Where does your training fit on the Macho Scale?

Discussion in 'Filipino Martial Arts - General' started by geezer, Jul 9, 2017.

  1. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    Yesterday I was training with a couple of guys. One had a freshly broken pinkie finger which he declined to mention to me until about half way through practice when we were doing disarms ...and he kept dropping his stick and grimmacing.

    Another nearly guy caught a stick in the eye doing drills. Later he mentioned that he did have safety glasses but preferred not to wear them. They "looked dumb".

    This got me to thinking about the risks we take and the general role of machismo in MA training ...even among the guys (and it usually is the guys in my experience) who are not overly "macho" in their day-to-day lives.


    Here are a few random thoughts: Since I coach a small group and can't afford insurance, so maybe I should require safety glasses whenever we are training? And maybe I should set an example, modeling the correct behavior, by wearing safety gasses myself. 'Cause the waiver we all sign is probably next to useless if I get sued. And getting hit with a suit is a lot scarier than getting hit with a stick!!!

    ....But on the other hand, if I do that, I will look like a dork. Er ...make that more of a dork. :D At any rate it will definitely move me down on the Macho Scale. ....You guys know about the Macho Scale, right?

    THE MACHO SCALE:


    Menos Macho --------------------------------------------- Mas o Menos ----------------------------------------------Muy Macho
    1---------------2---------------3---------------4--------------5--------------6 ---------------7---------------8 ---------------9--------------10

    Let me give some random examples to start:

    Me? I'm a goof-ball. But I'm not a "fraidy-cat". All told, I'd like to think I'm around a 5. ...that's Mas o menos. Macho is OK if you aren't a poser. You've got to be honest with yourself, and you have to balance it with common sense and concern for your students. I'd gladly drop down lower on the scale, ...you know, wearing stupid safety glasses, or whatever, if it helps my students train safely. On the other hand, you do have to accept some risk. After all, FMA is a martial art.

    Then there's the guy I met at open training once, ...he's a body builder too ---super buff. Anyway, he said that if you didn't train all drills with near full power with no padding or protection that you weren't learning properly. That if you didn't bust up your fingers, etc. you wouldn't learn to respond properly to a real threat.

    Maybe I'd rate him 6-7. I'd give him 8 if he actually did suffer injuries instead of just inflicting them on his students. ;)


    And, of course, there's the Dog Brothers. Total respect. Especially those who compete repeatedly and become a full fledged Dog Bro. And though I've never met him, Crafty Dog Mark Denny seems like a standup guy and an accomplished martial artist, not like the jerk described above. I'd easily give any of those guys an 8 or better ...and in a good way.

    Now, how about these guys:



    ...I don't know. Just seems a little over-the-top to me. I'd give them a 9, but that's not necessarily an endorsement. Not something I'd want to do, even if I were a lot younger.

    So what's a 10?

    ...Well, how about this guy. Carlito Bonjoc. Years back I attended a seminar with him:



    Carlitos has spina bifida which, I'm told, is a progressively deteriorating congenital condition where some of the nerves of the base of the spine are open and exposed. As a young man, Carlitos could walk after a fashion. He took up Serrada Escrima and became very good in spite of his physical issues.

    When I met him, he was already basically confined to a wheelchair, but could hoist himself up onto a bar-stool and wedge himself into a more or less stable position braced with his extended legs. From that point he became like the calm eye of the hurricane, mata sa bagyo, raining blows down with lighting speed and accuracy. Amazing to watch.

    During one hard exchange he became unbalanced and the bar-stool toppled. Carlto was sent crashing to the floor, right on his damaged spine. He went pale as a ghost and almost passed out. A couple of people ran to assist him. In a moment, he caught his breath, shook himself free, and with a fierce grimace, hauled himself right back up onto the stool and proceeded to continue with the demo.

    That's a 10.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2017
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  2. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    Kind of brings us back to that marvellous, age old question. Who is muy Macho? Ricardo Montalban or Fernando Lamas?
    Sorry, I couldn't resist that. :)

    I don't really train any more, just do some working out and teach. But I've seen some things in my day...

    One that sticks out in my mind - in the eighties, I was refereeing a point tournament. Billy Blanks was fighting a guy and they tumbled to the floor, intertwined. They get up, go back to the line, Billy says to me, "hey, ref, will you fix my foot?" I thought he was referring to his safe-t-kick so I bent down and found - his big toe was twisted upside down. Toenail on the floor, pad of the toe looking right up at me.
    I said, "Dude, I'm stopping this match, your toe is F'd."
    He says, "Just yank it and twist it back. Please?" Then he says - "but twist it THAT way." Had I twisted it in the wrong direction - I don't even want to think about that."

    So I grabbed the damn toe, and don't ask me why, but I kiai-ed when I yanked/twisted it back into place.
    Billy said, "Thanks. Let's go."
    So I started the match again. He went on to win, win the heavyweight division, then win the Grand Championship. By the end his toe and front part of his foot were swollen up like a salami. He didn't care. I know it's only a toe, but, damn.

    Not sure if that's macho or mental illness, but it still makes me wince when I think about it.
     
  3. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    We require students to have their own insurance, common practice in the UK. We have instructor and public liability but students get their own.

    A lot of people including myself have a high pain threshold so it's not machismo that makes them carry on training more that it doesn't hurt very much.
     
  4. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    Yeah we have a guy who just trains through.

    He also tells his wife he is working back late so he can do hill sprints.
     
  5. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    Should have made his opponent do it.

     
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  6. Charlemagne

    Charlemagne Black Belt

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    This whole Full Contact thing in FMA is relatively new in the grand scheme of things. The advent of stick based systems came later, but systems were originally about the blade primarily. I don't mean that to be a pejorative, just trying to explain part of the reason why you would have seen less in the way of full contact earlier in the history of FMA.

    Having said that, I do see some value in going full contact, or at least hard contact, from time to time. I've done it, and have some good pictures of the bruises to prove it. Other than that, technical sparring will work fine. If I have your timing, do I really need to pop you in the face for you to know I had you, or can I just leave the stick sitting right in front of your nose? And to be honest, it is probably how people really trained before the development of modern protective equipment. After all, they were farmers, etc. who had to go back and work, take care of their families, etc. They couldn't afford to get injured in training. I remember listening to a video where Leo Giron talked about that. They did technical sparring with the sheaths from their swords, or just did it with the sheath on the sword itself.

    As for the Sayoc video above, I like some of what they do, and have trained with some of the guys in that same video, but sparring that way with no protective equipment is just ignorant. The art is supposed to serve you, not the other way around.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2017
  7. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

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    I do taijiquan....so....is there a level 0...... I'm just a slow moving pansy.....
     
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  8. Blindside

    Blindside Senior Master

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    In respect to Dog Brothers, going to a Dog Brothers Gathering isn't a training method, it is getting into several fights. I don't think the main purpose of a Gathering is for technical development, it is more about learning about facing fear of getting hurt and how you react under pressure. I don't get adrenaline dumps in any normal training hall, I still get them (fortunately to a far lesser extent) 5 Gatherings in, and this is useful for me. I have watched good technical kali/escrima/whatever guys resort to simple 1 and 2 slashes when under pressure and under adrenaline. I watched a guy who can play all kinds of siniwalli tricks basically ignore his left hand for two minutes. I have watched combat veterans who are normally aggressive on the sparring floor freeze up and become reluctant to engage. I have seen guys trained under technical sparring methods repeatedly lose their sticks because they weren't used to the contact. People do weird things under adrenaline, what the Dog Brothers do isn't getting into combat, but it is a not safe duel under limited circumstances. Getting exposure to that adrenaline before a real fight can only be useful.

    The other thing I have learned about from Dog Brothers is about fighting different systems than my own. Either through watching them fight or getting into fights with them, I have learned how other systems approach the fight, something that I could never do in my training hall alone.

    Edit: adding below
    I do think there is something about building physical and mental toughness that is important as a fighter. If I had to pick who on random was the least tough between your average boxer, wrestler, or FMA player I would pick the FMA guy. Wrestling and boxing develops and toughness as a matter of course, you can kind of skate by on the toughness scale as a FMA guy. Me, I am just a technique geek that just gets into these fights to make sure this stuff works. :D
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2017
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  9. Charlemagne

    Charlemagne Black Belt

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    I don't disagree with any of that. I was actually speaking to my instructor about it this morning after a training session. There is value in delivering real hits at full speed with precision, and there is value in knowing what it is like to take a hit and keep fighting. Way too many martial artists, and FMA is full of these, can get to instructor rank and have never taken a real hit before. That is a problem.
     
  10. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    It's also immensely funny when one of those meets a real hit! I've seen it happen at seminars when those who don't get hit meet those who do.
     
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  11. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    Fighting with bad intentions can be a big mental shift.
     
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  12. elder999

    elder999 El Oso de Dios!

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    I started training Kyokushinkai when I was barely a teenager.

    Where does my training fit on the "macho scale?" My seniors fought bulls and bears, bare handed,....so somewhere between "mas a menos" and "muy macho." Even today..
    Call it....Mas Oyama.[​IMG]
     
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  13. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    My kiai is "Not in the face!"
     
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  14. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes Senior Master

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    Here's a story which helped convince me that I would never ever approach the upper end of the macho scale ...

    It's about Kevin Randleman, back in his collegiate wrestling days, before he got into MMA.

    According to Mark Coleman, Randleman was competing in a tournament, and partway through he got his jaw dislocated in one of his matches. Even though he won the match, the officials told him that he would not be allowed to go on to the next match with a dislocated jaw.

    Randleman went to Coleman (who was his coach at the time) and asked Coleman to punch him in the jaw to knock it back into place. After Coleman sensibly refused to do so, Randleman got down on a mat, turned his head sideways, and slammed the side of his own face into the mat to knock his jaw back in to position.

    He then went back out to win the rest of the tournament.

    Think about it for a minute. Even if he didn't have top-notch skills. Even if he wasn't a physical beast, Would you ever want to fight someone who has that mindset?

    Nah ... I'm a big old wuss and I'm happy to admit it.
     
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  15. Charlemagne

    Charlemagne Black Belt

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    Yeah. No thanks. I don't mind getting it on once and a while in training, but there is almost no winning against a guy like that.
     
  16. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

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    yeah, even if I outskilled and had better athleticism than that guy, no way am I winning that fight. I'm not going to dislocate someone's jaw, see them pop it back in, and just continue fighting them like nothing happened. At that point, I'll just hope I'm the faster runner.
     
  17. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    Not so God damn fast, fellas. Randleman, may he rest in peace, was indeed a beast.

    And when a beast lays something like this on you....



    There's no beating him. And yet....

    But you go on thinking "I can't beat that guy". Go on now.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2017
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  18. Jenna

    Jenna Senior Master

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    What kind of martial art do bulls and bears practice?
     
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  19. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes Senior Master

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    Last I checked, I wasn't Fedor. I'm not sure the macho scale applies to cyborgs. Randleman was crazy. Fedor just looks bored while he gets thrown on his head and then beats you a moment later anyway.
     
  20. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    What was it he finished Randleman with, a Kimura maybe? Some kind of arm lock.

    Tony, you got that in your arsenal, in spades I'll bet. And you certainly know the position game.

    And don't get me wrong, I was a fan of Randleman, always enjoyed watching him fight. Just sayin'.
     
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