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Thread: building and improving intestinal fortitude

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    St. Louis
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    Default building and improving intestinal fortitude

    A part of me has always had this feeling that in order for a martial artist to practice their art with any credibility, they need to have experiences with violence and violent situations.

    Reading this book amplified this sentiment and brought this question to mind:

    What kind of experiences can we martial artists undertake to feel the pressures and fears of a real-life violent encounter?

    One solution is to "go out and find a little guy", as a friend of mine used to joke about. IOW one could just go out and create their own violent encounters and see what happens. Another could be to join the police force. But these options aren't necessarily practical. I was hoping to hear about the kinds of things one can do to strengthen the mind, more so than the physical techniques - while avoiding assault charges and keeping my current job.

    Enrique Lara

  2. #2
    Bustillo, A. Guest

    Default Re: building and improving intestinal fortitude

    Originally posted by elara
    A part of me has always had this feeling that in order for a martial artist to practice their art with any credibility, they need to have experiences with violence and violent situations.

    ...What kind of experiences can we martial artists undertake to feel the pressures and fears of a real-life violent encounter?...I was hoping to hear about the kinds of things one can do to strengthen the mind, more so than the physical techniques - while avoiding assault charges and keeping my current job.

    This topic is controversial and we will find that many people do not agree with this line of thinking. However, I believe that an instructor with actual fighting experience --meaning not just in the dojo or tournaments-- can offer more insight about practical self- defense.

    You mention 'strengthening the mind', good point. First and foremost, the main thing would be to increase the 'stress level factor' in training.

  3. #3
    hector gomez Guest

    Default Stengthening the mind

    Hi Enrique,

    I agree that it is very hard to duplicate the exact circumstances involved in a real live street encounter with all of it's unknown realities but we can train as realistic as possible thru continuos live resistence.

    One can achieve live resistence training within different methods of training,I hope this article from black belt magazine helps out.

    Aliveness FEATURE Dec01

    Straight Blast Gym
    It’s no accident that Matt Thornton’s chain of Straight Blast Gyms is rapidly becoming a beacon of light for those serious about pursuing truth and freedom through the combative arts. The schools are a living, thriving testament to a positive, performance-oriented, pro-active and athletically based system known as “functional jeet kune do.” They exist, endure and evolve with no traces of compartmentalization, fragmentation, style, system or political pecking order; and they do so with one message: aliveness.

    Why doesn’t Thornton merely advertise them as mixed-martial arts gyms or self-defense schools? “One reason is I started as a JKD-concepts instructor and the gym started as a JKDconcepts school, and we evolved to what we are today,” he says.

    “The other is that I believe what I teach is what JKD was meant to be. What Bruce Lee talked about is what we are. Even if everyone else in the world disagrees and wants JKD to be ‘imitate- Bruce-Lee do’ or ‘crosstrain- without-performance do,’ they would be wrong. The Straight Blast Gym is true JKD.

    The best way to honor Bruce Lee’s memory is to keep cranking out fighters who have a high level of performance skill, coaching ability and ethics. And that’s what we do.” —L.G.

    Matt Thornton’s Functional Jeet Kune Do Rocks the Martial Arts World!

    Effective martial arts techniques are developed through hard training, says Matt Thornton (left). No magic or mysticism is involved.

    Aliveness is the martial arts message that he carries close to his heart during his training sessions and fights, and it’s the one he preaches day in and day out to the students who study at his Oregonbased chain of Straight Blast Gyms. Thornton agreed to expound upon the principle of aliveness for the sake of those Black Belt readers who are in need of a dose of what he likes to call “reality without ritual.”

    Definition Thornton defines aliveness as training with resistance using energy, timing and motion. It is paramount to achieving functional and measurable increases in performance regardless of your particular martial art. Although the importance of the principle is frequently discussed and commonly agreed upon, it is hardly ever worked on. Furthermore, it is rarely understood and seldom actualized.

    “Aliveness is everything,” Thornton says. “If an athlete grasps the principle and truly understands what is meant by it, he can never be conned again. That’s why I emphasize it so much. I am also constantly being asked which art is better, which drills are superior and [which techniques] work. The answer to all those questions is aliveness. Most combat athletes—Brazilian- jujutsu guys, wrestlers, boxers, etc.—get it right away. In fact, to them it is common sense because they train for real against real resistance and real opponents.”

    Unfortunately, most martial artists don’t have a clue about what it means, Thornton says. “They think: ‘What we do is for the street, not for sport. Of course we are training with aliveness.’ But then you see what they are doing, and it’s all dead patterns, flash, one and two-step sparring, reference points and nonsense.”

    The subject of aliveness has sparked many Internet debates, he says, but most of them are way offtrack. “They use big words, pseudo-philosophy and didactic speech, but you can tell right away that the simple truth of it is lost on most of them. All you have to do to see if people understand aliveness is watch them train. Whether they are JKD-concepts guys or original-JKD guys, 90 percent of them are still doing one dead pattern after another. No footwork, no timing and always, always, always, patterns.”

    Enlightenment As widespread as the misconceptions may be, the problem was even worse before the debut of the Ultimate Fighting Championship in 1993. “It took a well-publicized no-holdsbarred event, an open challenge and countless matches involving a family from Brazil to teach people the obvious: that fights often hit the ground and you’d better know your stuff down there when it does,” Thornton says.

    “I give the Gracies and Machados all the credit in the world,” he continues. “Before they came to our country, everybody just said: ‘You don’t want to go to the ground. You just hit him when he comes in. You just poke him in the eyes, kick him in the groin or bite him. He won’t be able to take you down.’ ” The advent of full-contact kickboxing in the late 1960s and early ’70s was also a wake-up call for martial artists, Thornton says, because it showed people that the best place to put their hands was near their face and not on their hip. But the UFC went one step further toward ending the myth of the martial arts, he adds.

    “People tend to become enamored with the mystery that surrounds the Asian arts,” Thornton says. “They want to believe that there is some 75- year-old 110-pound Chinese master who can throw people without touching them or administer a death touch. It feeds the fantasies they have about beating up five football players at once in a parking lot in front of their girlfriend.

    “Long ago a decision was made somewhere that looking cool while doing 75 knife disarms or some flashy compound trapping with crisp, snappy sounds passed for having ‘good form.’ And the pursuit of that good form and knowledge of endless variations from multiple dead patterns took precedence over the pursuit of what it is truly all about: increasing performance. It’s what you can do and how you train that counts. Let the rest of the world do whatever it wants.”

    Nevertheless, Thornton is on a mission to spread the gospel of aliveness. “I do it for people who are honestly pursuing the truth in combat,” he says. “Many of those people are drawn to JKD because of the brilliant philosophy borrowed by Bruce Lee, and they either become disillusioned or get lost in a maze of dead patterns.

    If they want to collect a certificate from a well-known sifu or look cool teaching seminars, their motive is skewed and they will not care about or pay attention to the concept of aliveness. You cannot do anything for people unless they are motivated to train for the right reason. But once they grasp aliveness, it changes the rest of their life.”

    Solution Thornton says the tendency to evaluate growth through accumulation, which is especially strong among JKD-concepts practitioners, must be eliminated. “A buffet method where you pick and choose arts is a faulty teaching model,” he says. “When aliveness is taken out and performance is no longer the only goal, politics and weasels take their place. The job of your coach is to extract that weasel. Sometimes it’s a delicate operation.”

    Followers of original JKD—people who still believe they must first learn the “style” of another fighter before developing their own style, likewise must change their way of thinking, he says. “They believe in learning Bruce Lee’s way first, but this is just faulty logic. If you were preparing a stable of fighters for combat in a no-holds-barred event, would you have them memorize and practice all Frank Shamrock’s moves before you put them in the ring? Frank has a unique style developed through sparring and fighting, and I respect that, but there is no way someone else could imitate his style and make it work. It is foolish to even try.”

    An instructor can wreak havoc with a student’s growth curve by forcing him to imitate someone else before letting him develop his own fighting method, Thornton says. “If you’re a boxing coach and you really want to mess up a boxer’s game, have him try to imitate Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson or Sugar Ray Leonard. That would be silly. To train a fighter properly, you must teach him the basics and then let him find his way in the ring. He can only do that through sparring, not drills. He may pick up a move or idea from another fighter here and there, but he cannot imitate that fighter’s game and expect to be as good as he is. Remember Joe Frazier’s son? He was an excellent stick-and-move boxer, but his dad tried to have him fight with his own bobbing, weaving and hooking style. His son lost it all after that.”

    Whenever a prospective student walks into Thornton’s gym and says he wants to learn to fight the way Bruce Lee did, Thornton sets him straight. “I teach people to fight; I don’t teach them to imitate other fighters. I don’t claim to teach ‘Randy Couture gung fu,’ ‘Frank Shamrock gung fu,’ ‘Matt Thornton gung fu’ or ‘Jun Fan gung fu.’ I teach JKD, period. If someone positively wants to learn Bruce Lee’s way, that’s cool. I send them elsewhere. But that’s happened only two times in 10 years of teaching, so I think most people simply want to learn how to fight, how to defend themselves and how to have fun.”

    Criticism Some instructors claim that not all martial artists can become good fighters. “That’s utter nonsense,” Thornton says. “Anyone can be a fighter. A good coach can show a person of even moderate to low athletic ability and intelligence what it takes to become a good fighter. Now, not all of them will make the sacrifices necessary to get to that level of performance, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be good fighters. It means they are not willing to put forth the effort. Anyone that says otherwise is either a bad coach or purposely misleading his students because he wants to coddle them and make them feel good about being lazy .”

    Other critics of Thornton’s methods insist that his students miss the spiritual component of the martial arts when they approach the ancient disciplines in such a modern, eclectic fashion. “I think it’s the opposite,” Thornton replies. “You miss the spiritual part when you follow a sifu and bow to ritual. The spiritual journey exists in the doing, in the action of it—not in the certificate, not in the new techniques, not in the talking, not in the organization, not in the politics, not in the demonstration and not in the history.

    “It’s the hero’s journey as outlined by Joseph Campbell,” Thornton continues. “You have to have the guts to stand on your own and face your demons. You do that through the environment created by resisting opponents. The more functional [your training is] and the more contact [you make], the more likely you are to confront your own ego. When there is no sifu, no one can remain aloof. Everybody must step on the mat in front of the others and show what they can do for real. You tap out, you get hit in the face, you get tackled and you get kicked. We all do. We all must. We all meet our own ego. That’s the beginning of the spiritual journey.”

    Luis Gutierrez and S.D. Seong Luis Gutierrez runs One Dragon Martial Arts in Penbrook Pines, Florida. To contact him, visit"> S.D. Seong is a free-lance writer based in Los Angeles.

    Hector Gomez
    Last edited by hector gomez; 23rd October 2002 at 16:34.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    St. Louis
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    Default thanks

    Thank you guys for the info&article

    Enrique Lara

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