Pressure Testing Your Art

Jonny Figgis

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Hi All

This is a question for all SKK people and others Kempo/Kenpoists...

I wanted to know if you guys pressure test your art. By that I mean testing your techniques, your resolve, your character under harsh conditions to see if that technique or concept stands up to the pressure. You may be aware of Geoff Thompson and his Animal Days which he ran in the '90s. If you're not familiar with him or the Animal Days, check him out on YouTube.....very worthwhile, in fact it's necessary viewing!

Let me know your thoughts on this...hope you are all well.

Any question on the way in a minute :)
 

ackks10

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i don't know what you are talking about,"Pressure Testing Your Art"
the only way that that would happen,is if you had to do something on the street,(and i mean for real) sorry i mean no disrespect.
 
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Jonny Figgis

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No offence taken.

What I am referring to is putting yourself under realistic pressure (as much as can be allowed in your dojo) and testing the techniques.

For example, instead of someone stepping in with a straight punch let the person start off with dialogue and then escalate things. If verbal de-escalation works, you have been very successful. If you can run, you run. Aand if you have to use force, you use force. We do a lot of work on pre-emptive striking; if we feel we are under threat and that things may get physical then we strike first. One way of seeing that things are escalating is the distance close-down. If someone is talking to you (or at you!) and they are moving closer and closer, they are closing down the distance to get within their range of launching an attack. We utilize the Fence as conceptualized by Geoff Thompson.

You will find that when testing your martial art under these conditions, the clinical technique you work under compliancy is no longer really there and things can get messy. You are now dealing with huge amounts of adrenalin and the possibility of a life threatening situation. Your breathing gets shallow, your heart rate increases and you have all sorts of thoughts racing through your mind. We also darken the room, play loud music and have others distract us. It is a really worthwhile exercise which we try to do at least every couple of weeks.

Do you do any drills like this? If you dont, you should perhaps suggest it.

Regards
 

MJS

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Pressure testing can be done, under the right settings, in the dojo. Do I do this? Yes. How? I do the following:

1) I have my partner attack me in a realistic fashion. In other words, if he's choking me, I wanna feel his hands squuezing around my neck, not my shoulders. If he's going to punch me, then if I don't move, I should get hit.

2) I make them offer resistance. If I'm doing a takedown, don't fall for me, make me take you down.

3) Once the base techs. are drilled, I kick it up a notch, by having my partner do something else. In other words, if the attack is a rt. hand lapel grab, as I begin, start moving or throw a punch with the other hand. Make it a little difficult.
 

Flying Crane

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I don't think there is anything new to the idea of testing your capabilities in the most realistic way possible. Incidentally, you are testing YOURSELF and your own ability to use what you have learned, and not your art. Your performance under such circumstances only speaks to your own ability and your own skills. It in no way implies either superiority nor inferiority of your art in the general sense. But I digress.

I will concede that many schools today do not train with much realism. Instead they are more concerned with karate daycare for blackbelt-wearing 8 year-olds, and for these people, realistic training is a no-no. If these children started getting injured in daycare, their parents would pull them out and stop paying tuition.

But my point is that any good martial arts school, from the past or present, does try to do this. It is not a new concept, and it's not uncommon. It's been around for centuries or longer.

It just seems to me that people want to act like this is somehow a revolutionary new idea. It isn't.
 

SL4Drew

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I don't think there is anything new to the idea of testing your capabilities in the most realistic way possible. Incidentally, you are testing YOURSELF and your own ability to use what you have learned, and not your art. Your performance under such circumstances only speaks to your own ability and your own skills. It in no way implies either superiority nor inferiority of your art in the general sense. But I digress.

I don't necessarily agree with this, at least the way it was stated. There is some stuff out there that is just plain awful. If you test it and it fails, it very well could that what you have been taught is not functional. To essentially blame the student for bad material will retard or suppress the student coming to the realization that there is something better and actually functional out there. So, yes, jut because you can't make it work, doesn't mean that it can't work. But at the same time, when you test something then at a minimum, the instructor should be able to demonstrate that it works as advertised.

I come from a lineage where from the head on down, everyone is expected to be able to demonstrate competence with the system. We have tests or 'challenges' all the time that demonstrate the efficacy of what is being taught. If I say that this block will maintain its integrity under pressure, then the student can rightfully ask me to put my money where my mouth is. In this light, I don't think there is anything wrong with testing the system or the material being taught.
 

Flying Crane

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I don't necessarily agree with this, at least the way it was stated. There is some stuff out there that is just plain awful. If you test it and it fails, it very well could that what you have been taught is not functional. To essentially blame the student for bad material will retard or suppress the student coming to the realization that there is something better and actually functional out there. So, yes, jut because you can't make it work, doesn't mean that it can't work. But at the same time, when you test something then at a minimum, the instructor should be able to demonstrate that it works as advertised.

I agree, but I guess I just took that as a given.

My point being that even the best material (however that may be judged) can fail if the individual is simply no good at it. And even "less good" material (again, however that may be judged) can work if the individual is simply good at it.

The success or failure of the individual is not automatically an endorsement or indictment of the system. To determine that would require some further analyzation of what and how the material is being trained.
 
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Jonny Figgis

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Many thanks for your comments. I don't think that this is a new concept. I do think though that it is not something that a lot of people do. It is worth checking out Geoff Thompson and his ideas about this. He has tested himself and his students over the years and people came from near and far to test themselves.

Thanks for the correction, it is really about testing yourself as much as it is about testing the material you have been taught. I try to test both and if I feel that I wouldn't dare try something on the street than I won't spend a lot of time drilling it. Real fights really are a lottery when it comes down to it. I feel you should use as simple techniques, strategies etc as possible and be more worried about getting home in one piece.

My main aim of raising this topic was to see how others train...especially others from other countries. I'm not trying to 'reinvent the wheel' or talk about a 'new' concept when I know it's just rehashing of old ideas. It just seems to me that a lot of people don't pressure test enough and I wanted to know how people in Kenpo and SKK especially view this.

Thanks for all your comments so far.
 

Matt

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Many thanks for your comments. I don't think that this is a new concept. I do think though that it is not something that a lot of people do. It is worth checking out Geoff Thompson and his ideas about this. He has tested himself and his students over the years and people came from near and far to test themselves.

Thanks for the correction, it is really about testing yourself as much as it is about testing the material you have been taught. I try to test both and if I feel that I wouldn't dare try something on the street than I won't spend a lot of time drilling it. Real fights really are a lottery when it comes down to it. I feel you should use as simple techniques, strategies etc as possible and be more worried about getting home in one piece.

My main aim of raising this topic was to see how others train...especially others from other countries. I'm not trying to 'reinvent the wheel' or talk about a 'new' concept when I know it's just rehashing of old ideas. It just seems to me that a lot of people don't pressure test enough and I wanted to know how people in Kenpo and SKK especially view this.

Thanks for all your comments so far.


Hi Jonny -
Hope the training continues to go well. I'm guessing you know how I feel about pressure testing, in that it is essential. Whenever I find a student has grasped a combination or other technique, I immediately start opening the kinetic chain. I frequently make the analogy to a free throw in basketball regarding the 'step through right front punch and stand there' method of practice. If you can shoot free throws, you know one aspect of the game, but that certainly doesn't make you a great basketball player.

I have students train off of the push and punch, off reaction drills, and sometimes I have them come in swinging / flailing with the instruction 'don't stop swinging until they make you stop'. It certainly puts some spice into the old combos when you practice like that.

For best results I recommend some really good contact continuous sparring. I've never been a fan of point sparring as I think it teaches some bad habits. My favorite ruleset is 'indefensible position' in that you go until one person has the other overwhelmed, pinned, in a lock, tapping, etc. and then you reset. If it goes to the ground, fine, but sometimes we send 'helpers' in and neither person knows who (if anyone) is getting the 'help'.

Just my thoughts.
 

ackks10

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we would call this "WHAT IF'S" that's all

Mike how r u?:)
 

terryl965

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Let me chime in here, pressure testing is great as long as you realize it is not the real thing it can only cover about 80% of what will and could happen on the streets. I believe all good Martial artist pressure test there skills and mindset all the time.
 

KenpoDave

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Let me chime in here, pressure testing is great as long as you realize it is not the real thing it can only cover about 80% of what will and could happen on the streets. I believe all good Martial artist pressure test there skills and mindset all the time.

I would also add that within the dojo, you run into a problem with partners who know the techniques you are applying, so an inherent flaw in the methodology would be your partner's ability to make your technique not work because he/she already knows your next move.
 

MJS

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Let me chime in here, pressure testing is great as long as you realize it is not the real thing it can only cover about 80% of what will and could happen on the streets. I believe all good Martial artist pressure test there skills and mindset all the time.

Good points. :) We will probably be unable to recreate the exact 'feeling' but hopefully, with the right scenario training, we can get close. :)

I would also add that within the dojo, you run into a problem with partners who know the techniques you are applying, so an inherent flaw in the methodology would be your partner's ability to make your technique not work because he/she already knows your next move.

True. I suppose we could try to solve that by working with someone that doesn't know what we'd be doing. On the other hand, I wonder if thats necessarily a bad thing.
 

MattJ

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OP-

When I did (Parker) kenpo, I certainly pressure tested the art. Having the opponent come in with the punch or kick or tackle, with the intention of actually hitting you, makes a big difference in one's approach to techniques. I found that many techniques did not work as advertised, but with a little modification, they could. Some simply did not work at all for me. Some worked just fine out of the box.

More important to me was grasping the concepts behind the moves. This allowed for more variation in expression, and greater overall utility.
 

ackks10

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OP-

When I did (Parker) kenpo, I certainly pressure tested the art. Having the opponent come in with the punch or kick or tackle, with the intention of actually hitting you, makes a big difference in one's approach to techniques. I found that many techniques did not work as advertised, but with a little modification, they could. Some simply did not work at all for me. Some worked just fine out of the box.

More important to me was grasping the concepts behind the moves. This allowed for more variation in expression, and greater overall utility.


Matt you hit the nail right on the head,i 've have been saying this for about 15 years now,keep going you have got your head on right.:)
 

marlon

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Hi All

This is a question for all SKK people and others Kempo/Kenpoists...

I wanted to know if you guys pressure test your art. By that I mean testing your techniques, your resolve, your character under harsh conditions to see if that technique or concept stands up to the pressure. You may be aware of Geoff Thompson and his Animal Days which he ran in the '90s. If you're not familiar with him or the Animal Days, check him out on YouTube.....very worthwhile, in fact it's necessary viewing!

Let me know your thoughts on this...hope you are all well.

Any question on the way in a minute :)

yes
 

sifubry

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The comments here have been great. I agree that performing them against a real attack is necessary if not vital to training. During pressure testing, as you call it, when determining something doesn't work, what do you do with the move -- I would not throw it out just yet. What if you are missing something key?

For those in SKK, combination 11 always seemed flaky and unrealistic. I was third black before someone keyed me in on what I was doing wrong. Now it is a very effective and doable technique. Especially if you take the pieces out. However, it requires a lot of practice and work on the leg locks and manipulations.

It could easily be thrown out to pasture because it doesn't work and looks silly. Maybe just side line those moves that fail the pressure test and work on them in the dojo laboratory until it begins to work.
 
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