Shooting Training Log – 5/8/2022

  • Baer Solutions Cold Start:
    • 12 second par time – blew this because I loaded and prepped the wrong magazines. Set up g43 mags instead of g17 mags
      • 5 rounds to a 6 inch rectangle, transition to the second 6 inch rectangle – 5 rounds. Reload off slide lock and engage the 3 inch circle with 3 rounds.
  • Presentation from the holster – 6 rounds to A-zone
  • Transition/Reload – 6 rounds to Baer Solutions rectangle, slide lock reload, 3 rounds to small circle.

Overall notes – Working on an overall smoother trigger press and lots of support hand control of the gun.

A Better Way to Think About Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Belts

At our little club in Iowa Park, TX, we’ve been talking a lot about standards and think it’s important for everyone to have a good idea about where they stand as far as skill goes and what you should be working on at each belt level. BJJ is hard and it can feel like you’re not getting any better for long stretches of time. But that’s the main reason it’s so good for you and so good for teaching you how to fight and for self defense. You test yourself daily against a resisting opponent who does not want you to do what you want to do. And that opponent is also getting better everyday. This is powerful stuff.

So with all that said, here are my thoughts on what you should be working on at each belt level. Thanks very much to John Valentine for his input and for helping me refine some of my ideas on this. If you ever get a chance to train with John, you should jump on the opportunity.

You’ll notice that there are no specific techniques listed (arm bar, triangle, kimura, etc). As you get better and master the components of grappling, you can learn and apply any technique you see. The submissions are actually the least important part of learning BJJ. Position, posture, and control of your opponent are far more important and will determine whether or not you can actually make a submission happen. 

Foundational Components of Grappling – Base, Defense, Attack, Pressure, Connection 

Base – posture, balance, position

Defense – survival, escape, reverses

Attack – sweeps, control of opponents, setups

Connection – purposeful use of limbs, attachments, and grips

Pressure – active control of an opponent using movement, position, and head control

Proficiencies at each belt to be considered for the next belt. 

White Belt

  • Base 
    • Stable 
    • Maintaining/regaining posture, balance and re-establishing base
  • Defense 
    • Survival position
    • Re-establishing neutral
  • Attack
    • Effectively threatens guard pass
    • Holding dominant position
  • Connection
    • Foundational understanding of using frames and attachments to hold space or position. 
  • Pressure
    • Foundational understanding of creating push/pull energies, head control, and leverage

White belts are ready for promotion to blue belt when they: 

  1. Are able to consistently create and maintain a stable base. When their base is disrupted, they are able to re-establish their base. Higher belts have to set up sweeps and intentionally disrupt posture to advance position. 
  2. Consistently set up a structurally strong survival position when passed, taken down, or otherwise in a compromised position. They exhibit an understanding of how to create space off the survival position and consistently work toward re-establishing a neutral position. Higher belts have to set up submissions, attempt to break down their survival position to get submissions, and have to work to maintain dominant positioning. 
  3. Are able to threaten guard passing effectively on higher belts and pose a reasonable risk of being able to successfully pass. 
  4. Are able to hold dominant positions once established. 

This is relatively simple, but getting these concepts down and natural in live rolling takes LOTS of hours on the mats. You’ll be a white belt for about two years with consistent training.

Blue Belt

  • Base 
    • Mobile base 
    • Re-establish lost position/posture
    • Grips
  • Defense 
    • Create space
    • Hold space
    • Escapes and reverses
  • Attack
    • Uses grips effectively
    • Flows between dominant positions
    • Effectively threatens sweeps
  • Connection
    • Grips, frames, attachments to the opponent transition smoothly
    • Feet and hands are used effectively and consistently in all positions 
  • Pressure
    • Uses weight, movement, and head control to disrupt an opponent’s posture and position
    • Maintains active use of hip position, chest, and head pressure

Blue belts are ready for promotion to purple belt when they: 

  1. Are able to maintain a structurally strong base in any position while maintaining mobility. They use grips effectively to maintain and improve posture and position. Their base is mobile and reacts naturally to attempts at disruption. 
  2. Are able to consistently create space using hip and shoulder movement, proper positioning, and the use of structurally strong frames. They are able to create and recognize opportunities for escape from bad positions and reversing to dominant positions. They understand which grips are dominant in any given position and prioritize the most dangerous aspect of a given position. 
  3. Use grips in combination with dominant positioning to threaten submissions and sweeps. 
  4. Are able to flow between dominant positions. 

Purple Belt

  • Base 
    • Manipulation of opponent’s posture/position
    • De-base opponents
    • Building a base off single attachments
  • Defense 
    • Strong structural defense in any position
    • Consistently reverses to dominant positions
  • Attack
    • Effectively attacks from all positions (dominant and neutral)
    • Forces mistakes and creates opportunities through positioning, movement, and combinations of attacks
  • Connection
    • Constant, effective connection to opponent using frames, attachments, and grips
    • Maintains active use of all limbs in all position as a fundamental aspect of manipulating opponent’s posture and position, and to build effective attacks and defense
  • Pressure
    • Uses pressure to control an opponent and create opportunities to advance position or attack.
    • Pressure in all positions, using movement, limbs, and head to create push or pull at every point of connection

Purple belts are ready for promotion to brown belt when they: 

  1. Are able to consistently manipulate an opponent’s posture and position using good timing and movement. They can effectively take an opponent’s base using position and leverage. They understand the progressive nature of building a base and can do so off of a single attachment to the opponent. 
  2. Are able to flow between defense and offense. The threat of reversing an opponent is always present. 
  3. Can threaten submissions and sweeps from any position. They are able to create opportunities for submissions, sweeps, and reversals using posture, positioning, movement, and leverage. They force mistakes from their opponents consistently.

My opinion on what’s going on at the brown belt and black belt level is probably largely irrelevant, but I think most will agree that the foundations of Jiu Jitsu are learned and refined from white to purple belt. The journey beyond purple belt entails further integrating the foundational components of grappling and developing your own style of Jiu Jitsu.

These concepts are ones I’ve been thinking about for a long time, and they are things I would have liked to have understood much earlier in my time as a practitioner and coach. I hope you find them useful.

Shooting Training Log – 8/29/2021

  • Runenation Cold Start: 26.78 – standard is 12 seconds. Issues as I see them:
    • head position – moving to the side
    • slow on high prob target
    • 2 misses
  • From holster to 1” target at 3 yrds
    • 2.20
    • 1.75
    • 1.68
    • 1.99
    • 2.13
    • 2.94
  • 1″ target to 4″ target transition from extension
    • 1.13
    • 1.06
  • 4″ target to 1″ target from extension
    • 1.57 miss
  • 4″ target – reload – 1″ target from extension
    • 4.29
  • 25 yd 
    • working on eliminating head movement and lean

Learn to Fight – The Clinch for Beginners

One of the best things you can do if you’re just starting out training or if you’re looking for a way to integrate your martial arts with self defense is to learn or improve your clinch. There are some distinct advantages to learning the clinch first, before sparring with strikes or when first learning grappling.

Training the clinch teaches you about balance, space, and pressure. It teaches you to use leverage, timing, and precision. And most important of all, working on the clinch gets you comfortable with working at a very uncomfortable range. If a smaller person can use position and leverage to make himself “heavier” or harder to deal with, that person can use his strikes, weapons, or make decisions during a fight about what to do next while operating confidently in a range that most people ignore. Most fight training consists of either striking or grappling with the idea that you can only devote significant attention to one or the other. Starting with the clinch forces you to learn range and position that allows you to expand outward into effective striking and grappling easier than if you were to start with either one individually. If you’re serious about learning to fight, you’ll have to learn all ranges and the best place to start is in the clinch. A guy with a good clinch can learn to strike fairly easily and a guy with a good clinch can be taught takedowns and groundfighting much easier since the context is already ingrained.

For self defense purposes, fights are won and lost in the clinch. If you are attacked and you successfully defend the ambush, you will be in a clinch situation. Nobody attacks another individual and then runs away after a single successful defense by the person being attacked. A clinch fight should be assumed and prepared for. This is especially important if you carry weapons since attempting to access a weapon at the wrong time could lead to it being used on you. You will also recognize your opponent accessing a weapon earlier and you may be able to prevent your opponent’s access.

In this series of videos, I take you through a progression to get you started with some fundamental Greco-Roman wrestling techniques that should form the basis of your clinch. They can be learned and then used as a warmup for training session, as a starting point for stand-up sparring or for practicing entangled weapons access, or as a base for learning takedowns. Grab a partner and give these a shot.

Choke Defense!

Here’s our approach to dealing with a choke.  The defense is simple and works from any direction.  The key thing to understand, though, is that learning self defense is not about acquiring a collection of techniques. It’s about managing the threat you’re presented with.  The threat isn’t the choke (you can break a choke fairly easily), the threat is the person choking you.  Our focus is on dealing with the fight after defense.  The ATTACK part of “Defend + Attack”.

Defense Krav Maga | 4036 Kemp Blvd | Wichita Falls, TX

Critical Incident First Aid Workshop November 4th, 2017


We’re excited to be able to offer a one-day training course on first aid after a serious injury when help may be delayed in getting to you.  You’ll learn how to use commercially available first aid supplies and what you need to start your own individual first aid kit.

This is a unique opportunity to take a class taught by an Air Force Special Operations medic.  Don’t miss it.  Click here for more information and to sign up: Critical Incident First Aid Workshop Signup

Space is very limited. Sign up soon!


New schedule starting Monday, September 11.

We’re excited to offer a ground fighting class starting Monday at Defense Krav Maga. The class is open to everyone and will teach you basic position, submissions, and grappling strategy. We’ll use elements of wrestling, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, MMA, and Krav Maga to put together a simple, but brutally effective ground fighting program.

Contact us using the form below to schedule a trial Krav Maga class!

Defense Krav Maga is open!

Krav Maga has finally arrived in Wichita Falls.  We’re officially in our new location at 4030 Kemp Blvd.  This week, class will run on Wednesday at 5:30 pm and starting next week, the schedule will be as follows:

Krav Maga – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 5:30 pm

Precision Striking – Tuesday and Thursday at 6:30 pm

In Precision Striking class, you’ll work on the art and skill of punch, knee, and kick combinations from boxing and Muay Thai.  This will be a fast paced, 30 minute class where you’ll learn to hit, move, and defend.

Fill out the form below if you have questions or would like to set up a trial class.

Defend + Attack

Wichita Falls Krav Mata

Defending yourself requires that you are able to make an aggressive and violent counterattack.  This is one of the ugly realities of self-defense and this is the truly hard part for nice, normal people living in the real world.  Come train with us and we’ll teach you how to make an ugly face, hit hard, and go home safe.

Krav Maga classes run on Monday and Wednesday at 5:30 PM at Wichita Falls Athletic Club.  Contact us below for more information.  We look forward to seeing you!

In Defense of The Squat for Old People



A loud minority of Internet Fitness Experts (IFEs) are busy proliferating the idea that the squat is of limited use and, in some cases, downright dangerous.  Some assert that the squat is an advanced movement, potentially requiring upwards of 60 corrective exercises for the fixing of movement deficiencies before actually learning it.  Others dismiss it completely since they’re not interested in being powerlifters, muscle-bound, or injured, while some just want to focus on aesthetics and more quad development, or any number of other reasons they can find to avoid squatting.

Nothing mobilizes the IFE more than the posting of the recommendation for older populations to strength train using barbells.  A photo or video of a 60+ year old lifter with a bar on their back or in their hands produces predictable outrage at the stupidity of such an endeavor, and a demonstration of a Starting Strength Coach expertly guiding a healthy 72-year-old guy through a modified squat teaching progression results in accusations of gross irresponsibility on the part of the coach.

While most of these things don’t require rebuttal or even comment, there are a few general themes pertaining to the squat that come up repeatedly in the context of the training of older populations.  Specifically, why they shouldn’t squat, or why a different, squat-like exercise, would be safer or better.


This is the most common reason someone gives for either why he or she can’t squat, or why another person can’t squat.  In the elderly, IFEs argue that the lack of muscle extensibility around a joint has produced a situation in which the person couldn’t possibly squat safely.  The proof is in the fact that the elderly trainee looks shaky on the way down into the squat or off the box, and that they can’t reach full depth.

When people don’t go below parallel, it’s for one of two reasons.  They either have never been coached to do so, or they aren’t strong enough to achieve the range of motion.  It’s never due to mobility, in the absence of significant anatomical abnormalities.

The former can be fixed by proper coaching.  The latter is fixed by getting the trainee stronger with a leg press and takes a short time, although the timeline can be quite a bit longer depending on how deconditioned the trainee is.  For the worst cases, a high box will be used, then progressively shorter boxes until the squat is below parallel.  Then the squat is loaded with hand weights and then a barbell.  The point is that squatting correctly and getting stronger takes care of the mobility argument.  No amount of “mobility work” will get someone to squat correctly.  Coaching and getting stronger will.

Excessive Strain on the Back

To the IFE, tweaking your back when you’re old is the worst possible thing that could happen.  Surely, it’s safer to use a front squat or a goblet squat since old people are frail and their spines will snap at any moment.  It’s irresponsible to load an old person’s back with a bar and tell them to lean over so that they squat with their hips.  Just look at all the shear!

This silliness comes from a fundamental misunderstanding of the mechanics of a loaded barbell squat and of the stress, recovery, and adaptation cycle.  Yes, nearly the entire skeleton is under compressive and moment force in a squat.  I lack the knowledge of structural engineering to be able to explain this in sufficient detail, but I can tell you that a look at the structures of the vertebral bodies, the ligaments, tendons, and muscles surrounding them, and their arrangement, all strongly suggest that force transferred through the back segment held in normal anatomical extension is transferred in compression.  Moment force is a “shear force,” but “shearing” – sliding along a plane – does not occur in a normal spine.  For a normal spine to fail in shear, a significant force is required to overcome the overlapping nature of the pedicle/facet joints and the soft tissue surrounding them – something like those encountered in a car accident.  Open up your copy of Netter and take a look.

Yes, we do want the lifter to lean over.  We want them to use their hips and stress their backs because these are the structures that need the strength adaptation.  Compressive force on the bones is exactly what we’re looking for, especially in an older trainee.  Even though the rate of adaptation is significantly blunted in advanced age, adaptation still occurs and the benefits that come from loading the entire skeleton with the most weight possible, over the longest effective range of motion, and using the most muscle mass possible are critical to those who are fighting to maintain not only muscle mass, but also independence in their late years.


The last most common accusation in defense of suboptimal exercise prescription in lieu of squatting is the inherent danger and complexity of the squat – failing, of course, to take into account the fact that nobody gets under a bar and tries to squat 405 on their first day. Folks over 60 years old are typically risk averse and are the LEAST likely to attempt something they physically are incapable of doing, unlike 17-25 year olds.  The first day for an older trainee will be very similar to the first day for a person in their early 30s.  They will figure out what their starting loads will be and those loads will be appropriate for them.  The guy who is 30 may squat 175. The guy who is 70 may squat the bar. And the guy who is 85 may have to squat to a bench.  All of them will squat, though, and they’ll increase the stress a little bit every workout initially.  And they will all get stronger.  The difference is that the 30 year old will add hundreds of pounds to his squat during his training career, while the 85 year old will work hard to squat with a few plates on the bar.

Off the Comments Section and Into the Gym

Starting Strength Coaches have trained thousands of individuals, a very large percentage of which are older than 50.  The SSC understands that the body responds to stress by adapting, and understands a model of loaded human movement that allows for the efficient acquisition of strength.  Since they have such a deep understanding of the coaching model and of the programming model, they are undoubtedly in the best position, with the best tools, and with the most experience to be able to apply these principles via effective training, even if the methods require modification from time to time.  Discussion and critique is always welcome, but it’s time for the discussion to shift more toward the advancement of the universally useful strength, recovery, and adaptation principle and how to effectively put it into practice.

This article was first published on Starting Strength website: