What if you just train one technique for the next 2 years?

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Kung Fu Wang, Dec 2, 2018.

  1. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    Assume you just train one technique for the next 2 years such as "a kick to the knee followed by a punch to the face". If you repeat this combo 2,000 times daily with your partner (about 2 hours), in 2 years you have repeated this 2 x 365 x 2000 = 1,460,000 times.

    After you have drilled this move almost 1.5 million times, when you use it against your opponent, your successful rate should be high. IMO, it's worthwhile to spend 2 years of your life time to develop some dependable MA skill so you can use it for the rest of your life.

    What's your opinion on this?
     
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  2. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Sometimes less is more.
     
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  3. wanderingstudent

    wanderingstudent Yellow Belt

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    For me, better to find one style and stick with it; than dabble in a little of everything.
     
  4. Ivan

    Ivan White Belt

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    There is a saying to fear the man who has trained 1 technique 10,000 times over the man who has trained 10,000 techniques once. However, in application you need variety. It's good to continuously repeat techniques. I, personally, practice one technique each day (mainly kicks, different technique each day) 100 times a day on my right and left side with both stances, coupled with vigorous stretching. But I don't practice the same technique too much. It'd be a shame if you responded to every situation with only technique: it is the perfect recipe for failure.
     
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  5. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    You may be looking at this the wrong way. Let’s say you practice one technique/combo all session, every session. If you’re practicing with resistive partners, it would hypothetically become something you can use in every situation.

    Let’s say I want to sweep everyone and everything that came at me. Different training partners would come at me in different ways. Some would come straight on, some would come in off-line; some would punch, others would kick, others would try to clinch, etc. Some would come at me, others would wait for me to come in. If I’m trying to sweep every time I’m engaged, I’m going to see so many ways to initiate that sweep. I’d know a ton of ways to alter it to fit the situation. You’d know a ton of ways to set it up. And you’d have a ton of ways to follow up if it didn’t work.

    If I could perfect one single technique and be able to use it at will, it would be sweeping. I person can’t hit me or do anything else if they can’t get to me. If I sweep them every time they came close, all I’d have to do is take a quick step back and get further out of range. They go to punch, they’re on the ground with me a few steps away. They try to kick, same result. They charge in, same result. They try to grab, same thing. Think about it - if every time you came at me, you fell before you could touch me, what could you possibly do to me? It wouldn’t be effective against a long range weapon though, such as a gun or 6ft staff. But nothing’s really effective against a gun IMO, other than Isiah’s circular running :)

    @Kung Fu Wang I know you’ve said single leg takedown in the past. I’d rather sweep, as I’m not on the ground with them unless I wanted to be there.
     
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  6. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    If I had to train just one technique for 2 years, I'd quit. Too boring, too much repetition. I'd probably be able to stick with it a couple of months, at most.
     
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  7. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    I'd argue you'd need other techniques to set it up. You might train that technique every session, but you can't train just that technique every session. You'll need some to control distance, prevent sweeps, protect yourself, and set up that sweep. Very few people are ever going to get good enough to threaten with just one weapon. Bill Wallace seemed to be able to do that if he wanted, though I think part of the problem was that if you defended only that kick, he had other tools he could still eat you alive with.
     
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  8. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    Exactly. You can’t take a student who’s never trained anything before and teach him just sweeping and nothing else. The student would need to be at least an intermediate, but more so an advanced student. The student needs realistic sparring experience before you’re going to attempt to teach him the hypothetically one move that’ll work every time.

    But if I could perfect one thing, regardless of how I got to perfecting it, it would be sweeping. If everyone ended up on the ground before they could touch me and with me standing a few steps away, what better scenario is there to be in?
     
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  9. jobo

    jobo Senior Master

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    I think the law of diminshing returns would apply, and after a period of time the gains would be so small as to be imperceptible
     
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  10. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    I think there is a valid point tho, in the idea that you could get to be very good with a surprisingly small amount of material, and that could serve you just fine. We really do not need a vast curriculum with lots of techniques. A handful of solid techniques will likely get us through the vast majority of what might come our way.

    My assumption is the needs for self defense, and not sport competition. If, over the years, five people try to attack you and you successfully respond the exact same way to all five people, there is nothing wrong with that.

    In a competition where your opponent may study your tactics from previous fights, you need to keep getting creative in order to stay viable. But for self defense that does not matter.
     
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  11. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    In my opinion, the purpose of working on a large range of "techniques" is to explore the principles. Once you know the principles of a system, you can apply them in ways you haven't practiced before. It's the concept behind the OP, I think: study something in a bunch of ways, so you can apply that something to almost any situation. I think the right "thing" there is a principle, rather than a specific technique. Principles are more flexible.
     
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  12. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    I think as hobbyists (yup, and I’m going to get flack for that one) we tend to go overboard with all the different techniques and ways to apply them. We tend to “collect techniques” in a sense. We don’t need different 30,000 ways to hit someone. All we really need is a handful of ways. And as @gpseymour said, we need principles rather than actual set in stone techniques.

    A cyclist doesn’t need 10 different bikes, but may have them anyway because he prefers different ones at different times or situations. We don’t need a whole arsenal of techniques; a few go to combos, throws, joint locks, etc. is really all we need if we really distill it down to what’s actually essential. But learning new things is fun, keeps us motivated and interested, and can help us better understand the essential stuff.
     
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  13. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Oh I agree with you. In my opinion though, a lot of people are unable to recognize when they have already built a viable toolbox. People tend to keep thinking that they still need more, when they really do not.

    I don’t mean to stifle someone’s interests if they want to continue exploring other things. But I’m just pointing out that often what they really need to do is develop an ability to apply less material in more ways, and work on those skills. Strictly speaking, they do not need more.
     
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  14. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    Principle is the key such as kick low, punch high.

    You may have many soldiers but you need just few generals. IMO, you will need at least 2 generals (such as knee kick and face punch). If your opponent's

    - leg is close to you, you attack his leg.
    - head is close to you, you attack his head.
     
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  15. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    I have comments on both parts of that. Act surprised.

    One of my pet peeves with some instructors is when they get onto a student for applying a technique in a new and different way that's not quite the same technique. I've seen students called out on that one. Getting students to be able to do that is actually my goal.

    And yes, oh man yes, on that second point. Sometimes, I work on stuff not because it's useful, but because it's fun to try to figure out how to make something work that takes a lot of finesse. There are about 6 (depending which day you ask me) NGA techniques I put in that category - I like working on them, and teach students that they are only about exploring principles and learning to do things a harder way to force those principles. They are not techniques with actual application.
     
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  16. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    I'm trying to figure out what I'd rather do less, train only one technique for two years, or read that page on Jewish Law in England again.

    I fear either would make my explode.

    Then what the hell would I do with all my hats?
     
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  17. MetalBoar

    MetalBoar Orange Belt

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    Yes, I think that one can zero in on gaining that insight into and competence with principals from either direction. Either through a lot of repetitive practice of a very limited number of techniques until they expand organically to be applicable in a larger and larger array of circumstances or by extensive practice of a very large number of techniques until it clicks that they are all really applications of a few basic fundamental body mechanics. I think that different people learn differently and that one approach or the other may be better for a specific individual. Of course, teaching styles are also individual so not everyone can convey information equally well in all formats.

    All things being equal, I personally tend to learn better using the fewer techniques, more repetition approach. That being said, I'd much rather study under a really good instructor who came at it the other way than a mediocre or poor instructor who's overall style matched mine. I also think this changes as one develops proficiency. Once a person really has a foundation to work from and has incorporated the principles of an art into their tool set it's frequently much easier to add more and more techniques as you (consciously or unconsciously) understand how they relate to the principles you've already ingrained.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2018
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  18. MetalBoar

    MetalBoar Orange Belt

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    I completely agree with this. I don't think you're really starting to "get" an art until you have the fluency to do this. If a technique utilizes proper body mechanics and adheres to the principles of the art how can this be anything but good?
     
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  19. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    I think having a core of primary techniques would be important in either case. Whether you train the ancillary techniques (as I would - I like the exploration) to further develop the principles, or simply get stronger at the core techniques until they fill that same purpose - that's a matter of preference, as you say. What I see done that I consider a mistake, is putting equal emphasis on those ancillary techniques - either out of commitment to the art (gotta learn the whole thing equally) or out of misunderstanding of their purpose.
     
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  20. Danny T

    Danny T Senior Master

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    While getting in reps is important there comes a time that more reps of a single action simply is wasting training time when there are a multitude of other things to learn or gain proficiency in.
     
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