Join 3,415 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Your Karate is No Good.
August 31, 2006 1:04 PM   Subscribe

You Asked For It. So you want to learn to fight? Train wisely. Here is how you do it. And here is how you do not. (Some video footage may be NSFW due violent fight footage. No fatalities.)
posted by tkchrist (71 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
Er. The Fighters Notbook image is blocked. Dang it.

Oh Well. Suffice to say it is an invaluable resource and compendium of distilled techniques and a great intro training "How To."
posted by tkchrist at 1:23 PM on August 31, 2006


My sensei taught me the ancient technique of the pathetic crab.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:31 PM on August 31, 2006


Grrr. Correction: "Notebook". Though I have seen many fighters "Not" books in my day.
posted by tkchrist at 1:40 PM on August 31, 2006


As a casual boxing fan, I found the first link very informative. Thanks.
posted by vronsky at 1:44 PM on August 31, 2006


Karate is poorly suited for the UFC. It works poorly against a trained grappler and in many real-world self defense situations.

But it isn't useless. Besides being an excellent and enjoyable form of exercise, it builds discipline, self-confidence, flexibility and basic self-defense skills in a social atmosphere.
posted by justkevin at 1:49 PM on August 31, 2006


Hey, Frank Benn! I trained with him (briefly). Unfortunately, my work schedule was crazy at the time and I started missing so many classes that it was just a waste of money for me to keep paying the monthly dues. But, in the first few months, I learned soooo much, more than I'd learned in a year of Aikido and a year of brazilian jiu-jitsu with a blue belt student of one of the Gracie's (which one, I forget). He's a really nice guy, and his training is really ball/uterus-breaking but fun.

Anyway, thanks, I look forward to reading all of these.
posted by papakwanz at 2:00 PM on August 31, 2006


But it isn't useless.

I would certainly agree with that. I was a karateka for many years. You WILL get in good shape. Karate does some things very well. Precisely why it is so good for preadolescent age children.

However. In terms of open rules FIGHTING, traditional Karate training methods are terrible. I say traditional. These days those methods are changing rapidly. Karate schools are adding ground grappling curriculum and de-emphasizing solo forms somewhat.

I think for the average sized guy you can do waaay worse than Karate for basic Self defense. But you can also do much better. For a much smaller weaker person who is at real risk of serious harm during an assault... 80% of Karate or Kung Fu training is total crap.

Now. As always I will ad a postscript that I know plenty of tough Karate guys. But they are few and far between. And most of those cats would have been bad-asses training in Ballet.
posted by tkchrist at 2:05 PM on August 31, 2006


Frank's writing back in the day in 1992-93 on UseNet was crucial for me to re-evaluate my training. I was teaching Karate and felt really dead-ended and hampered by the hierarchy and training methods. He is a great guy.
posted by tkchrist at 2:07 PM on August 31, 2006


An important quote from Matt Thornton on the subject of "Styles:"

Why do people then find the Aliveness concept so difficult to accept?

I think that is because when some people start to train Alive, and expose their students to Alive training, they often have to throw out a major portion of the curriculum they learned before. This is because it is shown to not work when applied against a resisting opponent. And Aliveness gauges that very quickly.

All of the sudden the premium is placed on performance. And Arts that perform well. . .boxing, wrestling, Judo, Muay Thai, BJJ, and others, become the base.

What is the distinction between "delivery systems", & personal "style"?

"Style" is always very individual.Each fighter has his/her own "style". And it's acquired only through sparring and Alive training. In that action against a resisting opponent the athlete discovers how to make the delivery system work for them.

That is their "style".

However, Delivery Systems always remain fairly constant, regardless of the individual body.

In other words, there is a proper way to put on a rear naked choke. And as long as humans have the same design to their bodies, that 'technique' will remain the same. That choke is an example of "delivery system".

That is why the typical JKDC method of a buffet approach, picking and choosing from many arts regardless of the delivery system, is such a poor idea. Without solid skill in the basics of the delivery systems of stand up, clinch, and ground, you will not be able to fight, or apply any of the information. Sticking to the simple basics, drilling Alive, and sparring, is the only way we have found to acquire real functional skill.

Delivery systems can be tested, and it's obvious what works and what does not. MMA has shown the boxing, wrestling, and BJJ delivery systems to be of great value. So the delivery systems fighters choose tend to all be the same. Someone trained in say 'silat', without that background in the functional delivery systems mentioned above, would be unable to compete in MMA. They cannot defend themselves against such opponents.

However, each fighter naturally develops their own style, as they practice, drill, spar, and fight. No two BJJ fighters are the same, yet they all use the same delivery system. No two boxers are the same, yet they all use the same delivery systems.

It's all very simple and clear.

posted by tkchrist at 2:17 PM on August 31, 2006


Thanks for the post mate. The Alive concept sounds like a good one. I'm looking to get into some form of training like boxing or BJJ, but would love some tips from anyone on where in London to go for Alive type training. I couldn't find anything through the SBGi site.
posted by Onanist at 2:49 PM on August 31, 2006


Great post
posted by pwedza at 3:12 PM on August 31, 2006


For a much smaller weaker person who is at real risk of serious harm during an assault... 80% of Karate or Kung Fu training is total crap.

Then what would you recommend for them to take up instead? Or should they just give up the idea of fighting if they're born little?
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:22 PM on August 31, 2006


"Then what would you recommend for them to take up instead? Or should they just give up the idea of fighting if they're born little?"

Without any irony - why not carry a legal weapon, and learn to use it responsibly?
posted by kid ichorous at 3:44 PM on August 31, 2006


All are as nothing compared to THE SAMBO STYLINGS OF FEDOR EMELIANENKO. OK, there's a little hyperbole there, but check out the crazy-go-nuts action at 7:17.
posted by boo_radley at 3:45 PM on August 31, 2006


Regarding "A tired debate" in the 5th link, another common complaint against MMA is "What about multiple attackers? Are you going to go to the ground then!?" Didn't see that addressed at all. With that said, it is most definitely possible to safely train in the sport of MMA these days, and I am continually amazed at the mental and physical expertise that these athletes demonstrate. It's almost like watching a game of blitz-chess played with human bodies.

And frankly, self defense always seemed like buying flood insurance to me. Why spend your time and money training for "self defense" unless you're in a high risk demographic? But, if someone's looking for a sport or a hobby to keep them in shape, MMA has the added bonus of being more applicable outside of the sport than say, pick-up basketball or flag football.
posted by Nquire at 3:49 PM on August 31, 2006


Then what would you recommend for them to take up instead? Or should they just give up the idea of fighting if they're born little?

If they want to learn to fight or for self defense? I tend to separate the two as related but distinct categories.

If somebody is really at risk of life threatening assault and is small. Then skip most martial arts all together and find a defensive firearms instructor (if that is legal in your area). After that a defensive tactics academy (these teach police officers) that teach baton and Pepper spray use.

Lastly, a Filipino Art that teaches stick and knife skills. But the curve to competency is very long. Not adequate for somebody who has an immediate threat.

All the above must train realistically to be valuable. There has to be live sparring (or, in the case of Defensive Firearm, live fire exercises) or it is for nothing.

For empty hand training for self defense. That is tougher. I really, really, really, like Brazilian JiuJitsu (ground grappling) for smaller people. Especially for women due to the nature of sexual assault.

Striking (hitting) arts are not so wise for smaller people. It's simple physics. Grappling arts are likely better. And arts then that train with a good healthy amount of sparring like once per week for striking and every session for grappling.

My BJJ coach is 145lbs soaking wet and schools me (190+lbs) and MUCH bigger trained athletes regularly. However, BJJ is primarily a sport system that will not take into account a number of other factors that can be present in self defense situations - like weapons, and multiple opponents. But I have not found an empty hand system that does. Many CLAIM to... but they are full of shit.

I also like Judo. The clinch phase of fighting is neglected and almost every fight have ever seen goes there. Judo can make short work of really aggressive big people who have little training. But if you take judo then you have to learn how to take a punch. So if you do judo you should do a form of boxing.

For smaller people I would invest 70% of training in ground grappling (BJJ), 20% in clinch training (Judo, Muay Thai, wrestling) and 10% in striking (boxing, Muay Thai).

Any art that focuses training on live, resisting, opponents over forms and kata.
posted by tkchrist at 4:06 PM on August 31, 2006 [5 favorites]


Fun post. Really illustrates how ground skills are paramount. Plus, grappling is so much more fun than kata.

I started in karate, then when I moved to muay thai I found it difficult not to chamber the kicks at first. Interesting how the first style one learns gets ingrained in the body memory. Lately I've been screwing around with Systema, which I really enjoy, and would recommend to any "smaller weaker person" who'd like to train in a martial art. (Though most Systema classes tend to be sausage fests -- unlike, say, Aikido, which seems more mixed-gender. One's mileage may vary.)
posted by milquetoast at 4:09 PM on August 31, 2006


Who thinks kata teach karateka to fight? Smells like a straw man.

When I was still doing karate, we used sparring to learn to fight. We used kata primarily for fitness and flexibility.

We also did a lot of grappling.

I guess it must be quite different in the US?

(That's not to say that there wasn't a degree of bullshit involved, of course, just that these complaints don't measure up.)
posted by The Monkey at 4:17 PM on August 31, 2006


Who thinks kata teach karateka to fight? Smells like a straw man.

REALLY. Do tell. Karateka... including 4 of my karate instructors at different schools claimed Kata was the key to ALL Karate.

Ideally your right. Sparring is where you learn to fight. How much time out of everything you did was dedicated to sparring? What were the rules of sparring?

Regardless. How much training time do you dedicate to Kata and solo drills? 10%? 20%? 30%? More? How much of each class is reviewing and or learning kata movements, pre-arranged movements, or punching/kicking at the air? 10%? 20%? 30%? More? Do the math for yourself and then come back and tell me.

If more than 50% of total training time is spent doing solo exercises (including standing in line "drilling" air punches and blocks) then your emphasis is on learning to fight via Kata and pre-arranged patterns.

And if you did ground grappling in Karate then you are not practicing traditional Karate.

It isn't necessarily the techniques you train (though precise fine motor techniques are bad for real fighting). It's HOW you train them.
posted by tkchrist at 4:33 PM on August 31, 2006


I thought we weren't supposed to talk about this.
posted by hal9k at 4:48 PM on August 31, 2006 [3 favorites]


PS. I am very much in favor of solo training. Especially in lieu of training partners. I shadow box nearly every day. Lift weights. Do plyo drills. Run. Yoga. These are all excellent ways to achieve the same things people claim kata teaches. I even do personal forms that are pre-arranged shadow boxing movements I mix in with my calisthenics.

But when I am in room full of training partners it most productive to utilize them as much as possible. Not do kata or air punching or stance work. You do: Thai pads. Focus mitts. Pummeling. Timing drills. Timing sparring. Rolling. etc. This is what we do to train when you have a partner. It doesn't ALWAYS have to be sparring.
posted by tkchrist at 4:50 PM on August 31, 2006


I thought we weren't supposed to talk about this.

LOL. People kept bugging me for more info on MMA and fight training. So I thought I'd start here. First attempt.
posted by tkchrist at 4:51 PM on August 31, 2006


"Karateka... including 4 of my karate instructors at different schools claimed Kata was the key to ALL Karate."

I am just trying to recall the name of a book I read which claimed that all stylised sequential forms in Chinese-descended arts originated in Buddhist exercises for spiritual purposes and were not intended for combat training at all.

This doesn't mean that they didn't develop that function later but it still seems pretty funny to me.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 5:14 PM on August 31, 2006


I am just trying to recall the name of a book I read which claimed that all stylized sequential forms in Chinese-descended arts originated in Buddhist exercises for spiritual purposes and were not intended for combat training at all.

That makes sense. I think over time all the asian arts grew highly stylized for esthetic cultural reasons. In Japan there was a concerted effort to deliberately defang most of the arts. Karate was retrofitted as mostly a physical education program for children.

I think they realized what we realize today. Training to fight has limited utility. But being in shape is always a good idea.
posted by tkchrist at 5:26 PM on August 31, 2006


REALLY. Do tell.

Yes, REALLY. I've never been to a shotokan class in my life, so I fail to see how that has any bearing.

(Did you know you come across as arrogant and condescending? Maybe you don't. I'm sure you don't mean to.)

How much time out of everything you did was dedicated to sparring?

Depended on the class, if it was a junior class, none - the flavour of karate I trained in was quite graduated, beginners didn't do contact sparring. If it was a sparring class, all of it. If it was a senior class about 30 minutes of the 90 minute total.

What were the rules of sparring?

If you throw your partner, you need to control them to the ground. If your partner is more junior than you, only hit them as hard as they hit you. Don't punch your partner in the head (some weird bullshit about people not wanting brain damage - though controlled kicks to the head were okay). If you're grappling and they tap, you let go.

How much training time do you dedicate to Kata and solo drills?

It's all sort of whirled into a big blur of sweat and pain and shouting. After a grading there was more kata than at other times, teaching the new graduates their syllabus and so on. We'd often do kata as a warm-down exercise, or in advance of a grading we'd work on it more seriously.

Some classes had a lot of kata, some were mostly about bag work (either held bags or hanging bags, depending on the instructor) and working with a partner with focus pads.

The most vivid memories I have of doing kata really makes them out to be hard exercise more than anything else. Doing them low and slow and with varying numbers of pushups or burpies between each movement.

We did a lot of pre-arranged drills with partners. And we mostly only did the 'standing in a row for a really long time doing thousands of kicks and punches' thing on special occasions (first class of the year, that sort of thing).

We did practice blocks and other techniques in front of the mirror quite often - you appear to think it's a bad thing to practice techniques like this, I'm sure you have your reasons - and we'd play memory games, where each person would add-on another technique to a series, but those were actually just a fun way of doing exercise with gradually increasing intensity, and distracting yourself from the sweat with the difficulty of having to remember 20 different movements in a row.

We'd work on footwork and so on, sometimes shadow sparring, and so forth.

I also remember doing a lot of pushups. I hated that, but it did make me pretty strong in the arms and chest.

If more than 50% of total training time is spent doing solo exercises (including standing in line "drilling" air punches and blocks) then your emphasis is on learning to fight via Kata and pre-arranged patterns.

No. When we were doing kata we were learning to do kata, and when we were doing pre-arranged patterns we were learning to do pre-arranged patterns.

Part of karate is learning to fight, a different part is about learning kata, part of it is about fitness, and of course part is about learning to be an overly aggressive, super competitive prick (one of the reasons I stopped). Some people liked doing kata part enough to go to competitions and so on, I was never one of them.

People don't learn martial arts just for fighting unless they're complete fucking idiots (we had very, very limited numbers of people who ever expressed this as a motivating factor, I don't actually remember a single one). For normal rational people who live in civilised modern countries, martial arts are about fitness, confidence, and socialising.

And if you did ground grappling in Karate then you are not practicing traditional Karate.

I did Seido Karate. I have no idea how it compared to any other flavour, as I never trained in any other flavour of karate.
posted by The Monkey at 5:46 PM on August 31, 2006


So I thought I'd start here. First attempt.

I'd be delighted if you'd continute, just please don't unneccessarily criticise the schools you don't personally like. So you don't like American mall-style karate schools, cool, I'm sure I wouldn't either. But that's not the same as 'all of karate is like this'.

If you knows if there's anything along the lines of the old 24 fighting chickens out there now, that'd be cool to see. But bullshido is more of a pissing match than I'm interested in (yes, I get it, there's no such thing as ki and that fat guy thinks he can throw fireballs, but please stop posting video links about it).
posted by The Monkey at 5:53 PM on August 31, 2006


People don't learn martial arts just for fighting unless they're complete fucking idiots ... For normal rational people who live in civilised modern countries, martial arts are about fitness, confidence, and socialising.

If martial arts is not for fighting, then why would it have any effect on confidence? People who seek martial arts training for confidence presumably do so because it would help them in fighting, right?
posted by jayder at 5:57 PM on August 31, 2006


If something bad happened to you I can understand your desire to 'take back control'. For those over the age 10 and without a ptsd causing event: Grow The Fuck Up. You would be better off taking some kind of social skills course and learning not to stare at people quite as much as you do freak boy. An advanced driving course will improve your chance of living a long life more effectively than this bullshit. Talk about confidence? OK, maybe there is a good reason you lack confidence. You are probably safer with just the level you have. Sport, fun? That's great, but do not think it will make you safer, and do not think that more confidence is a good thing. If you want to survive a confrontation eat fucking pie, be nice and bow out. Guaranteed to work where you find humans, mostly.
posted by econous at 5:58 PM on August 31, 2006


jayder, read that quote you pulled again. I know it's nuanced, but it's not that subtle.
posted by The Monkey at 6:09 PM on August 31, 2006


[long post follows]

In many ways, it's the fighter or the exponent of you-fu that is "bad" or "good" - just like in any other pursuit.

I've studied several forms of fighting, from the koryu Japanese arts to Muay Thai, and some things in between. "Aliveness" and rolling are not new concepts - they're very important in any complete system. However, not every art that I've studied has stressed the aliveness part of training, but that does not make them unsuitable for fighting, or close-quarter unarmed work. Aikido (an art I have studied) is often dragged out as an "art that does not work on The Street", however the fundamentals of aikido are very important in any fight-flight situation (keeping weight underside, relaxing, maintaining centeredness ("one point"), extension), as they train their practitioners to adapt to changing situational conditions. That's quite important. You could have an entire handbook of "this is what happens if that then happens and that then happens and then something else", but fighting is not that controlled situation. Fluidity is key, and being able to not think (the closest definition I can get to mushin) is an asset.

Also, one must remember, for all the wonderful things that UFC / BJJ have brought to the martial arts world, they're a format for the Gracies to showcase their art. BJJ is a wonderful grappling art, has wonderful training methods, and overall "works" - but it works in the situations that it was developed for, in the same way that Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu (I'm not speaking for the ryu, as I haven't studied it) works in the situations that it was developed for.

Training hard, (the most important) working on forms, rolling, kata, randori are all good practice methodologies, and anyone who is looking for "street fighting skills" would learn from all of them, and would be able to handle themselves (hint - it's okay to run) in situations that would have formerly been insurmountable to a non-practioner.

Also, as one becomes more skilled in these martial arts, one becomes much less likely to "use" them - you're rarely going to fight someone on "The Street" that has any training.

Sorry for the rant, but there's a lot of mis- and pre- conceptions of what is "good" and "bad" out there.

(also, if you're little or short - try Kodokan Judo. Oh yeah.)
posted by jivadravya at 6:12 PM on August 31, 2006 [1 favorite]


How many punches can you take?
posted by tellurian at 6:47 PM on August 31, 2006


Did you know you come across as arrogant and condescending? Maybe you don't. I'm sure you don't mean to.

No. I meant too. In this case. I'll tell you why. Every Karateka says what you said. I said it. The issue is always somewhere else. Some other country. Some other school. It get's old.

"Well. Maybe YOU trained this way but at my Karate school..." I have yet to find this mythical Karate school everybody talks about. When I get there it's pretty much the same stuff I was taught.

Though. Like I said that is changing. There some mighty good Karate schools out there. But they are not teaching traditional Karate anymore.

Ten years ago most Karateka would never have advocated ground grappling training. If they did they often SWORE it was "already in kata." I'm serious. Look though old Usenet posts from hi-ranking Karete instructors in the 1990's. They laughed at sport practitioners. Ignoring the history of their own art when Jigiro Kano kicked everybody's asses with sport training methods in the 1880s!

so I fail to see how that has any bearing

it has bearing because Shotokan is:

#1 the most popular form of Karate out there.

#2 right there on the link it said: "the information here will reaffirm the usefulness of Karate Shotokan kata for a Karateka to learn deadly fighting techniques." Oh BROTHER.

#3 it was the very first link I found. What are the chances if I actually TRIED what I would find.

So you didn't do Shotokan. Ok. I got no problem with Shotokan. Or Karate. I really really don't. And. Not all Kata is created equal. Sure.

But kata is not for fighting. Further. Niether is Karate. And of only marginal use for Self Defense. Certainly better than nothing.

For normal rational people who live in civilized modern countries, martial arts are about fitness, confidence, and socializing.

Then why did you JUST say it was for learning about fighting?

I maintain that it most cases it is not. It is just barely about learning good self defense in most cases. I seperate the two.

There all sorts of other things that satisfy what you listed that are not Martial. So WHY do we choose martial modes of expression?

Because it make us feel tough. It resonates.

So you see. Your right. Karate is only tangentially concerned with fighting. Otherwise the training methods would be very different.

But what really brought you to Martial Arts? Be honest.

This post was about THAT difference. Between fighting and a fun hobby.

If you want to learn to fight, WELL then, karate (or Kung Fu) is not your best option.

Some people want to learn to fight. And not all those people are assholes like you claim.

Yet deep down you believe Karate IS about fighting. With years of movie propaganda how could you not? I propose you, like me before you, are torn. You are torn that learning to fight is for thugs. Yet Karate, as you claimed taught among other things, people to fight. This is oddly contradictory. So then you must be a thug? No. Of course not.

And not all people who want to learn real fighting are either.

This problem is very consistent with modern practitioners of traditional Martial Arts. In that most TMA styles are self selected to be embraced by people who are not really fighters, are not very competitive or athletic by nature, yet all harbor fantasies about being bad-asses deep down. See?

I was that way too. It's nothing to be ashamed of.

What you have to know is this. THAT is a reflection of what TMA's have become. And one reason TMA practitioners get their asses handed to them in real competitions AND fights. They only want the accoutrements of being tough. They don't really want to train how you have to.

For the first few years TMA masters made excuses that Vale Tudo, NHB and UFC competitions had too many rules. So in Brazil there were matches with no rules. And the TMAs still lost to sport practitioners. Every time. So now most are adopting sport methods and calling them traditional. Ironic.

We did practice blocks and other techniques in front of the mirror quite often - you appear to think it's a bad thing to practice techniques like this

No. It's only when that kind of training dominates your time. If your goal is learning to fight, that is.

I do have a problem with Traditional Karate blocking, stances and chambering etc. It doesn't work. It doesn't even teach you what it claims - engaging the hips and all that. It doesn't. And one hour training with me and I could prove it to you.

Did you read any of the Straightblast links? This was their point: Self defense is too great an unknown to really completely prepare.

So they opt to not worry about it and go more in the direction of developing athletic attributes and safe martial sport applications. In their opinion, and mine, and I must add all the evidence seems to point to, THESE alive methods translate best for fighting AND Self Defense. More so than traditional methods.

There are ways to train that are the best of both worlds. Both somewhat practical, great conditioning, and personally developing. You don't have to be a thug nor do you have to bow, wear funny pajamas and call people master. You don't have to kill eachother or obsess. You may never be a super bad ass but you will be better prepared than many TMA methods would have you believe.

I am here in the middle. I don't fight. But I love the trianing. When ever I get a chance I train.
posted by tkchrist at 6:58 PM on August 31, 2006 [1 favorite]


One last good story that illustrates my point that not all interested in fighting are thugs.

Jean Jacques Machado, BJJ instructor and fighter once made a great observation.

In the first day of the Abu Dhabi tournament Jean Jacques plane arrived. He looked around at all the guys. Shaved heads. Tattoos. ridiculous facial hair. All of them wearing Bad Boy gear or Tap Out gear. Shorts. Tank tops showing off their HUGE decca-fed muscles.

There is a picture. Of all the competitors de-planing on the tarmac. Like a scene from a Bruce Lee Game of Death movie where all the assassins arrive on the secret island for the death match. These crazy looking pumped up guys with gym bags. Scowling. Looking like lunatics or psychotic juggalos.

Then there is Jean Jacques. Not even six foot. He is wearing an armani suit. He is carrying a briefcase. It's all business. And. He is smiling. Happy as a clam to be there.

Jean Jacques latter remarked (paraphrase) that he was thinking "How martial Arts is supposed to be about the small defending themselves against the big bully. Here I am. These guys are the bullies. I am here to represent all the little guys."

Jean Jacques KICKED their FUCKING ASSES. Never once lost his cool. And always had a big smile afterwards. he won Abu Dahbi.

It must be noted that JJ Machado is a very small guy. He doesn't juice. he was sickly as a kid. He was born with a birth defect leaving him only one functional hand. He is a grappler. He is also the very nicest guy you will ever meet.
posted by tkchrist at 7:25 PM on August 31, 2006 [4 favorites]


If you want to survive a confrontation eat fucking pie, be nice and bow out. Guaranteed to work where you find humans, mostly.

Yup. Most the time it works great.
posted by tkchrist at 7:46 PM on August 31, 2006


Thanks for the great post, tkchrist.

I trained in Shotokan for a couple of years in university. You're right about quite a few things. First, I sheepishly admit one of the reasons I trained was the Badass Fantasy! It was almost a subconscious thing though. If asked at the time i wouldn't have said it. I would have given the other reason which was for fitness.

We had 30 minutes of warmup drills, 30 minutes of kata, and 30 minutes of kumite(sparring, mostly drill sparring not freeform). Even at the time, I thought the kata were pretty much useless for combat. There's a Heian kata that involves jumping in the air. What the heck. The good thing about them were they were cool to do -- the shuto ukes and the cat stances etc. But yeah, out of 90 minutes of training I'd say maybe 10 minutes of freeform sparring.

You mentioned solo training. Can you recommend any videos that cover some good solo training exercises? (for fitness and for badass fantasies)
posted by storybored at 7:51 PM on August 31, 2006


econous,

OK, some of those who are interested in Self Defense are too into it. I'll grant that point. Your criticism of everyone who wants to improve their ability to defend themselves is over stated and condescending.

True, most people will have no occasion to use any hand to hand combat skills they may acquire. I agree that it is far better to avoid physical confrontations. Still, your "advice" on how to handle confrontations is of no help. Do you really think that's the best way to respond to bullies? Or that the only bullies are on elementary school playgrounds? If you don't believe that you can respond effectively to a physical threat then you get scared easier. The easier you scare and the tenser you get the fewer options you recognize and can act on in a given situation.

I fail to see how more confidence is not a good thing. We are talking about confidence here, not arrogance and not self aggrandizement. Is the desire they feel for competence in the event of a physical threat something to ignore? If you don't believe you can handle (and by handle I don't mean "win", but rather not be overwhelmed) the possibility of violence what does that do for your self respect? Many people want to face their fears. It doesn't mean they want to act like agressive idiots around others.

A final note, victims who had suffered assaults recovered more quickly if they had fought back than if they were passive. Those who fought back did not suffer from the intense self blame that the passive victims did. Unfortunately I can't quote the study. Instead of assault it may have been rape.
posted by BigSky at 7:51 PM on August 31, 2006


Every Karateka says what you said. I said it. The issue is always somewhere else. Some other country. Some other school. It get's old.

Yeah yeah, I'm sure. I haven't trained in karate for years, and I have no ties to my old school, or to karate in any form, at all. All I'm saying is that how you're representing karate bears very little resemblance to my own personal experience with karate.

so I fail to see how that has any bearing

it has bearing because Shotokan is:

#1 the most popular form of Karate out there.

#2 right there on the link it said: "the information here will reaffirm the usefulness of Karate Shotokan kata for a Karateka to learn deadly fighting techniques." Oh BROTHER.

#3 it was the very first link I found. What are the chances if I actually TRIED what I would find.


I made no claims for shotokan. I can't speak for anything I haven't done. I've only done Seido, and none of the trainers there ever claimed that kata would teach deadly fighting techniques.

It just seems quite cherry-picked and irrelevent, to be honest.

Ten years ago most Karateka would never have advocated ground grappling training. If they did they often SWORE it was "already in kata."

You might be right.

None of the kata I ever learned had any grappling in them, and yet we still learned some grappling, because... Karate isn't kata. It's a whole lot of different things.

I got no problem with [...] Karate. I really really don't.

Then take another look at the links and comments you chose to include in your post. For someone with no problem with karate, you sure did home in on links that were critical of karate out of the thousands of possible links you could have included.

See, I think this is the way to handle a bad situation. Would he have been better off grappling on the ground with the guy? This sure looks easier than that.

I'm not proposing that he should have gone into horse stance and started some long convoluted form. We were NEVER told to do that. We were always told that we were learning muscle memory, so that our reflex actions would be useful. We were taught to use gross movements, big wide sweeping movements, so that in a rushed situation, where your reaction would by necessity be more abbreviated, they'd go from big and swoopy, to something more direct and useful.

We were also always told that the best thing to do is get the fuck out of there, don't fight someone if you don't have to.

For normal rational people who live in civilized modern countries, martial arts are about fitness, confidence, and socializing.

Then why did you JUST say it was for learning about fighting?


Wow, people are having a hard time understanding my comments in this threat, huh?

It's not that difficult.

You said (please allow me to paraphrase) that karate teaches fighting using kata, I said no it doesn't, it teaches kata through kata, and fighting through sparring practice (or at least something more like fighting, I think the only way to really learn how to fight is to fight, but for some reason people don't like to get their eyes smushed and their brains shaken up).

And then I went on to say that karate isn't really just about fighting anyway, and that it was more about fitness and socialisation than anything else.

I don't even disagree with you that TMA can be silly. I didn't mind wearing gi pants, but the jacket was stupid, a t-shirt would make more sense. And shouting "osu" was ridiculous. What I'm disagreeing with is you saying that karate teaches fighting through kata.

To sum up, in my personal experience:
Karate teaches kata.
Karate also teaches fighting.
Fighting isn't what karate is all about.
And karate doesn't teach fighting using kata.

Some people want to learn to fight. And not all those people are assholes like you claim.

You're right. I should have said something more like "people who want to learn how to beat people up" rather than just people who want to learn how to fight.

You may never be a super bad ass but you will be better prepared than many TMA methods would have you believe.

I don't need to be bad ass, I live in New Zealand. Our police don't even carry guns.

(I've typed too much to continue editing in this tiny box, if my argument is contradictory or lacking internal consistency, please skip over those bits.)

Oh, and check this guy out.
posted by The Monkey at 7:58 PM on August 31, 2006


If you want to survive a confrontation eat fucking pie, be nice and bow out. Guaranteed to work where you find humans, mostly.

Be Nice.

Don't Make Waves.

Don't Get Too Full of Yourself, Now

It's a Dangerous World. You Might Get Hurt.
posted by jason's_planet at 8:11 PM on August 31, 2006


Most people who are not trained combatants cannot take one good solid punch/kick to the head area. Even professional boxers, who take punches to the head for practice, occasionally catch one the wrong way and drop like a sack of potatoes.

The reason fights in highschool went on for 20 minutes was lack of precision. Wild flailing with little actual solid contact. If any of the hits actually found their mark the fight was usually over.

Most any martial art should be able to teach you to be able to land at least one solid shot to the head via some means.

Therefore, most any martial art would give you an extreme advantage in any situation one is likely to encounter outside of THE OCTAGON(tm).

I think the reason most martial arts are found to be ineffective at trial is because of the training method. You can't actually kick your training partner in the head as hard as you can. But, you'll never learn how to actually kick someone as hard as you can in the head, unless you do it once or twice.

Consider modern boxing without the gloves. Few fights would last past the first round, and it would be a bloodfest. Imagine if Tyson had been fighting bare-knuckled when he was at his best. He would have very likely killed people.

Ultimate Fighting is supposed to be so extreme and so "real", but if it truly were, someone like a Tyson, able to land just a couple of absolutely brutal blows with precision, would come in and break everyones nose and shatter their ocular bones within the first 15 seconds. I'm not saying it is staged, necessarily, but there is something about ultimate fighting (of whichever flavor) that doesn't ring true. They wouldn't sell many tickets if someone was able to deliver a roundhouse to the temple in the first 7 seconds of every match and knock people out cold.

Ultimate fighting, in my non-expert opinion, is dominated by grapplers because it makes for more entertaining viewing.
posted by Ynoxas at 10:08 PM on August 31, 2006 [1 favorite]


Ynoxas: Some of the earliest UFC fights, before it was regulated and became a sport, did feature shattered ocular bones and ruptured eardrums, FYI. Disturbing to watch, actually.
posted by Nquire at 10:40 PM on August 31, 2006


Ynoxas: I think many would argue exactly the opposite -- the grappling aspect of UFC makes it much less entertaining; in the sense that your average viewer would much rather watch shattered ocular bones than two guys locked in homo-erotic grappling combat until the bell rings. I view grappling as a sort of stable equilibrium point for UFC fights -- given the constraints of the system, it is the most effective (i.e. maximum damage for minimum energy spent) means for winning the fight. And until the rules of the sport change significantly, it will remain this way.
posted by FuturisticDragon at 11:25 PM on August 31, 2006


My great grandaddy always used to say "As long as you have your aliveness"
posted by HTuttle at 12:18 AM on September 1, 2006


tkchrist is correct.

The Monkey- by all accounts, it sounds as if you went to an extraordinary Karate school. Most of the classes I've seen don't put nearly as much emphasis on sparring as yours did. And many of them put a heavy emphasis on Kata. Many of them still talk about the 'application' of the kata to real fighting situations-this sounds to me like 'using kata to teach fighting.' So hey, tkchrist painted with a very broad brush; I'm pretty confident, however, that Karate schools that train the way yours did are the exception rather than the rule. Cool that you found a good one.

But quite frankly, I don't understand the purpose of kata at all. You say it's not for learning fighting. Okay. But it's one of the primary activites in most karate classes, and if you polled many karate students as to why they train, I bet the majority of them would mention self defense as a primary motivation for training. So why spend any time at all, if you want to learn to fight, on an activity that has no relevance for fighting? It's just....stupid.

I train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Typical class structure is 'warmup, stretch, introduce a move or two and drill, spar.' That's it. On some days, we might do some positional sparring before regular training (working to escape a particular hold, for example), but no time is spent on an activity that doesn't make the students better fighters. I've also trained some Judo and some Boxing, and both of those arts follow pretty much the same formula, though there's less sparring in boxing. But again, no time is wasted on activites that are not directly related to fighting.
posted by HighTechUnderpants at 1:26 AM on September 1, 2006


Ultimate fighting, in my non-expert opinion, is dominated by grapplers because it makes for more entertaining viewing.

That is TOTALLY backwards. The UFC completely revised it's rule set to FAVOR striking. Hitting attracts a bigger audience.

They implemented: Time limits on the ground. weight classes. Gloves.

This is why heavy hitter guys like Lidell are taking the championships.

C'mon. They did that because most people had no idea what was going on on the ground.

That Royce Gracie could stall a bigger guy out on the ground for twenty seven minutes until the big guy gassed out was not dramatic viewing.

Knockouts are dramatic viewing. Knockouts are what people want. NOT submissions and chokes. Ground grappling is still "faggy" to most people.

And knockouts are achieved WITH gloves. You can hit WAAAAY harder.

That is why there are fatalities in Boxing. because of gloves. It is also why boxers get so fucked up. The concussive force is spread out and becomes cumulative in fights that would otherwise be stopped; while the superficial trauma (cuts and fractures) is lessened. Gloves protect the hands NOT the head.

There is an old joke about Boxing with gloves and bareknuckle fighting. You can be stupid and pretty. Or ugly and smart.

I have seen older NHB fights where there are zero rules (except no weapons). Excepting what each fighter agreed on individually. Eye gouges. Fish hooking. Head butts. Throat strikes. Groin strikes.

You know what? Most that stuff turned out to be low percentage. Inevitably each fighter distilled his techniques down to what he could practice safely. So called "sport" techniques.

BTW. Tyson IS supposedly doing NHB. He avoided it for so long mostly due to money. The pool of players in his league was fairly small and the money just wasn't there for a guy like that. BUT. Also he isn't stupid. He would get fucking armbared by a good grappler (if there were no time limits). Ask any pure boxer what they fear. A grappler getting their back. It is laughably easy if the boxer hasn't experienced grappling much.

I told this story before. But I have been choked out by a 110lb girl BJJ blue belt on the ground. Put 16ozs on her and of course she wouldn't stand a chance. But that is because I can defend take downs. And while standing physics is on my side.

On the ground size still matters but much less so. On the ground it's more about strategy and experience.

Standing it's attributes (size, speed, strength), timing and aggression and LUCK. A great deal of luck.
posted by tkchrist at 1:27 AM on September 1, 2006


Then take another look at the links and comments you chose to include in your post. For someone with no problem with karate, you sure did home in on links that were critical of karate out of the thousands of possible links you could have included.

Because I trained in Karate. I taught Karate. This is why I am critical of it. I know what I'm talking about. I could be critical of Kung Fu or Wing Chun - but I know less about them. Being critical, even harsh, like I am by no means should stop anybody from doing Karate if they like it. I am COMPELLED by personal integrity to set people straight about what Karate is good for and what it isn't. Karate and TMAs got a free ride on hollywood for too long. It's GOOD for them to be taken down a notch. Obviously, since your Siedo instructor saw fit to include grappling which is not in any Siedo curriculum I can find here in the US, he saw a weakness and corrected it. I'm sure somebody said "Karate sucks at this" to him at some point and he saw a light.

We hurt the ones we love, bro. We kill all our little darlings and then bring them back to life.

See, I think this is the way to handle a bad situation. Would he have been better off grappling on the ground with the guy? This sure looks easier than that.

LOL. What on earth makes you think I think grappling is the solution to everything? You know I trained in Karate and BOXING for a dozen or so years, right? Probably not. But I did.

Grappling is the solution to grappling problem. Striking is often, not always, a solution to a striking problem. I advocate grappling for smaller people because smaller people get taken down by bigger people.

In that footage that guy is a bit bigger than his pimp opponent and is in the middle of a street. Shooting in and taking the pimp down isn't necessary. Especially when it's obvious HE WAS BLUFFING AND WAS AN IDIOT. My mother could have dropped that pimp.

PS. It wasn't a Karate chop. It was a forearm/backfist. Common to JKD, FMA and Wing Chun related arts. I bet $5 that guy was no karateka.

We were always told that we were learning muscle memory, so that our reflex actions would be useful.

It's mostly semantics. But there is no such thing as "muscle memory."

We were taught to use gross movements, big wide sweeping movements, so that in a rushed situation, where your reaction would by necessity be more abbreviated, they'd go from big and swoopy, to something more direct and useful.

You fight like you train. Yes you should "train up." In the sense that your training is harder, more demanding and complicated that the application. But your structure, posture and mechanics should ALWAYS be identical to what you need to do for real. This why you train your form slow and steady but eventually ramp it up. You should NEVER add extra movements where none are needed in the application. NEVER.

Think about like this. If you train for a triathlon - the swimming portion — you may train you breathing to be once every four strokes. So under the heat of battle, when adrenaline is pumping, you won't gas out breathing every THREE strokes.

But you will NEVER train backstroke if your going to crawl just because back stroke is a HARDER set of movements. You would NEVER make flourish strokes with your wrists on the crawl JUST to make it harder. You may add resisted weights or something but you KEEP YOUR FORM THE SAME as it would be for application.

I got a 12 hour drive ahead of me tomorrow so I am off to bed. Thanks all for making this an exciting first post. Nite.
posted by tkchrist at 1:58 AM on September 1, 2006


JJ Chuck Norris v JJ Machado (and family)
posted by the cuban at 5:35 AM on September 1, 2006


Imagine if Tyson had been fighting bare-knuckled when he was at his best. He would have very likely killed people.

I have read arguments to the contrary, written by people who say that bare-knuckle fighting may look more brutal and uncivilized but is actually safer than gloved fighting. Gloves allow you to hit harder. If a tiny finger bone goes head-to-head with a jaw bone or a skull, guess which one is going down? In bare-knuckle fighting, your hands don't have any protection, so you pull your punches.

Or so the argument goes. Me, I haven't been in anything like a real fight since college. So I'm not going to pretend to be an authority on this topic.
posted by jason's_planet at 7:30 AM on September 1, 2006


First, let me disclaim again that I carry no special knowledge in this area but I am finding the discussion interesting.

I understand concussions, cumulative damage, etc with gloves, but what I'm talking about is immediate damage to the person, not delayed health problems. I'm talking about putting an immediate, violent, and barbaric end to current hostilities with basically 5 seconds of effort. That does not make for good TV viewing.

tkchrist says that people want knockouts. Yes, but after some struggle. Don't you remember how upset people were when they paid $100 for a Tyson PPV and then he put someone on their ass in a minute 40?

It's just like NASCAR. People want to see crashes, but they don't necessarily just want a demolition derby. People want high scoring basketball games, but they don't want it to be 120-37. People want knockouts but they don't want 1-hit fights.

I still posit that someone who could hit as hard, and as ACCURATELY, as Mike Tyson in his prime would incapacitate virtually any human being with one 2-hit combo, if not put them in traction or in the grave. Therefore, if that kind of fighting were actively encouraged (I would say "allowed") in ultimate fighting, there would be a bunch of dead men or vegetables.

The grappling is a way to lengthen the fights, and remove the possibility for 10 second matches. It went too far with the 30 minute loungefests you describe, so changes were made to try to make it, say it with me, more entertaining. They are trying to make it a better spectacle to watch, not a more efficient fight.

But it is not, in any way, shape, form, or fashion "ultimate fighting".

All the ultimate fighting I've seen the last few years is just aggressive wrestling.

Could they kick my ass? Sure. But I'm not Mike Tyson or a martial artist. I think I can hold my own with most other untrained civilians, but a trained fighter, of any school, would likely have their way with me, and rather rapidly.

Simply put, there are people out there that, in the absence of rules, could distribute more punishment than another human could take, in the span of 15 seconds.

I don't care how much of a badass you are. A full-force kick by a trained practitioner to the chin/jaw is going to put you down, and out, and likely leave you drinking your dinners for 8 weeks. The physical body still fails despite heroic amounts of will.

With all that said, I think ultimate fighting and all its derivatives are a travesty and a blight on the sporting world. I also dislike boxing.

A fight on tv between 2 paid athletes is never, ever going to be representative of a true no-holds-barred fight for life or death between two aggressive strangers.

If it TRULY was life or death, I cannot help but believe that there exist any number of people, probably tkchrist and a few others in this thread, that could dispatch an ultimate fighting champion.

I guess what I'm saying in a very convoluted way is that I still don't view "ultimate fighting" or the like to truly be fighting. It is still a sport. And as long as it is a sport, it is not fighting. Not really.

Does that resonate at all with those of you who know more about this than I?
posted by Ynoxas at 9:03 AM on September 1, 2006


I'm no authority on the matter but there is no way that anyone on this thread (assuming that no one who has posted competes in MMA at the international level) or any civillian or anybody in the military could go up against one of the top level MMA competitors and be better than a 5-1 underdog.

The MMA competitors study martial arts too, you know. They are in peak condition specifically for fighting. That being said I think comparing real world violence to competition sports is kind of hokey. The closest analog to a competition match is a duel. Grownups, at least sober ones, generally don't duel. Without a doubt there are plenty of people who know more than MMA guys about such things as setting up ambushes, discreetly bringing weapons into play etc. But if we are talking about two guys entering a neutral environment and fighting then the MMA guys have the edge. The rules do prevent certain moves, eye gouging and fish hooking and the rest of it, but none of that is secret. The MMA guys can do it too, and the one who assumes the dominant position in a clinch or on the ground is going to find it easier to apply those techniques than his opponent.

Guys do get knocked out regularly on one or two clean hits. These guys are good at what they do and control the space and time between themselves and their opponent so that they don't catch a blow full on at the most powerful point of the extension. When that happens they get knocked out. Most of the bows thrown are partially deflected or they don't hit flush.

You claim that certain kinds of fighting are not encouraged or allowed in these competitions. I see two ways where that could happen. First it could be fixed. I doubt you believe that's the case. The other option is that there must be specific rules that prevent the kind of aggressive striking that you claim would happen in a match outside of the ring. What rules would those be?
posted by BigSky at 9:33 AM on September 1, 2006


Ynoxas-You're making one of the classic arguments that Karate guys and other strikers were making, pre-UFC. 'Shoot in for a takedown? He could never reach me, I would kick him in the face!' Except we saw over and over and over that a good grappler WILL take a good striker down, if the striker hasn't spent a LOT of time training takedown defense.

If you're so hung up on Tyson, let's talk about Tyson. Ever seen one of his matches? Ever seen him clinch? Of course you have-then you watch the ref separate them, and back to boxing they go. If he were fighting a good grappler, the grappler would force that clinch, Tyson wouldn't know what to do, and would get thrown and submitted. He would not get saved by the ref stopping the clinch as he's used to.

It is much easier for a grappler to force his range on a striker than vice versa.
posted by HighTechUnderpants at 10:02 AM on September 1, 2006


Ding ding, Round Two!
If ever there was a valid use for a "blink" tag...

I still posit that someone who could hit as hard, and as ACCURATELY, as Mike Tyson in his prime would incapacitate virtually any human being with one 2-hit combo, if not put them in traction or in the grave. Therefore, if that kind of fighting were actively encouraged (I would say "allowed") in ultimate fighting, there would be a bunch of dead men or vegetables.

Chuck Lidell is a good analog to boxing's Mike Tyson -- one punch, if he connects, can put anyone to sleep -- except that, unlike Tyson, Chuck is also a very good (collegiate-level) wrestler and has excellent take-down defense.

How good is Tyson's sprawl? Can he defend an arm bar or a rear naked choke? Don't get me wrong -- it's very likely that prime-time Tyson was a better striker than Lidell is today. When facing a superior striker, however, the proper response is to go the ground. (And if that opponent is also a better grappler..., well, you lose!) My guess is that Lidell would shoot the legs, put Tyson on his back, mount, and pound him until he rolled over... then choke him out. Tyson would be nearly defenseless.

All the ultimate fighting I've seen the last few years is just aggressive wrestling.

No offense, but you do know the difference between wrestling and jujitsu, right? I've seen some amazing jujitsu battles lately, and I really enjoy that part of the fight (BJJ is just fascinating to me), but *absolutely* most people want to see striking over grappling. No question. Hell, very often the crowd will BOO when the fight goes to the ground, esp. if the fight is in the U.S. (Japanese audiences seem to appreciate the ground game more.)

If you want to see some UFC fights that really were nearly pure wrestling, check out Dan Severn in his first tournament. (UFC 4, I think?) It's pretty comical, really, to watch a wrestler with no other skills fight UFC. He was clearly dominant on the ground, but once he got his opponent pinned, he had no finishing moves!

A fight on tv between 2 paid athletes is never, ever going to be representative of a true no-holds-barred fight for life or death between two aggressive strangers.

Sure, no weapons (improvised or otherwise) are allowed, the environment is controlled, and the fight is stopped when one fighter taps out or "cannot intelligently defend himself". Those are MAJOR factors in making it a sporting contest vs. a genuine deathmatch.

Simply put, there are people out there that, in the absence of rules, could distribute more punishment than another human could take, in the span of 15 seconds.

This is true if, and only if, the opponent has a very weak defense. And there are indeed some fights that don't last beyond one punch (or a quick arm bar). IIRC, Andrei Arlovski dropped a guy in like 10 secs not long ago. One punch, sack o' potatoes. (And, yeah, it kinda sucked, cuz I enjoy watching that guy fight!)

I don't care how much of a badass you are. A full-force kick by a trained practitioner to the chin/jaw is going to put you down, and out, and likely leave you drinking your dinners for 8 weeks. The physical body still fails despite heroic amounts of will.

UFC fighters do sometimes get their jaws broken, eye sockets crushed, and arms broken. It happens. (I personally don't like seeing that.) But usually the fight is stopped before it gets to that.

If it TRULY was life or death, I cannot help but believe that there exist any number of people, probably tkchrist and a few others in this thread, that could dispatch an ultimate fighting champion.

Not without a weapon or a few buddies. No way, no how. You could not be more wrong on this one.

Also, I should note that drunken grappling on my balcony last night is a Very Bad Idea. And if somebody knows a good defense for a guillotine choke, I'm all ears.
posted by LordSludge at 10:12 AM on September 1, 2006


As an aside, I wanna say that it's been really amazing watching martial arts evolve so quickly through the crucible that is MMA competition. Go back and watch about the first ten UFC tournaments. It rapidly became very clear what worked and what didn't, and the fighters incorporated the more successful skills. Yep, I think the blastgym fella has it.

And, FWIW, I did years of tai kwon do when I was younger, and we did a whole lot of kicking the air. No grappling whatsoever was taught. We got maybe 10 min of sparring at the end, if we were lucky. And even then, we were required to exercise great restraint and use very light contact. I could be wrong, I think this is pretty typical. It was fun, got me great abs and better balance, and it's pretty cool to know that I can break 3 boards with my feet, but as a self-defense? Just about worthless.
posted by LordSludge at 10:44 AM on September 1, 2006


“Not without a weapon or a few buddies. No way, no how. You could not be more wrong on this one.”

I slightly disagree. It depends on the parameters set (why it’s a deathmatch) and whether the UFC champ has prepared to kill. Otherwise that hesitation means everything - within reasonable skill levels of course.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:08 AM on September 1, 2006


I would very much like to see anyone in this thread fight Matt Hughes. That would be almost funny. For maybe the 10-15 seconds the fight lasted. In other news - BJ Penn in a rematch with Hughes? That's going to be way more interesting than Chuck Liddell vs. Sobral.

Whoever asked for a decent instructional video early in the thread; you could do worse than the Pat Militech one - it's no substitute for real sparring/training but gives you some decent idea of the sorts of skills you require.
posted by longbaugh at 12:17 PM on September 1, 2006


I dunno. Ken Shamrock used to (and still does last I heard) gone to Quantico to train people at the close combat school. What’s useful from the UFC for quick and lethal hand to hand combat has been absorbed and refined. I’d put Gunny Shane Franklin against Hughes. The difference being if he gets him on the ground it is indeed going to last 10 seconds because he’s going to snap Hughes’ neck.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:46 PM on September 1, 2006


I cannot for the life of me figure out why Babalu chased Liddel across the ring. That is the single worst thing to do against Liddel. I was hoping for a better match than that. But you're right, Penn-Hughes II should be great.

LordSludge-standing guillotine, or did the guy pull you to his guard? Eihter guillotine is defensible, as long as you're not rolling around with Pequeno Nogueira, in which case you're screwed.
posted by HighTechUnderpants at 1:53 PM on September 1, 2006


Sorry for the long post.

Ynoxas,

I'd have to say that I disagree pretty strongly with almost all the conclusions you came to.

It seems as though you're under the impression that MMA competitors purposely draw out their fights to make them more exciting for fans. This is a pretty huge misconception.

As above posters have mentioned, MMA matches of the last 15 or so years have really acted as a testing ground for effective techniques. Styles have literally evolved through a selection of consequences. Sorry to mix subjects here, but we're seening punctuated equilibrium in action here, and MMA has been the catalyst for the explosion in the application of scientific martial arts.

People fight the way they fight in MMA matches because that's what works. This might be too specialized for a FPP, but somebody could do an excellent post chronicling the change in techniques since '93.

A grossly simplfied summary might go like this:

Early UFCs were populated by many overweight, pony-tailed, chi-powered seifus and senseis who got rocked by Royce Gracie and other Brazillian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) guys. I think you could successfully argue that early UFCs were structured to showcase BJJ and for a few years BJJ dominated the scene. After UFC took off, olympic quality wrestlers started participating and their superior conditioning combined with their takedown abilities began edge out the usually weaker BBJ practioners. This began the "ground and pound" era of MMA where figures like Mark Coleman , Mark Kerr and Randy Couture started to dominate. Eventually strikers started to learn effective sprawling and escape techniques and figures like Igor Vovchanchyn started to rule a lot of tournaments. Now in order to be competitive, fighters have to be well rounded in all aspects of MMA. Just as in in nature, or business, if there's an adaptation that confers an advantage, competitors will pick up on it. There's simply no incentive to ignore an effective technique or style.

Even if we ignore organizations like Pride and UFC, there are still tournaments like K-1. K-1 does not allow grappling and there is some excellent world class talent that competes. There are many athletes who are competitive in both scenes and yet there are NO traditional martial artists that dominate K-1. If you look at the styles it's almost all Muay Thai and western Kick Boxing and boxing. You will not see any drunken boxers, or monkey style masters. The only exception might be Kyushinkai karate, but even then any competitive fighter largely ignores kata and employs western style training and extensive sparring.

Somebody could make an argument that all the chi blasting death touching masters are too wise or humble to participate in MMA. That's fine, but then they shouldn't make ridiculous claims about the effectiveness of their styles. Traditional martial arts that claim to be effective fighting techniques reside in the same realm as pseudo scientists claiming to have the secret to unlimted energy or scientologists who claim to develop super powers. If somebody does Tai Chi for health or spiritual reasons, that's fine. If somebody pactices Yoga or Tae Bo and thinks it will allow them to defeat someone who actually trains in real martial arts, well that's laughable. And honestly, there's not much difference between Tae Bo and the way martial arts are taught at MOST "McDojo" blackbelt academies. I strongly believe that we've seen the best fighters that are out there. There are no secret pockets of Shaolin fighting monks with super human abilities who could dominate the sport.

I'm not going to deny that there are a host of benefits in practicing arts like aikido, karate, tai chi, or kung fu; but effective fighting techniques are not one of those benefits.

One last point. MMA is not new. Look at the old barefist boxing matches before Queenbury rules. Fighters employed grappling, take downs, and joint locks. Boxing only became boxing after people started wearing ridiculous 16 oz mittens.

Even better check out sports like Pankration which goes back to ancient Greek civilzation.

I'd recommend checking out Bob Mee's book, Barefists.

Finally, I know that there is a difference between MMA and "real fighting", but if all you care about is hurting someone then use a gun. If you're talking about pushing human abilities in hand to hand combat, there is no better safer environment than contemporary MMA competition.
posted by Telf at 2:53 PM on September 1, 2006 [1 favorite]


I was going to mention Pankration and greco-roman. Buddy of mine waiting to be a cop (currently a prison guard) does that. Very interesting thread btw.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:01 PM on September 1, 2006


LordSludge-standing guillotine, or did the guy pull you to his guard? Eihter guillotine is defensible

Well, the guy gave up a full mount (with a hook!) to keep the guillotine sunk. I'm guessing short elbows would have released the hold, but, well, I don't really want to cut up a friend. Had to tap. (grrr...)

Which brings up a general question: How the hell do you train for the striking aspects of MMA without looking like a beat up Tyler Durden wannabe? Do pads pretty much take care of it?

One more thing: this guy beats all of the above.
posted by LordSludge at 7:30 PM on September 1, 2006


If it TRULY was life or death, I cannot help but believe that there exist any number of people, probably tkchrist and a few others in this thread, that could dispatch an ultimate fighting champion.

Not without a weapon or a few buddies. No way, no how. You could not be more wrong on this one.


What I'm trying to say here is that these ultimate fighting types train for the SPORT of ultimate fighting. They do not train to maim or kill others.

Some people train to maim or kill, and I feel those could have more than a small chance of coming out on top.

Compare an olympic fencer with the image of a samurai. One has trained to perform certain maneuvers for certain outcomes given a set of rules and system of scoring. The other has trained to execute people. In a "real" swordfight who would likely have the upper hand?

That's all I'm trying to say. I don't in any way take anything away from the athletic ability of the fighters. They are all obviously strong and agile.

Also note I'm not saying the fighters are trying to prolong the matches necessarily, but surely its safe to say the organizers have a vested interest in making sure it doesn't degenerate into 10 second pseudo-executions, right?
posted by Ynoxas at 8:10 PM on September 1, 2006


What I'm trying to say here is that these ultimate fighting types train for the SPORT of ultimate fighting. They do not train to maim or kill others.

I hear ya, but what do you think would happen if a UFC fighter got caught in an arm bar, tapped out, but the tap was ignored?? The arm was then broken, but the fight continued, broken arm and all... (to what conclusion? I dunno, but it would not be pretty!) I'd call that a maiming.

Or what if a rear naked choke was allowed to progress past unconsciousness, cutting off the airway for another couple minutes? I'd say death is all but certain.

I hadn't really thought about it before you brought this point up, but I think a UFC fighter could maim or kill a guy pretty easily; they're just not allowed to within the format of competition. On the "street", there are no such restrictions.

Now I'll grant that there may be some techiques that a "lethal" fighter may have more experience with (in both attack and defense) -- eye gouges, fish hooks, etc. -- but my point is that a "sport" fighter can very easily become a lethal fighter, absent the rules of the ring/octagon.

Compare an olympic fencer with the image of a samurai. One has trained to perform certain maneuvers for certain outcomes given a set of rules and system of scoring. The other has trained to execute people. In a "real" swordfight who would likely have the upper hand?

Ugh, that's exactly what Tae Kwon Do competitions are generally like. When a strike is landed, the fight is stopped, one fighter is awarded a point, and the fight is reset. Fighters are actually penalized for making too-hard contact. The point is that the competition is supposed to be about technique, not power.

There are no such breaks in UFC. True, rounds do stop the action and allow the fighters a chance to "recharge", so yeah I guess stamina would be more important in a street fight with no time limit. (The early UFC fights had no time limits. Problem was, if the fight didn't end within 10 minutes or so, the fighters were usually so gassed out that the action was over!) Points aren't awarded per technique, but on a 10 point must system -- more of a characterization of who dominated the fight in a particular round.

Put such a TKD "points" fighter against a UFC fighter, and you bet it'd be ug-ly!! Pretty analogous to fencing vs. samari, IMO.

Not tryin to pick on TKD, per se -- it's just what I have personal experience with.

In short, I think the advantage of sport MMA vs. sport TMA is *huge*, but the advantage of "lethal" arts vs. sport MMA is minor.

(I gotta ask, with no snark intended: How does a lethal practitioner train?? How does one know whether one's "chi energy fist of death" actually works? How does one practice to perfect the technique?? I'd think sparring partners would be hard to come by, unless the technique, well, doesn't actually work...)

Gotta run -- watchin UFC 62!
posted by LordSludge at 10:15 PM on September 1, 2006


You should NEVER add extra movements where none are needed in the application.

We didn't add extra movements, we made the same movements but bigger. This was mostly done with the less realistic blocks and strikes that we never, ever, used in sparring. Big over head sweeping things.

You may add resisted weights or something but you KEEP YOUR FORM THE SAME as it would be for application.

Yeah, we'd do it with weights quite often as well, even doing kata with weights. I was always pretty nervous about that though, and took it fairly easy. Too much torque on the joints ain't a good thing.

So hey, tkchrist painted with a very broad brush; I'm pretty confident, however, that Karate schools that train the way yours did are the exception rather than the rule. Cool that you found a good one.

Some of the instructors focussed on kata more than others. Some were twerps, some were cool. The school was fairly top-heavy with black-belts, so there was a large instructor pool, and I'd go to the classes that matched my own thinking most closely.

But quite frankly, I don't understand the purpose of kata at all. You say it's not for learning fighting. Okay. But it's one of the primary activites in most karate classes, and if you polled many karate students as to why they train, I bet the majority of them would mention self defense as a primary motivation for training. So why spend any time at all, if you want to learn to fight, on an activity that has no relevance for fighting? It's just....stupid.

Because learning karate isn't learning fighting, it's learning karate. You learn to fight as well, but it's not the only thing you learn. If you just want to learn to fight, karate isn't for you. And in the end, I decided it wasn't for me either.

I'm actually considering having a look at boxing, but I really don't want my brain shaken up, and I don't want to hang around with beer swilling thugs, so I need to find a good school.

Also, this thing with Tyson? I'd love to see him fighting in UFC (I favour K1, but whatever) but he'd OBVIOUSLY heavily cross-train before he got anywhere near a ring.

I'd love to see Tyson fight Ray Sefo -- who started training in Wing Chun, though you'd certainly never think that seeing him in the ring -- or someone with crazy fast legs.
posted by The Monkey at 11:23 PM on September 1, 2006


If it TRULY was life or death, I cannot help but believe that there exist any number of people, probably tkchrist and a few others in this thread, that could dispatch an ultimate fighting champion.

Nobody will read this as i just got back from my trip, but I can't let this out there for a very good reason: I DON'T WANT TO BE FRIGGN KILLED BY ANY NHB GUY THAT READS THAT.


Ynoxas are you trying to get me killed!!!


occasionally I have the good fortune to roll or train with MMA athletes who have NHB titles. Some even national titles. NAGA, or UFC, or Grapplers Quest guys.

And for the LOVE OF GOD I don't want them ever to think I can or would kill them.

These guys are elite athletes. Think about it. They come from really deep pools now. Division 1 college athletics. Div 1 Wrestlers and football players. Internationally ranked Thai Boxers etc.

It's not like it was in the early 1990's where Tank Abbot tough guys walked into the ring and threw. Jesus. Not that I could handle Tank Abbot. But Christ. If we were talking a DeathMatch or something, I'd take an bloated but tough alcoholic guy like that over an elite athlete at the top of their game.

To your broader point: YES Fighting in a ring is not life or death.

But let me tell you a story. I train with a great variety of folks. Lot of traditional stylists. Lots of BJJ guys. A few boxers and kick boxers. Once in a while (and it has been a great while) I will get invited to a belt testing to fight a black belt or something. Or I'll get invited to an open Karate sparring. One time I got spar a guy who was real amped up. Knowing I'd been training sport fighting he told me he wanted me to go as hard as I wanted as he wanted to try some stuff out. I said "I want this to b e friendly." Nothing crazy. I am not into that shit. He was like "Yeah yeah. It's ok. I want you to take me down and I am going to try some pressure point stuff." I told him I didn't think that was a good idea and to NOT do it. So he reluctantly agreed.

We play for round. He was pretty good. Put like all karate guys he kept his chin up and was flat footed (heel to the ground ) when he moved or punched. So When I put pressure on him he would flail, back pedal, or look away sometimes. So it was ideal for a take down.

Now I must say I SUCK AT TAKEDOWNS. I have bad knees so my penetration step is bad and I telegraph. (plus I don't practice them) So I tried the laziest John Smith single in history. Instead of sprawling like he should he did some TMA stance thing to pin my head between his legs/knees. But when that didn't work he lunged back and reached down and tried to gouge my eyes like one would put on a bowling ball.

Mother fucker. I have is frigg'n leg and he can't step out with it. Now he is bent over me - but not sprawling. Those of you who have wrestled will know what happens next. I jumped up to a five on two (a high single leg take down through the crotch). He went up about a story and a half like a log in a caber toss and came down on his fucking head.

I ask if he is ok he says yeah. I say don't gouge me. We rest. I appologise. HE DOES NOT.

And we go back at it. He does the same bad posture stuff so I go in for high tie up take down (so he wont try to gouge me and I wont have to penetration step) - bear hug to trip. Very slowly. A child could have defended it. While I bear hug him he does a Captain Kirk ear pop - claps both hands over my ears. I STILL KEEP MY GABLE GRIP AND BEAR HUG tighter. He does it again!

Instead of the nice soft trip I had planned - as now I am pissed - I bend him in half and throw his ass to the ground and land on him hard.

I land in mount. He reaches up to my face and goes for another GOUGE! Handing me his arm so I arm bar him. While I do that he tries to elbow my nuts as hard as he can. SO I ARM BAR HIM HARDER. He doesn't tap and he elbows me again.

And I break his fucking arm.

He could have played nice like I wanted. We could have gone easy like I wanted. It could have been FUN like I wanted. But no. So he is out of trianing for six months. He will be miserable at work for six months. All becuase he is an asshole who dodn't want to "lose" a friendly sparring match?

Like many people in TMA he had a fundamental misunderstanding of what works and WHEN to apply it.

I had superior position. Instead of attempting to MAIM ME, he should have dealt with that. Regained position. As long as I have superior position - even with your finger in my eye, I will keep it and then I will do what ever I want with you.

"Deadly Techniques" Don't mean shit if you don't have the delivery system. Sport systems have superior delivery systems because we can actually practice them at near full speed.

And. Then. WE can do the nasty shit, too.

Though none of that interests me as I hate hurting people. I hardly ever spar anymore. My ability has seriously slipped. Yet I am confident, if that guy hasn't changed his traditional triaing methods, I could do this to that guy again today. Though I would feel worse about it and would need to rest longer afterwords.
posted by tkchrist at 9:16 PM on September 4, 2006 [2 favorites]


Oh. Jeez. On Preview what Telf said. Listen to that guy.
posted by tkchrist at 10:12 PM on September 4, 2006


“How does a lethal practitioner train?? How does one know whether one's "chi energy fist of death" actually works? How does one practice to perfect the technique?? I'd think sparring partners would be hard to come by, unless the technique, well, doesn't actually work...”

For no snark intended, that sounds snarky. First - there’s no “chi energy fist of death” as far as I’m concerned. I’ve been to a number of seminars, classes, etc. etc. with some very reputable experts and the closest I’ve seen to the mystical techniques that work were explained fairly simply. (I’ve outlined in a prev. thread the Michael Jordaneque stutter step method of throwing someone without touching them - it’s wonderful in theory and as a refinement of technique, but I wouldn’t bet my life on it). Secondly, you would be surprised how often you can practice lethal techniques without full execution. There is of course, no substitute for experiance. Insofar as training, examples abound. Krav Maga isn’t bad. There are some shortcomings and it should add some techniques from Escrima, et. al - but the IDF guys in the field, Mossad CQB, et.al. make up for this with real world experience.
Sport training is similar to training in lethal techniques, but stamina is only a factor in prolonged operations. Rarely does one have the luxury of time especially with multiple opponents, and setting plays much more of a role in combat. Assuming and taking time to wear down an enemy means no one else is on their way to bother you, that he’s the aggressor (’cause why not just run away?), and of course weapons are off the table. In fact there are a lot of assumptions. For example - in sport fighting two guys square off on a well lit padded, relatively soft and very level ground. There is a referee, rules, etc. Even no holds-barred one could not, for example, throw sand into the other’s face as an initial move in this scenario even if one wanted to. You do not start fighting (for example) waist deep in water or in a pitch dark apartment building. Hand to hand combat isn’t joined at the point where, for example, you have a pistol with a blown suppresser on the end of it or you’ve lost your knife or it’s stuck in bone and your opponent has struck you in the gut with the but of his rifle. Or the reverse where you are on a VBSS and your opponent is armed and you cannot use lethal force against him.

“Sport systems have superior delivery systems because we can actually practice them at near full speed.”

That’s simply wrong. There is little difference between how sport and real world systems practice delivery (excepting weapons integration and improvisation). The difference is (as above) in setting and in final result. There is no “next round” or second chance. You fail to neutralize your opponent, you die. The difference in mindsets here is stunningly obvious - every comment theorizing as to ‘who would win if’ fails to take into account initial motivations, conditions, setting, etc. So if I smack into Matt Hughes’ car, he’s going to take me out? So howzabout 500 yards out in choppy seas, who wins then? Ok, we’re in darkness in a bombed out section of Beruit and I crush his head with a bit of paving stone that is handy nearby - cheating? All of the theorizing assumes orderly controlled conditions (and rules) that do not exist in the real world. You do indeed fight the way you train and sport fighters are tuned to certain pre-existing conditions. That they would be more likely to succeed under those conditions is self-evident. There is no question a trained fighter is more dangerous than an untrained fighter under most conditions. But why would one think training at Quantico or Coronado or anywhere else would be inferior to training at UFC Gym? Gym training is more specialized in setting (unique in fact), but I’ll grant, broader and more flexible in non-lethal technique - which leads to my next point:

“Now I'll grant that there may be some techniques that a "lethal" fighter may have more experience with (in both attack and defense)”

And here you are incorrect. The difference is in the prosecution of the technique not some esoteric secret moves. Putting aside the fact that eye gouges and fish hooks aren’t immediately lethal or conducive to a quick or quiet kill (where for example collapsing the trachea accomplishes both and prevents the gurgle when you open the carotid) both sport and lethal combatants repertoires have moves that could kill.
Sport fighters train to avoid the ultimate execution of the technique however and have a wider variety of technique to deal with the broader contingencies that result (from avoiding full neutralization), whereas lethal combatants - your Recon or Scout Sniper Marines, SEALs, Rangers, HRT’s, Spetsnaz (with Systema Rukopashnaya Boya) and assorted SFs who will find themselves in close quarter combat often enough to merit training in it - unlike Joe Grunt - will train to execute the technique. Their execution therefore will be faster and smoother (all things being equal - one does indeed fight as one trains).
But we’re talking “martial arts” here (in the thread). The mindset of martial artists and sport practitioners since Boddhidharma has been the idea of “self-defense.” Many folks here have been speaking of martial arts from this perspective and dismiss lethal practitioners as inferior or perverters of the ‘art.’
In fact it is the reverse that is true. The fighting arts exist as dynamic systems suited to modern combat and scenarios. Any form of combat that eliminates the option of killing and the efficiency that comes with it is the perversion of those. Much as a tiger in a zoo compared to a tiger in the wild. Yes, both are tigers. Yes, both will rip you to shreds if you get anywhere near them. But the tiger in the wild hunts for its meals and dies if it fails. Therefore the economy of technique and focus on only what absolutely works for the kill will be evident in how that tiger moves and hunts. The zoo tiger however will know humans, will know how to better deal with them and a million other things that the wild tiger doesn’t know. But again - that’s in a specialized setting. So put Hughes and say a CQB instructor in a ring and I’d say all things being equal Hughes would bust him up. He’s got more tools and experience and the CQB instructor is hampered because he cannot fully execute the techniques he’s trained to use. But if we’re talking a lethal situation, than we have to recognize setting and we cannot dictate ring conditions. That being the case, my money would be on the instructor killing Hughes before he can reorient himself (but even that assumes one opponent and a host of other conditions, not to mention being devoid of an objective). The military recognizes CQB as a highly perishable skill and trains the fuck out of the people that do it. They are professionals as well, they just don’t get fame and a big purse when they win. Quite the opposite in fact the emphasis is on avoiding a high-profile. There are realities in lethal combat that simply do not exist for non-real world competators. The least of these is weapons - a potential reality for lethal combatants that, as has been noted, doesn’t exist for sport competators. To my thinking any system of combat that does not integrate modern weapons or allow for lethal execution of techniques is inferior since one is training for specialized conditions that do not always exist.
But certain martial arts, UFC, MMA, etc. etc. - these systems assume at least some intelligent avoidance of the introduction of firearms and other weapons which is not unrealistic for most folks’ daily lives. Indeed recognition of the legal environment is one of the factors I think we can accept as a constant for most people.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:35 AM on September 5, 2006


/ a lot unsaid/unclarified there. I concede to common sense of course. Hopefully the gist is clear.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:43 AM on September 5, 2006


Mostly I agree with you smed. But we are talking about "fighting" and that is a mostly ritualized sub-set of combat between like combatants. Other people are bringing in lethality into the equation. That is a specious reasoning.

Further, I will say that most asian systems ARE ritualized combat.

Asian traditional fighting classes, while certainly dealing with lethal combat and weapons, was created under ritualized and idealized conditions. Though we should be careful not to over romanticize that too much. However, samurai and the like were facing eachother, recognized eachother, and were dealing with certainty on the field. In my opinion it is very much like a sport match BUT with weapons.

Without the weapons the asian arts are inferior and out of context and why they lose in the sporting arena and are also not so good for open ended "fighting." This is why Karate, Aikido and maybe Kung-fu don't really work out in the modern context of "fighting." The training was based on cultural idiom and esthetic rather than on pure practicality. And the training base was always about WEAPONS. Not empty hand. Then much of the stylized derivations of these Empty Hand arts evolved from the unique attribute base of particular set of founders of the arts. They do not translate well to the general populace without serious long term time investment.

Smed. You are addressing yet another sub-set of "fighting... Military Combat. Comparing practitioners of Sport and Military Combat will not yield much.

Civilian Self Defense is VERY different from "combat." Again under military "combat" conditions, and with the rules of engagement like they are, one can assume nearly ANYBODY you don't know you can kill. And. By any means. Being employed by the military can train full time for this. And removing your psychological obligations to peaceful society you can react and train with lethal preparation. But the reliance will STILL be on weapons, obviously.

Under Civilian Self Defense you can make no such assumptions or you will end up hurting people who pose no threat. And the legal obligation in CSD is for you to flee when no longer under threat. Relying on weapons for CSD may also not be possible.

Therefore in CSD the deck is very much stacked against you in your ability to prepare and the assumptions you can make. There is no demarcation as to what or where the battlefield is. Unless you want to live like a paranoid ninja. The other difference, and the GOOD news, is it is unlikely that in CSD the average situation will be lethal.

So I say Sport Training is superior for civilian self defense for these reasons. In that:

A) You can train to prepare for the most likely scenarios safely.

B) Training can be realistic.

C) It need not be a "lifestyle"

D) The techniques are generalized and don't need special attributes to learn.

E) Nearly anybody can do it and can become functional is short period of time.
posted by tkchrist at 11:30 AM on September 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


“Other people are bringing in lethality into the equation. That is a specious reasoning.”

Yeah, apples & oranges to a degree - I should have clarified that further.

“So I say Sport Training is superior for civilian self defense for these reasons...”

And again, I agree. But that is with the recognition of a certain environment and under certain conditions. That’s pretty much what I wanted to clarify. That those conditions are widespread (and for the most part a better bet to go with) doesn’t change the fact that they are artificially imposed. My principal objection was to the argument that a sport fighter can defeat a given hand to hand combat expert and I meant to clarify that it is a matter of those set conditions. Someone smacks into my car I’m not going to shoot them. (Nor am I going to snap their vertebrae. In fact unless I lose control I’m not likely to use physical force at all, I’m very likely to use the codified system we have in place and sue them.)
But you’ve pointed out further aspects of those conditions - which show, rightly, why most people don’t train like or join the special forces to have a working HTH system under their belts.

I will note on the whole issue of “weapons” there seems to be serious defects in the way some traditional arts are taught that has a huge blind spot when it comes to use of the environment and improvised weapons. Whole other ball of wax though.
And again - big chunk of stuff to discuss there that we probably already agree on.

/incidentally - would you call systema an “asian” martial art? I have a beef with a Russian (Omsk) buddy of mine who gets bent out of shape when I call him “Asian.”
...ah, maybe I’m just being a smart-ass.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:28 PM on September 5, 2006


would you call Systema an “asian” martial art?


I would call Systema a "crazy-ass russian thing that scares me" as leg locks, heel hooks and toe holds give me nightmares and I stay away from those people.

A long time ago, when I was doing Karate, a guy came in who saw a Systema/Sambo demo over a weekend.

Hey, he says, I saw this thing called a heel hook... and he goes and tries it out on a blue belt.

Ankles don't hurt. Until they go. People who have never been heel hooked before don't know when to tap. And Karate people don't train to tap at all.

What a terrible sound ankles make when they rip.
posted by tkchrist at 3:56 PM on September 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that’s the other side of it.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:22 PM on September 5, 2006


I have a good friend who learned Systema in prison a couple of years back. He is what is known in the trade as "a double-hard bastard". For the difference between self-defence and military hand-to-hand/CQC you might try reading "Get Tough" by W.E. Fairbairn (the particular page I've linked to there featuring the best way to snap someone's spine. Excellent. You may also like the "bronco kick" which can also easily kill. Bonus.

(Incidentally - Fairbairn-Sykes CQC was the basis of my original hand to hand training back in the day).
posted by longbaugh at 11:10 AM on September 6, 2006


« Older I don't want to get all fanboy about the upcoming ...  |  A slush fund for Bush, courtes... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments