What is Aliveness?

Steve

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Thanks for that post steve, that made a hell of a lot of sense and was a very interesting way of looking at it. But it got me thinking, within 2 generations of the original sensei, wouldnt many of the students have had a proper round of golf by then?
Yeah. You're probably right, and if you think about martial arts in this context, you can see that this is why the reaction TO aliveness and MMA was so severe. I'm not suggesting that this is the secret to all things. But it's human nature to react strongly when you feel duped. If I trained under a sensei, only to find out that after 3 years of training under him (and the money involved), that I still can't actually play a round of golf, I'm going to either go into denial, "I have to trust him. He's an expert." or I'm going to revolt, "That guy is a comlete wacko and his system is crap."
Eventually isnt one of them going to play a round of golf and realise it doesnt work? If I trained somewhere in a class of 30 or 40 students and none of them had ever got in a "real" fight Id be very surprised. I would imagine the average class would have quite a few "thugs" or crowd controlers or police officers etc who would actually attempt to use what they are taught, and surely if it failed miserably then by now we really wouldnt have martial arts because they all would have been "found out". Personally, I avoid fights like the plague and will do my best not to put myself in positions where I may end up using what Ive been taught, but I do train with some young guys who get in the odd fight here and there plus some police officers who regularly do what we are taught to do and it obviously works for them. Would it work for me? I guess there is only one way to find out and I dont see that happening anytime soon hopefully.
Let's just look at the battles and bashing WC has taken in recent years. The conversations like this around that art have happened almost exactly as we're describing. Same for bujinkan schools. I think you're predictions in my golf analogy would happen, and I think they have happened in MA.
 

ATACX GYM

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Yeah. You're probably right, and if you think about martial arts in this context, you can see that this is why the reaction TO aliveness and MMA was so severe. I'm not suggesting that this is the secret to all things. But it's human nature to react strongly when you feel duped. If I trained under a sensei, only to find out that after 3 years of training under him (and the money involved), that I still can't actually play a round of golf, I'm going to either go into denial, "I have to trust him. He's an expert." or I'm going to revolt, "That guy is a comlete wacko and his system is crap." Let's just look at the battles and bashing WC has taken in recent years. The conversations like this around that art have happened almost exactly as we're describing. Same for bujinkan schools. I think you're predictions in my golf analogy would happen, and I think they have happened in MA.


I can attest to the fact that--when I broached the same subject and energetically denied the utility of the Ideal Phase techniques as demo'd and "practiced" and just as energetically recommended that they be wholesale replaced with the FM (Functional Method/Alive) of training--numerous persons on this site and KenpoTalk were up in arms.Apparently and completely without intending to,I caused quite a stir and made a pretty decent splash in KT and to a lesser degree here.All because I advanced an idea which I thought was of the utmost common sense and which I'd been doing long before I heard of Matt Thornton or even read anything on JKD.
 

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Steve I enjoyed your post. The first sentence I look at a little differently. I look at it more as practicing in context. Learning is often out of context. The golf professionals do not learn in a tournament. In fact they do spen a great deal of time practicing their mechanics out of context and them do what they can to apply the new or improved mechanics to hitting a ball. I would argue that what I am saying you do not disagree with, because it makes sense and actually matches what is done. How much waste would it be to teach a novice by playing 18 holes, without first going over theory, pracicing swing, discussing the use of different weapons...i mean clubs, etc. Then step out on a driving range for practice and correction , more practice of pure mechanics...and then go to a full 18 holes. If you look at boxing the same process holds true as best practice methodology. The problem with many martial arts students is that they never get beyond the first stage as your excellent article describes.
thanks again

Respectfully,
Marlon
 

marlon

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I think Steve's post hits the nail on the head. From what I've seen, the one thing that sets competent martial artists apart is application. A person can be a very pretty,technical practioner of martial arts techniques, but have no real understanding of how to actualy fight. That's why I'm incredibly thankful I have training partners that will kick the crap out of me!

Those are rare and true friends. More are needed.
When I heal and we finally meet to train, be a good friend and do what you can to knock the s**t out of me. That btw is an invitation to all my true friends on MT
Respectfully,
marlon
 

Steve

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Steve I enjoyed your post. The first sentence I look at a little differently. I look at it more as practicing in context. Learning is often out of context. The golf professionals do not learn in a tournament. In fact they do spen a great deal of time practicing their mechanics out of context and them do what they can to apply the new or improved mechanics to hitting a ball. I would argue that what I am saying you do not disagree with, because it makes sense and actually matches what is done. How much waste would it be to teach a novice by playing 18 holes, without first going over theory, pracicing swing, discussing the use of different weapons...i mean clubs, etc. Then step out on a driving range for practice and correction , more practice of pure mechanics...and then go to a full 18 holes. If you look at boxing the same process holds true as best practice methodology. The problem with many martial arts students is that they never get beyond the first stage as your excellent article describes.
thanks again

Respectfully,
Marlon
I agree completely. But time on the links is critical to moving from a theoretical knowledge to an intimate, practical ability. In learning terms, this is the transfer from understanding to application (and eventually to analysis and synthesis). The golf course is unforgiving and random. While the practice time is essential, it's meaningless without putting in the hours on the course logging scores and lowering the handicap.

Without the chaos of the golf course, you never become an expert. Ever, no matter how great you can hit the ball on the driving range. You can hit the ball 300 yards off the driving range? Well, how about on a narrow fairway with a slight dogleg to the right and winds swirling at about 10mph?
 

Josh Oakley

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Those are rare and true friends. More are needed.
When I heal and we finally meet to train, be a good friend and do what you can to knock the s**t out of me. That btw is an invitation to all my true friends on MT
Respectfully,
marlon

Got a spare room any time you want to come down to Washington state, brother.
 

marlon

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I agree completely. But time on the links is critical to moving from a theoretical knowledge to an intimate, practical ability. In learning terms, this is the transfer from understanding to application (and eventually to analysis and synthesis). The golf course is unforgiving and random. While the practice time is essential, it's meaningless without putting in the hours on the course logging scores and lowering the handicap.

Without the chaos of the golf course, you never become an expert. Ever, no matter how great you can hit the ball on the driving range. You can hit the ball 300 yards off the driving range? Well, how about on a narrow fairway with a slight dogleg to the right and winds swirling at about 10mph?


agreed
 

WC_lun

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With the golf anology you also have instructors that are teaching nonsense, like striking the ball with the handle of the club. For people who don't know better they can claim to be able to ht the ball a great distance of 20 yards. However, you get an instructor that shows them to strike with the club, thier whole world chance...or they go into denial.
 

K-man

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With the golf anology you also have instructors that are teaching nonsense, like striking the ball with the handle of the club. For people who don't know better they can claim to be able to ht the ball a great distance of 20 yards. However, you get an instructor that shows them to strike with the club, thier whole world chance...or they go into denial.
Great analogy!
icon14.gif
It took over 20 years for someone to show me the right end of the club and most of my mates are still using the handle. :asian:
 

ATACX GYM

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I agree completely. But time on the links is critical to moving from a theoretical knowledge to an intimate, practical ability. In learning terms, this is the transfer from understanding to application (and eventually to analysis and synthesis). The golf course is unforgiving and random. While the practice time is essential, it's meaningless without putting in the hours on the course logging scores and lowering the handicap.

Without the chaos of the golf course, you never become an expert. Ever, no matter how great you can hit the ball on the driving range. You can hit the ball 300 yards off the driving range? Well, how about on a narrow fairway with a slight dogleg to the right and winds swirling at about 10mph?


Okay,I see this differently.I see no reason why you can't learn ON the golf course,or at least learn in an environment akin to a golf course and then go learn SOME MORE on a golf course BEFORE you play competitive golf.

Now I don't know that much about golf,so let me switch analogies to boxing.

One learns boxing oftentimes in a gym,oftentimes learning to execute techniques in the air slowly and under the oftentimes harshly critical coach or assistant coach.After you get stance,footwork and basic mechanics down,you get in work with the mitts,heavy bag and jumprope,and other stuff.Yet all techniques are very practical and geared directly to sparring in the ring and/or sparring drills on the gym floor.Soon enough you're in the ring and then you see that everything you learned is directly applicable.Jump rope footwork bag work and mittwork drill in the endurance and proper technique you need to perform because the drills are all functional.Jump rope FUNCTIONALLY increases your endurance specific to your sport...and a good coach would make you break your 3 minute jump rpe drill into three 30 second bursts of high speed jump rope work interspersed with more regularly paced work to simulate the bursts of flurries you need to call upon in the boxing game and train your cardio accordingly.Same exact thing when you're working the light dumb bells...add in bursts of high speed extended combos ( I make my students run off 3 kicks 4 hand blows 3 takedowns in 2-3 microcircuits before the 30 second microcycle elapses) just like you're likely to do in a boxing match.

So ALL of it is functional.And btw Matt makes the distinction between conditioning exercises (like heavy bagwork tends to be) and functional work.I add a twist to my bagwork...I have my partner stand behind my heavybag and throw shots to keep me honest,while I have to defend those blows and fire back at the heavy bag.This is more difficult than it sounds and really makes you pay attention to what you're doing,lol.
 

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Okay,I see this differently.I see no reason why you can't learn ON the golf course,or at least learn in an environment akin to a golf course and then go learn SOME MORE on a golf course BEFORE you play competitive golf.

Now I don't know that much about golf,so let me switch analogies to boxing.

One learns boxing oftentimes in a gym,oftentimes learning to execute techniques in the air slowly and under the oftentimes harshly critical coach or assistant coach.After you get stance,footwork and basic mechanics down,you get in work with the mitts,heavy bag and jumprope,and other stuff.Yet all techniques are very practical and geared directly to sparring in the ring and/or sparring drills on the gym floor.Soon enough you're in the ring and then you see that everything you learned is directly applicable.Jump rope footwork bag work and mittwork drill in the endurance and proper technique you need to perform because the drills are all functional.Jump rope FUNCTIONALLY increases your endurance specific to your sport...and a good coach would make you break your 3 minute jump rpe drill into three 30 second bursts of high speed jump rope work interspersed with more regularly paced work to simulate the bursts of flurries you need to call upon in the boxing game and train your cardio accordingly.Same exact thing when you're working the light dumb bells...add in bursts of high speed extended combos ( I make my students run off 3 kicks 4 hand blows 3 takedowns in 2-3 microcircuits before the 30 second microcycle elapses) just like you're likely to do in a boxing match.

So ALL of it is functional.And btw Matt makes the distinction between conditioning exercises (like heavy bagwork tends to be) and functional work.I add a twist to my bagwork...I have my partner stand behind my heavybag and throw shots to keep me honest,while I have to defend those blows and fire back at the heavy bag.This is more difficult than it sounds and really makes you pay attention to what you're doing,lol.
I think we're saying much the same thing. Now, fair warning, I'm not a boxer, so if I'm mistaken let me know.

As I understand boxing, even professional boxers spend time shadowboxing. Same kind of thing. They don't just spar all the time. They hit the speed bag. They work the heavy bag. They work combos on mitts. They spar.

It's everything together... but the key is, they do all of those things in ADDITION to actually boxing against opponents.
 

Chris Parker

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The issue(s) I have with Matt Thornton's "aliveness" mantra aren't actually with the "aliveness" concept itself, but more with Matt's approach to such things.

First off is his idea that kata training (or pre-set drill training) is not valid in terms of developing applicable skills (for the record, in terms of "kata training", I'm using a Japanese model of paired kata, which some systems look at as paired techniques, or paired drills, rather than the solo training devices), as they provide no chaos, realism, or resistance on the part of the attacking partner, and this is based on very little experience or understanding of such training methods. If done properly, kata training as detailed here is very stressful and highly adrenalised, and should feel as close to a real altercation as possible, with the pre-determined aspects primarily as both a teaching aid in order to ensure that the teachings of the system are being instilled, as well as a safety measure. Resistance is actually built into these methods, as well as a great sense of chaos, as ideally the defending partner, although they have a prescribed method of responce, isn't given anywhere near enough time to remember what to do... so knowing what's coming can really get taken out of the equation there. In fact, if the three elements that are listed (in the article linked on the first page, and quoted by K-Man there) of "alive" training (movement/footwork, timing, and energy) are present in all kata training as well (or really should be!).

Again, from the article:

Why do you place so much emphasis on this point as opposed to others?

Aliveness is everything. If a person grasps the principle and truly understands what is mean by it. . then they can never be bullsh*tted again . That's why I emphasize it so much. I am also constantly being asked... what's better... this or that. . this style or that style....why don't you do this drill anymore...why do you say this doesn't work... The answer to all those questions is Aliveness........so once they grasp what that means then about one thousand and one of their questions are answered for them. It's everything.

This is written in the same article as this statement:

Just as thousands of people have been deceived by fraudulent Martial Arts, only to find out later that what they where being taught might in reality get them hurt. Especially if they believed it worked! (Witness the first few UFC's for an example).

The thing here is context, as the context of the first few UFC's (and all similar, really) are not representative of reality.... so the author (presumably Matt) is just putting his own BS out there, despite "grasping the principle" of aliveness. And that brings me to the next point.

The big thing here is centred around "application", and Steve has spent a fair amount of time going through that concept. And I agree that training should be geared up for the intended application of the skills. Unfortunately, however, for that you need to truly understand the application that you are aiming for, and Matt seems to go in two directions at once there (again, as indicated by K-Man). Matt talks a fair amount about self defence, however his entire training methodology of aliveness is geared around non-self defence application. Now, the principles and ideas he is putting forth can (and again, should) be applied to self defence-geared training, but not in the way that he's putting it forth here. Add to that the intended application for martial arts training is not always the same as the intention that Matt is putting forth either.

I'll give an example.

While we do employ free-form training (not sparring, though), it is part of a structured approach, beginning with training the physical mechanics themselves, then moving through the range of possibilities, and finally employing them in a chaotic, unstructured way (against free form, full speed attacks, for example). Until the students have gotten some degree of skill with the mechanical approach, I won't have them do any free-form with it, or I will only give them a limited form. The reason is that I am teaching them a martial art, not random skills, and if I just throw them into free-form training without giving them the requisite skills first, they may very easily "win", or "lose", but neither will be a good result. If they "win", then it reinforces habits and movements that are not what I am teaching (the attributes they came in with in the first place), so if all they want to do is "be able to fight", what's the point of learning a martial art, if "alive sparring" can negate it? If they "lose", then it can reinforce that the art they're learning (what little they may have been shown, or simply the fact that because it's occured in the martial art class) doesn't work, neither of which are good results.

Realistically, if someone wants to learn a martial art, then what they should be doing is trying to instill the art, and generally speaking, the art itself will have it's own preferred way of achieving that. And it will typically involve many, if not all, of the attributes refered to as "aliveness training", but in a very different way (perhaps not a way that Matt would recognise or refer to as "alive", though).

Now, if the application that is sought is a combative sport, such as the UFC, sport karate or TKD, Judo, BJJ etc, then the training method that Matt is suggesting is invaluable. But, as with everything, it needs to be relevant to the application and context itself, and that is really where Matt's ideas fall down completely. He looks at singular contexts, rather than having an understanding of the greater range of methods and approaches. I applaud his efforts and mindset, but really it's very limited here.

Oh, and Steve, while I like the golf analogy, I feel it's flawed in a couple of major ways, mainly that golf is a game played solo, and not under the stress and adrenaline of combative encounters, which makes the analogy inaccurate on a number of levels.
 
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Steve

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Oh, and Steve, while I like the golf analogy, I feel it's flawed in a couple of major ways, mainly that golf is a game played solo, and not under the stress and adrenaline of combative encounters, which makes the analogy inaccurate on a number of levels.
Great post, as usual, Chris. I agree that identifying the desired outcome is critical.

So, the analogy is still, in my no so humble opinion, perfect. Because the outcome has been clearly defined. Just to be clear, I'm not suggesting that Golf IS a martial art. I'm pointing out how golf as a sport would suffer if we apply a very common martial arts learning model.

The ultimate application of the principles of golf-fu is facility on a golf course. The measure of elite level expertise is the ability to play consistently at or below par. Very cut and dry. So, in my analogy, if you've never played a round of golf, you will never... ever achieve this.

If, in martial arts, your goal is self defense, it would be critical to work against multiple opponents. In golf, that's completely unnecessary.

Now, regarding the rest of your post, there are two things going on with martial arts: the primary applications and the secondary benefits. Same can be said for anything (even golf). In martial arts, if you never move past comprehension to application at all then it's reasonable to say that you're not achieving the main goal. If, after 5 years of golf lessons, you are unable to play golf... that's bad. If, after 5 years of "self defense" training, you cannot competently defend yourself, that's also bad.

But there are secondary benefits to any activity. In boxing, for example, the primary goal is functional ability in the sport of boxing. We box. It's boxing. Secondary benefits, however, would include being very good at punching things... things that move and punch back. I would also be in pretty good shape, able to punch things for at least 9 minutes. I would also be pretty good at avoiding punches and moving in a way that would make me harder to punch.

Is that self defense? No. But they're real skills that can be applied to defend myself if I need them.

On the other hand, if I'm learning a martial art that purports to teach "self defense" where this is the primary, desired outcome but uses the learning model outlined in my golf analogy, the student will not be moving to application level with any of the physical skills he or she is learning. In other words, a boxing student is learning to hit things competently, at an application level. A martial arts student learning without "aliveness" is learning to hit things at a comprehension level only. In a pinch, who's going to be more likely to hit what they're aiming at?

Once again, the conclusion I have come to is that the way we learn is more important than WHAT we learn. We've had many discussions on these boards about "traditional" martial arts, and I've found that more often than not, when someone talks about a martial arts style as being "traditional," they're referring to the learning process and not the techniques. And I'll tell you, the traditional learning model, consisting exclusively of dead drills (one step/two step drills), kata and unrelated mumbo jumbo is exactly like a guy teaching a person to play golf while prohibiting him from stepping onto a golf course.
 
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mook jong man

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A boxer is also more likely to break his hand because he is used to training with big fat gloves on while punching people in the head.

These big cushions on the hands are a lot more forgiving on what we would call a weak structure , the horizontal fist.
So when they do happen to accidentally hit skull instead of face , without gloves on they usually fracture bones in their hands.

Where as most martial artists are used to hitting the head and body without hand protection and also have the flexibility of using palm strikes which will even further protect the bones of the hands.
 

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A boxer is also more likely to break his hand because he is used to training with big fat gloves on while punching people in the head.

These big cushions on the hands are a lot more forgiving on what we would call a weak structure , the horizontal fist.
So when they do happen to accidentally hit skull instead of face , without gloves on they usually fracture bones in their hands.

Where as most martial artists are used to hitting the head and body without hand protection and also have the flexibility of using palm strikes which will even further protect the bones of the hands.
The whole point is that if martial artists aren't learning in an alive manner, they aren't used to hitting anyone in any way. They KNOW how it should be done, have no practical experience.
 

MJS

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I agree 100% with what you say here. It is not the positive ideas he puts forward that concern me.

Matt seems to have only done three years of JKD and basically within that style he was just at beginner level. I'm no expert on JKD and I'm not sure how accurate the Wiki page is, but one of Bruce Lee's maxims was " absorb what is useful, and discard the remainder". Once again, if Wiki is right, JKD does not contain kata. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeet_Kune_Do

Matt dismisses kata as something that has no use and for him that is true. He does the same for chi sau and hubud. He discards ordinary MAs as fraudulent and links their practice to the magic of Uri Geller and invokes the myth buster James Randi as 'proof' that what he says is the truth and everything else is false.

Sorry I didn't get back to this sooner. I'll preface this by saying that there is stuff that Matt says, that I agree with, and disagree with. As for the MAs being fake....well, yeah, I can see him thinking that. Just look at some of the people out there. LOL. Seriously though...IMO, a large portion, if not all of it, comes down to how you train. There are some pretty hardcore arts out there, so why he says what he does, I dont know. Kata...I do it, both in Kenpo and Arnis. I dont eat, breath and sleep it, like some do, and thats fine, thats their choice. But yes, IF its trained right, it can be useful. I've had my students take a kata and look into it more than just going thru the moves, which alot of times, thats all people do...just mindlessly go thru the moves, having zero clue of what they're doing. Again, I'm no kata guru, but I am capable of making it practical. :)

That being said, in the MMA aspect, no, kata IMO, doesnt have a use, thus the reason Matt probably says what he says. For SD...yeah, kata, again, IF done right, can be effective. Ed Parkers Short Form 2. Step forward with the right, rt inward block, outward knife hand. Repeat on the left. I can come up with at least a half dozen or so applications of that 1 move alone.


Then he uses an interview with a pressure point 'expert' to debunk 'pressure points'.
Now I'm the first to admit there is a lot of crap spouted about 'pressure points'. The truth is, most people teaching 'pressure points' do not teach 'vital point' striking because it could be lethal. They teach so called 'humane' pressure points and I recently attended a seminar by one of the leading exponents (no names, no pack drill) and his stuff didn't work on me. It worked on all the others, for on reason or another, just not on me. From my point of view, it doesn't mean the stuff he was showing doesn't work but it demonstrated that they don't work all the time, and for me it means I would not teach those techniques in isolation. The 'vital points' that work well are the ones that most people already know about such as the neck, the temple or the jaw.

Prohibited in MMA:
Strikes to the back of the head and spinal area.
Striking downward using the point of the elbow.
Throat strikes of any kind, including, without limitation, grabbing the trachea
Grabbing the clavicle
So in a limited way he is right in saying that certain vital point striking techniques are banned in MMA. How accurate his quote is, is also subject to question.

The biggest concern for me, apart from his assertion that it's his way or the highway, is that it is all delivered in the context of competition. He is contantly referring to 'sport' in his articles. Kata are probably not relevent in competition, nor chi sau or hubud. In a real life confrontation they are relevent, if you are trained in their application. He is also right in his condemnation of most MA schools, but that does not mean they are 'fraudulent'. The instructors are just teaching what they know. The fact that their knowledge may be incomplete does not constitute fraud.

His ideas on movement, timing and energy are all valid, no question. To dismiss everything that he does not find useful as 'hocus', is the problem for me. :asian:

Pressure points...again, I'm not a huge follower, but I have laid hands with 2 people who've made them work. Amazing what happens, when you really know whats going on. :) The no touch stuff...now that is something I dont buy into. But yes, hitting a spot or 2 or 3, yes, it works.

The rest of what you said...yes, I'm in agreement with you. :)
 

MJS

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The issue(s) I have with Matt Thornton's "aliveness" mantra aren't actually with the "aliveness" concept itself, but more with Matt's approach to such things.

First off is his idea that kata training (or pre-set drill training) is not valid in terms of developing applicable skills (for the record, in terms of "kata training", I'm using a Japanese model of paired kata, which some systems look at as paired techniques, or paired drills, rather than the solo training devices), as they provide no chaos, realism, or resistance on the part of the attacking partner, and this is based on very little experience or understanding of such training methods. If done properly, kata training as detailed here is very stressful and highly adrenalised, and should feel as close to a real altercation as possible, with the pre-determined aspects primarily as both a teaching aid in order to ensure that the teachings of the system are being instilled, as well as a safety measure. Resistance is actually built into these methods, as well as a great sense of chaos, as ideally the defending partner, although they have a prescribed method of responce, isn't given anywhere near enough time to remember what to do... so knowing what's coming can really get taken out of the equation there. In fact, if the three elements that are listed (in the article linked on the first page, and quoted by K-Man there) of "alive" training (movement/footwork, timing, and energy) are present in all kata training as well (or really should be!).

Again, from the article:



This is written in the same article as this statement:



The thing here is context, as the context of the first few UFC's (and all similar, really) are not representative of reality.... so the author (presumably Matt) is just putting his own BS out there, despite "grasping the principle" of aliveness. And that brings me to the next point.

The big thing here is centred around "application", and Steve has spent a fair amount of time going through that concept. And I agree that training should be geared up for the intended application of the skills. Unfortunately, however, for that you need to truly understand the application that you are aiming for, and Matt seems to go in two directions at once there (again, as indicated by K-Man). Matt talks a fair amount about self defence, however his entire training methodology of aliveness is geared around non-self defence application. Now, the principles and ideas he is putting forth can (and again, should) be applied to self defence-geared training, but not in the way that he's putting it forth here. Add to that the intended application for martial arts training is not always the same as the intention that Matt is putting forth either.

I'll give an example.

While we do employ free-form training (not sparring, though), it is part of a structured approach, beginning with training the physical mechanics themselves, then moving through the range of possibilities, and finally employing them in a chaotic, unstructured way (against free form, full speed attacks, for example). Until the students have gotten some degree of skill with the mechanical approach, I won't have them do any free-form with it, or I will only give them a limited form. The reason is that I am teaching them a martial art, not random skills, and if I just throw them into free-form training without giving them the requisite skills first, they may very easily "win", or "lose", but neither will be a good result. If they "win", then it reinforces habits and movements that are not what I am teaching (the attributes they came in with in the first place), so if all they want to do is "be able to fight", what's the point of learning a martial art, if "alive sparring" can negate it? If they "lose", then it can reinforce that the art they're learning (what little they may have been shown, or simply the fact that because it's occured in the martial art class) doesn't work, neither of which are good results.


Realistically, if someone wants to learn a martial art, then what they should be doing is trying to instill the art, and generally speaking, the art itself will have it's own preferred way of achieving that. And it will typically involve many, if not all, of the attributes refered to as "aliveness training", but in a very different way (perhaps not a way that Matt would recognise or refer to as "alive", though).

Now, if the application that is sought is a combative sport, such as the UFC, sport karate or TKD, Judo, BJJ etc, then the training method that Matt is suggesting is invaluable. But, as with everything, it needs to be relevant to the application and context itself, and that is really where Matt's ideas fall down completely. He looks at singular contexts, rather than having an understanding of the greater range of methods and approaches. I applaud his efforts and mindset, but really it's very limited here.

Oh, and Steve, while I like the golf analogy, I feel it's flawed in a couple of major ways, mainly that golf is a game played solo, and not under the stress and adrenaline of combative encounters, which makes the analogy inaccurate on a number of levels.

Hey Chris,

As always, another great post! I know that you and I have talked about this privately before, but I did want to hit on the underlined part. Let me start by saying that I'm not saying this because I'm Matts #1 supporter..lol...I'm just asking out of curiosity.

Now, going on what you said in the underlined section, this is basically what I do (if I'm understanding you correctly) with my students. I teach them the basic moves first, and have them drill it repeatedly. Gradually, once they're getting it, the pace will be increased, faster, harder attacks, etc. Likewise, I too, dont let them move on to a faster pace, until they can perform the tech correctly, at a slower pace.

Now, I'm not sure if you're familiar with what Matt calls the "I" method. Link

Again, I may be reading wrong, but it seems to me that he's doing the same thing that both you and I are talking about.
 

Josh Oakley

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A boxer is also more likely to break his hand because he is used to training with big fat gloves on while punching people in the head.

These big cushions on the hands are a lot more forgiving on what we would call a weak structure , the horizontal fist.
So when they do happen to accidentally hit skull instead of face , without gloves on they usually fracture bones in their hands.

Where as most martial artists are used to hitting the head and body without hand protection and also have the flexibility of using palm strikes which will even further protect the bones of the hands.

I know this is an argument from analogy, but have you ever had your clock cleaned by a boxer with no gloves on? I have. And not only is it VERY existential, but the guy did NOT break his hand. When I was running a school, one of my assistants had boxed for 8 years, and I sparred with him regularly. Therefore I am inclined to disagree.
 
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