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Thread: Training: How do you make martial arts work in the real world?

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    Default Training: How do you make martial arts work in the real world?

    Amongst people that I respect there seems to be two contrasting camps amongst practitioners of real world defensive tactics:

    Camp 1) practice your wrestling/boxing/jits/shooting and occasionally audit your abilities with an integrated, real-world, weapons-based environment test of abilities and reality check (such as taking a Shivworks course). Camp 1 has a fair bit of faith that their jiu-jitsu, etc. will serve them well "on the street" because there is already a strong streak of oppositional training in their arts of choice. In my view there is a bias of technique over context i.e. occasional intense contextual work will give the practitioner of Camp 1 enough of a worldview shift/ reality check to allow them to use their arts appropriately. The very significant majority of their training efforts are focused on technique and straight forward training in BJJ/boxing/MMA/shooting or whatever.

    Camp 2) practice your martial arts of choice (see above list) and frequently practice how to apply these in an integrated format (weekly, monthly, as often as possible with the addition of "reality check" courses). Camp 2 often trains in much the same range of oppositionally-tested arts but remains skeptical that the base arts which they study are strategically and tactically appropriate for real-life encounters without a great deal of regularized and specialized training.

    I am making generalizations here, for the purpose of discussion. And, let me be clear that though I do have a bit of a bias I am the first to admit that there are very skillful, seasoned, and successful individuals in both "camps" and either side can make some great arguments.

    I would be interested to read about and discuss how you folks who frequent this sub-forum manage your own training time, what you think is ideal, the problems you encounter, etc.

    A few points that I will throw out there:

    -As a guy with family and work responsibilities my training time is very limited. A lot of my own energies go into physical development and not enough goes into martial skill development of [I]any[I] sort these days. Obviously strength & conditioning has pay-off in many areas, including combatives, but it is not enough when one faces situations of dominance, control, and danger regularly.

    -Training in judo, boxing, jiu-jitsu and the like is very accessible in many locations these days. It does not require a lot of organization on the part of the practitioner as long as an established group is nearby.

    -Specialized strategic and tactical training (I will just call it CQC for ease of discussion) pretty much relies on the interested practitioner to put their own training group together. In exceptional circumstances there may already be an established group in your area. There may be groups that practice some brand of combatives (Krav Maga for example) but that is not is not what I am getting at.

    -I have tried to put a CQC study group together and have found it very difficult to find people of a)the proper demeanour b)a matching work/life schedule c) appropriate commitment. We have managed an occasional training session which has been great when it happens and certainly better than not doing this training/research at all. With my previous expectations no longer intact I will continue to sort through this problem and keep my eyes open to future opportunities.

    Kit, I know that you have had a lot of experience with doing a CQC study group. I am not sure about others who frequent this sub-forum. What kinds of successes and failures have you folks had with this kind of idea? Have you ended up training with a small group of friends? Or one partner? People from your agency/team if you are LEO?

    Looking forward to reading what you all have to say.
    Al Heinemann
    www.shofukan.ca

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    A lot to address here, buddy - but no time now - just off a 15 hour day with a graveyard patrol shift and a SWAT operation taking down gang member/murderer/sex traffickers with no greater use of force than a flashbang and show of force...I'm tired.

    I will say that your question is TPI-centric (that's www.totalprotectioninteractive.com for those in the know...) which I think limits the discussion on a forum dedicated to Japanese martial practices - though I'd be interested in how budoka/bugeisha think about and approach the same concerns...
    Kit Leblanc

    In Harm's Way

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    I don't know. I think a lot of civilians ask WAY too much from Budo training. I don't think you can really teach what you need, at least in an at-will training environment. Different people have different propensity to get mean. When I have needed it the training worked. When I needed the training I was not in a good place with my life. Don't get me wrong I was good law abiding citizen but I basically didn't give a damn if I lived or died. I was able to flip the switch without reservation.

    Now I am old, married, fairly well adjusted, great kids, a pretty good job etc... I have a life worth living. Past performances do not guarantee future results. Today I might just stand there, freeze and pee my pants. I had my son in the Judo and Karate dojos since he was 6. He wrestled competively since 5th grade. He was HS Wrestling team captain and had some college offers to Wrestle. He was a great kid. In my honest opinion his best martial arts training was on the football field. Great kid one second, learned to flip 'the switch' and destroy people on the ball snap. Violence is not cerebral it needs to be instinctive. I don't think you can teach it.
    Ed Boyd

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hissho View Post
    I will say that your question is TPI-centric
    Agreed, absolutely. OTOH I feel like the tone of discussion could be different in this venue so I thought I'd run it by the board. Unfortunately there seems to be very limited participation here lately.

    I hope you got some proper rest after yesterday's events.
    Al Heinemann
    www.shofukan.ca

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    Quote Originally Posted by CEB View Post
    I was able to flip the switch without reservation [....]In my honest opinion his best martial arts training was on the football field. Great kid one second, learned to flip 'the switch' and destroy people on the ball snap. Violence is not cerebral it needs to be instinctive. I don't think you can teach it.
    Hi Ed. I have a couple of questions for you.
    1) Do you think the tactical decisions you made in your real life encounters where good ones, or could have been better, or were inappropriate?

    2) As for flipping the switch, and whether or not it can be learned or is instinctive, what do you think it was about your son's football training that seemed to bring out this ability more effectively?

    Thank you.
    Al Heinemann
    www.shofukan.ca

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    OK...so in reply:

    First off, I think Camp I often has an unrealistic understanding of contextual dynamics of personal defense vs. competitive encounters. The practice of pugilistics (boxing, kickboxing), wrestling, jujitsu and/or MMA has a tendency to become how one defines the parameters of a combative encounter, because after all that is what is "known."

    To be fair for most of the kinds of encounters people will experience, simply doing one or a combination of these disciplines will be enough. The conditioning alone is of high value. And I firmly believe that these folks will be far better prepared than almost any martial or CQC discipline that does no oppositional training at all.

    The problem occurs when the real encounter becomes increasingly asymmetric: out-of-rules applications, ambush attacks, weapons, multiple assailants, terrain issues, etc. The more of these things that manifest the more they are outside the stress inoculation envelope: here is where you see people: forget that they are wearing body armor and carrying a pistol and instead of making space to access a weapon choose to re-engage by jumping on the attacker's back and attempting a rear naked choke - when the parameters of the encounter are a lethal threat. Or, when mutliples are a potential they choose to drop to a knee bar when several better options were available if they remained standing, etc.

    Now sometimes these techniques may be viable, but is when they are defaulted to because this is the only thing that has been patterned under stress - and because "it worked in all the previous fights" - it needs addressed.

    Camp II is actually the better way to go, but hard for most people to find. Even when it is being done, it's Campers from I who really don't have much experience in an integrated context beyond what they have done in their boxing/jiujitsu/MMA/competitive shooting classes and in highly structured courses that are not actually very contextual i.e. they have not integrated it a lot when its been real. In other words when observation and orientation needs expanded far beyond physical technique, when tactical and use of force decisions are critical and changing moment to moment, and when legal and liability issues frame the context.

    Instead of expanding training in the latter context, we often see instead just more challenging or more difficult technical or tactical problem solving - sometimes going into highly improbable set ups for defensive encounters - as opposed to more extensive contextual role play (including a lot of role play involving no use of force at all), awareness practice decision making, and force escalation and de-escalation.

    More later...
    Last edited by Hissho; 1st March 2016 at 19:21.
    Kit Leblanc

    In Harm's Way

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    Quote Originally Posted by allan View Post
    Hi Ed. I have a couple of questions for you.
    1) Do you think the tactical decisions you made in your real life encounters where good ones, or could have been better, or were inappropriate?

    2) As for flipping the switch, and whether or not it can be learned or is instinctive, what do you think it was about your son's football training that seemed to bring out this ability more effectively?

    Thank you.
    1) In the scary incident I just went. Only one other time I ever experienced this was when I blew a front tire and wrecked a car. I was fairly calm and things seemed to in a form of slow motion. Just like when I thought I could steer out of the blow out. I didn't think. After it was OVER it scared the **** out of me and I got the shakes. Sensei said it was the fallout from the adrenaline dump. I basically ran Naihanchin kata on him. LOL. Reinforce forearm/elbow strike to the head, grabbed his chin and back of his head and bulldogged his head into the asphalt. Pretty poor stratgey. I ignored the weapon and just went off but I just didn't care. I was friggin lucky is what I was. Rather be lucky than good. Today I might just stand there and pee my pants.

    2) I'm not sure. There is just an element of violence in football that is on again and off again in nature. Some people just have it and some don't. 1983 I was on a FTX. It was a night time exercise and there was an accident involving things the went BOOM. We had real casualties, nothing life threatening. Some concussions one guy went into seizures. We had to evac a few people out. The one thing that hit me as interesting was many of the hardcore oorah! oorah! guys broke down like little girls. Lot of the quiet guys that were just there just to earn money for school became the warriors. We all had the SAME training. We all lived together, ate together, slept together, shit together etc.... Some had it some didn't. Your learn to fight and how to deal with violence by doing it. That is the different battlehard and green troops. Many of my dojo mates had it because they they were worked law enforcement and corrections and dealt with violence on a somewhat regular basis. Everyone else in the dojo was probably a coin flip at best. It is not in the nature of a normal person to seriously hurt another human being.
    Ed Boyd

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    Another point I'd like to make is that in my observation of devoted Campers, there is a tendency to dismiss any discipline outside of competitive disciplines as "martially effective."

    Sound familiar? Its simply the reverse of the prejudice most "traditional" or "battlefield" martial artists have of combat sports.

    However, I have seen my main martial/combative training partner - with extensive training in aikido along with BJJ, judo and koryu - perform extremely well in fully oppositional multi-opponent drills because he has integrated very well his aikido tai sabaki within that context.

    So many more martial disciplines may have a lot to offer, they simply need to be vetted in arduous oppositional training: the kind of training almost no one does any more outside of combat sports.....

    Similarly, something like boxing has a limited role in defensive tactics or combatives, even less so for armed professionals: yet it remains as a core discipline for many practitioners despite it being ill advised in many cases.

    The same goes for dueling and "knife sparring" arts - which are basically pugilism with weapons. Many modern and traditional armed martial arts are based in the dueling context, not a combative one. Dueling is essentially, to my way of thinking, lethal sport depending even in which context one is dueling, and it is not tactical or combative in the sense of asymmetry (though admittedly there can be asymmetric duels).

    As a person defending myself, or as a tactical professional, the last thing I want to do is be dueling with anyone. And while an argument can be made for such training as attribute development, I argue that developing attributes through training in context is probably a better bet. So the knife as a transition tool, the knife versus multiple opponents, and the knife in a close struggle/grappling match over weapon retention, or of course defending against a blade. Instead with blades we see: knife armed defender carving up unarmed attackers who are basically boxing with them, or, two people basically boxing with knives....see how it all blends together?

    I've gotta run again - but I will get to the training group observations soon; my group has not been active for several years due to my current shift assignment, but we integrate a lot of the work we did there in our regular jujitsu classes, and we continue to debrief different encounters I experience or respond to on the job, and that several of my students have had.
    Last edited by Hissho; 1st March 2016 at 20:04.
    Kit Leblanc

    In Harm's Way

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    Quote Originally Posted by CEB View Post
    The one thing that hit me as interesting was many of the hardcore oorah! oorah! guys broke down like little girls. Lot of the quiet guys that were just there just to earn money for school became the warriors. We all had the SAME training. We all lived together, ate together, slept together, shit together etc.... Some had it some didn't.
    Seen this on multiple occasions.....sometimes surprisingly so. The oorah! guys are often masking something and perhaps hoping it will transfer by osmosis, maybe... The steroid guys are trying to make up for what they don't have internally, externally, and so on...

    Sometimes when you go to a hot call, or you hear the crack! and the "shots fired!" on the radio, or what have you, and you hear this or that name as your backup, you know that now not only do you have to cover your own ass, you gotta cover his, cuz he ain't gonna cover you. He won't even "be there" mentally.
    Kit Leblanc

    In Harm's Way

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    Winding up the response to "How to make martial arts work in the real world?"

    With a training group intended for self defense or professional close combat/control purposes, IME the following needs done:

    First - Abandon the idea of "making your martial art work." Too often, devoted stylists do their damnedest to justify their particular martial art due to an emotional attachment to it. Its not necessary, and counterproductive. History shows us "martial arts" were not intended for combat.

    However there are elements within the disciplines that are useful. Proper pressure testing in force on force/oppositional/stress inoculation training will reveal what elements of your particular discipline are likely valid in real world situations. Once identified, these elements can become the basis for a combative practice. Other things will reveal themselves down the line. You are still doing "your art," if you need that validation, just focussed on the parts of it that work under pressure.

    You can still practice the rest of it, just now you know what is practically valid and what is more experimental or experiential material.

    Second- You MUST engage in force-on-force/oppositional training. For far too many people this means the same thing as "sparring" or "randori" or competition. It's not. You have to have the imagination and experience to design the kind of training to achieve the tactical end state you hope to achieve.

    Third -
    You MUST place your group's training in a self defense context. Get rid of the knife-on-empty-hand drills unless you are specifically training it under the parameters where that usage is legally justifiable. Challenge your people as to what is a legally defensible use of force under certain circumstances. Empower them NOT to act as much as you are for action.

    This last is an issue - people come to martial training to ACT! If they ain't drilling physical techniques they don't feel like they are training. Yet, this is the least likely element of self defense they will use. The most likely will be awareness avoidance, verbal interaction and proxemics - which gets NO training in the vast majority of martial education: though almost all students will say that self defense is at least one reason they practice martial disciplines.

    Giving people permission to verbally interact and escape a potentially violent encounter, to avoid based on awareness alone, and to re-consider a point of view that sees only physical interaction as self defense requires a great deal more savvy on the part of the self defense (note I did not write "martial arts") instructor. Its easy to just drill techniques in given, pre-ordained lethal threat after lethal threat responses. Not so easy to add layers of context - and probably boring for many people.

    Last- Debrief your encounters. Mistakes will always be made - learn from them and grow your skills. Try to think of what 'else' could have been done to expand your repetoire in real world encounters. If it goes physical it is not a failure! Some things will, or should. But know the difference. Try to determine what could have been changed to maximize your advantage and survivability while remaining within reason and the law.
    Kit Leblanc

    In Harm's Way

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    Simplicity is the best answer.
    Let's start with necessities.
    1. Judo - Judo is derived from Jiu Jitsu. It's effective and easy to learn. I studied mostly Chinese Martial Arts, and I always notice the Judo techniques of throws and ground techniques in Chinese Martial Arts. It takes a long time to learn Chinese techniques compared to just learning a Judo throw or submission technique.
    2. Aikido- Aikido is also derived from Jiu Jitsu. Both Judo and Aikido were part of the Samurai arsenal when fighting with a sword
    during combat. The Jiu Jitsu system is suppose to help the Samurai in the battle field.
    Without the sword, the Jiu Jitsu system was becoming extinct in the 1880's when swords were outlawed in Japan.
    Watch the movie: The Last Samurai.
    3. Kick boxing: It's not Japanese but you can do a lot of damage by punching and kicking.
    4. Krav Maga: All the stuff I just mentioned is now assembled into this Israeli Army Martial Art. (This is an extra if your interest is a long career in Martial Arts.)
    Finally, there is no shortcut to learning a Martial Art to defend your self.
    You might as well get graded and certified as a black belt with the highest degree you can get because practicing Martial Art require practice every week. It's not like you just learned everything and everything will come to you after one or several years later as a couch potato.
    Training regularly at a club or a Dojo is the reason to keeping yourself fit and well trained to respond naturally into a fight.
    Joining a Judo or an Aikido club with other people gives you a chance get frequent training. You can't shadow box in your imagination while eating nachos and drinking soft drinks or beer.
    When you join a school, you will have to mind your manners and behave in front of other people. Who ever heard of a man with good manners get into a fight?

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    All forms of "Martial Arts" will work in "real" world situations. All forms at one time or another (wrestling, boxing, jiu-jitsu, Judo, Karate, escrima on and on) was taught to military units, long before some was know of. From my experience (yes in "real world"), is not just the Art used, but the mental side as well. The depth of skill that one who has practiced will work to and extent, but even those with basic skill sets, that have been taught the proper mind set in the situation, will come out ahead. This is the major difference between learning an Art for competition and Defense. While to an extent they go hand in hand, possessing the ability to distinguish the "real" world from Dojo or street, is one part of the mental preparation. I have vast amount of examples but I think we will just need to understand they will all work, with in the realm of the practice.
    T. Mendenhall

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