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Thread: Practical vs Principles, Real vs Research

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    Default Practical vs Principles, Real vs Research

    Perusing both martial arts and combative systems over the years, the difference between Practical vs Principle-based, and Real vs Research, has struck me as one sometimes not recognized by practitioners and commentators.

    I feel we most often see the error on the Principle based and Research side of the equation. That is, training practices, exercises, drills, even the bulk of a discipline, much more about exploration of principles, playing with energy, working with structure in various ways being mistaken for practical and realistic fighting methodologies. This is not to say that some Principle and Research based stuff may not be directly practical.

    Unfortunately, when the difference is not recognized, this serves to dilute the credibility of the art and/or its practitioners. When people are touting what is obviously more developmental exercise or practice as "realistic" there is a tendency to dismiss the art and "throw the baby out with the bath water."

    For example, there is plenty within BJJ that is by no means street practical, or competition practical, on various levels. But I would not look at something like "flow rolling" or the various cooperative drills we do and say "see, this is practical fighting application."

    Steering clear of specific arts, what and or how do people go about telling the difference between what is practical and realistic and what is more "research and development" oriented in what they do?
    Kit Leblanc

    In Harm's Way

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    Steering clear of specific arts, what and or how do people go about telling the difference between what is practical and realistic and what is more "research and development" oriented in what they do?
    That's quite a decent explanation of the problem of balance between practical and principles. Concise and to the point. I like it.

    These are the three "questions" I try to remember when training with practicality in mind. I'm not saying these are the complete set or what everyone else should be using, just what I personally use. I suppose these are principles in a sense too.

    1. How can I be hurt from here? (I want to try and minimize the opportunity of my opponent to inflict damage on me. That's armed or unarmed.)
    2. Will I tire more quickly if I keep doing this? (I don't want to get tired before my opponent.)
    3. Does this come naturally? (I don't want to be doing something that is counter-intuitive to my natural balance, posture, flexibility.)

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    Those are good questions, Matt. Another I would add:

    4. Is this application dependent upon my partner's accommodation?

    By that I don't mean all partner training, as practice always includes accommodation at some point.
    Kit Leblanc

    In Harm's Way

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    That's a good point. Partner compliance while necessary for some practice can create a false-sense of the applicability of a technique.

    It seems that there needs to be a set of over-lapping training methods to properly simulate portions of "practicality" in microcosm. I've yet to find a way to simulate the full-range of a high-stress combative scenario without compromise in some fashion for "realism." Otherwise we'd always end up with someone dead or in the hospital and that gets in the way of additional training.

    A "holodeck" could potentially provide that realism... but that's still firmly in the realm of science fiction.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mkrueger View Post

    It seems that there needs to be a set of over-lapping training methods to properly simulate portions of "practicality" in microcosm..
    I think that is largely true - integrated and over-lapping methods. Then evaluated against ongoing experience.

    Even a holodeck wouldn't do it as there is no actual fear of injury or death.
    Kit Leblanc

    In Harm's Way

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hissho View Post
    Even a holodeck wouldn't do it as there is no actual fear of injury or death.
    I'm letting my geek-flag fly here, but... That is true, unless one is unable to distinguish between the simulation and reality. Set up circumstances such that they do not realize they've entered a simulation and it may become possible to simulate that. There's also a few instances where injuries in the holodeck had to be treated by medical personnel outside the simulation. Ski injury accidents as I recall. There was also the ability to remove the "safety boundaries" during certain combat simulations that allowed for the possibility for injury and death. A certain Klingon may have trained under those conditions.

    Ah, but enough of whimsy and the fantastical.

    I was hoping to hear about how you differentiate between principles and research as well. I'm also curious as to what you mean by "research and development." The closest I've come to in that idea is to ask or answer the question during training "What if I do this?" However, that usually comes down to then identifying how my "research" fails at the above "questions."

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    A simple rule of thumb is this. Does the technique work (once; assume they learn quickly) on industrial-sized gentlemen who are not on your payroll who are applying their technique correctly? If the answer is yes, then yours is a technique worth developing. Otherwise? Keep looking.

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    LOL - yeah lets leave the holodeck behind...that being said the brain can achieve stress levels nearing "real deal" circumstances in stress based simulations - Force Science has done work in that area. Real pain is a factor, as is I believe a true opposing will.

    I would consider R&D to be compliant work where we are engaged in a cooperative exchange. BJJ slow rolling is an example from that discipline. Its freestyle, its not choreographed, but its also not competitive; we are both trying to embody a feel and a flow. Aikido randori, a lot of Taiji push hands (not the competitive kind) are the same. Other examples would be uchikomi and variations.

    Many of these are not "practical" in the sense that they are not actually applied fighting skill in a time-competitive, goal competitive environment. In order to do good uchikomi, for example, my partner has to cooperate and set himself up for me - give me the best "look" - to hone my technique.

    The payoff is better fighting skill.But to equate uchikomi as combative skill isn't valid.

    The same is true of the fundamentals of any art. It gets deeper than that but this is my meaning.
    Kit Leblanc

    In Harm's Way

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    Beer

    A lot of good points so far.

    As far as the holodeck, turn off the safety protocols!

    Seriously though, without actual life and death situations distinguishing what works has to be done in controlled environments with compliant, to a point, partners. MMA has given us a decent "laboratory" if we can get in the cage with opponents we have not seen.

    There are things we can do to increase the reality of training though. Turn off the lights, spread obstacles around the mat, etc. For the next few weeks we are working on diminished capacity drills. If you get hurt in an altercation and can no longer use an appendage, or you trip over something and now have a badly sprained ankle.

    If I hadn't done things like that years ago. I wouldn't have been able to deal with MS as well.
    With respect,
    Mitch Saret

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    Mitch - you are really hitting on how training and experience can develop resiliency, when integrated appropriately.
    Kit Leblanc

    In Harm's Way

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    Heck I don't know..... My son was a competetive Wrestler since he was little. He played Judo and studied some Shorin Ryu.

    Sometimes I think his best self defense preparation was playing football since 6th grade. He was a really well balanced nice kids who learned to destroy guys at a flip of the switch. Yes it is just a game but there is an attitude there I see missing at most dojo. My Karate Sensei's old dojo had it but he was a cop and most of my seniors were cops and they were all their to learn how to kick ass and practice things that would help them on the job. Civilian students were welcome as long as we could hang....

    I'm old and have mellowed out. I have no desire to go through that again. Sparring and multiple oppenents, Bull in the ring, Grappling blindfolded, fighting with the lights out. Sparring while tied to your opponent. Not sure if these thing were to better prepare us or to provide more entertainment to Sensei.
    Ed Boyd

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    Cool

    I understand your reluctance, Ed. As a youth I questioned many things I was doing. But hey, I was the kid and student, the instructor was the expert.

    Grappling blindfolded was done to teach the big boys not to use their muscle and count on it. I usually grapple with my eyes closed anyway...it makes me more sensitive to my opponents movements. Some of the things you mention are indeed, silly. Some have value. Just one guys opinion, though!
    With respect,
    Mitch Saret

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    Something I am fond of is to lift to muscle fatigue before BJJ class.
    Ed Boyd

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    Ed - I think that's very practical.
    Kit Leblanc

    In Harm's Way

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    Quote Originally Posted by CEB View Post
    Something I am fond of is to lift to muscle fatigue before BJJ class.
    Ed,

    Do you do that on a regular basis or occasionally?
    Al Heinemann
    www.shofukan.ca

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