Can you do Judo without a Gi? Sure thing? Without a GI one thing for certain is that you will have close body contact (especially when hitting is involved). When strikes are included your opponent will either want to stay out of range or in close. When you are fighting a striker, you want to be in either of these 2 ranges. You can force the clinch once the commit to hitting you. Of course you have to risk getting hit.
Without clothing you have the sweat factor. The easiest thing to hold is your opponent's body. I like to get a double under hook or over under body lock. This way I control their center of gravity and I can keep them from getting underneath me.
In this clip from the 2002 Shidokan World Open, I used the body lock and foot sweeps to get my opponent down to the mat. The submission attempts shown will be a neck crank (which he escapes) and later on in the clip an arm lock. Going from the Kimura to a straight arm lock. I will stay with the 2 on 1 grip on his arm.
When you see fighters train you will see them working on all kinds of combinations. When hitting the pads, trainers will have fighters memorize certain sequences. The reality of combos in real fights are that they will come when an opponent is tired, hurt or out matched. They don't work as you see them on the pads and bags or when fighters flurry in shadow boxing. When guys get in a dangerous position they clinch. So, to land shots it's the basics (simple combinations and movement) that work best. In this clip you won't see a long combination until after my opponent is hurt. In the last round you will a left kick to the liver followed by a 9 punch combination. Timing is everything so learn when to lay it on.
I enjoy all combat sports. I have sought out what I believe to be the most practical combat methods to train in. Kickboxing, full contact Karate, Judo and JuJitsu, etc. My first martial art was Tang Soo Do. I trained for almost 10 years before doing and type of competition. After seeing professional kickboxing on TV, I imagined myself becoming a kickboxer. During the 80s I watched Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, etc. box on TV. In high school I was sparring with some friends and got hit with a body shot so hard, that I asked the guy "where did you learn to punch like that?". It was obvious to me that there was something really different about this body shot. He said that he also boxed. Years later, I went to a martial arts demonstration by former World Welterweight Kickboxing Champion, Jeff Gripper. In addition to being a kicboxer, Grip held a couple of blackbelts and was also a boxer. He referred me to Asa's Gym run by an old boxer named James Asa Gordon. At this time all the top kickboxers would come to this gym to train. Some of the top pro boxers in town would frequent Asa's too. Evander Holyfield even came by the gym. I ended up training with boxers and kickboxers. Kickboxing fights became hard to come by, so I started competing as a boxer to get fights. One of my trainers, Bernard Styles, asked me to try it for atleast a couple of years before I actually did. I would say, "I'm a Karate Guy, not a boxer". He said, "Well, you're in here everyday boxing, so why not?". He had a good point. From my boxing experiences, I learned about hard training, mental and physical toughness. I now realize that my 13 years in boxing gyms help make me that martial artist I am today.
To get ready for competition you have to be in shape before you begin fight training. A lot of athletes are lazy and try to get in shape while training for a fight. You should already of a good base condition to begin with. If you have 6 to 8 weeks to get ready for a match and you start at the beginning of that 6 or 8 week cycle, you are behind. A competitor should be training and learning all the time. When getting ready for a fight, you should run. Running should be outside if possible and you mix distance and sprints. You need to alternate hard, moderate, and mild workouts. Don't kill yourself everyday. You need to spar, do your bag, mitt, shadow boxing, rope, drills, etc. In the gym you need intensity of 60 to 90 minutes. For you guys that say you train 4 plus hours a day, you ain't gettin' in with real intensity. Train the way your are going to fight. Boxers glove and spar with the same intensity they will have in a fight. The only difference is that the gloves are bigger and they wear headgear. When training, simulate the fight environment. As mentioned earlier, allow recovering after the hard sessions. Be sure to train like you compete and push yourself. Many of us need outside motivating from a trainer or coach. That's great, but remember you have to reach down inside of yourself and bring out your best.
Last week we lost one of our warriors. Shidokan Atlanta Queen of Combat, Rhonda Balsamello passed away suddenly. I know that we all will transition some day, but it is so sad when we lose someone young and without warning. Rhonda was the toughest fighter we've ever had. She had no fear and was always ready to compete. Rhonda was a private person and wouldn't say a lot. She could be shy at times. But through the martial arts, her personality would show. She would was happy when engaged in one on one combat. Karate was truly her way of expressing herself. To those who knew her well, she showed a sense of humor and always went out of her way to help. As a creative person, she designed much of the Shidokan apparel we wear at our gym.
Within a year of training, she was competing in full contact bare knuckle karate tournaments. In keeping the Shidokan Karate concept of being a well rounded martial artist, she also competed in grappling and kickboxing. She found her forte to be Knockdown (bare knuckle) Karate, one of the most difficult forms of competition out there.
She represented our Dojo locally, nationally and internationally. A couple of months ago, she won the Shidokan Japan Cup. Last year she was on her way to this tournament and the night before leaving, her back went out and she couldn't walk. She had back surgery and came back to achieve what most can only dream of, winning a full contact Karate championship in the land of Karate, Japan. She has gained the love and respect of an international Karate organization. She is better well known in other countries than in the U.S.
Here is some footage of Rhonda competing a few years back. I never mined losing my voice yelling and cheering her on. Win, lose, or draw she pushed herself to the limit. She would fight until the end. She could endure the fatigue and pain better than anyone. Fighting is what gave her peace. This is one of my favorites because it shows her dig deep. She may not be with us physically, but her Samurai spirit does.
World Champion Richard Trammell shares his experiences, views and thoughts on fitness, martial arts and fighting.