My Goals

RobotGymnast

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I'm going to list my goals, and hope that you can suggest books/videos that would be beneficial. I'm a newbie, so if you can suggest other things that should probably be in this list, feel free.

  • Learn an art that is not based on kata, but rather based on adaptation to a situation
  • Develop reflexes (I've heard Krav Maga is good for this)
  • Develop flexibility (Yoga?)
  • Learn about controlling Chi
  • Learn about controlling fear and/or pain
  • Learn to disarm opponents with weapons (a variety of realistic, current weapons)
I feel like I'm missing some things, but I can't think of what.
Thanks for any help!
 

Chris Parker

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Hi,

Okay, first things first. Look for a teacher, not a book or DVD. You simply can't learn this stuff from a book.

Okay, next. Your list reads a little like someone who has seen a few too many movies, to be blunt. I would ask what you know of "kata based" systems if you class yourself as a newbie, and why you feel they would be of no use to you, or not include the concept of adaption? What most people consider "kata based" is really only one form of kata training (Karate, Tae Kwon Do etc), and the kata portion is not the only way these arts are transmitted. So don't rule them out.

Relfexes and flexibility can come as part of the "added benefits" of a particular system, but realistically, they do not form the core benefits that any martial art will focus on. If you want to develop your reflexes, take up sports with high levels of hand-eye coordination required, preferably a very fast moving one at that. For flexibility, yoga, pilates, or gymnastics are good. Or just get into the habit of having a stretching routine every day.

The next two are the ones that worry me a bit. Controlling chi and controlling fear/pain... The obvious question is what exactly do you understand about chi/ki/qi; how it works, what it is etc? And what do you mean by "controlling" it? Any number of more traditional schools (Chinese, Japanese etc) will include aspects of chi/ki/qi in their teachings, but if you are looking for the "no-touch chi knock down/out", you are either going to be disappointed or duped. Remember, chi is a belief more than anything else, and that will lend itself to mis-interpretation quite easily.

Controlling fear and pain... if you manage to get to the point where fear on longer affects you, or you are immune to pain, let me know how you did it! The best you can do is to get used to them, understand that fear is just a survival mechanism that is designed to help you, and pain is a way of attempting to prevent you from major harm (fire hurts, so you take your hand out of it...). The best fighters in the world still feel fear, they just know how to manage it.

As for disarming opponents armed with "realistic, current weapons", what are you meaning here? Knives? Pistols? Baseball bats? Chains? Rifles? Shotguns? What are you likely to come up against? That will depend on where you are, and what the prevalent weapons of your area are. Here in Australia you are far more likely to face a knife than a gun, in the US it may be a bit different (depending on location), in the Middle East different again.

So in conclussion, my advice is fairly simple, and it is something that I offer everyone who asks me the same type of question. Look around your area and see what is available to you. Visit as many schools as you can, and see what you like. It is highly unlikely that you will find exactly what you describe here (a modern non-kata adaptive system focused on modern weapon assaults as well as the concept of chi is like asking for the latest computer system which stll takes cartidges). But one that may give you this (depending on the instructor and their understanding and focus) is a Ninjutsu school. Provided they know how to understand modern assaults, and that is not all of them.

But the most important thing is not the art, it is the school and the instructor. And what you are looking for is not in books and DVDs. You need a real school.

I wish you luck in your journey.
 

Tez3

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Hi,

Okay, first things first. Look for a teacher, not a book or DVD. You simply can't learn this stuff from a book.

Okay, next. Your list reads a little like someone who has seen a few too many movies, to be blunt. I would ask what you know of "kata based" systems if you class yourself as a newbie, and why you feel they would be of no use to you, or not include the concept of adaption? What most people consider "kata based" is really only one form of kata training (Karate, Tae Kwon Do etc), and the kata portion is not the only way these arts are transmitted. So don't rule them out.

Relfexes and flexibility can come as part of the "added benefits" of a particular system, but realistically, they do not form the core benefits that any martial art will focus on. If you want to develop your reflexes, take up sports with high levels of hand-eye coordination required, preferably a very fast moving one at that. For flexibility, yoga, pilates, or gymnastics are good. Or just get into the habit of having a stretching routine every day.

The next two are the ones that worry me a bit. Controlling chi and controlling fear/pain... The obvious question is what exactly do you understand about chi/ki/qi; how it works, what it is etc? And what do you mean by "controlling" it? Any number of more traditional schools (Chinese, Japanese etc) will include aspects of chi/ki/qi in their teachings, but if you are looking for the "no-touch chi knock down/out", you are either going to be disappointed or duped. Remember, chi is a belief more than anything else, and that will lend itself to mis-interpretation quite easily.

Controlling fear and pain... if you manage to get to the point where fear on longer affects you, or you are immune to pain, let me know how you did it! The best you can do is to get used to them, understand that fear is just a survival mechanism that is designed to help you, and pain is a way of attempting to prevent you from major harm (fire hurts, so you take your hand out of it...). The best fighters in the world still feel fear, they just know how to manage it.

As for disarming opponents armed with "realistic, current weapons", what are you meaning here? Knives? Pistols? Baseball bats? Chains? Rifles? Shotguns? What are you likely to come up against? That will depend on where you are, and what the prevalent weapons of your area are. Here in Australia you are far more likely to face a knife than a gun, in the US it may be a bit different (depending on location), in the Middle East different again.

So in conclussion, my advice is fairly simple, and it is something that I offer everyone who asks me the same type of question. Look around your area and see what is available to you. Visit as many schools as you can, and see what you like. It is highly unlikely that you will find exactly what you describe here (a modern non-kata adaptive system focused on modern weapon assaults as well as the concept of chi is like asking for the latest computer system which stll takes cartidges). But one that may give you this (depending on the instructor and their understanding and focus) is a Ninjutsu school. Provided they know how to understand modern assaults, and that is not all of them.

But the most important thing is not the art, it is the school and the instructor. And what you are looking for is not in books and DVDs. You need a real school.

I wish you luck in your journey.

Damn it, another good post from you!! :)

says everything needed!
 

jks9199

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So in conclussion, my advice is fairly simple, and it is something that I offer everyone who asks me the same type of question. Look around your area and see what is available to you. Visit as many schools as you can, and see what you like. It is highly unlikely that you will find exactly what you describe here (a modern non-kata adaptive system focused on modern weapon assaults as well as the concept of chi is like asking for the latest computer system which stll takes cartidges). But one that may give you this (depending on the instructor and their understanding and focus) is a Ninjutsu school. Provided they know how to understand modern assaults, and that is not all of them.

But the most important thing is not the art, it is the school and the instructor. And what you are looking for is not in books and DVDs. You need a real school.

This says it all.

Every style includes kata in some form; they just may not call it that. Kata training is just a way to incorporate the movement patterns into your body and mind. Some kata are strict, lengthy formal exercises done alone; others are done with partners. Sometimes "kata" are much more fluid exercises. Shadowboxing is a good example of that sort of exercise; shadowboxing lets you experiment with incorporating the punches, blocks and combinations with movement.

Most of the rest of what you're looking for is the by-product of solid training. You develop reflexes to suit your art, whether that's learning to brace up and absorb shots in hardened areas of your body, or slipping off and avoiding the shot. You develop flexibility as you develop fitness -- and you learn to cope with your fears as you confront them.

You can find arts that deal with all sorts of weapons -- and often, you can find ways that the principles developed for avoiding a spear thrust work pretty damn well against a rifle... and so on. But the reality is that the attacks we have to worry about in self defense, unless we're in the military, are generally about the same as the ones we've had to worry about for generations. A baseball bat is just a club by another name, and to a large extent, a knife is a knife, whether it's a machete, a Bowie, or the latest tactical folder.

"Chi" is something different entirely. Bluntly... there's so much crap out there about chi and internal energy that it's hard to find the facts. The bigger the claim, the more proof I want. Personally, I think any real chi/qi/energy development is the product of good basic training.

In the end, look for a school and teacher that are the right fit. The rest'll come from that.
 

Tez3

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Ooooh we aren't talking about chi balls are we? Love em!
 
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RobotGymnast

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Hi,

Okay, first things first. Look for a teacher, not a book or DVD. You simply can't learn this stuff from a book.
Unfortunately, most publicly taught martial arts are not well-taught. I discovered this after a few years of Karate and Judo, realizing that although I was considered pretty good, I would still not use those against an opponent.

Okay, next. Your list reads a little like someone who has seen a few too many movies, to be blunt. I would ask what you know of "kata based" systems if you class yourself as a newbie, and why you feel they would be of no use to you, or not include the concept of adaption? What most people consider "kata based" is really only one form of kata training (Karate, Tae Kwon Do etc), and the kata portion is not the only way these arts are transmitted. So don't rule them out.
I learned Katas in Karate and a bit in Judo, and immediately found that it was unlikely that things would execute in a manner that perfectly allowed these Katas to execute. I'm fine with learning Karate, but not through Katas (it could just be that my brain doesn't absorb something like that well). I consider adaption not to be a predetermined string of movies, like the Katas were.

Relfexes and flexibility can come as part of the "added benefits" of a particular system, but realistically, they do not form the core benefits that any martial art will focus on. If you want to develop your reflexes, take up sports with high levels of hand-eye coordination required, preferably a very fast moving one at that. For flexibility, yoga, pilates, or gymnastics are good. Or just get into the habit of having a stretching routine every day.
Sounds good to me. I used to take gymnastics, but didn't have the patience to keep going to the gym. I continue to feel that the best way to learn is learning it on your own, because then the system is adapted to the way you learn best. Not a lot of teachers do this either.

The next two are the ones that worry me a bit. Controlling chi and controlling fear/pain... The obvious question is what exactly do you understand about chi/ki/qi; how it works, what it is etc? And what do you mean by "controlling" it? Any number of more traditional schools (Chinese, Japanese etc) will include aspects of chi/ki/qi in their teachings, but if you are looking for the "no-touch chi knock down/out", you are either going to be disappointed or duped. Remember, chi is a belief more than anything else, and that will lend itself to mis-interpretation quite easily.
o_O I've never heard of some "no-touch chi knock down/out". That's.. uhm.. wow. I'm starting to see why the martial arts system has been going to hell around the edges. However, I know Chi to be controlling energy inside your body, and to focus it to specific areas to strengthen them.

Controlling fear and pain... if you manage to get to the point where fear on longer affects you, or you are immune to pain, let me know how you did it! The best you can do is to get used to them, understand that fear is just a survival mechanism that is designed to help you, and pain is a way of attempting to prevent you from major harm (fire hurts, so you take your hand out of it...). The best fighters in the world still feel fear, they just know how to manage it.
I don't mean to fully remove either. However, I have managed to control both to some degree. By controlling fear, I meant to keep it out of your body (restrain it to your mind. Vladimir Vasiliev has a knife disarmament video, which says you must keep fear out of your body to remain fluid/limber. Sounds right to me), and keep it from affecting your judgment. By controlling pain, I mean to keep lesser degrees of pain from triggering automatic impulses. I've had some success with both of these.

As for disarming opponents armed with "realistic, current weapons", what are you meaning here? Knives? Pistols? Baseball bats? Chains? Rifles? Shotguns? What are you likely to come up against? That will depend on where you are, and what the prevalent weapons of your area are. Here in Australia you are far more likely to face a knife than a gun, in the US it may be a bit different (depending on location), in the Middle East different again.
I just meant weapons that are used today at close range. Not necessarily specific ones. For instance, a knife, a baseball bat, and a chain would probably cover the general feeling for most of the weapons that would be realistically used. In Canada, I'd say the most common weapon's probably a knife.

So in conclussion, my advice is fairly simple, and it is something that I offer everyone who asks me the same type of question. Look around your area and see what is available to you. Visit as many schools as you can, and see what you like. It is highly unlikely that you will find exactly what you describe here (a modern non-kata adaptive system focused on modern weapon assaults as well as the concept of chi is like asking for the latest computer system which stll takes cartidges). But one that may give you this (depending on the instructor and their understanding and focus) is a Ninjutsu school. Provided they know how to understand modern assaults, and that is not all of them.
I live in Canada, which is like the "small town" of the world to begin with. Aside from that, I live in a small town. It's an hour away from Toronto, though. My problem is: I've tried a number of schools, as I mentioned before, but I still feel that although the instructors are quite proficient, they are not teaching the students properly. No instructor seems to understand what made them good, and the students are left repeating a few moves. In Judo, this is bad enough, because without some sort of offense training, you will inevitably fail (unless it's combined with another art, which could make it quite powerful). If you're not taught in some sort of realistic environment (like sparring), I've found my brain doesn't absorb very much.

On the other hand, if I personally train myself, and let myself imagine being in a realistic environment, and understand why each move works, then I do get some results.
 

jks9199

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Unfortunately, most publicly taught martial arts are not well-taught. I discovered this after a few years of Karate and Judo, realizing that although I was considered pretty good, I would still not use those against an opponent.


I learned Katas in Karate and a bit in Judo, and immediately found that it was unlikely that things would execute in a manner that perfectly allowed these Katas to execute. I'm fine with learning Karate, but not through Katas (it could just be that my brain doesn't absorb something like that well). I consider adaption not to be a predetermined string of movies, like the Katas were.


Sounds good to me. I used to take gymnastics, but didn't have the patience to keep going to the gym. I continue to feel that the best way to learn is learning it on your own, because then the system is adapted to the way you learn best. Not a lot of teachers do this either.


o_O I've never heard of some "no-touch chi knock down/out". That's.. uhm.. wow. I'm starting to see why the martial arts system has been going to hell around the edges. However, I know Chi to be controlling energy inside your body, and to focus it to specific areas to strengthen them.


I don't mean to fully remove either. However, I have managed to control both to some degree. By controlling fear, I meant to keep it out of your body (restrain it to your mind. Vladimir Vasiliev has a knife disarmament video, which says you must keep fear out of your body to remain fluid/limber. Sounds right to me), and keep it from affecting your judgment. By controlling pain, I mean to keep lesser degrees of pain from triggering automatic impulses. I've had some success with both of these.


I just meant weapons that are used today at close range. Not necessarily specific ones. For instance, a knife, a baseball bat, and a chain would probably cover the general feeling for most of the weapons that would be realistically used. In Canada, I'd say the most common weapon's probably a knife.


I live in Canada, which is like the "small town" of the world to begin with. Aside from that, I live in a small town. It's an hour away from Toronto, though. My problem is: I've tried a number of schools, as I mentioned before, but I still feel that although the instructors are quite proficient, they are not teaching the students properly. No instructor seems to understand what made them good, and the students are left repeating a few moves. In Judo, this is bad enough, because without some sort of offense training, you will inevitably fail (unless it's combined with another art, which could make it quite powerful). If you're not taught in some sort of realistic environment (like sparring), I've found my brain doesn't absorb very much.

On the other hand, if I personally train myself, and let myself imagine being in a realistic environment, and understand why each move works, then I do get some results.

I see the problem now...

The problem isn't what you were taught at all. Nor is it that you weren't permitted to "find your own way." It's how you practiced.

Check around MT; some of this has been talked to death... But you need to change the focus of your training to achieve useful self defense skills. It's true that very few commercial schools do much of this openly. It just doesn't sell well.

You might look into some seminars and clinics. They may help you find what you're looking for. Lots of very skilled martial artists learned by maximizing short, intensive visits with their instructors and training hard in-between.
 
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RobotGymnast

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I'm confused. Most school advertise themselves as self-defence schools. And I have no problem with that; in fact, I prefer it. But at the same time, if I'm attacked by someone, I find it useful to be able to, say, drive my knuckle into their temple and cause a brain hemorrhage (obviously not as a first resort, but I like to be covered in the instance that I DO have to). Once a hostile attack's been noticed, it's important to be able to take the offensive side.
 

Ken Morgan

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Unfortunately, most publicly taught

I live in Canada, which is like the "small town" of the world to begin with. Aside from that, I live in a small town. It's an hour away from Toronto.

Where do you live?
 
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RobotGymnast

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A few hours from Guelph. I'd honestly prefer if a question like that were asked in a PM.
 

Tez3

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A few hours from Guelph. I'd honestly prefer if a question like that were asked in a PM.

why? the answer can be sent in a PM.

I think you may want to do some more investigating into martial arts if that's what you think katas for btw.

Being able to drive your knuckle into someone's brain is a technique reserved only for 10th Dans in Eckythump.
 

jks9199

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I'm confused. Most school advertise themselves as self-defence schools. And I have no problem with that; in fact, I prefer it. But at the same time, if I'm attacked by someone, I find it useful to be able to, say, drive my knuckle into their temple and cause a brain hemorrhage (obviously not as a first resort, but I like to be covered in the instance that I DO have to). Once a hostile attack's been noticed, it's important to be able to take the offensive side.
It ain't that easy to do something like that; how many punches does a boxer or MMA fighter take and keep going? You seem to have a kind of immature view of violence and self defense.

You don't think throwing someone who doesn't know how to fall ain't likely to end the fight pretty effectively? You didn't learn to punch in those karate classes?

How much time did you give any of the arts you studied?

I'm going to strongly recommend a book to you: Meditations on Violence by Rory Miller. I think you might find it very useful -- though an honest read of it will shatter some of your preconceptions.
 

still learning

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Hello, Tried JUDO....it maybe more than you think it is...

Very hands on training (actual stuffs).....Aloha,
 
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RobotGymnast

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I don't think katas are for learning to drive a knuckle into a temple... I think I misunderstood something.

It ain't that easy to do something like that; how many punches does a boxer or MMA fighter take and keep going?
I'm confused, could you explain the analogy a bit more?

You seem to have a kind of immature view of violence and self defense.
There are a lot of views. My personal view is the same as that of the law: as much force as necessary, but not more, should be used to subdue someone attempting to hurt you. It was an exaggeration, not a technique I'd literally end up using.

You don't think throwing someone who doesn't know how to fall ain't likely to end the fight pretty effectively?
Too many negatives. If you're saying that a throw against someone who didn't know how to fall would end a fight quickly, I ask why the military puts emphasis on training techniques like punching the temple. Some techniques are more effective than others.

You didn't learn to punch in those karate classes?
I did, but most people know how to punch correctly.

How much time did you give any of the arts you studied?
Two years (I think) of Karate, and quite a few years of Judo. Not sure how many.
 

jks9199

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I don't think katas are for learning to drive a knuckle into a temple... I think I misunderstood something.
You'd be amazed at what can legitimately be found in traditional kata. They were developed as a means of transmitting skills that can't always be practiced without running out of folks to practice with. Of course, those applications aren't always taught to the less mature students.
I'm confused, could you explain the analogy a bit more?
I think it's pretty simple. In fact, it's NOT an analogy. It's a statement of fact. I've responded to more incidents of people being hit than I can count; there've been a few concussions (most from falling down not the actual punch!) and nobody's had their gray matter scattered by a punch. Look at a boxer or MMA fighter. They can take literally hundreds of punches in a fight and keep going. It's only a little bit due to conditioning and training; it's more due to simple human physiology. One hit fight enders IN THE REAL WORLD are real rare.
There are a lot of views. My personal view is the same as that of the law: as much force as necessary, but not more, should be used to subdue someone attempting to hurt you. It was an exaggeration, not a technique I'd literally end up using.
I'm more than a little aware of the law and how it applies to violence. It's kind of a major factor in my profession, y'know... using force within the limits of the law. Interestingly enough -- the law wasn't what I was referencing there. A lot of your understanding of violence seems to be based on movies and TV, and not the real world. Again, you just might find Rory Miller's book instructive.
Too many negatives. If you're saying that a throw against someone who didn't know how to fall would end a fight quickly, I ask why the military puts emphasis on training techniques like punching the temple. Some techniques are more effective than others.
The military tends to put the emphasis on using a gun first, a knife second, and empty hands only as a last resort to deal with the enemy. After all, they do buy soldiers lots of bullets and guns... And a soldier facing an enemy on the battlefield is in a different position than a civilian walking the streets and getting in a fight or attacked.

And, again, I got news for you... Lots of those "one hit kill spots" don't work so good in the real world.

I did, but most people know how to punch correctly.
First, most people DO NOT know how to punch correctly. In fact, quite a few martial artists don't know how to punch correctly, for a variety of reasons.

Two years (I think) of Karate, and quite a few years of Judo. Not sure how many.

Two years of what style of karate? And just what is "quite a few" years of judo from someone who's not sure if they trained for 2 years? Your profile lists an orange belt in judo; that's not very far along from what I can tell about Canadian belt rankings in judo.

I kind of suspect that you haven't found the answers because they're buried in something kind of dull. Training.

Training is a building process; you don't see the end on day one any more than you can see the final shape of a building from the foundations. And, just like a building will fall with a poor foundation, if you don't have solid and good foundations in the basics of an art -- you won't find the end results that work.
 
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RobotGymnast

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Oops, it became a green belt a while ago. However, while most clubs dole out stripes and belts very quickly, in this particular club, it would take a very long time to get a new belt. I did Judo for.. somewhere between 4 and 6 years.

Once again, it was an exaggeration. However, if the hit DOES land properly on the temple, you won't get back up. Just most people move. I was really just pointing out the techniques LIKE that, that may be quite harmful, but effective, are good to know IN CASE.

My view of violence is, again, simply that it should be used when necessary. Don't believe that I go around wishing to kill people at random; I have trouble killing a bug. There are spiders in my shower that I can't kill, despite that they annoy me, because I know that they were spawned by a spider I saw earlier this year. However, if a bug bites me, I kill it without a second thought. I don't believe you can punch someone once and knock them unconscious (again, unless you aim for a "sweet spot", as it were. But those often cause major side effects if they were hit hard enough to knock the person out). Once again, I want to say that the technique I referenced was really just a symbol for my point that such obviously offensive techniques are good to know.

I know a lot of people in boxing, who throw very powerful punches. I haven't asked a lot of people, so I don't know. I suppose the people who've talked to me about it would be the more educated ones, so I might be getting falsely high data.

I don't know what style of Karate, I was relatively young. I'm fine with training if I see a point, and that's the key. However, these arts seem rather badly taught, and, having seen my Judo classmates spar, I know they could be taken down rather quickly by, for instance, a boxer. I'm not insulting Judo, but it just doesn't work as a standalone art. If coupled with another, more offensive art, I think it could be very powerful.
 

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Okay, I'm going to make this short and simple.

Find an instructor. One you can respect and learn from. It doesn't matter what they teach, really. Then train. If you aren't getting the results you are after, talk to your instructor, or look (very realistically!!) at yourself. You may indeed be giving yourself unrealistic goals and ways of measuring success. You say that after 2 years of karate (when you were very young) and 4 or 6 years (?) of Judo didn't leave you feeling like you would take someone out. That word is very telling, and tells me that the issue is in your head, not the teaching. Get a teacher who can guide you through this, 'cause no book ever will. You will simply delude yourself.
 
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RobotGymnast

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I didn't say I couldn't take someone out, I said that a peer in my Judo class would have been taken down.
...having seen my Judo classmates spar, I know they could be taken down rather quickly by, for instance, a boxer...
I use this term because it also transmits a feeling of someone who thinks they could fight would be stripped of that belief.

I apologize if martial arts are about fighting to me. Yes, they can be about simply subduing an opponent, perfectly to the point where they no longer pose a threat. However, I think it's my turn to point out that this is not realistic. It's not in human nature to be subdued and simply walk away. It's human nature to keep fighting someone who's beating you. And this means that most fights will end in someone being "taken down". In fact, this term is even more accurate because fights can often go to ground work rather quickly.

However, it seems that people have already formed conclusions about me based mostly on poor communication and misunderstandings. Because of this, I won't be likely to get help, because people will be too busy trying to correct things I personally don't see as a problem. So I suggest we let the thread simply die.
 

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Melbourne, Australia
Actually, this is the quote I was refering to: "I discovered this after a few years of Karate and Judo, realizing that although I was considered pretty good, I would still not use those against an opponent."

This, amongst other phrasings, gives me my idea of where you are coming from. And anyone can be "taken out" by anyone who has done anything... or nothing. Plenty of martial artists get cleaned up by street fighters with no training but plenty of experience. As for the rest of your sentence, I don't think anyone here was implying that martial arts should be only about subduing someone, and the whole "most fights go to the ground" thing... not really. That is taken from very skewed polls, has been overly exagerated, and become an advertising line for ground-based systems.

Oh, and we have been trying to help. You have come here for advice from those more experienced, and we have given. If you dont like the advice, that's fine. But you may notice that we are all saying the same thing, so I may suggest you re-read what has been said and take a look at what you have been advised.

As said, I wish you luck with your journey, and will only re-itterate that you really do need an instructor. If nothing else, please take this on board.
 

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