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    Is the bandwagon full

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    Peter Skillen

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    Is the bandwagon full

    Post by Peter Skillen on Mon Apr 05, 2010 3:42 pm

    I did notice that a few years ago everyman and his dog was becoming a self defence or combat instructor and everybody claimed to have trained with Geoff Thompson or so and so or so and so if you get my drift. Just lately though the world of modern self defence seems to have gone back underground and lots of these people have come and gone and the scene seems to have got a lot quieter or the claims to have trained with everyman and his dog for self promotion have at least.

    What is the state of the self defence / protection / real world combat in at the minute?

    There was in the past a debate; has traditional martial arts lost the edge to these practical classes and instructors? I my self think not.
    For all the New systems that reared their head and claimed to be the next big thing there are probably two or maybe three traditional arts clubs still alive and kicking(excuse the pun) It seems to me that the answer to the Question are traditional arts over has been answered.NO they are not, in fact they are still in command in the martial arts world and always will be. WHY? Because of the strict traditional values these clubs hold. Ok some people say what traditional's teach may not work in the street that well ( they did alright before the rise of the commercial combat club) and that street combat is where it's at, but I think that It's the traditional ethos of these clubs that have kept there lights burning bright. Maybe the lack of true respect within these combat/real world self defence classes that can lack so much of what a traditional club offers(uniform,history,tradition) is why joe public are returning to traditional karate,kung fu, classes again.
    It's the feeling of being a part of something that has ran through history and not put together over night on the local self defence/ combat instructors lap top that is keeping the traditional arts alive. I have over the past couple of months visited some traditional arts classes looking for my next martial art to study due to well dare i say itboredom. The traditional arts seem to offer Joe public something more than just how to knock somebody out with the latest technique derived from the necessity to kill. They offer stories of masters old passed down through history, they offer Great old and wise sayings from people of myth and legend they even offer dragons and tigers (tell me that isn't exciting) but most of all they offer people a Hobby, a place to meet friendly people, the chance to learn a new language and tradition the chance to meet people of like mind who too are on a journey of self discovery trying to find a path ( maybe even a rice paper one) through life. The goal is not to Kill main or Knock the fuck out of someone asap but to grow over time and nurture an art that has been past down from generation to generation. Traditional martial arts will never die they will run and run for ever. The new style how to kill a burglar in ten 2 seconds band wagon is well and truly full people and the question now is are the wheels due to fall off?
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    Al Peasland
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    Re: Is the bandwagon full

    Post by Al Peasland on Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:03 am

    Nice post Peter

    Not sure about the wheels falling off but I totally agree about the attraction to traditional martial arts, especially in academies and for the younger students.

    I have always considered myself to be a traditional martial artist. The self protection elements that I teach are a mere snippet of what the rest of the arts have to offer.
    And this is the way I think it should be.
    If all you teach is "reality based" stuff - then you should have quite a small syllabus.
    The moment you start to add to that syllabus is the moment you start to move away from the "reality" aspect and start to re-introduce more of the art - so why not just study the arts in the first place!

    I think the tradition, the culture, the structure, the visible progression through grades, the sense of family and belonging that traditional classes and arts can give (plus much more) still has a great deal to offer the student.

    And as Rick Faye once said to me. We should be looking to expand our knowledge of the arts so that they grow as they are passed down from instructor to student.
    If we only focus on one element and teach that to our students - then the art shrinks

    Reality based stuff may teach you how to kill a burglar in 10 seconds. But your journey and study of the arts will teach you how to kill all your demons and all your fears... a far bigger benefit if you ask me ;-)
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    Peter Skillen

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    Re: Is the bandwagon full

    Post by Peter Skillen on Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:27 pm

    Don't get me wrong I am not saying the Reality based stuff is not needed just very limited (as should be) and everybody should install a system of real defence alongside their traditional systems, It's just that an art offers so much more, well, Fun.
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    Jamie Clubb

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    Re: Is the bandwagon full

    Post by Jamie Clubb on Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:36 pm

    As I have said on many occasions one of the three biggest problems in martial arts and self defence training is a lack of clarity. Instructors and students alike get confused of their objectives and furthermore they assume that everyone else's objectives are the same. That's the second area most sorely lacking from training, individualism. The third area lacking is scepticism. Students need to be confident in their critical thinking skills, so that they can apply information and experiences intelligently, so it won't muddy their objectives - back to clarity again.

    The core of my teaching is in self defence and this is what I generally teach first unless I have students or a student with a specific request. My belief is that civilian self defence is minimalistic in nature and should be easy to teach to just about anyone and should be learnt in a short period of time. Over 90% is the soft skills (non-physical) and 10% the hard skills (physical). This makes it extremely limited. However, I do not teach this every week. Far from it. Here is my little analogy. I see self defence as a short and uncomplicated path. However, off that path their are many alternative routes that can be taken in order to gain experiences and knowledge to better improve that short journey. These diversions often take longer than the journey itself. They have their own benefits outside of self defence, but equally they can enrich your self defence skills. I call this intelligent cross training.

    Here is an example. A self defence student learns western boxing in order to work with people who specialize in full contact and non-compliant hand striking. The experience hardens him and develops certain attributes associated with combative hand-eye coordination and movement. He does not then try to implement his boxing training verbatim into his self defence tactics. He adapts, takes what is useful and boils it down.
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    Peter Skillen

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    Re: Is the bandwagon full

    Post by Peter Skillen on Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:18 pm

    I'm right with you there self defence training should be short sharp and sweet and very aggressive where as traditional art should be a fun enjoyable interesting pastime that lasts.
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    Al Peasland
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    Re: Is the bandwagon full

    Post by Al Peasland on Tue Apr 06, 2010 4:40 pm

    So what would you guys deem as a "short journey" on the self defence path?

    Do you measure that in total time taken to become competent or the time actually spent on the mat training it?

    What I mean is - as Jamie has said, we often go off on diversions to study arts in order to enhance our skills and thus make us more proficient at the self defence aspects. However - this diversion takes longer - surely that extra time needs to be added to the time of the short journey?

    I totally agree - as instructors we need to be clear about what we are teaching our students at any given time - and also true to ourselves in what we are learning at any given time.

    If it's not "real" and not applicable for the street or for self defence in the physical application - then we should be honest and big enough to admit that.
    Sometimes it's just good fun to hit pads or roll on the mat - doesn't always have to be "reality based"
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    Jamie Clubb

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    Re: Is the bandwagon full

    Post by Jamie Clubb on Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:44 pm

    So what would you guys deem as a "short journey" on the self defence path?

    Well, it depends on the individual. However, I argue that it should be as short as possible. Around the same time required to teach someone basic First Aid. Ideally 2 x 5 hour days of intensive soft skills and hard skills training. This is enough time for individuals to learn and take away low maintainence information and knowledge to train after the course.

    Do you measure that in total time taken to become competent or the time actually spent on the mat training it?

    Both.

    What I mean is - as Jamie has said, we often go off on diversions to study arts in order to enhance our skills and thus make us more proficient at the self defence aspects. However - this diversion takes longer - surely that extra time needs to be added to the time of the short journey?

    No, we continually keep re-treading this path enhancing our knowledge. This helps us to teach the basics better and to make ourselves be more proficient fighters for whatever reason. We don't have to return to the self defence path if we don't want to, although I think it is healthy from time to time to remind ourselves what we came in for in the first place and to make sure that these experiences have enhanced our skills and not warped them.

    However, the initial "trip" (I suppose journey is making it sound too grand) is a short one. It needs to be in order to train an individual who is not passionate about martial arts or self defence for that matter, but who simply wants to know how to look after themselves. I learnt how to swim and took first aid, but I had no aspirations to become the Olympic butterfly champion or a paramedic.


    If it's not "real" and not applicable for the street or for self defence in the physical application - then we should be honest and big enough to admit that.
    Sometimes it's just good fun to hit pads or roll on the mat - doesn't always have to be "reality based"

    I absolutely agree, which is part of the reason why I wrote "The Pornography of Self Defence". I think just practicing frontline self defence methods all week long every week for prolonged periods is counter-productive. You will note from my diary entries that most of our training in the regular classes are now geared towards MMA and cross training, turning back to the core self defence to update and revise.
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    Richard Grannon

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    Re: Is the bandwagon full

    Post by Richard Grannon on Tue Apr 13, 2010 3:35 am

    Interesting post

    and to answer your question yes I think the bandwagon is full

    and I think people are losing / have lost interest in it

    RBSD/Street training is kind of oxymoronic in concept : if it states that you can avoid fights and that if you need to fight you only need a few techniques then what do you fill "dojo time" with?

    Excessive, obsessive pad drills? Micro managing "power generation"? Lots of scenario drills? Shouting at pads and making an angry face? Learning to hit harder and harder?


    I think the whole field has changed a lot in just the last 18 months, in a healthy way.

    No progress without change and all that

    Very Happy
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    Peter Skillen

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    Re: Is the bandwagon full

    Post by Peter Skillen on Tue Apr 13, 2010 1:28 pm

    What do you fill your dojo time with then people?
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    Jamie Clubb

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    Re: Is the bandwagon full

    Post by Jamie Clubb on Tue Apr 13, 2010 6:11 pm

    MMA, cross training and functional fitness for us. There is more than enough in there. To be honest, I am far more interested in developing training methodology. That's our approach I guess.
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    Richard Grannon

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    Re: Is the bandwagon full

    Post by Richard Grannon on Fri Apr 16, 2010 4:54 am

    fitness, strength, some kind of boxing, mma, grappling mix - maybe some shot placement drills- I agree

    I think its the only way to not go mental! SP training is by its very nature self contradictory and can lead to you just chasing your tail and collapsing in a heap of dissipated, frustrated energy

    we instructors are saying (or supposed to be) "avoid, avoid, avoid" yet if we spend the next 3 hours drilling

    1. does fence
    2.shouts "get back"
    3.Right hook to jaw

    Over and over and over, in a state of emotional intensity,

    then the neurology is getting conditioned to respond to verbal confrontation with snotting people in the jaw- is this good self protection?

    Considering the ramifications if it does NOT work?

    Considering the potentially worse ramifications if it DOES work?


    "How do we fill dojo time?"

    Its a dojo/gym, so it has to be filled with dojo/gym type activities.

    I'm wondering if the more "street/SP" type stuff isn't better drilled one on one, in situ, where you are with the student in the environment in which the skills are likely to be needed... or not needed... if you followed the proper protocols...

    doh! its enough to make your head spin

    is a student safer learning :

    1.martial arts shoe horned into/ forward engineered into a street context (all the physical for when it goes wrong but minimal or no psychology/ social intelligence drills)

    or

    2.applied psychology reverse engineered for self protection? (all the mental components, barely any physical stuff)



    The answer is pretty obvious.


    Until you ask... "yeah but what if you followed all the protocols and did all the psychology and you are still boxed in, what then?"

    Back to square one.

    Or rather back to option one, those martial arts forward engineered to fit a social context? Now we need them again.

    But are you more likely to make that situation occur if you have that option?

    My head hurts.

    Only lifting weights and hitting the bags will make it all better.




    Very Happy
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    Peter Skillen

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    Re: Is the bandwagon full

    Post by Peter Skillen on Sat Apr 17, 2010 1:56 am

    I cross train fitness and hit bags and pads and willing participents I teach kickboxing and self defence for the street that includes things I picked up from the dojo and life..my martial arts study is currently judo. I activily encourage my students to go out and try other classes as I want their journey to be plentyful and diverse.

    Dave Turton

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    Re: Is the bandwagon full

    Post by Dave Turton on Sun Apr 18, 2010 12:18 pm

    Mmm ..a thoughtful theme here!

    I have not gone underground and the SDF (my organisation) is growing steadily every month. (50 clubs and over 4,000 members).

    Mind you I am a tad 'different' in that DIDNT Train with Geoff Thompson, I actually spent years TEACHING him and his guys on and off at sessions at the AT7 centre.... it stopped many years ago admittedly.

    However if you need to think of how to keep your students, then its because your DEPTH of knowledge of the combat arts isnt deep enough.
    Many instructors go WIDER not DEEPER.. if you have sufficient knowledge, you can continue teaching for DECADES without exhausting your methods.

    By going WIDER, instructors simply ADD for the sake of adding... they may think
    "Oh I need to add some weapons or ground work or or or", and simply add some not very deep methods to their already not very deep knowledge.

    Thats a mistake .. wider means THINNER, it all gets spread out too thin

    Go DEEPER and you will find you will never learn it all about the subject of personal self-protection and self-defence.

    Then with a proper solid 'structure' to your methods you can teach at all levels and cater for all tastes
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    Joe Hubbard

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    Re: Is the bandwagon full

    Post by Joe Hubbard on Thu May 13, 2010 6:57 pm

    Hi Pete

    Generically much of what you say is true. Sadly, many of the "Reality Based" systems (I hate that terminology as it is really redundant) fall into the category that I once described as "Thug's Day Out." The reality (no pun) is that the majority of these systems lack depth and there is no room for personal development and self expression. I found this post from my teacher and mentor Hock Hochheim quite helpful and wanted to share it with you:

    One Size Coffin / Cookie-Cutter fits all

    I got an email asking me what I mean by cuttie-cutter martial arts.
    This relates to the "complication" issue because-in theory the less things you know, the less complicated you are.

    Any martial art that is a system that makes you, no matter your size, shape, strengths,weaknesses, age or skill to perform and move like the system's titular head. It is a system that imposes its techniques upon, whether you like them, or can do them or not.

    He kicks high? You must kick high.
    He cartwheels? You must cartwheel.
    He power punches? This is your main solution too.
    He wears this? You must wear this.
    He head butts? You must head butt.
    He flinches? You must flinch.
    He only vertical fist punches? You must too.
    He shreds? You must shred.
    He tackles and wrestles? You must tackle and wrestle.
    He restricts your training in other systems? You stay nice and dumb.
    He dictates. You must mindlessly follow.
    He makes the cookie cutter? You must force yourself into his pattern.

    Aren't most of these systems flexible, too?
    No. It does seem that if they have a handicapped person? They will fudge on the requirements (and it often makes the evening news-why not!) but, that is as far as any improvisation and individual expression is allowed to grow and go.

    Will they offer lip service/hot air on your freedom?
    Yes. Maybe. Will they walk the talk. No. And then, some say right away, no- "you cannot train outside this system." It will "confuse" you. "Distract" you. This is where you hear the KISS method and Hick's Law tossed about incorrectly to keep you down and in their cookie-cutter.

    "Isn't any training program a cookie cutter? Aren't you making cookies?"
    It is very difficult challenge to set up any training standards and steer clear of this cookie-cutter problem. It must be woven carefully into a systems' doctrine. A doctrine must have freedom built right into it.

    A baseball player learns how to swing a bat. Simple, huh? Ahhh-KISS and Hick's law at its best. "Just swing, dude!" "That is all a stupid SOB like you can do under stress!" But each hitter must develop a unique swing based on his abilities and potential to be successful. What size bat? Who is pitching and what? A good hitting coach knows a lot about this. Your unique swing must become your simple swing from muscle memory repetition. How sophisticated and educated is your system head, to even understand these issues and then implement them into doctrine? Is he just a Thai Boxer? Just a soldier? Just a karate devotee? A college wrestler?

    I have created a college-like system that tries to expose people to all the mainstays of striking, kicking and grappling with hands, sticks, knives and guns. But, your favorites and your final product is your selected end. It is the freestyle combat scenarios that YOU have to construct. Not me. That journey is your personal growth and knowledge. That is emphasized in how YOU construct your level 10 tests. I don't tell you how to execute each scenario! You do. Fighting first - Systems second, is a big SFC motto.

    And of course, as this exposure and journey-steering is my job, so to it is our instructors' jobs to expose a variety of people with these common mainstays. The idea is EXPOSE people to fighting tactics, not IMPOSE ones on them. For many years now, I have said in seminars-


    "I am here to inspire you, not confine you."



    a) Pick some for themselves (with appropriate KISS-like and Hicks-style limitations.)
    b) Learn all moves to be good instructors for all shapes, ages, sizes and strengths.

    ...and so it goes, and so it goes. A legacy of maximized training, not mental and physical restrictions.

    It is getting better out there on the marketplace! These traditional, restrictive programs really are slowly shrinking and dying off the charts. Traditional is good for kids. Not good for adults. BUT, I fear I do see the similar problem now arise in newer programs!



    - Everybody Shred! - Everybody Flinch! - Everybody tackle and wrestle!


    Just because the instructor is younger and in a t-shirt, doesn't mean they aren't making the same silly, damn mistakes.

    One size does not fit all. Not even one coffin fits everyone.

    Hock

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Hope you guys got something out of that!

    Cheers

    Joe

    Mr Natural

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    Re: Is the bandwagon full

    Post by Mr Natural on Sun Jul 11, 2010 1:05 pm

    I like the traditional values of martial arts, but in my opinion the reason they're more popular is that most people have never heard of combatives...if they want to handle themselves the first thing they think of is martial arts.

    I've seen posts asking 'which is the most practical fighting art' on other forums and you always get 'mma training' 'thai boxing' 'krav maga' etc. Fair play if you do those things as part of your training, but I think they've just got more brand awareness. Also the idea of combatives may be offputting to the average guy in this country. Did anyone see that article about the judge who said 'military techniques are inappropriate for civilian life'...as if someone knifing you is 'civilian'

    I'm a relative beginner, but it seems like there's plenty to fill a class with - train basic strikes every time, do varied scenario drills, including talking, how to escape....and some of trainees week would be well spent in strength and fitness training.

    I like the idea of first aid, and how to respond to other emergencies apart from fighting...survival stuff.

    Just a thought, but how about actually training how to run away? The Parkour system was originally for escaping emergencies not the acrobatic skills.

    I like the idea of combatives/rbsd helping people, but in a way I feel it's better if it's undergound and people find it once they've 'woken up'. Although it's harsh to go through that it just seems better somehow as everyone will know what the score is.

    Rob Poyton

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    Re: Is the bandwagon full

    Post by Rob Poyton on Sun Jul 11, 2010 4:31 pm

    Mr Natural - you've pretty much described our sessions. The way I see it is this - there are various attirbutes that need to be developed. Functional strength, fitness, flexiblity, mobilty, movement, awareness, good use of bio-mechanics, fear management, communication skills and so on. These can be worked at a gross level onto various levels of refinement and understanding. Then there is technical work - that might be fight related, weapons related or, as you mentioned first aid or similar.

    All these things then have to be melded together for dealing with other people. You then add in to that different environments, circumstances and situations, "what-ifs" and so on

    Once you mix all that in together you should have enough training for a lifetime! I've been running classes for 15+ years and with this approach I have to say I'm never at a loss to find something to teach. Add to that the guys often come up with their own ideas too, which is great, is shows they are thinking

    So you can start with a basic posture / movement drill and start adding all those other variables in. Even just practicing basic drills in a different environment presents new challenges. Try punching in a car, or sparring on uneven ground, or working in low light.

    This way you can keep training fresh. The training session is kind of a mix between a gym, a laboratory and a playground. Importantly I think this approach also works well for the individual - they guide the session rather than trying to shoe-horn everyone into a syllabus

    I find the two things the guys enjoy most are outdoor training and also the concept of being a "bodyguard" - not in a military sense, but when out and about with your kids/family. It keeps the training relevant too, let's face it other than the professional guys, most of us are "normal" people, not commandoes or samurai

    The two biggest challenges are find are:

    Firstly with pressure work - putting the guys under r real pressure yet at the same time keeping things reasonably safe is always a challenge so I would be interested to hear thoughts on this

    Secondly is when people come in for the first time and expect a conventional "martial arts" class, ie being told what to do, were to stand and how to act! Some people find more comfort in "he does A so you do B" I guess but we keep guidance to a minimum. For me the old saying about giving a man a fish or teaching him to fish applies

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGFEnFxLD2E

    http://www.youtube.com/user/perten

    cheers

    Rob



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