Friday, July 15, 2011

Master KO Andrello Master Class

KO Andrello
Master KO Andrello
The dojo made a big deal this past week telling us to show up for a special 90 minute boxing seminar hosted by a sixth degree from the Upstate NY dojos.  A Master Instructor was coming down who is a national kick boxing champion and a regional muy thai champion (I might not have the details right).  In any case, a 6th degree who is ring-ready is a big deal so I showed up, very excited and ready to go.

Wow, great class, great instructor. She talked about how in addition to her own fights, she has cornered 150 students.  She speaks with great authority and insight.  Very powerful presence. Here's what I remember.  I'm reviewing this since I'm going to take her class again tonight by going up to the LHP dojo (I called and spoke to Sensei Erin to see if I'd be welcome). I'll probably update it after class with whatever else I retain.

1.  Avoid the happy feet syndrome (ie moving when hitting and always combining pivots with retreats). When it's time to hit, set your feet and hit.  Also, if you want to change the angles from inside, pivot. But lock your front foot in place and pivot off that foot. Don't keep shuffling since some people, especially me, tend to not just move sideways, I'll actually backup across the floor.

2. Training partners should not just be intense but should adopt the mindset of "training their fighter".  The more you cultivate the idea that the trainer is training the fighter, the more you get into the mentality of how much you can do while holding pads. As part of this, instead of our typical I-go-you-go or three-and-switch, we would spend much longer periods in the trainer or fighter role.  It really changes things up. Don't just put up the gloves for combinations or bark commands. As a trainer, you can be the offense which triggers the combinations and the setting up the defense. Holding pads allows you to simulate the attack, recognize the incoming combinations, and being eyes-up looking for the opportunities and overcommitments.

3. Balance and movement.  She talked a lot about where your weight should be at different times during sparing and combinations.  This is so important and while frequently mentioned regarding kata,I hadn't thought thought nearly enough about my weight distribution when sparring. It was particularly insightful that she stressed that when hitting, keeping most of the weight on the front foot. The power comes from having the front foot set and the weight on it. This was news to me since I had tended to think of all the power when I hit with my right coming from my back leg. But she pointed out that even when the front foot is pivoting, like on a left cross, its the weight on the front foot that makes the difference.

Kim O'Brien Andrello & BBat50
4.  The sequence of attacks which triggers combinations was insightful. We would be toe-to-toe and the trainer would either lean forward and across as if you were in close or just jabbed. The response would to roll away from the attack and then come back with  right upper cut, right cross, left hook.  The second sequence was if the ouki had right crossed and was leaning forward and to the left. The  response was again to roll away from the attack and come back with a left body hook, left hook to the head, right cross. Then we had other combinations, all rolling muy thai rolling combinations. The coach would trigger them by doing either a pivot to the right or stepping deep forward to the left.  The sequences were real mind binders.

Her name is Kim O'Brien, hence the KO. I'd suspect the KO is a play on what its like to fight her. I wonder sometimes  if all the high level lady instructors in our system have two letter nicknames starting with K: KC Lavallee, KO Andrello. In person, she moves like a highly trained intense fighter and teaches with contagious enthusiasm but manages to be less loud and "out there" than most instructors. She's married to Shihan Andrello who is also a national level fighter and a sixth degree.

 I'm going to look around to see if I can see any videos of her fights online. I would have liked to see her do the  demos but her use of lead students very powerful. Go Jen and Melissa.

Additions: (thanks for the help "anonymous")
Here's Kim's personal site where she is a health and wellness consultant.
And an interview with a demo by her: