Sports vs Traditional in terms of Self Defense

drop bear

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Ok, so, YOU ended up in a school training nonsense. That does not mean everyone else is.

I fully agree that a lot of schools are teaching garbage. That is pretty obvious. But what you are advocating, whether you realize it or not, is a central “authority” who dictates what and how everyone must train. Good luck with that.

What it seems to me that you don’t understand is that there is more than one single way to train that produces quality results. If you have found something that is good for you, by all means keep doing it. Others need to do the same and that may well be different from what you do.

There is a standard way to tell whether the school is nonsense or good and that is sport.

Otherwise there is a lot of talk and hypothesis to disguise a nonsense school. And that is generally where we get this everyone has their own version of good exists.

It is quite simply the difference between a system that produces results and one that doesn't.

It is not a rule. You can teach whatever you want. But if you don't produce results. Then you are not teaching anything of substance.

So if someone is looking for substance then this is a very basic roadmap to work from. That way we can ignore the long justifications that explain why nothing is something and focus on what is going to produce something with a real result.

This would be the same as if I just claimed to teach a style. I can do it. I can even spend pages justifying it. A person would be sensible to check for evidence before they commit time and money.
 
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Wing Woo Gar

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According to John Danaher, in the following video
he says that sports based martial arts with competitive aspects are the most reliable for self defense purposes. However, traditional Budoka of the Koryu, often talk down or even denigrate the sportification of martial arts. Phil Relnick Sensei has even stated in an interview that he considered Judo a sport, not a martial art (a sentiment with which I really wholeheartedly disagree with). Toby Threadgill Sensei, in a Shu-Ha-Ri dialogues interview talked about how his Sensei effortlessly put down hardned Judoka. But what John Danaher is saying, as I understand it, essentially contradicts the things we hear from the traditional martial arts representatives.

In my opinion, the ideal thing to do is to probably do both competitive and traditional (theoretical) based martial arts.

What are your thoughts and reactions to John Danaher in this video?
Several things stand out to me here. I know john is skilled. As usual, we don’t know how much actual street fight experience people have when engaging in these types of purely hypothetical discussion. Three things always come to mind when this argument comes up. First, we humans are incredibly fragile creatures. It does not take an mma champion to seriously injure us, most of us can be undone by a mere misstep or fall. Second, the complete unknown variable are the persons in the fight. Not a single one of us is the same as any other, we all have differing strengths and weakness regardless of training type or intensity. These individual differences are in a constant state of flux in our daily lives, no one gets to “get ready“ for street violence, it just happens. Third, one cannot control the environmental factors of a street altercation, such as darkness, space, weather, etc. I feel these three factors combined are easily as important as what training is done by the individual involved. I believe it’s also important to recognize that most of us will never be attacked in public. Most of us that ARE attacked will not be attacked by skilled martial artists (they are busy training and recovering). The last major point I would like to make is that it’s never just technique, it’s the person performing the technique. This last one has the most unknowable, and arguably, the most variable effect on outcomes. These reasons are just my personal take on why these arguments are always just hypothetical and can never really bear fruit. Anecdotes about this guy and that guy are exactly that. No street fight can ever be a repeatable situation due to the enormous amount of variables involved. With no exactly identical or repeatable situation, one cannot have a theory at all. So again, as usual, we will all spout our opinion of what does or doesn’t work. With little or no actual experiences to base our opinions on, we are left with “what worked for me this one time” or this expert said “XYZ”. There are many expert debaters here, so I don’t have belabor the idea that basing your training on this sort of evidence is not very scientific nor is it likely to produce meaningful results, especially in light of the exceeding rarity of actually being assaulted in public. If you are being regularly attacked in public, consider what YOU might be doing wrong. Lastly, if your reason for training is because you fear being attacked in public, there are far more expedient ways of defending oneself than spending decades in a gym, a one armed guy in a wheelchair with a .45 automatic can still defeat sport combat tactics.
 

Wing Woo Gar

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There is a standard way to tell whether the school is nonsense or good and that is sport.

Otherwise there is a lot of talk and hypothesis to disguise a nonsense school. And that is generally where we get this everyone has their own version of good exists.

It is quite simply the difference between a system that produces results and one that doesn't.

It is not a rule. You can teach whatever you want. But if you don't produce results. Then you are not teaching anything of substance.

So if someone is looking for substance then this is a very basic roadmap to work from. That way we can ignore the long justifications that explain why nothing is something and focus on what is going to produce something with a real result.

This would be the same as if I just claimed to teach a style. I can do it. I can even spend pages justifying it. A person would be sensible to check for evidence before they commit time and money.
Ok what constitutes ”results” as you see it? Substance? These are broad terms so I am just asking for clarity here. Do you mean that results equate to trophy? Do your students compete against each other? In tournaments against similar people with similar skill And size? Do they pressure test it in the street? I’m not sure that any of these would constitute substance or results in my book. If everyone in your gym competes, do all of them win consistently? If not, how come? Is it them? Your style? The teacher? I’m not picking on you, I really want to understand where you are coming from.
 

Hyoho

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I honestly find people who eschew daily fitness but still walk around with their "martial artist" cap on a little annoying. For some reason it seems to be the rule not the exception.
I would eschew anyone that has to rely upon fitness to do their art. Of course we have to be fit but not to extremes. It's the timing of things and not expending energy on useless movement and skill that had me standing in a dojo almost every day opposite around fifty-five skilled students to fight and beat and teach as many as I could in an hour.
 
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drop bear

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Ok what constitutes ”results” as you see it? Substance? These are broad terms so I am just asking for clarity here. Do you mean that results equate to trophy? Do your students compete against each other? In tournaments against similar people with similar skill And size? Do they pressure test it in the street? I’m not sure that any of these would constitute substance or results in my book. If everyone in your gym competes, do all of them win consistently? If not, how come? Is it them? Your style? The teacher? I’m not picking on you, I really want to understand where you are coming from.

Pretty much trophies. And the reason for that is they are verifiable and consistent.

So yes our students compete against each other. Yes they pressure test in the street and in competition against other people of equal size and preparation.

Not everyone competes and not everyone wins. But the ones who do are generally better than the ones who don't.

There are exemptions but you can test that as well. If John Dannaher doesn't compete but is creating champions and manhandling everyone in the gym. Then he is also probably pretty good. If John Danaher also pressure tested in the street. We have this verifiable line of evidence.

Once we see that people who are capable in the gym. Capable in sport and capable on the street.

But people who are capable in the street are not capable in sport or the gym.

We can start to make a logical road map as to what makes someone capable.

There will be outliers. There will be guys who have never trained in the gym who are great street fighters. But if we can't determine a cause. Then that isn't helpful.

Because what we are looking for is a consistent result. And sport provides that.
 

Hyoho

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with all due respect, that's your problem, not his. I am more than certain many more people have heard of him than have heard of you.
Well that fine with me. As headmaster of one ryu and the previous manager of another I have always shunned publicity, disallowed YouTubes and tried to avoid TV Channels that tried to do documentaries about me.
 
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drop bear

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Ok what constitutes ”results” as you see it? Substance? These are broad terms so I am just asking for clarity here. Do you mean that results equate to trophy? Do your students compete against each other? In tournaments against similar people with similar skill And size? Do they pressure test it in the street? I’m not sure that any of these would constitute substance or results in my book. If everyone in your gym competes, do all of them win consistently? If not, how come? Is it them? Your style? The teacher? I’m not picking on you, I really want to understand where you are coming from.

There was a guy here a while back who demanded we prove 2+2=4 and was like "HA. Nothing is provable".

But this question led to one of the better analogies for how sport is proven.

2+2=4 because. 1+1=2. And 1+1+1+1=4 and so on and so forth. If all the parts add up and it all works then we have proved the equation.

So with sport we can prove the method. Or the parts. We can get better in the gym. If we do the things good sports fighters do. We can get better at sports the same way. Maybe not as good as that sports man. But consistant improvement.

So to take that to street fighting. We have an issue in that we probably don't want to do it to test it. So we test what we can test consistently and make an assumption from there.

1+1+1+?=4

Now I don't compete. And I don't train like someone who does. But I am still doing some of those components that will make me a capable martial artists.

So I might be 1+1+1=3. So it is still consistant. The components still work. I am just not employing all of them.
 
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Hyoho

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Now I don't compete. And I don't train like someone who does. But I am still doing some of those components that will make me a capable martial artists.
I "used to compete" But it's far from making me less competent. Now its the new and rising competitors that have to fight me to try and become strong.
 

drop bear

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I "used to compete" But it's far from making me less competent. Now its the new and rising competitors that have to fight me to try and become strong.

Yeah. But you still have a viable line that stretches from you to someone succeeding at something. A lot of instructors skip that part. But will still forward that argument.
 

Steve

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You are right, I haven’t. The benefit of having Chris here is that he does a very thorough job of breaking things down and addressing the minutia. Then I don’t need to do that work. I often find his posts to be intelligently presented and well thought-out. I didn’t agree with everything he said, but overall I agree with what he said.
like what? I’m very interested to hear what he wrote that you disagree with.
 

Hyoho

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Yeah. But you still have a viable line that stretches from you to someone succeeding at something. A lot of instructors skip that part. But will still forward that argument.
Fortunately I already have people that instruct here and in other countries to a high level. This has been my main purpose. My headmaster/shihan taught me so that I could hand it on. I teach instructors. On the sport-like side I am a qualified professional teacher under Monbusho (Japanese education authority). Trained teams and individuals to win the All Japan Championships "twice". In Japan nobody makes any big money from this except the those that have gone into MMA. There is a debate about which is best here but it all boils down to what I have said a few times before. We watch the kids come up through the ranks who eventually hit the top. They are already born fighters regardless of what they do. Meet these guys on the street? They have opponents figured out before those opponents even know what they are going to do themselves.
 

dunc

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I would eschew anyone that has to rely upon fitness to do their art. Of course we have to be fit but not to extremes. It's the timing of things and not expending energy on useless movement and skill that had me standing in a dojo almost every day opposite around fifty-five skilled students to fight and beat and teach as many as I could in an hour.
Then with respect either your students are terrible or they are (consciously or subconsciously) letting you beat them easily
I believe any contest (as broadly defined as you like) in martial arts is always a combination of skill, heart/guts and physical characteristics
So in order to beat many people without expending much energy you must have a gap in skill, guts, size, strength etc etc and if this gap is so wide with your students that you can do beat as many of them as possible for an hour without requiring an incredible amount of cardio fitness then you're not teaching them much or they are letting you win easily or there is no contest
 

Tony Dismukes

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Then with respect either your students are terrible or they are (consciously or subconsciously) letting you beat them easily
I believe any contest (as broadly defined as you like) in martial arts is always a combination of skill, heart/guts and physical characteristics
So in order to beat many people without expending much energy you must have a gap in skill, guts, size, strength etc etc and if this gap is so wide with your students that you can do beat as many of them as possible for an hour without requiring an incredible amount of cardio fitness then you're not teaching them much or they are letting you win easily or there is no contest
This is possibly true, but I will posit that in weapon arts like Kendo the effects of physical attributes compared to those from skill and experience are somewhat mitigated, at least compared to grappling or MMA or kickboxing. The weapon acts as a force multiplier, which means that strength differential is less important. Matches can be won within a couple of quick exchanges, and action is paused when a point is called, which means physical endurance and cardio is less crucial. Speed still matters, but timing and experience can help compensate for that.

From my personal experience, at the age of 57 I am no longer competing in BJJ tournaments, because I just don’t have the conditioning to keep up with guys who are at my rank but 30 years younger. (I still roll every week in class, but the guys at my skill level are focusing on technique rather than using all their physical attributes and the guys who are using all their physical attributes usually are less skilled.) However I have started competing in HEMA fencing tournaments where my conditioning is more adequate. Not to say that athleticism isn’t important in that arena, but the relative impact of skill vs athleticism is higher.
 

wolfeyes2323

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According to John Danaher, in the following video
he says that sports based martial arts with competitive aspects are the most reliable for self defense purposes. However, traditional Budoka of the Koryu, often talk down or even denigrate the sportification of martial arts. Phil Relnick Sensei has even stated in an interview that he considered Judo a sport, not a martial art (a sentiment with which I really wholeheartedly disagree with). Toby Threadgill Sensei, in a Shu-Ha-Ri dialogues interview talked about how his Sensei effortlessly put down hardned Judoka. But what John Danaher is saying, as I understand it, essentially contradicts the things we hear from the traditional martial arts representatives.

In my opinion, the ideal thing to do is to probably do both competitive and traditional (theoretical) based martial arts.

What are your thoughts and reactions to John Danaher in this video?
The heart/mind govern our training and understanding, any martial , pugilistic or grappling art can be used for self defense if you are of the right heart/mind. Karate and traditional MA emphasize Character , Discipline, courtesy , training hard and with holding the hands in anger, we can try and reinvent the wheel by applying the same elements to any training, Personally I'm rolling with the wheel.
 

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The heart/mind govern our training and understanding, any martial , pugilistic or grappling art can be used for self defense if you are of the right heart/mind. Karate and traditional MA emphasize Character , Discipline, courtesy , training hard and with holding the hands in anger, we can try and reinvent the wheel by applying the same elements to any training, Personally I'm rolling with the wheel.
Great post, hits the mark....plus, "Big wheels a rolling"....
 

Steve

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The heart/mind govern our training and understanding, any martial , pugilistic or grappling art can be used for self defense if you are of the right heart/mind. Karate and traditional MA emphasize Character , Discipline, courtesy , training hard and with holding the hands in anger, we can try and reinvent the wheel by applying the same elements to any training, Personally I'm rolling with the wheel.
My personal experience leads me to believe that there are a lot better ways to develop character than from strip mall martial arts schools.
 

dunc

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This is possibly true, but I will posit that in weapon arts like Kendo the effects of physical attributes compared to those from skill and experience are somewhat mitigated, at least compared to grappling or MMA or kickboxing. The weapon acts as a force multiplier, which means that strength differential is less important. Matches can be won within a couple of quick exchanges, and action is paused when a point is called, which means physical endurance and cardio is less crucial. Speed still matters, but timing and experience can help compensate for that.

From my personal experience, at the age of 57 I am no longer competing in BJJ tournaments, because I just don’t have the conditioning to keep up with guys who are at my rank but 30 years younger. (I still roll every week in class, but the guys at my skill level are focusing on technique rather than using all their physical attributes and the guys who are using all their physical attributes usually are less skilled.) However I have started competing in HEMA fencing tournaments where my conditioning is more adequate. Not to say that athleticism isn’t important in that arena, but the relative impact of skill vs athleticism is higher.
Yes that's a fair point
Weapons confer a greater emphasis onto skill than unarmed training - I agree with this
Either way I believe that a teacher should be both working hard to help their students develop as fast as they have the capacity to develop and encouraging those students to push them (ie the teacher) to keep progressing
If you do this over many years then they do/should be able to put sufficient pressure on you to at least tire you out a bit (or more than a bit) especially if you're working your way through many of them one after another - even in weapons based arts
 

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The direction of this thread makes me think of the law of diminishing returns. Not in terms of the posts 😂

People always have this expectation that masters, instructors, whatever you want to call them need to be almost godlike and untouchable, but the law of diminishing returns applies to pretty much all things. At a certain point, you can only get so much better with practice. Sure someone who has been training for 40 years should be a lot more skilled than someone who has trained 3, and there are always rooms for sudden jumps, but if we imagine skill as a 1-100 scale a martial artists journey might look something like this (as an example not an exact reflection of everyone ever):

Year 0: 1/100
Year 1: 20
Year 2: 38
Year 3: 45
Year 4: 60
Year 5: 68
Year 6: 75
Year 7: 80
Year 8: 83
Year 9: 84
Year 10: 85
Year 11: 85
Year 12: 85
Year 13: 88
Year 14: 88

and so on.

After a certain point, the actual skill gap won't be that huge. Differences will come down mainly to knowledge, understanding and experience. Of course differences in training will matter too.

If your best students are much younger than you, they should be able to beat you. This is a big difference in the mind set of sports vs traditional arts. Boxing knows that a good coach would get battered by their fighters.
 

Hyoho

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Then with respect either your students are terrible or they are (consciously or subconsciously) letting you beat them easily
I believe any contest (as broadly defined as you like) in martial arts is always a combination of skill, heart/guts and physical characteristics
So in order to beat many people without expending much energy you must have a gap in skill, guts, size, strength etc etc and if this gap is so wide with your students that you can do beat as many of them as possible for an hour without requiring an incredible amount of cardio fitness then you're not teaching them much or they are letting you win easily or there is no contest
Of course I am talking about weapon arts, not hand to hand. That's probably what attracted me to it in the first place away from karate an jujitsu. All having the same weapon regardless of stature or age. Something that used actual skill and was far less egotistical. I had 40+ years of skill as opposed to their 8 years daily practice to a Nidan level. This level has widened even more over the years. My students won the all Japan championships "twice". I have watched guys move like ballet dancers to beat fellow 7th Dan's. Then they take off armor to reveal a man in his 80s that has reached 8th Dan going 9th.
 
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dunc

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Of course I am talking about weapon arts, not hand to hand. That's probably what attracted me to it in the first place away from karate an jujitsu. All having the same weapon regardless of stature or age. Something that used actual skill and was far less egotistical. I had 40+ years of skill as opposed to their 8 years daily practice to a Nidan level. This level has widened even more over the years. My students won the all Japan championships "twice". I have watched guys move like ballet dancers to beat fellow 7th Dan's. Then they take off armor to reveal a man in his 80s that has reached 8th Dan going 9th.
Hi
That's amazing and I'd like to understand more about this dynamic
I don't follow arts like kendo or fencing are the high level competitions dominated by older, more experienced folk?
Thanks
 

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