Is It Worth Training?


Senior Master
Jun 16, 2005
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I hate having to do this. 6th time man. All righty then
  • Judging the difference and power of one style over another is completely useless.
Miyamoto Musashi
  • In any form of freestyle/fight, it is the person in the fight who determines the winner. Styles of martial arts are meant to teach you how you can, and/or should move and react in a fight.
  • These are the principles of the fighter who wishes to be at all successful in a fight. They come in the form of 6 philosophies. 5 are taught in Coung Nhu, 1 is my own.
3 Os principle
i. Open heart
ii. Open mind
iii. Open arms
5 Rs for self defense
iv. Right time
v. Right place
vi. Right techniques
vii. Right perspective
viii. Run
5 Ws for self defense
ix. Wrong time
x. Wrong place
xi. Wrong people
xii. Wrong attitude
xiii. Wrong attitude
5 As for self defense
xiv. Awareness
xv. Alertness
xvi. Avoidance
xvii. Anticipation
xviii. Action
5 firsts for friendship
xix. Communicate
xx. Smile
xxi. Care
xxii. Share
xxiii. Forgive
The 10 things to devolop for self defense (mine)
xxiv. Skill in striking with the hands and legs
xxv. Skill in grappling
xxvi. A strong stance and guard
xxvii. Skill in moving evasively
xxviii. Skill in defending yourself from weapons commonly used in violent crime
xxix. Skill in wielding the above weapons, and yawara
xxx. Skill in running quickly, and talking your way out of a bad place
xxxi. Skill in defending yourself from multiple opponents
xxxii. Knowing when to do what in a self defense situation
xxxiii. Free style that hone your above skills
The Os and firsts are meant to prevent the need to defend yourself. Simply if you have many friends, fewer people will want to fight you. The five As help to prevent being put in a self defense, by being alert who is likely to start trouble, and where you can go to avoid it. Notice I used the 2nd and 3rd A. the Rs are about how to survive, the Ws are about how to not survive.
Lastly my own. If you are in a self-defense situation, and cannt strike with your hands, well youre screwed. Same with grappling, its an introduction to weapon defense. If you dont have a good stance and guard that complements you personal style, once again your screwed. If you cant move evasively, well do I really need to say it? If you cant defend from weapons you likely to use, well lets all say it together. o.k. So you have the knife out of there hands, now what? Stand there and look pretty? No, you cut his guts out if he makes a move you dont like.
Most of the time if you are in a self-defense situation the best plan is to either run or talk your way out of it. If you have never trained talking yourself to safety, how safe are you? And what if you cant run quickly, then what? A lot of the time in self-defense you might have to deal with more then one bad guy/girl. So if you cant defend yourself from more the on opponent, well you probably get the picture. You practice different forms of freestyle to train and further ingrain what you have learned. That is why sparring and like forms were created.
And if you dont know when it is appropriate to do what, you could be legally screwed. You should know when to run, when to talk, when to hold, when to strike, when to hurt, when to maim, when to use a weapon, and (most grimly) when to kill.
Of course this is not always true. A pro boxer could kick the living crapp out of anyone who trains these points. Why? Because boxers train almost constantly, so they can really blast guys. My 10 points are meant for the person that wants to be able to defend them self, but not have to train all day. For part of fighting in the ring and in a self-defense situation is about how well, and how frequently you train what you know.
Also, when you train, after you have more-or-less mastered the technique in the ideal (no resistance/contact), you must add contact/contact. Do this slowly over time, not all at once. Then after you have mastered with difficulty, remove it and add back round noise, or other distractions. And lastly put the two together. Full contact and lots of distraction. But do it slowly, not all at once. Doing it all at once, will ruin any chance of using it later, or even understanding it.
When you train free style, do it with Mushin and mugame. Mushin is closing down your mind, just acting and reacting. Not thinking about how you will. When you think in such situations, you get put in a bad place. Mugame is the physical equivalent of Mushin. Be mentally and physically relaxed. If your mind is racing, you get put in a bad place. If you are tense, you are slower, dont have the reach you normally would. Be relaxed until the very last moment. Then be tense.

Sweet Brighit Bless Your Blade,

John (who hopes there will never have to be 7th time to put this)


Senior Master
MT Mentor
Dec 20, 2005
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Sunny San Antonio, TX
Sadly, the idea that TMA are useless is an attitude that many of us have had to deal with. Some face such criticism with a shrug, others with a militant defense of their years spent training.

Unfortunately, I face this attitude on a daily basis teaching karate to deployed troops here in Iraq, especially since the advent of the "Modern Army Combatives" system which is very BJJ/MMA based. "I don't need that...I do combatives!" is a common response. I usually smile and let them go on their merry way, since there is little that I can tell them that they are going to listen to. I do, usually, invite them to class anyway for them to see if they might like it. Those who do show up usually tell me the next day or the day after next about how their legs are so sore from that horse stance thing....

I make no bones about telling perspective students that if they believe that they will successfully defend against an attacker swinging a pipe at their head with a rising block from front stance and finish them off with a reverse punch, that they will probably be dead and minus their wallet. I do, however, point out that the same principles taught in Front stance, high block, reverse punch and so on translate directly to a practical method of self defense. The only difference is in how we get there.

A particular individual that I worked with, any time the topic of unarmed combat training comes up, would say "Thats why I got a gun!" or some derivative of the same sentiment. This, too, is a common response shared by many nay-sayers.

The difference between many TMArtists and many MMArtists is this...most TMAers will be willing to study MMA material, but many MAAers won't study TMAs.

My two bits.

Flying Crane

Sr. Grandmaster
Sep 21, 2005
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San Francisco
Is TMA still worth training in today's world? Of course it is. Personally, I can't imagine doing it any other way.