Soccer and Martial Arts

wab25

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I played a lot of soccer, both for fun and competitively before starting martial arts. I was reading another thread here on language and martial arts (that one got shut down as people got carried away... please don't do that here) Anyway, that got me thinking... and I don't think that comparing martial arts to languages is the right analogy. I thought soccer was a better analogy.

One way to learn soccer... is to play soccer. We got a ball and two goals, divided up teams and played. We played hard. And we got better. Well... we thought we did. We kicked the ball harder and learned not to get our shins kicked so much.

I then joined a competitive team. When I showed up to practice... I was a bit surprised. We warmed up and then did drills. We dribbled the ball in the air by our selves. We partnered up and passed the ball back and forth... no movement... just kicking the ball 20 feet to the other guy who kicked it back. Then we made circles and did the same thing. We then had rules... you can only touch the ball twice: trap it, pass it. Then, we put one guy in the middle, his job was to steal the ball, the rest had to pass it around him. Then we put out a line of cones and dribbled the ball around the cones. Then we took away the cones and got into two lines for a race... each player dribbled the ball to a line 20 yards away, stopped the ball on the line, sat on the ball, then dribbled back and passed to your teammate who did the same. We put the cones out in a line, again partnered up and ran passing the ball between the cones. Then we had shooting practice, sometimes without even a goalie. Just put the ball anywhere and shoot a goal. We would set up our formation and walk through offensive strategies and defensive strategies... sometimes without even using a ball. When the forwards went here, the mid fielders went there and the defense guys had to go over there. We would set up situations where the offense had to make 3 specific passes, then shoot from a specific spot... sometimes this was to train the offense and other times to train the defense. Sometimes we had entire practice sessions without playing soccer... just the drills.

Sometimes at the end of practice we would scrimmage (play soccer). However, the coaches would interrupt play reset us back to where we were and discuss what we had done verses what he wanted us to do. Many times, it was not even the guy with the ball that needed correcting, but the guy on the other end of the field. Sometimes we would have extra rules during scrimmage: 2 touches only, left foot only, no passes over 10 yards...

Surprisingly... we got better. We got better much faster than just kicking a ball on a field. Who knew that doing all that solo practice and cooperative practice would improve the way we played an actual game of soccer. I played a lot of games. I never saw cones on the field to dribble around or pass between... I never saw people sitting on the ball before taking it the other way... never saw people taking static uncontested shots (unless it was a penalty kick...)

I hope you guys see where this is going. Just because a kata or forms is not seen in actual combat, does not mean it cannot be used to make someone better at combat. In fact, every martial art has solo drills and cooperative drills... whether you call them kata or forms or drills... they are the same.

With soccer, its pretty easy to see how all these drills relate to playing the game... we can pick out the skills, strategies and tactics being worked on, and we can connect them to the scrimmage and then to the game. It is the same with TMA. All those katas and forms can be and should be connected to fighting. In fact, they were created to do just that. That connection has sometimes been lost by people and sometimes by organizations. But, it was still there to start with.

There are people out there, who still do know the connections, either they never lost them or they went back and found them. Some will say, these drills were not very good, if that connection got lost. I say that the fact that you can learn those drills, from someone who does not know the connection and then find that connection... shows that they are actually a pretty decent way of transmitting knowledge, as the knowledge can go from a person who understands it, through one or more people who don't understand it and may not even know its there, yet the person on the other end of the line can still find the knowledge and use it. (much easier if the guy you get it from understands it though)

If you are not a TMA guy... the thing to remember is that when you watch those weird kata and forms... realize that they do connect directly to fighting just like those soccer ball drills connect to the game of soccer. Realize, that not every TMA guy doing or teaching, understands that connection. (many think they do and just have not yet realized that they don't) But, there are folks out there that do understand and teach those connections. When you understand those connections between the kata / forms and real combat... those kata and forms can help you get better at the real combat part. Also realize that the kata / forms are not meant to be a dictionary of all the techniques in a system. In my opinion, when you hear someone say "that technique does not appear in our kata, therefore its not part of the system and we don't do it" what they are really saying is "I don't understand my system and how these kata relate to anything." (and I don't care what color belt he is wearing or how many years... he still missed the boat)

If you are a TMA guy... there are a few things to remember. Most importantly, that there is a real connection between your kata / forms and fighting. Hopefully, your instructor understands and is teaching you those connections. If he is not, or even if he is, you do your own work to find them, expand on them, explore them... the more work you do here, the more you will get out of your kata / forms. The next thing to remember is that the kata / forms are the start, not the end of your study. Once you can pronounce the words, you then have to learn how to use the words. (there I go using language when I thought there was a better analogy...) Those words can be used in many different ways, to accomplish many different things. Remember, there are a lot more words in the english language than you covered in your english classes. The words your learned in your english classes were chosen to give you a foundation to understand and learn to use all the words in the language... you are not supposed to say "we didn't study that word in class, so we don't use it and won't use it now." Most importantly, you have to scrimmage and you have to fight. Without the scrimmage and without the fight... you are just dancing.... go take a dance class and learn to do something that actually looks good. (there is a reason professional dance choreographers use very little martial arts moves in their choreography...) In order to fully understand the connections between the kata / forms and fighting... you need to fight. You need to know the feeling of a fight, the chaos, the dynamics of it, the fear, the frustration, the exhaustion... all of it. Then you need to try to apply what you learned during that situation.

My first sensei taught me that you need kata to teach you how to do something. Then you need waza (fighting) to learn how to make it work. When you get to the waza part, and it doesn't work, because it won't, then you need to work on your waza to figure out what you need to change, to make it work. Then take that change and put it into your kata, so you can refine it and make it better. Then you take it to waza and start the circle over again...

I hope this all made sense...
 

jobo

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I played a lot of soccer, both for fun and competitively before starting martial arts. I was reading another thread here on language and martial arts (that one got shut down as people got carried away... please don't do that here) Anyway, that got me thinking... and I don't think that comparing martial arts to languages is the right analogy. I thought soccer was a better analogy.

One way to learn soccer... is to play soccer. We got a ball and two goals, divided up teams and played. We played hard. And we got better. Well... we thought we did. We kicked the ball harder and learned not to get our shins kicked so much.

I then joined a competitive team. When I showed up to practice... I was a bit surprised. We warmed up and then did drills. We dribbled the ball in the air by our selves. We partnered up and passed the ball back and forth... no movement... just kicking the ball 20 feet to the other guy who kicked it back. Then we made circles and did the same thing. We then had rules... you can only touch the ball twice: trap it, pass it. Then, we put one guy in the middle, his job was to steal the ball, the rest had to pass it around him. Then we put out a line of cones and dribbled the ball around the cones. Then we took away the cones and got into two lines for a race... each player dribbled the ball to a line 20 yards away, stopped the ball on the line, sat on the ball, then dribbled back and passed to your teammate who did the same. We put the cones out in a line, again partnered up and ran passing the ball between the cones. Then we had shooting practice, sometimes without even a goalie. Just put the ball anywhere and shoot a goal. We would set up our formation and walk through offensive strategies and defensive strategies... sometimes without even using a ball. When the forwards went here, the mid fielders went there and the defense guys had to go over there. We would set up situations where the offense had to make 3 specific passes, then shoot from a specific spot... sometimes this was to train the offense and other times to train the defense. Sometimes we had entire practice sessions without playing soccer... just the drills.

Sometimes at the end of practice we would scrimmage (play soccer). However, the coaches would interrupt play reset us back to where we were and discuss what we had done verses what he wanted us to do. Many times, it was not even the guy with the ball that needed correcting, but the guy on the other end of the field. Sometimes we would have extra rules during scrimmage: 2 touches only, left foot only, no passes over 10 yards...

Surprisingly... we got better. We got better much faster than just kicking a ball on a field. Who knew that doing all that solo practice and cooperative practice would improve the way we played an actual game of soccer. I played a lot of games. I never saw cones on the field to dribble around or pass between... I never saw people sitting on the ball before taking it the other way... never saw people taking static uncontested shots (unless it was a penalty kick...)

I hope you guys see where this is going. Just because a kata or forms is not seen in actual combat, does not mean it cannot be used to make someone better at combat. In fact, every martial art has solo drills and cooperative drills... whether you call them kata or forms or drills... they are the same.

With soccer, its pretty easy to see how all these drills relate to playing the game... we can pick out the skills, strategies and tactics being worked on, and we can connect them to the scrimmage and then to the game. It is the same with TMA. All those katas and forms can be and should be connected to fighting. In fact, they were created to do just that. That connection has sometimes been lost by people and sometimes by organizations. But, it was still there to start with.

There are people out there, who still do know the connections, either they never lost them or they went back and found them. Some will say, these drills were not very good, if that connection got lost. I say that the fact that you can learn those drills, from someone who does not know the connection and then find that connection... shows that they are actually a pretty decent way of transmitting knowledge, as the knowledge can go from a person who understands it, through one or more people who don't understand it and may not even know its there, yet the person on the other end of the line can still find the knowledge and use it. (much easier if the guy you get it from understands it though)

If you are not a TMA guy... the thing to remember is that when you watch those weird kata and forms... realize that they do connect directly to fighting just like those soccer ball drills connect to the game of soccer. Realize, that not every TMA guy doing or teaching, understands that connection. (many think they do and just have not yet realized that they don't) But, there are folks out there that do understand and teach those connections. When you understand those connections between the kata / forms and real combat... those kata and forms can help you get better at the real combat part. Also realize that the kata / forms are not meant to be a dictionary of all the techniques in a system. In my opinion, when you hear someone say "that technique does not appear in our kata, therefore its not part of the system and we don't do it" what they are really saying is "I don't understand my system and how these kata relate to anything." (and I don't care what color belt he is wearing or how many years... he still missed the boat)

If you are a TMA guy... there are a few things to remember. Most importantly, that there is a real connection between your kata / forms and fighting. Hopefully, your instructor understands and is teaching you those connections. If he is not, or even if he is, you do your own work to find them, expand on them, explore them... the more work you do here, the more you will get out of your kata / forms. The next thing to remember is that the kata / forms are the start, not the end of your study. Once you can pronounce the words, you then have to learn how to use the words. (there I go using language when I thought there was a better analogy...) Those words can be used in many different ways, to accomplish many different things. Remember, there are a lot more words in the english language than you covered in your english classes. The words your learned in your english classes were chosen to give you a foundation to understand and learn to use all the words in the language... you are not supposed to say "we didn't study that word in class, so we don't use it and won't use it now." Most importantly, you have to scrimmage and you have to fight. Without the scrimmage and without the fight... you are just dancing.... go take a dance class and learn to do something that actually looks good. (there is a reason professional dance choreographers use very little martial arts moves in their choreography...) In order to fully understand the connections between the kata / forms and fighting... you need to fight. You need to know the feeling of a fight, the chaos, the dynamics of it, the fear, the frustration, the exhaustion... all of it. Then you need to try to apply what you learned during that situation.

My first sensei taught me that you need kata to teach you how to do something. Then you need waza (fighting) to learn how to make it work. When you get to the waza part, and it doesn't work, because it won't, then you need to work on your waza to figure out what you need to change, to make it work. Then take that change and put it into your kata, so you can refine it and make it better. Then you take it to waza and start the circle over again...

I hope this all made sense...
i think your taking the analogy to far, soccer is a team game, the position of the whole team moving as a unit is important

thats not true with fighting you really dont need to practice co ordinating with others which is what group kata is

and for all the different types of training in soccer, its rare to see a goal keeper catching an imaginary football or a free kick taker practising kicking thin air which again is what kata is teaching you

it is good at teaching transitions, but its not the only or even the best way of doing that or all arts would do it and they dont

when i started off i considered kata to be useless, i was wrong and ive revised my assessment upwards to nearly useless, my line dancing skill have improved greatly
 
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wab25

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i think your taking the analogy to far, soccer is a team game, the position of the whole team moving as a unit is important
I wasn't thinking about team kata... I was more thinking that sometimes its not the punch you need to correct, but the set up before the punch or the recovery from the previous move, that left you off balance.

thats not true with fighting you really dont need to practice co ordinating with others which is what group kata is
But as long as we are now talking about group kata and coordinating with others... I find it useful to a point. Its good to practice moving together because it helps you to be aware of what is going on around you. If you are not in a ring, in a sanctioned bout, its very good to be used to knowing what is going on around you and be able to move in response to other things that may be happening. In the ring, its good to know where the ref is... it tells you what he can and cannot see. Professional fighters always know where the ref is and do their dirty work when he can't see. But, yes... group kata performance is many times taken way too far and they should really just get into line dancing. But again, that is people's lack of understanding of what they are doing.

and for all the different types of training in soccer, its rare to see a goal keeper catching an imaginary football or a free kick taker practising kicking thin air which again is what kata is teaching you
And yet we see boxers shadow boxing, we see Judo guys doing uchikomi and wrestlers practicing shooting in to work on their form. What you don't see in a soccer game, is outside forward standing there, with the ball laying still on the ground, with no defenders around and no goalie in the net then taking a shot on goal. Yet that practice helps the player learn to control that shot in game. And when working with goalies... I don't take shots full power every single time. There are plenty of times when the goalie wanted to work with a particular situation... where we set up where he was, where I was, where the shot was going to go and how he was going to get there. Many times we would start slow, shooting at 25% and then ramp up as he worked through what he wanted to work on.
it is good at teaching transitions, but its not the only or even the best way of doing that or all arts would do it and they dont
You know of an art that does not use drills? Footwork drills, falling drills, combination drills, entrance drills.... If I came to your gym with no experience at all... would you teach me to do a guard pass, by putting me in a armbar from guard and dislocating my elbow every single time, until I figured out how to do a guard pass? (even that is a drill, start in my guard and try to pass...) Or would you walk me through the steps to do a simple guard pass, and then let me get the coordination down first, with little resistance and adding in resistance as I got better at it?

when i started off i considered kata to be useless, i was wrong and ive revised my assessment upwards to nearly useless, my line dancing skill have improved greatly
I am not saying kata is the only way, or the best way. I am saying that kata is one way. And if you read what I was saying to the TMA guys, you will know that I believe you have to do a lot more than kata to get it. In fact, I made the point that you have to fight. I don't get why some people get so worked up because the drills you do before you fight, have a name and are standardized or not. I also don't understand why people think that their drills are not standardized... most bjj classes work about the same, very similar drills to warm up and to teach and then to roll, same with boxing, MMA, wrestling, karate, judo...
 

jobo

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I wasn't thinking about team kata... I was more thinking that sometimes its not the punch you need to correct, but the set up before the punch or the recovery from the previous move, that left you off balance.


But as long as we are now talking about group kata and coordinating with others... I find it useful to a point. Its good to practice moving together because it helps you to be aware of what is going on around you. If you are not in a ring, in a sanctioned bout, its very good to be used to knowing what is going on around you and be able to move in response to other things that may be happening. In the ring, its good to know where the ref is... it tells you what he can and cannot see. Professional fighters always know where the ref is and do their dirty work when he can't see. But, yes... group kata performance is many times taken way too far and they should really just get into line dancing. But again, that is people's lack of understanding of what they are doing.


And yet we see boxers shadow boxing, we see Judo guys doing uchikomi and wrestlers practicing shooting in to work on their form. What you don't see in a soccer game, is outside forward standing there, with the ball laying still on the ground, with no defenders around and no goalie in the net then taking a shot on goal. Yet that practice helps the player learn to control that shot in game. And when working with goalies... I don't take shots full power every single time. There are plenty of times when the goalie wanted to work with a particular situation... where we set up where he was, where I was, where the shot was going to go and how he was going to get there. Many times we would start slow, shooting at 25% and then ramp up as he worked through what he wanted to work on.

You know of an art that does not use drills? Footwork drills, falling drills, combination drills, entrance drills.... If I came to your gym with no experience at all... would you teach me to do a guard pass, by putting me in a armbar from guard and dislocating my elbow every single time, until I figured out how to do a guard pass? (even that is a drill, start in my guard and try to pass...) Or would you walk me through the steps to do a simple guard pass, and then let me get the coordination down first, with little resistance and adding in resistance as I got better at it?


I am not saying kata is the only way, or the best way. I am saying that kata is one way. And if you read what I was saying to the TMA guys, you will know that I believe you have to do a lot more than kata to get it. In fact, I made the point that you have to fight. I don't get why some people get so worked up because the drills you do before you fight, have a name and are standardized or not. I also don't understand why people think that their drills are not standardized... most bjj classes work about the same, very similar drills to warm up and to teach and then to roll, same with boxing, MMA, wrestling, karate, judo...
out side forward ????? are you from the 1950s

players practice soccer skills with a soccer ball, i practiced my 25 yard free kicks into the top corner of the net with both a ball and some goal posts, to do otherwise is some where between pointless and stupid, id also trained mt dog to bring the balls back, how much use do you think it would have been to kick an imaginary ball into a real goal or a real ball into an imaginary goal or as your suggesting an imaginary ball into an imaginary net ?

yes if it comes to group attacks provided you can get them to attack you from prearranged positions in a prearranged way one at a time in slow motion i can see kata being useful, much like Hollywood ma ,if you want to understand the movement of people around you play soccer
 
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Martial D

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I played a lot of soccer, both for fun and competitively before starting martial arts. I was reading another thread here on language and martial arts (that one got shut down as people got carried away... please don't do that here) Anyway, that got me thinking... and I don't think that comparing martial arts to languages is the right analogy. I thought soccer was a better analogy.

One way to learn soccer... is to play soccer. We got a ball and two goals, divided up teams and played. We played hard. And we got better. Well... we thought we did. We kicked the ball harder and learned not to get our shins kicked so much.

I then joined a competitive team. When I showed up to practice... I was a bit surprised. We warmed up and then did drills. We dribbled the ball in the air by our selves. We partnered up and passed the ball back and forth... no movement... just kicking the ball 20 feet to the other guy who kicked it back. Then we made circles and did the same thing. We then had rules... you can only touch the ball twice: trap it, pass it. Then, we put one guy in the middle, his job was to steal the ball, the rest had to pass it around him. Then we put out a line of cones and dribbled the ball around the cones. Then we took away the cones and got into two lines for a race... each player dribbled the ball to a line 20 yards away, stopped the ball on the line, sat on the ball, then dribbled back and passed to your teammate who did the same. We put the cones out in a line, again partnered up and ran passing the ball between the cones. Then we had shooting practice, sometimes without even a goalie. Just put the ball anywhere and shoot a goal. We would set up our formation and walk through offensive strategies and defensive strategies... sometimes without even using a ball. When the forwards went here, the mid fielders went there and the defense guys had to go over there. We would set up situations where the offense had to make 3 specific passes, then shoot from a specific spot... sometimes this was to train the offense and other times to train the defense. Sometimes we had entire practice sessions without playing soccer... just the drills.

Sometimes at the end of practice we would scrimmage (play soccer). However, the coaches would interrupt play reset us back to where we were and discuss what we had done verses what he wanted us to do. Many times, it was not even the guy with the ball that needed correcting, but the guy on the other end of the field. Sometimes we would have extra rules during scrimmage: 2 touches only, left foot only, no passes over 10 yards...

Surprisingly... we got better. We got better much faster than just kicking a ball on a field. Who knew that doing all that solo practice and cooperative practice would improve the way we played an actual game of soccer. I played a lot of games. I never saw cones on the field to dribble around or pass between... I never saw people sitting on the ball before taking it the other way... never saw people taking static uncontested shots (unless it was a penalty kick...)

I hope you guys see where this is going. Just because a kata or forms is not seen in actual combat, does not mean it cannot be used to make someone better at combat. In fact, every martial art has solo drills and cooperative drills... whether you call them kata or forms or drills... they are the same.

With soccer, its pretty easy to see how all these drills relate to playing the game... we can pick out the skills, strategies and tactics being worked on, and we can connect them to the scrimmage and then to the game. It is the same with TMA. All those katas and forms can be and should be connected to fighting. In fact, they were created to do just that. That connection has sometimes been lost by people and sometimes by organizations. But, it was still there to start with.

There are people out there, who still do know the connections, either they never lost them or they went back and found them. Some will say, these drills were not very good, if that connection got lost. I say that the fact that you can learn those drills, from someone who does not know the connection and then find that connection... shows that they are actually a pretty decent way of transmitting knowledge, as the knowledge can go from a person who understands it, through one or more people who don't understand it and may not even know its there, yet the person on the other end of the line can still find the knowledge and use it. (much easier if the guy you get it from understands it though)

If you are not a TMA guy... the thing to remember is that when you watch those weird kata and forms... realize that they do connect directly to fighting just like those soccer ball drills connect to the game of soccer. Realize, that not every TMA guy doing or teaching, understands that connection. (many think they do and just have not yet realized that they don't) But, there are folks out there that do understand and teach those connections. When you understand those connections between the kata / forms and real combat... those kata and forms can help you get better at the real combat part. Also realize that the kata / forms are not meant to be a dictionary of all the techniques in a system. In my opinion, when you hear someone say "that technique does not appear in our kata, therefore its not part of the system and we don't do it" what they are really saying is "I don't understand my system and how these kata relate to anything." (and I don't care what color belt he is wearing or how many years... he still missed the boat)

If you are a TMA guy... there are a few things to remember. Most importantly, that there is a real connection between your kata / forms and fighting. Hopefully, your instructor understands and is teaching you those connections. If he is not, or even if he is, you do your own work to find them, expand on them, explore them... the more work you do here, the more you will get out of your kata / forms. The next thing to remember is that the kata / forms are the start, not the end of your study. Once you can pronounce the words, you then have to learn how to use the words. (there I go using language when I thought there was a better analogy...) Those words can be used in many different ways, to accomplish many different things. Remember, there are a lot more words in the english language than you covered in your english classes. The words your learned in your english classes were chosen to give you a foundation to understand and learn to use all the words in the language... you are not supposed to say "we didn't study that word in class, so we don't use it and won't use it now." Most importantly, you have to scrimmage and you have to fight. Without the scrimmage and without the fight... you are just dancing.... go take a dance class and learn to do something that actually looks good. (there is a reason professional dance choreographers use very little martial arts moves in their choreography...) In order to fully understand the connections between the kata / forms and fighting... you need to fight. You need to know the feeling of a fight, the chaos, the dynamics of it, the fear, the frustration, the exhaustion... all of it. Then you need to try to apply what you learned during that situation.

My first sensei taught me that you need kata to teach you how to do something. Then you need waza (fighting) to learn how to make it work. When you get to the waza part, and it doesn't work, because it won't, then you need to work on your waza to figure out what you need to change, to make it work. Then take that change and put it into your kata, so you can refine it and make it better. Then you take it to waza and start the circle over again...

I hope this all made sense...
Well that's a fun analogy, but the fact remains people that do tma only can rarely fight. The data has been in on that for a long time, and can't really be honestly argued anymore. The evidence is piled to the roof.

Yes, skills drilling makes you better, but only insofar as the drills apply to the activity. If the drills do not reflect the activity you can't expect improvement.
 
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wab25

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players practice soccer skills with a soccer ball, i practiced my 25 yard free kicks into the top corner of the net with both a ball and some goal posts, to do otherwise is some where between pointless and stupid, id also trained mt dog to bring the balls back, how much use do you think it would have been to kick an imaginary ball into a real goal or a real ball into an imaginary goal or as your suggesting an imaginary ball into an imaginary net ?
I never once said that they use an imaginary ball or net. They used a real ball and real net... but we practiced shots from all over, not just the penalty kick line. But, there was also no resistance, no defender and no goalie for much of that practice.

Also, as long as we are picking apart terminology... the penalty kick is 12 yards, not 25. And when you get to face a good goalie, being able to hit all four corners can come in handy, especially if you can hit the one you want and not the one you made him think you wanted.
 
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wab25

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Yes, skills drilling makes you better, but only insofar as the drills apply to the activity. If the drills do not reflect the activity you can't expect improvement.
This is why I suggested that the TMA folks work to understand how their drill relates to fighting. And I admit that many people who do TMA, don't understand what they are doing, thus will not be able to become decent fighters. But thats user error. Just because you only know how to use your computer to send email and read forum posts, does not mean that your computer is incapable of doing a lot more. You do have to find out how to actually use your computer though. (or buy a video game...)
Well that's a fun analogy, but the fact remains people that do tma only can rarely fight.
Thats because people who do TMA rarely fight. That was one of my points... you have to fight to learn. People doing TMA without the fighting part are doing the soccer drills without ever playing soccer. Even those drills will not help you become a soccer player, if you never play soccer.
 

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I never once said that they use an imaginary ball or net. They used a real ball and real net... but we practiced shots from all over, not just the penalty kick line. But, there was also no resistance, no defender and no goalie for much of that practice.

Also, as long as we are picking apart terminology... the penalty kick is 12 yards, not 25. And when you get to face a good goalie, being able to hit all four corners can come in handy, especially if you can hit the one you want and not the one you made him think you wanted.

just checked i definitely said free kicks not penalty kicks, and i know they were 25 yards as id measured it

that is the scenario you are painting in kata your kicking an imaginary attacker with an imaginary kick, ok the kick is real but the body mechanics are wrong, so its still imaginary, as your imagining it will hurt them
 

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Is it fair to blame the user though? If it's a computer analogy, are all computers equal? You can be a whiz on your comedore 64 but no amount of skill with it will get gta5 to run...

To step out of this analogy, I have personally seen people decades deep in karate, aikido, various CMA (I fall into that last group) come into mma and bjj and get handled by most of the class, some no more than a month or two in, but go on to become absolute killers
 

Tony Dismukes

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I dont like to use the term TMA much because I havent found a satisfactory definition which encompasses all the arts people toss under that rubric but excludes the arts which dont commonly get that label.

However I have thought a bit about the role of drills and their usefulness and how they play out sometimes in arts which dont tend to produce many effective fighters. I think the trap many people (and ultimately entire arts) fall into is they start out with a drill which may do a good job of isolating and developing a specific skill or attribute which is useful for fighting - and then they let the tool become the goal. They focus on winning at push hands or sticky hands or demonstrating kata or whatever and never connect it to the actual application of combat. It would be as if you had entire schools of boxers who focused on mastering fancy tricks on the speed bag and the jump rope, but never stepped into the ring. Now imagine you had boxing schools like that which went through a few generations of boxers who never actually fought and youd probably find coaches offering ridiculous explanations of how exactly the fancy speed bag work mapped onto actual fighting.

I think a lot of the drills found in various TMAs do have potential value for developing useful attributes, but without experience in the larger context that value can be wasted.
 

_Simon_

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I played a lot of soccer, both for fun and competitively before starting martial arts. I was reading another thread here on language and martial arts (that one got shut down as people got carried away... please don't do that here) Anyway, that got me thinking... and I don't think that comparing martial arts to languages is the right analogy. I thought soccer was a better analogy.

One way to learn soccer... is to play soccer. We got a ball and two goals, divided up teams and played. We played hard. And we got better. Well... we thought we did. We kicked the ball harder and learned not to get our shins kicked so much.

I then joined a competitive team. When I showed up to practice... I was a bit surprised. We warmed up and then did drills. We dribbled the ball in the air by our selves. We partnered up and passed the ball back and forth... no movement... just kicking the ball 20 feet to the other guy who kicked it back. Then we made circles and did the same thing. We then had rules... you can only touch the ball twice: trap it, pass it. Then, we put one guy in the middle, his job was to steal the ball, the rest had to pass it around him. Then we put out a line of cones and dribbled the ball around the cones. Then we took away the cones and got into two lines for a race... each player dribbled the ball to a line 20 yards away, stopped the ball on the line, sat on the ball, then dribbled back and passed to your teammate who did the same. We put the cones out in a line, again partnered up and ran passing the ball between the cones. Then we had shooting practice, sometimes without even a goalie. Just put the ball anywhere and shoot a goal. We would set up our formation and walk through offensive strategies and defensive strategies... sometimes without even using a ball. When the forwards went here, the mid fielders went there and the defense guys had to go over there. We would set up situations where the offense had to make 3 specific passes, then shoot from a specific spot... sometimes this was to train the offense and other times to train the defense. Sometimes we had entire practice sessions without playing soccer... just the drills.

Sometimes at the end of practice we would scrimmage (play soccer). However, the coaches would interrupt play reset us back to where we were and discuss what we had done verses what he wanted us to do. Many times, it was not even the guy with the ball that needed correcting, but the guy on the other end of the field. Sometimes we would have extra rules during scrimmage: 2 touches only, left foot only, no passes over 10 yards...

Surprisingly... we got better. We got better much faster than just kicking a ball on a field. Who knew that doing all that solo practice and cooperative practice would improve the way we played an actual game of soccer. I played a lot of games. I never saw cones on the field to dribble around or pass between... I never saw people sitting on the ball before taking it the other way... never saw people taking static uncontested shots (unless it was a penalty kick...)

I hope you guys see where this is going. Just because a kata or forms is not seen in actual combat, does not mean it cannot be used to make someone better at combat. In fact, every martial art has solo drills and cooperative drills... whether you call them kata or forms or drills... they are the same.

With soccer, its pretty easy to see how all these drills relate to playing the game... we can pick out the skills, strategies and tactics being worked on, and we can connect them to the scrimmage and then to the game. It is the same with TMA. All those katas and forms can be and should be connected to fighting. In fact, they were created to do just that. That connection has sometimes been lost by people and sometimes by organizations. But, it was still there to start with.

There are people out there, who still do know the connections, either they never lost them or they went back and found them. Some will say, these drills were not very good, if that connection got lost. I say that the fact that you can learn those drills, from someone who does not know the connection and then find that connection... shows that they are actually a pretty decent way of transmitting knowledge, as the knowledge can go from a person who understands it, through one or more people who don't understand it and may not even know its there, yet the person on the other end of the line can still find the knowledge and use it. (much easier if the guy you get it from understands it though)

If you are not a TMA guy... the thing to remember is that when you watch those weird kata and forms... realize that they do connect directly to fighting just like those soccer ball drills connect to the game of soccer. Realize, that not every TMA guy doing or teaching, understands that connection. (many think they do and just have not yet realized that they don't) But, there are folks out there that do understand and teach those connections. When you understand those connections between the kata / forms and real combat... those kata and forms can help you get better at the real combat part. Also realize that the kata / forms are not meant to be a dictionary of all the techniques in a system. In my opinion, when you hear someone say "that technique does not appear in our kata, therefore its not part of the system and we don't do it" what they are really saying is "I don't understand my system and how these kata relate to anything." (and I don't care what color belt he is wearing or how many years... he still missed the boat)

If you are a TMA guy... there are a few things to remember. Most importantly, that there is a real connection between your kata / forms and fighting. Hopefully, your instructor understands and is teaching you those connections. If he is not, or even if he is, you do your own work to find them, expand on them, explore them... the more work you do here, the more you will get out of your kata / forms. The next thing to remember is that the kata / forms are the start, not the end of your study. Once you can pronounce the words, you then have to learn how to use the words. (there I go using language when I thought there was a better analogy...) Those words can be used in many different ways, to accomplish many different things. Remember, there are a lot more words in the english language than you covered in your english classes. The words your learned in your english classes were chosen to give you a foundation to understand and learn to use all the words in the language... you are not supposed to say "we didn't study that word in class, so we don't use it and won't use it now." Most importantly, you have to scrimmage and you have to fight. Without the scrimmage and without the fight... you are just dancing.... go take a dance class and learn to do something that actually looks good. (there is a reason professional dance choreographers use very little martial arts moves in their choreography...) In order to fully understand the connections between the kata / forms and fighting... you need to fight. You need to know the feeling of a fight, the chaos, the dynamics of it, the fear, the frustration, the exhaustion... all of it. Then you need to try to apply what you learned during that situation.

My first sensei taught me that you need kata to teach you how to do something. Then you need waza (fighting) to learn how to make it work. When you get to the waza part, and it doesn't work, because it won't, then you need to work on your waza to figure out what you need to change, to make it work. Then take that change and put it into your kata, so you can refine it and make it better. Then you take it to waza and start the circle over again...

I hope this all made sense...
EXCELLENT post
 

Xue Sheng

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My first shifu use to have us warm up by playing soccer, indoor soccer, in the guan. This went on for awhile, and it was a lot of fun, until 2 of his mirrors got broken.......and I broke one of them. But. group of martial artists, playing soccer in a guan, well, during a game you would see, shoulder rolls, take downs, etc. We weren't exactly following any rules, other than getting the ball in the goal
 
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wab25

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I think the trap many people (and ultimately entire arts) fall into is they start out with a drill which may do a good job of isolating and developing a specific skill or attribute which is useful for fighting - and then they let the tool become the goal. They focus on winning at push hands or sticky hands or demonstrating kata or whatever and never connect it to the actual application of combat.
Yes, I agree completely. The trick is to maintain the connection between the drills / kata / forms and combat. If you are studying an art that uses these heavily, you need to make sure you have that connection. It may be up to the student to maintain that connection... as many instructors and organizations have lost it. A big part of that is making sure that you fight.... hard sparring at least, with different people from different styles.
 

Graywalker

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Wow, still the same argument. I sometimes wonder what TMA people trained in, that didn't have sparring class at least on night a week? Other than a Doshinkan karate school, there was always contact and resistance training.
 
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