Discussion in 'Kenpo / Kempo - Technical Discussion' started by MJS, Jul 25, 2011.
The knife techs are still too unrealistic...the attacks are of the nonfunctional "idea NOT Ideal Phase" variety. The presentation of this kind of knife attack and the defenses that it prompts will get you cut or hurt worse,in all likelihood. Especially when compared directly with live and more realistic attacks. Compare the above attacks to this right here from my ATACX GYM
Honestly, Mike, I think it depends on what you're looking at it for. If you're looking at it for a training method that promotes flow, precision, co-ordination etc, then they're fine. If you're looking for realistic knife defence, they are sadly lacking in many ways. I will say, though, that I don't think that is really what they are for, with the former aspects being more important here, as they teach the "art" of Kempo.
I see where you are going with your clip, and it's not bad, however I may point out that the attack isn't quite are realistic as it may be. You are missing, for example, any form of realistic resistance, which would make the catch of the knife arm a lot harder than it is for you there. But all in all, not too bad.
Thanks for the compliment,but I can assure you that the swings were live and the energy behind his attack was real. Once I caught the knife attack,I halted to go step by step with it. Even when I was talking he was still driving the knife toward me,and he does so again in PT.4 of this CHECKING THE STORM series. I do,however,think that I can do it alot more intensely and more combatively,and I did so on my DVD filming. I had to use more than one knife fighting friend for the knife fighting part,and it included strikes kicks and full resistance even from the non-knife bearing limb.
Yep, the swings were decent, unskilled and committed, however what I'm referring to you illlustrate in your answer. A realistic responce to your grabbing your attackers knife hand is not for them to keep pushing in with the thrust, it's for them to try to pull out of your grip (and retain control of the knife, which, psychologically speaking, is their source of their power in this situation). And the double grip you come in with would have them immediately rip their arm out of your grip and continue stabbing you.
Actually the double grip that I come in with is one of the very best possible responses to the knife attack.I've done it and maaany others have done it live in full on sparring and in self-defense scenarios. In the same sense that it's really hard to pull out of a wrestler's 2 on 1 grip,it's REALLY HARD to pull out of a 2 on 1 when you have a knife too.
Yes,I've trained with the Dog Brothers over the years and have done many many knife and blade sparring sessions. Without a doubt,the 2 on 1 has shown itself in both my view and many of the Dog Brothers' view to be vastly superior to most other techs (other than running away,which is by far the best option and should be the mandatory option if it's available).The primary danger to the 2 on 1 grip is becoming so fixated that you allow your opponent to shift the knife to the other hand,but even that is faaar more difficult to do when you latch on a 2 on 1 and you're skilled in its use. If you're in the L.A. area I would be happy to spar with you live and show you by repeated successes how viable and functional this tech is. I mean that with no disrespect.
A realistic response IS for them to keep pushing in with their knife and try to cut me,a MORE REALISTIC RESPONSE would be for them to deploy their other arms and limbs in attempts to strike me and wrest control of the knife back from me. We sorta agree there. In 2 decades of knife fighting,I can say with confidence that at least 90% of the time my opponent(s) would use both limbs (yes this means the "live hand") and about 25% of the time all four limbs and head/teeth when I engage his knife hand as he struggles to maintain control of it. However the defense that I employ--especially when done at speed--is veeeerrry good at preventing such counters.What specific counters would you recommend? Do you have video of it? I mean this with no disrespect at all.
Actually, I've trained that under a fair amount of pressure as well, and it's very easy to retrieve your arm before the grip is "on", or cut your way out once it is. So I'd still say there are better ways to approach this situation, although this is certainly far from the "bad" ones, as it does give some very solid principles (such as immediate control of the knife arm).
Honestly, I see a number of gaps in reality there.
Yeah, I've seen that one before too. There are some things that I'd disagree with, including the "sparring" approach, but I'll get to that. I would point out, though, that the thing I am referring to (retrieve the knife and continue stabbing) is what Gabe is referring to as the "sewing machine".
To the "sparring" aspect, it's not a training method I'm fond of if reality is your goal. Scenario training I feel is the best method, which can be done in a range of forms, all the way up to unannounced free form training. As to my visiting you, unfortunately I'm in Melbourne, Australia, so that is a little bit of a commute. But I'd say the primary danger isn't changing hands, or fending off the other hand, it's that it comes to a stalemate, with them still holding a knife (which is not what I'd be going for, honestly). I agree with using both hands to control the knife arm, but not in that method, it must be said.
No, the most realistic responce is for them to try to retrieve the knife, and if they can't, then they aim to change hands or use the other hand (to strike, claw, etc), but the main emphasis is to regain control of the knife. The ones you are talking about are secondary... but by leaving off the initial retrieving action you're missing the reality of handling a knife.
I would ask, though, if your two decades of knife fighting is in the training hall (or outside, but in a training situation), as if that is all done with the training mentality, then it can invalidate, or taint the understanding gained. This isn't an attack on yourself or your training, nor even an indictment of your abilities, more a recognition that in training, both partners know that it is "training".. and, whether they resist or not, typically one of them (in this case, the knifeman) knows that they are supposed to "lose". There is also, as seen in the clips you linked, a habit of an attacker of "stopping" the attack once the defence starts, mainly as a self-preservation method. This is present in pretty much all training, otherwise injuries happen quite easily, but it does remove the reality, and some things are seen as being more effective than they are. There is also a greater "presence of mind", which can lead to things like the attacking partner being more likely to use their second hand, or change hands when it's not as common as they may believe.
In terms of what I would recommend is actually a relatively small change, keeping to the essence of what you are teaching. Basically, I'd move to the outside (which is what you prefer to do, from what you are saying in the clip), off the line of the attack (your movement in the clip leaves you open to secondary stabs, or even the first if you miss the grab), and control/grab both the forearm and upper arm, both inside and out. That makes a much more secure grip, which is far more difficult to break out of, as the "weak" part of the grip is on opposing sides, rather than both on the underside of their forearm/wrist in your example (which is where they would break out of your grip, by the way). From there you can continue in a large number of ways, including the way you show. As far as video, yeah, I have some. But none of it is on you-tube, or any other online site, nor is it likely to be. I would recommend the work of Michael Janich, though.
I often think that Ras is full of himself (this may just be a perception as I have never met him in person) and misses a lot of what Kenpo has to teach when discussing his material and how he relays it to his students and others. However, I do think that, as far as functionality goes, he is on the right track.
I think that he would be the first to admit that he sees no use for the ideal phase of a technique and only finds value in his functional versions. We have had discussions in other threads regarding this issue, so I won't go into it here. We just disagree in some areas.
I feel that his version of Checking the Storm is good in that he emphasizes the focus on the weapon, in this case a knife. All else is unimportant when a blade is present as we all know that they are nasty little buggers with devastating potential. I also think that in a dynamic situation without stopping to talk about what he is doing, he could adapt to the pushing or pulling that his opponent is employing. He dicusses this when he pulls the arms accross in front of him that leads to the extending of the knife hand's elbow by using the principle of borrowed force (he is pushing, so Ras is pulling in the same direction to assist him in his desired positioning of his opponent). This could also be done if his opponent were to pull away. Ras could then push, while not relinquishing his hold and manipulate his opponent into another position where he could disarm or incapacitate his attacker.
You can "what if" every situation to death, but I think that in this case, Ras has a lot of good information and a solid base of knowledge to relay to others. I just wish he would give his students more of the traditional information so that when Ras is not around, they will have all of the information and a comparable base to teach from.
I see a weird dichotomy between its early use of the demonstration of vital targets and attack lines, and those that show the active slash on the retraction, and then when it shows defense against a knife it does the standard giant overhand and stright thrust and "stone statue" the rest of the technique. So what if the attacker isn't being massively telegraphic and trying to make the instructor look good?
Overall,this is an excellent response James. I do in fact recall some of the more energetic exchanges that we've had visavis the IP.Without getting into it too much,my position has never been "destroy the IP because it's the IP" my position has been "chuck anything that doesn't work and replace it with something that does". As Doc pointed out,the "ideal phase" is something that's crafted from teacher to student. But as I pointed out,somehow there has been a universalization of a DYSFUNCTIONAL physical expression of virtually all of the Kenpo techs comprising what is miscalled the IP but which is really (another quote from Doc) "the idea not the Ideal" Phase. My response is essentially what Mr. Parker envisioned for all Kenpoists: IPs that work. There are others whose IP works too. That's great. If it works? Kudos...my conversation about things that DON'T work isn't aimed at any Kenpo techs that DO work exactly as trained vs the attack it's supposed to thwart. The problem is? The dominant physical articulation of the IP fails to do this. Reliably. If YOUR expression SUCCEEDS at this? Terrific. You're not the guy I'm referring to. When I posted videos of the "idea not Ideal" Phase which DIDN'T functionally and reliably defeat the attacks they're purported to attack? THAT'S THE KIND OF THING I'M RAILING AGAINST. I'm not saying everybody should do like me; I'm championing a TRAINING PARADIGM BASED IN FUNCTIONALITY.The WAY you will be functional will be at once your own expression (you will do something that works and that something is something that works well FOR YOU) yet simultaneously share the overwhelmingly important aspects with me and anyone else who's functional regardless of the art they study (IT WORKS AS TAUGHT AGAINST THE ATTACK IT'S SUPPOSED TO THWART).I'm also saying that as self-defense instructors IT'S OUR RESPONSIBILITY to disseminate techs that actually work as taught,and as scripted,against the attack it's supposed to thwart. Somehow,there's been an almost universal agreement visavis the "idea not the Ideal" Phase that results in the overwhelming majority of Kenpoists being thoroughly inundated with techs that don't work as shown and which most instructors not only know don't work prior to teaching their students these moves,the instructors even knew that these techs (quoting Doc again) "are unworkable as written". I have NO IDEA how this happened on such a universal scale,but I do know that it's our responsibility to rectify it.
I really hope that I've clarified my position here. I don't run around seeking to trash Kenpo,an art I love. I'm not even trashing the IP; I pointed out that what I'm doing is championing the completely common sense notion of replacing the dysfunctional IP with an IP that works. I even coined a phrase for it: "THE FUNCTIONAL IDEAL". So my students DO in fact learn much of the discipline of Kenpo as I learned it; but where techs are plainly nonworkable or "miraculous" like this one:
(and I can link you to at least a half dozen more but you get my point) I make them work by functionalizing them for my students. So again...just make it work. Whatever it is in Kenpo or whatever that you do? Just make it work.Exactly as advertised against exactly what it's supposed to defend against.
All the rest of your post I find to be well written and I agree with it. I even find the areas that we disagree about (me being full of myself and me rippin the IP) to be well written. I hope that at this point we've reached a better understanding of one another's positions. Outro.
Somehow THIS link to TWIST OF FATE...another example of a highly nonfunctional tech...didn't post when I last put it up so here it is:
there's a zillion ways to do this tech that works. Judo's twisting tai otoshi immediately comes to mind...merely prefix the tech with Kenpo strikes and BANG! Twist of Fate.That's one way to do it and that's what we do. As you can see,the common sense solution that I recommend has not found its way into the general and most prominent expression of TWIST OF FATE.ANY solution that is common sense efficient and functional should supercede what is currently the most prominent expression of TWIST OF FATE in the "IP".
The main problem i see with that Technique, is that once his Arms are restrained, he performs a Strike which doesnt do too much, rather than exploiting the reduced Defense of his Opponent.
I agree that our whole idea of Ideal-what if-formulation has had to evolve into Ideal-EVEN IF-ideal, its just the fact that Ras' ideal is radically different from the "traditional" norm because he and his students USE their skills in real life way more than any of us combined! This whole debate comes down to methods of training, do you want the "traditional" outdated "ideals" or would you want something that is "modern" and has "street cred" ??
I do enjoy the base ideal models of AK, but like everything we must evolve or die.
My humble and mostly ignorant .02 cents!
I just think that Traditional can be HIGHLY Subjective.
Things always looks better and prettier on film. More people die from being shanked in prison than on the street. The these killers don't learn from these guys do they. The are a plethora of assumptions in both videos and the system.
I am sorry, I was rushed and on my way out. Now that I read it is sounds not the way I wish it to. The camera always make things look better, when they are rehearsed it so you don't really get a good indication how it will test out. Most of us see how some of the moves are not very realistic, time consuming, cumbersome, and even impractical. The demo is impressive as far as it being well done. It catches the eye, and builds interest with the quick multiple hand moves. But as a system it requires a great deal of practice to become muscle memory because of all the moves. The system has opportunity for error. If you miss or your strike or block is deflected detour it's line of attack recovery is limited. It lacks directness and I think the emphasis on quick multiple hand work. Take prison shank stabbings, not too many people survive those type of attacks. Gruesomely shanking someone evidently is very effective. There are no complicated techniques or involved counters. Such an attack is hard to defend against, you many not have the luxury of jumping back out of the way because of space and the type of attack. The is true for the kenpo system where the assumption (one of many) is the attacker is going to deliver an attack along prescribed methods, like a forward thrust from midriff on a straight line point to point. That isn't and most of the time the case, if you get a swinging or frontal attack as I said, then you have lotto. Overall, everything looks better on video.
This is why I tend to look at weapon based arts, ie: the FMAs, when it comes to knife work.
Yes, I see your point...lol...no pun intended. This clip could be viewed 2 different ways, such as you listed. IMO, I think, and this goes for any clip really, that when something is viewed, its always shown in the same way....a static, controlled fashion. Rarely, do we ever see a clip that shows both of the things that you mention, all rolled into one, ie: the flow, precision, etc, and then the same tech demonstrated in a live fashion.
I think the 'sparring' term is used alot, but sometimes, its misunderstood. I'm not saying thats the case here, but much like when someone says, BJJ, people automatically think ground. When people hear 'spar' they think point, full contact, etc. IMO, when it comes to training as realistic as you can, with the blade, a shock knife, or no lie blade, or putting lipstick on the edges, having the person with the knife attack in a realistic fashion, ie: more than one type of attack, using their other hand, or doing the 'sewing' maching type attacks.
One of my FMA teachers, has an extensive background in Corrections. Given that he's seen quite a wide array of assaults, we often work scenarios such as those that occur in the jails/prisons.
This is a good post,Chris,and I am happy to answer some of your primary concerns.
To the issue of the 2 on 1...meaning the double grip on your opponent's wrist...I cannot emphasize how effective this is. It's highly effective even when women are grabbing larger stronger men. Why? Because this tech is being employed not in the static "let me grab on your wrist" method but instead in the explosive,whipping 2 on 1 manner being displayed in a way veeery similar to what's being shown here:
As for where is most of my knife fighting experience drawn from? Happily I can say that it's been on the mat and in the gym for the most part...with various military,special forces (my uncle who is my Grandmaster is a former Ranger; he is also an iaido master) kali students and masters,and talented martial artists from other systems with interests in the blade. Unfortunately,I can say that over the last 2 decades I have defended myself against the blade and numerous sharp objects on the streets...and I'm from the mean streets of the hoods of Southern Cali. South Central,home of the driveby.Compton. Long Beach. Southeast San Diego. Oakland. And it's interesting that the tech that I use which apparently you find not to be realistic,is perfectly suitable for all the others I mentioned and most recently was featured being used by the Israeli Special Forces on an episode of HUMAN WEAPON
(go to 4:10 of this clip)
Note the 2 on 1 being used with a collar tie in this full speed knife attack on a Systema special forces martial arts instructor:
^^^I think we have evidence here from some of the most elite forces on earth that the 2 on 1 works beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Notice that he uses the double tie,either over and under,the very same double tie that I use,and he uses it with his whole body behind it. I can't emphasize how it's muuuuuch harder than may initially be apparent to just "pull" out of my grip or even my female students' grip once they get a 2 on 1 on your wrist or arm...and use that as a total body arm-torso-legs-and-gravity whip. Many attackers lose their hold on the knife merely because of the power of the whip itself,even before our counterattacks start breaking bones. If you have experienced different things than I (and the Dog Brothers,and Special Forces the world over) have regarding the 2 on 1's success vs the knife? Okay cool no problem. But I would virtually guarantee that if you actually used a arm drag,a body weight drop,a total body whip? The results would be much more positive and explosively powerful.The opponent is virtually helpless to defend against this tech once you sieze the wrist and whip.
Now go back to my video.
Consider that I'm talking about taking the movements from 1:42 to the disarm and counterattack while moving with the same level of explosivity that I displayed from 1:05-09,and you'll see why I slowed things to a crawl once I siezed control of the knife. Were I to whip the knife holding wrist with any legit energy and step in on my uke,levering the knife out of his hand,etc? Just the whipping arm drag and step in would cause damage to his arm.There is NO CHANCE of a knife switch,and the whipping arm drag takes the opposite arm and all the dangers that it entails completely out of the equation. The staggered grip...with thumbs facing opposite ends...is nice to do if you can do it,but it's not as fluidly explosive and efficient as the 2 on 1 with the whip drag. Furthermore,your opponent may have much longer and larger limbs than you do. The wrists are the smallest and most easiest to manipulate structure on the arm (in a scenario like this) as well as the closest available target for counterattack which offers control of the knife as well.
If the tech hasn't worked for you so far? You can try the tech as I suggested. If you do it properly? It will work for you...like it has for me and police and corrections officers and special forces the world over.
As for the sparring mindset? Well...the best thing that I can say is that there's dysfunctional and functional sparring. Here's the bottom line to that: everybody spars until they're facing the real life street threat. Every tech that you learned functionally you learned while sparring. Sparring isn't only the dysfunctional morass commonly miscalled "sparring",or the non or light contact stuff. Navy SEALS have been killed in what they call "live training exercises"...and that,too is sparring. Our sparring is always functional and covers the most prosaic and slowest stuff to the fastest most high powered stuff that we can coax from our bodies.
But it's still sparring until we do the same thing vs some dude on the street...but because our sparring is very functional vs guys who are actually good with the attacks tactics and weapons used? We are more than prepared to deal with most people who consider getting out of hand. We must be careful not to conflate "sparring" with "dysfunction". There are those who "spar dysfunctionally"...but really that means that they're NOT sparring,they're SPARRING INCORRECTLY. If not? If one believes those who disparage sparring? Then we are forced to conclude that constantly engaging in live combat is the only way to become more proficient at self-defense. Sense that is absolutely and totally not the case,we must then assert without equivocation that sparring correctly and functionally not only translates to self-defense wholly and entirely...functional sparring is the penultimate litmus test for self-defense period. It oftentimes significantly outperforms the threat that we face when and if we're confronted with it because the people who we train with are generally more skilled and better conditioned than our attacker,who further suffers from generally vastly inferior technique AND has no idea that we have an arsenal of attacks at our beck and call for which he has no defense (if we train functionally).
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