techinque over strength

marlon

Master Black Belt
Joined
Jun 16, 2005
Messages
1,423
Reaction score
37
Location
montreal,canada
How do we teach technique over strength...or do we? One of my favorite distinctions of skk from AK (exculding sl4 it seems) is the body manipulation involved. Is this realistic? Is is emphasized enough? is it emphasized too much. Think of old age and fatigue, children and smaller physiques. Does kempo make the grade?

Marlon
 

Ronin74

Brown Belt
Joined
Dec 30, 2008
Messages
434
Reaction score
13
Hey Marlon, I think what keeps a martial art alive into the following generations is how "learnable" it is to other people. Granted, a little muscle or speed may not hurt, the thing that generally keeps it going is the technique.

When I was teaching, I had a female student who was trying to figure out how to put that snap behind her punches. I explained to her that it was all in technique- the rotation of the hips, pivoting on the balls of the feet, body alignment, etc. She ended up being a really solid puncher. For me, I've always followed the sequence of technique first, speed second, and power was a result of the two working together.

Now as far as different bodytypes, there are limits. I had a friend who's Kenpo instructor had an leg, from knee to foot. Some techniques he adapted to fit his abilities, and likewise, he would adapt them according to students who's physical limits wouldn't allow the technique to be performed in the same way.

Then there are those limits that make it almost impossible to perform some techniques. I myself have severe shoulder injuries, and have had to opt for practicing arts that don't demand the same kinds of movements.
 

JesterX

White Belt
Joined
Mar 10, 2009
Messages
18
Reaction score
1
Location
Deux-Montagnes, Quebec, Canada
Here is my point of view, beware that I'm still a novice and my opinions on this might not be as professional as a sensei.

I believe that it might depend on the technique.

Some techniques do need a little bit of strength.

That is particularly true with knife defense techniques in which you have to force an opponent to the ground by pushing on the back of elbow while grabbing his forearm/wrist. Some opponents might resist quite easily these techniques if they are stronger.

I've even seen opponents that were even able to pry their elbow, so that the technique was no longer possible.

I believe that in that case, the student should have a way to learn the "fallback plan" in case of this happening.

That's exactly why we learn a lot of techniques, so that we can easily flow from one to the other.

I really doubt that a single technique will always work in a real life situation, you'll have to adapt, to improvise... For sure you can start with one technique and finish with the other.. That's what makes Kempo useful.

A sensei taught me a really cool exercise a while ago: She asked us to "defend" ourself with another technique and to keep the flow so that the attacker became the victim and the victim then became the attacker until one of them "won" the conquest of technique.

For example : My parter started by a wrist grab, I started at once the "usual" counter-wrist grab technique but he resisted and bent my arm behind my back to force me to the ground, I used the jiu-jutsu technique to counter that and put him to the ground with my knee on his back, I was not putting enough weight on him (I was only 110 lbs at that time), So he managed to get back on his knees and grabbed one of my ankle to make me fall... I don't quite remember how it ended but I think you can see the idea...
 

DavidCC

Master of Arts
Joined
Apr 5, 2004
Messages
1,938
Reaction score
35
Location
Nebraska
How do we teach technique over strength...or do we? One of my favorite distinctions of skk from AK (exculding sl4 it seems) is the body manipulation involved. Is this realistic? Is is emphasized enough? is it emphasized too much. Think of old age and fatigue, children and smaller physiques. Does kempo make the grade?

Marlon

This is the most difficult area of technique. It requires good timing as well as sensitivity to the attacker's movements and intent as well as a good deal of knowledge of the anatomy of the various joints and "stuf like that". However when done right, very little strength is needed because you isolate the body part being attacked, placing the other into a position where they cannot use their strength to resist you, taking advantage of their reflexive reactions and the weak spots in the design.

One of the ways we teach the idea that physical strength is not the "trump card" is thru our practice of groundfighting. At first, especailly the young men, will try to muscle through everything. Watching two of them go at makes me tired! But eventaully they notice that the older studetns(male and female) are beating them without doing that, by staying relaxed and fluid.

When it comes ot kempo techniques, it just takes hands-on instruction, if I see a student trying to muscle thorugh something that should be "finesse", then they get corrected... as many times as it takes :)
 

Doc

Senior Master
Joined
May 12, 2002
Messages
4,240
Reaction score
180
Location
Southern California
This is the most difficult area of technique. It requires good timing as well as sensitivity to the attacker's movements and intent as well as a good deal of knowledge of the anatomy of the various joints and "stuf like that". However when done right, very little strength is needed because you isolate the body part being attacked, placing the other into a position where they cannot use their strength to resist you, taking advantage of their reflexive reactions and the weak spots in the design.

One of the ways we teach the idea that physical strength is not the "trump card" is thru our practice of groundfighting. At first, especailly the young men, will try to muscle through everything. Watching two of them go at makes me tired! But eventaully they notice that the older studetns(male and female) are beating them without doing that, by staying relaxed and fluid.

When it comes ot kempo techniques, it just takes hands-on instruction, if I see a student trying to muscle thorugh something that should be "finesse", then they get corrected... as many times as it takes :)

Smartass!
 

MJS

Administrator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2003
Messages
30,187
Reaction score
430
Location
Cromwell,CT
How do we teach technique over strength...or do we? One of my favorite distinctions of skk from AK (exculding sl4 it seems) is the body manipulation involved. Is this realistic? Is is emphasized enough? is it emphasized too much. Think of old age and fatigue, children and smaller physiques. Does kempo make the grade?

Marlon

I like to relate it to grappling, because I often see people trying to muscle their way thru everything. IMO, one way to teach this is to be relaxed and fluid. Just flow from one thing to the next. If something isn't working, then instead of trying to fight it, just adjust and continue.

This is one of the reasons why I feel that the technique should fit the student, not the other way around. Everyone is different, so what works for one, may not work for the next.

Now, I'm not saying to totally change the technique, but lets look at it like this....a 5'3 woman will probably not be able to use the same targets as a 6'5 man. She will need to adjust the tech. for her. This, IMO, falls into the line of not using strength, but instead technique, to make it work for you.
 

LawDog

Master Black Belt
Joined
Nov 19, 2004
Messages
1,324
Reaction score
52
Location
Massachusetts, USA
Technique is very important in any given situation even verbal technique that is used against an opponent.
Physical strength should never be over looked as part of your arsenal.
1) Many physical attacks happen before you can read the situation. Many do not follow the classic levels of attack. Some will go from the initial contact to a physical assault. If they charge with wild strikes or take you to the ground physical strenth will be needed to get you into place so that technique can be used.
2) There are those who are either naturally strong or have developed incredible strength, these people can easily break out of many holds, I have seen this done many times. This kind of strenght when coupled with any kind of technique is very dangerious.
3) Those who strenght train must endure much pain during this weight type of training so when you inflect pain on them it is nothing new to them so they will endure through it.
4) Those who strenght train will usually hae a strong physical appearence. This "look" will usually intimadate those who have not strength trained.
 

Jdokan

Black Belt
Joined
Jan 18, 2007
Messages
550
Reaction score
11
Location
Middleton, MA
Think of old age and fatigue, children and smaller physiques. Does kempo make the grade?

Marlon
Considering this part of the original statement.....I think Technique had better make the grade over strength...As we are all getting older our technique should be developing at a higher rate than our strength is diminishing....:)

Least I hope it is for my sake.....
:)
 

Doc

Senior Master
Joined
May 12, 2002
Messages
4,240
Reaction score
180
Location
Southern California
Hey Marlon, I think what keeps a martial art alive into the following generations is how "learnable" it is to other people. Granted, a little muscle or speed may not hurt, the thing that generally keeps it going is the technique.

When I was teaching, I had a female student who was trying to figure out how to put that snap behind her punches. I explained to her that it was all in technique- the rotation of the hips, pivoting on the balls of the feet, body alignment, etc. She ended up being a really solid puncher. For me, I've always followed the sequence of technique first, speed second, and power was a result of the two working together.

Now as far as different bodytypes, there are limits. I had a friend who's Kenpo instructor had an leg, from knee to foot. Some techniques he adapted to fit his abilities, and likewise, he would adapt them according to students who's physical limits wouldn't allow the technique to be performed in the same way.

Then there are those limits that make it almost impossible to perform some techniques. I myself have severe shoulder injuries, and have had to opt for practicing arts that don't demand the same kinds of movements.

All are bound by their physical limitations, however that doesn't mean that you abandon technique principles. It is only logical to do what works in reality over what does not, in an activity that demands performance. However, technique will alway be supreme in the discussion. Muscular strength is the province of the young, and they virtually own it. Not that strength cannot be cultivated throughout ones lifetime, but there are multiple reasons why there are no old offensive lineman, and strength will always be relative to the activity and the situation that demands it more or less.

What is overlooked in the West is "internal strength," built and cultivated from learning proper technique over time, to create maximum efficiency in physical performance, exclusive of muscular strength.

If you have ever got into a tussle with an unskilled, untrained member of the estrogen mafia, in an attempt to subdue her against her will, you have experienced incredible strength, and none of it comes from "strength training."

No, technique is always supreme, and is the reason why old teachers who have honed actual skills over the years in perfecting technique, are still amazingly effective in their execution in spite of their age and it's accompanying effects. All the other stripe wearing old blowhards are just, well, - old like everybody else.

My oldest student is older than I am at age 69. He's on the floor every class night, doing everything that everybody else does. Occasionally I have to tell him the same thing I tell my youngsters, "Ease up a bit, you're hurting him." He can attest to everything I'm saying, and I guess I'm on that list too.
 

LawDog

Master Black Belt
Joined
Nov 19, 2004
Messages
1,324
Reaction score
52
Location
Massachusetts, USA
Again I will agree with everyone that developing "proper technique" is the number one thing in any given activity.
To say that strength training is for the young, in my lowly opinon is incorrect. Instead it should be said that the amount of strength training varies according to age and physical limitations. One can walk into any gym or old school type of dojo and see people of all ages doing strength training.
The main reason that you don't see old football players is not because of their strength training it is usually because of their,
*many injuries,
*slowing reflexes,
*loss of cardio
*desire to retire.
Many of the old and new martial arts schools strive to develop perfect technique, internal strength and external strength. These schools adjust their students training according to their abilities, including age.
If a person / Instructor does not believe in stength training then so be it.
If they do believe in it then again, so be it.
Students will be drawn to the schools that train within a students comfort zones.
I will be 61 soon and my age hasn't, except for the amount of weight, altered my strenght training.

"One is as old as you let yourself feel".
:supcool:
 

seasoned

MT Senior Moderator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2007
Messages
11,253
Reaction score
1,232
Location
Lives in Texas
Technique over strenth, Technique in concert with proper strenth.

Okinawan goju trains for strength, hence the go hard but also the relaxation hence the ju soft. Strength, in and of it self will get in the way, but when added to technique, at the right times, will enhance the end results. There are times when weight lifters will walk around in a content mode of flex, which will in turn hamper their movement. The key is to relax. I have seen a lot of weight lifters hit the dojo, and could not get out of their own way, but, teach them technique along with some principles of movement and watch out.
 

Sigung86

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Mar 16, 2002
Messages
898
Reaction score
15
Location
Wright City, MO
I realize that I am a bit late to the discussion... And so, beg forgiveness of anyone who is responsible for it.

My thoughts on technique vs strength are as follows:

If you don't want to learn a technique, the finesse to make it work as you need to, and all the subtleties of it, then why are you taking any martial art? To depend on strength is a weakness of youth and inexperience. That is why, for what it's worth as my observation, the old guys will generally end up putting the "whup" on the youngsters.

I used to delight in head high wheel kicks, punching through bricks and such, tearing hemp with my barehands, and generally feeling indestructable, if not impervious.

Now, I'm 60 years (not as old as some I could mention), with arthritis in my right hip and other tiny infirmities that go with the use of the body. I find that finesse is good, combined with lots of practice of techniques. Long as I have the "strength" to move, and practice diligently, the rest comes naturally.
 

Doc

Senior Master
Joined
May 12, 2002
Messages
4,240
Reaction score
180
Location
Southern California
I realize that I am a bit late to the discussion... And so, beg forgiveness of anyone who is responsible for it.

My thoughts on technique vs strength are as follows:

If you don't want to learn a technique, the finesse to make it work as you need to, and all the subtleties of it, then why are you taking any martial art? To depend on strength is a weakness of youth and inexperience. That is why, for what it's worth as my observation, the old guys will generally end up putting the "whup" on the youngsters.

I used to delight in head high wheel kicks, punching through bricks and such, tearing hemp with my barehands, and generally feeling indestructable, if not impervious.

Now, I'm 60 years (not as old as some I could mention), with arthritis in my right hip and other tiny infirmities that go with the use of the body. I find that finesse is good, combined with lots of practice of techniques. Long as I have the "strength" to move, and practice diligently, the rest comes naturally.
Perhaps this particular quote from my post was difficult to understand. I don't think I could have dumbed it down any simpler.
All are bound by their physical limitations, however that doesn't mean that you abandon technique principles. It is only logical to do what works in reality over what does not, in an activity that demands performance. However, technique will alway be supreme in the discussion. Muscular strength is the province of the young, and they virtually own it. Not that strength cannot be cultivated throughout ones lifetime, but there are multiple reasons why there are no old offensive lineman, and strength will always be relative to the activity and the situation that demands it more or less.
There are aren't any old offensive lineman because the younger ones are quicker and stronger, and always will be. Everything is relative, and all the things that occur to limit their performance happens to everybody in that activity, as it will the youngsters as they age. So to stay viable, your technique has to be maintained as other things start to diminish.

You make sense to me Dan, and I'm older than you.
 

LawDog

Master Black Belt
Joined
Nov 19, 2004
Messages
1,324
Reaction score
52
Location
Massachusetts, USA
Down their own path a person must travel, mine is not one that lets me become old because others say that I am.
When the time comes that a person says that they are to old then they have really become that.
 

Andrew Green

Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Aug 1, 2004
Messages
8,627
Reaction score
452
Location
Winnipeg MB
How do we teach technique over strength...or do we? One of my favorite distinctions of skk from AK (exculding sl4 it seems) is the body manipulation involved. Is this realistic? Is is emphasized enough? is it emphasized too much. Think of old age and fatigue, children and smaller physiques. Does kempo make the grade?

Marlon

Good technique doesn't replace strength, it amplifies it. The more you have of each the better.

In training you often want to reduce the use of strength, and focus on technique. But both have a place and amplify each other.
 

Doc

Senior Master
Joined
May 12, 2002
Messages
4,240
Reaction score
180
Location
Southern California
Age affects everyone, whether you like it or not, whether you want it to or not, no matter the resolve. To ignore facts, is folly and supremely stupid.

"Pride and ego are the anesthesia of ignorance." - Ed Parker
 

seasoned

MT Senior Moderator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2007
Messages
11,253
Reaction score
1,232
Location
Lives in Texas
I see two distinct trains of thought occurring here in this thread. One, when your old, you don’t really, and can’t even begin to conceive, the notion of competing against a younger individual. Basically, it is just fool hardy. Then there is number two, you're faced with this same individual in a street altercation, he is young, and you are old. Here again there are two choices, one, you allow them to have their way with you, and anyone with you, to the point of being raped, robbed and pillaged. Then there is number two, you whip their ***. In this scenario age has no boundaries, except in our own mind.
 
Last edited:

Doc

Senior Master
Joined
May 12, 2002
Messages
4,240
Reaction score
180
Location
Southern California
I see two distinct trains of thought occurring here in this thread. One, when your old, you dont really, and cant even begin to conceive, the notion of competing against a younger individual. Basically, it is just fool hardy. They there is number two, your faced with this same individual in a street altercation, he is young, and you are old. Here again there are two choices, one, you allow them to have their way with you, and anyone with you, to the point of being raped, robbed and pillaged. Then there is number two, you whip their ***. In this scenario age has no boundaries, except in our own mind.

You'll get no argument from me. Competition too, is the venue of the young. I don't compete at my age, I fight and losing is not an option.
 

kidswarrior

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 27, 2007
Messages
2,697
Reaction score
152
Location
California
You'll get no argument from me. Competition too, is the venue of the young. I don't compete at my age, I fight and losing is not an option.
A kung fu san soo master I studied with said the same thing. He's almost 72 now, and hasn't changed his ways.
 
Top