How to (safely) measure your strength/technique?

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Supra Vijai, Nov 25, 2010.

  1. Supra Vijai

    Supra Vijai Black Belt

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    Hi all,

    This may be a total n00b question but I'm wondering how you go about testing your technique or rather form and strength in a safe way?

    Within the dojo we train safely of course and never use anything even close to full force while learning techniques. While doing pad work with training partners outside the dojo we tend to use a bit more force with our strikes etc so that's a good indication, however we can't/don't really test our locks/takedowns/chokes with the same intensity.

    While going out and getting into fights might be for some people, I'm not really interested in doing that myself as it has a nasty tendency to be hazardous to your health ;)

    Please not I'm asking this purely out of interest and not because I want to prove anything to anyone or what not. I'd rather not have to ever use this stuff in the street but still curiousity prompts me to ask.

    Hope this post makes sense! I look forward to your replies

    Thanks in advance
     
  2. Rayban

    Rayban Green Belt

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    Hi Supra,

    I always thought that just training parrot fashion was the key. I could be wrong but when we were training with the Hanbo and striking from Ottonashi (Spelling) I could not generate much power at all. I then started running through the strike at home very loosely just to try and get the technique down.

    When we came back and went through the pad drills again, the strike was probably a 5 fold improvement on strength. I still need to fine tune the technique (using my knees more) but it was a big improvement none the less.
     
  3. Supra Vijai

    Supra Vijai Black Belt

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    I get the repetition thing and the importance of consisteant training to get the technique flowing but the question is more a measure of effectiveness. For example, doing throws, how do you measure where you are at in terms of size of opponent that you can handle etc using no muscle strength. So I guess I'm asking if there is a way to measure the tangible progress.
     
  4. Rayban

    Rayban Green Belt

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    To be honest I'm not too sure other than actually doing it. At the end of the day its a measurement of performance which is fairly intangible. It depends on a lot of different factors.

    Are you rested?
    Are they (opponent) rested?
    Is what you are wearing going to interfere?
    Are you drunk?
    ...etc.

    Personally I would love to know how I perform in a real scenario, but I doubt it will happen. The closest we can hope for is training under pressure (adrenalin, speed/pace...etc).
     
  5. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    You need honest training partners that you trust and that trust you -- and who are willing to risk injury. You can't really go 100% all out; you run out of playmates. You need to do your techniques against resisting and non-cooperative partners, who you trust to be able to handle it -- and insert what amounts to a single flaw that allows them to save it. For example, you may hold onto a throw long enough to turn them all the way over to their back instead of dumping them on their head like you'd do in the real deal, or you might throw the punch to a slightly different target. Training like this is scary, and it almost guarantees the occasional injury.
     
  6. Thesemindz

    Thesemindz Senior Master

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    It's all in how you train.

    If you train with intensity, on the body, with as many partners as possible, then you'll know if your techniques work.

    Looking for fights implies a deficiency in your training method. Every basic, every technique, every form is a fight. You should be fighting every minute of every class.

    What else would you be practicing?


    -Rob
     
  7. Thesemindz

    Thesemindz Senior Master

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    I ripped my knee apart about four months ago. I'm recovering well, but I learned a lot about karate that day.

    It's not for everybody. Some people want to walk without a limp. Some people have jobs that demand they not show up with black eyes. But that's the risk of training, even when you're training safely.


    -Rob
     
  8. baron

    baron Orange Belt

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    Not sure how you can really test strength/technique with out getting into a fight. When I was in the Navy our home port was (White Beach) on Okinawan and I ran into quite a few Karate men who would try their tecniques on larger Americans. Gained a lot of respect for those short guy's over there. We Americans being bigger and more muscular (in some cases) did not always have respect for our short cousins over there. But after a few *** kickings we grew to respect and even came to liking them.

    I knew a few young men who had never been in a fight and they were woried that their technique would not work. If they were to get in a street fight where your life might depend on it, with no rules. I told them to trust what you learned, for the techniques they were learning were tried and proven by many before them. A couple of these guy's were very good point fighters in tournaments. But they were afraid of having to defend them selves in a bar or on the street. On the street their are no rules. Which I'm sure you know all this.

    Now you do not want to get into fights you said which is good. Remember what Gichin Funakoshi said: To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the highest skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the highest skill. Thats what we train for and trust our techniques will work.
     
  9. Rayban

    Rayban Green Belt

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    I actually like returning home from training in a certain amount of pain. It means I've gotten something out of the session.

    Either I trained hard and hurt myself, or I've done something wrong, hurt myself and learned from it.
     
  10. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    It's a fine line... but hard, realistic training that will give you the confidence in your techniques will carry the risk of injury. Lots of things can be done to control and mitigate those risks, but when you reach a certain point, there's simply nothing but going nearly all out, trusting your partner to react and control what happens. And there will sometimes be mistakes and missteps... or just plain "oopsies."

    One note -- I have NOT said that SPARRING is essential. In fact, many forms of sparring are actually detrimental to this sort of training...
     
  11. ForeverStudent

    ForeverStudent Yellow Belt

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    Check this page!

    http://www.goherman.com/

    They have equipment for measuring strikes. I think their equipment were used in XMA martial arts documentaries.

    I'm not sure that they have something that could measure lock or choke, but check it out.
     
  12. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Hi Supra,

    In terms of power, form = power really. Hopefully you can get some sense of that when I come around and show "bad idea/good idea" for comparison. Ideally, the "good idea" form should feel noticably different.... Essentially, following on from our power source, the mechanics of the art are the idealised body mechanics to support and generate the greatest power for a particular use.

    When it comes to "testing" them, are you refering to testing how powerfully you are applying them, or how well you can apply them against someone who is less inclined to allow than a training partner? If the former, well striking we do against pads, grappling is a little harder. It's also more important to develop control here, by the way. But essentially, train them hard and correctly. For example, when it comes to throws, I use a resistance band around a tree, then use that to try to "throw" the tree.

    In terms of training in class, when first learning something, you should be taking it a little slower (however slow you need to to get it properly), and after that you should ramp it up. I've found, over the years, that it comes down to how well the attacking partner is doing their job. If they're just going through the motions, waiting for their turn, it doesn't help anyone (this is one reason I've had you "win" as the attacker over recent weeks.... you need to get an understanding of what they are intending, and making that as real as possible). The next step is resistant training, such as the end of the throwing workshop, or the knife survival we've been going through.

    Oh, and so you know, I and another senior (back in the day) once decided to put on body armour and see how powerful the Koto Ryu techniques were by going full power... that didn't last long (basically once each, really).
     
  13. Supra Vijai

    Supra Vijai Black Belt

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    Sensei, the difference is indeed significant once you point it out and explain it. As you so often say it's the subtle things but they have a big impact such as how I was moving with the 2nd technique from Otonashi no Kamae as opposed to how I should have been moving to remain stable and generate maximum power.

    With regards to testing them, I mean both of those aspects (grappling/limb controls for the former) moreso than striking. I'd better quickly explain what I meant too. We were recently talking about the words you live by thread and you mentioned the quote "Wherever I go, people are a little safer because I am there (Robert L. Humphries)"

    It's not so much that I don't trust the techniques as that I'd like to know that I could confidently say the same thing. While I generally have the best intentions with regards to getting both myself and my friends home safe, unfortunately sometimes you need something more than good intentions. You've mentioned the resistance band training before, as you suggested recently, I'm paying more attention to my knees so hopefully I can move up to that kind of training eventually (doing it right).

    I'm sorry I don't follow. When you say you've had us "win" as the attacker, in what sense? I'm drawing a complete blank to when the attacker wins the technique. I remember we've covered resisting/ "smart" attackers who react and respond but that's about it I'm afraid...
     
  14. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    I'm not speaking for your sensei -- but, as I said, the key to developing that confidence is how you practice. Any practice includes flaws for safety. The more flaws, the safer you are. But also the more unrealistic your training is...

    So, let's take a simple technique: Evading a punch, striking/blocking the arm, and a counter punch. Safest way to practice with a partner is slowly, with everything announced or telegraphed, and out of range. But it's not at all like a real punch, is it? So, let's make it less safe but more real.

    First thing -- let's move into range. Now we're less safe (we might actually get hit!) but we know what's coming, when, and we're still moving slowly.

    Next -- let's try to reduce the telegraph and warning. We don't know exactly what's coming or when, so it's more real -- but we're still going slow so we have time to recognize and react. Of course, since we don't know exactly what's up -- we may misjudge it.

    Finally -- let's speed things up, but keep the power level down. Now, we're going faster, we don't know what's coming, and we're in range -- but we're going to control our force so that we don't hurt each other. What's the flaw? We're not going full power. We don't know that we can "really hit."

    Before long, we can mix up the flaws, and maybe know what's coming but not when and punch hard, for example. Or your partner can throw a different attack than the script or react to your reaction...

    You can do something similar with grappling. Most of the grappling in budo taijutsu systems isn't the "hold 'em till they submit" stuff you see so often in Brazillian Ju Jitsu, for example. It's grab 'em, break the arm, and dump 'em on their head. So, your flaw is giving your partner a fall that will let him recover and land safely. At first, you go slow and easy but eventually you speed things up and go harder.

    The culmination of this sort of training is going pretty much full out with your partner. It takes trust and it takes acceptance of the risks. It's not something you do every day... but it's something that people training for reality have to do eventually and for a while.

    The end result is that you trust your techniques to work. Unless I'm trying to demonstrate a very particular technique, I'll simply tell a student "punch me" in class, for example. I trust myself to deal with the attack -- in the manner I intend.
     
  15. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Yep, pretty much as JKS describes it. The exact way we do it is a little different, but the essence is the same. You'll see some of the grappling aspects this month in the ground work we'll be doing, beginning with basic position and mechanical escapes, adding chaos, then adding resistance. By the end of the month you'll basically be put in a position, and you get to find your own way out against both chaos and resistance. It'll be fun!
     
  16. ralphmcpherson

    ralphmcpherson Senior Master

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    Funny story. I was discussing this with a mate one night and he was telling me that he always practiced techniques just going through the motions and never actually gave much thought to the power/effectiveness of the techs. Then one night he was out with mates and a much bigger guy started giving him some trouble and wasnt going to let up without a fight. Eventually the guy grabbed my mate and and my mate just instinctively did what he was taught without giving it a second thought. The end result was much more effective than my mate had bargained for as his attacker was very quickly lying on the ground with a dislocated shoulder and an elbow that didnt work anymore. The friend of mine was worried sick and ran to call an ambulance and said he just sat there saying "sorry" over and over again until help arrived. He found out the hard way that what he was taught was both powerful and effective, but I wouldnt suggest trying this method, I just thought it was a funny story that had some relevance to the thread.123
     
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