related to martial arts rather than calisthenics. I watched a video today that prompted me to write. For the background you have to keep in mind what has happened in the martial arts world over the past ten years or so. In case you've been living under a rock, you should watch this video.

MMA fighter vs. Kiai Master

This video is emblematic of how what people call "traditional martial arts" has slowly been uncovered to reveal more and more about what actually goes on. No matter what art you practice you cannot get away nowadays with claiming you have a secret death touch or that you can project chi blasts and knock people down without touching them. In other words, the internet has helped to make people aware of bullshit. This video is an extreme example of calling people out on their bullshit, but you get the point.
As you may know I spent about twenty years practicing Aikido. I trained with and was friends with more than a few police officers and even to this day, though I don't practice Aikido anymore, they will tell you that Aikido has served them very well in their jobs. If you ask any MMA practitioners or any of my jiujitsu friends they'll probably tell you that Aikido is a joke. I have quite a bit of experience in other martial arts so I feel confident to speak to what I've learned. I spent about twelve years in Uechi Ryu karate doing tons of sparring, ad another five years doing submission grappling (no-gi Brazilian Jiujitsu). I've also been exposed to some catch wrestling and Filipino martial arts.

The video that spurned me to post was this one:

Joe Rogan and "Aikido Guy"

And then just for completeness, it's helpful to listen to this last video too:

Joe Rogan on self-defense

Now I' not a Roagn fan boy but I'm not a basher. The general idea of what he is trying to convey I agree with 100%. And I'm not here to try to defend Aikido against his rant or defend any martial art....sort of. There has been way too much exploitation I feel in some arts and even in Aikido. But you also have to use some logic beyond just "this works and this doesn't."
The idea that the only way to train martial arts is to train against similarly trained killers is a little too simplistic, now hear me out. More importantly, and what Joe Rogan unfortunately misses is context. You'd be an idiot to try to argue that Aikido better trains people to wrestle then does Wrestling. You'd also be an idiot to try to argue that Aikido trains people to be better at a boxing match than training at a boxing gym does.
When it comes to trying to figure out what arts work best for a certain scenario like a cage match, that ship has already sailed. The answer is boxing, Muy Thai, kickboxing, BJJ, and wrestling. Some people would throw in Judo, Sambo, and some karate styles too. There is a reason for this, and you don't even have to go down that boring road of rules vs. no rules, or the possibility of weapons or anything like that- those arguents have already been played out and are understood.
What Rogan said at one point was telling: "that stuff only works against people who don't know what the fuck they're doing", referring to Aikido. What I realized at that point was the error of context and why so many cops I'm friends with and why so many longtime bouncers I've met have the extra piece or "the rest of the story". To answer it simply, there are some situations where punching, kicking, breaking an arm, or snapping a neck are inappropriate. Certainly there are non-lethal options in most martial arts so I wouldn't argue that Aikido has the answer there, just that its somethign to consider.
In contrast, there are situations where it is completely expected that you would snap someone's neck or disarm someone and then stab them- generally reserved for soldiers during wartime, and a few extremely small and unlikely scenarios.
Rogan's main error there was context again, but here it was the assumption that every battle would necessarily be a duel. Dueling is different from fighting (research this to fully understand what I mean). That said, dueling methods cannot be ignored and won;t go away just because they are dueling techniques. Most have tremendous value, just not necessarily in the context you want to use them in.
I teach my students that even though most MMA arts (mentioned above) are sports, this doesn't magically make the skills these sports ingrain meaningless in no-rules combat. In the same way that a  BJJ player might be used to five minute rounds and not used to weapons, the "reality combat" aficionado has to respect that being comfortable taking someone down and mounting them is a skill that stands alone and must be learned and practiced to do and defend against. To put it another way, there are fundamental skills and concepts that are mandatory for any and all types of fighting, sport or non-sport when it comes to "no rules". And purposely refusing to learn them puts you at a
disadvantage, period. Just because it's truly "no rules" doesn't mean that fundamental skills taught in sports are worthless. On the contrary- those skills are very important, just not in the same context and not generally in the same application. Take two knife fighters or two soldiers or two gun specialists (unarmed) or two chi-masters of equal size, age, skill, experience, and size and have them be forced for some reason to fight for their life with no rules...my money is on the one who has better fundamental skills and also the ability to be creative. Again, all else being equal. (Which is rarely the case).

Thursday, September 10, 2015

2015-09-10 Silenty Executing My Plan

First off, play this music video from Youtube while you read this, it's a nice background tune:


So I realize it's been a good while since 'Ive posted but life these days is pretty difficult to find time to do much of anything besides spend time with my family and work. My workouts happen three times a week at lunch. That's all I'm willing to do right now. However, I can say I had a little bit of a bump in abilities lately. Unfortunately its' not so easy to take video at the gym I go to, so I snuck in a few here to give an idea of what I'm doing. It's not as impressive as it felt but i can tell you it is far more than I have been able to do in the past. I couldn't get video of my bar work, so you'l have to take my word for now that today I held a good three second front lever. Felt awesome. The real golden ring is the one arm chinup and that is coming along, but slowly. And thats ok because you cant rush this thing. I have had zero elbow and shoulder pain in the past year because I spend a significant consistent amount of time on ROM work. I can touch hands behind my back with arms extended. Zero shoulder issues.
The front lever and back lever are tied nicely to the OAC, trust me on the research I've done as well as my personal experience. The most overlooked exercise is simply hanging from a bar thpough. Playing on the bar is even better.
Shrimp squats and pistol squats, both loaded with up to 35 pounds. Bridge getting taller and straighter, leg lifts getting easier and higher (V-sit style) and very slow. None of this "toes to bar" whipping nonsense. That's ok for breaking a sweat but displays zero control. Lots of wrist prep stretching work  and getting more comfortable in the planche position. Working different ranges of position in the chinup and pullp, doing some explosive work with weighted chins too with range limited focus. Running a tiny bit today, actually seemed to make me feel better overall, though I reserve this for the end before I hit the showers. Employing the cold shower now because Wim Hoff convinced me ultimately of the benefits which along with breathing exercises will in my opinion end up changing the world and you will see this as a fad soon. The running and cardio must be done at the end of a workout IF you are trying to get really strong from calisthenics and hope to perform elite gymnastic skills. All of the books Ive read by the professionals say that you sort of have to pick a poison. There is so much incredible stress on the nervous system working certain movements that being cardiovascularly exhausted is essentially a massive impediment to this type of skill building. Imagine trying to learn to play the piano after a marathon. Not the best time to do that work.

Ok, now for a couple videos. Nothing spectacular, by give them a try and see how you do. The first is some Pseudo planche Pushup Negatives work, and the other two are set one and set two of Pseudo Straddle planche negatives.