Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Street Versus Ring: Why Sport Fighting isn't the advantage You Think it is...

Martial Arts blogs and forums are full of tough "cage fighters" telling us lowly traditionalist & self-defense trained types how superior they are because they train for the real thing. The sad truth is they aren't training for the real thing... They aren't training anywhere close to the real thing. Why? Because wear gloves, a mouth guard and thai shorts isn't logical.
Here is part of why:
1. You work at McDonald's you have black pants, non-slip shoes (slip more then my hiking boots, combat boots, sneakers or running shoes) and a very cheap thin shirt. You get attacked in the parking lot leaving work by a someone who sneaks up on you and hits over the head with an empty beer bottle, steals your wallet and kicks you a few times before running off (they might make it 100ft before they stop to catch their breath but you ain't running after them).

2. You work in an office, wearing dress shoes and suit. You get held up at a Go-Mart on your way home because you stayed late to work on a project and now are being robbed as part of an armed gas station robbery.

3. You work as an assistant and are wearing a uniform that includes a shirt, short dress and high heels. Now two young men are cornering you at your car in a parking lot.

The cage is as far removed from "the street" as is a bunch a kids bowing and yelling kiai every time they punch the air with a classical reverse punch, bring one arm to the hip palms up and the other shoots out at shoulder level palms down. The clothing is different...

In the Cage you are fighting for pride, experience and several other reasons. A lot of your training is about developing physical and technical prowess. In the Street you can also fight for pride (number one reason most people get into fights) but there are other reasons. However, no one ever gets to be a rich and famous "street fighter" except in Van Damm movies. Believe me I tried my share of "street fighting tournaments" as a dumb kid (15 & 16 years old) and I never got rich off the things. I got to experience pain & carry bruises, scrapes & cats as trophies.
The thing is you have to understand martial arts, 1. Martial Arts is a Business and Businesses exist to make money and 2. Martial Arts are about selling you something you want. I can give you the lessons on how to fix a car and the tools to fix a car but you will never fix the car unless you get up and use it, to fix the car. That car is a metaphor for yourself... I can give you to tools to better yourself but you have to get up and use them. This is why martial arts or even parents can't teach Self-Discipline, they can teach discipline and child must choose to exercise that discipline on their own and then (and only then) does it become Self-Discipline.

In the Cage you know your opponent is there, right in front of you and you know that they are trained. You may have even watched them, in pervious videos of the previous fights. While I agree to some extent that as sport fighters have certain advantages, I don't think it is the all round proof of skill the sportsman want to make it out to be. Look I was trained for combat, US Army Infantry School and comparing my training to that of a range marksman, paint baller or airsofter is a laugh. I'm not even talking about the job, I'm talking about the training... Why?

Because when you train for combat, you are training for a situation without rules &, there are no rules in the street. Well even an MMA fighters can eye gouge and "kick people in the cherries." Yes, I agree however, that isn't what it means to say there are no rules. No rules means anything goes, weapons, ambush tactics, burning your house down or shooting you in the face. It can also mean planting drugs in you car through a slightly open window to let out some of the summer heat and calling the police on you to get you arrested. It can mean attacking your spouse or children, elderly parents or even killing you pet to make you worry about protecting your loved ones. Literally, it means ANYTHING GOES.

So when a cage fighter once challenged me over a forum and invited me to come to his gym to engage him. I made a realistic offer, to have him sign and send me a waiver saying he wasn't goin bring charges or "in anyway find me criminally or civilly responsible for an injuries or death, and that he understood that allowing me to attack him without rules or restrictions meant that I could use whatever method or tools, weapons or items I deemed necessary to create a realistic life threatening self-defense situation." That ended up with him, crying foul and saying I was threatening him... Why? Because most people online are mentally weaklings trying to look tough.

The reality is that a Street Fight is not the same as a Cage Fight, not even close. In Street Focus Jujitsu I broke down altercations into three types: A Fight, A Self-Defense Situation & a Street Fight. To get students to understand that situations are different but can turn in different situations by means of escalation or de-escalation of events. These three types of events are simple to understand;
A Fight: Is a mutual intention to fight another person without the intent to seriously harm or kill said opponent. This can range from a fist fight with a bully trying to gain social dominance to a Cage Fight. It is a mutually agreed on contest via altercation.
A Self-Defense Situation: Is a situation in which violence or the threat of violence is used to gain something, this can be money, jewelry or even one's own physical body. A person who doesn't want to fight has to do so for self-defense. Many of the solutions for such a situation are verbal de-escalation and breaking contact more then "kill the enemy."
A Street Fight: Is a Mutual intention to Kill, Cripple or Maim the opponent. It is best described as Combat. This is an example of gang violence where drive by shootings, home invasion, arson with the intent to murder and so on are common examples of a true "no rules" scenario.

So when I say the Ring doesn't prepare you for the Street. I literally mean, nothing in your ability to submit, choke out or knock out an opponent in a cage prepares you for a home invasion, someone to firebomb your house, shoot you or attack your family. I'm sorry, but it means you are not qualified to Street Fight because you are trained in the cage. Sure, being a better fighter might give you an advantage in a bar room brawl, at least until someone stabs you in the neck with a broken beer bottle or just stabs you with their knife.

So it doesn't matter what you study for fighting, you need to know what tools are needed for what jobs. I'm not bashing on Sport Martial Arts they all have their place and have certain advantages and disadvantages. Better physical conditioning and being able to apply techniques against someone trained to resist those techniques is a huge boost that is very much needed as part of realistic training. However, to be a complete martial artists you need more then just that...

The reality is most of the people online talking about martial arts either are trying to sell you a martial arts course, book or class and are trying to argue their bias against it. Or they are trying to bash on other arts or systems. Or, they are trying to paint unrealistic scenarios. Where every altercation is between two people with the intent to engage each other and don't get dirtier then eye gouges and nut shots.

In reality you need much more then most or any martial arts will provide for you. The skills of fighting in the Cage or on the Mats are honestly a safer bet then the "kill or be killed" techniques of traditional systems, for legal self-defense.

For example the Juji Gatame (cross arm bar) of Judo, Sport Jujitsu or its ugly step child Brazilian Jujitsu is basically the same as one would see in Japanese Jujitsu. The difference in intentions means a Japanese Jujitsu practicer might just as well break the arm outright, where as a Submission Sports Grappler may only hold an attacker in place with the same technique. This is a huge bonus on court if one finds one's self in court because of civil suit or criminal proceedings. After all you will apply a technique with the intent it is taught... so by training in both "kill or be killed" combat applications and in less then lethal intended competition applications a martial artist can be well rounded.

Neither is going to help you against the next DC Sniper, a gunman in  club, a punk gang banger with a gun in a stolen car or being ambushed by a hatchet wielding terrorist. To train for the street means to go beyond martial arts as an unarmed style of competition, apply fundamental weapons, first-aid, survival training and some form of firearms training. To study elements of psychology and sociology to de-escalate and control situations in a social setting. The Ring is a great place to train and offers many more virtues then I've mentioned here but, it is no where near as close to the Street as a kid's Tae Kwon Do class.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Shoot, Move, Communicate & Kill: The US Army Mantra for Gun fighting...

Gun fighting makes us think of Westerns & War Movies, it is the foundation of the U.S. Army because whether you are a Cook, Clerk or Infantryman you get to go through BCT or Basic Combat Training. This means learning to operate as an individual marksmen & as part of team of soldiers in combat scenario. One Mantra we are taught during this time is Shoot, Move, Communicate & Kill...

Applying this to teaching firearms training, either as part of the Patriot Movement or as part of my own Black Dragon Ninjitsu course of training is two fold. First off, anyone who has ever read Shadow Hunter or Army of Shadows knows I stress individual tactics. Secondly, anyone who has ever served in the Military, particularly the U.S. Army or trained with me knows why. I stress these tactics as guide posts and not hard set rules. There are no rules in a fight, that includes tactically.

Allow me to explain, I teach the individual tactics of Closing Fire & Retreating Fire. This the element of shooting while on the move, anyone who has every been in a shoot house knows you don't stop to aim when shooting at the targets as you enter the room, this is because if you stop the guy behind you crashes into you and you both become “sitting ducks” for the enemy. So what do you do when, you have to engage an enemy at 100 yards? You drop prone or run for cover. What do you do in a hallway with no cover and an enemy at 50 feet or less? You shoot the enemy and close with to ensure you killed the enemy or to disarm an injured enemy. The tactic of Closing Fire exists to teach the principle of shooting while moving at close range because the enemy may not be alone.

Retreating Fire is used to teach the marksmen to fire while moving away. It works at close range but outside of 75 yards isn't practical. The idea of these tactics is to know the environment & conditions in which certain concepts or tactics can be employed. Retreating Fire is and has been used while pulling injured men behind cover while attempting to Suppress an Enemy with Suppressive Fire, another tactic I teach. Suppressive fire isn't shooting to kill or even injure the target but, to keep the enemy's head down and behind cover allowing you room to maneuver to gain a better advantage in a gun fight.

The idea of shoot, move, communicate & kill is essential to how the individual shooter needs to think and act in a combat scenario. Those Individual Tactics are just a basic frame work for how one shoots & moves. The Communicate part is what gets most civilian shooters, including Law Enforcement. The Basic idea is pretty simple, Soldiers don't always “talk to each other” they communicate through hand and arm signals and through various prepared signals. For example, does an Infantry Fire Team say they are going to shift & lift fire as part of a React-to-Contact Drill? No... They use a Grenade or Flash Bang Concussion Grenade to Signal the Flanking Teams movement to Sweep the Objective. Why? Because we communicated before the Battle, know the Signals, Trained the Signals and are Communicating with our Actions.

This means if you have a family or friends, and will be carrying a gun as a soldier, law enforcement or even just an armed civilian you need training to go with the shooting part and you need to Communicate your intent via your actions. A reader of this blog Jake Roberts posted a link to Kid's Tactical Vests in a comment on another blog post. These vests are awesome, if your nine or, even if you just want to teach your kids basic tactics and firearms safety (safety first). Why is this such an awesome thing? Because it gives a parent who is carrying their firearm an opportunity to “play” with their kids and teach what to do if Mommy or Daddy has to use their Weapon to defend themselves or their family (communication before the fight). Kid's will know if the parent has to draw the gun to get behind them. They will be drilled on what to do and this should be true of a spouse, friends and so on.

So you have to engage a threat, say knife wielding post apocalyptic muggers in a parking lot of the local Grocery Store (it's my straw man argument and I have SEAL Team 6 from 3016 be the bad guys OK). So in Response to an Obvious threat, Daddy draws his Concealed Carry Weapon, Mommy makes sure the kids are between her and her husband & draws Concealed Carry Weapon, watching the kids and her husband's “Six” and the Kids know to get between Mommy and Daddy, hold each others hands and hold on to Mommy's belt. Mommy gets the kids to the Car and Daddy takes a position behind cover to engage the post apocalyptic muggers. This is all a made up scenario, a story, to illustrate a point...

The Point being that Communication took place before the Fight. That Daddy doesn't need to tell the kids to get behind me, they already know when Daddy draws his gun get behind Daddy & hold on to each other's hands. Mommy already knows to Draw her gun and cover her Husband's tail & make sure the kid's have hold of her. So shooting and moving are fine but Communication is also a key point.

Another straw man example, is a Concealed Carrier shooting a person trying to rob a Convenience Store he or she is in. The key issue of Communication is that the lawful shooter, needs to drop his or weapon and lay face down on the ground when law enforcement arrive. Why? Because this action, Communicates that the Lawful Shooter is not resisting detainment and disarmament, i.e. is not a Threat to Law Enforcement & probably won't result in the Lawful Shooter being shot.

The last part kill really doesn't apply unless one is in a combat situation. The basic idea of Shoot, Move, Communicate, Kill as a Mantra is basically teaching the foundation of U.S. Military Battle Drills, the React-to-Contact Drill. Shoot means to establish Suppressive Fire and pin the Enemy in Place. Move means to Flank the Enemy that is pinned in place, moving behind available cover and concealment. Communicate means to perform a pre-planned action that will reveal one's intent to Sweep the Objective. Kill means to sweep the objective and kill the enemy using Closing Fire at Close Range.

So while I got your attention talking about guns and Army tactics, allow me to explain how this applies to Martial Arts and Self-Defense. Training should be done in phases,

1. A learning phase of basic techniques...

2. A basic training phase of practice conditioning those techniques...

3. A advanced training phase of applying that conditioning and techniques, usually through sparring & simulated Self-Defense scenario drills to prepare a student to use those techniques in a real world scenario.
Training with prepared responses is only part of the drill, its the conditioning element of the basic training phase. Because when you “take training wheels off” you need to explore the world of dynamic kinetic action & reaction. It is one thing to perform a jujitsu kata of applying a technique against a non-resistant opponent but, its very different to apply a technique against a resisting opponent. That is the difference in how you train, knowing that training is about phases and that it doesn't matter if you are talking about training to use a firearm or your body as a weapon. Training has to be dynamic and mimic the real world where the air isn't air conditioned, the floor isn't covered in mats and the injuries can stop your progress or end your life. There is no hard rule of do or don't do this... There is a loose guide of do this and adapt and adjust as needed once you understand the “finger pointing to the Moon” isn't the goal, you need to set your sights higher.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Kung-Fu: Throws, Locks & Anti-Locking now available at Shadow Warrior Publishing

Amid the chaos of trying to deal with floods, closed businesses and being cut off from many resources and connections I made to help build my business (now lost in the floods). Amid trying to get the Black Dragon Ninjitsu Home Study Course available to the public &, getting behind on projected goals but still trying to move forward. I have the distinct pleasure of publishing Chris Friedman's book Kung-Fu: Throws, Locks & Anti-Locking. Now available for sale at Shadow Warrior Publishing.

This book was a pleasure to read, not only has Chris been living in China and studying at the Shaolin Temple for nearly a decade but, he has starred in documentaries and even went so far as to written articles for Kung-Fu/Tai Chi Magazine. Chris does an excellent job comparing grappling methods of previously styles of martial arts he has studied such Brazilian Jujitsu, Judo, Tand Soo Do and Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu to the Chinese arts of Bagua Zhang, Shuai Jiao and Shaolin Kung Fu. As well as, demonstrating the throws and grappling techniques hidden in Kung-fu forms. Something learned by very few training in The Skill, today.

More so, Chris having lived and trained in China has lived to truth that the Shaolin, and other Chinese martial artists do not focus on a single style (this is often a claim used by "traditionalists" to keep money coming back to them as they do not want students cross-training and spending their money elsewhere) but, instead cross train in different systems to be more complete martial artists. As well as, various stories about the author's own experiences using martial arts for self-defense in America and abroad.

I suggest this book not only to Kung-fu stylists but anyone interested in martial arts and self-defense. Training with Chris Friedman and in China can be achieved by visiting Shaolinwithchris.com to study the real thing in China, as well...

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Legacy of the Kokuryukai: The American Kokuryukai and what it means...

I few people have asked about the newest book Legacy of the Kokuryukai and my American Kokuryukai Organization. While the "instructors" handbook is available to everyone via Shadow Warrior Publishing, memberships are not for sell nor are they offered online.

Why start a martial arts organization and hold the membership to being invitation only?

The reason is very simple, I want to keep out the trash. Keep the politics to a minimum and the goals on point.

Why announce the Existence of the Organization?
To draw interested people into associating with our members and allowing them a chance to try to get involved. Like many Private Social Clubs, we (I) want you (the outsider) to see us and wonder about us. Such clubs from Motorcycle Clubs (especially 1%s) to the Free Masons have their secrets, their unpublished members and their by-laws to live by. We are no different but, the American Kokuryukai is not for sale and neither are memberships they are earned by hard work. So you know we are out there but, you don't were, why or who is a member.

Is the American Kokuryukai restricted to Black Dragon Ninjitsu students and members?

No... It includes other systems of ninjutsu and some other non-ninjutsu martial arts. Currently, a Shaolin Kung-fu artist has been invited, a ninjutsu expert or three and, others are sure to follow. The historical Kokuryukai of World War II fame, used proxy groups and various methods of training from any place that gave them an advantage. The American Kokuryukai uses the strategic and tactical elements of Black Dragon Ninjitsu but, is focused on making Ninjutsu a Strategic-Survival-Combat System & using any martial art, self-defense or combative system to further that goal.

To do this, we have to drop the "Ninja-Warrior Sales Pitch" and focus on Ninjutsu as the Invisible Art, the art of things done in secret as if you were never there... So we will honor the Spirit and truth of the Samurai, that they were warriors first and ninja second. We seek to develop personal systems of combat (not based on someone else's style or tradition but what works for you the individual), based on cross training and develop of personal understanding of principles, lifestyle and development goals. This is a starting point where we address elements like strategy (a individual study thereof), tactics and philosophy to work on things like psychological manipulation and controls, goal setting and developing a plan of action, core life styles taught through a "cloak & dagger" style Adventure Camp & Social Club. From here, we develop a network a instructors in multiple systems and styles, cross training, learning and developing a Fraternal Order of Strategists and Leaders. We seek to use martial arts and ninjutsu (modern and historical) to develop the Leaders of the Martial Arts world...

How is this done through a "martial arts" fraternity & what qualifies it as an "acceptable martial art?"

Its not done through the fraternity it is done through personal development. What qualifies as an acceptable martial art is any system with physical requirement to take action against another living human being & has a focus (it does not need to be the central focus) on Self-Defense. This means a "too deadly to spar" Self-Defense School were you never apply what you learn against another person is not qualified for membership but, an MMA school that teaches a Karate-based Self-defense system and trains fighters to enter MMA using Muay Thai and/or Brazilian Jujitsu is... A Hapkido Dojang that doesn't spar and is focused on Self-Defense techniques for comat doesn't qualify but a Tae Kwon Do school that includes light sparring and self-defense training along with breaking and forms does qualify. Because the acceptable system needs to allow you to test your limits and explore your strengths and weakness but also needs a practical base outside of looking good, winning trophies or patting egos.

We don't need to provide all the answers we want to expand your knowledge, open your mind and your eyes and help you start asking the right questions... It's about how you develop yourself and not how you justify your expanse of time and money. As long as you are improving yourself a human being and doing so with a practical goal of self-defense and self-improvement. We want you to help us better ourselves and will offer the chance help us better ourselves in return. The Fraternity doesn't give you anything, that's not already within you. We are just trying to help you find "it" within you and help ourselves find "it" within ourselves. The individual acts and in individual benefits, we just do so as a team of individuals following their own paths to summit.
If the Book Legacy of the Kokuryukai is a manual for Private Fraternal Order then Why sell it on Shadow Warrior Press?

Because Secrets are dangerous and making the information publically available means that people can see what the organization is about & what our goals are. I want the American Kokuryukai to not be limited to a text or written philosophy that is unmoving. I want a fluid and adaptable institution that brings people together to learn from each other & don't much care how people view that idea. The Book covers some of the Real History of the Real Kokuryukai, it addresses the Omoto Family connection and addresses some basic doctrine of Espionage & Clandestine Warfare so that all members regardless of Martial Arts can study and learn, even if it only is through the book. A place were any martial artists from any style or tradition can come together and focus on strategy and cross training with the many different variations of martial arts that exist in the world.

So because I know rumors and lies will spread about the Organization Across the Web like Wild-Fire, just as they have about myself. I also know that giving anyone the opportunity to see what we honor and what teach in the Art of Strategy is only the tip of the Ice Burg... The Book does not contain everything one needs to know & no one knows it all. The best we can do is always seek to keep expanding, growing, learning & developing yourself as an individual. Strong individuals make strong groups, weak individuals weaken the group... We just want to help you realize your potential and your strength.

Have a Good Day & God Bless,
Ron Collins