The Breath Of Life!

“What is a saxiphone but a big hunk of metal until an artist gives it the breath of life?…
art has nothing to do with paint. Art is not a technique, but an expression from your heart… There is nothing you can’t do, there is nothing you can’t change if you believe and want it badly enough.”

-Denny Dent-

So often, I have been inspired by great artists. Truely, amazing people who’s message and passion transcend the medium with which they express themselves. Many critics and detractors will say that if you really look at them, they’re not that talented, or that their technique is not as sound as so and so’s. But to me they’re missing the point.

It’s not about the technique, it’s about the passion, the power of the human spirit, resonating and giving the “breath of life” to whatever it is that is being expressed. And in this sense, it doesn’t matter if the medium is Music, Painting, Iron Man Triathlons, Bush Craft, Zoology, Cooking, or Martial Arts.

There are certain artists out there that touch us, and move our sense of what is, and what can be. They inspire us to be and do more that what we thought was possible. This blog post is dedicated to those who have done so for me.

John Denver

To be pure of heart and intention is the essence of freedom.

Team Hoyt

When asked, “Rick, what would you do if you had the use of your arms and legs for one day?” Rick responded “I’ve thought alot about that question, and at first, I thought, maybe I’d like to play football. Then, I thought, maybe I’d like to play basketball or baseball. But then I think really hard, and the answer becomes clear… I’d strap my Dad to the chair and I’d make him let me push him for a day.”

At 52 years of age, Dick Hoyt was doing for himself and his son, what most 20 year olds cannot do for themselves. Triumph of the Human Spirit. The definition of love and devotion.

If you’ve ever seen these two compete, you realize that to say that you “can’t” is simply not true. That to do so is simply a weak man’s easy way out… That it isn’t that you are unable, but rather unwilling. Being a warrior in any sense means stripping that notion from your conscience.


Survivorman doesn’t just survive, he thrives. He looks at an otherwise desperate situation and finds ways to enjoy the moment. I was once told by one of my Jiu-jitsu Instructors (BJJ Black Belt Mike Diaz), “Sometimes all you can do is survive… and sometimes all you SHOULD do is try to survive.” It was then that I realized that most of the time, my real MMA troubles only started to worsen when I’d try to do too much when in a bad spot instead of just concentrating on survival and waiting for an opportunity.

Crocodile Hunter

Have you ever seen someone so full of passion and love for his life and his living. We should all strive to live as Crocodile Hunter did. RIP Steve Irwin.

Iron Chef Morimoto

If something is worth doing, it is worth doing right and with all your heart and soul. To watch Iron Chef Morimoto cook is like watching a sword smith forge a Hatori Hanzo. His cooking is infused with nothing less than his soul. It is done with respect and honor. These attributes should be the goal of any artist, Martial or other.

Genki Sudo

Need I say more. To see Genki, and how he developed as a philosopher and fighter is simply amazing. As he improved as a fighter, his mindset and “Weltanschauung” or world view became increasingly altruistic and egoless. You can see it in his smile and how he wasn’t fighting per se. He wasn’t there to destroy his opponents, but rather to express his art. And what a beautiful art it was, pure poetry in motion.

I’d love to see and lean more about your inspirations? Who is it, that gives the “Breaths of Life” to your art, your life?

Wrestling’s Jab: The Basic Double Leg Takedown

I don’t really know why I’ve saved this one for so long before making it available to the public. I do that sometimes with techniques that have sentimental value to me. And this one does. I guess the technique itself isn’t all that unique. But whenever I watch it, and I watch it quite a bit, it reminds me of when I learned it from Coach Wells and to me

what was unique was how he taught the technique, which, for the sake of time, was basically, in a way that even a self proclaimed idiot like me could understand it.

On top of that, it wasn’t just the technique, it was the concept that he taught to me. That

the Double Leg is the Jab of Wrestling. A probing, long range technique used to measure the opponent’s responses and create openings for second and third beat techniques.

Sure it works as a stand alone technique, but when used in conjunction with a bigger, broader takedown scheme, it becomes something altogether different, better, more potent.

And thus began my quest to develop such a game. And under Coach Wells, it has been exceedingly easy. At least for me to understand… execution is an entirely different story, but as the old addage goes, only a poor craftsman blames his tools, and in the case of Coach Well’s takedown game, I know it’s not the tools that fail.

The quest continues to this day, as do my other pursuits. And

during a conversation with Coach Wells while we watched a couple of mutual friends fight at a recent MMA event, he imparted yet another idea that has hence forth brought about a second revelation in how I look at the takedown game in general.

I have for some time now attempted to develop “games” from every conceiveable position known to me. A “game” would constitute a series of at least 3 technique options for any given position/situation whereby at least one techniques covers any given opposing energy. This would be for escaping a postion, passing a guard, or in this case finishing a takedown.

As I spoke with Coach Wells I told him that I had felt that for the hips in, I was comfortable with his Takedown Trifecta “game” (Spiral Takedown, Knee Tap Takedown, Body Lock Takedown).

However, once hips were way, I didn’t feel like I had the same 3 or more options.

He explained to me that he had tried to offer me (and his other students) this in the form of an over hook series he had us working on and then I began to put the pieces together.

Days later,

as I shoveled the walks in front of my home, I contemplated this further and began to hypothosize that maybe what Chris had been teaching me would also answer another question that had been rattling around in the dusty, cavernous, emptiness of my brain. Why use and Underhook as opposed to an Overhook?

Why an Overhook as opposed to an Underhook? Was it a matter of personal preference? Was it a matter of body type or natural attributes?

Certainly, my hypothosis would include possibilities for the above, but what seemed to make just as much, if not more sense, especially after looking at the techniques that Coach Wells had presented (both for close range, hips in clinching as well as for medium/long range, hips out clinching) was that there was something consistent going on.

It would seem that the closer the hips, the more, the techniques favored the Underhook, which made sense mechanically, physiologically, and kinesiologically.

And conversely, it would seem that the farther the hips are away relative to each other, the more the techniques favorered the Overhook. Which too, made sense, as the farther the hips are back, the more your opponent is tempted to break the head, knee, toe rule in the frontal plane. In being situated in such a way, it would make sense that you would want to be able to exert presured downward to help him break this plane and the Overhook is a better tool for doing so than the Underhook in this situation.

I’ve been playing around with the idea of including a Flow Charting Program with the members area of and in light of this idea, I’ve thrown together a quick, dirty, diagram of how this hypothosis looks on paper.

Keep in mind, there are plenty of other techniques that could be filled in, different branches that could be added, exceptions, etc. etc., but my goal was to show the general idea of hips in and hips away and the correlating Underhooking/Overhooking Scheme and subsequent takedown options.

A Rapid Prototype Flowchart Drawn On A Whim To Demonstrate The Possible Connection Between Hip Distance and The Most Advantageous Arm Control (Overhook vs Underhook)

A Rapid Prototype Flowchart Drawn On A Whim To Demonstrate The Possible Connection Between Hip Distance and The Most Advantageous Arm Control (Overhook vs Underhook)

I’ve also added the other 3 techniques shared with us by Coach Wells, so that you can see the whole picture; i.e. the Double Leg Takedown as an entry into the Wellian Trifecta, The Spiral Takedown, Knee Tap and Body Lock (hips in, close range clinch *) game from Over, Under 50 – 50 Clinch Position.

The quest continues, as I am sure it will until my final days.

Remember, what I’ve presented here in terms of general principal (hips in = underhook vs hips away = overhook) is a hypothosis, which means, it is untested and unverified by those more qualified than I to make such generalizations. But at any rate, I hope it has at least given you some food for thought.

Best wishes and happy hunting!

Rolling Elbow Compression Lock

Here is a gem from Khuen Khru – Coach Alvin Chan of Maryland CSW. I really like this lock and have been playing around trying to hit it from other situations such as off a 1/4 nelson (a.k.a. “Kaputa Kapaula”) vs an opponent who has an underhook and is trying to come up from bottom half guard… if that makes any sense at all.

Either way it’s a nice little trick to have up your sleeves… ahem, rash guards.

Arm In Guillotine From Sit Up Sweep

This is an awesome technique taught by our friend, a Pedro Sauer BJJ Black Belt and MMA fighter, Paul Sizemore.

The Arm In Guillotine can be more effective than the regular Guillotine, especially against seasoned opponent’s because the escape and counter measures are different since the arm that would usually go over the back is now trapped.