Do training matts encourage bad technique for street defense?

girlbug2

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Doing some groundwork techniques last night, I realized that on the finish of the move I had gotten into the habit of rolling over in such a way that I ended up landing on my bent elbow. On the matt of course it caused no pain, but on concrete it might break some bone or at least it would be a shock of pain.

Does anybody else find themselves with similar bad habits that wouldn't be there if they weren't training on a padded surface?
 

tempus

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Kind of related. I have been training in NGA for 8 years on inch mats over concrete or hard wood. I try not to do the high flying break falls due to the impact and find I will try to roll out or twist into a simple side fall if I can. If I go to another dojo where they have those layered mats with tires, foam, etc I can easily take high flying falls over my locked up arm. At times I like the small thin mats since it is close to what it would feel like to get slammed down outside. On the other hand, my body at 40 years old is starting to lean towards the nice bouncy mats.

-Gary
 

Stac3y

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Mats or no mats, you can break bones if you use your elbows or hands to break your falls.
 

Xue Sheng

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That is why you use matts.

So you can figure out that you have a bad habit of habit rolling over in such a way that you ended up landing on your bent elbow without a trip to the Emergency Room.
 

Hand Sword

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Interesting,
I can see what is meant. Aside from things like dropping your knees down for a double leg takedown all of the time in training with a mat and then meeting a surprise if done on concrete, or being shoe/sneakerless, there can be other habits. Think of grappling. On the ground, during the "scrum," the weight of you both are causing mat surfaces to move and this lets people manipulate their digits and limbs with the "give" of the mats. The grips you're used to might not be available on hard sources as easily.
 

MJS

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Doing some groundwork techniques last night, I realized that on the finish of the move I had gotten into the habit of rolling over in such a way that I ended up landing on my bent elbow. On the matt of course it caused no pain, but on concrete it might break some bone or at least it would be a shock of pain.

Does anybody else find themselves with similar bad habits that wouldn't be there if they weren't training on a padded surface?

Personally, I'm a fan of training in an environment other than the comforts of the dojo. I see no problem with using the mats part of the time, especially in the beginning phases. But working outside, as well as hard surfaces inside...yeah, I think its good to work on those as well. :)
 

Brian King

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Good topic girlbug2

The Russians have a saying loosely translated, a hard floor is an honest training partner.

I think mats are great for learning and practicing on, especially for beginners or those coming back from some injury, but eventually work must be done on a variety of surfaces, all have lessons to be learned and internalized. We all pick up bad and lazy habits. It is human nature and something we need to guard against. Good job on noticing the danger to your elbow girlbug2. Many can go years doing a movement that injures them and they never notice until too late.

Regards
Brian King
 

HerbM

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Many of the Systema folks believe that training on a hard floor is better (e.g., more honest training partner) but the Toronto school has really nice mats :)

Having done it on mats from thick to thin and all the way to basketball floors and even concrete, I firmly believe that you START on good mats, and use mats (or soft ground) for the majority of your falling practice, but that you need to take it to progressively harder surfaces.

I personally learned to fall mostly on Aikido mats, but have taken safe falls on the steel of oil rigs and parking lot concrete (non of this involved 'self-defense' but it might well have saved me serious injury, even death.)

Make learning safe. Don't exact so much punishment from practice that people will be unwilling to pay the price. Do SOME practice in realistic conditions.

Falling is likely a more important skills than martial arts per se -- you may never be criminally attacked or need your empty hand skills, but if you live long enough you will almost certainly fall and may be severely injured if you cannot find the ground safely.

This is a common (many times indirect) cause of death in the elderly. And fear of falling frequently limits their social activity and isolates older people who avoid physical activities.

Learn to fall safely. Practice safely.

--
HerbM
 
OP
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girlbug2

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Some valid points and food for thought. It may be a good idea for me to try training on a wood floor for a while, then graduate to concrete when I am more confident that my bad habits are corrected.
 

HerbM

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Some valid points and food for thought. It may be a good idea for me to try training on a wood floor for a while, then graduate to concrete when I am more confident that my bad habits are corrected.

Or mix you practice.

You can (likely) do some of the easier falls* on concrete now, but may never want to do high flying falls (by choice) on concrete.

*I didn't get your art(s) -- Systema has a number of ways to get to hard ground safely that Aikido or Judo might not call 'falls'. Even Aikido has ways to fall gently by getting close to the ground before 'falling'.

My first falls were actually in TKD, where we fell face forward onto the tile floor, and even that is mostly a trick of spreading the force and letting your arms act as springs smoothly.

A lot depends on the particular type of fall you are doing on the hard surface....

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HerbM
Keep fighting -- God will tell you when you are dead.
 

jks9199

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Training on mats doesn't create bad habits. Training on mats or other forgiving surfaces allows you to make mistakes and continue to train. Bad habits come from failing to pay attention to what you're doing, and tolerating the easy ways. In other words -- poor training creates bad habits, whether it's a partner giving you unrealistic attacks and responses, or a lazy way of standing up after falling.

You absolutely should practice all of your skills in a variety of environments unless your sole purpose in training is to be able to do things in the ideal environment of the training hall.
 

Stac3y

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I'm always happy when I get a chance to do throws on mats; it gives us the opportunity to put a little more power into them without worrying about hurting each other. Most of my judo practice is done outdoors on grass; for those of you who have ever lived in Texas, you know that the ground here is rather unforgiving. Sparring on mats is also a treat--most of our classrooms have tile floors or wood (I like the wood better); some have (ugh) carpet. Since I spar very enthusiastically, but am a klutz, I've spent a lot of time bouncing off those tile floors. Mats make me happy.
 

Drac

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The sight of mats on the floor give the first timers a sense of comfort..In the police academy the cadets train on a carpeted floor..I dont believe that padded floors make for bad techniques..
 

baron

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I remember in Dan Zan Ryu I found I had bad forn on some falls when my ankle would smack the mat. It hurt and the harder I tried not to do it the more it hit the mat. If I was on concrete I would of had a broken ankel and most likely gave up. Our instructor did incorprate falls and throws on the tile floor which was good. My main problem with mats was during certain throws as you spin on ball of foot it seemed that foot would go to deep into mat and put undue strain on ankle. But then I have weak ankles due to running crosscountry and falling in holes when I was younger.
 

James Kovacich

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Concrete is no place to learn or practice ground-involving techniques. Hard floors are not much nicer. I roll out a carpet on the cement (so not to tear the mats from contact with the cement) and lay the mats on the carpet. The cement is felt through the carpet and mat and the students will do almost anything do not have to "go down." Technique becomes poor and realism is lacking because of poor technique.

The answer is find ways to train with harder surfaces "without" injury. The indoor matwork is the only way to put in the repetitions that is required to become proficient in a realistic ground game. Take the knowledge and expand it to other areas but don't sacrifice the "true knowledge" that precedes the expanded versions.
 

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