Failure: Pro's and Con's

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Utahblaine, Mar 12, 2019.

  1. wab25

    wab25 Black Belt

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2017
    Messages:
    579
    Likes Received:
    449
    Trophy Points:
    218
    I mentioned that, right here:
    I also pointed out that this was more the problem of the instructor's instructor, for putting him in a situation he was not prepared for.
    The very best way to do that, is to build their competence in that skill. Gaining real competence in a skill, will give someone confidence that they can learn that skill, as well as other similar skills... like the other skills contained in the same martial art.

    I never said anyone should seek out these situations, whether weapons are involved or not. However, these situations can sometimes seek out people. If such a situation found a person, who had a false sense of confidence in skills that they do not have, they can make things much worse for themselves. In my opinion, that is on the person who gave them that false sense of confidence. Without that false sense of confidence, they would have just given the wallet or walked away, instead of believing in their own abilities.
     
    • Dislike Dislike x 1
  2. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes MT Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2005
    Messages:
    5,464
    Likes Received:
    3,938
    Trophy Points:
    448
    Location:
    Lexington, KY
    Not sure I agree with this, depending on exactly how you mean that.

    Drilling with a compliant partner is absolutely a key step in learning, and not just for beginners.

    On the other hand, being compliant and non-resistive doesn't mean taking a dive. If students are practicing a takedown, I don't want the recipient of the technique throwing themselves to the ground when their partner hasn't actually done anything to put them there.

    Just about all our foundational techniques are such that a beginner should generally be physically able to execute them on a compliant partner with a bit of guidance in their first class. (Barring some significant physical limitation.) Not perfectly, not well enough to pull it off in sparring against a resisting opponent, but they should at least be able to apply the movements on a partner who is basically being a breathing training dummy. Sometimes I have to help physically guide their limbs at critical spots in the technique until they understand the movement. Sometimes I have to let them do the move on me and guide them at key points so they understand the correct angle of force. But I don't let them think they've got it when they really don't.

    (Last week I had one student who was having major problems executing a basic shoulder throw without hurting himself. I wasn't able to get the issue sorted out satisfactorily during class because I was moving around helping all the other students as well. So I ended up staying after class working with him one-on-one for about 20 minutes until he had it down and could perform the throw without strain. Good thing too - in the process I figured out a small detail that I had been doing wrong myself.)
     
    • Like Like x 2
  3. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

    • Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2012
    Messages:
    22,096
    Likes Received:
    6,445
    Trophy Points:
    448
    Location:
    Hendersonville, NC
    I think this might be coming across differently than you intended. Let me see if I'm reading your intent correctly.

    When someone gets a new technique (at that moment, they are a beginner at that technique), their partner should cooperate. There's no sense trying to teach a single-leg the first time against someone who's sprawling to avoid it; you learn first how the technique works, then how to deal with counters. For true beginners, they spend most of their time in this mode, because they have nothing yet that they're ready to work against resistance. Everything is a first-time drill. For someone who's been training a while, fewer things are first-time drills, and they usually progress faster from the "beginner" stage of any given new technique.
     
  4. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

    • Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2012
    Messages:
    22,096
    Likes Received:
    6,445
    Trophy Points:
    448
    Location:
    Hendersonville, NC
    I don't think he was implying you stay on the "no fail" part until they believe they're actually good. When folks first get a weapon disarm, they're ridiculously bad. Bad enough they know it, and don't need to fail at the actual disarm (due to resistance). They'll fail at things like blocking (by changing their distance unconsciously), grab the blade, etc. So you let them have the easy version (slow, soft attack to a predictable target, with nearly identical motion) until they show competence at that level. Then you step it up one notch.

    It's the same concept as the progressive resistance stages discussed earlier.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

    • Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2012
    Messages:
    22,096
    Likes Received:
    6,445
    Trophy Points:
    448
    Location:
    Hendersonville, NC
    If he's focused on the training, he might not care about the pace of ranks. I probably still hold the record at my old school for longest time-in-rank on at least two colored belt ranks. At the time, I didn't even know I'd been in that rank so long.

    But I feel your frustration. When I see someone who really wants to do well, but doesn't, I really want to help them (because I want to see them feel that success). And sometimes, you just can't find the right tool for that person. Those are times I just wish I could borrow the experience of a better instructor for a while, stuff their knowledge in my brain to pick an approach that would work.
     
  6. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

    • Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2012
    Messages:
    22,096
    Likes Received:
    6,445
    Trophy Points:
    448
    Location:
    Hendersonville, NC
    Yes. This drives me nuts to this day. With some techniques, it's okay to be REALLY easy to take down/throw at first. But please, PLEASE make them do something that at least approximates the key part of the technique before you fall. I've even had students do this to me. I'm halfway through a slow demo, pointing out a key structural idea, and uke falls down. I ask why. "I thought I was supposed to." :banghead:
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes MT Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2005
    Messages:
    5,464
    Likes Received:
    3,938
    Trophy Points:
    448
    Location:
    Lexington, KY
    This is part of why I have a lot of ambivalence regarding teaching unarmed defenses against weapons.

    I have a reasonably solid repertoire of gun/knife/stick defenses. I've even had some success sparring unarmed against training weapons. However:

    1) Any such techniques are inherently far, far, far less tested than the rest of what I teach. For example, if I'm teaching a right cross: I've landed multiple right crosses in real fights. My teachers have done the same. Through personal experience, first hand observation or video, we can examine potentially hundreds of thousands of right crosses in different contexts which have succeeded or failed and draw our conclusions regarding what works best. Contrariwise, very few instructors have ever performed an unarmed disarm of a real knife in a real assault. Of those who have, none have had occasion to do so more than a few times at most. Most of those rare occasions have not been witnessed or videoed. We don't know how typical those successes are or what sort of factors may have made a difference. We have even less information regarding the knife disarm attempts that failed. In short, we don't have the dataset for anyone to honestly claim to be an expert on the subject. (That said, I do know instructors who I think are on the right track and other instructors who I think are teaching garbage that will get you killed.)

    2) The person using the weapon has a huge advantage. If the student learns unarmed techniques against the weapon without a) truly understanding how big their disadvantage is and b) understanding when the correct time and place to resist is, then they may be reducing their survivability by increasing the odds that they will try to fight when they shouldn't.

    3) The success I've had in sparring unarmed against weapons doesn't come down primarily to the specific techniques I know. It has a lot more to do with my overall skills regarding distancing, body control, leverage, balance, timing, adaptability, etc, that I've learned in years of live sparring (armed and unarmed). A beginner who tries to apply a knife disarm without having that foundation is going to lose pretty reliably.

    On the other hand, situations do exist where someone may need to defend themselves unarmed against a weapon and having at least some appropriate tactics on hand might help. I haven't worked out yet the ideal time to cover such material, but right now I'm leaning towards addressing it with students who already have a solid foundation of usable unarmed and/or armed fighting skills.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Like Like x 2
  8. wab25

    wab25 Black Belt

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2017
    Messages:
    579
    Likes Received:
    449
    Trophy Points:
    218
    This nicely sums up why I don't agree with teaching weapon disarms to beginners. For a beginner (or anyone) having a stronger foundation is far more important than any one technique or set of techniques. When I introduce weapon disarms to students, first, they have the foundation pretty solid. I try to cover your points one and two (and I may paraphrase you in the future, you say them pretty well) as a backdrop for the disarm. Finally, the actual disarm work I show is really done more to reveal problems in your foundation than to actually become competent at the disarm itself. These disarms are very low percentage moves, no matter which variety you learn... because the weapons are actually very good at their intended use.
     
  9. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2013
    Messages:
    3,685
    Likes Received:
    931
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Lakewood, WA
    During the very very early stages of the process I may do this, if they don't understand it. Or as long as they are working on their footwork, I'll just pretend they're doing the handwork properly until they get to where they do the footwork properly.

    And if they're trying to remember the gross movements, I give them some grace on the details.

    If they look like they're thinking, I let them think. If they look comfortable with where they're at, then I resist in a different area and have them start working on something else.

    But if they're struggling with the technique already, there's no need for me to point out everything they're doing wrong. Instead, I'll pick one or two things at a time to work on, and then kind of go with the rest.

    There isn't a point where they think "I'm perfect at this" until they've got it perfected, because there is more to work on. But I also want to eliminate the overwhelming "I'll never get this."
     
  10. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2013
    Messages:
    3,685
    Likes Received:
    931
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Lakewood, WA
    I only do this when the student is having trouble figuring out where they want me to go.
     
  11. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

    • Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2012
    Messages:
    22,096
    Likes Received:
    6,445
    Trophy Points:
    448
    Location:
    Hendersonville, NC
    My current approach (and I've gone back and forth - a result of the same ambivalence you express here) is to teach early on defending against the weapon (speaking of bladed weapons) attack - that's the principles of spacing, shielding with arms to gain a bit more chance, trying to control the arm, etc. When they have enough foundation, I'll look more at disarms. I'm more liberal with teaching defenses against a stick, and that's a more realistic weapon to win against. And the kinds of disarms used against a stick can be adapted to disarming a blade, so we don't end up needing to spend much time focused on specialty techniques against a blade.
     
  12. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes MT Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2005
    Messages:
    5,464
    Likes Received:
    3,938
    Trophy Points:
    448
    Location:
    Lexington, KY
    Yeah, I'm never going to pick on everything they're doing wrong. If I haven't perfected the technique after decades of practice (I haven't), then a beginner certainly won't. As you say, I pick just the highest priority elements to focus on.

    That said, they still have to do the technique. If they're attempting a throw, but they're not putting their partner off-balance, then the partner shouldn't just fall down on their own to make the student feel good. If they're attempting an arm lock, but they aren't putting any pressure on the joint, then their partner shouldn't tap out.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2013
    Messages:
    3,685
    Likes Received:
    931
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Lakewood, WA
    It depends on how isolated the technique is, too. If the technique is only the arm lock, then yes. But if the technique is grip break -> trap -> joint lock -> take-down -> control -> arm lock, and they're still working on the first three steps, then I don't see an issue with fudging steps 5 and 6 for now.

    Similarly, if it's a sweep, I'll look for them to improve their technique. Sometimes if they apply the specific concept I'm teaching, I'll go down a couple times before giving them the next concept (that way they see progress).
    Or if the sweep is part of a combination (i.e. block a punch, grab, sweep, and then back kick), I want the students to get used to moving in the right direction before I get into more complicated things like weight distribution and leverage. Especially if the student is around 8-10.
     
  14. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2013
    Messages:
    3,685
    Likes Received:
    931
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Lakewood, WA
    Let me clarify my posts in this thread. When I say beginners should be insulated from failure, I simply mean you shouldn't put them in the situation where they're set up for failure due to inexperience.

    As a partner, this means providing appropriate resistance for their ability with the technique. As an instructor, it means giving them techniques to drill that are appropriate for their skill level, or giving the class feedback on how to be a better partner for each other.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

    • Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2017
    Messages:
    3,221
    Likes Received:
    984
    Trophy Points:
    213
    Location:
    Southeast U.S.
    Agree. I can be frustrating when class size is such that, as the instructor you have to pick your battles to get the best overall results for the whole class. Especially, like in your case when you know something is left unfinished. A true sign of a passionate teacher to stay after class and go the extra mile. Well done.
     
  16. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2013
    Messages:
    3,685
    Likes Received:
    931
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Lakewood, WA
    And in a situation where it's a large class, I think it's better to err on the side of safety than possible injury.
     
  17. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

    • Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2012
    Messages:
    22,096
    Likes Received:
    6,445
    Trophy Points:
    448
    Location:
    Hendersonville, NC
    I'd question why they are being asked to do the whole sequence when they don't know any of it yet. Why not start them with the first part, get it right-ish, then add the next part, and so on. Then there's no need to fudge the parts they don't yet know how to do.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  18. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

    • Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2012
    Messages:
    22,096
    Likes Received:
    6,445
    Trophy Points:
    448
    Location:
    Hendersonville, NC
    That's more or less where I thought you intended to go with the post that started this. I think it came across more "helicopter parent" than you intended.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  19. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2012
    Messages:
    7,977
    Likes Received:
    1,997
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Austin, Tx/Shell Beach, Ca
    I'll just call, "No, left hand", or "No, right foot", or, ... That means left hand is wrong, or right foot is wrong. If they can't figure out what's wrong, I'll then tell them in detail.

    In my class, most the errors that beginners may make are:

    - Tiger mouth should face toward opponent instead of facing toward himself.
    - Should use stealing step instead of using cover step.
    - Head, body, and back leg should be in a perfect line instead of bending forward.
    - Blocking arm should move toward opponent instead of moving next to his own head.
    - ...
     
  20. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

    Top Poster Of Month

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2017
    Messages:
    6,284
    Likes Received:
    883
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Manchester UK
    it's a bit glass half empty/ half full.

    some failures are absolute, if you fail your driving test, you've failed, your objective of being judged competent to be on the road has not been achieved. that experience may help you next time but its definitely a failure.

    if on the other hand, you decided you want to be good enough at chess to qualify for a regional championship. then your going to have to play good player and get beat a lot, in order to improve. just playing some bloke in the pub, may mean you win a lot, but it's the losses which are how you learn and improve. in that case there not failures, just learning through experience. if you dont make the regional championship, then that's a failure
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2019

Share This Page