Saturday, April 25, 2009

Close combat class report.

Today from 9 AM to 6PM.
Every muscle in my body hurts and after taking a bath I realized I’m full or bruises all over, legs, arms, torso, and face. I have a particular nasty one in the hip, a big red mark, caused by some little vain that broke inside.
Other people got hurt worse and one will have an ugly scar in the face to remind him of the occasion for a long time.
One guy said he couldn’t move his leg anymore to what Baigorria (the head instructor) simply replied don’t be a chicken shit and keep fighting.
It was 5 of us, and the 3 instructors also participated.
We rotated to fight different skills and weights.
I got my butt kicked and was forced to tap out a couple times, but I’m proud of a rear naked choke and beautiful arm bar I did on one of the instructors.
It was all young and rather fit people.
Continuing fighting and taking things to the next level with violence was not only ok, it was actually encouraged, forming a circle around the fighters and cheering them. I must say, those were the times when you learn the most.
We broke batons, and a couple of plastic practice knives so yes the class was pretty intense.
We started with hand to hand combat. Different strikes, elbow, chin grab, slap to the ear. Low kicks, spike kicks (ball kicking) kicks to the shin, stomping and kicks to the side of the knee. Everything was followed up with various attacks. All of this was put into use when fighting, including eye, nose and lip hooks. It’s a miracle no one got seriously hurt, but you have to respect a defensive class where people kick each other in the nuts and then actually put it to use in sparring.
We practiced different holds, fighting against walls, then we did floor fighting an grappling. Rear naked chokes and various attacks to the neck and spine.
Most of the class was hand to hand. For knife and stick we did mostly Kali moves, and particularly for knife we did a lot of sparring with rubber knives, combining with H2H.
I landed a very good hook kick combined with a low trust, and definitely nailed a guy that was a much better fighter than I am. If someone lost the knife , it turned into a H2H versus knife, if they grappled and ended in the floor, in was a floor fight.
Having a fighting strategy and some basic combos definitely worked for me. That and being left handed, since most people are used to fighting right handed people.
The class was very complete regarding H2H thought still you have to take what you find useful and adapt to your situation and experience.
We tried and proved yet again that in a very close combat situation, the best H2H fighter wins, and the knife is definitely a better weapon. So carry those folders every single day and learn how to use them!

What I liked:
The reality level, at some points it was just “guys, jut put your opponent down in any way you can”.
The knife sparring was pretty good.
Using something as common as walls in your advantage was nice.
The level of the other students was way above average, so you learned a lot.
The class went on non stop, stopping every couple hours for 2 or 3 minutes to drink a bit of water and then kept fighting.

What I didn’t like so much:
While such level of reality is great and what everyone should strive for in their self defense training, sometimes it was a bit too much.
I mean, a guy dropped like a corpse when kicked in the nuts during a fight, and the eye and nose gouge was very common.
Some of the baton techniques to hurt the spine during ground fighting where too dangerous. It’s a matter of time before they leave someone in a wheel chair in my opinion. You can’t use a baton to put leverage in a guy’s spine until he screams in pain and expect nothing to happen.
The class would have still been great without practicing those things that, in my opinion, carry no benefit in performing them in a class. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to put your fingers in a guy’s nose during a floor fight and rip it.
Tips and advice:
Find people that train on reality based fighting, lots of sparring and continuing the fights until they are clearly ended. Choreographs are what Madonna’s dancers do. And no, it’s not reality based self defense.
This class was a bit too messy in terms of neck and eye injuries, still ok but a bit on the unnecessary dangerous side. Find responsible instructors like Jorge Baigorria, not some nutcases that get together and beat the crap out of each other for no good reason.
Retractable batons: I don’t like them, not one bit, even the quality ones. I think a big folder is a much better and more intimidating weapon. Even the ASPs ended up bending and I think one was beyond repair.
My El Hombre Cold Steel got a lot of attention, everyone agreed that the “S” shaped serrated blade was just perfect for slashing and stabbing, greatly increasing the potential of the relatively small blade. I’m very happy with it and would like to get another one, a serrated Vaquero soon.
Classes like these, they aren’t for novices. You need good neck and upper body strength. Work on your arms and legs as well, but you need a god neck and shoulders to grapple and avoid neck injuries.
Overall and in spite of those safety issues, the class was everything I hoped for, and I doubt there are many superior classes. We saw almost everything we needed to know and focused on sparring.
Thanks for reading guys, I’ll go get some much needed sleep right now.
I’ll try answering to the emails and comments tomorrow.



theotherryan said...

I am going to have to humbly disagree with you about knives vs batons. Sticks have better range and the ability to take someone out of the fight without killing them (in a litigious society that is a big plus) which is the only thing that makes a nonlethal weapon better than a gun.

While the durability of extend able batons for training can be questioned that is a mute point in a fight. If I use a baton enough to break it there are going to be a couple people lying on the ground screaming. I will then order a new baton online once I get back home.

I concur that a knife is the best weapon in extremely close quarters but my emphasis is to avoid that situation (you're going to get stabbed) by wrecking them before we got there. If we get there it is ju jitsu time but I would rather stay in impact range.

Pura Garra said...

Damn...FerFal, that's one heck of a class! I'd be very interested in one if there's any around here in California.

I lived in Buenos Aires for several months and visit frequently.

How did the crisis affect life in more remote places like Mendoza or Salta?

PS - Just started reading your book and I think it's great.

Ty said...

Great blog. I dig it.

And anyone who gets in close on a guy with a knife better be picking out caskets.

I'm getting into grappling after a long time of focusing on boxing... it's good shit, but it's limited in real self-defense

Anonymous said...

you'd be sued like crazy running a class like that in the States. too bad.

Weaseldog said...

I used to attend a Kenpo class that was a bit like that. Sparring nights for upper belts was very physical.

When you know that your opponent is going t cause you pain, your senses sharpen and you learn faster.

I disagree on on Katas and practice forms. Though you won't do them in an actual fight, they serve the purpose of training muscle memory so that you can make the moves without thinking. This gives you a big boost in reaction time in actual combat.

Irish said...

Weasel- See, I'm not sure about katas.

When I practiced TMA's, I thought they had their place. Maybe they do. But it seems that most people are taught the kata, but not why they're doing the move. My old sensei didn't show us what the shit was for, ever. But he would have a visiting blackbelt come in once a month who would actually show us why the move was done the way it was, and it made sense. Without that, the kata is useless.

Nowadays, the closest I come to doing a form is shadowboxing... but then, you'll really do all of that in a fight, so I'm ok with it.