Thursday, February 8, 2018

It's All Mathematics

Numbers is hardly real and they never have feelings
But you push too hard, even numbers got limits
Why did one straw break the camels back? heres the secret:
The million other straws underneath it - it's all mathematics
-Mos Def

Saturday morning we have an open mat at our Cranberry PA location at 9AM. It runs until 10AM when I teach the Fundamentals BJJ class. I try to get there early, warm up a little, and try not to take any rounds off. It's just one hour. 5 minute rounds with 1 minute rests if can get the first round started on time I should be able to get at least 10 rounds in.

After the 10AM Fundamentals class I teach the 11AM Self Defense class. Last week following that I taught a private lesson. In discussion after that lesson we discussed how to train at open mats, setting training goals, and general training philosophy. It's always a goal of mine to distill solid framework of how to train in new students. I'm a big believer that a little planning, some forethought, and smart purposeful execution pays off huge dividends in skill development. 

One of the items that came up has come up several times recently. I don't take any rounds off at that open mat. Now, for me, where I am now that's no big deal. I have plenty of much much longer training sessions in the week. Doing 2, 3, or even 4 hours is not uncommon as well as days where I train in more than one session throughout the day or lift in the morning and train a few hours at night.

I just want to go over the math real quick with you.

Lets say we have 2 students. Student A, and student B. Now A&B both train a respectable 5 times a week for 1 hour sessions. To keep this simple lets say each of those hour sessions is 10 x 5 min rounds. Student A takes no rounds off all week. Student B takes 1 round off each session.

Here's what that week looks like
A: 5 sessions of 10 x 5 min rounds = 250 min (50 rounds)
B: 5 sessions of   9 x 5 min rounds = 225 min (45 rounds)

52 weeks in a year , lets say they each took a week off every 6 months just to keep it easy

A: 50 x 250 min = 12,500 min (2,500 rounds)
B: 50 x 225 min = 12,250 min (2,250 rounds)

That's 250 more rounds a year. Equal to 25 more training sessions
25 more training sessions a year is an extra 5 WEEKS a year.

That's more than a extra month of training per year Student A gets over Student B just by not taking that one round off each session.

So at the end of several years when Student B looks at A and says man, we both started at the same time why is that A-hole getting better than me! Well, in 10 years he may have nearly a full more year of mat time!

That's a simple scenario using some easy numbers and very small amount of training. These dudes are only training 5 hours a week! I normally train 10-12 hours a week. My gains might be double or more if we do the math on it.

Let me challenge you. Find the wasted spaces, and fill them in. When class splits up be the first group to start working. If you are already repping out the technique while another group is still chit chatting it up you may get an extra few minutes than them during that session. Maybe physically your not able to do an open mat and not take a round off, but maybe you can take a round to drill instead with a partner as a rest round. Maybe after class breaks you can get one more round in with your partner if there's time and space for it, so you get just one more round than everyone else that day. I don't know about anyone else but I'd much rather have my years be 14 months instead of 10. Over the long haul its going to add up, it has to, its all mathematics.

Shawn Lupka

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Equipment Evolution

Let me be clear, I'm going to straight up endorse my friends products. Often They give me free shit. Often I wind up beta testing their shit. And we are actual friends, like out to dinner lets hang out friends with some of them. I in no way think that matters to me. If I found a better piece of gear I'd use it, and quite frankly not enough people even read my blog for it to matter much who I choose to endorse. No one is giving me free gear for likes on the gram that's for sure!

Normally I write more about the software side of this thing of ours. The training, the methods, the skills and tactics as we progress and the journey or philosophy of these endeavors. Today I want to talk a little about the hardware. We have come a long long way!

I'm not that old! I swear! But in the short time I've been around holllllysheeeeet have we seen the material goods improved by leaps and bounds! Machines have gotten more reliable, more consistent,  better streamlined and optimized for the tasks at hand as well as better accessible.

The Shivworks Clinch Pick is a prime example. In its infancy over a decade ago when I started I neither knew anyone that had one nor could get one if I tried. It was a tool designed and built for a specific application with a methodology and training system to back it up. If you wanted one you'd have to scour online forums to find one of the limited examples produced by a custom maker and pay whatever price the market might bare. The design changed, the "egg" handle got enlarged as end user feedback rolled in and hands on testing was done in live training. Minor changes, better optimization, more feedback, and the evolution continues. Now, its the golden age, you can get one on amazon prime cheap and you can outfit it with purpose built and pressure tested sheath options by guys that do the work like my long time training partner, student, and friend Tom at Dark Star Gear .

And here's how the evolution works. Makers who have done the work, who are shooters, or grappler's, guys who have been through tough force on force training, these guys are making the gear. Not some dude who doesn't shoot designing a gun. Those guys are using all the modern tools available, injection molding, modern materials, plastics and carbon fiber and purpose built steel but also the ability to manufacture  with consistent reliability, 3D printing prototypes, and utilizing private online groups for beta tester feedback at an ever increasing rate with a variety of experiences.

I think that's the key, if we are talking evolution. The accelerated feedback loop. The amount of information one can now gather quickly eclipses what was available in years gone by. I recently was asked to be a beta tester for the now released Phlster Flex . John created a private group, he sent out prototypes, and we all went about playing with this new thing and having a running dialog about it. Refinements where made, hole spacing was optimized, changes to the design happened quickely and where re tested. During this time people are putting it on and using it during rigorous physical activity, I get it set up with training gear and grapple with it on, use it in class concealed and see how it holds up. The feedback loop is wide, lots of dudes with different backgrounds, shapes and sizes and applications doing a variety of tasks and all talking bringing that feedback back to Jon where he goes back tot he drawing board. From big picture shit like does it hold up while someone is trying to forcibly rip your shit away from you to little details like are the direction clear enough.

That's evolution, not just one one guy thinking up some way to improve a product and putting it out, but a living breathing PROCESS by which we continue to change and adapt to the specific environment.

The Raven Pocket Shield developed by Chris Fry, MDTS is a another example. For years guys who never had to work in an office have been telling us to "dress around the gun". But now we have people who truly and deeply understand the Non Permissive Environment (NPE) finding ways to make concealment mean more than simply not plainly visible. Modern materials manufactured well to fit seamlessly in the environment. Now a petite female like my sister can carry a purpose built Ban Tang in a cut down shield with ease.

I can carry better gear, easier, than ever before.

Recently my friend Morgan Atwood, BFE Labs made me a reverse edge Pikal style carbon fiber knife. Just so happens it fits perfect in my Flat Pack TQ carrier . Lightweight , slim, and easy to carry.

There I was blown away. Looking a this like damn, remember the days when I had a leather double mag pouch for my 1911? When Hydroshocks where the cutting edge in ballistics technology? Back when the best advice I could get on how to actually carry a gun in real life every day was to wear a vest? Back before the current knowledge on tourniquet use was widespread?

Advancements in not just technology but in the culture have brought us leaps and bounds beyond where we once where as a community. Let's keep driving that culture, harder testing, better materials, wider ranges of experiences and viewpoints. I'm excited to see where we will be in another dozen years! Flying cars! Sharks with friggin lazer beamz on their heads!

Shawn Lupka, Antifragile Training