Avoiding training to fight your own style

drop bear

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Apparently we all are going to learn kyokkushin sparring soon to help a guy prep for a comp
 

JowGaWolf

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I think there is some confusion with the term word "Style." I think OP is referring to the system and not style as in a person's approach to fighting. For example, fighting style vs fighting system. When I posted my comment I was answering from the perspective of people within the same fighting system fighting against each other (Jow Ga vs Jow Ga).

When I fight against another system like Jow Ga vs Muay Thai, then there is very little contamination where I'm adopting Muay Thai techniques and methods into my Jow Ga techniques. My goal is to always stay true to Jow Ga since that's what I train in 5 days a week. I can't get good with Jow Ga if I'm practicing Muay Thai. I can however sometimes learn how to better apply Jow Ga by understanding how Muay Thai applies their techniques against me. The most recent example is that I learned through discussion how Muay Thai applies the knee strikes as I result I have a better idea of how to apply the Jow Ga knee strikes. I learned that Muay Thai likes to knee their opponent when they are off balance. I can take that same concept and apply it to Jow Ga while remaining true to the fighting system.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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I think there is some confusion with the term word "Style." I think OP is referring to the system and not style as in a person's approach to fighting. For example, fighting style vs fighting system. When I posted my comment I was answering from the perspective of people within the same fighting system fighting against each other (Jow Ga vs Jow Ga).

When I fight against another system like Jow Ga vs Muay Thai, then there is very little contamination where I'm adopting Muay Thai techniques and methods into my Jow Ga techniques. My goal is to always stay true to Jow Ga since that's what I train in 5 days a week. I can't get good with Jow Ga if I'm practicing Muay Thai. I can however sometimes learn how to better apply Jow Ga by understanding how Muay Thai applies their techniques against me. The most recent example is that I learned through discussion how Muay Thai applies the knee strikes as I result I have a better idea of how to apply the Jow Ga knee strikes. I learned that Muay Thai likes to knee their opponent when they are off balance. I can take that same concept and apply it to Jow Ga while remaining true to the fighting system.
I'm also referring to the 'system' rather than the style. IMO, everyone has their own fighting style, but that's heavily influenced by their system, and that influence is the fighting systems style. Im not explaining it well unfortunately, but cant figure out another way to define it.

I agree fully with your comments in terms of people within the same fighting system-its a very good way to handle it. But I think it's also more important to spar those from other systems, especially if fighting is your concern rather than SD.

Again, when I say contamination it's probably not the right word. I don't really mean that my Kempo or your Jow Ga is getting contaminated by sparring someone of a different style. But how I view my style may change in ways I wouldn't think of without that experience. That change in view (using your example, applying the kneeing when off balance) is what I mean by contamination. It's good for the most part. But, if as a Kempoist I sparred MT guys 4 days a week, I'm sure that I would lose my Kempo, especially since that likely means I'm practicing Kempo less. Instead, I would like to spar them once a week or so, learn the new way of viewing the style, while not sacrificing my Kempo time to do so. That's what I mean by balance.
 

JowGaWolf

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But, if as a Kempoist I sparred MT guys 4 days a week, I'm sure that I would lose my Kempo, especially since that likely means I'm practicing Kempo less.
I don't think you would lose your Kempo. I think you would actually get better at using Kempo against Muay Thai. Sparring against Muay Thai that often would make you very familiar with their method of attacks and tactics. At that frequency you would actually know more about applying kempo against Muay Thai than your teacher (provided that your teacher doesn't have experience with fighting Muay Thai fighters).
 

Juany118

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Some Martial Arts were largely designed for competition against like practitioners. They can indeed be used for self defense but still their design revolves around the competition. No I won't name the arts I put into this category :p. Other Martial Arts were designed with the idea of fighting other martial arts because they were fighting systems rather than competitive systems.

Regardless of the art, because even the competition design issue can be overcome, the issue simply starts with the teacher. Does the officer teach with what I refer to "combatives" in mind. This helps because this kind of instructor should have you practicing in such a way where you are dealing with techniques other than that used by your art because such an instructor knows to fight in real life means to encounter people who fight differently. As with many things in MA I think it starts with the right instructor.
 

Gerry Seymour

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One thing I think we all see all the time across nearly all styles of martial art, is the tendency to learn to fight practitioners of your own style, rather than the general population of the greater world.

Shotokan stylists learn to deal with huge, lunging punches. Taekwondoders may spend an unusually large amount of time learning to avoid, block, jam, or scoop beautifully performed high kicks. We often see Win Chun practitioners training to predict and defend against strikes, traps and what-have-you which have a uniquely Win Chun-ey flavour to them.

It's hard to avoid. If you train at a gym, chances are your sparring partners will have similar training and style to you. Let's take something like push hands competition, with a heavy focus on sensitivity, flow, and maintaining a loose arm contact an control. When both players want to maintain arm contact, well, maintaining that arm contact becomes pretty easy, and the game becomes about what happens when both players want arm contact most of the time.

This leads to complex technique, and deep exploration of concepts from this basic premise, and the idea of exploring your art intensely when pitted against someone with an equally intense commitment and deep understanding is invaluable. The mindset of technique, counter, counter to the counter, counter to the counter to the counter, and so on can develop entire systems within a school that really only work within that school.

But, effective push hands, or more generally the concepts of fluid control and redirection learned from push hands, become dramatically altered when one person wants to play a different game. Against someone who is interested in fighting a mobile game from the outside, snapping off strikes and snapping the back as fast as possible, the ideas which work in the first paradigm falter. The same goes for strikers who encounter grapplers, grapplers who encounter strikers, kickers who encounter people who like takedowns, close fighters who encounter really good long-range strikers, etc.

All of which is a looooong, tedious lead in to my question. Who do you guys avoid the misleading effects of training within a paradigm, of training specifically to beat your own style?
Firstly, if you're training with the same people over a period of time, this tendency is (in my opinion) unavoidable. Even if you all have deep experience in entirely different styles (one FMA, one CMA, one Shotokan, one boxing, one Savate, etc.), you'll eventually develop habits to handle the tendencies of the folks you train with.

From an individual perspective, getting a chance to train with folks from other schools (yes, even within the same style), other arts, etc. is a good way to start identifying some of your fixations so you can work on them. Seminars can be good for this. For those who like competition, open competitions (true MMA, as opposed to what the competitions have become, where you can expect many of the same responses from everyone).

From within a school, there are a few things that can be done to work on these tendencies, too. Teach students how to attack in a way that's inconsistent with the art. In my program, that's part of the ukemi waza (techniques of receiving the attack). They learn to attack off-balance, they learn to attack from a distance, they learn to attack with less body control, etc. These are all contrary to how we learn to use our bodies in the art, but are things they need to be able to handle in their defense. You can also host seminars from instructors outside the art, which always challenge the habits and tendencies of the school.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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I don't think you would lose your Kempo. I think you would actually get better at using Kempo against Muay Thai. Sparring against Muay Thai that often would make you very familiar with their method of attacks and tactics. At that frequency you would actually know more about applying kempo against Muay Thai than your teacher (provided that your teacher doesn't have experience with fighting Muay Thai fighters).
I don't know if it was sleeping on it before reading this, or the response itself, but you are entirely right. My original point was actually supposed to be that sparring against other styles is an effective way to deal with in-style issues like the OP. Somehow it changed to sparring against other styles may cause you to lose some of your base, which based on experience, and looking at any number of traditional MMA fighters, is not true. I will stick to the idea that if you spend too much time no that, you may be losing time that you would spend training your system, but that goes with any sparring. As long as you have a good base in the art though, what you are saying is correct.
 

drop bear

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Situational sparring probably helps. We did a bit of that today.
 
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Koshiki

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I think there is some confusion with the term word "Style." I think OP is referring to the system and not style as in a person's approach to fighting. For example, fighting style vs fighting system. When I posted my comment I was answering from the perspective of people within the same fighting system fighting against each other (Jow Ga vs Jow Ga).

Yup! Sorry for any confusion. Given this definition, I'm definitely referring to a system, rather than a personal style.

If you're fishing for specific answers, you will be unhappy with any other answers.

Haha, point taken. I guess to further clarify, I assumed that having experience with people outside one closed school was a given, so I was looking for more in depth conversation beyond that. I wasn't especially fishing for answers either, rather discussion, because I'm curious.

The interacting with other styles IS the step to take to prevent a closed feedback loop. Drills like what Jowga mentions are absolutely useful, but you are still fighting/sparring people with the same base. The only way to fully escape is to spar people with a different base.

Obviously, if you want to make sure your not creating a closed feedback loop, you need and open mat, or to cross train, or to somehow gain exposure to how other people do things.

I guess what I've been trying to get across is that yes, interacting with other styles is A step. I disagree that it's the step. I think anyone who's been at a martial art for a while has seen people experience other styles, "say, oh, that's cool," and then go right on doing the same stuff they've always done.

The topic I was hoping to get into is, given that you are somehow getting experience of outside systems, what steps do you take after that to work that knowledge in?

For example I can think that grabbing punches and performing wrist locks works great all the time, because it does against people in my school, training with a certain mindset. I can then go spar with some other people, realize that I can't catch a single punch or wrist lock any of them, and then go back to my main system and train exactly the same as before in class. The mere act of sparring other systems doesn't ensure that new knowledge has a way to be worked into your home system.

I guess a good way to rephrase the topic would be:
If outside experience is a given as step One, then what is step Two?

For example, my school system hosts an annual 3-day meet-up of a bunch of different schools from the area (and some from a couple states over), where everyone teaches classes and shares their system. We get a few various Karate styles, there's usually a TKD school, there's always some FMA, a Tai Chi guy, BJJ, we've had a couple kickboxers, and basically just a ton of stuff, and your head gets crammed with, honestly, way to much stuff to really register over a three day weekend.

So BAM, a ton of new experiences. Hypothetically, let's pretend I run a school, and say I find that the Tai Shing guys are really impressive and challenge a lot of what I do, for example. Great, but then, next week at my home school, when the Tai Shing guys are once again 150 miles away, what steps would I take to implement that new found knowledge in my own system? That's the sort of question I was trying to ask.

From within a school, there are a few things that can be done to work on these tendencies, too. Teach students how to attack in a way that's inconsistent with the art. In my program, that's part of the ukemi waza (techniques of receiving the attack). They learn to attack off-balance, they learn to attack from a distance, they learn to attack with less body control, etc. These are all contrary to how we learn to use our bodies in the art, but are things they need to be able to handle in their defense.

This is something I very much like to do. I certainly don't have the experience to actually Box, but I've done enough boxing to imitate a boxer, and see how that changes what does and does not work, for example. Does that arm-drag takedown work on someone who likes ranged sparring? If not, what has to change? What about someone who wants to take you down? What about a Tai Chi practitioner?

Anyway, definitely some interesting thoughts, all. Always interested in hearing what exactly people do to incorporate outside knowledge.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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Obviously, if you want to make sure your not creating a closed feedback loop, you need and open mat, or to cross train, or to somehow gain exposure to how other people do things.

I guess what I've been trying to get across is that yes, interacting with other styles is A step. I disagree that it's the step. I think anyone who's been at a martial art for a while has seen people experience other styles, "say, oh, that's cool," and then go right on doing the same stuff they've always done.

The topic I was hoping to get into is, given that you are somehow getting experience of outside systems, what steps do you take after that to work that knowledge in?

For example I can think that grabbing punches and performing wrist locks works great all the time, because it does against people in my school, training with a certain mindset. I can then go spar with some other people, realize that I can't catch a single punch or wrist lock any of them, and then go back to my main system and train exactly the same as before in class. The mere act of sparring other systems doesn't ensure that new knowledge has a way to be worked into your home system.

I guess a good way to rephrase the topic would be:
If outside experience is a given as step One, then what is step Two?

For example, my school system hosts an annual 3-day meet-up of a bunch of different schools from the area (and some from a couple states over), where everyone teaches classes and shares their system. We get a few various Karate styles, there's usually a TKD school, there's always some FMA, a Tai Chi guy, BJJ, we've had a couple kickboxers, and basically just a ton of stuff, and your head gets crammed with, honestly, way to much stuff to really register over a three day weekend.

So BAM, a ton of new experiences. Hypothetically, let's pretend I run a school, and say I find that the Tai Shing guys are really impressive and challenge a lot of what I do, for example. Great, but then, next week at my home school, when the Tai Shing guys are once again 150 miles away, what steps would I take to implement that new found knowledge in my own system? That's the sort of question I was trying to ask.

Ok, there was some miscommunication, so here's my answer to this question.

In the best case scenario, what you want to do is videotape your fights. This allows you to look back later, see what it was that you did that didn't work, and figure out why that was the case. It may be the case that it was a fluke; what you did was good, but the person flinched weirdly, or you were distracted, etc. In that case, you don't have to worry about it IMO. It may be that you were sloppy with your technique/strategy. In that case, working with your own system to refine it is fine. It may also be that they defended in some way that negated what you did. In that case, watch the video, see how they negated it, come up with an alternative and have someone react the way they did, and play around with the alternative to see if its effective. There are more scenarios, but that's likely the general responses.

Chances are, you won't have the best case scenario (I doubt your school system lets you videotape the meetup). I normally don't and the last time I got a video of myself sparring was about a year ago. In that case, the most important thing is the open mat/tournament/whatever itself. Pay attention to what you do, and put a lot of thought into it. If you're not competing, try a ton of different ideas, even ones that don't work well at your school. During/right after, notice what you did that worked, and what you did that didn't. For the things that didn't try to figure out what went wrong. For instance, if your going against a TKD guy, and every time you go in for an elbow you get kicked, maybe work on your instep to be quicker, or your setup so they don't notice the elbow coming. Start practicing what you think might have messed you up, and see how it works. Of course, having someone imitate the style if they can while you're practicing this may help too.

I probably should have started this, but this is assuming your style is one that has answers to it. It may not, and you'll have to recognize the flaws in your style. When I noticed serious flaws in my ground grappling, along with my throws to some extent, I didn't use Kenpo techniques to improve it, or have fellow Kenpo practitioners 'imitate' grappling arts...I trained with Judoka and learned from them. As far as I know, there would have been no way for me to improve to a competent level (Im still not at a competent level in that aspect) had I tried to use Kenpo to overcome my weakness.
 

Ironbear24

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It isn't about style or TMA vs MMA. It's about sparring with the same 5 or 10 guys/girls in your gym or dojo over and over and over again.

You will become so accostumed to adapting yourself to better fight them that you will fall into a systematic routine in your fighting. So when anyone does something you are not used to happening to you often it can be devastating.
 

drop bear

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Compete in everything. Turn up to the local wrestling bjj shoot boxing karate comp and have a go.
 

Gerry Seymour

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I guess what I've been trying to get across is that yes, interacting with other styles is A step. I disagree that it's the step. I think anyone who's been at a martial art for a while has seen people experience other styles, "say, oh, that's cool," and then go right on doing the same stuff they've always done.

Actually, most of the changes (other than simple improvement over time) I've made in my NGA in the last 15 years or so came from experiences during seminars, taking private lessons in other arts, etc.

For example I can think that grabbing punches and performing wrist locks works great all the time, because it does against people in my school, training with a certain mindset. I can then go spar with some other people, realize that I can't catch a single punch or wrist lock any of them, and then go back to my main system and train exactly the same as before in class. The mere act of sparring other systems doesn't ensure that new knowledge has a way to be worked into your home system.

This is where your Step 2 lives. When you get back from that experience (not being able to get the punch, finding yourself trying to get a wrist lock where it's not available, etc.), then you go back and get a good partner to mimic the movements that you were dealing with. Then you work on what you should have been doing. Do you need to enter more? Perhaps slip off-line to get behind the shoulder, where you can work the arm instead of the wrist? Work more on your counters to someone whose arms don't present for easy grabs? No, it won't be as difficult as working with that person who frustrated your usual attempts, but a good partner can help you work on that. These are exactly the experiences that should change your approach.

Here's an example for me. NGA has a lot of techniques that work reasonably against a knife (as reasonably as anything does). However, when I went to a seminar that included some FMA, I discovered a flaw in how we were blocking. It likely was insignificant for the "average" knife attack, but left a severe opening to the FMA player. So, I altered my approach. I taught a couple of my training partners to attack differently, to expose this weakness for me, and then I used a parry that's closer to what the FMA players were using and which still led to some of our techniques for the finish (different techniques than I'd commonly used before then). That has become an abiding change in how I work.

That experience changed a lot of what I do in my art in subtle ways. It also changed how I teach - it taught me to teach people different ways to attack, even beyond what I'd experienced. I actually teach students (eventually) how to give bad attacks - off-balance, over-committed, off target, etc. - because those can happen. I teach students to give good attacks, both "normal" and to mimic some styles. I teach students to give "test" attacks; those attacks that are just testing your defenses (feints, etc.).
 
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