Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Collision Course!

Having participated in this workshop may give me a biased view. That being said, I think this workshop, and particularly this DVD is a product of enormous value. I had the honor of presenting my Combative Mobility material along side of Jon Hinds, John Brookfield, Mark Philippi, Mike Mahler, and Dylan Thomas. Each of these men alone would provide solid material that would enrich the participants knowledge by light years. Together, the diversity and richness of this DVD places it in a unique position in the world of conditioning and strength.
The DVD follows a format of uninterrupted delivery by the presenter. What you see is what you get. Watching this is like being there, but the best part about the DVD is that you get to see it over and over, and over. You can ingrain the technology into your methodology and reap the benefits. In some ways, the DVD is an enhanced version of the presentations. The picture is always clear, the audio is good, and you can pause and take notes. It's an ideal situation.

Each of the presenters had a specialty and here is an overview of my impressions.

John Brookfield's material on Rope Training was solid, clean, and showed how a simple tool and simple drills, with expert instruction provide mind numbing levels of exhaustion and huge gains in conditioning.

Mike Mahler presented a piece on optimizing hormone without drugs. It was a powerful chunk of advice and full of training tips, techniques and strategies that will enhance the quality of life and improve recovery by leaps and bounds. Mike can produce results in himself and in his online client base. He pulls no punches in the "Life Life Aggressively" style.

Jon Hinds' Monkey Bar Gym "method" blew me away. If you only bought the DVD for this portion alone, you would be a better, stronger, athlete, period. He provided so much material and had it organized so well, it was worth the cost of the weekend. I can tell you without a doubt, this presentation changed my game. Jon can change athletics as we know it and I know your game will change. I promise that.

Mark Philippi is one of the World's Strongest Men. We used his facility to train at. It is a playground of epic proportions for a strength nut or conditioning junkie. For the average person it is a place to learn how to be better, stronger, and more durable. His presentation was a pleasant surprise. Many came into this workshop wondering what they could take from such a strong man that they could apply to their training. Mark showed everyone that not only is he strong and a great competitor, but a World Class coach as well. He had a detailed presentation that was spiced with strongman lore and competition stories that wove a fabric of template design, lifting technique, and training variety. It was an outstanding piece of work.

Dylan Thomas is a highly ranked Aikijujutsu practitioner. I consider him my brother in the arts. Dylan is a professional trainer and one of the most talented people in terms of applying fresh material to kettlebells and conditioning. He originally planned on training Special Forces Warriors with his material but found out that soccer mom's and average Joe's were the more consistent client. His material meshed and his presentation motivated. Anyone in the North East United States would be lucky to have Dylan teach them, train them, and drive them towards new levels of strength, flexibility, and endurance.

Finally Mike Mahler returned with some ingenious, new, material for kettlebell training. He practices what he preaches and exhibited raw power that left onlookers shaking their heads in disbelief. These powerful tools that Mike chose to share will stick with you for the rest of your life.

I won't comment on my portion of the workshop, I'll let my peers and reviewers do that. Simply stated, I taught material that works, and I demonstrated WHY it was taught on not just HOW.

If you've been saving for a big purchase this year,, make it this DVD. It's simple going to improve your game for years and years to come. It's not just kettlebells, it's about strength, mobility, endurance, and diversity. It's Collision Course.
Buy it


Friday, January 30, 2009


Concrete Conflict and Conditioning AND Activate!


Concrete Conflict Table of Contents

Concrete Conflict Table of Contents

1. Wheel of Compliance
2. Close Range Striking
3. Chokes and Hold Downs
4. Thumblock
5. Energy Transfer
6. Bicep Pull and Push
7. Knee Strikes
8. Turn of the Head Throw
9. Shoulder Lockdown
10.Tactical Getups
11. Spidering
12. Fending off a Knife

Strength and Conditioning
1. Stickwalk
2. Pronation and Supination
3. Fanning Motion
4. Stick Motion
5. Flexibility Stunt
6. One Inch Clean
7. Coiled Squat
8. Coiled Lunge
9. Knee Drop
10. Hip Flexor Lift
11. Kneeling Power
12. Curling Power
13. X-Press
14. Drop&Catch
15. X-tended Upright Row
16. Neck Exercise
17. Hip Flexion with Bands
18. Lateral Side Bend
19. Burlesque Bump
20. BB plus Lunge
21. Lunge Walk
22. Knee Walk
23. Calf and Foot
24. Depak
25. Sempok
26. Siloh
27. Knee Kip
28. Concentric Friction
29. Heel Drag
30. Toe Strength
31. Walking Meditation
32. Thruster Drill
33. Vest Crawl and Drags

All this content, plus Activate! for only 50 dollars and NO shipping!

What are People Saying about ACTIVATE!
The DVD is ACTIVATE and the author is Tom Furman. The topic pertains to increasing range of motion and the tool utilized is reciprocal inhibition facilitated stretching. Tom and his friend Mario take you through a series of stretches. This is tastefully done, in contrast to a video put out by a different high profile outfit called "Loaded Stretching". In Loaded Stretching partner drills are carried out by two shirtless men. I do not know why this is. The only reason I own the Loaded Stretching video is that I thought it was a stretching video for alcoholics and I believe in fitness for everyone (actually it came as part of a package deal with some kettlebells I bought on the bay a while back but why let that interfere with a good story?). In this video Tom and Mario are sporting Physical Strategies t-shirts with the logo from Tom's website. Tom's shirt even changes color a couple times in the video. Either that or he actually changed shirts. The video would have been much better had they been wearing RFP shirts from the new spring collection. I will overlook this minor sartorial indiscretion.

The stretches utilized in ACTIVATE cover pretty much every muscle group including a superb back stretch that will effectively loosen most of the posterior chain. Each drill is explained in detail and demonstrated from different angles so you can see what is going on. Also animated arrows are used to show the force vectors for the stretches. This is most helpful. Tom and Mario also take you through an agonist/antagonist pair workout which can be performed with very basic equipment like you might find in a playground or in a prison yard. Overall the video quality is good, even HD quality. Tom's makeup artists are to be commended. The video runs about 35 min in duration which is fine because it fits my short attention span and the subject is covered adequately. Like a well written article or a woman's skirt, ideally it should be long enough to cover the subject and short enough to be interesting. I did not come up with that one by myself it was told to me by a college English instructor.

This DVD is available from Tom's website http://www.physicalstrategies.com It sells for around $21 and it is also available in combination with Tom's other DVD "Concrete Conflict" for a combo price of $50. Concrete Conflict is a good video as well. It is a combination of fighting scenarios and conditioning drills. There is some good stuff there and Tom is very creative. One thing I picked up from that DVD that I use almost daily is the stick walking and fighting stick mobility drills. My hand and shoulder mobility is very good as a result. These are quite useful and very therapeutic. Good Stuff!
In summary I recommend both of Tom's DVDs. They are very well done and if you are looking to add some flexibility I would consider ACTIVATE to be a treasure trove of useful information.
--Scott Helsey

Get Activate AND Concrete Conflict and Conditioning for only 50 Dollars!

Here are what people are saying about Tom Furman and Concrete Conflict DVD.
“I very highly recommend Tom as a cutting-edge resource for fitness and movement of any type. His style compliments the strength and conditioning programs of the best athletes. The mobility exercises are far more interesting and sophisticated than what is commonly seen in fitness warm-up rituals. It was a real pleasure to see a professional peer at work that has such a solid grasp on what he is teaching.”
Steve Cotter, www.FullKontact.com

"Who should get this?
If you're an MA guy who pursues S&C as a means to improve your MA game, this is a good DVD to have.
I sort of feel like this is MA conditioning + Resilient-like exercises + an introductory exposure to SE Asian MA.
I've seen Resilient and learned a trick or two, but Tom's stuff was so good I immediately changed up my joint mobility work to revolve around his stick JM demonstrations. They were that good and they seemed to get the areas I've been missing. (I normally do a lot of JS work and Tom's stick stuff was every bit as valuable IMO) The 'flexibility stunt' is awesome . . . something worth doing a lot of for shoulder ROM."

----cqc10, www.Fullkontact.com forum

"I have now watched it 4 times, and it is really good, best training vid I've seen in a long time.
The way he integrates MA and Fitness is a step in the right direction,and he has alot of unique KB drills, and some neat KB adaptions of DB and Machine moves.
The quality is excellent!"

-----Dylan Thomas, Strength and Conditioning Coach, Aikijujutsu Practitioner

"This is really an excellent DVD- well worth every penny I paid for it! The DVD contains a nice blend of mobility drills, combat- specific training/conditioning exercises, and some great info on combat applications (which I had never seen before). I'm very glad that I added this to my DVD library!"

----WBRKC, www. Fullkontact.com forum

"Just got the video today and got a chance to watch a few scenes--good stuff! Really appreciate you sending it--the team will enjoy them too, I am sure. I really liked some of your drills, especially the finger dexterity with the stick--genius."

-----"S", Blackwater group.

"I received my copy of Tom Furman’s “Concrete Conflict and Conditioning” DVD a few weeks ago, and have had a chance to watch the entire video.
Those of you who know me will be surprised that I actually watched a video on fitness.

The fact is that I DID watch the DVD entirely.

The result - it has motivated my wife and I to drag out the kettlebells again. A testimony to the objective of any fitness video.

I think the main difference of this DVD is the choice of exercises Tom has chosen. He is mindful of addressing the athlete who is undergoing recovery from injury and rehabilitation. Which means that most of the routines do not have the “jolting” or “jarring” moves that some sets have. Something that really appealed to me.

I have most Kettlebell DVD’s available, yet there are one or two routines there that I haven’t seen, and have adopted as mainstay to my regime…..and believe me it’s very simple.

But there are also routines which do away with kettlebells……I’m just a kettlebell fan.

Tom also covers a section where he translates common martial arts moves to exercise and how one relates to the other. Very interesting.

Has the DVD been of benefit to me?

Well. I’m cursing those solid balls of steel with the handles again, and have lost a few kilos."

------Ray Floro, Floro Fighting Systems
I got your DVD a few days ago and you look like a kid. All that Silat and your knees are fine! That is so great. I really enjoyed seeing the Silat stuff again. I think I'll be adding much of your conditioning material to my routine. Excellent.

Lorraine Patton, GS Competitor

Video/Audio: Very high quality video and very high quality sound production. Tom took his time to get these right.

DVD Organization: Well organized and easy to move to each individual exercise through the DVD menu.

At a high level, there are two parts to this DVD.
(1) S&C
(2) Combat Applications

The combat applications give you a taste for how the exercises in the S&C section and the corresponding attributes they develop apply in 'real life'.

*S&C Drills, Tips, Tricks, etc.
There is some very good stuff in here. Tom takes his MA experience and has developed some interesting exercises. This is not about routines and progressions for base conditioning as much as fine tuning your body for injury prevention and specialized strength/endurance development.

Can you press a lot? Great, but do you have good ROM . . . Tom can show you some cool stuff to do with a stick to help this. His X Press is very interesting and hits the shoulder in a different way. Are your legs strong? Tom can show you how to take some strength/endurance drills for the legs that will open up your hips, improve flexibility, and teach you how to connect your body together for martial application.

Some of his groundwork such depak and sembok squats, burlesque bump, and lunge walk are quite different and felt really good on my hip flexors and hip joint. The knee walk I had to be careful with but it is something I'm going to try out.

*Combat Applications
I was quite familiar with most of what was taught in this section but it was interesting nonetheless. Tom knows his stuff and it shows.

*Who should get this?
If you're an MA guy who pursues S&C as a means to improve your MA game, this is a good DVD to have.

I sort of feel like this is MA conditioning + Resilient-like exercises + an introductory exposure to SE Asian MA.

I've seen Resilient and learned a trick or two, but Tom's stuff was so good I immediately changed up my joint mobility work to revolve around his stick JM demonstrations. They were that good and they seemed to get the areas I've been missing. (I normally do a lot of JS work and Tom's stick stuff was every bit as valuable IMO) The 'flexibility stunt' is awesome . . . something worth doing a lot of for shoulder ROM.

Tom's around 50 I think, and as such he's learned a lot about keeping your body working and strengthening it against injury. There is some great stuff in here along those lines.

For me, the DVD was absolutely worth the money. My hands, shoulders, and upper back feel better right now and I've added to my bag of tricks things that will keep me going.

Tom's X-vest and spider crawl bonus material gave me some good ideas as well.

Is it for you? It probably depends on why you train and how you train, but you can learn a lot from this DVD. Tom did a very good job with this and I'll definitely buy his next one.

A. H.

"The S&C part of Tom Furman's DVD contains many innovative strength, mobility, and resilience drills any hard living comrade could use."

-Pavel Tsatsouline, the author of Enter the Kettlebell! and Super Joints


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Everything I need to know,, I learned in High School

About fitness, health, and weight loss that is. Let's do the breakdown and see if the fabric of confusion can be pierced by simple talk and dark areas can be illuminated by the light of organization.

Fitness for example. There are many paths to the top of the mountain in terms of exercise. It seems that every week a "new" form of exercise comes out that is revolutionary and changes your body in some mysterious way. Lets ignore this miracle for a second and go back to high school gym class or "PE" as they call it now.. What were the fundamentals? Running for distance and sprints, pull ups, push ups, and sit ups. Occasional rope climbing and maybe some basic gymnastics tumbling. If you were lucking to have a pool at your school maybe some swimming. Then you played games. Let's flash forward and see what our elite special forces do for exercise.
Push ups, pull ups, sit ups, running, sprinting, rope climbing, maybe some tumbling over obstacles, and some swimming. Maybe they recreate with some specialized drills or games. Sound familiar? Yes it is. The most elite special response teams use the body weight exercises as the core of their fitness program. Can and do they use other methods when equipment is available? Sure,, but when conditions are spartan... Body Weight training rules. Just like you did in high school.

How about fat loss? What did they tell you in high school health class? A calorie is a unit of energy. The energy law is the most important thing in regards to body weight control. If you want to lose weight, consume less calories, and burn more calories. It's that simple. It's also elegant,,, absolutely miraculous. You actually have a high level of control over how much body fat you have,, and it's a simple two part formula. Eat less, exercise more. End of story. Don't eat clean,,, don't mess with macro nutrients,, don't adhere to buying special foods,,, simple eat less and move around more.. That's it.

How about health? Let's see, eat a balanced diet, wash your hands, get regular check ups, sleep adequately, take care of your teeth, don't drink excessively, don't smoke, don't over eat, avoid too much sun, consume water according to thirst, manage your life, (1960's way of saying to deal with stress), and avoid accidents or dangerous situations. I can remember these things in hand outs in the early '60's and they were probably printed in the 1950's. That was a time when no one used sun screen or carried water bottles or popped vitamins. I suppose those last habits came about as a method to rationalize bad behavior.

The point being made is to focus on perfection of the basics like every other art or science. If you simply try to keep the foundation strong, everything else will fall in place.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Small Circle, Muay Thai, and Brazilian JiuJitsu

Nice Blend of the arts in this training drill! It's good exercise and provides a stage of training before the clinch range.