Soliciting opinions:

I would like to solicit an opinion:
I currently train in BJJ and also occasionally train with some wrestlers. Lately some of my buddies (who also train in various arts) have solicited me to start a private training group and meet a couple of times per week. I have agreed to do this to see what happens but would like some advice from people more experienced.

These guys have varying backgrounds from Boxing (former golden glove), wrestling (one was a state champ in HS, the other used to teach/coach at both HS and College level), fencing (was olympic level), Kali, JKD, BJJ (two of us are blue belts), Kyokushin and Kenpo.

Due to cost of classes and the time and expense of travel, we are considering training a couple of times a week outside of our various classes focusing on "alive" training (since our training would be "free" in a sense). We are planning on utilizing Matt Thornton's tapes (they are awesome!) as well as the "Dog Brothers stick fighting" vids (we're also planning on adding Rodney King's tapes to the mix) to supplement our current knowledge and mix it up.

Our objective is primarily self defense rather than competition, and what I would like to get your opinion on is whether training at "home" under these conditions would be a viable option? I feel the experience level is there and feel it would be a worthwhile experiement. I'm hoping we can all grow as martial artists and share knowledge and experiment with varioius things. Have any of you done anything like this before? How did you structure it? Are there some pitfalls we should be looking out for?

I would appreciate any advice (for or against) doing this sort of thing.

Thank you in advance.

I spent "umpteen" years doing this.

I would advise you guys to clearly define your long term and short term goals. Go from general to specific and date them (when you will acheive them).

Establish your guidelines/rules. What is acceptable and not.

Be specific so that you can align your training with these. The Law of Specificity states that if you want to get good at something, do that something.

If you can't do that something, than you need to get as close as possible to it.

This will do a number of things for you:

1) Keep everyone aware of the direction. It will be your compass. You can revisit your mottos, slogans, & goals frequently to make sure you guys didn't fall off track...especially with all that technical variety going around.

2) Eliminate the "too many chiefs and not enough indians" dilemna.

3)Insure that your valuable time is spent efficiently and appropriately and not wasted on those things that are not conducive to your goal or mission statement.

4) Allow you to devise daily lesson plans.

5) Keep you motivated.

6) Allow you to evaluate your total game & make adjustments.

YOU sound like you are open and ready. It seems to me by your post that you have an healthy attitude. If you have a few guys like that you guys should make out OK.

I can't say enough about defining your path, setting goals, etc.

All the best,


Hey V,

I think this is how most of us started. My interactive gym was specifically designed for guys like you. Take a look at it at click on interactive gym.

It may be what you need:)


Rodney "Chico" King


Thanks for your feedback! There definitely needs to be a set of guidelines and a common direction to our training. As mentioned our training is primarily for self-defense (and self-discovery in my case) and hopefully some of it will carry over to my other training. The inital idea is for each guy to "share" some of the basics of their "specialty" using the "I" method. The other goal is to also explore full contact weapon sparring primarily because most of us want to try it... for fun and to learn the realities of a "real" attack with a weapon.

Having said this we hope to eventually get to a point where we can seamlessly integrate these aspects and flow from one range to another while always training athletically and of course having some fun along the way.

Thanks for your comments. A couple of the individuals who will be participating in this group are LE officers as well so I would be interested in hearing more about this aspect of your practice.

It's quite coincidental that you mention Judo and Mr. Sonnon. Prior to the forming of this training group I had long thought about enrolling in the local Judo club. In conjunction to this I had also thought of studying Mr. Sonnon's IOUF material. Now that I have pretty much commited to this group I will forego Judo but will probably go ahead and still invest in the IOUF series as it may come in handy.

I have already started to integrate some of the principles from the Shockability and FC series into my training with pretty good effect. Anyway I digress.

I appreciate you both taking the time to answer my question.

Mr. King,
Thanks for the link! I will most certainly check it out.


Good post Aus.

The G Man


Great Posts Aus, and Robert!

This is also where training is at for my training
partners and myself (when we can get
together--getting even a small group of LE together
can be a pain--not just because of job scheduling,
but family time, et cetera--but you do what you can).



Hey, Van Helsing (cool name BTW!), do you have a Syllabus for your first 3 months? Just curious.

man, i've been busy and have not been here much. i miss posts like Aus and NWD's.

good posts!

This is how my current training is set up. About 5-6 friends adjorn to my garage where we do stand up, BJJ and wrestling. We train the three ranges, then do full contact sparring with equipment. 3 BJJ guys, one JKD guy, 1 MT guy and one collegiate wrestler. fun stuff, we use Burton and Matt's curriculum as the measuring stick.

We have not come up with a syllabus per se. Just an idea of how to structure the sessions.
Theyve sort of left me in charge of coming up with the session structure so I would appreciate any help you guys can give me.

Our plan is to allocate about 2 hours (or longer) of training a couple of times per week.
I was going to break the class up into four segments, sort of like this:

1.Striking / Clinch (45min 1 hour)
2.Takedown / Ground (30 min)
3.Stickfighting (20 30 min)
4.Sparring (15 30 min)

The idea is to alternate the first two segments every 2 (or perhaps 3) weeks, so we get equal time on each aspect of the game over a period of 4 6 weeks. This way you can introduce a new skills in segment 1 every month and it would give us a steady progression since we have about an hour allocated to doing this, and still have a decent amount of time allocated to refining skills learned (segment 2). Obviously the first few months will all be introduction of new skills but eventually I hope to utilize segment 2 as the time to refine skills learned during segment 1 earlier in the 4-week block.
The stickfighting aspect will be neglected a bit during the first six months, but I was planning to adding it to the rotation eventually.

I'm not sure if this is the best approach to skill acquisition, and have no idea as to what an appropriate approach would be (pedagogically speaking). Let me know what you think. Id appreciate any comments or feedback you may have.



"I'm not sure if this is the best approach to skill acquisition, and have no idea as to what an appropriate approach would be (pedagogically speaking)."

Welcome to the world of coaching. You will never know. You will always be adjusting, changing and deleting.
Coaching is a process. You never get "there".

What you have sounds like you are going in the right direction and obviously you put a lot of thought and work into it.. However, it is very general. Now it's time to get specific.

1) Mission Statement/Doctrine

What motivates you guys? Why should you train? What could happen if you don't train? What is the PRIMARY goal? What will you get if you do train? Get leverage on yourself.

2) Define your skill sets.

What are your general skills? To be able to KO someone standing? To break-out of the clinch? To end an altercation without injuring the other? Escape being saddled and G&Ped?

3) Give them a time line.

When will you have learned/completed this skill? A one year periodization cycle is a good long term macrocycle.

4) Define your technical syllabus. (Offense & Defense)

Which tactics, strategies, and techniques in both offense & defense will you be using? Make a list. Your offense won't match you defense curriculum, because of the asymmetrical nature of "self-defense"/C.E.P.


5) Break things into weekly and daily plans.

Now you're motivated and psyched, and have stated your primary goal to serve as a compass. You have defined your general skills and when they will be completed. You listed the specific techniques in your curriculum, now spread those techniques & scenarios into a weekly and daily plan.

Now, every day that you come to practice, you can STATE what that days goals are. Everyone will be motivated daily, and you will know when you guys need to hustle (falling behind) or back off a bit.

6) Evaluate

Be sure each workout has a:

1) Warm-Up & Conditioning

2) Drilling Review (of older material or already "known" material)

3) Introduction of New Material (where your problem spots are INDIVIDUALLY and the "tribe" ideas to solve YOUR issues), then put it into

4) Competition/Sparring/Scenarios. Finish up w/

5) Coach's Comments/Evaluation/Cooldown (Discuss the workout).

People will miss practice, delays will happen, Murphy will attack. No problem, these are not written in stone, but psychologically you must feel that they are!!

Don't neglect using various Situation Drills and Scenario drills, especially since you guys are focusing on the "streets".

While it's PIVOTAL to work your Technical skills (MMA), take those supercharged attributes and apply them in various situations & scenarios. Put them in context. Also, when working your MMA, be sure to use the tried and true sports formula of:

(Progressive Part)--whole---part---Whole.

All this may sound like a lot of work, but you can bust the whole thing out in a few hours and you will be glad you did. Otherwise, you will be a leaf blowing in the wind and may stagnate when it comes to ideas on what to train daily.

I wish you guys the best of luck and let us know how it goes.

All the best,


*swayze-free thread*


WOW, great advice. Thanks a lot.


LOL! Can't escape the Swayze even on the JKD folder!!!

Van Helsing:

No problem, man. I hope you find some of it useful!!
It's just a shame that no one else has offered any advice would think differently with 520 views & 5-6 posters...

All the best,