Is your martial art pressure tested?
So many people do so many different types of martial arts and everyone has their own reasons for doing each one.
The main reason is if push came to shove would it be an effective aid in saving your life if needed and does your training reflect a realistic way of dealing with adrenalin and the dumping of emotions?
Why do I say that? Well I have never been attacked by a stepping punch from someone who stepped back in a classical front stance but the reality is some styles and systems start from this position and call it self defence. Now don’t confuse me I am all for tradition but not when it is masked as self defence. Some instructors teach moves and then say but we would not do it that way for real so I say why are you teaching it if it has no relevance, lesson times are already short and to waste time with things you can not rely on does not make any sense.
Karate is Karate and Kung Fu is Kung Fu but just because you are a black belt in one of these disciplines it still does not mean you can defend yourself and some people may get up in arms and say but surely not GM Angelo you jest but here is the truth if you have never been hit repeatedly and mauled by a few people with out the safe environment of the dojo or an instructor who says stop when you had enough you may struggle when it is happening for real. There is no one on the street to say stop when it gets rough or you run out of energy.
So how can we train for reality and the street? This is a great question and one that does not have an easy answer because we can not bash or kick the Sh** out of each other in the club causing black eyes broken ribs/fingers/bones and say we are getting ready for the streets because most people will not put up with this type of treatment and we have a duty of care to the students, you also you run the risk of being sued not to mention having a very small club.
Having said the above we need to make our training much more functional, meaning that Katas/forms/patterns as practiced in some styles and systems are great training but they serve little purpose except as a memory test and exercise. Now some of you will say that there are hidden pressure point/nerve strikes contained in these Katas/forms/patterns and this is true but again we come down to how these are being interpreted, instructors are still teaching double blocks or so called reinforced block as opposed to the real meaning of a neck break. Why are they teaching reinforced blocks if you can not block it with one hand reinforcing it won’t help you!
So as we know in class we have to take care of your training partner and of each other but lets look at the things we are teaching and are they applicable to the street. Is enough time being devoted to self defence and namely knife attacks which is all too prevalent and common these days?No one is going to attack you with a wonderful rehearsed stepping in angle 1 slash and the defence is some fancy disarm manoeuvre which is more akin on a movie set than on the streets.
For me we must readdress the balance between practical and just doing systems and styles. Please make sure your training has an element of realism in it at all times, get your students to run at each other with a realistic training knife wildly stabbing at each other in a percussive manner or repeated unorthodox slashing (wear protection). It will be hard for them to pull off any kind of wonderful disarm it always gets very messy as people start to tense up and panic and this is in a controlled environment can you imagine if they have to face it for real! Then get them to fight three against one this is more difficult especially when one of the attacker has grabbed the defender around the legs and the other two are beating the living daylights out of them, again this is in a controlled situation on the street they may sneak up behind you and put a glass bottle over your head you just don’t know. Although the above training method described is more realistic it is still is not real but it is a good way of training with out getting too many serious injuries.
In the army they have milling where you just keep aiming straight punches at your opponent face you are not allowed to block or evade you just keep hitting each other. It is a good pressure test. You can read more about the practice on the link below.
So to close martial means fighting or warlike, art means to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power. Don’t confuse the two.
Train hard train safe