Monday, February 27, 2012

School Shooting in Ohio

School Shooting in Ohio this morning. At lest four students are hurt, maybe as many as five. The perpetrator is in custody, and it appears that he is a student at the school.

If you just take a scan through this blog you will know my position on this. It is an absolute tragedy. But before we go nuts and start proposing new laws, let me point out these facts:
    In Ohio:
  • It is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to purchase any firearm.
  • It is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to carry a handgun.
  • It is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to carry any concealed weapons.
  • It is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to buy ammunition for a handgun.
  • It is illegal for anyone other than a Peace Officer to carry any type of gun in to a school zone or "Gun Free Zone."
  • It is illegal to brandish a weapon.
  • It is illegal to shoot or assault anyone, while NOT acting in self defense.
Despite all of the above laws, this crime still occurred. Nearly everything the perpetrator did was illegal.

Now let's take a look at the response. First the school was put on lockdown while the police were informed of the assault. What is lockdown? Nobody can leave the school, and no one can enter. Essentially you lock the students in with someone who has already demonstrated that they are willing to shoot others.
The police arrive and DO NOT enter the building. They first secured the parameter making sure nobody left or entered. Making positive that the assailant remains in the building with his current and future victims.
Minutes later SWAT arrives along with all of the command and control involved with their deployment. Attempts are made at communication with the gunman.
When no communication can be established, the SWAT team is sent in to secure the building.

In this situation, the gunman had already left the building and was apprehended some distance from the school. But, as in the case of the Columbine school shooting, the assailants simply kept shooting people as the police hung out outside the building. Ask yourself a serious question... What would make the children safer? Allowing legally licensed people to carry guns and act in their own self defense, and as a deterrent for those wishing to attack other children, or passing more laws to keep law abiding people from defending themselves and others?

The only way to deal with someone who is willing to break laws to injure others is with force. If they are willing to use firearms to do the injury, firearms must be used in the defense of others. If this wasn't true, the Police wouldn't carry firearms.

I think that the police have a very tough job. One I am unwilling to do. I am happy that there are people out there who do the job everyday. BUT, the police cannot be relied upon to protect me 24/7 365. When seconds count, the police are minutes away. Give the people the ability to defend themselves. Allow those legally licensed to carry weapons carry them. Maybe it would have deterred this shooter. Maybe someone could have stopped this from happening.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Side Control Escapes

I hate being in side control. I hate it more than if my back is taken. I hate it more than if I am mounted. I hate it the most. One of the reasons I hate it the most is because my opponent can put all kinds of pressure on me, switch to a knee ride, North South, and even switch to the other side. It is all because I, on the bottom, have no control over his hips. If he has my back or if I am mounted, I have some control over my opponent's hips so that I can isolate one side and escape. Not so in side control. If he is in a good position and locks in the position, I have to work VERY hard AND my opponent needs to make a mistake before I am getting out.
So, like most people, I look to find that magic bullet escape that will always work. There isn't one, but the following series, by Dennis Asche a black belt out of Connection Rio, really seems to be working for me lately.

The first one only works on lower belts that don't really know what is going on, or the body mechanics involved. Higher level people immediately figure out what is going on and move to defend.

Higher level opponents realize what is going on when you entrap the arm and will typically switch to a kesakatama position to free up their arm, but knowing that allows you to be ready for that movement and implement the defense when their hips break over. Otherwise just continue with the technique as shown. The real problems with this occur when the guy pushes forward and his arm ends up on the other side of your head. BUT Dennis has a fix for that:

But, you say, what if I am not able to hit the Americana part and they establish the cross face? Well, Dennis comes through again. If you didn't watch the whole thing, fast forward to 1:30 and he shows how this technique can be done if the guy has the cross face.

The REALLY important thing to realize with this technique is that you have to chain it immediately off the previous technique. Why? Because the flaw with this technique, as with all rolling escapes from side control, is that the person on top can base out with the arm that is not trapped and stop the roll. If you chain this technique together with the other one, you can hit the roll and be past the point of no return before your opponent knows what is going on and bases out with their arm. But, again that helps me, because with his arm away from my hip I am able to get my hips out, create space and get my inside knee inside on to his hips and start my return to guard.

Here is another cool reversal from Dennis:

I like this one, because it is much less likely for the guy to be able to base out with the arm that isn't trapped.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Ground Resonance

I am a pilot so nearly all things aviation interest me to some degree. I also have a degree in Physics, so the physical aspect of nature is a constant source of curiosity for me. One of the most interesting aspects of nature is Harmonic Resonance.

First things first, we need to look a a wave:

The important part of this wave is the amplitude. The amplitude where the wave stores its energy. Think of a wave in the ocean, breaking on the shore. A small wave doesn't have much power so it breaks quietly and isn't very exciting. Then you head out to the North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii and you get HUGE waves that crash with great intensity. What is the difference between the waves? They might be the same in every way possible, but the North Shore waves have greater amplitude, they are bigger, and thus have more energy.
Another example that we will keep going to will be sound, or more specifically music. A sound can be soft or loud. It may be the exact same sound. Think of the volume on your radio. If you want the sound to be louder, you turn up the volume. That feeds more energy to the speakers, and thus increases the amplitude of the sound waves that are generated from the speaker.

Get it? Bigger amplitudes mean more power. Enter in Resonance.
Resonance is the tendency of a system to oscillate at a greater amplitude at some frequencies than at others. These are known as the system's resonant frequencies (or resonance frequencies). At these frequencies, even small periodic driving forces can produce large amplitude oscillations, because the system stores vibrational energy.

Thank you Wikipedia. Anyway, what that means is that there are certain frequencies, different for all things, that can cause the vibrations to get bigger and bigger. Think of blowing air over an open bottle. Unless you get the direction just right, nothing happens. But, if you hit that one special area, the air will vibrate the bottle just so that a sound is formed. The construction of the bottle, and how full the bottle is will determine the pitch and tone of the sound, but what you are doing is hitting that special frequency where the bottle vibrates and the waves are able to hit that harmonic resonance. This is not always a fun thing.

We have all heard the story of an opera singer breaking a crystal glass with only her voice. This is actually true. They crystal glass is called "crystal" because the material in the glass has bonded in a very special uniform way. Because it is uniform, it has a common harmonic resonance frequency. Now, the crystal will vibrate along with whatever sound wave is near it. If the wave is not the harmonic frequency, nothing really happens. However, when the singer hits that very special frequency, the sound waves cause the crystal to vibrate at the same frequency, and, because at this special frequency, the energy of the wave is stored in the glass, the amplitude of the wave gets bigger and bigger until BANG, the glass shatters. It is very cool to see.

It turns out that these resonance frequencies are also found in... well everything. It is just a matter of finding the frequency and keeping it going until the wave has time enough to gain enough energy to make whatever it is that is vibrating shake apart. A perfect example of this is "Galloping Gertie."

Opened in July of 1940, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge was to be a great economic boon to the Tacoma area. However, as soon as the bridge opened up, people stared noticing that when the wind blew, the bridge had a tendency to rock back and forth. Then, on November 7th 1940, the wind hit caused the bridge to sway at a very special frequency. The bridge's harmonic frequency was hit, and the wave began to grow and grow in amplitude until it tore itself apart. You can watch it happen:

Coming back to aviation. In primary flight training, every pilot learns about a neat phenomena called "Ground Effect." When an aircraft is close to the ground the air can literally "bounce" in between the ground and the aircraft's wings. This adds lift, and can be really fun to play with if you are in a fixed wing aircraft (air plane). However if you are in a rotating wing aircraft (helicopter), it opens up an entirely new problem. You see, the helicopter has harmonic frequencies, just like anything else in nature. If that frequency is reached, such as in ground effect, the aircraft can literally be torn apart. Fortunately there is an easy solution, simply increase power and lift off. Once the frequency is changed the destructive wave dies out and all is good with the world. But what happens if the pilot freezes? This:

Here the pilot makes the wrong choice and his machine is forfeit. Luckily everyone survived. So, let's see an example of a good pilot making the correct choice. For that, as for all good things in life, we turn to MacGyver!

This pilot, realizing what was going on, doesn't bother with closing his door or anything else, he gets the hell out of Dodge, and saves his machine, his life, and the lives of the actors and crew on the ground. This pilot gets an A+ for being awesome!!

Resonance is a fascinating topic, and I have been interested in it ever since I first learned about it. To put your mind at ease, while your body DOES have a resonant frequency, your body is such a complex system that is is very unlikely that you could shake apart from the wind blowing or from some opera singer hitting the proper note. Which is why we don't hear stories of people walking outside during a windy day and exploding. That might be cool to see though...

Monday, February 13, 2012

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

It's About the Calories!!!!

With all of the crap I put up on this blog, including a guy high fiving a bobcat with the words "Fu@ck Yeah!!" underneath, members of the clergy in various... comprising positions, and other off the wall stuff, the controversial thing is that weight loss is about calories, not about some sort of shake, carbs, or other off the wall diet fad. So, just for fun I am putting up yet another story confirming the SCIENCE about weight loss.
But but but but my weight loss fad has testimonials of people who lost weight and look awesome. I have seen the before and after pictures!!! Great. Good for them. Do you know how the people who lost weight lost that weight? It wasn't because of the shake, bar, or whatever. It was because they burned more calories than they took in. I could put you on the fried cotton candy and beer diet and you would loose weight, as long as the calories you took in were fewer than the calories you burned. But just for fun, a video that has been on the news demonstrates how easily you can do the before and after pictures:

Amazing right?

There is no magic pill. There is no plan to make your life easier. Your body likes to be lazy. Your body will resist any attempt you make to change, unless it is to be more lazy. Your body is programmed to like fatty, sugary, and salty foods. That is what used to keep us alive back in the day. So, if you feed your body something that is not fatty, sugary, and salty, your body will say YUCK! It is up to you to control your body, not the other way around. You are not an animal. Your base instincts do not define or control you. Your conscious mind does. Set your mind to it, and you can force your body to change. You do the extra 10 push ups, you body hates you, but will eventually grow stronger so that those extra 10 go back to being "lazy." Your body likes lazy.

After a bit of pain and discomfort, you will get used to taking in fewer calories, and, like an airplane's speed will be dictated by lift, thrust, and pitch, your body will drop, or gain, weight in order to get back to being lazy.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Importance of Slow Rolling or Flow Rolling

The normal tendency for people when facing off on the mat is to go as hard as they can, as fast as they can. BJJ can be practiced safely going full contact, so most people just want to go go go.
The experienced practitioner knows that this hard sparring has its place. However, there is another kind of beneficial type of rolling that teaches balance, technique, and position.

Flow rolling is when the two practitioners move relatively slowly, they focus on their technique rather than trying to smash one another. The catch is that when flow rolling you want to move smoothly, and try to execute your techniques just as you would if you were going full speed.
When you are rolling full speed, sometimes sweeps, position changes, or submissions happen so fast that you don't really know why or how they happened. When flow rolling you can see why you get swept in a particular position because you have time to feel your balance is off. When you are flow rolling you realize that when you are transitioning from side control to north-south, people are escaping because your hips are too high. When you flow roll you realize that you are getting armbared from mount because you are falling in to the opponent's trap by moving in to the armbar rather than knocking his balance off and doing a proper escape.

One of the primary reasons you should incorporate flow rolling in to your BJJ training regime is so that you can learn how movements work together. When you learn how movements work together you start to build a series of movements based on what your opponent does. What does this do for you? Well, if you have spent anytime talking and discussing BJJ, you have learned that the "good" practitioners are "two or three" moves ahead of their opponent. Well... how do they do this? Are they clairvoyant? Can they read my mind to know what I am going to do to be two moves ahead of me? No, but they know how moves work together and how the moves of their opponent can affect their own movements.
For instance, if my opponent is in my guard and he lifts his body up off of his heels, I can underhook my left arm underneath his right leg. From here I think ahead to my next two movements. I can pull on his left arm while lifting up on his right leg in a classic sweep.

As I complete this sweep, my choices branch. If the guy pulls his arm tight, I complete the sweep and to to mount, just as Joe Moreira demonstrated. However if the guy leaves his arm out, I don't pull my leg back, rather I use it to stop my movement, then swing it over my opponents head and I take the armbar. João shows this technique:

I know that these techniques dovetail in to one another. So, I can go from sweep to armbar before my opponent knows what is going on. What if the opponent knows the sweep, and defends by sitting back on his heels after I underhook his leg? With my left arm under his right leg I grab is right sleeve. I then bring my left leg up and around, scooting my hips out to the left. My opponent is caught in an omoplata.
Was I reading is mind? No, I knew that there were only a few different ways my opponent could get out of the situation, and I had the counters to those escapes in mind as I executed my game.

Moving at full speed, if I am not intimately familiar with these techniques and movements, I may not have time to put them all in my head. That leaves time for my opponent to complete his escape. When I am flow rolling, I have time to think about and put in to practice all of these movements. So that I can be come intimately familiar with them. The next time I roll full speed, the movements come to me as if I am reading my opponents mind.