Resolve to Progress without Judgment

Hello! Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve written, and the last things I wrote about were weekly blog posts related to a “personal project,” which basically amounted to a resolution I made last year to learn a new Jiu-jitsu technique every week for a year. I managed to do about 12 weeks worth of techniques and related blog posts and then life got crazy. I started getting more stunt work. I performed in and produced a short film (there’s a shot of me working on it below. As a result, my training focus shifted. I’m okay with this. Here’s why.

The whole point in making resolutions or setting goals is to give yourself focal points for your personal progress. Sometimes those focal points are perfectly set and you move from A to B smoothly on a charted course. Other times your needs change so you have to shift your focal points to other things to reflect those needs. Just because you have to change course doesn’t mean you’re abandoning the journey. And who’s to say what journey you should be on anyway? You get to choose your journey so if you want to make unscheduled detours or even completely different direction changes, it’s up to you. As long as you don’t abandon your personal journey and keep progressing in your mind, body and spirit, you’re making something of your life. (more…)

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Week 11-12: Spinning Head Scissors Throw & Taco Fall to Kip-Up

For week 11, I decided to follow up on my previous work on the scissor throw at the head level, and try a fancier version with a spin. This one really is purely for aesthetics, but is a beautiful looking takedown for film work. The initial set-up is pretty much the same, but once in position, I relax my legs as my partner removes his arms allowing me to drop. I don’t fully open up my legs though. I need to keep a bit of squeeze to allow the momentum to swing me back up a bit so that I can land on my feet as my partner throws himself down to make it look like I’m initiating the throw. The end result is pretty cool looking, as you’ll see below. (more…)

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Week 7-10: Film-Oriented Throws & Flying Takedowns/Submissions

In early February, I went away to Toronto to teach a seminar for a local Jiu-jitsu organization. While I was there, I also met with a number of Toronto stunt coordinators, hoping it might lead to future opportunities. Happily, the first one I met with hired me to work on a show while I was there. He also hired me to put on a seminar for some of the female stunt doubles who work on his show, requesting that I teach them some fancy throws and flying techniques that would look good on film.

I had a number of techniques in mind, but wanted to work on them in a context that was better suited for camera. I also had to train up a training partner who was local to Toronto so I had someone to demonstrate techniques on for the seminar, so I used our training time to pick a few moves that I wanted to tweak for film and dial in for the seminar. These include kani basami (using the head), flying omoplata with gun disarm, back flip into arm break, and back flip to counter ushiro guruma into ura nage. I’ve put them all together in the video below. (more…)

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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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