30 January, 2010

Tapey the Grappling Dummy part 2

continuing my DIY on making a homemade grappling dummy.


While I used a similar supply list that the other dummy makers used, I created the skeleton a bit differently. I cut the cable in half and used one half to form the feet legs, one half of the spine and the opposite shoulder, arm and hand. And then did the same with the otherside of the body. I intertwined the cables at the spine/back location to add some rigidity, and normal flex to the dummy. I wanted to create a hip/torso area that would mimic the human body a bit - A place to really place plan legs onto when doing reps.
As you can see, I used the PVC to really define the feet, lower legs and femur.


Here's my little guy. He helped a ton and gets a kick out of rolling with Tapey right now. In the upper left had of the picture is a bundle of wire that was wrapped around the cable that I used to form the body of the dummy. I will use that later.


I continued on to form the shoulders, upper arm and lower arm area. I used the dowel from the previous picture and the replacement mope head from the previous post to create the head of the dummy. I started really using the duct tape now. Securing the hips, spine, the head and neck and shaping the head.



Another shot of Tapey's head, neck, spine, shoulder area. So far, so good. He's almost ready to roll with!

29 January, 2010

Tapey the Grappling Dummy part 1

After about 6 months with no roll. I decided that I was going to hire someone to take a tumble with. It was totally legit and consensual. I was going to buy a grappling dummy.
If you google "grappling dummy" a couple good products show up.
The Submission Master, Bubba and the Bubba II.
I loved the idea of a dummy. Train any time, get a ton of repetitions in, and you have a partner that didn't care that about the hundreds of armbars, leg locks and chokes going on.
I wasn't sure that I liked the price though.

A little more investigating brought me to a couple DIY projects to make a homemade grappling dummy. I found some good examples: el jefe and another example that I used as a template to build one.
My kids thought building a dummy would be "awesome". My wife - not so much.

Below is part 1 of the dummy chronicles.


Heavy gauge wire. See the mop head there as well.

I got a ton of duct tape and had some wood dowel left over from my home made nunchucku project.

Foam from a memory foam mattress.



I also used some PVC pipe, some bungee cord.
Next putting it all together....


Club withdrawal

Shortly after my schedule change and the increase in my kids various activities, I figured that there was little chance for me to get to FVGC. That really sucked. I would stare at the club schedule to figure out how I could get to a class.
Soapbox moment! When I was a kid, I remember my parents kicking me out of the house with my sports gear and my bike. And I wasn't the only kid showing up to practice that way. It was the norm. Now a days, there are whole families coming with the kids to practice. As Allen Iverson said - "Practice?!?" We'll leave it alone...
Back to my daily schedule review. The club offered 12:00 to 1:00pm classes, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I remember taking a long lunch from work and getting to a 12:00 class. Wrong move. The roll was great. What was horrible is that the club doesn't have showers. And going back to work after training, without a shower, not only is it disgusting, but it is unhealthy. Skin infection risk galore!

28 January, 2010

My A-ha moment - "I've been here before"

I wanted to document a couple things that I wanted to get on blog before I moved on to my Gracie and BJJ home schooling.
I clearly remember the turning point in my learning at FVGC. It was the second to last class that I ever went to at the Club. I remember having trouble with other players in class. I don't think that 8 months into training you can really feel like you hit a slump. But that is how it felt for me. I seemed to be struggling with some of the same things all of the time, panicking, gassing out and forgetting the basics. I was thinking way too much! I finally heard one of the blue belts explaining his A-Ha moment(s).
First - stop moving other people. The game is about moving yourself into the right position.
Second - what helped him learn not to panic was a single thought in his head when he got into a compromised position - "I've been here before". Thinking that thought - "I've been here before" helped him calm his breathing, and calm his thinking down.

My next roll, I was against a large viking dude, a white belt like me, but capable of pancaking most training partners. Viking quickly got mount and proceded to work arm bars. Instead of panicking, I was able to maintain calm. I kept moving hips, moving hips and moving hips. Frame, elbow escape, achieve half-guard, frame, move hips, shrimp and achieve full-guard. Whoa. Was I happy! It's about small wins, right? I was psyched and couldn't wait for my next class.

Next and last class.

27 January, 2010

It had me at "Hello."

I've decided that I will start out blogging of my recent experiences in my martial arts learning. Specifically, how have I gotten into my most recent learning addiction, brazilian jiu jitsu. Selfishly, I want this blog to help me remember everything I've learned so far.
My love of jiu jitsu actually started as a kid when I started taking Judo and Tae Kwon Do - that was about 28 years ago or more! At my school, Monday's, Wednesday's and Fridays were dedicated to Tae Kwon Do, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays were Judo days. As a kid, we start out learning the ground techniques. But we learned each position isolated from the others. We didn't really learn transitions and we didn't really learn methods of improving position, reversals or escapes. But it was the coolest! As a kid, usually it's enough to be able to hold down and control another kid that was stupid enough to pick a fight. That may even work as an adult.
Then came Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. And that was like an a-ha moment for me!
I started my training in BJJ in 2008 at the Fox Valley Grappling Club. It was great. A group of folks interested in grappling, judo, muay thai, mma. Kids, men and women.
So what did I learn?
First - I was a wacky noob that panicked, gassed out and tapped left and right.
Second - I thought that lifting weights and an elliptical was a good work out. Was I wrong. I died with the first warm-up.
Third - Being not so flexible and having some creaky joints, the ibuprofen and aspirin I was taking for pain also lead to major bruising. I looked like one of those guys on Fight Club, except I was always talking about fight club.
Fourth - Skin infections - ring worm, and tinea multiforms - sucks.
Finally - This was the best sport and art, it had me at Hello.

After about 9 months in '08, my schedule and my kids schedules changed enough that I had practically no time for FVGC. My experience in BJJ had to wait in hiatus for about a year. But I was thinking about it all the time!

Next, Gracie University and at home instruction with FVGC Blue Belt!

24 January, 2010

About Me

I'm a 37 year old husband, father, dog owner, martial arts addict, BMW owner and pharmacist. Re: the title of this blog: Formative Years... let me explain. I'm a podcast listener. Instead of the regular radio, when I drive, I like to listen to podcasts. The particular podcast I was listening to was NPR's "Fresh Air" - Terry Gross is great. What I like about podcasts is that there are no commercials. What is funny is that you hear a lot of repeating of the resets that the program host does. So, while I'm listening to Terry Gross talk about her guest, Patty Smith, I must have heard Terry intro Patty Smith's new book, Just Kids, and describe it as a book about Ms. Smith's "Formative Years" a million times. (In actuality, the transcript of the interview only has the pharse "formative years" twice!) But it struck me that why is it that only famous people (artists, musicians, geniuses) are described as having formative years?

A little more about me. I'm a husband and father of two great kids. Both kids are under 10 and somekind of wonderful. I also have one crazy cool dog that I play tug with a lot and talk baby talk to. If you are looking for the perfect dog: medium sized, doesn't shed, doesn't bark a lot, great with kids and can do many different activities, look up the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier.

Regarding Martial Arts. I started Tae Kwon Do and Judo when I was about 10 or so, at the Chicago Mudo Center. I got to Red/Black belt (deputy black) as a kid. I stopped going some time in high school but always wanted to go back. When I was in my mid-twenties, I was able to make some time and get back into the same school. My instructor even started me back at the belt I left at. Not a good idea! I had managed to lose all of my flexibility, memory of technique and forms and conditioning in 8 to 10 years. Combine my total deconditioning, with an instructor who remembers a 15-16 year old acrobatic high belt, and you end up with a mid-twenty-year-old walking injury. It ended abruptly after attempting a leaping forward roll over a 4-foot-high obstacle and landing with a separated shoulder. I was pretty much done. But 3-4 years ago, after watching my 3 year old and 5 year old in their first Tae Kwon Do class, I decided that it was time for me to start again. This time I started at white belt and I'll be testing for my black belt some time this summer. In the past 3-4 years, I've also learned a bit of Muay Thai and have started taking Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes. I'd say that BJJ is my major addiction right now!

I own two BMW's that I love to drive, dismantle and mess with. A 1998 M3 4-door and a 1991 M42 318i. I've done a bit of work on both vehicles and love their handling and style. I'm looking for a new vehicle now. We'll see how that goes.

Finally, I'm a pharmacist at a health system in Northeast Wisconsin. My role is the Medication System Officer for the system and I'm all about patient and staff safety. This health system is know for utilizing LEAN - Toyota Production Systems, processes in a health care setting. Changed my career!

With all of that, "formative years" refers to periods of rapid change and development, usually associated with adolescence and puberty. I know that I'm in a period of rapid change and development as well. I'm pretty sure that I'm done with puberty.

Excuse my ramblings but I hope that we can all share some knowledge.

About Me

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Attention Deficit Dad with as many interests as days in the year. You can't hold me back and you can only hope to contain me!
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