Week 4-6: The Sambo Mambo

3 Sambo ThrowsI had a busy week the other week, involving a couple of days of stunt work on the 100, and this week I’ll be heading to Toronto for the week, so this week, I’m covering 3 techniques to keep my weekly techniques covered.

I found 3 different Sambo throws that caught my eye and decided to learn them by teaching them to my students on an alternative curriculum day, which happen to coincide with the 10-year anniversary celebration for my dojo. Here is the video of me doing the 3 different throws: (more…)

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Week 3: Sacrifice Throw from Handshake Position

This week’s technique was an easier one for me, while being a little more challenging for my uke. In this technique, I kick my leg over the handshake while grabbing the back of the neck, then drop to the ground. My leg and hand serve as an anchor so all I need to do is drop down on an angle so my partner has no choice but to go down, as you can see in the video below. (more…)

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Week 2: Round-Off/Cartwheel Counter to Throws

For my second week of my 52-week challenge, I decided to try something challenging that I’ve been interested in trying for a while; using a round-off/cartwheel as a way of countering a throw. I’ve seen this done most commonly against a shoulder throw, but it can be done against different types of throws. Here’s a video I used for inspiration: (more…)

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Personal Project for 2016: 52 New Jiu-jitsu Techniques

sacrifice sode tsurikomi goshi judo throwHappy New Year, everyone! I’ve decided that this year I’m going to try to bring a bit more fun and whimsy into my life. It feels like I’ve gotten a bit too end-goal oriented that I’ve lost a bit of my sense of playfulness, particularly in my training in the martial arts and for my career as a stunt performer. So rather than just focus on the things I want to accomplish, I’m going to take more time to remember why I got into my training in the first place, to relax and have more fun on the journey. As a part of this, I’ve decided that I’m going to learn one new technique related to Jiu-jitsu each week this year. My choices will be more focused around learning something that looks fun to learn and do rather than for pure practicality. (more…)

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Nerf Warz: Dinner’s On

A clueless husband. A ruthless wife. An ominous note. One shot decides who takes care of dinner.

This Christmas day, Chris and I would like to share a film project we worked on together. We shot this video in our home over two 8-hour shoot days. It was shot entirely on the iPhone 6S. It was Chris’s first stunt fight project, and he learned a lot in the process of creating it. Big thanks to Stu Cooke who did most of the filming (we had to film a few pick-up shots and reshoots ourselves with some creativity). I handled most of the editing and sound effects, while Chris composed the music for it. Big thanks also to Ivette Hernadez who helped out on the shoot days while we set up shots. Here is one of my favourite photos that Ivette took behind the scenes:

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Fight or Flight: Choosing to Face a Fear or Walk Away

Fight or Flight: Choosing to Face a Fear or Walk AwayThe martial arts present many challenges for the student. The student will find themselves facing a number of different fears as they progress in their learning. In our dojo, it starts on day one. Most people have some degree of fear of falling and hitting the ground. It’s instinctual. We fear that we’ll hurt ourselves… until we accept through progressions that one can learn to do it safely. Students also have to learn to make contact with their strikes so that they learn good targeting with their partners. There is a fear they could accidentally hurt someone. To keep things safe, we have students start hitting slowly and lightly, developing their control then increase the speed and power as they do so. As control increases and the student reaches the intermediate level, they are introduced to sparring. The unpredictable nature of sparring increases the stress of the training, leading to the influences of adrenaline. In this scenario, when students first start, they fear getting hit or hitting someone too hard, especially in the head area, even when the sparring is relatively relaxed and controlled. (more…)

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Why It Can Be Hard to Prioritize Stetching

Why the Stretching Habit Can Be Hard to MaintainI maintain a very active physical training regimen between my martial arts and stunt-oriented training. I train in martial arts and parkour 3-4 times a week. I do high intensity interval cardio training twice a week. I do strength training once a week. I practice fight choreography 2-3 times a week. I do weapons training 3 times a week. I can’t even think of everything I do off-hand. I do a lot. I keep track of all my training using an app called Habit List, which lets me know how well I’m keeping up with my training goals. For the most part, my physical goals are all well maintained. So why is it that my goal of doing daily stretching is in the red every week when I’m generally pretty good at sticking to my goals? (more…)

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Removing Risk to Make Learning Easier in the Martial Arts

Removing Risk to Make Learning Easier in the Martial ArtsI recently made a big purchase for our dojo. I bought a soft 3″ thick portable folding mat. Considering that we already have 2″ tatami mats over top a custom built sprung floor for our dojo’s training surface, this purchase may seem unnecessary. And for anyone who is fully comortable with their breakfalls, it is. What we have is more than enough for general use, and preferable over a soft mat like the one I got for developing a better sense of the ground and how best to do a breakfall on it safely. It’s hard enough that you can feel your mistakes, but springy enough to take the jolt out of solid impacts. But I discovered that even our advanced system isn’t always enough. (more…)

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How to Make Safe Contact that Sells for Camera

How to Sell Strikes Safely for Camera

I’ve been training to improve my form and structure to make my punches hit harder for 22 years. I know what it takes to hit with heavy hands and have worked hard to do so. But for film you want to “fight light.” This is a skill that can be a challenge for trained martial artists. While a trained practitioner may know better how to look the part because they know how to do it for real, they have to be able to do so, and even make contact, without making impact associated with it. Here’s what I’ve learned about doing that. (more…)

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Using Wirework to Enhance Throws for Stunts

This past weekend, I spent it at Sea to Sky Stunts training with some stunt friends. One of my goals for the weekend was to spend some time applying wire work to throws to make them look more spectacular. The one we worked on specifically this time around was tomoe nage (stomach throw). You can see the results in the video below. (more…)

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