KARATE!

Doing some Karate Style movement in a gi.

I don’t move like this much anymore and it made different parts of my body sore.  At my best, I combine some Karate, Kickboxing, Kali & Silat movement in my carrenza or kembangan, or call it freeform kata!  It doesn’t often look like the classical or indigenous manner of movement.  After a flowery motion I might jump spin crescent kick into a 1-2/round kick combo, then into a lankha/juru.

Yep, it’s a westernization of eastern concepts, but the east can take that and reclaim it back.  After all, some of the martial art boxes are artificial and more nationalist that humanist, therefore they can be expanded.

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Personal keeping’ on!

High’s and low’s, we all have them.  Getting up from a down is necessary for a long and full life.

I’m looking to accelerate my fitness and conditioning and trying a new thing: a weighted fitness vest!  It’s a total of 20 lbs.  It feels heavier in the hands than on the body.  But I do martial arts with much, much younger people so, not that I’m trying to match individuals 30 and 40 years my juniors, I’m trying to be above average of my own age group.

Shees! Eight rounds is my standard workout:  shadow boxing, heavy bag, stationary bag.   I’m tired and hungry!

All Around Fighting

For several years now I’ve been training an eclectic mix of martial arts for myself.  In a single session I often train Kickboxing, Reality Based Self Defense, Kali , Jiu Jitsu, Silat, and Karate.  That’s why my training sessions have to be about 2 hours long, after a warm up.

I’ve trained these exclusively at times, meaning all I did was Kickboxing or Kali or Systema  to the exclusion of the  others, for weeks, months, or years.  Now, after almost 50 years in the martial arts, I am comfortable mixing all of them to my joy and delight.

I’m not a professional competitor, I don’t own a chain of schools, I don’t pay dues to masters above me, I’m not locked in to any particular style, and I’m not adoringly worshiping of any instructor.  Some will view this as disloyalty to my “masters” and consider this standing as “not traditional.”  Well, if you’ve read any of my other stuff you’d know I don’t value tradition as much as some.  I think that often along the way students and teachers of the martial arts miss the point that, to paraphrase something else “The martial arts were made for man, not man for the martial arts.”376063_289617814408826_327184943_n10176159_744530215584248_2897955722894680788_n

Sure, it’s good to have a solid foundation in any one of them, realizing the benefits of the style or training, and recognizing the liabilities of each.  Training a particular martial art’s skills sets make for solid skills that those who try to do it all at the beginning lack in. Look at MMA’ers who have done nothing but MMA.  Yes they kick and punch and throw and choke.  But so often their kicks look amateurish, clumsy, unbalanced.  Their punches look like schoolyard haymakers and nothing else.  They look for volume and brute force, not precision.

Then look at someone like Cung Le or Geroge St Pierre.  Cung Le has one of the best looking and most effective lead leg side kicks in the business, and George all round demonstrates abilities that only come from exclusive Karate training.

But these are professional athletes who will do whatever it takes to win in a competition.  They are also subject to protocols us civilians are not, like starting face to face in a ready stance, having a referee who will restrict them to the rules, having a particular space to fight in.  We need to recognize some subtle differences between training martial arts for fight sports, and training martial arts for self defense.  1044576_529145147122757_405149113_n

 

 

 

 

I’ve had my fun training for competition, won and lost.  I’ve had a couple of real life encounters, won and lost.  Losing a real life encounter is a lot different than losing in a tournament.  Hell, the entrance to each is a lot different.  In real life there will probably NOT be a get ready face to face start.  Your real life opponent may be a better boxer than you.  You, a good stand up boxer may find yourself on the ground in a flash at the start.  You, a good Judo/Jiu Jitsu person may be attacked by multiple attackers.  In a multiple opponent scenario “pulling guard” on one person can be suicide.

Random violence is chaotic.  I’ve learned that much.  I’d hate to be the instructor who spent lots of time on an upward block against a stiff armed front punch from a static training partner, so that it “looks good,” then the student out in the world easily gets sucker punched and “Philly dumped.”

Instructors need to think and choose what they want to teach and train.  So I train a variety of skill sets. Each with its own progressions, but in no particular order. 529515_398388640198409_789226797_n

In any training session with me you may do some boxing, knife tapping, take downs, ground work, self-defense scenarios.  Does that sound chaotic? When you step outside the dojo, I don’t know what you may encounter, if anything, and hopefully never.  When you step outside the dojo, even on the first day with me, I want you to be at least familiarized with more than one of the many chaotic possibilities you may encounter.  We can’t cover them all every time, but we can certainly go over more than just a rising block against an uninspired front punch.

For those who’ve asked; No I don’t teach Shorin Ryu Karate. I don’t teach Tae Kwon Do.  I don’t teach an exclusive brand of Filipino Martial Arts, I don’t teach American Kickboxing, etc.  I teach skill sets from these and other martial arts that I’ve trained along the way, and I’m still learning.

If you’re looking for a black belt in something or other, a certificate as a guru, I don’t offer those, you can buy them or make them up for yourself like many have done.  If you’re looking to train all around fighting and random self-defense skill sets for your own personal edification; then I may be the one to call!

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RICK VARGAS

Kali Silat & Self Defense Training Group

(386) 320-3075


Disappointed at the state of martial arts in my area.

I’m disappointed at the state of martial arts in my area.

But that’s no excuse for the lack of common courtesy displayed by most instructors to a visitor walking in the door.  Of several schools I have visited, the most common reception is…nothing, they may glance your way, then ignore you, presumably because they have a class going on.  Not acceptable.  Courtesy is one of the values they supposedly teach, yet given the opportunity with a visitor and potential customer, the teachers neglect it.  At this point the visitor should be passing negative judgment,  I do, just as unapologetically as their pretension of importance.  I have sat through an entire class without anyone greeting me.  It takes a split second to graciously call out. “Hello, welcome, If you can wait I’ll be with you shortly,” and in a gap, and there are gaps, approach the visitor and offer information, or ask them to stay a little longer so you can speak with them.

Which brings me to my next point; the brusque “Can I help you?”  “Yes, I want three pepperoni pizzas and a bottle of coke.”  It’s a martial arts school, what can they possibly be there for, hmmm?  Usually it comes off as “Whaddaya want?” and sort of standoffish.

How about “Hello, Please come in.  I’m Mr./Mrs. Soandso, the instructor,  your name?  Are you interested in martial arts/do you have any martial arts experience?”  In a courteous and pleasant manner.  Respect and engage the visitor, don’t treat them like they are disturbing you, how dare they, you have a black belt…

I’ve had one guy talk to me for twenty minutes, without knowing a thing about me, or asking me anything other than “you lookin to train, you wanna join our school,” telling me all the martial arts he knows, everything they teach, even telling me “I can teach you how to fight…”  I barely got a word in edgewise that I was just visiting schools to get to know instructors, and thanks, I gotta (want to!) go now.

The teaching and training. It is boxed in with kid stuff, public performance, athletics, and tough guy posturing and focus.  What’s missing?  The part of martial arts that is martial, effective, and for everybody including women, and post 40 year olds.  Back to this later.

Some of these instructors can’t do their own class, they are out of shape and look like they don’t really train much for themselves, they just “teach.”  I think you, as an instructor should maintain a degree a training for yourself.  There is a conundrum though.  It”s tricky, because in boxing for example, the world’s best trainers are older, heavier, and some even have severe medical issues.  What’s the difference?  The boxing trainers don’t have the image presumption that they are qualified because they themselves are great fighters.  They are great “coaches.”

Walk into a common martial arts place and they guy will puff his chest, center his belt, and point to a picture of him in a fighting pose “that’s me!  I can make you like that!”  Most great boxing coaches don’t have that air, or anything like that to prove.  They’re valuable because of the quality of knowledge and skills they impart to their “students.”

Rigidity.  I have been fortunate to have instructors who encouraged you to learn from other instructors and systems, and who themselves drew from other sources and even adapted or innovated.

However, most taekwondo instructors and schools “belong” to one organization or another, and stick to the book of that group, nothing outside the tradition permitted, only one variation of round kick allowed.  Most MMA schools springing up all over the place do not train weapons.  Krav Maga is popular, but would never incorporate Systema or JKD training in their space.

Rigidity also presents itself in how they can train students.

Apart from the “kid stuff” and athletic stuff, most are hard pressed to train the more mature individual.  Someone in their 40’s & 50’s who is more stable and can now do things they’ve wanted to but couldn’t in earlier years.  Those individuals will be out of place physically and psychologically in the atmosphere of the Spartan “fighter” and lots of other “conditioning” training which is set to the standard of someone half their age.  With that individual I would go straight to the art and skills training in the available training time, after all that’s what sets martial arts apart from zumba…

So,  I’m doing my own thing.

I train a small group in the outdoors and privately cause schools won’t make a time slot for what I do.   It’s diverse training, based in Kali Silat, and drawing from JKD, Kickboxing, Systema, and my own experience and innovation.

I try to make sure that the average, mature, non martial arts, non athletic, man or woman can learn what I teach, a little self defense, and feel comfortable while at it.  I train for myself pretty consistently.  I continue to expand my knowledge and develop my skills appropriately.  Most of all, I endeavor to live out the values that I learned from the martial arts, including courtesy, respect, sensitivity, and generosity.  🙂

English: Pictogram of Mixed martial arts