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Thread: Which martial art would you recomend for self defense

  1. #31
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    Wayne,

    This with your student (I think we are talking the same guy) is exactly on point....you teach him mental and physical organization, strategic/tactical thinking re: movement in relation to confirmed adversaries, weapons acquisition and deployment, etc. The things that I think martial arts teachers can should be teaching.

    He then adapts and applies it to his present professional reality. Here is where I think the lessons of the past have their most usefulness to modern day. I think it would be a mistake to attempt to re-engineer the ryu and teach "Takeuchi Tactical Handgunning," and to equate directly things found in the one with the other without the background in both.

    But I am willing to bet that there is some great synergy that your student has discovered in both the obvious, and in some of the stuff that probably you or he never considered would be applicable in certain contexts, or that is hidden to someone that might not have ever been in a close fight, with weapons, wearing armor...traditional or modern.

    The essentials that Den mentions are where the disconnect is - martial arts really don't teach that in a modern context, and context is important for the reasons we have already been discussing.

    My observations with LE and citizen students is that LE has a much better grasp of Den's essentials, but on average much poorer physical skills and understanding of fight strategy and tactics, and the committed citizen martial artist understands physical strategy and tactics and skills, but is often not very comfortable with the awareness, threat evaluation and management, etc. within the modern context.

    Good stuff, all.
    Kit Leblanc

    In Harm's Way

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by DenCQB View Post
    Spot on. The biggest difference usually is that those professionals are duty bound to intervene in confrontations, while the citizen isn't. Avoidance and disengagement are essentials in that case.
    The problem is finding an instructor experienced in street confrontations who hasn't been involved in those professional catergories. Who else would be frequently getting involved in violence? And would you want to train with them?
    As always, the trainee should put the training through the filter of what suits his needs, lifestyle etc.
    Without doubt the best training method is high-stress scenario training; facing an active, aggressive assailant, and with the entire confrontation, from pre-fight right through to after-action included, and with decision making built in.
    Absolutely on all counts! Finding an instructor who can offer the latter training to a professional standard is finding a gold mine.
    Kit Leblanc

    In Harm's Way

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hissho View Post
    I think it would be a mistake to attempt to re-engineer the ryu and teach "Takeuchi Tactical Handgunning," and to equate directly things found in the one with the other without the background in both.

    But I am willing to bet that there is some great synergy that your student has discovered in both the obvious, and in some of the stuff that probably you or he never considered would be applicable in certain contexts, or that is hidden to someone that might not have ever been in a close fight, with weapons, wearing armor...traditional or modern.
    One interesting thing to look at in this context would be the shooting system taught by the IHS (http://battlehand.com/ICSCourses/Com...setPistol.aspx). Someone with a bit of exposure to the IHS shooting program once told me that this program had a very noticeable Shinkage flavor to it, which is interesting. Then you have the Marine bayonet system developed by George Bristol, which also seems heavily rooted in Shinkage Ryu.

    On a related note, I find it interesting how the old schools still seem to hold up so well with regards to the mental side of training soldiers. While I agree that we don't necessarily need to make Takeuchi Ryu or Araki Ryu the core of all our military training, it's odd that we spend so much time trying to make civilian self-defense arts and sports fill a military training role that they were never designed for when there are very relevant military-oriented arts out there that could provide a great starting point.
    David Sims

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    My opinion is, in all likelihood, worth exactly what you are paying for it.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by DDATFUS View Post

    On a related note, I find it interesting how the old schools still seem to hold up so well with regards to the mental side of training soldiers. While I agree that we don't necessarily need to make Takeuchi Ryu or Araki Ryu the core of all our military training, it's odd that we spend so much time trying to make civilian self-defense arts and sports fill a military training role that they were never designed for when there are very relevant military-oriented arts out there that could provide a great starting point.

    There's a lot to that...you'd still have to make them fit a modern training role, and its in how exactly we might do that the questions lie. That is something that has lately been fascinating me after initially abandoning the idea.

    I personally believe that the old schools with an actual military provenance offer something in terms of overall development of a warrior ethos and mindset, and even in "weaponizing" those modern civil arts and combat sports that have come to the fore. The latter need not be dismissed because they have a role as part of a total package and frankly are today more proven entities than the old schools. After all, more soldiers, cops, specials ops and SWAT types do MMA, JKD, and even ninjutsu than probably any other fighting systems out there.

    I think part of that is because there aren't many people in military and LE that are actually training in old schools. Those with the position to influence training are fewer still, and then probably in a very limited role.

    My thought from the LE perspective: the question is getting people to be both confident and competent with the judicious use of force, but at the same time having the willingness to overcome the fear of death and "close with the enemy" against incredibly violent suspects: which now include terrorists with little but a body count on their minds.

    The challenge is in everything from current societal trends in LE recruits to in-service training time and methodologies; training biased toward fear of liability, and a lack of willingness of the average officer to prepare to decisively engage at close quarters (Tasers are an example of this). Without this basic framework it is hard to get very far in terms of empowering individual decision making with a flexible and adaptable approach to high end threats.

    The role for the old schools may be in where the ICS brings in the "warrior case studies;" Kinda cool to be doing such things through actual physical/mental training versus simply reading history books! Perhaps more as high end "train the trainer" type stuff, though.
    Last edited by Hissho; 22nd June 2010 at 00:31.
    Kit Leblanc

    In Harm's Way

  5. #35
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    Default Random thoughs and replies...

    Kit, you wrote (snipped):
    "...I personally believe that the old schools with an actual military provenance offer something in terms of overall development of a warrior ethos and mindset, and even in "weaponizing" those modern civil arts and combat sports that have come to the fore. The latter need not be dismissed because they have a role as part of a total package and frankly are today more proven entities than the old schools.
    The role for the old schools may be in where the ICS brings in the "warrior case studies;" Kinda cool to be doing such things through actual physical/mental training versus simply reading history books! Perhaps more as high end "train the trainer" type stuff, though...."

    I think there is worth in modern systems, too, and wouldn't venture to offer how to implement koryu en masse. From what I have deduced, and what other more learned researchers have concluded, most surviving koryu weren't meant for mass training. They were elite systems often catalogued just when their possible effectiveness was already being supplanted by other weaponry. For example, our Takenouchi-ryu kogusoku short sword was meant for grappling in armor, but already in the late 1500s the possibility of a footsoldier needing that was less than needing to train him in the use of riflery. It wasn't totally irelevent, but decidedly less so for the average grunt with a rifle and a short training schedule before he went off to fight for Nobunaga, Hideyoshi or Ieyasu, etc.

    My student thought it was still useful in learning body movements in full gear with using a possible knife or pistol, but what he says he gained most from the training were basic body movements in general and a specific mindset/awareness.

    The mindset, therefore, stays the same. George Bristol once wrote to me about how the best mental training he got was in koryu systems; ditto that student we both know who's now back in-country. Technically and physically, however, more modern sportive MA may of course help in conditioning and unarmed combatives, but IMHO, the mental preparation for a sport is somewhat different from combative, LE or self-defense. The best of such systems are really great for conditioning, and probably could be adopted faster and easier for general consumption, as many of them already are.

    But, someone doing kickboxing aerobics (as a gross example) in an air-conditioned room, padded floor, surrounded by beautiful people in tight leotards, kicking and punching air while a Tom Cruise-look alike instructor goes, "And one, and two..." may build up abs and conditioning, but it doesn't take into account the high stress mental impact of real situations. Likewise, I have no illusions that swinging a sword while wearing a hakama makes me any more prepared or ready for "street self-defense." It just don't work that way. Of course, having general conditioning and training allows me to run like the Dickens away from danger. That I owe more to jogging with my dog, to be honest.

    Wayne

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    Default Don't know if this is a good example...

    Kit,

    Here's one example of maybe looking at koryu for techniques:

    A lot of SD instructors go through judo or aikido training, or subsets thereof. These are good systems; I've done both in my time. So these drill instructors adopt the tumbling and breakfalls of those systems. When I started in Takenouchi-ryu, my teacher noted that I was doing judo breakfalls and showed me the difference. At first I thought it was just stylistic differences, but then, after discussions with senior students, I realized TR breakfalls made more sense...not if you were in a contest and trying NOT to fall any way possible on your back (thereby losing a match), but if you were being dumped in a strange, contorted position onto concrete or hard ground. Some things about a judo or aikido breakfall or kaiten work fine when you are on a mat and taking a clean throw. Not so good if you are being shoved straight into the asphalt without any chance of doing a nice round ukemi, and I say this with great appreciation and respect for those arts. The odd way that TR teaches breakfalls turned out to have been developed to protect the ankles, feet, back of head, groin and face, from a not-so-nice, not-so-round throw.

    When a student of mine started training at the local police academy, he came back and said he was being taught a breakfall that, in his opinion, would lead to some damage to his arms and face if he had to do it "for real." I recognized the front fall being taught as a kind of makeover of a judo mae ukemi. It wasn't terribly bad, but it wasn't optimal either. I encouraged the student to simply do it the way his instructor said, and not to make a big deal of it, but to remember how to take a front fall in the TR way to save his butt (and face).

    On the other hand, I encouraged him to take up judo when he was stationed near a very good judo club. He would learn some good ashiwaza and freeform grappling, and get into tremendously good conditioning. It's all good, you just need to have things in perspective.

    Wayne Muromoto

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    Quote Originally Posted by wmuromoto View Post
    ...surrounded by beautiful people in tight leotards, ....
    Not, in and of itself a bad thing...could be a reminder of what you are really fighting for.....


    FWIW I think some of that mindset will depend on how you are training what you are training, and even with whom - just as it does with any fighting art, any self defense, etc.

    With the right people and the "right stuff" passed down (a nod to why lineage and keeping the tradition intact is important), I suspect there is more to the picture with the old school stuff. One thing that has really been intriguing to me has been some of the "mindset concepts," for lack of a better term, and how they seem to square with what modern research suggests.

    In that light, revisiting some things has been interesting in terms of understanding and analyzing what is going on in your own mind under extreme duress, and it provides a coherent platform for passing the same kind of understanding on to others.

    It has certainly become a rewarding path of inquiry...


    RE: Elite:

    Karl Friday's Off the Warpath seems to suggest something along these lines as well: as I understood it "battlefield" swordsmanship really wasn't, which you already alluded to.

    The training was much more about the most serious of warriors - really the "warrior-trainers" of the day - using a weapon and training system most identified as symbolic of the desired warrior ethos.

    I wonder too at some of the "founding stories" we hear about: your own tradition being a classic: highly skilled warrior, secludes himself in a temple precinct for a prolonged period of highly austere living and extremely rigorous training, the end of which he is "enlightened" in a martial sense and formulates his own method....

    This has struck me more and more as resonant of part "Special Forces Selection" and training, part physical/spiritual forging befitting the Japanese social context of the time.

    I've found some interesting echoes in works about mountain climbers and other extreme-adventure types who in extreme situations (they they get themselves into) go past their normal limits and experience things that can only be described as "mystical." For some it becomes a drug of sorts and they continually seek it.

    If we consider these founders to have been pretty hard core types, I think there is a parallel between them and the highest level military special operators and the extreme-athlete types of today. Secluding oneself for a thousand days of training certainly is of a rare order of commitment. They were just wired very differently than most of us, willing to push past far more in terms of personal limitations.


    RE: Breakfalls:

    Having only seen video of what I think you are talking about wouldn't venture a comment, other than to say that it is cause for pause to see people taking full out falls on hard wooden floors. If you are taking ukemi like that regularly and NOT getting banged up, there is something there worth looking into!!!

    It is interesting to note that Chinese shuai jiao - with roots in "old school" combative grappling - also break falls very differently.
    Kit Leblanc

    In Harm's Way

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    Default More...

    At the risk of off-tracking this thread, here's more food for thought, Kit:

    In talking to my teacher, he notes that although the Takenouchi-ryu was "founded" by Takeuchi Hisamori, he dug up family records that seem to infer that Hisamori was already a master of an already existing family sword style, the contents of which we don't really know. So as you noted, at least in the case of our ryu (and that of others that I know of), there was a priori skill that was augmented by, as you note, an intense period of "pushing through," no doubt similar to those near-mystical experiences of modern day extreme athletes. In addition, founders like Hisamori or that Katori Shinto-ryu's Iizasa Choisai (but not necessarily all the koryu founders) were from highly educated, upper class warrior stock, and in those days that meant a group that was trained in literate as well as martial skills from an early age. I think, perhaps, part of the impetus for the ryu spiritual philosophies were attempts to try to square the horrors and profound violence of actual combat and the necessity to learn...as we are clumsily saying...a mindset...that created many traditional ryuha. If it was only for killing, it would have stopped at just a few basic methodologies that would work most of the time. And in fact, from what little I have experienced, the gokui of a ryu can be quite simple, contained in just five or six kata. All the rest is elaboration. So why train in all the rest?

    But I think there was a need to justify a ryu's existence beyond cataloguing physical violence because the intellectual, cultured side of that society needed to contain and integrate the training into their world view and society. The whole system of a koryu, not just the gokui, was a training regime that focused and repeated the physical concepts of a founder, which possibly could lead to an understanding of the mental and spiritual concepts as well. This, BTW, is probably a pretty good explanation of a "ryu" not just in terms of a martial ryu, but in art and craft systems, as well, as in tea, flower arrangement, and so on. Japanese ryu attempt to understand how the originator thought and worked, but allows eventually for changes and innovation, if they follow along the same patterns. Not to say that we'll one day see Takeuchi-ryu machine-gun waza; but the ryu did participate in helping develop many of Kodokan judo's sportive techniques, and there are distant echoes of it in so many grappling endeavors nowadays that were once originally TR-ish. It's interesting for me to see how well some of those things work in actual practice nowadays, and I can go back and make modifications based on what's been tried by judoka, MMAers and others.

    The weakness of this kind of kata geiko methodology, from someone who does it, is that sometimes it gets too stuck in rote repetition without meaning, just as, conversely, the weakness of modern sport budo can be its rootlessness, if it tries to be a half-digested mish mash of a little of this and a little of that. But what lies in between among individuals who are seriously studying and applying old and new concepts can be really interesting. More power to 'em if they are seriously thinking and trying to apply some ideas to see if they work.

    I'm getting too long winded in this. Gotta go practice.

    Wayne

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Scardina View Post
    The problem with Gun-a=te is that one will not always have it with them all of the time. Like going to or leaving a airport, restaurant, movie, etc.
    I'm late to the party, but thought I'd resurrect this thread with a comment on this quote.

    It depends on where you live, whether you have/need a permit for concealed carry, etc., but in my case I usually do have mine with me when going to or leaving an airport, restaurant, movie, etc. The exceptions are when I have to go all the way to the gate at the airport or when I have to sit in the bar at a restaurant (which I try to avoid).
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Owens View Post
    I'm late to the party, but thought I'd resurrect this thread with a comment on this quote.

    It depends on where you live, whether you have/need a permit for concealed carry, etc., but in my case I usually do have mine with me when going to or leaving an airport, restaurant, movie, etc. The exceptions are when I have to go all the way to the gate at the airport or when I have to sit in the bar at a restaurant (which I try to avoid).
    Self defense is as much, if not more of preparation and mentality, rather than trained in combat skills or carry of a weapon
    Richard Scardina

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Scardina View Post
    Self defense is as much, if not more of preparation and mentality, rather than trained in combat skills or carry of a weapon
    Well rounded self defense is ALL of these things in balance, and then balanced against the threat one is training to handle.

    The vast majority of situations are resolved through awareness and decision making. These situations do not require well rounded self defense skills.

    Negotiating more serious, physical encounters requires confidence. Confidence comes from being well versed in combative skills. Lack of training in such skills in and of itself demonstrates lack of preparation, and thus lack of mentality. These are inseparable.

    We simply cannot tell ourselves we have the "will to win" if we don't even have the will to work out...

    Against the most serious encounters, where a committed assailant in bent on serious harm and weapons skills are a reasonable option, being truly prepared for success in these - versus just knowing enough to have a false sense of security (as in the vast majority of the firearms and martial arts communities), requires that much more in terms of both mentality and preparedness.
    Kit Leblanc

    In Harm's Way

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  14. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hissho View Post
    Well rounded self defense is ALL of these things in balance, and then balanced against the threat one is training to handle.

    The vast majority of situations are resolved through awareness and decision making. These situations do not require well rounded self defense skills.

    Negotiating more serious, physical encounters requires confidence. Confidence comes from being well versed in combative skills. Lack of training in such skills in and of itself demonstrates lack of preparation, and thus lack of mentality. These are inseparable.

    We simply cannot tell ourselves we have the "will to win" if we don't even have the will to work out...

    Against the most serious encounters, where a committed assailant in bent on serious harm and weapons skills are a reasonable option, being truly prepared for success in these - versus just knowing enough to have a false sense of security (as in the vast majority of the firearms and martial arts communities), requires that much more in terms of both mentality and preparedness.
    The odd fact, based upon my observations, is that one does not need to train many years in martial arts to become defense ready
    Richard Scardina

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    Indeed. Training in martial arts often sends one down a rabbit hole.
    Kit Leblanc

    In Harm's Way

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    Depends if it is a rabbit hole
    Richard Scardina

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Scardina View Post
    Self defense is as much, if not more of preparation and mentality, rather than trained in combat skills or carry of a weapon
    Very true, and something that too many "self defense instructors" -- to say nothing of their students -- don't put enough emphasis on. I'm appalled at the number of people I see walking down the streets with their eyes on their smart phones, not paying any attention to the world around them.
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

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