Discussion in 'Self Defence' started by Judderman, Feb 5, 2004.

  1. Judderman

    Judderman 'Ello darlin'

    Ok. Now you're here John, how do you introduce this training method to those who have a) no knowledge of it b) have no knowlege of fighting/MA?
  2. JKogas

    JKogas Valued Member

    Hi Judderman!

    Aliveness is a quality that one's training has. It's really nothing that complicated or, esoteric really -- it truthfully is simple common sense.

    The problem is, so many martial artists continue to train in manners which would (by the aliveness definition) be considered, "dead". There's no timing, no footwork or realistic movement many times during the training, the opponents don't resist, etc. In short, there's no timing, motion or energy (resistance from your partners) when practicing techniques. And those three qualities define what aliveness is.

    With that having been said, aliveness isn't something that can be done when you train alone. It's not there when you're hitting the bags, running, lifting weights, etc.. But those activities don't teach you how to fight. They certainly help you to fight better, but they don't teach you to. Aliveness is something that only occurs when you have a partner and, those three qualities (again, real timing, motion and energy) are together at the same time. Having one of two of those qualities without the third, is NOT alive training.

    Here's a clip of a video from the SBG head honcho, which further illustrates what aliveness is:


    If you have any questions, send 'em my way!

    Thanks again!

    Last edited: Jun 23, 2004
  3. Judderman

    Judderman 'Ello darlin'

    Some of the training is using motion and pads, what about training with resistive partners, how do you ease people into it who either have no MA training or are relative beginners?

    Some beginners might be up for it, but theres always the increased risk of injury from someone who doesn't really know what they are doing. For instance it takes a reasonable amount of knowledge to apply an arm bar quickly and effectively without doing some serious damage to your partner.

    Never having been to a boxing/wrestling gym I don't how they decide, so how do you decide at your gym?

    This kind of brings me around to self defence. It is important to train in this way, but unfortunately many "classes/courses" are for a short duration. Is it possible to train in this way with a complete novice for a short period of time, or is it less practical as it only serves to raise confidence and not much else?
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2004
  4. JKogas

    JKogas Valued Member

    The concept we follow is called Progressive Resistance. That means that you'll be going either very slow, with very little power, or both until a level of skill is developed beyond which that the present level of resistance is is no longer challenging. You do not proceed to increase the levels until the performance ability is there. That's how you can train alive with rank beginners and no one gets hurt. Aliveness does NOT equal brutality.

    Example of aliveness with progressive resistance when teaching a beginner to defend a jab (could be a 20 year old, or a 50 year old):

    (Bearing in mind, the three modes of aliveness -- timing/motion/energy)​

    1. Timing: I'll not stand there like a robot. When I throw the jab (after a few tries to allow the student to develop a feel for the mechanics), I'm going to move slowly, yet it won't be in a predictable fashion. I'll throw him off if I can with a head and shoulder fake, etc. The last thing that I want my students to do is to anticipate the incoming punch. Bad guys won't let you see it coming. One's training should replicate the conditions in which you'll be using the technique. Training in this manner does just that.

    The key is, I'm moving slowly enough so that the student will not be harmed if he messes up the technique. Thus he develops real confidence and ability to execute the technique, while never being in any harm (again because I'm moving slow and easy).

    2. Motion: I'm not going to be standing still and flat-footed either. I'm going to be moving around, just like a real opponent will when he's trying to hit you. Standing flat-footed and training to defend punches isn't realistic and, goes NOWHERE toward developing condition-reflective responses (ie, conditions just like a real fight occurs in) .

    Again, this doesn't mean that I have to move fast or hit with power. You move faster and throw with a little more power ONLY when the students skills are ready for that sort of challenge, never before. This is progressive resistance.

    3. Energy: This means that when I throw the jab, that I'm actually aiming for his face -- not off to the side or, stopping just in front -- it means that if he messes up the technique, my glove touches his nose. However, progressive resistance again is in play, so even if he DOES miss, he's not hurt.

    It never ceases to amaze me how many people I see who miss this point. When I see them training, their partners punches end a couple of inches in front of their faces. Then when you see them spar, they get hit repeatedly because their skill and ability just isn't there. You have to train for real, against real punches (kicks, takedowns, armbars, etc.) even if they ARE moving at 1/4 speed. Otherwise you just don't develop real skill.

    Having all three of the above in play during training, is aliveness. If you've ever heard the expression. "you play like you practice"; then aliveness just means that you're practicing like you plan to play. That's a good way of looking at it I believe.

    It should be noted that the majority of our time is spent drilling. Sparring is definitely alive for the most part, but drilling oftentimes isn't. It should be in my opinion. Without a progressive level of resistance, one's ability is never challenged and the student doesn't grow as a result.

    That again is why progressive resistance is so important. I want to stress again that aliveness doesn't equal brutality. Aliveness doesn't always mean sparring, like I've mentioned elsewhere. It's only a quality that ones training adheres to.

    When training the armbar for example, you practice the technique slowly. Both partners develop a feel -- both for the execution of the technique and, how the technique itself feels when applied. They learn when to "tap-out" and do so before the pain is too much.

    When we train, we can get into positions for the submission quickly, but when we execute a submission hold/joint lock/choke, etc., we move slowly and with caution so as NOT to injure our partner. This is just responsible training, something that any coach worth his salt would demand of his students.

    I'm sorry....how do you decide what? Are you meaning, deciding when a student is ready to spar? This is something that a good coach will have to decide. Though again, we don't spar all out and with full power unless the student has been training for some time and has the skills to show for this. This is something that would have to be obtained through progressive resistance. We can spar at 25% (speed and power) all day long and no one will get hurt. We can go even less if need be...until the confidence is there -- never before!

    I think if you truly have a grasp of what aliveness is, you'll realize that it's really the ONLY way to train to develop any skill at all! To do any less is to create even GREATER false confidence in my opinion.

    Training alive (with progressive resistance) actually assists in destroying false confidence because you'll see for yourself if you can perform or NOT. If you can, you still have a healthy respect for combat. If you CAN'T perform, you'll know it immediately. There won't be any question.

    Again, this isn't about being tough or is it about beat downs. Aliveness isn't about sparring, although the training can certainly take on that appearance. This is because the partners are moving around, using real timing and energy.

    One last thing about our training; 90% of the time, we're doing drills. This further cuts down on the rate of injury. Only 10% of the time are we sparring.

    If you have any further questions, please pass them on! It's great to have this dialog. Hopefully, more clarity will be given to the subject of aliveness. That's what it needs. Some many have the wrong idea about what it really means.

    Take care!

    Last edited: Jun 23, 2004
  5. Matt_Bernius

    Matt_Bernius a student and a teacher


    Couple questions. On timing you note that with a beginner you don't want to be predictable. Here's my question: Doesn't there need to be some inital predictability and repitition to begin to develop concepts before moving into more of an experiemental environment. I realize that you're moving slowly and under control (with realistic intent), but it seems like immediately starting with the intent of being unpredictable (including feints) wouldn't provide a stong enough platform.

    Second thing. I'm going to lquote myself from another post on how we spar in our school. Can you rate this for aliveness (and how do our goals stack up against the SBG model)?


    - Matt
  6. Judderman

    Judderman 'Ello darlin'

    John, thanks for the excellent clarification.

    In which case how do you rate training with a heavily padded "fall guy"? The advantages must be that a student can go at full without causing much injury. The downside is the greater the padding the less realistic the movements of the attacker.

    I am beginning to wonder, based on your explinations above, if short duration SD/SP classes are really any good. If the level of resistance is based on skill level, which in turn is dicated by level of drills, then surely it must take the average person a few months to get to fully resistive combat, in order to indicate whether thier skills will be of any use to them in life?
  7. JKogas

    JKogas Valued Member

    Sure, but it depends on the individuals. Most able-bodied people can develop the mechanics fairly quickly, as most of the techniques that we use are very simple. Also, considering that we're going to be moving very slowly in the initial stages, it really doesn't MATTER if it's unpredictable -- mainly because theres no chance of injury. But yes, you're still going to be predictable in the beginning in order for the students to develop the proper mechanics, and so it's not as alive as it will become. But like I said, with simple techniques (which are really the ones that truly work anyway), it shouldn't take all that long until you can become more alive in the training.

    Well, you're using progressive resistance so, there'll be less unpredictability in the beginning stages. But again, with really simple technique, it doesn't take long before you can implement it -- even within the very first session! I've done it myself with beginners. Each person will be different of course.

    I'll do my best.

    That sounds like progressive resistance and if it's not a set pattern and there's footwork/movement, etc., then it sounds alive as well. Of course actually SEEING the training would help a lot, but it does sound alive to me. It seems very similar to how we train at my gym.

    Good job!

  8. JKogas

    JKogas Valued Member

    That downside that you mentioned is what I was going to mention. That's a pretty steep, downside. To me it just sounds like the padded guy is a human heavy bag. Timing and other necessary attributes wouldn't be developed when it's a one sided affair like that. It's sort of like fighting a one-legged man at an ass kicking contest --- you end up looking real good and going home feeling great......until you meet up with a guy that fights back. Then you don't feel so good all of a sudden.

    I'd agree with that. Short term classes the way that MOST are taught aren't that great, imho. It my experience, it takes 6 months to a year before people really start to develop a legitimate "game". Of course some people will do so earlier and some will take longer.

    Regardless, everything should be kept (technically) very simple and trained alive as soon as possible. People need to feel the harsh reality of the real world instead of being made to feel "dangerous" or even safe from the results of a short course. If anything, I'd take a short course and show people the realities of fighting and use that time to dispell myths, etc.

    There are two types of training / modes of thinking, that I see existing in the martial arts world: 1) Best-case scenario training and 2) Worst-case scenario training. To get into that would take a whole separate thread.......hmmm...not a bad idea eh?

    Last edited: Jun 25, 2004
  9. Matt_Bernius

    Matt_Bernius a student and a teacher

    In answer to this, in recent years there's been the development of more "Tactical" padding. Things like Tony Blauer's high gear impact reduction suit allow for more realistic training with higher levels of resistance.

    CMM the Hocky manufacturer has a lot of great material and techology that really needs to considered as an alternative to the heavy foam padding of those "fall guy" suits. This stuff is far less restrictive and allows for a lot more natural movement (since that's required by the athletes). Of course the downside is the heavy expense of these products.

    - Matt
  10. JKogas

    JKogas Valued Member

    I can't help but think that in the majority of padded armor training, the guys wearing the suits aren't allowed to fight back as hard as the people who AREN'T wearing the protection. This to me is the major problem. I won't go on to say that those have no use, but I'd rather my students just train athletically, against each other where BOTH are wearing some suitable protection. If you're going light contact (which is most of the time) you can even get away with wearing NO protection other than gloves/mouthpiece/groin cup.

  11. Matt_Bernius

    Matt_Bernius a student and a teacher

    Actually the high gear suit is definitely geared for high impact sparring.

    I also agree that with light contact there's no need to have padding in order to safely execute techniques.

    - Matt

Share This Page