Don Roley's Recent Blog Post On Resistance Training And Sparring!

Discussion in 'Ninjutsu' started by Brian R. VanCise, Apr 29, 2009.

  1. ginshun

    ginshun 2nd Black Belt

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2004
    Messages:
    809
    Likes Received:
    26
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Merrill, WI

    That's exactly why everybody should be doing at least some training against a resisting opponent / partner.

    If you have never felt somebody directly resisting what you are trying to do to them, you won't be able to recognize and adapt when it happens in real life.
     
  2. Dale Seago

    Dale Seago Black Belt

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Messages:
    512
    Likes Received:
    56
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    San Francisco
    More properly. . .and yet without contradicting what you said. . .everyone should be training to do things in such a way that the opponent can't tell what you're doing until it's too late to do anything about it.

    In the Bujinkan at least, the three common general approaches are to

    (a) "suggest" to the opponent that a particular thing is going to happen; then, as he is moving to counter it, change to something different. (At a more advanced level you don't even wait for the opponent to begin moving to perform his counter: You change just as his mind "goes to" or becomes aware of the possibility you're suggesting.) Just off the top of my head I can think of some Gyokko ryu, and especially Kukishin ryu, kata which feature this.

    (b "fool the opponent's senses" (particularly proprioception) in such a way that he thinks some particular thing is going on and doesn't feel it changing to something different; or

    (c) move in such a way that there are multiple simultaneous possibilities for you, leaving the opponent unable to determine what is going on until it's far too late to counter whatever it is that you actually end up doing. This "formlessness filled with infinite potential" embodies the quality of yugen (a concept drawn from Japanese Noh theater) which Hatsumi sensei has often described as essential to budo.

    All three involve misdirection or "deception" (kyojitsu tenkan ho), which Soke describes as being as critical in one-on-one combat as it is in military warfare; but the misdirection here is created in 3 different ways:

    (a) is what you might call "direct" deception, feeding the enemy false information leading him to make a response which traps him.

    (b) is based on "covert action" in which information regarding your intentions is denied to the enemy via proper "operational security".

    (c) is based on actually flooding the enemy with information, in such a way that he either sees many possibilities or simply can't interpret what's going on at all because they seem to conflict with each other -- which may also have the effect of causing the opponent to feel he is not being given any data at all, because none of it makes sense when any of the parts are compared with each other.

    Speaking as a former tactical intelligence officer in the military, all of these approaches have their direct counterparts on the battlefield as well as interpersonally.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2009
    • Like Like x 1
  3. ElfTengu

    ElfTengu Blue Belt

    Joined:
    May 2, 2008
    Messages:
    249
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    South Coast England, UK
    Thanks Dale, nice to see you posting again.

    It has been a bit quiet here lately, but there is a lot going on at MAP, where I am unfortunately banned.

    Can anyone who is a member there tempt people to come here for some discussion so that I can contribute for once?
     
  4. ginshun

    ginshun 2nd Black Belt

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2004
    Messages:
    809
    Likes Received:
    26
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Merrill, WI

    I don’t disagree with what you are saying, so let me do the same and see if I can respond without directly contradicting anything you have said. I am not sure that we are talking about exactly the same thing here.

    In all of the situations that you describe above you are talking about preemptively trying to fool the opponent to get your intended technique to work. You are “suggesting” with your actions that you are going to do one thing, while all the time actually intending to do another. Everything you describe is basically a verbose explanation of a feint. Which I think is great, and something everybody should train, but its not exactly what I am talking about.

    What I am talking about is being in a situation that you are actually trying to do something to the other person, be it a punch, an arm or wrist lock or whatever (the actual technique being attempted doesn’t really matter), and the other person recognizing and resisting it. It is all well and good to say that you are “training to do things in such a way that the opponent can't tell what you're doing until it's too late to do anything about it”. Unfortunately this is not always going to work. Sometimes, regardless of how well the misdirection is done, the other person is going to realize what you are doing in time to stop you from doing it. I think that we all agree that at this point you need to move into another technique or try “cutting the resistance” or something, it depends on the situation.

    What I am saying is, IMO, the only way to learn to recognize this moment is through dynamic training. This doesn’t mean that you have to be competing against somebody in a ring, but I don’t believe that it can be effectively learned through scripted katas, or even through uke/tori type training. These are great ways to learn the techniques themselves, and an absolutely integral part of training. Once in a while though, there has to be some training where you just go against another person and you both try to get things to work and you both try to stop the other from doing them. Call it sparring or randori or whatever you want, it really makes no difference. It doesn’t have to be full power or full speed, and there can be rules. No striking, only joint locks and take downs, only ground fighting, only striking, the parameters don’t really matter. What does matter is that it is unscripted and dynamic. Neither of you knows what the other will do, and you both try to stop whatever the other person is doing. You need that vitality, that verve in the training scenario to effectively learn to recognize when it is time to give up on one technique and move to the next and to learn what works best in different situations that arise spontaneously.

    In my opinion at least.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Dale Seago

    Dale Seago Black Belt

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Messages:
    512
    Likes Received:
    56
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    San Francisco
    In at least one respect we are, in that we agree on the need for randori or "free play" in various forms. For the rest, though, I don't think so: You appear to be coming at this from a perspective of trying to make a technique work, while I'm talking about tactics. Quoting myself from a thread on sparring over at Kutaki (which I think is worth reading in its entirety),

    (In other words, the poor insurgent bastich was trying to execute his technique against resistance.)

    Doug Wilson has a closely related recent post at his blog about "the kihon of the kihon":

    http://henka.wordpress.com/2009/05/13/where-is-the-kihon-in-your-kihon/

    1) Not always preemptively. Many kata in, for instance, Koto ryu and Kukishin ryu begin with tori being disadvantaged and "reactive", and part of the "lessons" of these particular kata is that they show how to regain the initiative and then do the sorts of things I describe in my previous post.

    2) There should never be an "intended" technique in actual application (as distinct from waza training). The technique should almost "create itself" when the time and place for it are right. An essential requirement of "right time and place" is that the opponent can't do anything about it.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2009
    • Like Like x 1
  6. ginshun

    ginshun 2nd Black Belt

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2004
    Messages:
    809
    Likes Received:
    26
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Merrill, WI
    I am picking up what you're layin down Dale. If I understand you correctly, I agree for the most part.

    I think the crux of the disagreement on this issue many times falls on people having different definitions of "sparring".

    In reading Don's blog entry, he seems to consider the term "sparring" to mean training within a set of rules and for the express purpose of entering a competition that has those same rules. As in you are going full speed and full power, but there are no pokes to the eyes or shots to the groin allowed (or whatever the rules may be). His definition of sparring seems to be synonymous with training for a UFC bout. This isn't how I define it, and I don't think its how most other people do either.

    Basically when we "spar" the rules are "be safe" and "don't be a dick". Anything that you can do, you do. If somebody leaves themselves open to get hit in the groin or poked in the eye, you let them know with light contact. We go until one person decides it is over though tapping out or whatever, or until one of us or one of the bystanders notices that we are in a situation where we could have done something to take advantage of what the other person was doing. At this point we stop and examine the situation closer. No winner, no loser. Like I said before, the important part is that there are not set roles, and that it is unscripted. Assuming that you trust your training partners, there doesn't have to be a rigid set of rules spelled out before you begin. It doesn't involve inflated egos. Its not a competition. The point is to learn not to win. This isn't the Ultimate Fighter TV show.

    I agree with Don's point about how if you consistently train within a certain set of rules, or in a certain unrealistic way, if can lead to bad habits. If the only way that you ever train punching is to have somebody hold a mit next to his head and punch at the mit, you might end up punching next to somebodies head instead of at it during a real life, high pressure situation where you don't have time to think about it. Like wise for always training under the assumption that it is against the rules for somebody to punch you in the head or groin.

    What I don't agree with is the assumption that all sparring or resistance training has to involve these "fatal tendencies".
     
  7. Dale Seago

    Dale Seago Black Belt

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Messages:
    512
    Likes Received:
    56
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    San Francisco
    The devil is always in the details, in this case (as was also noted in the Kutaki thread) the definition of “sparring”. :)

    I don’t think that what you describe here is a Bad Thing, as long as it’s done in moderation (i.e., not too frequently). This kind of randori is “symmetrical”: Two people essentially evenly matched, at least potentially, and going at each other. That’s not the kind of situation we, as budoka, are training for. Wherever possible I prefer that randori be asymmetrical, as it’s more in alignment with actual combative or self-defense situations (which ARE what we’re training for).

    Here’s just one example out of a gazillion I could list drawn from things we do in my class, which while “slightly scripted” still allows for a lot of spontaneity and creativity. At the starting point the uke/tori roles are defined, but they very quickly break down. Let’s say we’re working on some particular grappling waza, starting for the sake of convenience from a kumiuchi position. Tori tries to do the waza, while uke is actually just using his initial attack as a diversion: In reality, he’s looking for an opportunity – not an opportunity to “resist” or to “counter the technique”, but to make use of the small concealed training knife he’s holding in one hand (can be either hand). If the opportunity is found, then from that point anything can happen, on either side – end of “script”!

    The idea here at the most basic level is that everything you do should be done in such a way that, if the opponent happened to have a weapon that you weren’t yet aware of, he still would not be able to make effective use of it. Beyond that, though, is development of “sensitivity to changes” and ability to move appropriately and safely as change occurs. You have to be able to change appropriately with whatever the opponent is doing; in some cases you may be able to move to a better position and complete the waza, while in others you may have to do something totally different. What this has shown my students in a very visceral way is that if you are trying to “fight the opponent” instead of “managing the interactive tactical space” as it evolves, you’re probably going to get killed. At the same time, it eliminates the need for “theorizing/philosophizing about kuukan” because the student very quickly learns to intuitively sense the shape of the space and its possibilities (both positive and negative) during movement, while also learning to tell immediately when the situation is moving outside the appropriate parameters for the execution of any particular technique.
     
  8. Archangel M

    Archangel M Senior Master

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Messages:
    4,555
    Likes Received:
    154
    Trophy Points:
    173
    Eh. Nothing opens your eyes more than REALLY getting hit and REALLY having to hit someone who isnt going to play along.

    In the "run of the mill streetfight" (as run of the mill as they can get). Id take a boxer/wrestler/MMA fighter who is conditioned and has hit and been hit before (as in someone really trying to KO you) to be on my side any day of the week.

    "Fatal tendencies" not withstanding.
     
  9. Dale Seago

    Dale Seago Black Belt

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Messages:
    512
    Likes Received:
    56
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Didn't read Don's article that kicked this whole thread off, did you?

    Do you REALLY find it acceptable to "take a hit" when what you thought/assumed was a punch was actually a knife attack?
     
  10. Archangel M

    Archangel M Senior Master

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Messages:
    4,555
    Likes Received:
    154
    Trophy Points:
    173
    I said nothing about "taking a hit". I said that someone who knows what its like to take a hit (and be able to keep going) and deliver a real hit on a opponent who isn't "playing along" will have an advantage. If someone thinks that they will never "take a hit"...or a cut when a knife is in play..is gonna be in for a rude surprise.

    As Iron Mike said:

    “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”
     
  11. Dale Seago

    Dale Seago Black Belt

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Messages:
    512
    Likes Received:
    56
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    San Francisco
    There's plenty of hitting (and being hit) and kicking (and being kicked) in the Bujinkan, so I'm really not sure what point you're trying to make.
     
  12. Archangel M

    Archangel M Senior Master

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Messages:
    4,555
    Likes Received:
    154
    Trophy Points:
    173
    Simply that if the goal is to train for the "real thing" as closely as possible, that there is great value in "putting on the gloves" and ringing bells and getting yours rung with real, full power blows at least a few times...most dojo practitioners who get punched or kicked are not experiencing the "real thing" except through accidental contact and when the fists start flying odds are that "the plan" is going to change a bit....

    Im not insisting that everybody HAS to do it, or that someone is "wrong" or "less of a man" for not doing it...that's not every practitioners goal. But I do think that those who believe they are training people for the "real thing", without ever giving them a taste of taking and giving a "real" punch/kick, are doing their students a disservice. I dont do full contact training all the time myself. Im not saying we all have to be boxers/MMA...Im too old for brain injury and dont really like the pain to be honest...but I have stepped into a ring and "tasted leather" enough to at least know what Im in for when the little birds start twittering. And that you have to shake it off and keep going...

    It has changed my views on my training accordingly.

    Just my .02
     
  13. Dale Seago

    Dale Seago Black Belt

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Messages:
    512
    Likes Received:
    56
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Okay, nothing really to argue about then. :) Yes, it can be very beneficial, though very little of it needs to be done in order to "get the feeling".

    In fact, there's a form of what could be called "noncompetitive boxing training" called STRIKE which is perfect for the purpose. It was originally developed by the late Prof. Robert Humphrey as a confidence builder for Marines. Humphrey himself was an avid boxer when he was young -- once killed a man in the ring, in fact.
     
  14. Kajowaraku

    Kajowaraku Green Belt

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2009
    Messages:
    132
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Belgium
    Have you got a reference on that (STRIKE) Dale? It sounds worthwhile to look into.
     
  15. ElfTengu

    ElfTengu Blue Belt

    Joined:
    May 2, 2008
    Messages:
    249
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    South Coast England, UK
    Was that the iron Mike who broke his own hand when he punched someone without gloves on? It's bad enough to get injured by somebody else let alone by your self and your own limitations. Especially when there is more hitting to be done and you are effectively putting your own weapons out of commission through sheer stupidity.

    Seriously though, if sparring is a tool for learning, then start with karate's idea of one and three step sparring.

    If you are sparring for several minutes and the important point worth learning was learnt in the first ten seconds, you aren't going to remember it after 3-4 minutes of milling, so keep it short, like most real fights, and then start again, making sure you 'learn' and don't just build bravado which will get you killed.
     
  16. Dale Seago

    Dale Seago Black Belt

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Messages:
    512
    Likes Received:
    56
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    San Francisco
    I don’t think you’ll find STRIKE being taught these days except by Prof. Humphrey’s sons or by people he or they have trained in it; but I can give you a concept overview you’d find easy to work with.

    It begins with learning to punch hard. Big surprise, right? :)

    The “interactive” part begins with the learner and an experienced “catcher”. Initially the learner is doing all the striking, while the catcher – and this is why the “experienced” part is necessary – gets hit, using his distance/timing/movement to keep from being damaged. (Hopefully it’s needless to say this, but both parties need gloves, headgear, & mouth guards. Another important thing is that a rope is stretched horizontally between the two parties as a barrier neither is allowed to cross.)

    Things then ratchet up in a gradual way: The catcher may become more evasive, making it harder for the learner to tag him. Then he’ll start throwing an occasional punch of his own, so the learner can understand his own openings and learn to cover them. Gradually, the intensity increases, with the catcher giving at least as much as he gets, and it does start looking and feeling like a “fight”.

    From there, of course, you can do this with other people who have been through the same process so you get a sense of differing body types and movement.

    In this way the student learns to hit hard. . .and to get hit while finding that it’s not the end of the world if that happens.

    That rope is a very key element, as it also allows the learner to determine how much pressure/pain/disorientation he can deal with at any given point. If it gets to be too much, he knows that all he has to do is step back from the rope, out of range. Then he can work back up to whatever his “breaking point” was previously, and work through that.
     
  17. Seattletcj

    Seattletcj Green Belt

    Joined:
    May 3, 2005
    Messages:
    127
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Seattle
    Nice conversation.

    One point which I think is extremely important is one I tried to make over at kutaki is... Lets not throw out the baby with the bathwater.
    Either from the sport side, or the non-sport side.
    To say that one could not learn many things from the other is totally ignorant.

    And lets be real. I think its time to drop the us vs them nonsense that has been going on in the martial arts for the past few decades (at least).

    When I first started ninpo, it was always..."in karate you would do this (lame ineffective block)...in ninjutsu we do this (super cool effective block)".

    The BJK/Ninpo arts have enough merit to them ,that we can just drop all the us vs them, street vs sport, spar vs non spar, too deadly stuff.
    There is merit to the arts. There is not a need to hype our art and go to great lengths to differentiate it from other arts anymore. That time has come and gone.
    If you need one art to be different and superior to another art in order to boost your own ego, self worth, and identity, then your missing the point of martial arts IMO.

    I think another one of those big fallacies that needs to die already is the "bad habits" one. I think it is potentially a big wall blocking progress for many people.

    Bad habits are a scare tactic of those who are afraid of not being perfect at all times.
    If you have a sound foundation "bad habits" shouldnt be such a problem.
    And I dont think it is a real problem. But more of a fear.
    If there are qualified instructors out there bad habits can be ironed out.

    Be honest about the arts weaknesses as well as its strengths, and I think only positive things would come.

    My opinion of course
     
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Hayseed

    Hayseed White Belt

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2007
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    3
    I've seen this in every MA that I've studied, it's annoying to no end specifically because it's a commercial, for a product I'm already buying. I would expect to only see that sort of thing in the A. Kim or R. Duncan camp, unfortunately, it's everywhere.

    Good Post:bangahead:
     

Share This Page