Does the removal of "lethal techniques" lead to a better martial art?

Hanzou

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This sort of evolved from an earlier thread discussing the evolution of Jujutsu into modern Judo and Bjj.

I found a good article on this subject from Judoinfo.com and I agree with most of it. Here's a snippet;

One of the primary differences between martial sports and arts is in the value of the training methods. Because of their alleged danger or lethality, many martial arts engage in artificial and even counter-productive training which involves "pulling" techniques, modifying the point of contact, and adding in a precautionary element of movement that, rather than training the body, can inhibit its natural action and the ultimate conclusion of a technique. Slow, careful, non-contact training is not an effective approach to prepare for actual fighting situations that require the opposite reactions. Typifying this approach is a student who falsely equates the ability to break boards with the ability to punch a person in the face. As another example, I have never seen realistic training in throat strikes or eye gouges in any martial arts class, even though these are often recommended for self defense. The teaching generally done for these techniques helps students to understand what to do, but does not provide effective results for fast, reflexive and accurate application of these techniques against an unwilling opponent in real life combat.

Sport, by removing some of the potential dangers, achieves the opposite. That is, sport more typically produces natural, fast, reflexive movement with full power application, achieving a result against a struggling opponent who is also utilizing full power while engaging in strategic and tactical resistance using all of his or her resources and training. Techniques that don't work are soon abandoned, and successful skills are honed against different attackers under a variety of conditions. Maintaining control in various combat situations, both in attack and defense, is difficult when faced with the unpredictable nature of an opponent's efforts, but facing these situations in contest prepares you for similar situations. Each opponent in competition is operating at the limit of physical and psychological skill. By pushing that limit contestants are continually realizing and expanding their potential.
Sometimes the "combat" arts substitute intellectual perception, a highly subjective and deceptive frame of reference, for genuine training of the body and mind. Some martial arts don't train effectively for self defense and combat because they can't train for combat without severe risk to training partners. Many martial arts have instead adopted highly stylized, ritualistic, and even dysfunctional training methods. Ironically, martial sports may provide the superior training in effective combat techniques because martial arts can't be practiced in a real life way without injury.
In martial sports, one purpose of competition is to take the place of the older shinken shobu (life-and-death fights) in developing technique, knowledge, and character. You never see yourself so clearly as when you face your own death. Competition can provide a safe, controlled glimpse at this kind of defeat. Fighting spirit can be developed only through fighting. Surely it is not the same as the battlefield, but it serves a similar purpose, and it is closer to a combat situation than any other form of training.


Martial Art vs Sport

Thoughts?
 

Chris Parker

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Thoughts? Sure.

There are some huge disconnects between the authors beliefs and the way things are actually trained in the more "lethal" systems… his perceived issues don't actually exist.

To be blunt, it's just another rendition of the common justification/validation of one training method over another, without having the requisite understanding of at least one side.
 

Kong Soo Do

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Thoughts? Sure.

There are some huge disconnects between the authors beliefs and the way things are actually trained in the more "lethal" systems his perceived issues don't actually exist.

To be blunt, it's just another rendition of the common justification/validation of one training method over another, without having the requisite understanding of at least one side.

Chris is spot on in his assessment. Except his posts are usually longer ;)

I'll offer mine, first based off this article.

To begin, it has some obvious bias. Secondly, the author apparently has no experience to differentiate and admits so himself in the article:
I have never seen realistic training in throat strikes or eye gouges in any martial arts class, even though these are often recommended for self defense

This equates to, "I have never seen the south pole, therefore I conclude it doesn't exist". That line of thinking isn't very sound. Particularly because he's wrong. I've seen numerous classes/course, including our own that have the protective gear necessary to allow strikes to the throat and eye gouges/rakes. Apparently it works because the end results have shown that people can in fact successfully defend themselves using these techniques. I've described one of my personal altercations involving a throat strike in another thread.

Therefore the author of the article is arguing from a position of no knowledge and/or experience.

Because of their alleged danger or lethality, many martial arts engage in artificial and even counter-productive training which involves "pulling" techniques, modifying the point of contact, and adding in a precautionary element of movement that, rather than training the body, can inhibit its natural action and the ultimate conclusion of a technique.

What is his qualification for 'many' arts? And since he lists 'many' that precludes the word 'all'. His limited, or lack of experience in the true martial arts, again, makes for a poorly researched article. We certainly don't use the 'counter-productive' methods he's detailed. Perhaps 'some' do, but 'some' do not. So this is merely throwing the baby out with the bathwater in an effort to feel better about what you have chosen to devote your life to training.
Slow, careful, non-contact training is not an effective approach to prepare for actual fighting situations that require the opposite reactions

I will agree with this, not that a lot of arts actually do it. I wonder if he'd agree that competing within a limited rule set, against a violent attacker not inhibited to that rule set is a good option?

Typifying this approach is a student who falsely equates the ability to break boards with the ability to punch a person in the face.

More proof he really doesn't know what he's talking about. Breaking a board (or anything else for that matter) isn't about trying to hit someone in the face, it's about conditioning the hand and focus. I've trained my shins. Isn't so much about me kicking someone, though it would help on impact, it is in fact more about body conditioning and them kicking me. And it works in the real world.

Take a look at the following excerpts to see a common flaw in his thinking:


...against an unwilling opponent in real life combat

...struggling opponent

...an opponent's efforts

Here's the problem in his line of thinking; real life combat doesn't have an opponent, it has an attacker. You'll notice all through his diatribe the word opponent is singular. Why? Because that's all he apparently trains for in a controlled environment. Change opponent to attackers, possibly add in a weapon and an environment outside of his padded, flat, level, well lit mat and he's going to have a real problem on his hands.

Let's take a closer look at his last comment in more detail:

both in attack and defense, is difficult when faced with the unpredictable nature of an opponent's efforts,

The unpredictable nature? His opponent is abiding by the same rule set he himself is abiding by. His opponent is singular...and unarmed...and not really trying to kill him. And if he's had enough...he can tap out or just quite and walk away. That's about as predictable as you can make it.
Sometimes the "combat" arts substitute intellectual perception, a highly subjective and deceptive frame of reference, for genuine training of the body and mind.

Really? Is he basing this off his rather unimpressive experience base again?

Some martial arts don't train effectively for self defense and combat because they can't train for combat without severe risk to training partners.

A stereotype based off his inexperience.
Ironically, martial sports may provide the superior training in effective combat techniques because martial arts can't be practiced in a real life way without injury.

And yet, outside his bubble of inexperience, there are trained effectively.

In martial sports, one purpose of competition is to take the place of the older shinken shobu (life-and-death fights) in developing technique, knowledge, and character. You never see yourself so clearly as when you face your own death. Competition can provide a safe, controlled glimpse at this kind of defeat. Fighting spirit can be developed only through fighting. Surely it is not the same as the battlefield, but it serves a similar purpose, and it is closer to a combat situation than any other form of training.

And yet again, training for a competition is not combat. A limited rule set in a controlled environment, against a single, unarmed opponent that has agreed to the same restrictions is not combat by any stretch of the imagination. The author has deluded himself.
 

Danny T

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Well I would agree in the author's statement of:
"In discussing it I will make generalizations that may not apply to the way you train in your sport or martial art."

He also pens:
"Of course this can go wrong (Sport Training). Winning and losing can become too important and start to pervert the training process. The ultimate goal should not be the winning of medals. Using sport competition as a metaphor for real fighting can be quite different from playing it as a game. Matches, along with free practice and sparring, are simply different methods for training the mind and body to deal with the adversity of fighting situations.

I would also add that 'self-defense' is far more complex than simply learning to fight well; whether it be by sport or traditional type fight training.

I'd sum it up as:
For some, sport training methods could be an impetus to provide higher pressure training helping develop with a stronger fight game.
 

hoshin1600

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i will admit i only read the snipet provided but that is really all i needed, to see where this is going. my comments?...i would like people to stop trashing other systems and methods that they have no knowledge of in an attempt to validate what they do. this constant baised comparisons are getting old and quite frankly its a useless argument that goes round in circles. no one comes out of the conversation with any new knowledge or understanding.
here is a novel idea ...why not just lay out what you do, why you do it, and the specfic concepts behind it? everyone has their own opinions and every one is valid for that person. there is no need for this attitude of i like what i do better, therefore your way is wrong and ineffective. thats all BS. for any facet of MA that you think is ineffective and stupid there is someone out there who will put you in your place and give you a complete schooling by doing exactly that.
by resorting to this, my sensei can beat up your sensei and what i do is right and your way is wrong...it shows a lack of understanding of methods and concepts because that kind of comparison argument is a very pale replacement for inteligent indepth analisis and explanation of these methods and concepts. its a cop out for when you got nothing else to say.
by posting an article like this it leaves the reader in a defensive position where there is a felt need to explain and defend their own opinions and stance on the topic since the article is making claims that are obvious stabs at other methologies. are you so surprized that it leads to more bashing and arguments rather than usefull discusion?
 
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Hanzou

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What is his qualification for 'many' arts? And since he lists 'many' that precludes the word 'all'. His limited, or lack of experience in the true martial arts, again, makes for a poorly researched article. We certainly don't use the 'counter-productive' methods he's detailed. Perhaps 'some' do, but 'some' do not. So this is merely throwing the baby out with the bathwater in an effort to feel better about what you have chosen to devote your life to training.

What exactly are "true" martial arts?


And yet again, training for a competition is not combat. A limited rule set in a controlled environment, against a single, unarmed opponent that has agreed to the same restrictions is not combat by any stretch of the imagination. The author has deluded himself.

Isn't this merely semantics? The first definition of "combat" in Merriam Webster dictionary is the following;

a fight or contest between individuals or groups

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/combat

Well, you know a whole bunch of that "lethal technique" stuff is still in judo, don't you? :rolleyes:

Such as?
 
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Hanzou

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i will admit i only read the snipet provided but that is really all i needed, to see where this is going. my comments?...i would like people to stop trashing other systems and methods that they have no knowledge of in an attempt to validate what they do. this constant baised comparisons are getting old and quite frankly its a useless argument that goes round in circles. no one comes out of the conversation with any new knowledge or understanding.
here is a novel idea ...why not just lay out what you do, why you do it, and the specfic concepts behind it? everyone has their own opinions and every one is valid for that person. there is no need for this attitude of i like what i do better, therefore your way is wrong and ineffective. thats all BS. for any facet of MA that you think is ineffective and stupid there is someone out there who will put you in your place and give you a complete schooling by doing exactly that.
by resorting to this, my sensei can beat up your sensei and what i do is right and your way is wrong...it shows a lack of understanding of methods and concepts because that kind of comparison argument is a very pale replacement for inteligent indepth analisis and explanation of these methods and concepts. its a cop out for when you got nothing else to say.
by posting an article like this it leaves the reader in a defensive position where there is a felt need to explain and defend their own opinions and stance on the topic since the article is making claims that are obvious stabs at other methologies. are you so surprized that it leads to more bashing and arguments rather than usefull discusion?

The author is making a logical argument. I would say that is "bashing" someone, or belittling the training methods of others.

Simply put, you can't fully train to gouge someone's eyes out, or smash someone in the throat. Is that to say that there aren't people out there that can't perform those types of techniques on people?

Of course not. However, I would argue that I could get more people to perform a perfect hip throw, or triangle choke, than I could to get people to perfect the method of scooping someone's eye out with their fingers.
 

RTKDCMB

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One of the primary differences between martial sports and arts is in the value of the training methods.

Value is a subjective term, what is valuable to some people is worthless to others.

Because of their alleged danger or lethality, many martial arts engage in artificial and even counter-productive training which involves "pulling" techniques, modifying the point of contact, and adding in a precautionary element of movement that, rather than training the body, can inhibit its natural action and the ultimate conclusion of a technique.

All training is artificial to some extent. What can be counter productive is only training techniques that are safe to do on your opponent and then having to use those alleged lethal techniques ijn a self defense situation and finding out the hard way that you have not practiced them as much as you should have.

Slow, careful, non-contact training is not an effective approach to prepare for actual fighting situations that require the opposite reactions. Typifying this approach is a student who falsely equates the ability to break boards with the ability to punch a person in the face.

This statement shows that he lacks understanding of non-contact training and board breaking. Non-contact training can be slow or fast just like full contact training can. Careless training, no matter the contact level is detrimental to those who are training. The primary reason for board breaking is to test and develop technique, not to be an alternative to punching someone in the face.

As another example, I have never seen realistic training in throat strikes or eye gouges in any martial arts class, even though these are often recommended for self defense. The teaching generally done for these techniques helps students to understand what to do, but does not provide effective results for fast, reflexive and accurate application of these techniques against an unwilling opponent in real life combat.

I'd be willing to bet he has not seen that in any sporting arena either.

Sport, by removing some of the potential dangers, achieves the opposite. That is, sport more typically produces natural, fast, reflexive movement with full power application, achieving a result against a struggling opponent who is also utilizing full power while engaging in strategic and tactical resistance using all of his or her resources and training.

Sport also removes some of the potential valuable elements of self defense, which can also produce all of those, and so can non-contact training for that matter.

Techniques that don't work are soon abandoned, and successful skills are honed against different attackers under a variety of conditions. Maintaining control in various combat situations, both in attack and defense, is difficult when faced with the unpredictable nature of an opponent's efforts, but facing these situations in contest prepares you for similar situations. Each opponent in competition is operating at the limit of physical and psychological skill. By pushing that limit contestants are continually realizing and expanding their potential.


Context is the key, successful skills in the sporting arena are not necessarily the same as those that ere required to be successful in a self defense situation, especially when you have removed many of the techniques that are more dangerous to use in competition.

Sometimes the "combat" arts substitute intellectual perception, a highly subjective and deceptive frame of reference, for genuine training of the body and mind. Some martial arts don't train effectively for self defense and combat because they can't train for combat without severe risk to training partners. Many martial arts have instead adopted highly stylized, ritualistic, and even dysfunctional training methods. Ironically, martial sports may provide the superior training in effective combat techniques because martial arts can't be practiced in a real life way without injury.
In martial sports, one purpose of competition is to take the place of the older shinken shobu (life-and-death fights) in developing technique, knowledge, and character. You never see yourself so clearly as when you face your own death. Competition can provide a safe, controlled glimpse at this kind of defeat. Fighting spirit can be developed only through fighting. Surely it is not the same as the battlefield, but it serves a similar purpose, and it is closer to a combat situation than any other form of training.


Here he is replacing one form of safety for another. First he talks about martial arts adding a precautionary element and suggests that it is a bad thing and then turns around and states that competition provides a safe controlled environment and suddenly that's a good thing.
 
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Hanzou

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This statement shows that he lacks understanding of non-contact training and board breaking. Non-contact training can be slow or fast just like full contact training can. Careless training, no matter the contact level is detrimental to those who are training. The primary reason for board breaking is to test and develop technique, not to be an alternative to punching someone in the face.


Sport also removes some of the potential valuable elements of self defense, which can also produce all of those, and so can non-contact training for that matter.

Quick question (albeit off topic): How would someone learn how to grapple (Bjj, Judo, Sombo, etc.) in a non-contact training environment?
 

RTKDCMB

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The author is making a logical argument.

The author s making a logical argument based on his beliefs and point of view, not on what is actually true.

I would argue that I could get more people to perform a perfect hip throw, or triangle choke, than I could to get people to perfect the method of scooping someone's eye out with their fingers.

That is technically a straw man.

I would argue that I could get more people to perform a perfect eye poke than I could to get people to perfect the method of scooping someone's eye out with their fingers would also be a straw man.

I would argue that I could get more people to perform a perfect hip throw, or triangle choke than I could to get people to perform a perfect eye poke would not be a straw man but would be a statement of fact. Considering that you specialize in those kinds of techniques I would not doubt that you could.
 

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Quick question (albeit off topic): How would someone learn how to grapple (Bjj, Judo, Sombo, etc.) in a non-contact training environment?

You wouldn't. I can see where your confusion lies. Non-contact training does not mean that there is no physical contact between training partners of any kind. You still have to touch your opponent to throw them, to block their strikes, to apply joint locks and a bunch of other stuff I can't think of right now. Non-contact just means that you control the distance of your strikes at full extension to the point where you can either stop inches from your target, just touch, lightly touch, heavily touch or go right through. Non-contact also does not mean you never get hit, I've been hit plenty of times.
 
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The author s making a logical argument based on his beliefs and point of view, not on what is actually true.

True or False: Can you can practice safe techniques at a higher level of pressure, and with more frequency than more dangerous/deadly techniques?

True of False: Actually hitting and getting hit is a superior method to learning how to hit and to be hit than having to "pull" your techniques?

That is technically a straw man.

Granted. I should have simply said Eye Gouging. It is far easier to have someone perfect the hip throw, than to have someone perfect the eye gouge.

You wouldn't. I can see where your confusion lies. Non-contact training does not mean that there is no physical contact between training partners of any kind. You still have to touch your opponent to throw them, to block their strikes, to apply joint locks and a bunch of other stuff I can't think of right now. Non-contact just means that you control the distance of your strikes at full extension to the point where you can either stop inches from your target, just touch, lightly touch, heavily touch or go right through. Non-contact also does not mean you never get hit, I've been hit plenty of times.

So "non contact" only applies to striking?
 

elder999

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Such as an entire catalogue of chokes-just as in BJJ, chokes are lethal if not released.

Such as an entire catalogue of throws that are meant to drop a person on their head.

Such as an entire catalogue of strikes that are part of the entry to those throws, many of which make the throw lethal.
As an example, this last one: if one executes koshi garuma with an entry that consists of a strike to the clavicle, the fractured clavicle saws against the subclavian artery during execution of the throw.


Of course, hardly any judo teachers teach it this way anymore, or are even aware of it, and, in fact, koshi garuma isn't taught to be executed all that well, since the intention is to drop the opponent on the mat for points or to win the contest in the sport now called "judo," which isn't really judo at all, anymore....
 
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Hanzou

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Such as an entire catalogue of chokes-just as in BJJ, chokes are lethal if not released.

Such as an entire catalogue of throws that are meant to drop a person on their head.

Such as an entire catalogue of strikes that are part of the entry to those throws, many of which make the throw lethal.
As an example, this last one: if one executes koshi garuma with an entry that consists of a strike to the clavicle, the fractured clavicle saws against the subclavian artery during execution of the throw.


Of course, hardly any judo teachers teach it this way anymore, or are even aware of it, and, in fact, koshi garuma isn't taught to be executed all that well, since the intention is to drop the opponent on the mat for points or to win the contest in the sport now called "judo," which isn't really judo at all, anymore....

Well there's a difference between techniques that can be potentially lethal, and techniques designed purely to cause permanent injury or death.
 

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Well there's a difference between techniques that can be potentially lethal, and techniques designed purely to cause permanent injury or death.

And that's what you're missing-once upon a time, when the techniques were designed, they were all designed purely to cause permanent injury or death. Just because they aren't taught that way, doesn't mean that they aren't just that way, and have always been.
 
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Hanzou

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And that's what you're missing-once upon a time, when the techniques were designed, they were all designed purely to cause permanent injury or death. Just because they aren't taught that way, doesn't mean that they aren't just that way, and have always been.

And in the case of Judo and later Bjj, those deadly techniques were either removed, refined, or relegated to kata practice. This increased the safety of performing those techniques, while maintaining their potential lethal nature.

There's a big difference between getting choked and tapping out, and getting blinded by an eye gouge. You can come back from a choke that you tapped out from. There's no way you can come back from a successful eye gouge being performed on you. I've successfully choked countless people. To date, I've never successfully eye gouged someone.

So which do you think I'm better at? Choking or eye gouging?
 

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And in the case of Judo and later Bjj, those deadly techniques were either removed, refined, or relegated to kata practice. This increased the safety of performing those techniques, while maintaining their potential lethal nature.

"Refined" might as easily in this case, mean "hidden."

There's a big difference between getting choked and tapping out, and getting blinded by an eye gouge.

There's very little difference between applying a choke until the opponent is unconscious, and killing them.

You can come back from a choke that you tapped out from. There's no way you can come back from a successful eye gouge being performed on you. I've successfully choked countless people. To date, I've never successfully eye gouged someone.

There are other ways of practicing eye gouges-likewise, shooting someone. In fact, I'd say that nearly everyone who has shot someone hit paper targets for practice before hand. Likewise stabs: I'd never stabbed anyone until the day I did, but I'd practiced it hundreds of times.

Oh, and that eye gouge? I've done that, too-and that guy didn't die. He didn't even lose his eye: I apparently needed a bit more practice.
 
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article said:
As another example, I have never seen realistic training in throat strikes or eye gouges in any martial arts class, even though these are often recommended for self defense. The teaching generally done for these techniques helps students to understand what to do, but does not provide effective results for fast, reflexive and accurate application of these techniques against an unwilling opponent in real life combat.

I'd be willing to bet he has not seen that in any sporting arena either.

Really? I've seen it countless times;


The wrestler was able to provide fast, reflexive and accurate application of his techniques against an unwilling (trained) opponent.
 
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I think this is a rehash of what we have been discussing for months. Neil Ohlenkamp is a top Judoka without doubt and has written this article from his perspective to justify his training and his training methodology. I believe that the article has been posted because it reflects the training and the training methodology of the OP.

There is nothing wrong with training that way and it is not wrong to train a RB style, just that one is, in the main, training for competition.

The only comment I will make is to disagree with the idea of pulling punches to demonstrate control. Sure, people who pull punches may still be able to punch hard, but I do believe it is not good training. I think it is better to have the range right and punch with reduced power. It is easy to increase power. It is much more difficult to adjust range.

Now, I'm out of here. I've heard it all before.
:s436:
 

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