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Had some training going on this weekend. Albert and I booked a private with Makoto on Friday, and then Albert put together a training session nearby on Sunday. At both we essentially worked on the same thing, which was lobad/pummeling in grappling range. Friday was a bit more in depth, so I'll describe what we did there.

We started with just the lobad stuff... This is what wrestlers do to get close enough to throw or lock someone. It's kind of like swimming through punches. We added manipulations via clothing. If this were another art, I suppose it would be gi techniques, but we don't actually wear those, so it was T-shirt stuff. Grabbing an opponent's sleeve or collar can give you a ton of advantages. For example, you can actually choke a person out with their own collar.

At this point, we focused on using footwork to both stay safe and to get into good attacking position. It's very easy when pummeling to just focus on what the arms are doing, but what the feet are doing is actually more important. As it stands, most students of Makoto are pretty good at this, but there's always room for improvement. Most techniques can be shut down with proper zoning. It's kind of the best defense we've got.

After the footwork, Albert and I put on some gloves and did a bit of touch sparring within the lobad context. This was fun. I feel like I have some good skills in that range.

Now that we were striking in there, we played with a couple of techniques. The first was to replace any reference we got with another reference. Basically, if you get a hand on their arm, replace it with the other hand. It seems a bit silly, but it's rather useful for opening up opportunities for strikes in stuff. Similarly, we fiddled around with missing on purpose to illicit a reaction to capitalize on. This was some high level shit, and it totally works.

For Sunday's session, we stopped short of getting gloves on, since it was more of a level 1 session and we had a lot less time.

Apparently, my pummeling game is pretty good. It's pretty much chi sao, just a bit closer and more prone to going into collar and elbow. I've found that I know a lot of neat stuff from collar and elbow position. If you push the arm on your neck up at the elbow you can step in with a uranage position (Rock Bottom) and get an osoto gari. If you can get the arm down and around under your arm on their neck, you can get their back and you already have a rear naked choke. Also, while in collar and elbow, move the neck reference to the other side (punch and miss, basically), and throw a knee. They likely won't notice you snaking their arm to get inside, at which point, you have a puter kepala. Nifty.

I'm digging my ebb and flow and I feel like I'm getting a lot of my moves back. I'm feeling like I've got the water attributes down a lot better than I have for a while. I'm not back to my peak just yet, but I can at least see a bit of it in there. I honestly think it's due to a difference in training partners. Albert and I have always kind of been on the same page, and recognize that training isn't about winning and kicking the crap out of one another. There's the opportunity to learn when you're not spending all your time worried that the punches your drill partner are throwing will knock your teeth out if you let them land.

That said, in these drills, shots were landing, and some of them were landing hard. These were mostly landed inadvertently. Basically, with good structure you can beat someone up by accident. Because of the fun of the drill, we had a tendency to speed up and run at full energy, but we were very careful to slow things down if they got too crazy. It was a lot cooler than having to tell a guy to stop trying to punch me in the throat.

On the Friday, we got to see Makoto's new place. It's not quite ready yet, but when it is, it's going to be pretty awesome. It's a storefront in an area with an active community, so I get the feeling things are going to be pretty high profile from now on. Lots of opportunities for demos and such, particularly with summer coming up. Things may get a little busy on the JKD front in the next little while.
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