defining technique

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Discussion' started by Martial One, Apr 20, 2005.

  1. Martial One

    Martial One Martial Way student

    What are the neccesities of a martial arts arsenal? What makes a technique a technique? whats the difference between a technique and a tool? i will gradually give my insight on these questions throughout the thread. The point of this thread however is to define technique, not to answer the questions, those are offered as thought provokers.
  2. medi

    medi Sadly Passed Away - RIP

    I don't really know. I don't really know any techniques. Most of my training (at home for the most part) focuses on footwork and body flow.

    I guess I would call the jab, cross, hook, uppercut, elbows, knees and headbutts, 'tools' rather than techniques, but the difference isn't very large in my view.

    I guess I'd call a 'technique' anything that you have to count past '1' to pull off, if the '1' on its own isn't effective.

    i.e. I'd call a parry, or a parry and counter, a 'tool' or part of the body flow - as the parry works on it's own.

    If, say, a lock had three movements which wouldn't achieve anything on their own, I'd call that 'technique'.
  3. faster than you

    faster than you Valued Member

    this post made me laugh.
  4. Banpen Fugyo

    Banpen Fugyo 10000 Changes No Surprise

    Me too...

    Techniques are just the basics people should know. If you turn into a technique monger, ie almost every person ive seen on this board, then i believe that to be a very bad thing. "Well this technique i would use for this situation, and this technique i would use in that one, and this one i would........" To gain knowledge by learning techniques, u will never truely master them. I feel there is a difference between technique and skill. Take for example a throw. A simple wrist lock into a throw. Now you could practice it all day long, someone grabs you, you do the wrist lock, u throw, WOW its perfect, amazing. I feel that skill in a technique allows you to actualy understand this technique and be able to use it from any situation. a grab, a counter to an opponents throw, a punch, 2 punches, a flurry of punches, a kick, a head butt, all of the enemies arsenal and you can still use the same throw and pull it off. It is said that Soke Tanemura only used like 5 different holds/locks/throws when he was in the tokyo police force. And it is because he understood them so well he could use them from any situation. Same goes for ukemi. You can do a perfect forward roll on the mat, sweet, you mastered the technique. But do you have any skill with it? Can you use it as an offensive attack? Can you use it as a counter? Can you be thrown HARD onto the mat and still maintain your ukemi? What happens if there is a table in front of you, can you roll around it, or over it?

    NE ways thats my rant, have fun with it. Time for work
  5. Martial One

    Martial One Martial Way student

    your thoughts are leading you down a good path siphus. Technique and quality are both needed, but if neither are properly defined what does that leave you with? Perhaps, technique isnt just something you practice or something you do, but the way you do it.
  6. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    You sound like you've already got some thoughts on the subject. Why not just go ahead and share 'em?
  7. Lanakin

    Lanakin It's all about discipline

    A technique is simply that : A technique. It's the technical term of an action. What do we call something when we first introduce it to new students? Right. A technique. It only becomes a tool once you learn how to use it properly. That's what I think.

  8. Martial One

    Martial One Martial Way student

    A tool is like a strike, hold, or a throw, the technique is how you execute it. How you execute it involves of coarse movement and manipulation. tools are limited, after all we are all human (i hope), there are only so many ways we can make a wedge lever, or gear with our bodies. Techniques are more complicated, how many ways can the body move? how many ways can you manipulate the body? all i have to say is too many, you dont need to chart all mannor of movement and purpose, with or without reguards to a tool and once you have that ENOURMOUS number try to plan its use for every possible situation. it is best to present the tools and explain the science of movement and manipulation. That is technique as i see it. How do you see it?
  9. Trent Tiemeyer

    Trent Tiemeyer Valued Member

    A punch may be a tool, but to throw a good one requires technique. Look at any number of streetfight videos on the web and you will see about one technical puncher for every hundred clueless idiots flailing their arms about.

    Good technique does not come naturally. It's hard work making your body do something that it doesn't want to do. You want to drop your left when you throw a right, you want to flare out those elbows, you want to wind up big and swing for the fences, you want to come straight forward and back straight up. Technique helps shelve bad habits like this.

    Even our most basic tools require technique. Look at the difference between how you punched your first day of class as compared to now. The tool is the same, you are still using your fist to hit the face. But now your whole body is behind it.
  10. Matt_Bernius

    Matt_Bernius a student and a teacher

    My 2 cents (based on work done by Forrest Morgan detailed in Living the Martial Way:

    Any good fighting system/martial art/etc can be roughly categorized into three categories:

    1. Doctrine
    2. Strategy
    3. Technique

    The above order is their order of overall importance from high to low. The most important and fundimental part of an art is it's doctrine. What is the key idea behind your art/system/expression. If you don't have that, you don't have a core. For example, the core doctrine of the modern KF system I practice is "To overcome adversity by adapting and flowing with the situation, always responding as the situation demands." The fact is, the doctrine of your art SHOULD ALL BUT NEVER CHANGE. It's a philisophical statement that drives and affects everything else.

    Next comes your strategies. These are the concepts and tactics that you use to support your doctrine. These are not techniques, this is not punching and kicking. Rather it's ideas like, we adapt to a situation by applying certain concepts like avoiding meeting force on force. Or that when we block, we will always move and visa versa. Strategy are more flexible and more oriented to the environment that you are in. They can change and should. Especially as your environment changes. You don't use Jungle strategies in the middle of the desert (for an extreme example).

    Finally we reach techniques. Folks, this is the least important part of a martial system.* Period. It's the surface of the apple. The problem is many folks mistake the skin for the core. Techniques should and must be flexible if you want to practice under a modern context. If you are teaching a martial art for modern self defense, the techniques need to be adapted to the environment that you are practicing in under the conditions that you're learning.**

    All that being said, the technique is where the rubber meets the road. And that can't be overlooked.

    To often people get hung up on this technique or that. It's starting at the wrong end of the arguement. What's your doctrine? From there, what's your strategies. Those two things will dictate what techniques matter.

    Part of our strategy is to be able to fight in all ranges in all positions. That greatly impacts the techniques that we cover. So before we define techniques, why not define doctrine and strategy?
    - Matt

    * - I'm sure some will say, but what about "X"... he doesn't have a doctrine or strategy but he's an excellent fighter. And my response is, he has both, he may just not be able to articulate them. Just because someone doesn't talk about something doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. But if you are going to teach/create a system then you need to know and be able to articulate these things if you want to be successful.

    ** - Important Note: This is not an attack on 'archaic' arts. There are plenty of good reasons to practice them (cultural preservation, self cultivation, etc). At the same time, understand that what you are practicing is not a modern art or necessarily applicable for modern situations. For example, I have a great deal of respect for Iaido. And at one time it was a very effective art. But it's time as a contemporary defense method has long since passed. Feel free to counter argue, but you won't be right.
  11. Martial One

    Martial One Martial Way student

    defining philosophy and combat qualities come next because they delve deeper in an already existing pool, im not trying to fill the ocean with my own water, im just exploring the ocean. Good technique does not come naturally, good technique is defined by ones understanding of movement and manipulation, and it comes by training in light of that understanding. the way i see it, th essentials of a martial artists arsenal are a variety of tools and a scientific basis for technique.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2005
  12. Matt_Bernius

    Matt_Bernius a student and a teacher

    And for the above reasons I disagree.

    A good technique is what ever allows you to successfully deploy your doctrine and strategy.

    Thats it. We often get trapped by technique. Tools are the dangerous and insideous forms of traps. In other words, spend too much time with a hammer and everything looks like a nail.

    As to the issue of what makes anything good, that answer is simple: practice and realistic testing. That's been the tool that visionary masters have used since the dawn of time. And most of them who have written extensively on thier topics always get back to framing doctrine and strategy, not much on actual technique. That's why works like Book of Five Rings and The Art of War are still being taught centuries after their writing while only martial scholar know of works like Moo Ye Do Bo Tong Ji.

    Even in most dialogs on MAP about what you should know typically get down to strategy (ie. learn to fight at all ranges). There are no universal techniques beyond basic punching and kicking. And there are lots of situations where those don't work.

    - matt
  13. Martial One

    Martial One Martial Way student

    requardless of my order in posting, it is not my order of thinking. you are right philosophy is the roots, qualities the trunk, technique the branches, and tools the leaves, flowers etc.
  14. clockman75

    clockman75 Banned Banned

    cutting back on movement with awareness.

    Technique is nothing more than method of movement process. Cutting the movement to a minimum, is economical conservation of energy.

    In other words, he comes in with a seriously complex combination of moves.
    Stuff going everywhere, I lift my leg, hit him in the neck. Then he comes back in again strarts throwing jabs and hooks combos, I duck, slip, hit him in the neck. Then he combines punches and kicks, into combinations, I sidestep, stick, hit him in the neck. By this time, his neck is hurting. So, he switches to kicks because they are long range. He comes in with a kick, I grab his leg and send him sprawling....

    Why? 1000th technique does not beat, intuition and timing.

    Then he comes back in, waits for me to move, and WHAM, kick to the head.
    I hit the floor, unconcious.

    KO, it's over.
  15. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    I suppose there's a distinction to be drawn between technique and tools. Just not a particularly useful one. The tool is included within the technique. If we're talking about a punch, then the tool "fist" is included under that umbrella. I wouldn't teach someone to punch without teaching them how to make a fist, align the wrist, etc. Same for the elbow, knee, foot, etc.

    And without the technique, an elbow isn't a tool anyway. It's just a joint. So, to my mind, the distinction just complicates things.

  16. Matt_Bernius

    Matt_Bernius a student and a teacher

    Great post Stuart. We need to be careful not to reduce things below a functional level. To separate a tool from the use of a tool at then end seems of little use.

    - Matt
  17. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    Cheers Matt. :)

    It was a warning to myself as much as anyone else. We all like to get caught up in the theory of the thing. But when the theory ceases to help us operationalize what we do, then it's too unwieldy. In my opinion. Theory is useful in so far that it feeds into practice.
  18. Slindsay

    Slindsay All violence is necessary

    I dont see the distinction between tools and techniques.

    To my mind your job is to win a fight, you have a toolbox of various techniques you have learned that you can use to win the fight.

    In fcat even thast may be to literal, today I was trying to choke my girlfriend unconscious (Just for fun of course :D :D :D she started it!) I had a standing choke on her (Or nearly did) but she twisrted her head to the side and put her chin down which bought her a couple more seconds, she used them to grab my arm to hold me off. Unfortunatley i am loads bigger than her and so I started to pull her head back with my non choking arm and push the choking arm onto her neck. At this point she remembered/noticed I had a plaster on one of my fingers on the chocking arm so rather thanfight the choke she simply grabbed hold of the cut finger and squezed as hard as she could :eek:

    I let go.

    Now the point is that maube the first part was a technique (avoiding the choke) but what the hell do you call squezing the finger with the big ass chink of skin missing? I dont think you can classify it as a technique but it was still a tool she used to escape the choke hold.
  19. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    Wow. She's an ingenious little thing isn't she. Good on her. :)

    It's not really a technique to my mind. It's not something you'd rehearse, for example. There are no training regimens for that which I'm aware of. It was quick thinking (to notice and capitalize on it) and luck (that you had an injury she could capitalize on in the first place).

    Both have a big part to play in any scenario like this.

  20. Slindsay

    Slindsay All violence is necessary

    Yeah, I was so proud of her, its now at the point where theres just no way for me to restrain her without using the fact Im a lot stronger than her and I have to concentrate because as soon as she wriggles a hand free Im in for a smack in the face :D

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