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 why i turned on the traditional stuff...

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PostSubject: why i turned on the traditional stuff...   Thu May 21, 2009 1:22 am

i started out wildly fighting--not 'winning' as such, but making a strong enough showing that
even if i was taking blows...it wasn't anomylous for someone to run away from me whilst i
stubbornly kept coming. one could even say i was more than used to taking a punch.

then came the home grown fight club--with very little in the way of rules. where alot of really
good things came out of...not including the multitude of lessor injuries.

finally, i thought i was graduating to 'real fighting' by joining TKD. for the years i gave to this
art form, i found that it gradually usurped me of my confidence--needlessly. my slow to gain speed
style was radically and misrepresentingly showing my performances to be average. all because of
the 'point match' style. go...bang...stop. ready. go...bang...stop. bow to each other. and the winner
is. at first i sort of felt it was bogus. after enough years of the stuff, i gradually was under the eronious impression that i was a lightweight.

then came my awakening. i needed a place to train for a while--having burned out on TKD. i joined what can only be described as a neighborhood kung fu place. even as the head teacher was a traditional chinese guy, his students ran the club and ran it a bit rough round the edges. my first experience there revealed guys pointing there fingers at me smiling. one guy mouthed--no noise, "i want you". i kept thinking, "shit...i'll just train tonight and then decide if i want to keep subjecting myself to this". the lower ranking teacher set me up with a senior student that everyone else seemed mildly awed by. then the instructor said, "okay...3 minutes...lets go" i thought, "3 minutes, huh...no quick game of tag" immediately i felt better, and perhaps things started to feel a bit familiar. it wasn't long before i was beating this guy all over the room, occasionally offering to help him up--to which he would angrily respond, "i'm okay...i'm okay".

i realized right away what the game of macho tag {quick point matches} had done to me psychologically. although i did shotokan for a while after--largely the same system. i kept a part of myself remembering the lessons learned. so although the point matches gave mixed reviews--win some and lose some, i kept that fire burning from moments when i was given more than a moment to spar with someone. i was even repremanded when nailing one of the high ranking black belt teachers too many times. i had displayed bad form...meaning sloppy techniques that didn't pass muster.

in the end, i started to train for myself. gradually undoing the psychological damage little by little to where my personality was permitted to continue from where it was the most healthy--as a 17 year old bare knuckle 'knuckle-head' in a fight club started by a friend and i. no dogma. only difference was that now the added importance of 'self-defense' crept in--meaning fewer targets, and more serious targets.
this meant more drills and less 'light-tag' in areas that were largely irrelevant.

now i train a mix of padwork, scenario drills, and driving back drills--occasionally running through the methodology of a fence, and other critical psychological angles to real defense. in the end what i feel is that there may be some clubs that bring this kind of preparation into their training, but i always am weary for the psychological undoing that often occurs in the average 'trophy' club. many clubs that try and offer both, still give only doses of the more important stuff--without the proper explanations of where to put the sports stuff in the scheme of things. this is often because the instructors themselves are not aware of the damage. usually several of the top guys have a perspective but doint realize their obligation to teach on these concepts.

in my old club, one of the higher ranking black belts was put in the ICU--having been attacked by several...the one with the pipe doing the real damage. his perspective was that of loyal gratitude for the upblocks and such that saved his clock from death. my third concern about sports combat. so much blocking and countering. it is as if it were a call to 'back-pedaling'. what does that do for the attacker. it affords him a safe place to be--attacking without much concern for harm coming his way. i've known enough people over the years who've been in real situations--and the styles that came with them. the ones that really focussed on hurting their attackers fared much better. i'm not suggesting that blocking isn't a prudent thing to learn--just that attacking is an even better way in most cases to prevent being hit because the other person is so busy trying to deal with your assault, there's just not as many opportunities for him to do as much damage to you.

to conclude:
the best defense is offense
from beginning to end
without pauses or end in sight
quickly and intensely agressive

nothing is a guarantee. but there are styles, or i should say mindsets, that lend to survival way more than jackie chan style 'block block punch...block block punch". i love this stuff in the movies, but prefer watching 'beat-downs' in movies for things to relate to. it's closer to a sound game plan.

i'm sure the traditional stuff didn't start out this way, and that business minded people have evolved it so that neighborhood kids and their concerned parents can enjoy it--find it more palatible. but as i understang it, even gichin funokoshi was heavily against any kind of sporting mentality to skill sets. the original objective of the style was to be able to "kill a man with one strike". hardly possible as you practice quickly smacking another person in the stomach for the win.

okay...i'm done fussing. thanks for indulging.

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PostSubject: Re: why i turned on the traditional stuff...   Thu May 21, 2009 9:42 am

interesting post

its such a shame that most TMA environments deconstruct your confidence and squeeze all the "fighter" out of you instead of cultivating and growing your strong natural responses to violence

Quote :
i was even repremanded when nailing one of the high ranking black belt teachers too many times. i had displayed bad form...meaning sloppy techniques that didn't pass muster.
Ive been similiarly reprimanded, once for smacking a senior in the nose hard enough to make it bleed in a well known scouse lau gar school during the sparring section for showing "bad form". By this I understood that when the senior was smacking me around heavy handedly when I had nether a box nor a gumshield with me it was "good form" but me defending myself by sticking me head down and delivering a beast of an overhand right to the taller chaps face was "bad form".
Similarly frustrating was the Muay Thai sparring class run by a chinese guy in Birkenhead. I got teamed up with his brother who is a "white crane" stylist not a MT guy, who just wanted to jump in on that session. Well when his trappy trappy fast chain punch thing didnt work he started grabbing my gloves pushing them down and JUMPING up to wack me on the top of the head. I grew bored of this and punched him mid flight, naturally he ended up on his arse (11 stone ringin wet this guy is). I was firmly told "Hey NO HEAD SHOTS" which was total news to me.
He got up and making the kind of weird grunts and squeals people only do when they have lost their temper, straight away he got in there and did the jumpy head smack thing again, really hard. His brother calls time on sparring immediately and says triumphantly to me:
"you just got stung by the FLY!"

frustrated rage and muttering ensues...

its interesting you say about attacking rather than defending being no guarantee- I think it almost is!
You can guarantee what you will be doing, though I suppose you cant guarantee the response.

Blocks you say? are they even blocks or are they actually strikes delivered with the forearm pretedning to be blocks? ha! debate for another day probably Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: why i turned on the traditional stuff...   Thu May 21, 2009 12:34 pm

Richie said///

Ive been similiarly reprimanded, once for smacking a senior in the nose hard enough to make it bleed in a well known scouse lau gar school during the sparring section for showing "bad form". By this I understood that when the senior was smacking me around heavy handedly when I had nether a box nor a gumshield with me it was "good form" but me defending myself by sticking me head down and delivering a beast of an overhand right to the taller chaps face was "bad form".

ha hahaha ha. and we all know that what they really mean. it's like when a kid suddenly yells,
"time-out", gets some distance between the other lads, then yells, "time-in". cheers


He got up and making the kind of weird grunts and squeals people only do when they have lost their temper, straight away he got in there and did the jumpy head smack thing again, really hard. His brother calls time on sparring immediately and says triumphantly to me:
"you just got stung by the FLY!"


oh dear god lol! and they even have their support systems in on it. "time-in"..."ooh he scored"...
"time out" bounce

one fight i was in, in the catagory of not with a stranger and therefore not truly life threatening, but certainly worth a mention happened with a guy my sister brought home. he was going to 'teach me how to spar'; around the time i started with TKD. he was a 'kenpo' man--which i later thought of as 'ken-poo'.
his words, "lets light spar" which meant in truth, "please to alloy me to thrash you whilst you stand still
and look awed...n'kay?"

not wanting to over step, i sort of went with it for a while--and noticed that all the soft stuff i was landing
would get responses like 'hard elbow to my foot'. after about a minute, i noticed that he'd throw wild kicks [without looking]. that's when i surmized this guy was a bozo. it was tricky because he was also in my brother's band--and had just recently spin kicked a 'non-fighter' in the band and broke his jaw. sort of marky-mark syndrom of getting a rep on white bread and limp biscuits. he saw me stop and change gears, then announced it was over because i was getting hurt.
on that occasion--not a formal class, i allowed myself an indulgence and bloodied him and broke his rib.
my mother--god bless her, yelled at me as if i was a puppy that had stolen food off the table. she didn't correct me morally, just simply called for it to stop. she saw through the facade too. i had one more run in with him--because he just couldn't take someone breaking rank like that. the end result was the first and only time i ever managed to press someone over my head. i was so fookin mad, and at this point wasn't the least bit worried about him. balls in one hand, throat in the other--and he was in the air. again, mum yelled, "put---him---down!" lol! all that was missing was, "good boy...no grabbies"

as luck would have it my sister married him--and no more bouts took place. fook me.

wait. i just can't get past this///
""you just got stung by the FLY!"
lol! you must have wanted to suddenly be some morphing x-man and turn into some bloody great fly swatter. how embarassing for him. i get images of, "you got stung by the fly" coming out in a street fight,
and the predictable response, "you got buggered by, erm, the fly swatter" Razz


"its interesting you say about attacking rather than defending being no guarantee- I think it almost is!
You can guarantee what you will be doing, though I suppose you cant guarantee the response"


that's me being polite again, thanks for the brit-wake-up. i just shy away from making absolutes, but believe in the blast more than anything on earth. i watched pit bulls launch in [video footage] amidst baseball bats wacking them to get them to stop their guided assaults, locked and not changing course. that's fookin biblical if you ask me. that's some awesome shite right there. like that danny the dog movie kind of focus [unleashed].

blocks as strikes? scratch never thought much about it. that would be nicer to see them in this way. sometimes, on the odd occasion, the teachers of the old systems would discuss application to forms and 'touch' on this. i let the thought go, often, as the way we trained never came close to exemplifying this. i will say that the 'outside/inside' block of shotokan did in fact occur to me as an elbow break. thanks for that. i can actually see the wisdom of quasi blocks that are really strikes. i used to sort of attack people arms in high school when their reach was too much for me. it was really a parry [sp?} as it was my bare knuckles hitting muscles in forearms, etc...for some it was quite affective. i stopped this because i hit bone on bone several times--which didn't serve my objective too well Embarassed

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PostSubject: Re: why i turned on the traditional stuff...   Thu May 21, 2009 1:35 pm

Great stories guys! Laughing

With the whole strike/block thing - I like the idea of 'intercept' better. Like your knuckle on the forearm, Russ.
I think that moving forward is the key though, not just standing still, the vector has to be towards the opp's head/center. Richie's GCR DVD I think looks at this idea, this blending of strike, push and perhaps block also ... all not so different perhaps?

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PostSubject: Re: why i turned on the traditional stuff...   Thu May 21, 2009 2:06 pm

Maija said///

"Richie's GCR DVD I think looks at this idea, this blending of strike, push and perhaps block also ... all not so different perhaps?"

i'm really glad to hear you say that mate, because i just got that in the mail. and now i'm not only
intrigued, i can't wait to get through the day [teaching listless lard-lollies to, erm, m-o-v-e] and go
steal a moment to watch it!!!
bounce

and
"I like the idea of 'intercept' better. Like your knuckle on the forearm"

cheers...maybe this calls for havin' a re-look at that.

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PostSubject: Re: why i turned on the traditional stuff...   Thu May 21, 2009 4:32 pm

Aggression all the way. You can't defend away a fight. Victory will have to be caused somehow. A lot of people miss that one. Tis' be ye age olde secret of the ruffian. "Self-defense" when you take away all the messy thinking, is in essence about beating the shit out of your enemy, and then stopping before it becomes a crime. Aggression!

Not losing is the most conservative goal, if you're really in the grinder. But being defensive and reactive..? Uh-uh. Even if you're making a run for it. an aggressive, focused quality to it will probably work better. "Advancing backwards, not retreating." As I heard somewhere. Imagine them catching up with you in an "(W)EEEE(A)K" state of mind. Although TFT seems like some good ideas mixed with a lot of BS. I agree with Tim Larkin when he says "when you're on the defensive, you're seconds away from losing." There's a lot of truth in that. Think of the Beta-8 "blast." One of the main functions of that as I understand it is to put the enemy on the defensive. Get him covering and all that. And we want that to happen because it's a very bad state for the enemy to be in. So why on earth do that to oneself?

Defense in fighting seems to me like flailing with the arms and all that when slipping on ice. You do it reflexively when things go awry because of the "oh shit" factor (generally in the form of a "default position" of some sort) and only do it to get back to what you were doing, beating the shit out of someone. The best defensive defense stuff seems to be using range and footwork to stay out of reach. Of course you can also counterpunch while doing so. Take back the offensive role and keep up momentum and pressure again. But I think range determines most of that. At the end of their reach and out, you have reaction time and everything, you can block and parry and so on. But up close (which is what a serious fight tends to be) you need total aggression. And you have zero reaction time for blocking.

On blocks being strikes... It makes sense but I don't even know if they're that. To begin, the main influence sems to have been China. fitting really, because I think what's been going on is a lot of "Chinese whispers." There were a lot of secrecy in that stuff before too. You could observe some of what people did but had to guess about what exactly a lot of it was. Occupying forces also tended to want to know stuff. And so on. Would you teach them high quality stuff? From what I heard the samurai even went so far as to spitefully teach suicide moves when they were forced to give up their status. Drawing the sword horizontally, leaving you wide open, rather than vertically, shielding you. Generally my semi-uninformed opinion/belief at this point is that TKD is misinterpreted karate which in turn is misinterpreted Chinese stuff.

Look at the hand on hip stuff. what the hell is that for? I've never heard one convincing explanation of why to do that rather than get the hands up, but I have seen a Tai Chi application of that very same body mechanics for a neckbreak. Crude and simplified; get the guy in a front guillotine/headlock (hand on hip) and push his shoulder up and out with the other hand (the "punch") so he spins off balance and falls, and his neck's trapped at a vulnerable angle. This was done in katas. A little monkey see, monkey do and you've got people applying that against a standing man as a punch. It's a theory, but I think it makes sense.

Then the "block." This one's also from Tai Chi, done in katas. Except it's for breaking the structure of the arms of a guy who has grabbed you (so you can't pull your sword) , then some funny neck stuff to turn his back to you and arch him over. Then another "block" as a part of a neckbreak. Although it's the two bodyweights on each side of that fucked up angle facilitated by the "block" that supplies the power. You just kinda put the back of the neck in the nook of your elbow and "block" while pushing down the head and putting the two bodyweights on it by moving in. Of course when done in katas, what does it look like?

I actually saw a guy do that very same "blocking" motion in a kata when watching a gojo-ryu class once. "what a stupid block" I thought to myself smugly... "too close to the body, and who the hell punches a man in the chest?" heh heh heh... Razz "besides it starts way on the other side of the centerline." what a stupid block! Razz

(in other words, not knowing any better I'd be very inclined to "improve" it by making it make sense somehow)

On another occasion I tried a Tai Chi class for shits and giggles. Along came a block. (In hindsight actually the part before the arm gets in the upright "blocking" position in the application above.) The forearm was pointing to the floor. blocking a gut punch across the body and trapping the arm on the way up, according to the instructor... Could work... although when testing his explanation against some light resistance at home the block only seemed to lead that gut lunge punch (who does that!?) right into my face. Laughing ...all in all, I think most of these guys are just guessing their way ahead. I mean, see how easy the theories come to these people in the vid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nloVYTKqgXM

And what that girl is doing (or is supposed to be doing) right in the beginning is basically some of the movement in that neckbreak example above. Not quite the same... You probably could apply some of that stuff. But it's kinda like a bunch of cavemen finding a car, then sealing it tight and making a boat out of it or something. You could probably get the thing to float to some degree, but it's a far cry from the original idea. "just a little modification here, a modification there, man the people who made this thing were fucking retards, what a stupid boat." Razz

I'm pretty sure the guys who actually fought back then wasn't fucking about. But some of their solutions was likely very specific to the tactical problems they faced and the information has degraded over time being passed form person to person. I don't think the traditional stuff is bad if you can actually find any! The so-called "traditional" stuff you see a lot of today has basically preserved social customs while ignoring the actual fighting part. Not only "new and improved" but typically leaving it to be all technical and theoretical. A safehaven for inflated ego's to escape reality. Play-acting an ancient warrior or whatever. Others do it purely as a sport. which is basically a de-clawed version. If they're blind to that and then go teach it as "effective real world stuff" then that's another level of information loss/mutation.

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PostSubject: Re: why i turned on the traditional stuff...   Thu May 21, 2009 4:51 pm

And on another note, as this is the psychology section, and I was thinking about what you said Russ about how the TMA affected you psychologically, as well as Richie's: "its such a shame that most TMA environments deconstruct your confidence and squeeze all the "fighter" out of you instead of cultivating and growing your strong natural responses to violence."

And I've just happened to read this a few days ago. I bolded the particularily relevant text to the discussion. The italics and underlining were identical in Miller's blog entry.


From Rory Miller's blog:

http://chirontraining.blogspot.com/

"Expansion" Posted 14th of May 2009

Quote :
I've gotten some response on the last post, some by private e-mail. I need to reset the focus. Some of the respondents were talking about the primacy of mindset and speculating on why it is so rarely taught. That's important, but it wasn't the point at all. This is about epistemology and identity and how people protect their mental images (self and world) subconsciously.

So the examples- "12 pounds of pressure" and "nose bone through the brain". The point isn't the myths. The point was that with very few exceptions, what most people believe on either side of either issue, is largely hearsay. Steve has actually looked at the skulls and talked to people with some expertise. Several notches more valid than any source I have.

So, if you have an opinion on either of these, yes or no, what was your source? Unless you have examined a skull or applied twelve pounds to your knee or lined up 100 people for precision teisho-zuhki practice at full force it is at best an opinion. These were softball questions, easy stuff.

Then we get into things that, if you are a martial artist, you have seen again and again and again. Things that if you examine have some pretty scary implications for what and how we teach.

Beginners are more dangerous than experts. More people are hurt by beginners than by senior students. There is a lot of scrambling to deny that one and the best 'reason' is control. First, control in this case doesn't equate exactly with functional precision. When an expert throws a full power punch and doesn't hurt you he has done one of two things- he has either aborted the power or missed. Pulling punches is missing, people! So it is a precision of failure. Perfect, flawless, failure. Years and years spent training to do the opposite of what you need to do if you ever really use this stuff.

You can argue that this is a dojo thing, that confidence makes the seniors more vulnerable in class but if it was 'for real' their years of polishing technique would surely prevail. I don't think 'for real' goes that way. This is anecdotal, but most practitioners have a story about a senior rank in their school getting badly beaten. That's interesting, for what it is worth... but every instructor I can think of has one and sometimes several stories about a student who was attacked (not went looking for trouble, not playing in a bar brawl, but ambushed) and did great with only one or two lessons. There are issues with this epistemologically- anecdotal, the sheer number of beginners versus the relatively few seniors, the fact that blackbelts getting beat and beginners prevailing make cooler stories than the other way around.

Still, you dodge this observation at your peril. No, you dodge it at your students peril. A certain percentage of everything is bullshit. How many of your training hours are doing nothing more than polishing a turd? And could that be the real reason that beginners are more likely to hurt you, because they still remember that it is about damage and haven't collected enough turds to polish?

Mindset. This comment got the most responses, and it is pretty solid. We know what a huge difference mindset can make. With even a little research, we know what some of the most effective mindsets are. Those are almost categorically opposite of the mindsets espoused in most of the martial arts I have seen (if they even address the question at all). Why? Could it be like bushido and chivalry, codes that arose in times when the need for warriors was fading and society wanted some way to leash the dogs they needed just a short time before? How much of training is less about empowering than about leashing?

This hits a lot of buttons, but some people don't even notice it when they slip into denial. I have a friend who is convinced that deep down he is a killer because once, when he was a child, he felt so much rage that he wanted to kill another kid. The uncontrollable feeling from long ago still holds him in awe. He has spent much of his life 'controlling his beast.' I hear the story differently. Everyone feels that way, most never act on it. Like most people he assumes that the greatest feeling he has ever felt must be as great as anyone has ever felt. Real killers are the ones who kill with far less emotional charge than that, who respond with violence to minor annoyance, let alone a seething rage. Many people feel this, "deep down I have a dark beast" and most who seek to control it are just putting a leash on a chihuahua.


I have a personal belief that animals, including humans, do things for reasons. In humans, the reason is not always what the person believes it to be. This loops back to fear management. For most people it is not important whether their martial training will help them to survive. They think it is, of course, but it is about managing the fear. It is more important to believe themselves strong than to be strong.

I think this is the motivation behind normally observant, intelligent people not noticing this stuff or excusing it when it happens. Probably also why these beliefs are so consistently reinforced- no one wants their world views rocked, especially when they have invested so much time and effort into the illusion.

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PostSubject: Re: why i turned on the traditional stuff...   Thu May 21, 2009 5:44 pm

RichardB,

nice! another anecdote to all this is that when my highschool mate joined my
TKD club, he figured stuff out much quicker than me. we'd both been through
long hours of real time bruising--but i joined TKD first. in case i'm assuming too
much, this is the guy i ran a fight club with at 17 [and 18].

his first tournie made him look like an absolute pansy. he literally stood there
looking bewildered as they judges anounced that he lost. in his mind he hadn't
fookin started. the train went 'chugga chugga--fart'...game over. he quit instantly,
annoyed and disgusted.

i didn't realize that he wasn't as much being emotional, as he was taking steps to
keep things realistic. he had been in countless brawls, a runaway in a place for
rough kids--even going so far as to take on fights that were directed toward other
softer kids that went to the same high school but were also runaways. this was no
light weight. i remember him saying to me, "why didn't you warn me about this?"
and not really fully getting it. he felt like it was a stupid slap in the face by non-fighters.
he'd always say, "you know, you're a black belt already...you know that right?".
at this i always assumed he was bullshitting and backpedaling, because i'd been aware
he'd tell others that's what he was--with no formal training behind him. over the years,
he's made more and more sense to me. all in all, i have a perspective on things.

certain people have lessons to teach, even if the rest of their lives can be shite.
this guy had something to offer over the state of things traditional and sports oriented.
he felt he could say some of what he was saying because he'd seen what people were
calling black belt. he wasn't afraid of those guys. in other arenas, he was humble enough
to keep his mouth shut. i'd seen this guy years later and he was in the music business
[studio recordings, etc...]. he was shite at his job. too bad he never joined the UFC lol!
he used to sing as well--terrible voice. the one thing he shined at, wasn't impressive by
default that he could take it or leave it. now he's the worst singer on the planet struggling
to make money off of that. affraid but now i digress...and digress...and digress.

-R

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PostSubject: Re: why i turned on the traditional stuff...   Thu May 21, 2009 11:53 pm

RichardB - Quote:
'On blocks being strikes... It makes sense but I don't even know if they're that ...'

Perhaps the word is just wrong for what I'm thinking about. You're right, blocking almost implies 2 step timing ... so that's why I prefer, intercept, deflect, entering with structure, grounding the strike etc.
I think you will find examples in many martial styles - In Japanese sword there is a technique where you basically shear the angle of cut or thrust whilst you yourself are thrusting. There is no moment when the tip of your sword is coming back, it moves in a continuous line towards the target whilst deflecting the tip of the opponents sword off line. It is not like a skimming-stone-type ricochet (which also works), but a smooth, shearing motion. Wing Chun has something similar empty hand. In FMA there are also similar examples of this - I'm sure there's more.
Ultimately it is all about controlling the situation, which in combatives would mean getting to the head asap, sometimes from less than ideal situations. I think it's a concept worth playing with.

Russ - When you've watched the vid, let's know your thoughts ....

I agree that mindset is key by the way - like your 'going backward with a forward mindset' thought.

Oh, and the chiron blog is often very interesting ...

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PostSubject: Re: why i turned on the traditional stuff...   Fri May 22, 2009 1:15 am

Maija said///

"In Japanese sword there is a technique where you basically shear the angle of cut or thrust whilst you yourself are thrusting. There is no moment when the tip of your sword is coming back, it moves in a continuous line towards the target whilst deflecting the tip of the opponents sword off line. It is not like a skimming-stone-type ricochet"

alot of mind reading going on these days. when i was giving aikido a try, a great teacher taught a punching class--using the sword philosophy you describe Maija. i could relate to it from an occasion
when i used it while doing security at the door--but for me it was definitely 'skimming stones on the water'. i actually thought of it as 'hopping stones in a stream' [geek that i am] since i like to metaphorize everything in my head to commit it to memory. probably worth having a re-look, and i'm just awaiting a chance to steal a moment and watch GCR...probably holed up in my office at work tomorrow if i can swing it silent scratch the art of training within schedule hick-ups--modern ninjitsu

"what are you doing in there mr. sage? i hear a man with a british accent talking about fighting..."
"no...sorry...must be my stomach growling---COUGH COUGH COUGH!!!...ooo, i think i'll play some really loud music whilst i feverishly finish my reports"

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PostSubject: Re: why i turned on the traditional stuff...   Fri May 22, 2009 10:50 am

RichardB wrote///

"I'm pretty sure the guys who actually fought back then wasn't fucking about. But some of their solutions was likely very specific to the tactical problems they faced and the information has degraded over time being passed form person to person. I don't think the traditional stuff is bad if you can actually find any! The so-called "traditional" stuff you see a lot of today has basically preserved social customs while ignoring the actual fighting part. Not only "new and improved" but typically leaving it to be all technical and theoretical. A safehaven for inflated ego's to escape reality. Play-acting an ancient warrior or whatever. Others do it purely as a sport. which is basically a de-clawed version. If they're blind to that and then go teach it as "effective real world stuff" then that's another level of information loss/mutation."

nice points, and nicely worded.
i remember when i used to have to go through the motions of techniques--if put in the position to teach and not co-teach, or follow...i'd often half take the mickey out of stuff before hand so as to not loose people as to why they're doing something. like punching from the waist. i'd ask, "i hope no one is thinking of actually chasing someone around from this position, or perhaps hopping in horse stance and punching from your waist."

i'd explain--my take to that particular move, that it was only an exorcise to feel the mechanics that connect waist and hip movement to punches. after some time i just let it go--it was the first thing to go as i could [assuming my premise] show the same relationship with the hips/waist in other ways. there were so many things we did that i felt metaphorically was like crawling through the bushes next to the road--instead of walking along the nicely paved road. then there'd be this miniscule aside about the importance of makiwara training that would mostly be directed at black belts--in a take it or leave it sort of way. on occasion--rarely, there be a "application" phase to the forms. let me just say that if anyone in that club had the intention of fighting that way, there'd be a line of muggers forming outside,
"i saw him first...you had him last time...no fare...mum...i want to mug him this time...hay, you stepped in front of the line" Surprised Shocked Laughing Mad Sad Crying or Very sad Embarassed Very Happy Rolling Eyes bounce What a Face

this was shotokan. the tkd teacher i had at least just split the class in half--as if the forms were dance and useless. he'd decided that it wasn't how he fighted--since it was a sports fighting club, and that there was really no point in looking at it another way. some american tkd actually do their forms to music. dear god, to witness this is to feel you're in the twilight zone. i went to a class once, and the instructor recognized me from the competitions. he chewed the fat with me in front of the class as if we were old friends and warriors of old. he did those musical forms and such. he did a demo with me at the front of the class--he missed on his axe kick and almost fell over...the silly sausage. his school was called something with the word ninja in it. god, now it's all a blur. i almost laughed at the front of the class. his school folded soon after though--not as a result of that clownish display. he had a coke problem and was slowly damaging his reputation when it wasn't good to begin with. more asides.

anyway. more and more reasons why i became so jaded. there were--interspersed, tough people here and there. but i always felt it was more the individual and not the system they trained with. sort of people with a sensibility to fighting adding cake icing and candles [arty moves] to their practical sense of things. i often saw people of tremendous skill almost fighting in place. as if no one in all the years of their training--flips and noises and music and fancy outfits, had gone through forward motion. chase the fooker and do that for god sakes, you're a degree away from being a terrifying fighter, but that degree counts for alot!!! the best usually had a good technique or two. the guy who chased people with his round kick at face level. the guy who nailed people with his side kick thrown slightly as a back kick. the guy who nailed people with a ridge hand. all timed their opponents as a fencer would and were guite good. the rest was a scramble and mismatch of violent tag-your-it. i actually learned more from watching the guys with one or two techniques. they were the ones that inspired me to leave and work on my own skill sets and psychologies for fighting. less techniques, headhunting---still had to add blasts and no pauses. sports really undoes fighting instinct.

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PostSubject: Re: why i turned on the traditional stuff...   Fri May 22, 2009 1:22 pm

so much good stuff in this thread so many quotes I wanted to pull out

but I got to get on with writing names on envelopes Very Happy and this is just too much martial flavoured proacstination so I just do a quicky:

Quote :
Tis' be ye age olde secret of the ruffian. "Self-defense" when you take away all the messy thinking, is in essence about beating the shit out of your enemy, and then stopping before it becomes a crime. Aggression!

this is why RichardB bears the title of "The Say Betterer"- coz he say betterer than anyone else!

"yes but I knew that" my ego squeaks pitifully, "maybe but you couldnt put it that succinctly could you?" intones the kindly old superego Razz

the "blocks" as "strikes" was just a little grenade to chuck in there before I signed off- ask Nick Hughes about it on the SP forum, applied traditional stuff is his bag and he's always been dead helpful when Ive asked him stuff before
pedantic mode and "resaying" the words might help: "striking with the forearms can work" and "incidental deflection with forearm" will work (in old tai chi books they say "ward off" not "block" Cool ) just more food to play with...(!?)

the hand on the hip thing is to hold on to the guard of your katana with your left hand whilst punching with your right so it doesnt slip out of your obi - I was told by my Ninjitsu instructor when I was 16, but he had a wry smile when he said it pirat
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PostSubject: Re: why i turned on the traditional stuff...   Fri May 22, 2009 1:29 pm

ps who is Rory Miller? that quote from his blog is was cool
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PostSubject: Re: why i turned on the traditional stuff...   Fri May 22, 2009 1:41 pm

http://chirontraining.com/

Here ... very aprpos to the what is a block/strike/enter thing:

"It's possible to complicate things by simplifying
them. A human is a human. Each piece of a dissected human is
technically simpler than the whole human... but simplifying in that way
doesn't really help you deal with the human. Same for techniques and
some of the fighting skills- some, like entries, are actually diluted
by breaking them down into their component parts. The spearhead is a
structured motion- a single action that provides a "golden move":
damages the threat; protects you from damage; betters your position;
worsens his. It can
be taught as separate and distinct things that you do with your left
arm, right arm, hips and feet... but it isn't easier to learn that way,
or more versatile or more effective. It is slower to learn AND you then have to unlearn the steps to make it a unified action, to make it work."

Yes indeed, the spearhead,

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PostSubject: Re: why i turned on the traditional stuff...   Fri May 22, 2009 2:07 pm

BINGO. to the bastard who originally taught me to surf--probably because he didn't know
how himself. little isolated steps that, at the end of the day, had to be dropped for one easy
peasy one motion of dragging myself up and sideways. that's all he had to fooking say. drag
yourself up in a sideways motions. not fookin kneal, then look at the sun, than scratch your
bum, then put one foot up, then pray to willywanker the god of surfing, then put the other foot
up--now if you get this far you're fookin standing straight and not sideways. oh yeah, turn sideways,
shortly before being wiped out and eaten by sharks and crabs affraid lol!

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PostSubject: Re: why i turned on the traditional stuff...   Fri May 22, 2009 4:19 pm

maija wrote:
In Japanese sword there is a technique where you basically shear the angle of cut or thrust whilst you yourself are thrusting. There is no moment when the tip of your sword is coming back, it moves in a continuous line towards the target whilst deflecting the tip of the opponents sword off line.

I recently saw a DVD by James Williams, "the system of strategy." where he did what I think you're talking about. First demonstrating some principles with a sword, and then applying the principle unarmed against a punch. He's a sword and aikijujutsu guy but this was a systema DVD. (Actually the first and only time someone has managed to explain this to me in a way that made sense.) He was applying a lot of sword principles to unarmed fighting. Not putting force against force was a big theme. Instead of seeking to stop incoming energy, and leading it straight through your core and into the ground. (where you're actually providing a lot of support for the enemy's balance) He talked about deflecting the energy and leading it "into the void." As well as messing with the enemy's mental feedback loop. Lots of interesting stuff in there. Very focused on attacking the balance and structure. Which is true about tai chi as well. (I get the impression that a lot of the old stuff was about that).

It also seems like the European bare knuckle boxing guys were deflecting and parrying instead of blocking, then again they focused mostly on straight attacks rather than curved and circular attacks from what I understand. Didn't karate-man Gichin Funakoshi say "think of your hands as swords" or something to that effect? You know, I'm starting to think there just might be something to that logic. Wink

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PostSubject: Re: why i turned on the traditional stuff...   Fri May 22, 2009 4:34 pm

Richard Grannon wrote:
the hand on the hip thing is to hold on to the guard of your katana with your left hand whilst punching with your right so it doesnt slip out of your obi - I was told by my Ninjitsu instructor when I was 16, but he had a wry smile when he said it pirat

Wry smile like in "I'm making shit up"? Laughing

What about their right hand on the hip? "that's for... holding... grocieries while punching with your left" What a Face

The principle could be perfectly adapted to the wannabe gangstaz running around, constantly having to pull their pants up with one hand before they fall down. Hmm... Maybe that was it. Japanese gangstaz. Wide stances, one hand on hip at all times, killing people for dissin'. Makes sense. Laughing

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PostSubject: Re: why i turned on the traditional stuff...   Fri May 22, 2009 9:31 pm

Yeah RichardB, you are indeed 'picking up what I'm layin' down'!
In the Eskrima style I do, it's called the Wavecutter (aka spearhead/shearing whatever) and comes from the use of the blade.
I just tried to find an example in The Book of 5 Rings ....and there are too many! So just read the Water and Fire chapters for more ideas of the concept if you are interested.
I am in full agreement with you that weapons training has transferred very clearly to empty hand though perhaps this is also where much context and intent has been lost, seeing as people don't generally understand sword play any more.
In Eskrima the weapons are taught first, in my system the sword preceeds the stick - everything else comes from that. Hsing-I also, very much rooted in battlefield weapons etc etc.
I wouldn't be surprised if the left hand at the hip thing comes from sword, and the right side, well I guess you could be carrying 2, eh?
I do know there were a bunch of ambush techniques that samurai needed to defend themselves against, one of which involved a guy grabbing the tip of the sword scabbard from behind to tip the victim forward whilst an acomplise then dispatched them whilst they were off balance and unable to draw their sword ....
Also in crowds there was always the possibility of someone just grabbing your sword and using it against you .... very embarrassing - like a cop getting their gun taken nowadays.
Now ... none of these examples is particularly useful for modern day life, especially if the teacher has no clue what they were even for .... OTOH, I do think there is much to be learned from weapons, from angles of attack to body mechanics etc and at least in Eskrima, the info is modern, to the extent that my teacher used his stuff, and was witness to duels and attacks with swords in his lifetime - In fact I'm pretty sure that somewhere in the Philippines they are still at it so the art is very much alive!

On to the boxing ... here is Harry Greb - notice the backfist after each hit.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHnidDtgFaw

From another forum -
"In "Championship Fighting" Dempsey goes into some detail about how this
drill was done in his day, what it was supposed to develop and how it
had become a lost art at the time of writing (the era of Joe Lewis!) He
says originally the pattern was a straight punch followed by a circular
backfist "ward off blow" with the same hand while
pivoting on the foot on that side then shifting weight to the other
side & repeat."

Here is Mayweather doing the same @ 23 secs and 29 secs, though not as a ward off in his case .... sorry to the Hatton fans out there for this clip ...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdvdFYVmjgM

Very interesting methinks ....

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PostSubject: Re: why i turned on the traditional stuff...   Sat May 23, 2009 2:06 am

Interesting. Something I hadn't thought very much about is the issue of what role unarmed fighting has in an environment where you're armed with far superior close range weapons. Such as swords, typically. What I've heard and had demonstrated convincingly about Yang style tai chi is that it's sole purpose was to kill people who grabbed you. Because then you couldn't expect to get that sword out. That was the parameters it was limited to. Either by breaking the neck or breaking the shin, (by stepping on the foot and unbalancing the guy in such a way that he'd twist and fall on his back, something like 90 degrees to the outside of the stuck foot) causing the bones to stick out. Definite fight ender and was lethal through infection before the era of antibiotics.

I wonder how much otherwise nonsensical stuff can begin to make sense when put in such a context. We're tool-using animals. Unarmed combat only seems to be a priority for sport and emergencies. Otherwise it may have a secondary support role to the sword or whatever. For a modern example of the principle, the "die less often" and "bringing a gun to a knife fight" DVD's from the Dog Brothers seem like a very good demonstration of that. Especially the gun part, where the function and goal of the unarmed tactics is to nullify the attack and be able to safely access and use the gun. The potential of gun grabs also lead to a lot of specific precautions generally across the board in LEO defensive tactics, like keeping the gun-side back and so on. The Samurai were pretty anal about their swords. Now that you make me think about it, it seems very likely that this was a major factor in their unarmed stuff.

One of the main changes that weapon-focus brings to unarmed fighting seems to be that it kills off any arrogance one might have. You can typically take a few punches and kicks, but blades just cut and puncture. Which leads to an acute awareness of the angles and mechanics and range. Out of necessity. I'm thinking that swordplay might very well be the mother of most of the "theoretically advanced" (so to speak) unarmed fighting methods. It also makes a lot more sense to say something like "think of your hands as swords" when you're trying to teach unarmed fighting to someone whose primary fighting skill is based on swordplay. Context... Important stuff!


The boxing videos were interesting. It looks quite similar to what Eddie Quinn is doing in his "Approach" stuff. Which is based on some Filipino double knife stuff if I'm not mistaken. Although he's going for power, and is using forearms and hammerfists. But the similarity is there. Incidentally I'm reading a book on bare knuckle boxing at the moment, and they mention the use of the backfist as a strike of opportunity after having done a parry. I might be more inclined to do a hammerfist than a backfist but the concept seems pretty good. It gives you an additional strike, which if nothing else might keep the enemy from recovering, and acts as a nice setup for a more powerful strike from the other hand. Nice!

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PostSubject: Re: why i turned on the traditional stuff...   Sat May 23, 2009 2:58 pm

Hmmm ...never heard that about yang style , interesting.

We are definitely tool using animals and your conclusion is one I came to a while back. If the bandits or pirates are coming to your village to raid it, surely you would at least pick up the family sword, perhaps a shield, a pitchfork, stick, SOMETHING to meet them with!?
The criminals of the day, and therefore the private security would obviously up there odds as much as possible, so it makes NO sense to me that they would wander around unarmed.
Of course there have been times in many cultures when ownership of weapons was banned, and that is one reason that, for instance, in the Phillipinnes there are ways to use pretty much any daily use tool as a weapon - I've even seen a way to use an asparagus harvesting tool as a weapon, developed by the immigrant farmers here in CA!!
Another interesting context was told to me by my Japanese sword teacher, who pointed out that one of the reasons there is so much emphasis on restraint and control techniques in some Japanese arts is the historical problem of lower class people having to deal with people with higher status. For instance a drunken samurai causing chaos on the street who needs to be stopped, but cannot be killed for cultural and political reasons.
Also samurai needed to understand how to avoid and defend against ambush and assassination by less well armed, but multiple opponents, as did the less well armed guys need to develop techniques to overcome well trained, well armed targets ...!
Then there questions of terrain .. narrow streets, rice paddies, jungle etc .. Yes, context is indeed so important for understanding.
As you said, the Dog Brothers DLO vids look at a modern version of these ideas quite well.

I also agree that weapons, blades in particular, make everything you do much more important, cos mistakes are so 'expensive"!
I would say that more accurately, the forearm is the sword, not just the hand .... now you have tip, edge and butt to play with ... Cool
As to Eddie Quinn's stuff, you should ask him, but to me the Filipino Sinawali is quite evident in the short clips I've seen.

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PostSubject: Re: why i turned on the traditional stuff...   Sat May 23, 2009 3:19 pm

Here's a nice spear form:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FyByHrSDsgM

Lots of 'hand at hip positions' evident here.
The form works on long range, covering distance with different stepping ideas, blocking and turning, deflecting, shortening the range by using the left side, clearing space, and if you've ever had someone target your legs and feet with long weapon, you'll know what the dorky looking one legged stances and leaps are for Very Happy

Obviously the spear training will make you stronger and more coordinated, so is used as body conditioning for empty hand too. Holding the weight of the spear out from the body creates good core strength and helps train the body to carry asymmetric load.
Found a nice example of this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmXmsh1SQsQ
(Not saying it's any better than training these same attributes by say grappling and throwing, but it's one way to go about it ...)

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PostSubject: Re: why i turned on the traditional stuff...   Tue May 26, 2009 6:12 pm

i kinda stepped away fgrom them when i realised how restricted they can be. i think that they're really good for disapline and understanding how the body moves. but in the way of traditional MA translating to a FREE, OPEN AND REALISTIC. such as the streets and bars of our great land. you couldnt really pull off what you had learned. i've sparred with YKD guys and karate guys. they can use it IF you play there game take them out of it and i feel the traditional MA's begin to fail. i just took them out of their comfort zone.

theres little point really learning TKD if your going to be scrapping in door ways or phone boxes.
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PostSubject: Re: why i turned on the traditional stuff...   Thu May 28, 2009 3:32 am

I did a lot of Karate as a kid/teen but when I'd had enough of school bullies it wasn't ANY karate that helped me at all, it was sheer anger and, dare I say, temporary insanity Shocked

now I think there are a lot of things we can learn from and adapt from traditional MA's, but to rely on them completely I think is just unrealistic.

It'd be like taking one of those Olympic target shooters and saying they'd all make great deep cover snipers for the military... you might still be firing a bullet but everything around it changes including the weapon...
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PostSubject: Re: why i turned on the traditional stuff...   Thu May 28, 2009 10:55 am

well said mate. a chasm between lab and lecture. and you, the voice of experience.
yep cheers

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PostSubject: Re: why i turned on the traditional stuff...   Thu May 28, 2009 12:09 pm

nice boxing video clips Maija!
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