Realism in Training

Danjo

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What is the best way to train for a fight? Not a contest, but a real fight in the real world. Like Socrates used to do before getting too far into his debates with the Sophists, let's define our terms:

1) The first definition that I have of "Fight" is being attacked without provocation. Ambushed, sneak-attacked, sucker-punched, approached in an alley and cornered, someone pulling a weapon on you or threatening you in some other way. This would also include those who work in a profession that requires you to engage in physical violence to maintain safety and order.

2)The second definition is the old "Monkey Dance" where two hot heads decide to throw down in the parking lot or back alley or school yard etc. and face off in a sort of fisticuff duel.



To me, the second one can be avoided (and has been avoided ever since I've had a job I can't afford to lose by engaging in a pissing contest). However, the best preparation for this type of encounter is most likely going to be sparring where two prepared opponents are squaring off and going at it.

The first scenario is different. Sparring will not prepare you for it. Training/drilling of techniques, training your body how to move effectively and preparing the proper mindset to break free of the "freeze" and shock that one gets into when one is unexpectedly attacked so that one can go berzerk when throwing the techniques that one has ingrained into one's reflexes until the conflict is over.
 
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Bill Mattocks

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What is the best way to tain for a fight? Not a contest, but a real fight in the real world. Like Socrates used to do before getting too far into his debates with the Sophists, let's define our terms:

1) The first definition that I have of "Fight" is being attacked without provocation. Ambushed, sneak-attacked, sucker-punched, approached in an alley and cornered, someone pulling a weapon on you or threatening you in some other way. This would also include those who work in a profession that requires you to engage in physical violence to maintain safety and order.

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I'm in favor of it!
 
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Here are some excerpts for consideration from a book written by a former bouncer and a current Prison Guard:

Excerpts from Sgt. Rory Miller&#8217;s Meditations on Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training & Real World Experience


Kata:

&#8220;&#8230;When used without a partner, such as line drills, hitting the heavy bag or Karate kata, they do not require safety modification and so can be very good training. Properly used they allow the student to practice excellent power generation and body mechanics without fear of injury&#8230;. Properly trained static drills can be very good tools for picking up the skills of violence. By removing the opponent, you can strike with full power, speed, intent, and savagery.&#8221; (pg. 108)

&#8220;Occasionally, I would have an encounter, often an intense one, and later see the action in my wife&#8217;s Karate kata&#8230;.it was effective. The body mechanics were identical to kata. Not a single move was the way any Karate instructor had ever explained it to me.&#8221; (pg. 114)

&#8220;What I am saying is that from my experience, the mechanics of Karate kata are extremely functional in real life&#8230;.learn to move. Kata is excellent for that. Then reproduce or experience the dynamics of actual conflict and you will see how much really valid technique there is in the old forms.&#8221; (Pg. 115)

Sparring:

&#8220;Because they are dynamic and because we know that fights are dynamic, there is a tendency to use sparring as a reality check. Since most people have learned about physical conflict by watching entertaining shows (whether professional sports, movies, or &#8220;reality&#8221; TV, it is entertainment), or from class, and since sparring looks more like this image than, say, basics or line drills, they intuitively believe it is more &#8220;real&#8221;. It isn&#8217;t. A real fight for your life is NOTHING like sparring.&#8221; (Pg 111)

&#8220;Even more important is that sparring is fun and active---so habits gained are deeper and more durable than in less engaging practice.. It also looks more like what a student expects a fight to look like than other training methods, which reinforces assumptions derived from entertainment.&#8221; (pg 112)

&#8220;Twenty years ago, after my first ugly brawl in the casino I was working at, I remember sucking wind, shaking, and thinking, &#8220;#%$&!, that wasn&#8217;t anything like sparring. Most martial artists will never have that big ugly brawl and they are perfectly free to believe that sparring is as close as it gets to real life. Sparring is worthwhile anyway if only because it&#8217;s fun.&#8221; (pg 112)

&#8220;Outside of sport, it is important to practice crippling techniques. Timing can become very sophisticated in sparring, which is a flaw in and of itself. People do not attack with a knife in the same way that they spar with one. It is fast, close, and staccato. Sparring is often a chess match of distance and timing. Assault is an overwhelming onslaught. The skills don&#8217;t transfer.&#8221; (pg. 113)
 

Bill Mattocks

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Have to agree with that last bit. In a real fight, I'm inclined to slam the BG's head into a wall or the ground as hard as I can, then jump on their chest full force. I don't think that's encouraged in sparring.
 

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Realistically it is good body mechanics and alignment that will allow one to survive the initial attack these must become habit, and trained so that it is simply the way one moves and reacts all the time. These are best moved into muscle memory and ones psychology through the type of repetion found within forms training. Then duress and stress training to test if you have it and to keep it sharp physically and mentally. It is the basics that prepare one best not the style or the technique rather what is developed in the practitioner through the medium of the style.
Training is truth

respectfully
Marlon
 

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Training fence techniques and preemptive strikes should help. Also building on the flinch response to survive an initial attack. These can be trained in the dojo without equipment, gradually increasing the speed and intensity. :asian:
 
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I should add that anoerbenefit from sparring is to toughen you up. Get you used to getting hit etc. and allow you to feel the pain. Not the only way to do it, but a pretty good one. We also tend to use it to weed out those that aren't serious. We're not real fancy, but we play hard.
 

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All very good points, it is a combination of all the above, that will make you well rounded enough, to hold your own in the real deal. In contrast, the baddest street fighters only have a few techniques, along with a very violent mind set. When they engage, their intent is to destroy. If you engage one of these with anything less, you are screwed.
 

celtic_crippler

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Great post and great points.

If you're building a house, you're going to need more than just a hammer. You're going to need a saw, screwdriver, some nails and so forth. You might pull it off without having all the tools you really need, but you're definately going to do a better job and increase the chances of building it right if you have all the tools you need.

I look at sparring, forms, drills, and self-defense techniques as tools necessary to prepare for the reality of a violent attack. All require their due attention and focus to properly prepare you. The trick is to keep it balanced and not place too much, or too little focus on any one method of training (tool.)

Each method has its advantages that add to your subconcious ability to react, eliminating the hesitation caused by fright, shock, or simply having to conciously process what is happening to try and formulate a response. "Muscle memory" develops from the use of all these tools so that if and when you need it, you've hopefully already successfully dealt with an attack by the time you truely realize what just happened! :) LOL
 

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Each method has its advantages that add to your subconcious ability to react, eliminating the hesitation caused by fright, shock, or simply having to conciously process what is happening to try and formulate a response. "Muscle memory" develops from the use of all these tools so that if and when you need it, you've hopefully already successfully dealt with an attack by the time you truely realize what just happened! :) LOL
This is indeed the heart of the whole matter.:asian:
 

MJS

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What is the best way to train for a fight? Not a contest, but a real fight in the real world. Like Socrates used to do before getting too far into his debates with the Sophists, let's define our terms:

1) The first definition that I have of "Fight" is being attacked without provocation. Ambushed, sneak-attacked, sucker-punched, approached in an alley and cornered, someone pulling a weapon on you or threatening you in some other way. This would also include those who work in a profession that requires you to engage in physical violence to maintain safety and order.

2)The second definition is the old "Monkey Dance" where two hot heads decide to throw down in the parking lot or back alley or school yard etc. and face off in a sort of fisticuff duel.



To me, the second one can be avoided (and has been avoided ever since I've had a job I can't afford to lose by engaging in a pissing contest). However, the best preparation for this type of encounter is most likely going to be sparring where two prepared opponents are squaring off and going at it.

The first scenario is different. Sparring will not prepare you for it. Training/drilling of techniques, training your body how to move effectively and preparing the proper mindset to break free of the "freeze" and shock that one gets into when one is unexpectedly attacked so that one can go berzerk when throwing the techniques that one has ingrained into one's reflexes until the conflict is over.

Likewise, I don't want to lose my job over #2 either. :) That being said, I'll start off by saying that I have the book you mention. Still in the process of reading it, but IMHO, its one of the best martial arts/real world related books, that I own.

What do I do to address #1? I do my best to train as realistically as possible. Yes, I know, there are things that we can't do, we won't get the same reaction as if we did them for real, etc., but there are ways around that. I love to train spontaneous reaction drills. Random attacks, both empty hand and with weapons.

I also feel very strong about how the attacks are delivered. Nothing pisses me off more, than when someone is punching me, they stop 4in. away from my face. When they choke me, its more of a shoulder massage. When they grab onto my shirt, they gently place their hands there. I say **** that! If you're going to punch me, then dammit punch me! If I get hit, its my fault. Grab onto my neck and squeeze. Grab onto my shirt, hard, so that I have to take a step back to recover.

The same goes with the weapon attacks. Don't just do a single thrust, hold the knife out and wait for me to do my thing....pull it back, try to cut me again, slash, change direction with the blade, etc. Yes, we should expect that we're going to get cut, and God knows, I've been 'cut' many times during training, but thats the time to figure out why. What did I do wrong? What could I have done better or differently?

Of course, attitude is a big part of it too. Again, we probably won't replicate the real deal 100%, but we can come close. My 'training partner' needs to change from my friend, to the guy who hates me, doesn't care about me and wants to cause me harm. And if it means that he has to yell, swear and act like a crazy nut, to get me into the mindset, then so be it. :)

Sparring....as it was said, it gets you used to the contact. Its not the sole tool I use, but its a tool nonetheless. :)
 

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Conditioning. Full contact training. More conditioning.

Minimal safety equipment. When I was training Kempo, we used packing gloves without fingers and a mouth guard. (later on...not early on in my training, some systems simply do not train for any real confrontations, regardless of the claims made)

We trained to knock down or knock out. Yes, we weekly beat each other quite handily. This kind of training does make you more physically capable of taking hits and giving hits.

Awareness training is perhaps more useful. Avoidance needs no conditioning training to work. Knowing your neighborhood, knowing your environment and the elements at work in it.

I suppose multiple opponents would be worthwhile as well, but I have had poor experience with random attacks in the classroom. My experience shows this kind of training simply creates a more violent person, more prone to respond to suprise with violence.
 
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Awareness training is perhaps more useful. Avoidance needs no conditioning training to work. Knowing your neighborhood, knowing your environment and the elements at work in it.

This is of course extremely important also. First line of self defense is avoidance and awareness.

I suppose multiple opponents would be worthwhile as well, but I have had poor experience with random attacks in the classroom. My experience shows this kind of training simply creates a more violent person, more prone to respond to suprise with violence.

Multiple man attacks are very good training devices. Nothing worse than having to defend yourself against multiple attackers and having no clue how.

Well, if awareness is there, hopefully there won't be any surprises that one reacts violently to unless it's a violent surprise. there are many other senses that we subconsciously use to determine threats to us. Most of us won't react violently to our grandmother even if she startles us because somewhere in our sense organs we know it's her and not a mugger.

Of course, if it's some grown man jumping out at us as a joke trying to scare us by pretending to be a threat, then he may learn a valuable lesson about not doing that in the future. ;)
 

KenpoDave

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I have heard several experts say that regardless of the nature of physical training, if the mind is not prepared for both the physical and mental effects of the effects of the adrenalin dump, then most of your training will be unavailable in a real situation.

So, no matter the vehicle of the training, I believe that at some point, you must practice in an environment where your mind behaves as if it were in a life or death situation.
 

Hudson69

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I think this thread is meant to bring up thoughts on the value of sparring; is it "real." Realism might mean reality based self defense systems and that should include sparring. For me sparring has been a beneficial tool and one that has proven its value. Some systems do not believe in it while others offer it under different levels of protection or restriction, even with the same system from different school. For example my first ninjutsu school was rough and tumble with no holds barred and 3/4+ speed combat a regular occurance, after a decade gap in training I started up with two budo taijutsu school and it wasn't even allowed. My Parker style American Kenpo always had sparring as did my Wun Hop Kuen Do Kung-fu.

On another note just the title of this thread could be put toward other areas: archaic weapon systems that are no longer practical (sword, spear, shuriken, ...) or a variety of techniques taught by a school that are out of date (anti-horseman tactics, techniques against armor clad samurai or something along those lines).

I dont know maybe I read it wrong (sometimes I browse and not fully read) so I hope this helps.
 
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Well, I'm not concerned about ancient weapons etc. but rather discussing what best prepares you for a real fight. Sparring has it's place IMO, but it's not the only thing and it can have a detrimental effect if not balanced with other training methods that are often denounced these days by the MMA afficianados as being worthless.

To me, the only thing that makes forms, line drills and basics practice "worthless" is having too narrowly defined what a fight is as a contest of sorts. Even if the contest is for real, it is still no more than a form of duel where combatants meet and go at it.

Since most real life violence doesn't occur in this fasion and since the duel is pretty easily avoided, I'm more interested in preparing for what I am more likely to encounter and not be able to avoid.

The mind is the important thing to develop along side the body. It is what will see you through a conflict when you are old or infirm (even if that means just having a bad cold when you are attacked). The weapons of the body must be forged through constant practice to act reflexively with proper technique, but the mind will determine how effectively you can use them. Train smart as well as hard. Think of how you could be attacked and then train with that in mind. Think of what would still work if you were weakened by either age, injury, or illness.

Also develop your inner animal. See yourself as a fighter rather than a victim. Imagine and train for an overwhelming attack, and then respond anyways. There are numerous instances where women and the elderly fight off attackers due to sheer ferocity. Over 90% of women who fight off their would-be rapists escape, while 99% of those that are successfully abducted are killed. No percentage in just going along with somebody. Even those that are herded into another room during a robbery are often killed, while those that run out the door usually make it and foil the robbery attempt in the process. It's really hard for a nervous criminal to shoot staright enough to hit a running person, and even if they do hit you, it's not likely to be fatal.

Real fights that are no more than duels, are of little interest to me. It's the other kind I want to be prepared for.
 

Xinglu

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Real fights that are no more than duels, are of little interest to me. It's the other kind I want to be prepared for.

Precisely. I think anyone training for honor duels are only setting themselves up for rude awakenings. It's great for MMA, or if you like to talk yourself into fights when you go out. But IMHO such focus seems myopic and skewed in perspective not to mention priorities.

Our creed has a line in it that I like to refer too - "...If I am forced to reveal my art..." To me this implies that the peacock dance of two men squaring off is NOT what I'm training for.
 

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I understand and I agree sparring is a tool and a tool only. The martial arts have been around a long time and kata and drills have been working for too long for persons in the last 10-20 to come up and say they are archaic and have no relevance; if you are training to be a warrior then you can gain relevance from it. "Shiken Haramitsu Daikomyo" (phonetic spelling only) was told to me in a martial arts (ninpo) school and is meant to be the philosophy "The learning does not start or stop upon entering or leaving the dojo."

As far as getting a real sense of the use of your tools and skills you might want to try one of the three following as a side or primary career path:
1) Law Enforcement, either as a full time or reserve member-This will give you additional skills mostly around hand to hand, practical weapons (baton, gun, shotgun & rifle) as well as a better tactical skill set where you will be a lone operator as much as you will work as a two man team or part of a larger group (some agencies will actually call it a squad, but not mine in Colorado). This will give you the widest selection of scenarios to encounter: assaults, murders, robberies, domestic violence, drug related, and more and "in progress" means not having much time to plan enroute. The bigger the City the better your chances of your getting a better range of calls for service and different parts of city tend to collect different levels and types of crime. Most police academies will also have really good scenarios that will put you to the test.

2) Bouncer-Your hand to hand skills are as important as your situational awareness and verbal skills. Probably no training involved outside of maybe pepper-spray or a baton depending on where you are at.

3) Security-This is wide open, everything from Paul Blart, Mall Cop to personal security for Brittany Spears. You can guard a person, place or thing and the situations can really vary. This normally involves getting some training but it will depend on who you end up working for and what you want to get out of it.

4) Military-You can pick your path here but you are subject to the whim of your commander and the current mission and just going in you wont be able to affect what you want to do as easily. The skills you can get might make the Reserves or Guard appetizing and if you are in a combat unit and you are on a "real" mission (not that non-combat fields dont get shot at) then this is the ultimate test of a warrior because there are no time outs and when it is "Game On" then when you lose it might mean your life or your buddies lives.

Myself, I took option one and four; I am a full time Police Officer and a Colorado Guardsman. I prefer the freedom of the police work and the ability to work alone or as a member of a two man or larger force (all in the same day) plus the work is rewarding. I will say in my 11 years 5-10% has been really dangerous but it is enough that I work out, run scenarios in my head, train hard in all the combative related areas and always look for a better way to do something (whether it is a technique or piece of equipment).
 

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Some great points here. I also think scenerio #2 isn't worth it, so much easier to just walk away.

But the first scenerio, I think all you can do is train hard, get your body to start moving like its second nature. The Gods honest truth is, that there is no real defense for getting blindsided. I've seen some good fighters get knocked down from being sucker punch. I think it's they way you react once assualted and the mindset of being more violent than your attacker(s) that's gonna get you thru it.

So aside from letting your classmates sucker punch you in the jaw or back of the neck, all one can do is drill, drill, drill.

I think if you can see the attack coming, that's a different story, but more often than not, you never see it.

Its kinda like training for war, you run the different situations and train for it, but there is no training for getting out of the way of a sniper. If they happen to miss, it's how you react that will save you.

Just my $.02
 
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So aside from letting your classmates sucker punch you in the jaw or back of the neck, all one can do is drill, drill, drill.
I agree.

I remember getting in a fight once where someone threw a kick at me. I only saw the kick out of the corner of my eye, but my arm executed a perfect down block before my conscious brain could even get what was happening. It was pure reflex due to drilling over and over again. ther was no thinking involved with it. Through constant drilling, my nervous system had changed it's default reaction to a kick from what would naturally be cringing and flinching (which is the normal reaction for the untrained or UNDERtrained) to a block. It literally freaked out the guy that kicked at me because it made me seem like Bruce Lee or something. He ran after just that one block.
 

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