Archive for January, 2016

For those that don’t know what mat-wind is, it’s another way of referring to your energy while on the mat.  It’s how easy you get gassed or run out of energy while rolling, and to be brutally honest, I have horrible mat-wind.  I get gassed super easy while rolling, and while I don’t consider myself to be in great shape, I still think that i’m in pretty good shape, and to gas out so quick is a bummer.

Now I know that the best way to increase your energy threshold  while on the mat is to keep rolling, but I am also contemplating other ways to get even better conditioning.  My two big thoughts are CrossFit or boxing, and i’m actually leaning towards boxing.  I can partake in either class as the gym I go to (Derby City MMA), allows you to take part in any classes offered once you have a membership.

I feel there are pluses to both styles of training, so I really am taking my time deciding.  I think next week I will attend some boxing classes, and then the following week try out the CrossFit and see which I enjoy more.  From watching the conditioning the boxing coach puts his students through and having already tried CrossFit, I just feel that boxing is going to help me reach my goals better.

So I still plan to roll 4-5 days a week, but on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I plan to spend an extra hour at the gym to cross-train in another disciple.  Let me know of your issues with mat-wind and which cross-training you would choose in order to help your conditioning.

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Larger Opponents

Posted: January 20, 2016 in Creative Writing
Tags: , ,

So besides the higher belt levels, the group of people that give me the biggest issue in practice are larger opponents.  I’m about 5’ 9” and 165lbs so I’m not the largest guy on the mat and I’m not the quickest either, but I’ll roll with anyone regardless of size.

Last night at practice we practiced our arm drags, to mount, to x-choke, and finally to rear mount.  After that we rolled for 20 minutes to end out practice and it was a lot of fun.  My first opponent was about my size, and a wrestler so I played a very defensive guard to keep him from passing.  My next opponent was a larger guy, but it was his first class so although he outweighed me I was able to control him with technique, and was able to give him some tips from what I know.

So I didn’t have any big issues until my last two opponents, both of whom weighed well over 200lbs.  The first of the two pushed hard, but I was able to keep him from gaining the advantage.  The second guy however jumped right on top of me and laid there, and then he said the funniest thing.  “Fat guy break,” was all he said as he laid his entire mass across my chest.  I was ready to tap just from being suffocated, but finally we started rolling again.

While the larger opponents are tough on me, because it requires me to expend a lot more energy, I really enjoy facing the larger guys because it forces me to rely more on technique and less on strength.  That was the first thing I was told when I started Jiu-Jitsu, and its something that I still need to work on.  I’ll just keep working on my technique and jumping on the chance to face of with the larger guys so I can continue to better myself.

Let me know what you think about facing larger opponents, and how much trouble they give you.

I get my inspiration for writing from things I read and watch.  I read several different series of books and each of them helps me to learn new techniques that I can add to my stories.  I learn the same thing from watching the movies and shows that I watch.  One of the weak points to my writing is dialogue, so by watching movies and shows I can get more of an idea on how to make my dialogue flow, instead of feeling as clunky as it does.

When it comes to reading, I read several different series depending on genre.

Fantasy– For fantasy my favorites include Game of Thones, The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, and Dungeons and Dragons/ Forgotten Realms.

Science Fiction– For Sci-Fi I read things such as Star Wars and Warhammer.

Movies and Television– I watch a lot of movies and television, but again I follow along genres.  I watch Star Wars, Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, Supernatural, and Firefly.  I watch a whole lot more than that, but this list gives you a quick idea about what I like to watch and gain inspiration from.

I like to also gain some inspiration from things I see going on around me.  When I go hiking I take in my surroundings and think of ways to integrate the environment more thoroughly into my scenes.  Also while sitting at work I watch how people move, act, and go about their business so I can add more behavior traits to my characters.

Thank you for reading, and in the comments below tell me what kind of things inspire you.

 

 

 

Last night we worked on takedowns, and I came to realize something.  My standup game is abysmal.  We learned one takedown as well as two transitions to work from that takedown, first to gain full mount, and then the transition to rear mount.  I learned very quickly that takedowns and takedown defense take a lot of energy out of you, and if you don’t know what you’re doing you can easily expend all your strength before the match even hits the mat.

I’ve never really worked on my takedowns before, except for learning a couple real easy ones while in Army Combatives Level 1, so I was like a fish out of water.  Usually every time I have rolled you start on your knees and gain dominant position from there.  Unfortunately in a competitive match or more importantly a real fight, you’re going to start standing up and have to make your transitions from there.

Since I have identified this weakness I will be working diligently to fix it, and I know that means a whole lot of work.  I prefer the guard as I have already mentioned, but scoring points in a competitive match is crucial and pulling guard every match won’t be doing me any favors.  Stay tuned as I continue to work on my Jiu-Jitsu game.  Even though i’m still a white belt I would like to attend at least one tournament this year, so I am looking for tournaments in the area that I can travel to.

Thanks for reading and let me know how you feel about takedowns in the comments below.

I’m sure everyone who practices Jiu-Jitsu has their favorite positions to attack or defend from, so I figured I would briefly go over mine and why it’s my favorite.  Anyone who has either watched me rolled or actually rolled with me knows that I love the guard.  My guard is by far my strongest and favorite position, and there are several reasons for that.

  1. My legs are really strong.  Thanks to all the running and rucking I did while in the Army, my legs are super strong.  I can generally hold much larger opponents in my guard, and make them expend tons of energy trying to escape.
  2. I have good pass defense.  Obviously higher belts can pass my guard with relative ease, but people of my skill level have a very hard time.  They might pass to half guard or even side control, but I can usually instantly regain guard.
  3. Submissions.  From guard I can perform some of my favorite submissions, which include the omoplata and the triangle choke.  I don’t land my submissions quickly, but rather take my time and methodically apply them making sure they are good and tight before cranking them down and finishing.
  4. Sweeps.  The other good thing about guard is if you’re having trouble finishing from the guard you can just sweep your opponent to a more dominant position and finish from there.

Now there are definitely some issues to playing the guard game.  First if you pull guard at the start of the match you’re already giving up points.  Second if you’re passive in the guard position then you’re not gaining points, and could easily run out of time losing you’re match.  This was a problem for me early on in my Jiu-Jitsu and Army Combatives career as I would pull guard and hold it, while not transitioning to a dominant position when it was clear that I couldn’t finish from guard.

Thank you for reading, please like, comment, and share.  Let me know what you think about the guard and what your favorite position is in Jiu-Jitsu.

 

Coming up with character names is a double edged sword for me.  For Science Fiction works, names come to me easily.  Usually in my Sci-Fi works they are Military related, so it’s really easy for me to just plug and play with names of people that I have met while in the Army.  It doesn’t work that way in regards to Fantasy stories.

For my Fantasy projects, I like to include all the usual races that you find in Fantasy stories.  So you run into Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Dragons, Orcs, and Goblins.  The problem I have is that SSG Davis just isn’t an appropriate name for a Goblin.  All these races have their own languages, which means different dialects and different names.

So what i’m saying is that my issue in writing Fantasy stories is coming up with character names.  The rest of the character creation phase of my stories is really easy, as I can easily picture the character.  So if anyone out there has any suggestions for me when it comes to name generation, specifically for Fantasy, I am all ears.

Below is the first scene from a Fantasy novel that I started for my graduation portfolio.  My two favorite genres are Sci-Fi and Fantasy, so I am trying my hand at both.  Again it’s only a draft, but my instructor and fellow class mates seemed to like it so i’ll post it here.  As always any comments or likes are greatly appreciated.

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He was all alone in a small empty clearing, but all around him the world burned with intense heat.  The woods surrounding the clearing were engulfed in a raging inferno of reds, oranges, and bright blues, as the flames crawled their way from branch to branch.  In the distance deep black smoke rose from the ruins of a small city set against a large deep blue lake.

The man in the clearing began to stir as the grey ash from the burning trees fell on him like a light swirling snowstorm.  First a hand swiped across his face removing a fine layer of ash that had settled there.  Next his eyes fluttered, and he let out a deep groan as he sat up, and received a sharp pain in his left side.  Fully standing up he looked down and noticed that he was wearing deep maroon robes that was held closed by a belt full of pouches.  He was of regular height and weight, with a normal face, a head full of blonde hair that is bound in a ponytail, and a sparse beard.  His eyes are a deep blue that shine with a fierce light.

Looking towards his left side he immediately noticed the pain was coming from a wood splinter roughly six inches long lodged in between his ribs.  Grasping the splinter in both hands, he held his breath and quickly tugged the wood from his side.  As he did he instantly regretted it as the pain was so excruciating that he almost passed out.  Clamping a hand over the open wound he tried to stem the blood flow, while with the other hand he began searching the pouches on his belt one by one for anything to bandage the wound.

His hands were flying between patches when he felt his left hand start to burn.  Looking down he noticed the hand encased in a glowing white light, which quickly flashed out, but after it did he felt no more pain in his side.  Removing his hand from the wound he was astonished to see that it had completely disappeared.

“What is going on?” he asked.

Taking a quick look around the clearing he notices that it was completely empty except for a plain looking walking stick.  Bending down he grasped the stick in both hands and stood back up.  Now armed with his walking stick and a belt full of powders that he didn’t know the use of, he began to look for a path through the burning woods towards the city by the lake.

With no clear path through the burning trees, the man quickly ripped a strip of cloth from his robe, and wrapped it around his nose and moth.  Moving at a quick pace, but with a lot of caution, he negotiated a path through the trees, making sure to to stay out from under trees that were fully ablaze.  Even though he avoided the worst of the burning the trees, the smoke and heat from the blaze was nearly unbearable.  Even as he neared the end of the wood he almost panicked as the smoke clogged his lungs, each breath was excruciating and burnt from his nose all the way down his throat.  The heat was oppressing and seemed to roll off the trees in unstoppable waves, forcing him to bend at the waste to keep the brunt of it from his face.

After what felt like a lifetime, he finally burst through the trees onto a cracked cobblestone road that led to the burning city beyond.  Casting his gaze upon the city, he realized that he would find no answers there.  The city appeared to be in complete ruin, with flames licking at the side of everything.  Whatever had happened here had been very violent and thorough.

Looking around the man identified a river that seemed to feed into the lake beyond the city, so he moved towards it to find a place to sit and collect himself.  Finding a small stump at the edge of the river he sat and put his head in his hands.

“Quite a mess you’ve made this time, eh?”  said a sharp manic sounding voice from behind him.  Twisting quickly to his left the man brought his walking stick up before him in a defensive posture, and strange harsh, words came to his mind unbidden.  Looking towards the voice he was taken aback to see a large bat like creature looking back at him.

The creature was jet black, with bright sharp red eyes that seemed to glint with intelligence.  It had small wings that beat furiously to keep it afloat, but it also had short crooked arms, and stubby little legs that just dangled as the thing floated in the air.

“Who? What are you?”  asked the man, his eyes narrowing in suspicion.

“You did it again, didn’t you?”

“Did what?”

“Oh boy,” replied the creature.  “You better sit back down master.”

“Master?” asked the man, as he slowly lowered himself back onto the stump, while still keeping the walking stick in front of him.

“Yes, master.  You are Arch Mage Kalicon, senior member of the Dragon’s Coven, which is the most powerful group of mages in the realm.  I am your familiar, Laspo, and I am an imp.  Now what do you remember?”

“The only thing I remember is waking up in that burning clearing, surrounded by fire and destruction,” said Kalicon.  “If I am such a powerful mage, then why am I here, and why don’t I remember anything?”

“You came to this city looking for an enchanted stone to affix to your staff.  As to why you don’t remember anything, I think I can tell you that as well.  When we got to the city you had me begin a search for the stone while you procured supplies.  Shortly after arriving, I heard the bone-shaking roar of a dragon, but it wasn’t just any dragon.  It was the elder black dragon, Jasshek, who has been hunting for the stone as well.  So what I think happened is you fought Jasshek, and in doing so depleted all your energy, which caused the memory wipe you’re experiencing.  Since I have been your familiar for many years, I have seen it happen several times before, but you always get your memory back, so no problems there. That would also explain why everything in the area is ruined as the power between the two of you is incredible.    The big problem is, I see your staff, but no stone affixed to it, which means that Jasshek has the stone.”

“So, I’m guessing this walking stick is actually my staff then,” said Kalicon.  “How long does it usually take for me to regain my memory?”

“Usually no more than a day,” said Laspo.

“So what do you recommend we do until then?”

“Well master, I would say heading South towards Carlan Keep would be our best bet.  There you can restock supplies and formulate a plan to regain the stone,” it said.

“What is so important about a stone, and why does this elder dragon want it?”  Asked Kalicon.

“The stone is a sacred artifact said to be blessed by Luprus, the god of magic,” said Laspo.  “With it you should gain enough power to challenge the coven and claim the position of Grandmaster.  Jasshek however, only wants it to further his power base, and because he is a dragon, and dragons love magic, artifacts, and gold.”

“Well sounds as good a plan as any.  How long should it take us to walk there?”  He asked.

“About a month, but we should run across several towns where you may be able to procure a horse to make it a smoother trip.  The supplies you will need to locate Jasshek however you won’t find until you reach the Keep.  Of course, you will also need a lot of rest to recuperate your energy after the first battle, and also to gather some help.  With Jasshek now possessing the stone he will be even more powerful than before, and you couldn’t kill him then so you don’t stand a chance now.  We can deal with that when we get to it though,” said Laspo

“To Carlan Keep then,” said Kalicon, as he stood, grabbed his things, and started South.

 

Shoot House

Posted: January 14, 2016 in Creative Writing
Tags: , ,

So below is a short story that I wrote in one of my classes.  It’s a draft and not a complete story as one of the rules for the submission is that it could only be 600 words.  Hope you enjoy and leave any feedback.

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“Are you ready for this, Malcolm?”  Dennis asked while smoothly re-holstering his 9mm.

“Just another day,” I said even though my heart was beating so fast, that it felt like I had a jack hammer beating away at my ribs.

“Just remember to check your corners, and for God’s sake don’t shoot the damn hostage,” he said while a smirk lit up his face from ear to ear.  Dennis had always been the calm collected one throughout training, and he wouldn’t let this final evolution faze him in the slightest.  “Oh and one more thing, Alpha team completed the evolution in 3:45 so you know we have to complete it even faster.

“3:45 huh,” I muttered, pulling my plate carrier over my head, and trying to steady my heart beat, knowing full well that it was going to be incredibly difficult to beat that time.  “Well, I’ll need you to breach then, the hammer slows me down too much, and you’re built like a freaking bull so the added weight shouldn’t hurt you as much.”

“Bravo team to the ready line, Bravo team to the ready line,” came a loud crackly voice over the PA system, built into every room of the training facility.

“That’s us buddy!” said Dennis shouldering the 25-pound breaching hammer, and clapping me on the back.

“Right behind you buddy,” I said, taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly, again trying desperately to steady my heart rate and shaky nerves.  Grabbing my M-4 carbine, I methodically checked that my magazine was secure and the safety was on.  We had come to far for me to get kicked out for a safety violation.  Jogging to catch up to Dennis I grabbed my black gloves from my pocket and pulled them on forcibly, making sure they were on tight and that I still had full finger movement.

Leaving the training building, we crossed the open field to the infamous “kill house”.  A building that was altered daily to ensure we never knew what the house would look like, providing more realistic training.  In the last six months we had each fired many thousands of rounds, but this would be our last visit.

Moving to the front door of the house we toed the ready line, and gave each other a quick fist bump, then it was show time.

“Bust EM,” said the voice over the PA system.

Dennis surged forward, gathering the hammer in both hands he slammed it into the door with such force that it came off the hinges.  I was through the doorway in an instant, sweeping my muzzle to the right, and checking my assigned corners.  Dennis moved smoothly behind me taking the left side of the room.

“ROOM RIGHT!” I said instantly moving to stack on the doorway to the next room.

Stacking behind me, Dennis squeezed my left shoulder signaling that he was ready.  With sure footing I stepped into the next room and analyzed what I saw within seconds.  Target dead center of the room behind a couch, another target to the right by a window, target three in the left corner, and the hostage tied to a chair against the far wall.

Training and instinct took over.  Fwip, Fwip, double tap to the center target.  Fwip, Fwip, target two down.  I can hear Dennis engaging his single target to the left.

“Two tango’s down!” I yell.
“One tango down,” came his response.

“Room clear, hostage secure!” I yell, putting my M-4 on safe and letting it hang.

“Your time is,” came the voice from the PA….