When you begin to feel like you are a tough guy, a warrior, a master of the martial arts or that you have lived a tough life, just take a moment and get some perspective with the following:
I've stopped knives that were coming to disembowel me
I've clawed for my gun while bullets ripped past me
I've dodged as someone tried to put an ax in my skull
I've fought screaming steel and left rubber on the road to avoid death
I've clawed broken glass out of my body after their opening attack failed
I've spit blood and body parts and broke strangle holds before gouging eyes
I've charged into fires, fought through blizzards and run from tornados
I've survived being hunted by gangs, killers and contract killers
The streets were my home, I hunted in the night and was hunted in turn
Please don't brag to me that you're a survivor because someone hit you. And don't tell me how 'tough' you are because of your training. As much as I've been through I know people who have survived much, much worse. - Marc MacYoung
WARNING, CAVEAT AND NOTE
The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books. Please make note that this article/post is my personal analysis of the subject and the information used was chosen or picked by me. It is not an analysis piece because it lacks complete and comprehensive research, it was not adequately and completely investigated and it is not balanced, i.e., it is my personal view without the views of others including subject experts, etc. Look at this as “Infotainment rather then expert research.” This is an opinion/editorial article/post meant to persuade the reader to think, decide and accept or reject my premise. It is an attempt to cause change or reinforce attitudes, beliefs and values as they apply to martial arts and/or self-defense. It is merely a commentary on the subject in the particular article presented.
Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.
“What you are reading right now is a blog. It’s written and posted by me, because I want to. I get no financial remuneration for writing it. I don’t have to meet anyone’s criteria in order to post it. Not only I don’t have an employer or publisher, but I’m not even constrained by having to please an audience. If people won’t like it, they won’t read it, but I won’t lose anything by it. Provided I don’t break any laws (libel, incitement to violence, etc.), I can post whatever I want. This means that I can write openly and honestly, however controversial my opinions may be. It also means that I could write total bullshit; there is no quality control. I could be biased. I could be insane. I could be trolling. … not all sources are equivalent, and all sources have their pros and cons. These needs to be taken into account when evaluating information, and all information should be evaluated.” - God’s Bastard, Sourcing Sources (this applies to this and other blogs by me as well; if you follow the idea's, advice or information you are on your own, don't come crying to me, it is all on you do do the work to make sure it works for you!)
“You should prepare yourself to dedicate at least five or six years to your training and practice to understand the philosophy and physiokinetics of martial arts and karate so that you can understand the true spirit of everything and dedicate your mind, body and spirit to the discipline of the art.” - cejames (note: you are on your own, make sure you get expert hands-on guidance in all things martial and self-defense)
“All I say is by way of discourse, and nothing by way of advice. I should not speak so boldly if it were my due to be believed.” - Montaigne
Control - It is Important
I can only provide my thoughts and theories on the matter of kumite or sparring. It is my intent to provide a practitioner a fundamental foundation of knowledge, technique and limited controlled experience before allowing them to free form fight.
I tend to want their fundamental principles of martial systems solid along with the basic waza and at least a solid understanding of one kata. This is the core, the foundation and the book of techniques or the tool box they must draw from to make karate techniques work.
Second, this is often done gradually and slowing and without real power in a step-by-step form. Like one-step, two-step, three-step practice where all the techniques and responses are set for the practice session. As they become familiar and at ease with what they are applying then you begin to ramp up the speed and power while keeping it under control. This is a dangerous part simply because most have no clue as to how much power the human body can apply without actually understanding or knowing anything - Sensei or Senpai must remain diligent and in control.
This is how they learn control and teach their mind consciously their power and the levels of power they can control and apply depending on the waza applied.
Only when they have acquired a modicum of natural ability in this do you allow a bit of spontaneity into the picture. Then you allow the tori to shift the techniques out of alignment with the predefined one, two or three-step model. This should get the practitioner to think - thinking in practice is important for to think here means you won't think in the fight - hopefully, if all goes well.
Lets, skip ahead to the free form sparring/kumite. When a bit of spontaneity is acquired with adequate results you can either continue to add predefined and spontaneity to the mixture or you can move slowly and deliberately into the free form stuff.
When you move them into free form sparring where anything goes, to a point, then you have to ramp it back DOWN to slow and no power or speed. You want them to think, apply and react appropriately. It is important they don't get stuck in one set of combinations. It also requires Sensei or Senpai to remain diligently observant or involved directly in this stage. It is too easy to get excited at this point and move to fast into sloppy stuff - avoid this at all costs.
As they slowly dance through attacks and defenses they can see, hear and feel how it works and then work out mistakes and variations that adjust the waza, kata and bunkai into a form that fits their bodies, minds and spirits - it allows proper encoding into the mind as well.
As they get into it and become proficient then begin to slowly and methodically ramp up the speed, power and most important CONTROL. Often when these steps, i.e. what is posted here is not all inclusive of what needs to happen, are lost due to excitement and motivation things get sloppy and bad habits form.
Lets skip ahead once again. When they get to the point where they can apply a variety of waza in a variety of situations, scenario's and partners and speed and power are controlled to the very limits possible then we must move into a more reality based set of scenario's where we add in more in-depth aspects necessary to have confidence and ability if one were to encounter conflicts.
Note: we are assuming that all the knowledge on violence, avoidance, deescalation, awareness, legal and psychological considerations are covered and instilled within each practitioner - this is before all the actual contact training starts.
All this instills a sense and conscious awareness of control and how to apply it accordingly, correctly, and with proper spirit to remain within the confines of a safety oriented reality based training system.
Note: if you have someone who seems to need quick self-defense then this system is not for them due to the time needed to make it work. There are methods and systems geared specifically to get one up and running fast and efficiently. It should be noted tho that this quick SD method is not without limitations and restrictions. The main sticking point is that it takes not just that quick training cycle but continued efforts in training to keep it active and effective over time. You can' t just take a class and expect it to work a year later or two or three years later.
Other stuff like stop words or tapping out when taking it to the limits may be necessary as well but all the safety stuff is basics as well and remember that safety are rules and in a fight or violent encounters those rules could result in hesitation or freezes so prepare for this as well.
Sadly, there are no quick and easy answers. As can be seen as I add on tidbits it is very involved and needs due diligence to gain a modicum of proficiency and then there are no guarantees. Even professionals will tell you that what worked once could not work the next time - beware and aware.