Josh, a friend of mine who owns buckeyeMMA was kind enough to stop in last night and guest teach for us. Josh has a large stable of fighters, pro and amateur, and he knows orders of magnitude more about grappling then I do, so it was a pleasure to have him.

We spread out the mats, and worked until almost 10 pm on hold-downs, locks, chokes, and escapes. It was a great experience, and we’re all grateful to him for making time for us.

Guys, I want to do a lot more of this sort of thing. Also, if anyone is interested in cross training, I suggest you check out his program @ . It’s very affordable, nicely structured, and worth your attention.


Guys, I ran across this article while surfing the ‘net. If I’m not mistaken, it’s by Brett King, who was probably one of the *the* most talented martial artists I’ve ever worked with.

Well, let me amend that.

When Brett came in, he was was fast, and talented, and had a lot of grace. When he left, he was one of the baddest & scariest mofos I’d ever stood in front of.

It seems that Brett has his own school now, which is great: he’s patient, talented, and dedicated guy, and he’ll raise a fine group of fighters.

However, the reason I’m drawing your attention to this site is because it’s an acknowledgement of Ricardo’s contributions to martial arts and people in general. Ricardo doesn’t really care about belt, titles, or or any thing close to that.

But he really loves teaching people, and helping them mine their own talent. It’s nice(for me) to see that I’m not the only person who feels that way.

Had a really good session training @ Great class, high energy, really good people. The instructor\owner, Ray, was generous with time and demanding in the workouts. The students, especially a good guy named Axel, were also welcoming.

The club has a few professional fighters, as well as a good number of talented amateurs. Like most really good clubs, their women who can really fight, which is always the hallmark of a great club to me( that’s not to say that clubs without women aren’t good: but if you find a club where the women are encouraged and pushed just as hard as the men, then you’ve found a good club).

The workouts that I went to were about 1 1/2 hours. Started with about three 3 rounds of jumping rope, two rounds of shadowboxing, then 3, three minute hand drill rounds, followed by 3, three minute kicking drills. Some hard exercises finished out the whole thing. I was *drenched* in sweat by the end of it, which was awesome.

I’ve included some pictures. Yes, there’s a cute girl doing sit ups at the beginning of the pictures. No, that’s not intentional. And yes, she’d probably kick your ass

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( 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( 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( 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.

I’ve put together a business card that I’d like for all of us to have, and to pass along to people that we think might be interested. It can be found below .



Writing from Tokyo:

Had a *great* class last tuesday. Me, Ricardo, Pat, Greg, and John had an all out, old fashioned, I-have-brusies-as-big-as-my-fists class. We did bag work, focused (hit-based) drills, attacks against multiple opponents(starting from the ground)… it was just awesome.

I think I’m falling in love with the work again 🙂

So, I’ve been traveling to Japan a lot lately: a lot alot: like every two weeks for the past 4 months, to be continued at least until the end of the year.

It’s a 20 hourish trip(2 to Newark, 15 to Tokyo, then about 3 hours by train to Aizu), and I’ve been downloading and watching a lot of shows on my iPod. One of those is Human Weapon. It’s about two martial artists who travel the world, take a month to practice a new style for each show, and then fight some badass of that style @ the end of the show. It’s a pretty neat concept, and prolly worth your $1.99 from iTunes.

Anyway, as I was watching it, it kept coming back to me that a lot of what I was hearing didn’t sound foreign to me. The basic concepts of snapping, awareness, quick, abrupt motion, etc all seemed to resonate: so, I could be watching a episode on Penjat Silat, or French kickboxing(savate), and I’d find myself nodding my head and saying “yeah, that’s right”.

And I sorta started to wonder where that came from: I mean, what the hell do I know about Silat?

I realized that I was getting it, because the ideas were similar to what Ricardo has been trying to teach me all this time.

  • Awareness.

  • Quickness.

  • Efficiency.

  • Gliding.

  • Aggression.

  • Explosion.

  • Emotional Involvement.

I’d been hit by those ideas so many times in class that I recognized them, even as they were executed by strangers who don’t speak any language I know, halfway around the world. Except, of course, they do speak my language, and your language too.

They’re sorta our people, because we’ve been lucky enough to train with Ricardo, and he’s been telling us same folklore & stories that these guys tell: demonstrating that story. Making them a part of our nervous systems.

It’s humbling. It’s like discovering family on the other side of the world. It IS discovering family on the other side of the world

Anyway: Human Weapon. It’s a good show.