only ___ moves

wckf92

Master of Arts
Joined
Mar 20, 2015
Messages
1,535
Reaction score
514
Over the years, we always hear or read about how Master or Sifu "so and so" only used about 3 or so hands or techniques or moves to win all his fights. (i.e. I've read that this was the case for Yip Man, and for WSL).

Is this the result of years of training what for some is a vast system containing forms, weapons, numerous drills, ancillary exercises, etc...?

Why is it this way? Is it necessary to train all three forms, muk yan jong, and the weapons, just to end up with "3 moves" that win all the fights?

Is it just the requisite process of having to go from A to Z; only to end up using 3 of the letters to get the job done?

Discussion is welcome! Thx!
 

PiedmontChun

Purple Belt
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Messages
323
Reaction score
134
That's an interesting question I have thought about before. Why learn such a huge catalogue of movements, only to discard much of it eventually or in actual use? It begs the tempting question of "why not learn the most effective bits and just be done with it?"

One thought that comes to mind though; is that to learn the system in it entirety, is to engrain the fundamentals into your own movement so well that you are bound to favor certain techniques or movements and shed what is not necessary, but you still have to learn it before you can test it and discard anything.

Some of it might be just favoring things that produce high percentage results, meaning if something works for you, then you are going to repeat it and continually reinforce it. There are 40 official throws of Kodokan Judo, in addition to numerous other counter throws and techniques. However, you see black belt level judokas win at the Olympic level with their own core of 3 to 4 throws, that they have learned work well for them, have learned inside and out as well as how to set them up numerous ways. BJJ has dozens of complex submissions and chokes, not to mention the exponentially complex setups to all of them, yet in a competition, people will lean on what they are most familiar with and has worked in the past, minimizing the risk of putting themselves in a weak position. And a LOT of time is spent working on technique with the assumption that it will be used against people who know the same things and are better prepared to counter it than the average Joe who has no training.

WC is a somewhat different animal though. I would imagine that being efficient by design and intent, it will seek to attack the simplest and most direct way possible, and it really only diverges from that as an exception to the rule. A lot of the later learned forms and movements are really just for when a mistake was made, or maybe when WC has to overcome another WC student (common at class, not so common in a real fight I would imagine). Both people cannot occupy the same space fighting up the middle, after all.

I'm rambling a bit this morning but hopefully this is coherent.
 
Last edited:

Martial D

Senior Master
Joined
May 18, 2017
Messages
3,402
Reaction score
1,148
In combat in general, (not just WC) a larger syllabus of (useable,practical) movement gives you a positional advantage and detracts from predictably.

That doesn't mean you can't use your ''go to's" most of the time. It's just sometimes you can't.
 

VPT

Green Belt
Joined
May 11, 2017
Messages
156
Reaction score
45
Within the tradition of my karate style, there is a phrase/guideline called "ichigi ichiji", or 銝銝鈭. It's awfully untranslatable in its meaning ("one technique, one thing"), but in its essence it refers to notion that amongst hundreds of hand, foot and other techniques contained within a given style, to be effective one should only focus on a single one or a few at maximum that should be trained to the point where any possible attack would be possible to be received, deflected or blocked with that single go-to technique.

It is simply not possible, efficient or necessary to practice several dozens of different techniques and skills to deal with a limited number of threats. The plurality of motions in a style is just for the sake of completeness of knowledge and to serve as a collection of different options to suit different and unique individuals.
 

PiedmontChun

Purple Belt
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Messages
323
Reaction score
134
It certainly does dude.
I think that is what many eclectic styles, or more modern offshoots of existing styles do - they try and take the effective techniques or movements that seem most viable or teachable, trim anything superfluous, and compile together. Krav Maga comes to mind since it borrows some fundamentals from Muay Thai, Kali, BJJ and Judo. I think the downside of that is that it could become a loose bag of techniques without strong underlying principles tying it all together (not saying this about Krav in particular though).
 
OP
wckf92

wckf92

Master of Arts
Joined
Mar 20, 2015
Messages
1,535
Reaction score
514
I think that is what many eclectic styles, or more modern offshoots of existing styles do - they try and take the effective techniques or movements that seem most viable or teachable, trim anything superfluous, and compile together. Krav Maga comes to mind since it borrows some fundamentals from Muay Thai, Kali, BJJ and Judo. I think it could become a loose bag of techniques without strong underlying principles tying it all together (not saying this about Krav in particular though).

Makes me wonder if some WC schools/lineages should follow suit! ;)
 

yak sao

Senior Master
Joined
Aug 18, 2008
Messages
2,175
Reaction score
755
In order to simplify, you need something to simplify from.
A WC fighter should strive to get better and better at less and less. But in order to do this you need the context of the system.
My SNT can only get so good if I only know it in the context of SNT. But when I start seeing it through the eyes of CK or BT the dummy and the weapons it takes on a different light.

So now the simplification process is not because I only have a limited understanding and I am forced to keep it simple, I now see everything from the totality and the simplification process is now more effective.
 
OP
wckf92

wckf92

Master of Arts
Joined
Mar 20, 2015
Messages
1,535
Reaction score
514
In order to simplify, you need something to simplify from.
A WC fighter should strive to get better and better at less and less. But in order to do this you need the context of the system.
My SNT can only get so good if I only know it in the context of SNT. But when I start seeing it through the eyes of CK or BT the dummy and the weapons it takes on a different light.

So now the simplification process is not because I only have a limited understanding and I am forced to keep it simple, I now see everything from the totality and the simplification process is now more effective.

Good points dude. Thx.
 

Kung Fu Wang

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Sep 26, 2012
Messages
13,461
Reaction score
4,202
Location
Austin, Tx/Shell Beach, Ca
only used about 3 or so hands or techniques or moves to win all his fights.
A MA system may contain 40% offense skill and 60% defense skill. No matter how good you are in your Fu Shou, Tan Shou, Bon Shou, you will still need to use offense skill to finish a fight (such as a punch on the face).

If your opponent moves in toward you, you put your fist in his moving path, his face will meet your fist. Sometime 1 punch is all you will need.
 

Gerry Seymour

MT Moderator
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2012
Messages
29,319
Reaction score
10,088
Location
Hendersonville, NC
Over the years, we always hear or read about how Master or Sifu "so and so" only used about 3 or so hands or techniques or moves to win all his fights. (i.e. I've read that this was the case for Yip Man, and for WSL).

Is this the result of years of training what for some is a vast system containing forms, weapons, numerous drills, ancillary exercises, etc...?

Why is it this way? Is it necessary to train all three forms, muk yan jong, and the weapons, just to end up with "3 moves" that win all the fights?

Is it just the requisite process of having to go from A to Z; only to end up using 3 of the letters to get the job done?

Discussion is welcome! Thx!
Those few moves are what my instructor (and his instructor, who was my first NGA instructor) call "pocket techniques". They are rarely the same among various practitioners of a system - even between instructor and student they often vary. So, you have to teach several to find the few.

Do we need as many movements as we have in most MA? No. But yes. Here's what I mean: more moves (techniques/combinations/applications) gives us more variations to work with. It helps build mental elasticity. If you learn 3 different ways to apply a technique, you'll probably "discover" at least three more on your own - often in the moment of application.

And some of the moves/techniques found in some MA (maybe in all?) are there for long-term learning. They are what the founders and instructors find interesting and useful as their skill increases. They may actually be useless to a beginner, but quite useful for someone experienced. Or they may be superfluous to someone who is young and strong, and handy options for someone who is aging and slowing down.
 

Gerry Seymour

MT Moderator
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2012
Messages
29,319
Reaction score
10,088
Location
Hendersonville, NC
A MA system may contain 40% offense skill and 60% defense skill. No matter how good you are in your Fu Shou, Tan Shou, Bon Shou, you will still need to use offense skill to finish a fight (such as a punch on the face).

If your opponent moves in toward you, you put your fist in his moving path, his face will meet your fist. Sometime 1 punch is all you will need.
This is the other part. When people talk about what is used to win a fight, it's that last sentence right there. But that usually wouldn't ever have worked if one or more defensive moves hadn't worked, as well.
 

JR 137

Grandmaster
Joined
Apr 26, 2015
Messages
5,162
Reaction score
3,224
Location
In the dojo
Ive wrestled in far more matches than Ive actual fights, so Ill go that way with it...

In wrestling I learned a ton of moves - takedowns, throws, reversals, pinning combinations, etc. Moves on my feet, on top in referees position, on bottom in referees position, on my back, my opponent on his back, and a few more situations. Thats a lot of situations, and each on had dozens.

90% of the time I only used two or three of each at best. So did everyone else. But everyone on my teams 2 or 3 were different.

Then came those odd times when something I never did in a match but practiced just worked perfectly without me thinking of it nor about it. The opportunity was there and I automatically took it. I didnt have to set it up, I didnt have to think about it. I was half way through it before I knew what I was using, let alone my opponent.

Furthermore, training the stuff you dont use gets you used to seeing them and countering them. If all you train to defend is haymakers like in 99% of bar room brawls, youre going to get caught by the slightest variation.

Why in MA do we train the number of techniques we do? For the reasons I mentioned. And for the reasons everyone else mentioned. If I only knew my 2-3 go-to moves in wrestling, if they werent an option or they got countered, Id have nothing at all. And thats the last place I want to be in a real encounter.
 

Kung Fu Wang

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Sep 26, 2012
Messages
13,461
Reaction score
4,202
Location
Austin, Tx/Shell Beach, Ca
In wrestling I learned a ton of moves - ...
In wrestling, you will need to learn at least 6 techniques. 1 of each to attack your opponent's:

1. - 1st side (outside of his left leg),
2. - 2nd side (inside of his left leg),
3. - 3rd side (inside of his right leg),
4. - 4th side (outside of his right leg),
5. - front door (your back touch on his chest),
6. - back door (your chest touch on his back).

When you spin your body and your back touch on your opponent's chest, you can apply your throwing technique right at that moment. The problem is if your opponent is on your level, he may borrow your force and spin with you. The safest way is to obtain your balance first and then detect your opponent's intention.

- Your opponent's legs may be straight, or be bending.
- His legs may be close, or apart.
- His center-gravity may lean forward, or lean backward.
- ...

After you have collected your opponent's intention, you may decide whether to attack his

1st side - sweep, knee jam, ...
2nd side - twist, lift, spring, ...
3rd side - shin bite, inner edge sweep, ...
4th side - break, block, cut, ...

This way you will find the right technique to suit for the right opportunity.
 
Last edited:

Flying Crane

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Sep 21, 2005
Messages
15,196
Reaction score
4,851
Location
San Francisco
We should be working to develop foundational principles that are universal in everything that we do, rather than collecting techniques. But, learning many things help us to understand those universal foundational principles. Then we can really understand how widely applicable a very small amount of material can be. Lots and lots and lots of mileage from a little bit of material.

But we need to go through that process before we can really understand it.
 

JR 137

Grandmaster
Joined
Apr 26, 2015
Messages
5,162
Reaction score
3,224
Location
In the dojo
In wrestling, you will need to learn at least 6 techniques. 1 of each to attack your opponent's:

1. - 1st side (outside of his left leg),
2. - 2nd side (inside of his left leg),
3. - 3rd side (inside of his right leg),
4. - 4th side (outside of his right leg),
5. - front door (your back touch on his chest),
6. - back door (your chest touch on his back).

When you spin your body and your back touch on your opponent's chest, you can apply your throwing technique right at that moment. The problem is if your opponent is on your level, he may borrow your force and spin with you. The safest way is to obtain your balance first and then detect your opponent's intention.

- Your opponent's legs may be straight, or be bending.
- His legs may be close, or apart.
- His center-gravity may lean forward, or lean backward.
- ...

After you have collected your opponent's intention, you may decide whether to attack his

1st side - sweep, knee jam, ...
2nd side - twist, lift, spring, ...
3rd side - shin bite, inner edge sweep, ...
4th side - break, block, cut, ...

This way you will find the right technique to suit for the right opportunity.
Thats only when youre both on your feet. Then youve got to learn what to do when...

youre on your knees and hes sprawled (and the other way around).

hes flat on his stomach and youre on top and in front of him (and the other way around).

hes flat on his stomach and youre on top and behind him (and the other way around)

youre both on your knees, side by side

I could keep going. Theres so many situations. And youll never be able to tell which one(s) youll be in beforehand.

As Flying Crane said in the previous post, you learn all these situational things, then they gradually become more about principles than actual moves. You start to get a better sense of his weight and balance, and lack there of, and yours. The longer you go, the more the moves stop being moves and the more they become principles. When your opponent leans on you, you use that; when he pulls away, you use that.

Every art eventually becomes that. It takes learning the moves and experience using them to see it that way. Or maybe Im just delusional. :)
 

Kung Fu Wang

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Sep 26, 2012
Messages
13,461
Reaction score
4,202
Location
Austin, Tx/Shell Beach, Ca
When your opponent leans on you, you use that; when he pulls away, you use that.
Old saying said, "The way that you throw your opponent sometime depend on how your opponent may want himself to be thrown." In throwing art, if your opponent wants to do something, you want to help him to do more than he may want to.

This principle can also apply on the striking art as well. For example,

- You punch, your opponent uses upward block.
- You use your other arm to help his blocking arm to move upward even more.
- You then ...
 
Last edited:

Gerry Seymour

MT Moderator
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2012
Messages
29,319
Reaction score
10,088
Location
Hendersonville, NC
Ive wrestled in far more matches than Ive actual fights, so Ill go that way with it...

In wrestling I learned a ton of moves - takedowns, throws, reversals, pinning combinations, etc. Moves on my feet, on top in referees position, on bottom in referees position, on my back, my opponent on his back, and a few more situations. Thats a lot of situations, and each on had dozens.

90% of the time I only used two or three of each at best. So did everyone else. But everyone on my teams 2 or 3 were different.

Then came those odd times when something I never did in a match but practiced just worked perfectly without me thinking of it nor about it. The opportunity was there and I automatically took it. I didnt have to set it up, I didnt have to think about it. I was half way through it before I knew what I was using, let alone my opponent.

Furthermore, training the stuff you dont use gets you used to seeing them and countering them. If all you train to defend is haymakers like in 99% of bar room brawls, youre going to get caught by the slightest variation.

Why in MA do we train the number of techniques we do? For the reasons I mentioned. And for the reasons everyone else mentioned. If I only knew my 2-3 go-to moves in wrestling, if they werent an option or they got countered, Id have nothing at all. And thats the last place I want to be in a real encounter.
I forgot to include the learning to counter - good point.
 

Latest Discussions

Top