February 2008


I wanted to take the opportunity to thank everyone for showing up tonight. I feel pretty lucky to have such a great group of friends to train with.

Class tonight @ 7 pm. Ping here if you can make it.

There’s a small boxing group in New Albany that does a round-robin sparring session on Mondays. I did it last week. It was pretty cool… I ended up throwing 6 rounds. If anyone is interested, let me know and I’ll give you directions to get down there.

I’ve just returned from working out with a group of MMA fighters on the east side of town. The get together regularly on the weekends, on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

They were a friendly group of guys who were more than happy to start teaching me some grappling technique. We did some grappling drills that were pretty intense for someone with my lack of grappling experience. I’m hoping that after attending regularly, at the very least I’ll be more competent at defending myself against take-downs.

We threw a couple of rounds. When it came to stand-up fighting, I was a lot more comfortable, but it was still a lot different to throw techniques when the other person might try to grapple with you and take you to the ground.

If anyone is interested in attending, I plan on trying to work out with them at least once a weekend after this fight. I encouraged them to come check out club, too.

A few weeks ago, I found myself in Austin[TX] for business. I had heard a lot of good things about a local martial arts school there(http://www.ifaacademy.com/). and because I knew the owner from an online marital arts group, I decided to drop in.  I’d talk with Frank Benn a bit over the years, and I’d enjoyed his articles(http://stickgrappler.tripod.com/fb/fb.html): so I was really looking forward to training with him.

 I called and made sure it would be ok to drop by, and then rushed over. Of course, because I was in Austin, I didn’t have any wraps, mouth piece, or gloves. But, no worries. Frank said hello when I walked in, asked my name, and immediately remembered me. He was kind enough to let me join the class without a fee. As a matter of fact, he was kind enough to let me use his own wraps and to lend me a pair of 16-oz gloves. Frank himself is a big guy: 6’2 plus, and looks a bit like a cop. He’s soft spoken, but in that scary way that our own Brian is soft spoken. Not out of shyness, but because he doesn’t seem to need to shout.
 
 So, the training. The place was two stories, with mats on the first floor, and an alcove for changing on the second floor. The students were all somewhat young: say 20-25, with one exception. The exception was a gray haired guy who was in much better shape then I’ve *ever* been. I was about 10 minutes late, so I started with shadow boxing. After a few minutes, the gray-haired guy with the big muscles offered to work with me, and I accepted.
 
 We did some fairly standard drills, extended combinations, and such. Frank would call out or demonstrate the sequence, and we’d try to emulate it. It was good pace, and I found myself having to stop several times in order to catch my breath.
 
 After about 30 minutes of this, Frank opened up the floor for sparing. I didn’t have a mouth guard, so I wet some brown paper towels and stuck them in my mouth( or order to keep my teeth from cracking against each other).
 
 Frank put me with his lead student( of that day), because he didn’t really know who I was, and he figured the lead guy would be good enough to spar with an old fart without hurting me too badly. I like the guy I was fighting. He was good in the clinch with knees, and hard a unhurried willingness to engage. His hands were a little stronger then mine, but my kicks were probably an evening factor. Also, as I said, he had better knees in the clinch, but I had better Judo, so I threw him a few times. That throwing business ended up being my undoing, because I tore open a patch my knee the size of the palm-ok-my-hand. It didn’t *hurt* me, but it bled a lot. I’m just now starting to heal from it.
 
 The contact was also decent. Not enough to hurt either one of us, but enough that we didn’t want to get hit. Probably about 40%, which is probably a good way for two fighter who don’t know each other to get started.
 
 I ended up sparing with the same guy about three more times, then class ended and they went on to the grappling session. By this time, I was too tired to join in, so I thanked them for their time, left a generous donation for the club[ after all, I had bled all over their mats, and Frank had lent me a lot of equipment on good faith-without ever asking me to so much as sigh a waiver].
 
 It was great experience, and I ended up telling a friend who lives in Austin about the place. If you guys ever get a chance to practice @ other clubs, I’d like to encourage it, and I’d also really like it if you wrote it up here. Also, if you have some downtime, you should consider reading the articles(http://stickgrappler.tripod.com/fb/fb.html) I mentioned. Frank knows his stuff, and I find it very generous that he’s willing to share it.He’s cut from the same cloth as Ricardo, and there aren’t too many guys like that around.
 
 best,
 Mehran

My car is currently in the shop, and I do not know if it will be ready by this evening. If I could catch a ride, that would be great. My number is 784-0062.

Thanks.

ping here if you can make it.