Thursday, July 30, 2009

Baki, The Sportsman (Workout)

Baki, the Sportman

First of all, stretch well.

1.  Run 2 Miles  (Fast a pace as possible)
2. Fingertip Push-ups (5 Fingers)-  Max Reps
3. Pull-ups (any variation)-  Max Reps
4. Fingertip Push-ups (minus pinky)-  Max Reps
5. Pull-ups- Max Reps
6. Fingertip Push-ups (minus pinky and ring finger)- Max Reps
7. Pull-ups- Max Reps
8. Fingertip Push-ups (minus pinky, ring, and middle)- Max Reps
9. Pull-ups- Max Reps
10. Fingertip Push-ups (on thumbs)- Max Reps
11. Pull-ups- Max Reps
12. Fingertip Push-ups (5 Fingers)- Max Reps
13. Pull-ups- Max Reps


Of course you won't be able to go all the way to your thumb at first, just get as far as you can. Eventually, you'll be able to do much more.  You can do the reflex training I mentioned in the Grappler Baki Episode IX post, or you can just skip it.  It's up to you.  

Also, you can opt to do 5 Finger Fingertip Push-ups on all of the sets until you are ready to go to this level.  This is probably a smart choice if that's the most you can do to begin with.

Good luck, and train hard!

Great Resources for Training

Here are some really good training resources for you guys.  They include links to "how-to" exercise videos and martial arts websites.

1.  http://crossfit.com  Great resource.  Really useful demonstrations.

2. http://www.ultimatejujitsu.com/     Good resource for traditional Jujitsu and Brazilian Jujitsu.

3. http://kata-reference.com/  Karate and kung fu forms

4. http://www.bodybuilding.com/   Tons of fitness information.

5. http://www.fightauthority.com/   Martial arts videos, fights, and techniques.

Hope this helps you guys with your training.  Train hard!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

GRAPPLER BAKI- PART IX

Baki, the Sportsman

To prepare for Yujiro's test, Baki hits the training field.  He starts off with some basic stretching.  Stretching is very important for increasing range of motion within the body and research shows that stretching after a workout decreases muscle soreness the following day.  Also, the best thing about stretching is that it requires little effort and can be done almost anywhere at any time.  

Types of Stretching

The types of stretching are passive and active. A passive stretch is one in which the muscles are relaxed and moved by something such as gravity, a partner, or body position.  One of the main passive stretches is called a "static stretch."  The portion of the body being stretched should feel a tension bordering on discomfort, but not be painful.  The stretch should be held for a period of 30 seconds to 2 minutes in order for it to be effective.  An active stretch, is a stretch in which the muscles of the body are contracting while the stretch is occurring, creating a more stable stretch. 
Another type of stretch is a dynamic stretch, which is classified as an active-passive stretch.  The muscles undergoing a dynamic stretch are partly flexed and are propelled using momentum through a muscles range of motion, but not any further, as to avoid injury.
After a quick stretch, Baki goes for a run.

Running

Running is a great exercise for developing muscular endurance in the legs, cardio-respiratory endurance, and balance.  You can pick a distance you're comfortable with, or a time limit and just run the whole thing at a steady pace, or you can break it up into intervals of a walk-run, walk-run-sprint, or run-sprint.  If you're not training for a particular even such as a track meet or a marathon, it's best for your overall fitness if you mix it up a little with distance runs, sprints, hill sprints, or timed intervals.
Next, Baki moves onto one-armed pull-ups.

Pull-ups

Pull-ups, whatever version, generally work the muscles of the back and the biceps.  To graduate to one-armed pull-ups it is important to take these steps:  First of all, always exercise with proper range of motion.  That means you have to go all the way down, to a full extension of the arms (where you hang just for a split second), and you come all the way up to where at least your chin comes over the bar.  After you are able to do 10-15 repetitions of a type of pull-up, it is time to move onto an assisted one-arm pull-up.  Essentially, one arm grasps the bar and the other holds onto the pulling arm for body stability.  When you are able to consistently get 7-10 repetitions in this fashion, you might just be ready to do a free one-arm pull-up, but you might find you have to wait until you're up to 10-15 of the assisted one arms.  Try to change it up.  In one workout you can do normal pull-ups and, in another, assisted and, in another, you can mix and match.  
Baki then moves onto fingertip push-ups.

Fingertip Push-ups

It goes without saying that you should be able to do a normal push-up before attempting a fingertip push-up, but I'll go ahead and put that out there.  It's probably in your best interest, if you've never done fingertip push-ups before, to try to do them on carpet or some type of mat, because it will hurt your fingers.  After you've built sufficient finger strength, you can then move onto hard flooring or cement.  Be patient, it may take some time.   After you feel fairly comfortable with fingertip push-ups.  This meaning, you can do 10-15 on a hard surface, you may feel like you want something a little harder.  If that's the case, just lift your pinky off the ground.  You'll be surprised just how much that little fella helps you out.  You may continue in the fashion until you are using just your thumb and index finger and then finally just your thumb (you may also try just your index finger, but this is something of aLONGTERM accomplishment).  If at any point during fingertip push-ups, you feel great pain-- STOP!  It should be moderately difficult, but it shouldn't feel like your fingers are about to break off.  
Finally, Baki moves on to some reflex training.

Reflex Training

Baki uses an old Chinese Kung Fu method of training, in which the practitioner stops a bird from breaking into flight by lowering his arm just as the bird goes to jump into the air.  Honestly, I'm not sure where you'd get a bird, or how you'd get good enough at this to even practice it, so I'm not going to speculate.  However, what we can take from this is that reflex training is a good thing.  
You may train your reflexes in a variety of ways.  For instance, you can have a partner stand a few feet away from you with a tennis ball.  As soon as he drops the tennis ball, your job is to catch it.  Also, you can have a partner run in front of you and you copy whatever he does.  If he jumps, you jump.  If he darts off at 90 degrees, do the same.  It can get complicated, but it's a good way to work your reflexes because it is putting your body under stress while you're having to react to something.  You can also watch TV and wait for a particular queue, such as a scene change or a word that begins with a particular letter and snap out a punch or kick in response to the queue. And, as always, sparring is a great way to work your reflexes as well. 

Yujiro shows up, in his typical bad timing, and interrupts Baki's training, mocking him for his methods.  He enrages Baki when he shows him he killed the Yasha Ape and tells him he has one month to get ready to fight.  It's a good time, I think, to go over what I like to call "Anime Time."  

"Anime Time"

In anime and manga, there are periods of time where a certain character reaches completely new levels of power and skill in a short amount of time.  Often, this level of power is in inverse proportion to the amount of time spent training and in direct proportion to the amount of danger or physical harm the character will be subjected to.  As a friend of mine once joked: "If you could find a way to train that lasted only 12 seconds, but would almost assuredly kill you and somehow found a way to survive, you'd be the strongest guy on earth." Unfortunately (or fortunately, I haven't decided), that is not the way it works in the real world.  In order to be good at anything, you have to practice.  In order to be strong, you have to train on a regular basis.  There is no short road to anything, no magic potion to make you a superhero (still looking, though!); if you train hard and put the hours in, while recuperating effectively, you will get stronger.
A second note on anime time: you can generally take a time that a character trains and expand it up to the next degree of time.  For instance, Baki is going to train for a month before he fights Yujiro, so that should probably be expanded to a year (if going by what I just said), 310 days (if multiplying days by 10), or 10 months (if multiplying months by 10).  Basically, if you're looking for results anywhere near what an anime character could expect to gain from training, it will probably take you about 10 times as long.
At last, Baki decides he needs to experience the horrors of the battlefield, just as his father did.

Military Combat

Military Combat is real combat+.  It's taking a situation where there are no rules and giving everybody weapons and the training to use them.  War is not pretty and it can make the softest man and break the hardest.  Next time, we'll go into it a little further.  

Until then, train hard!

Monday, July 6, 2009

GRAPPLER BAKI- PART VIII

Time for Flashbacks

To start things off right, Hanma Yujiro kills a polar bear with his bare hands... bare hands? Cause it's a bear. No? Damn. We get to see the sheer power of Yujiro as he topples a massive polar bear with ease, forcing a hunter to give up hunting out of embearassment. Ok, seriously, I'll stop.

The story immediately shifts to how Baki's mother, Emi, and Yujiro meet. Emi is married to the leader of the Akezawa Group and they are attending a decadent party. The main event of the evening, a cross-styles match pitting a Brazilian Jujitsu player against a boxer. The fight is short and sweet, as the BJJ fighter takes the boxer down and proceeds to snap his arm with a Kimura (the boxer even gave up!). Let's take a moment and analyze the fight a little.

Boxing vs. Brazilian Jujitsu

Boxing is all about punching and BJJ is all about taking your opponent to the ground and submitting them with a choke or joint lock. For a boxer to beat a BJJ player, it would be necessary for him to keep him at a distance with jabs and superior footwork, while looking for a knockout chance. The BJJ player only has to bridge the gap long enough to trip the boxer up and then the fight is almost certainly his, especially if the boxer is gloved. It's really a game of distances.

Yujiro, in his ruffled shirt and slicked-back hair, catches Emi's eye and catches her off guard with a kiss. Naturally, her husband is slightly irritated and disciplines his wife with a slap before tossing a plate of food on Yujiro's clothes. Yujiro jumps into the ring in a silent challenge, but the BJJ fighter steps in for the head of the Akezawa Group. He shoots in quickly, but is met with an axe kick to the back of the skull, laying him out. Although the fight was short, let's analyze it anyway.

Brazilian Jujitsu vs. Yujiro (Yujiro is his own style)

It wasn't the smartest idea for the BJJ fighter to come in so brazenly with a tackle (or, more likely, a double or a single leg takedown). First off, he let his intentions of attack be known immediately. Then, he allowed his opponent ample time to decide a counter-offensive. Lastly, he was fighting a guy who kills people for fun. It is extremely possible to counter a takedown with a well-placed axe kick or elbow to the back of the head or spine if the person attempting the takedown fails to set it up correctly or drops his head (like he's looking at the floor) when he shoots in. It's still going to be hard to pull off, though, because he's more than likely going to be moving very fast and, even if you hit him, he will probably still fall onto you. Regardless, even on a sloppy takedown, a precision strike to the back of the spine or skull will take speed, skill, and concentration.
Give this a try-- have your partner shoot in properly (head and hands up, bending mostly at the knees) and attempt to counter the move with strikes. Start slowly and add speed as you both feel comfortable. Remember to wear gear and hit relatively light. This is just training, after all.

After the remainder of Yujiro and Emi's "love story," we jump back to the present with Yujiro coming in at the end of Baki and Hanayama's fight. Without really thinking, Hanayama steps up to fight Yujiro, but he's easily taken care of. Even his special gripping power does nothing to stop or even stall the monster. In a battle of brute force, Yujiro wins over Hanayama hands down. Yujiro says it himself-- a kid is just a kid.

Yujiro vs. Hanayama

It is important to realize that no matter how strong you are, there is someone out there who can beat you, not to mention, beat you to a pulp. There are just too many factors in combat and just too many fighters out there to think that a simple understanding of how to throw a few punches or even a black belt in a combat art is enough for you to walk around with a feeling of invincibility. Rest assured, the more you learn about actual combat, the more you will realize just how much you don't know.

After dealing with Hanayama, Yujiro dispatches Baki with a backhand. This whole ordeal is very disappointing to Yujiro and he returns to tell Emi that she has failed, but (after she tries to stab him) he has a change of heart and says that he's going to test out the Baki that she created for him.

That's all for today. I've been a little busy with work recently, but I'll try to get as much up here as I can for you guys! Train hard!