Great to hear that you’re on the road to recovery. I hope everything goes well for
In regards to your question about Russell’s training methods, I will attempt to give you a brief summary.
In the early days around 1985 sparring made up a big part of his training. It was where he got to tryout all the stuff he had been thinking about all week. Usually we would spar on Wednesday at my place or the club. We then fought on Saturday mornings for 2.5 hrs backed up by the park in the afternoon. A further session was usually held on Sunday morning. It took
the first one or two fights to get the stiffness out of the muscles.
Fight training consisted of a number of fights, one of which was hands only, one hands and feet, one with a combination of everything including wrestling (MMA). Over the period of a year the fight cycle would change with the emphasis being adopted on a particular style or arrangement of techniques. Most of us would turn up to fight but Russell came with a plan in mind, to try certain techniques in a multitude of different situations.
The styles that were adopted mainly were that of Wally, Rob Dobson and Peter Laszlo. He used some of the Chinese hand blocking techniques that I believe he picked up from George Pandu, who in turn picked them up from Lawrence Lee. He was always looking to improve upon any moves he picked up from others. He would break them down into there simplest components of those that make them work and those that you use to defend against them.
Wally’s style was generally very powerful using multiple punch’s and shuto’s off the one hand, in a strong stance. Wally would attack the arms and legs of his opponent.
Rob Dobson extremely well co-ordinated and able to use hands and legs effectively at a distance.
Peter Laszlo an attacking style that relies on continually moving in and out throwing legs and shuto’s as he attacked.
The strengths of these styles were combines in his hybrid techniques.
Russell in the early days used weights to develop his strength. I remember his bench press bar set up permanently in his old garage. He told me that he had 440 lbs on the bar of which he used do a set of up to 50 half presses every day or if too tired every second day. He also had hand dumbbells somewhere around 50 lbs. He would practice upper cuts & hooks standing up and press shuto’s etc lieing down.
He believed that weights tightened up your reflex muscles, so you needed to do bag work to loosen them up and restore balance. With the bag work he adopted a different stance (loose) with the bag being thrown out from your body and you hit it on the way in. He developed a very well co-ordinated and powerfull 1-2 and sometimes 1-2-3 combination of hands while moving in from 2 metres away. Once in close, double combinations off the front hand took presidence. He purposely trained to put himself at a disadvantage where he used his front hand to attack and defend.
Russell’s view was to have your body continually move forward in attack. As long as it was moving you had kinetic energy equivalent to that of your punch or strike and where you could co-ordinate your bodies movement and that of your strike to finish at the one point at the one time, the power of the strike has a multiplying factor.
If the attack didn’t not work out, by having your body moving you could change straight to a parry or close the opponent down by applying some hold but with the advantage of having your weight coming through behind it.
Russell became an “A” grade table tennis player. His coach was the Chinese ex womens national coach. The game emphasised preparation where you body was in a position where it could instantly react to an attack. These principles Russ tried to apply to fighting. In table tennis you needed to anticipate what type of spin (top, bottom, side) and what sort of stroke your opponent would use. For this you needed to pick up the most subtle of body movements and be able to extrapolate them to where use believed the point of contact was. Then concurrently be moving your body in such a way as to be able to counter the move.
He then went and manufactured long swords & short swords from the leaf spring of a cars suspension. Some of these were up to 5 foot long and weighing 15 lb. There was a sequence of movements, most circular for each one. After training with any of these for a short time, the wrist and forearm became very strong. The sword Russ gave me was about 5 lb , I couldn’t even lift his 15 lb sword up by comparison. The principle is that there is only a certain way you can move the sword. Once you have found that way, take the sword and you will find that your hand movement including shuto’s become a lot more effective.
Well that just a brief overview. All the best for now. Hope to catch up soon.
Regards – Noel Mahon.