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Thread: A little advice, if you please....

  1. #1
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    Default A little advice, if you please....

    Hi guys, I was hoping a few of the more experienced here could help me out with a slight dilemma I'm having. I have trained for 7 years in jujutsu (a modern style based on Tsutsumi Hozan) and for about 3 in judo. My next posting (I'm in the military) is a 9 month course kinda in the middle of nowhere. The last thing I want to do is sit idle there if there are no good schools around. So what to do?
    Well, I feel like I have more than enough in my toolkit to practice, but if possible, I'd like to extend myself further than that. Alot of the locks etc that I know I feel were taught in somewhat of a vacuum, so I am at a loss to see application in them at the moment. I feel like this would be a good time to start trying things out. I'd like to come out the other end quite confident in my ability to apply the things that I find useful.
    Here is where my problem lies: at this stage I know no one who is into grappling arts. A friend of mine who is a shodan in Kyokushin has started doing judo with me here, but his motivation levels are up and down like a yo yo. Let's assume that I find a couple guys who are interested. Where do I go from there? Do I teach them as I would any new student at my old school and then when they are good enough use them as my uke to test my theories on? That seems to be my only option. Any other ideas or opinions on this would be most welcome.

    Cheers
    Peter Ross

    Waiter: "Can I tell you about today's specials?"
    Patrick Bateman: "Not if you want to keep your spleen"

  2. #2
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    Peter,

    Where in the middle of nowhere? You'd be surprised who's in out-of-the-way places looking for training partners!

    It is always hard to set yourself up to train if you have no willing partners, when I "went bush" I ended up doing some Aikido, some Karate and some Arnis, all of which ended up looking like my Jujutsu.

    I'm not saying I just did Jujutsu when I should have been doing Karate, but I did compare everything back and broke it all down in the way the I used to evaluate Jujutsu techniques. I found that if I did another art that was comparable (I luckily did Ashihara Karate which has a strong basis in sabaki) I could slip in some of my techniques and they would just flow with what I was supposed to be doing, within a few months most of the guys wanted to play with my "adaptations" to their art and so I ended up doing Jujutsu.

    The Arnis I found especially compatible.

    The trick is not to go in thinking you know it all already, see what they do, evaluate it and then apply what you do know to what they do and see how it works.

    Of course, if there's nothing at all in the place you are then it is much harder, I know of people who did nothing but kata or sabaki, they used visualisation to develop their technique and whilst it's not the ideal solution, it did work. I myself have been known to stand in the surf at Cable Beach practising sabaki and the Judo 'grounding' exercises.

    I have to say though that I have had some very beneficial training with people who did completely different systems from what I have done, there is always some parallel somewhere, after all they incorporate basic physiology to acheive their aims. Different people from different background react in different ways and so if you can pull off a technique on them, it is more likely to work on the street.

    Hope this helps.

    Neil
    Neil Hawkins
    "The one thing that must be learnt but
    cannot be taught is understanding"

  3. #3

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    Peter,

    I too am in the military and am often posted to remote locations or locations where the training I am looking for is simply not available.

    In these situations I have sometimes been fortunate enough to have found some open-minded and willing partners to train with. There have also been times I have supplimented formal class training with the model I describe below. Whether you run a formal class (that is where you are clearly the instructor and your partners are relative beginners eager to learn) or a more informal training session will depend entirely on your training partners. I have done both, but found a few methodologies that have worked well for me in these situations.

    1- Respect all martial backgrounds (to include boxing and wrestling) as having validity within the context they were developed, and having at least some transferable skills to other areas - that includes me (I have trained mostly in judo, with lots of crosstraining over the years). I attempt to experience the individual martial arts through my understanding of their operating principles and characteristic techniques - not necessarily their uniform or formal trappings outside their original or intended context.

    2- Find a time when you know everyone will make it - no excuses. I have found that if you don't do it first thing in the morning you will always be adjust your training schedule around things that come up. Not always true, but more true than not at least in my experience.

    3- Do not attempt to run a traditional style class - that is with dogi and lots of japanese formalities and titles (unless everyone really wants this but I have yet to see it in the type of environment you may be in). Establish a mutually agreed upon dress code and some groundrules for conduct that serves the training you want to do and keeps safety and utility in mind.

    4- Training sessions- I attempt to run these where I guide practice and try to get everyone to participate in some kind of leadership or instructor role at one point or another based on their background and proclivities. This keeps everyone interested and coming back for more. I also find this keeps training honest as my partners feel less like students who might then respectfully let me get away with crap if that's what I am giving them. In the end this brings us all to a higher level of ability. Just don't let training digress into a free-for-all or no one will get anything out of it and your partners will loose interest. note: "randori" or "rolling" type training does not equal "free-for-all" if conducted in a mature and responsible manner.

    5- If you are fortunate enough to have a few training partners who are experienced martial artists eager to share, you can either hit the training jackpot or really piss each other off. Martial artists from any background become parochial about their specific arts (ex. judo vs BJJ vs aikido...) or at least about their class of arts (grappling arts vs aiki arts vs striking arts...). If you want to keep training over the nine months it is imperative that, early on, you come to a mutual understanding of what you want to accomplish over that time and remain open to input from whatever background your partners(s) come from. Who knows, this new perspective might really advance your progress.

    6- To keep things focused, I have found it helpful to develop a theme for the week or month and accept input toward that theme from anyone who has something to add (ex; locking sequences, or simply armlocks, chokes, etc...). It may also become useful to develop some basic drills or exercises that you do as part of every/every other class just to keep your sessions focused. I don't think you would need to organize all this right up front, but keep this in mind as you go along and allow them to develop for themselves - but ensure they develop.

    I have had increasing success with this as I develop experience with the model. I find there are a few keys: always be there when you say you will, keep the training environment as relaxed and mature as you can, and always remain open to new ideas and input.

    I wish you the best with this. Keep us post on how it goes.
    Last edited by Elliot Harris; 3rd September 2007 at 19:27.
    Elliot

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    Thanks alot for the advice Elliot, those tips you gave me are very useful and I can definitely put them into practice if needed. Neil, I'll be in Toowoomba (sp?), I know it's a very large town by country town standards but still not sure what that means as far as martial arts goes. I'm happy to go to another school and try something different, but I'm not keen on training at the local TKD mcdojo if that's all they have.
    Peter Ross

    Waiter: "Can I tell you about today's specials?"
    Patrick Bateman: "Not if you want to keep your spleen"

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    No problem. The hardest part for me has always been finding partners in the first place. Best.
    Elliot

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    Hi Meat,

    Though I am not in the middle of nowhere, I do have a baby at home and so I can hardly ever make it to the dojo.

    Apart from practicing half of various kata and drilling techniques I work as diligently as I can at strength and conditioning. I believe that a strong emphasis on S&C can contribute to make one a much better combatant. And, it's amazing how many "traditional" martial artists are horribly out of shape.

    If you need any advice or ideas regarding S&C feel free to send me a PM.
    Al Heinemann
    www.shofukan.ca

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