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A point that has been made in many of our posts is that the skills of competitive fighters are task-specific. Highly skilled competitive and professional fighters are not necessarily more prepared for violence outside of matches and duel setups. As I noted in a previous post,

A competitive fighter knows when and where his or her next “fight” will occur, and by virtue of the rules of a competition, has the advantage of knowing exactly what techniques and methods an opponent may use, and which ones they will not use. The student seeking to survive a violent assault does not know any of this until it is happening.

In the video below (thanks to tgace), Dana White and several UFC fighters visit a Marine Corps training location and experience first hand how different engagements with weapons and multiple adversaries are from pre-arranged, rule bound professional fighting. MMA has it’s place but as we can see, training for one environment does not transfer to other environments.

Absolutely beautiful- accurate, fluid,  fast, changing ranges and targets and in control of the bag the whole time. This is a guy who knows what he wants to do and has invested the time into getting there. We’re not all pro boxers but that’s no reason not to approach bag work with the same intent:

I was a pretty active climber as a kid, and as a teenager I had the good fortune to have a youth mentor who ran an outdoor guide business. I spent a lot of weekends learning  how to use my body pull past overhangs and patches of slick rock that I might have otherwise thought were impossible. “Impossible” was always being redefined, and learning to trust yourself and your belayer were inherent in the process. A few buildings in my hometown (and a few in college) were simply too accessible to resist “playing” on, although not everyone was as amused by it as I was. In many respects, climbing is not very different from martial arts training: your own sucesses and failures ultimately rest on your own efforts.

As much as I enjoy climbing, I will never be anywhere near the level of jaw-dropping skill that this guy demonstrates:

No matter what the activity, a person with this much raw speed, agility, strength and skill is a joy to watch.

 

The Missouri and Virginia TKRI clubs have lately been working with unexpected attacks from the rear and sides at extremely close range:

The goal of this series of drills is to react to the stimulus of a shove and/or grab to the hair or clothing from behind with an aggressive response. The technique is not as important as the recognition of aggressive contact and the ability to respond with the same.

The position of the hands on the head protects the face and the vulnerable temple and coronal regions of the skull. This position also anchors the neck so that the musculature of the upper back and shoulders can stabilize the head against further acceleration while contributing to the charge and a successive flurry of elbow strikes.

At this range, complicated techniques such as joint manipulations and fully extended strikes will be of little use. Such an attacker will have the element of surprise and the advantage of initiating the attack, allowing them to land several strikes before the victim can can decide upon a response and make it. At speed and full force the victim will be disoriented and in a poor position from which to fight. These drills aim to train students to move into an unexpected attack with an equally aggressive response using gross body movements, hopefully creating the space to escape or fight from a better position.

Give it a whirl, and after folks get the hang of it pick up the intensity on the attacker and the defender’s part- just watch the face and throat. It’s hard to control the amount of contact delivered by whirling elbows at this range. Mouth guards for the attacker are recommended, headgear might not be a bad idea at higher speeds.

I ran across a great video of Russian Sambo training that looks to be from the 1930’s or 40’s. Lots of good throws, leg reaps, arm locks, flying scissor takedowns, and thighs like tree trunks.

And if the first few minutes are any indication, don’t mess with Russian women.

 

Just posted a couple of additions to the TKRI training clip library:

 

Peripheral Visual Tracking Drill

(this is one of those ideas that made us wonder afterward “why the hell did we think this was going to be fun?”)

 

 

Sumo Drill, 2-Man Variation

We were extremely fortunate with this year’s demonstrations at the Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Festival: great weather, great crowds, great performances of the material, and two people on hand to film it all in it’s entirety.

Take a look and see for yourself:

TKRI Seizing Drills

Naihanchi/Tekki Application Drills

TKRI Seisan Applications

Bassai Applications

Long Range Knife Defense Scenarios

Close Range Knife Defense Scenarios

Great job folks!

Tea Time with Mike Tyson: Chamomile. Wedding gift and re-gifting etiquette. Pigeons.

Just don’t serve Earl Grey or Cannoli.

Below are two more short sample clips of training with the kakiya. Training with a partner is best, but the kakiya can provide a good tool for skill refinement when a partner isn’t available. Plus, it’s just plain fun. In both drills, the demonstrator’s hands remain in a high guard and punches are thrown from this level instead of a pullback/hikite, a bad habit which karate training often imparts. As an added bonus, training on uneven ground prepares the student to use these skills in a more realistic setting than smooth dojo floors.

Low Kick Entry to Striking Combo

Here the kakiya is used to train basic entry and attack skills. Facing the kakiya at a close engagement distance, the student throws a low kick to the height of an opponent’s knees or groin. Immediately following the kick, he uses his lead hand to pass the “guard” of the kakiya arm to enter and throw a striking combination.
While higher kicks may be more visually impressive they place the kicker at a very high risk for disabling counters; a low kick to the kneecap or groin is far less risky, and will cause an attacker serious pain.

Kakiya Ducking Drill, Varied Response

Here  a punch ducking and counter striking drill is practiced on the kakiya. The aim is to duck under the kakiya arm, which simulates an opponent’s extended arm. Both feet ideally clear the attack line to the outside of the arm, placing the student in a position to attack along the “opponent’s” weak line. Notice that his feet do not stay flat, as is commonly taught in karate. Flat feet reduce mobility, response speed and power. When ducking the arm, notice that his head remains upright enough to see the target.

When returning up from the duck, counter-strikes are thrown in conjunction with the rising and twisting of the body to exploit power generated by the rebound of the legs. The drill starts slowly and then progresses to half speed. The student ‘s responses begin with punching combinations, then progress to knee strikes and low lashing roundhouse kicks followed by strikes to the body and face.

This is some good fun. Each drill is totally unscripted and unrehearsed- the attacker is free to attack how he chooses and the defender is responding intuitively- so there is an element of “aliveness” to it that is often lacking in traditional karate. The drill is an “integration game” that allows both partners to experiment with techniques and strategies learned in other settings in a live fashion. The student in the blue shirt has been training for one year.

On all of these E&R drills, you’ll notice that not every attempt is successful. The defender’s main rule is simple: if a response does not come naturally, disengage, reset, and start over. This encourages him to hone responses that are natural for him, instead of trying to “make” techniques work, fumbling around while the attacker simply lets him. The unsuccessful attacks are included because they are invaluable feedback that lets the defender know when something didn’t work, or could have been done differently. It’s also a good reminder that martial arts demonstrations are polished and rehearsed shows, and usually do not address the realities of dealing with an impact weapon. By leaving them in the clip, the viewer can contrast the successful strategies with the ones that fail.

When the defender is successful in controlling the attacker, note that the engagement goes until the attacker is forced to the ground, forced to tap out or is choked.

Evasion and Response Drill: Random Knife Draw

The drill begins with light free sparring and negotiation for position. The student in the attacker role is carrying a training knife at his hip, and is free to draw the weapon whenever he chooses to, ideally when the defender cannot see it. The defender’s goal is to avoid incoming attacks and either control the weapon when possible or execute a response that prevents further attacks.

The instructor draws the knife at :14, and in the second iteration the student draws the knife at :55.

Attacks are done at half speed, and while we are not “knife fighters,” the attacker’s goal is to execute realistic, continuous attacks that also involve grabbing, shoving and kicking in addition to attacking with the knife. The main purpose of this drill is to expose the student to a scenario where a knife is brought into play at random during negotiation/fighting with a violent individual. Too many karate “knife defenses” are just “karate with a knife” which does not allow the defender to develop usable skills.

Evasion and Response Drill: Long Stick

Evasion and Response: Long Stick 2

Evasion and Response Drill: Baseball Bat

The attacker is wielding a plastic baseball bat as a weapon. The defender’s goal is to avoid incoming attacks and either control the weapon when possible or execute a response that prevents further attacks.

Karate people: look for a bit Naihanchi at :40, and Heian Nidan at 1:22 .

Please watch this second video clip to put the drill into a more realistic context for bat fights:


"Try to see yourself as you truly are and try to adopt what is meritorious in the work of others. As a karateka you will of course often watch others practice. When you do and you see strong points in the performance of others, try to incorporate them into your own technique. At the same time, if the trainee you are watching seems to be doing less than his best ask yourself whether you too may not be failing to practice with diligence. Each of us has good qualities and bad; the wise man seeks to emulate the good he perceives in others and avoid the bad."
Funakoshi Gichin

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