Teaching the student how to fight

Saheim

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Honest question; Would someone become a better fighter more quickly if you removed form training and focused entirely on the striking, blocking, footwork, etc, and instituted heavy sparring practice? Like take the techniques of Wing Chun and apply them to a Boxing or Muay Thai approach.

While I do not agree with dropping forms, even from the earliest of stages, I do agree there are other things that need focused on IF you are expecting a totally inexperienced person to be decent at fighting within that first year.

I was in a different TMA and said to my instructor that as much as I loved the art AND knew how beneficial it would be in the long run, I believed if a person started our class and stayed for 6 months while a different person started at a Muay Thai gym and stayed for 6 months, the MT guy would kick our guy's butt. He didn't like that.

That was not a WC school and I only mention it for reference because I still pretty much feel that way. I have only been training in WC for apx 2 yr. I absolutely love it. It consumes much of my life (reading different perspectives, watching tutorials from different lineages, training, etc). However, if I ever ran a class, I'd focus on: stance, footwork, basic boxing skills, round kicks and teeps from day one. Also, so far (still very young in the art) I really do not consider it a stand alone system. To be honest, I have never considered anything a stand alone system. I view M.A. like religion- everyone has a piece of the puzzle and everyone added some junk. Sort through the junk, find the pieces :)
 

JowGaWolf

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This is why this move:

block-punch.gif


has been changed into this move. An upward block may not look fancy but it's useful.

Pao-Chuan-3-palms.gif
It feels better as well.
 

Hanzou

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It depends on what he's attacking me with. If he's that drunk then that's an advantage to me, because of the physical effects on motor skill and balance caused by the alcohol. His fighting ability is degraded. Which is different than a sober person trying to hit me. All I would need to do is push him if that much. My father is old, so he would have to be really drunk to fight family. Which is the one thing he cares a lot about. But I'll play your game. With a real rule that I live by.

My family rule taught to me by my father: No one family member is more important than the whole family. If that one family member's actions threatens the well being of the family then he or she will be treated accordingly.

If I had an abusive drunk father, then yes, I would punch, kick, and break arms if necessary. According that family rule. It doesn't mean that I love him less. But if my father became such a dangerous threat then yes. Sort of like saying if your father came in the house and started shooting at you with a gun, would you return fire, if you are able to get to your gun. You may hate to shoot back at your own father, but that may be the only option other than dying.

You are literally talking to someone who often talks about cutting off emotions when fighting so that you can do the horrible things that may be necessary as part of self-defense. Buy that's how I am, and how I train my mental state.

Now, would my father shoot me if I start attacking him and my mom. Yep. I'm 99% sure he would shoot me. Would his intent be to kill me. Probably not. All he would care about is that the bullet hit me and no one else.

So you're saying there is never a hypothetical self defense situation where potentially killing the person attacking you isn't an option?
 

JowGaWolf

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While I do not agree with dropping forms, even from the earliest of stages, I do agree there are other things that need focused on IF you are expecting a totally inexperienced person to be decent at fighting within that first year.

I was in a different TMA and said to my instructor that as much as I loved the art AND knew how beneficial it would be in the long run, I believed if a person started our class and stayed for 6 months while a different person started at a Muay Thai gym and stayed for 6 months, the MT guy would kick our guy's butt. He didn't like that.

That was not a WC school and I only mention it for reference because I still pretty much feel that way. I have only been training in WC for apx 2 yr. I absolutely love it. It consumes much of my life (reading different perspectives, watching tutorials from different lineages, training, etc). However, if I ever ran a class, I'd focus on: stance, footwork, basic boxing skills, round kicks and teeps from day one. Also, so far (still very young in the art) I really do not consider it a stand alone system. To be honest, I have never considered anything a stand alone system. I view M.A. like religion- everyone has a piece of the puzzle and everyone added some junk. Sort through the junk, find the pieces :)
I think you can learn how to use some basic wing chun techniques in 3 months with 2 hour sparring sessions once a week. And at least 4 hours during that time period sparring against other systems.
 

JowGaWolf

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So you're saying there is never a hypothetical self defense situation where potentially killing the person attacking you isn't an option?
Its always an option and always my decision if I go in that direction. Just because I can doesnt
 

Buka

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Every student I’ve ever taught spars for the first time with me or one of the other black belts. It’s not actual free sparring, it’s teaching them the rule set we use in whatever type of sparring we’re doing at that time, and teaching them distance and control.

We teach control for obvious reasons - so they won’t kill each other once they get into the swing of things. We also always bring them onto the floor when there’s advanced sparring going on, making them feel comfortable, making them part of the class. Everybody buddies up to them, asks them if they have any particular questions, encouraging them to ask.

I always tell them at this point, “You see all these guys? You’ll be sparring with them in no time. And you’ll be taking other beginners under your wing like they are to you.” Six months down the road I remind them of that when they're taking new kids under their wing.

The biggest thing that helped, in my opinion, was how hard we worked in classes. Sparring night was like a day off, like a wonderful party. Everybody loved sparring nights. We would spar every Thursday night, other than holidays. We would also spar on any other night, which everyone thought of as a reward.

Sparring nights was wall to wall people. Some guys were kickboxing, some boxing, some point fighting, some making up whatever it was they wanted to do. All supervised, of course. Groin kicks were legal, takedowns were legal, and there was no such thing as no contact to the face. The day I teach no contact to the face will be the day boxing changes to no contact to the face. Dumbest thing in the history of Martial Arts in my opinion. It’s like teaching someone to miss.

P.S Edit. As for Kyokushin guys. Every Kyokushin guy I ever trained with punched to the face just fine and dandy. They talk a good "we don't hit to the face" but they sure as hell do when they're in a gym that does. And they seem to like it.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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I have never considered anything a stand alone system. I view M.A. like religion- everyone has a piece of the puzzle and everyone added some junk. Sort through the junk, find the pieces :)
I consider that as major and minors. I'm glad that I bring the

- WC centerline strategy (see I'm still talking within WC topic) into my Sanda system as rhino guard (protect center from inside out). I call this open - to drill a big hole between my opponent's arms.
- SC circular arms strategy into my Sanda system as circular arms guard (protect center from outside in). I call this the anti-missile system, squeeze - to guide my opponent's one arm to against his own other arm.

These integration can make my Sanda system more complete and more traditional.
 
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JowGaWolf

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Its always an option and always my decision if I go in that direction. Just because I can doesnt
Tried to edit this.

Just because I can kill someone doesn't mean that I will choose to or need to. But it's always an option. Either for me or my attacker

Just because I think I can kill someone one doesn't mean that I have the skill sets, ability, or capability to do so. (lots of people claim to be deadly but lack the skills or ability to be so.). If I'm 1 vs 1 then the option may be a high ability depending on who I'm fighting. If I'm fighting unarmed against a professional fighter then that option becomes a low ability, but still probable if that person decides to try to go easy on me, which may increase my opportunity to cause him harm.

Dying is always an option, or better yet a possibility which is why I don't take fighting lightly. There's nothing in the rules that says I won't be the one that dies that day and I keep that in my mind. ALWAYS. This means when I get into a fight I can't be messing around being concerned about the person trying to hurt me.
 

Tony Dismukes

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I’ll start with generalities and I’ve on to some specific observations regarding WC.

First, you need some foundation of techniques and principles which can work in a fight, WC has those.

Next, you need to give the students opportunities to apply those techniques and principles under pressure with the possibility of failure included so that the student can learn from the results. It doesn’t mean that you have to jump right in to full MMA style sparring against practitioners of different styles, but there should be a progression leading that direction.

In the beginning it’s good to give students isolated moments that might come up in a fight and give them a task to accomplish in that moment while their training partner tries to prevent it. For example when I teach students how to perform a single leg takedown I might give them a drill where one student having already scooped up and captured their partner’s leg. Then on “go”, the first student tries to complete the takedown while the other tries to stop the takedown and free their leg. I’ll watch the students work this drill for a few rounds, observing where the problems are. Then we’ll take a little break, discuss the difficulties students are having, I’ll point out some specific technical flaws that I saw getting in the way, then I’ll send them out to try again and see whether the success rate goes up.

Getting to WC now. I spent some time a few years back training Wing Tsun with @yak sao. I learned some cool stuff, some of which I’ve been able to use on occasion in MMA sparring against reasonably high level sparring partners. Yak sao himself I am confident can use his WC skills effectively in a fight. However there are certain aspects of how he and his lead assistant instructor were teaching at that time which I think were counterproductive for helping his students learn to fight effectively.

(I spoke privately with yak sao before writing this post to get his approval on posting this feedback publicly and to make sure this doesn't come across as disrespectful or an attack, because it's not meant to be either.)

At the time* yak sao was teaching primarily forms, footwork, specific technical applications, and some assorted non-pressure drills. There was no sparring and it was rare to see even beginning level pressure testing. His idea was that if the student doesn't get the WC body mechanics and structures fully ingrained before sparring, then their technique will just fall apart into sloppy, crappy kickboxing once they are put into the stress of sparring.

*(I haven't been out to see him in a while, but he has mentioned that he is doing some things differently now.)

I understand this idea, but in my experience this will happen regardless the first time a student is thrown into to the stress of free-form pressure testing scenarios such as sparring, regardless of how long you give them to ingrain their form through preset drills. Beginning BJJ and boxing students have terrible technique and form when they start sparring. Their technique gradually improves because they discover the correct body mechanics reliably produce better results under stress. In addition, they become desensitized to the adrenaline rush and they encounter instructors and senior sparring partners who can reliably dominate them in sparring through the application of correct technique. Personally I would take no longer than 6 months to introduce new students to the fundamental technical repertoire of the style before starting them out with sparring. More limited forms of somewhat free-form pressure testing can start earlier.

At the time I trained with yak sao's group, I was regularly taking what I learned back to my home gym and testing it out in sparring. I was the most junior (in terms of WC) student, but I didn't see the senior students with years of training doing anything similar.

In addition, the option of learning from failure seemed to be generally lacking even in the non-pressure training. I'll give an example from a class I attended which was taught by the senior assistant instructor. We were drilling an approach for dealing with a boxing style jab. The idea was to smother the opponent's technique with a pak sao, aggressive footwork, and a flurry of punches. This can be a valid tactic under the right circumstances, with the right timing. I was having no problem with the drill, perhaps because I have plenty of experience in dealing with boxer's punches. My partner, however, was struggling. I was doing my best to be a good partner and make it easy on him. I was feeding very slow jabs, with no feints, and no footwork. However I was using good boxing form and returning to a proper defensive guard as my jab retracted. My partner was hesitating on his reaction and so by the time his counter attack arrived I was already covered against his punches. His form was adequate, but his timing made the technique ineffective. The assistant instructor came over and watched the proceedings. His solution ended up being telling me to stop recovering to the proper defensive guard and just drop my hands after my opponent's pak sao so that he could get the experience of throwing his ending flurry of punches towards my unprotected face.

Needless to say, I consider this to have been absolutely useless and counterproductive for my training partner's progression towards being able to fight. He was already drilling the basic movement and body mechanics, so forcing me to feed him bad technique didn't help with that part of the process. The next step was to understand the basics of the timing and without being able to see my recovery he would have no way of knowing when he got that right. Without learning that basic timing, he would have no way to further progress into understanding the more advanced aspects necessary to make the tactic work, i.e. dealing with the opponent's footwork, dealing with the opponent's feints, understanding the moments in a fight when the tactic might work and when it definitely will not, dealing with the opponent's counters to the counter, and then being able to put that all into play under the stress of someone actually trying to hit him.

The frustrating thing is that I'm quite sure the assistant instructor knew what my partner was doing wrong in terms of timing and what needed to be fixed (at least for that level of the drill). He just wanted the student to experience the technique as "winning" rather than let him experience the "failure" of not being able to know that his punches would have landed.

In my opinion, you have to (as drop bear often puts it) "invest in failure." Let the students experience how their techniques can fail even with minimal resistance and help them fix the flaw which cause that failure. Then let them experience how they can fail with mild resistance and help them fix those flaws. Then gradually up the difficulty until they can function at least in full-free form sparring, preferably with some solid contact and preferably with time spent sparring against people who are proficient in other systems.

Speaking of sparring against practitioners of other styles, it's a good idea to become familiar with at least the basics of how those systems operate rather than making assumptions and trying to teach counters based on uneducated assumptions.

I have to give yak sao credit for this. When we started getting together, it was to trade information and training. After a while, due to some personal things going on in his life, he realized that he didn't have the mental energy to actively study another system at that time but invited me to continue attending his classes for free because he thought my training background would be helpful for the other students. He also encouraged his students to train with me when they had the opportunity, although only one took him up on that suggestion.

His assistant instructor (who was running most of the classes for a time) I don't think placed that same value on my experience. I've noted the incident above. I remember another time when he was showing how to pressure blitz a boxer and I showed how my natural reaction in that situation would be to shoulder roll the chain punches, pivot out, and counter with a left hook. He had an idea about how he would deal with that response, but while explaining it mentioned that the hook wouldn't be too powerful from that position. Yak sao was there for that class and commented "Tony did just say that was one of the most powerful punches in boxing." He was paying attention. His assistant was not.

(I also had some discussions with one or two of the other senior students which revealed a certain dogmatism and misplaced certainty that their system contained all the answers.)

Bottom line: Do your forms if you want. Do your isolated drills if you want. Certainly drill your basic techniques and applications without resistance in order to learn the body mechanics. But you have to spend time regularly pressure testing your technique with non-cooperative training partners or it's just not going to work reliably. (To be fair, there's also the option of just going out and getting into a whole bunch of real fights. However this is generally inadvisable from a legal and medical perspective. Not to mention that due to the non-progressive nature of the approach will make it hard to achieve mastery of the more subtle of difficult techniques.)
 

jobo

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So you're saying there is never a hypothetical self defense situation where potentially killing the person attacking you isn't an option?
in a self defence situation trying to kill the attacker is the most reliable mode of operation, best if you stop when they are no longer a threat to you, as clearly then the sd has gone from the situation

what you should never do is hold back
 

Hanzou

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in a self defence situation trying to kill the attacker is the most reliable mode of operation, best if you stop when they are no longer a threat to you, as clearly then the sd has gone from the situation

what you should never do is hold back

While the most reliable, it isn't the most preferable. For example, when I worked in a school, a student attacked me with a hammer. If I killed that student, I would be in prison right now. Instead, I triangled him and restrained him until security came. That's what I'm talking about; Not every SD situation is some mugger with a knife coming for your wallet. Some SD situations require you to hold back or suffer seriously bad outcomes.
 

jobo

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While the most reliable, it isn't the most preferable. For example, when I worked in a school, a student attacked me with a hammer. If I killed that student, I would be in prison right now. Instead, I triangled him and restrained him until security came. That's what I'm talking about; Not every SD situation is some mugger with a knife coming for your wallet. Some SD situations require you to hold back or suffer seriously bad outcomes.
WELL ON scheme of thing that a bit of an out lyer, my young nephew had a temper tantrum and kicked me, i didnt try to kill him either

i didnt say kill them, i said try to kill them, if they stop being a threat stop trying to kill them

its not actually easy to kill someone with head punches, i spent a chunk of my life trying, they tend to pass out or give up
 

Hanzou

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WELL ON scheme of thing that a bit of an out lyer, my young nephew had a temper tantrum and kicked me, i did try to kill him either

i didnt say kill them, i said try to kill them, if they stop being a threat stop trying to kill them

its not actually easy to kill someone with head punches, i spent a chunk of my life trying,

Oh it certainly is. I would even argue that unless you have a dangerous job, tend to frequent bad places, or a woman, self defense in of itself is an outlier.
 

jobo

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Oh it certainly is. I would even argue that unless you have a dangerous job, tend to frequent bad places, or a woman, self defense in of itself is an outlier.
well life style i suppose, if you never get out of your car it becomes increasingly unlikely

if you like to get out and about, its far from unlikely, i got into am exchange with a guy with a bull terrier, he thought he was out of range but i got him bang in the face with a frozen meat pie
 

JowGaWolf

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For example, when I worked in a school, a student attacked me with a hammer. If I killed that student, I would be in prison right now. Instead, I triangled him and restrained him until security came.

Here's what you need to understand.
1. You applied the necessary amount of force to stop your attacker, which is directly related to your skill set. Not everyone can do what you did. I wouldn't expect someone's grandmother or someone without your skill set to take the same course of action. I don't train any technique with the word triangle in it, so that student will get what I got. I'm also not in any role that requires me to Detain. Until I work a job that requires me to Detain, I have no interest in started of with the goal of detaining.

2. A student that you face over there is not the same as a student that I may face over here. I don't know how big students in your area get, but in the U.S. this is a reality. Students here are big enough to slam teachers and cause serious harm. This student isn't attacking with a hammer and I can tell you if he threw fists like this I wouldn't care about restraining him for his safety. I would be more concerned with my safety.

Here's your hammer attack scenario.. She should have put him in a triangle like you stated.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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So you're saying there is never a hypothetical self defense situation where potentially killing the person attacking you isn't an option?
Old Chinese saying said, "You should see red color when you fight." This may sound violence. But the truly meaning is, if you don't have good reason to draw blood, you should not fight.

Do you want to kill your opponent? If the answer is no, you turn around, and avoid that fight.
 
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Bruce7

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I think this is very well said.

My Sifu has said that if all we wanted was to learn to fight quickly, he could teach us that in the space of a year and it would include no forms.

I’ve been thinking about that, and how I might use that approach in my own teaching, if I can get a training group going in my area. I might take the first six months to a year and just do what you describe above. Work the hell out of the foundation and fundamental techniques and teach them how to get a lot of mileage from a small curriculum. Later I would bring in the forms that would solidify the methodology and then broaden their view of what is possible.

I think it’s an interesting idea. I also suspect that it may be more in line with traditional teaching methods. I suspect that forms are not meant to be taught early in the process and are better used when they are brought in later. But in the modern era, people want the “interesting” stuff right away, or they lose interest. So forms are introduced early.

This how I was taught in the early 70's.
I had perform thousands of basic punches, blocks, and kicks before I perform a form.
This also slows belt progression.
Not a money maker.
 

JowGaWolf

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That's what I'm talking about; Not every SD situation is some mugger with a knife coming for your wallet. Some SD situations require you to hold back or suffer seriously bad outcomes.
actual in most place in the U.S. SD only requires that you use the necessary force to stop the attack, and that's going to vary depending on who you are and the situation you find yourself in.
 

Bruce7

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As we all know from recent threads in the WC forum, we can't fight our way out of a paper bag....but let's wallow in our delusion.

What do you do in your school to train the student in, say the first 12 -18 months to defend themselves?

This is a very good post. lots of good post in this thread.
Sparing with no pads, no rest period prepares you best to fight real fight.
 

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