Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Martial Arts Outside the Dojo

Anyone who has ever sparred or fought using traditional jujitsu, judo or aikido knows that many times in the heat of the moment a sudden or wild punch can stop a throw or joint lock application dead. There us a huge gap between sparring and the real world where anything goes but there is an even bigger gap between application in the dojo and application in the fight. Once you start sparring techniques often become less "pretty" and more direct. We can look at MMA and see how the technical skills of jujitsu or even BJJ look more like wrestling in the heat of the moment.

Here a wrist lock is applied in response to a throat grab...
In the Dojo, I could force a non-resisting opponent to the ground but in the real world outside the dojo and practice drills...

I am forced duck a wild swing or take it on the chin, now my duck also doubles as an ineffective head butt and the arm is still leveraged to off balance and throw the attacker. 

Rather then wrestle over the joint lock, and falling into a series of counters on each other. I abandon the joint-lock and move directly into striking techniques.

 Driving a elbow into the solar plexus & xyphoid process region of the body to before breaking contact.

Granted all this was choreographed for a photo shoot (we are professional actors or posers or whatever), it was all about highlighting the "flow" of a real fight. Sparring doesn't solve every problem to learning martial arts & being prepared for self-defense, some techniques are too hazardous to use like eye gouges, ear slaps, throat strikes and groin strikes/grabs. The fact is boxing is a great a beginning point because it allows one to develop timing, ability and accuracy of strikes. The same jab that delivers a fist to the nose can also deliver a spear hand to opponent's eye or upper cut to the chin can also deliver a palm heel to an opponent's chin.

This is why boxing was something I was encouraged to study from Danny (who boxed and trained in Karate, Judo & Jujitsu under the late Master Tracy Cook) & as an outlaw biker he had more experience then most of the karateka who out ranked him in martial arts. Boxing was also encouraged by Master Cook. But, it comes with a understanding that while competition and sports might help develop basic abilities like foot work, timing, speed, precision & endurance those elements go out the window in a rapidly changing and often hostile environment. The black top we shot the pictures on is unforgiving and would scrape and cut us if the fight went to the ground.

Martial arts that spar or compete often have students who are better suited to survive a self-defense situation due to those basic abilities like foot work, timing, speed, precision & endurance. Where as the self-defense combatives & "too deadly to spar" group might survive a self-defense situation due to the use of techniques that are meant to result in serious injury, self-defense tactics or (in the case of reality based self-defense) a development of instinctual responses based on simulated self-defense training. Some martial arts schools are social clubs for yuppies and little kids, which are completely useless outside the Dojo except for the social connections and teaching social skills which has nothing to do with a self-defense situation.

Today most people concerned with self-defense seek to abandon the value of competition styles for the self-defense arts seeking to short the traditional arts. Traditional arts (whether they have a competition element or not) often seek the build the same basic abilities as the competition arts but do so over a period teaching different elements of self-defense gradually. Many people often seek to train in different martial arts to get the various elements from these different types of martial arts.

I have often said I am a street fighter first and foremost, anything goes and anything that will get the job done is something I look at and adapt to. Like many self-defense instructors I am oppose to the US Army's focuses on competition arts and the removal of the more potentially lethal techniques. However, I also understand the changing landscape of warfare, think all that ground fighting is a bad idea try sparring  with people shooting paintball guns at targets while you fight it out. Ah yeah... easier not to get shot on the ground, doesn't make ground fighting better for the reasons I highlighted above. Ultimately, I chose to modify my way thinking to break down and embrace the core factors behind each of these generalizations thus creating the Street Focus Jujitsu system to do just that.

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