On Cross-training and "Making Stuff Work" (with clips)

Discussion in 'Ninjutsu' started by noname, Sep 25, 2018.

  1. noname

    noname Yellow Belt

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    I know that there are a range of opinions on the idea of cross-training. Most people I meet in person seem to be in favor of it. Personally, I think that my time in other arts has been quite productive. I think it's useful to expose oneself to many different styles/masters. Perhaps others feel differently.

    Given that there isn't really a defined structure for pressure-testing the techniques we study in the Bujinkan, I tend to go outside the art in order to do so. Here's a clip of me sparring with the instructor at a HEMA group in Portland (until I moved away quite recently, I'd been training with them for a bit over a year):



    I'm interested to hear what people have to say about the clip specifically and about cross-training in general. Comments, concerns, anecdotes. I'd also love to see clips of other people pressure-testing themselves outside their home turf (whether that home turf is X-kan or some other ninjutsu organization).

    Thanks, and enjoy!
     
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  2. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Nice work. Which one is you?

    I personally feel the X-kans would benefit greatly from more pressure testing and cross training.
     
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  3. noname

    noname Yellow Belt

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    Thanks!

    Haha, woops. I forgot to mention I'm the one in blue pants. The instructor is in all black. He's also sporting some patches with his group's emblem.

    I completely agree with your sentiment.

    I think weapons work is perhaps the venue most suited to exploring what we are pursuing. The kamae, the sabaki, many things make so much more "sense" (to me, at least) when contextualized by sharp pointy things and armor.
     
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  4. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I think pressure testing is a necessary element, and including testing with people outside your own art is important, unless you're only training for competition within the art. Even light sparring with someone from another art often shows significant gaps in both offense and defense.
     
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  5. dunc

    dunc Green Belt

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    There are many who'd disagree with me, but I feel that we all have to find the best balance of regular x-kan training with cross training & pressure testing for our personal objectives

    For example cross training in other styles teaches you the strengths of those styles, but you have to appreciate that you're operating in their context. If your objective differs from the other style then it you may have to work hard to remain somewhat sub-optimal for their context whilst learning to deal with their strengths

    Pressure testing does not equal free sparring. It's entirely possible to pressure test x-kan techniques and get the obvious benefits of this without getting into free sparring, rules, protective gear etc (which can detract from the objectives of many folk who train in the x-kans)
     
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  6. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    I think cross training is a great idea and is very effective. I have never trained in a long sword but there is no way I would "spar" like that without something protecting my thighs like the one person has. Kali uses mostly slicing so your open thighs would be a ripe target. Question, why can't you just stab with such a long weapon? I am sure I am missing something. Good video.
     
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  7. O'Malley

    O'Malley Green Belt

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    Nice clip.

    Were you trying to pressure test principles you learned in Bujinkan Taijutsu?

    If not, have you ever done so? Why (not)?
     
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  8. noname

    noname Yellow Belt

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    I agree that there are implicit disparities that enter in to the equation when one ventures in to foreign territory. I think one of the most important components in making such an experience a positive one is the teacher. The teacher sets the tone for the training hall. Some are quite strict and abhor deviations from their prescribed formulations (whether those formulations are kata, sparring rulesets, etc.). I feel I have been blessed throughout my martial path with teachers that allowed me to explore with relative freedom.

    I would say that sparring is perhaps the most useful form of pressure testing. There are methods to pressure test without sparring, but I would contend that some of the most important components of a fight - like kyojitsu tenkan - cannot be accurately tested except within a sparring environment.
     
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  9. noname

    noname Yellow Belt

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    Hahaha, yes tell me about it. Many nights I've come home with bruises on my thighs. I leave them relatively unprotected in class training in order to incentivize my defense. Thighs are nice and big and meaty, so they can take a lashing without causing much real damage. The teacher in the clip likes to talk about "succulent leg meat". He certainly got a piece of it during that session.

    Yes, one can most certainly stab with the longsword. I think I try for one near the beginning of the clip, and I land one near the middle of the clip. I would in fact say that the longsword is more of a thruster than the katana is. The katana cuts better, for sure.
     
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  10. noname

    noname Yellow Belt

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    Thanks!

    With regards to that specific clip, I don't think that I had in my mind the intention to try movements and/or techniques from the 9 schools. It was more just a free-form experience.

    In other instances, I have had in my mind that specific intention. Like these two, where I'm thinking of ichimonji, kuji kiri, tsuki, switching hands freely, etc:



     
  11. noname

    noname Yellow Belt

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    This one shows nitou (two swords):



    Personally, I really like that one.
     
  12. noname

    noname Yellow Belt

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    These three show modern katana vs longsword:







    I will say this: modern katana vs longsword is quite difficult. My opponent is new to the applied use of weapons in general, hence why I'm able to close with some grace in certain instances. It is quite another story to close on an experienced practitioner. Not impossible. Just that much harder.
     
  13. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    Yeah not really.
    If you do multiple rule sets it just means you are forced to focus on different aspects of your system.

    I mean if you only sparred boxing and became good at punching it is going to help everything else. Not hinder it.

    Even if you wanted to get better judo chops. And never threw them in boxing sparring. Boxing would still help you develop the sort of timing and movement that would make your chops more effective.
     
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  14. dunc

    dunc Green Belt

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    I’m not with you 100%
    My point is if your objective is something different from say “being the best boxer”, then the approach you take will be suboptimal from a pure boxer
    It’s great training to go do boxing, but you should probably keep your objective in mind when you do that

    For example in my BJJ training I consciously narrow my game to fit with my more SD oriented objective. This naturally excludes certain options for me in the BJJ context and is somewhat sub-optimal as a result
     
  15. dunc

    dunc Green Belt

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    Personally I’m a big fan of specific sparring which is different to free sparring (both helpful tools). Specific sparring can allow you to pressure test even quite dangerous techniques I think
     
  16. noname

    noname Yellow Belt

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    I think that it is to such methods ("specific sparring") that I was referring when I said that the Bujinkan does not have structured pressure testing. In other arts, like BJJ for example, one has pairs and sequences of reciprocal technical application (example: I mount, so you bridge, and therefore I XYZ, etc. etc.). This kind of thing is missing from the Bujinkan curriculum.
     
  17. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    You would think that. And MMA is a good example. Because to be a top level MMAer throwing the gi on and rolling bjj should be sub optimal.

    But there are timing and technical aspects you will miss if you don't.

    So instead of learning half the system that applies the successful guys generally learn the whole system.
     
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  18. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    Depends how you spar. I go for wrist locks I do grinds I do striking in bjj rolls. I just don't hit them at a level where I am going to hurt someone.

    And this is if I am sparring within the rules as well. I don't tee off on a guy who is all bound up or turned around.

    I am there to make the other guy better.
     
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  19. dunc

    dunc Green Belt

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    Hi
    Maybe we’re talking cross purposes
    In my view and experience:
    1. Specific sparring can be used to almost fully pressure test even the most dangerous techniques. So it’s entirely possible to incorporate this into Xkan training. Probably we agree on this?
    2. Cross training is good (probably we agree), but the difference in rule sets and objectives can require a bit of navigation (I think we don’t agree on this?)
    3. Trying out your techniques (for your objectives) on experienced folk from other styles is good as long as it’s done in a constructive, safe way (probably we agree?)
     
  20. pdg

    pdg Senior Master

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    What do you mean by "specific sparring"?

    Prearranged drills?
     

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