An additive approach to learning how to fight.

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Discussion' started by Tom bayley, Apr 8, 2021.

  1. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    We probably have to narrow down your definition of "fight", but in lieu of that:

    From the Karateka I have sparred with, I would say you have to take them on a case-by-case basis. In general, I've found them easier to hit in the head than untrained people, as well as lacking the footwork, head movement and ability to effectively feint to work angles and gain entries. It's only a small sample though, and I couldn't tell you which styles they did. A couple have been a bit more free to move laterally and not rely on hugely telegraphed, if hard and fast, punches, but I don't know how much of that comes down to cross-training.

    I wasn't being disparaging when talking about these business-oriented Karate and TKD schools (well, apart from GKR...). Most people who go to those classes don't want to fight, not really. They provide a comfortable environment for physical exercise with a cultural component (even if that culture is far removed from the art's country of origin). The syllabus is orientated to be able to give anyone a sense of achievement. I think that's great for the people who are into it.

    I already said that my definition of TMA is pyjamas. :)

    You said you don't wear pyjamas to training, so I'm not talking about you.

    I do have to ask though; why didn't your grandfather teacher teach boxing and wrestling? Why don't you teach boxing and Muay Thai?
  2. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member

    Because he was Chinese, he lived in china and so learned and taught Chinese arts.

    I teach kung fu because I like kung fu. I encourage my students to go out and try other stuff so that they test what I teach them. If you cannot test what you learn you cannot know if you can truly do it for real. Growing up I experienced violence. I suffer from chronic migraines, possibly related to a childhood head injury. I am unable to do hard sparing with my students, so I encourage them to get hard sparing experience elsewhere. There are no convenient kung fu clubs near by. There is a good boxing club and a good muay thai club near by. Any art with rigorous sparing in a safe environment would do.
  3. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member

    I was thinking about this question a little more. A key reason that I suggest my students practice boxing or Muay Thai is not because of the objective quality of the arts. In my opinion there are may arts just as good. It is because of a odd fact about cross training. It is one thing to say – "go forth and try stuff out". It is another thing to find a club that will let you try stuff out without going through the beginner pathway.

    I am fortunate that the karate club I play at is kind enough to let me join and play with the blackbelts. This has actually caused them some problems. Students struggle hard to learn the correct Karate so that they can play with the blackbelts. I wander in off the street and do stuff in a kung fu stlylee that is wrong for karate. Yet I am allowed to play with the blackbelts straight away. Some feel that this is unfair. I see their point.

    The key thing about boxing and Muay Thai is that the pathway from fresh faced beginner to sparing is shorter than in many other arts. As sport arts (and I don’t use that term in a derogatory way) one of the key points of the art is to get people doing the sport as quickly as possible.

    When I tell my students to go out and cross train. I suggest that they are polite. That they are honest about what they whant to get out of training with the new club. But not to mention they have done other arts before unless they are asked. I also suggest that when practicing a new art they tray to leave their kung fu behind when they enter the class and try to learn the new art as taught in the class. You have to learn a new skill properly before you can transfer the knowledge. There is plenty of time to compare and contrast and blend techniques and applications outside of the class.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2021
  4. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member

    My hope is to develop a consensus.

    How would you define fight?
    How would you refer to the level of ability at fighting that you would hope to achieve in a student of the art?
  5. Mangosteen

    Mangosteen Hold strong not

    So for about 4 years of training I ran and attended open mats and only sparred constantly (bjj ruleset).

    My skills go worse, I continually got caught in the same traps.

    Work shopping is an important part of learning and having people available who have already got a framework with which to solve problems is really useful for developing skills. I had none
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  6. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member

    Sorry I dont follow - did you mean constantly using BJJ ruleset made your skills worse. Due to lack of variety in training. Or did you mean " only sparred occasionally." or did you mean something totally different all together??
  7. Mangosteen

    Mangosteen Hold strong not

    Sorry that wasnt clear.
    I was sparring constantly under the bjj rules without taking anytime to learn (either through instruction or through breaking down scenarios I failed in).

    My skills in bjj degraded as essentially I didnt care about the outcome of the "fight".

    Learning through either breaking downing and assessing point of failure are the only ways to improve a skills. You literally cannot improve from competing alone.
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  8. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    I've wierdly had a similar situation to you, a few years ago, I ended up taking over a small gym for a year whilst the main coach was away. because I was Just teaching what I already knew, didn't drill much, and I had to roll carefully as I had a major injury I didn't improve much for the first six months, after six months I had a few people join me in coaching, and I started improving again, as I was drilling (situational drills too) and learning new things again, although there was one person, who mostly attended the sparring classes, and continued to get better without much technique practice, and virtually no mental training going on, I think they were just naturally gifted, I was gutted when they stopped training.
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  9. Mangosteen

    Mangosteen Hold strong not

    A lot of those people hit a wall eventually.
    If you're "naturally gifted", eventually you'll come up against problem so beyond you that literally cant figure out the problem from sparring alone, you'll need things like frameworks, low intensity rolls and various other learning strategies to really progress.
    E.g. a chess matches in which you are playing everything at speed and arent mentally breaking down the various outcomes will eventually lead to you getting stuck at the same scenario without much time to puzzle through the problem.
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  10. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    Very true, they had essentially one game and had big problems expanding that game, or rolling at a low intensity.
    Tom bayley likes this.
  11. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    This might relate back to your question about the definition of a martial art. It's possible to be good at fighting without training. Anecdotally, we probably all know "that guy" who was a complete beast and didn't seem to parse what pain meant. But at least part of the idea of a martial art is the conveyance of a skill set to those who don't instinctively "get it." (Myself included)

    I don't imagine that anybody in this conversation was taken by surprise that there's a distinction between fighting and fighting competently. The real question is how you raise someone's competence. And the degree to which it needs to be raised varies wildly based on situation and individual.
  12. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    My point was regarding why your grandfather teacher would not include outside influences in the system he was teaching.

    You say he learned and taught Chinese arts, but he must have had access to wrestling and boxing in order to learn them. Why didn't the parts he found beneficial find themselves in the system you learnt?
  13. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    There is no single metric. Fighting is contextual.

    Someone very successful in MMA could find themselves outdone by a skilled mugger with greater awareness and solid ambush tactics, even if they have only a fraction of the skill when it comes to consensual unarmed combat.

    Take that same MMA fighter and put them up against 4 experienced prison guards. One-by-one they could beat all four in under a minute, but with their training and experience of group tactics the professional fighter wouldn't have much of a hope.

    Take 1000 clones of that MMA fighter and stick a pike in their hands. 1000 17th Century pikemen, with a fraction of the unarmed training, skill, fitness, diet etc. would outperform those 1000 clones against a cavalry charge by a wide margin.

    Getting more specific, you could apply that same logic to different sport rulesets. A professional boxer and a BJJ black belt might both be described as good fighters, but both would flounder in the other's ruleset.

    More specifically on this point, this depends entirely on the student.

    Some people are already a bit handy, so you are looking to refine and diversify.

    Some people are physically able, but do not yet know how to project that will and intent onto another person physically, so you are working more on bringing out a psychological effect.

    Some people will most likely never be good at fighting, but you can still give them incremental, and achievable goals in order for them to gain confidence that hopefully will creep into other aspects of their life.
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  14. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member

    David, all of what you say is off coarse entirely correct. fighting is a complex thing. None the less there are many complex things that have helpful definitions. what is your personal working definition of a fight? I ask this in full acknowledgement of the difficulty of the question. I do not seek to pick holes in your answer. I am just seeing whether it is possible to build a consensual working definition that we can all use together when discussing fighting.
    David Harrison likes this.
  15. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member

    My bad I did not explain the time line correctly. My teacher learnt boxing and wrestling first. He wanted a way of integrating boxing and wrestling and found that kung fu is a functional system of integrated boxing and wrestling. So he found the beneficial parts of boxing and wrestling in the system of kung fu. His knowledge of boxing and wrestling informed his understanding of kung fu and his teaching of it.

    There are two reasons that I encourage my students to go out and do boxing and muy thai.

    (1) because it is important experience a range of styles types of fighting and to train against them.
    (2) the pathway to sparing is shorter than in many other arts. if you join a club to experience fighting you want to start fighting sooner rather than later.
    David Harrison likes this.
  16. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    First you have to pick your aims, and then train for them. The more specific you can be, the faster you can train someone to competency.

    Police need different skills to door supervisors, who need different skills to military police, who need different skills to riot police, who need different skills to prison guards, who need different skills to boxers, etc. etc... Of course there is crossover, but I think if you concentrate on the commonalities you miss out on more efficient training methods.

    Even within the same training bracket you will have different needs. If we take civilian self-defence; a person in their 20's who goes out to night clubs most weekends will have a different set of training requirements to someone in their 40's who works with violent and/or vulnerable clients.

    If we are looking for commonality, I would say that consensual, social violence is what most people think of when describing someone as good at fighting. They can take someone on in a pub car park and give them a beat down. This probably has the biggest crossover with MMA, but unless you are training for MMA competition, or for fun as a hobbyist, I would say that it doesn't serve many other aims very well.

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