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Thread: "Real-world self-defense"

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    Default "Real-world self-defense"

    I just finished readig an article posted in the Library at this link: http://www.kenpotalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1678.

    The basic premise of the article was that many adult students drop out of MA classes because although the instructor teaches what he claims to be self-defense, they do not see it as viable, and feel that the instructor lacks proven experience in what he is teaching.

    I have seen the same thing in many studios that I have visited. My first instructor taught in such a way that I and my fellow students had no doubt that he knew what he was talking about. He had been in the martial arts since early childhood, had competed and won at many tournaments, had been in street gangs, and had used his kenpo in actual self-defense situations (he tells one story about beating down two Marines who were trying to rape his sister in a parking lot when he was 16). So, I learned from someone who definitely had real-world experience, as well as the tournament stuff, and knew the difference. But I have never had that experience (and to be honest, I'm not going to go out of my way to get it!). So, how do I transmit to my students what he gave me, and keep it real - especially as it's passed through the generations?

    I have seen many different karate studios that have this same problem. I recently began studying at a studio that is a classic example. The students have excellent form. They do extremely well at tournaments. But the head instructor has NO experience whatsoever outside the tournament scene, and from what I gather, neither does his instructor! Needless to say, although the students LOOK good, they have no power whatsoever. I've tried to go a little harder with some of them, and some of the older teenage boys love it, but most of the students just don't have a clue what it means to REALLY hit something.

    I don't think this is just something that I've seen in just a few schools. It seems to be a real trend. How do you get over these issues in your school?

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    Default Re: "Real-world self-defense"

    Contact is part of it. We usually graduate students from hitting a bag or dummy up to working with other students. While control is very important, it's just as important for students to know how to apply what they've learned.

    I don't think it matters if an instructor has never been in a real altercation. What's important is that the instructor knows how the techniques work and is able to explain that to the student in a manner they can comprehend and understand. The student simply needs to recognize the logic behind what it is they are doing. That's all...IMHO.
    "It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence." – Charles A. Beard

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    Default Re: "Real-world self-defense"

    I would have to agree with that. How you train is how you will function. Given a situation that requires you to act, you will act quickly based on how you were taught. I can remember when I was in High School I watched a TKD student in a fight. His wheel kick to the head was beautifully executed but, it had the same amount of power he used in sparring. In other words, he pulled his kick without thinking about it. Do I advocate full power hitting all the time, absolutely not. The problem was he was trained to point fight he was never taught about power. Unfortunately for him , the other guy didn't pull the punch to his face. Lesson learned.

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    Default Re: "Real-world self-defense"

    It's not a problem at our school. Our Black Belts get on to us if we don't hit them at least on a 6 or 7 on a one to ten scale.

    We usually run through a tech two or three times in a self defense line. First one is slow and concentrates on the targets. The second is for timing, and the third we add some power and hit to the body to substitute the actual targets and save our training partners.

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    Default Re: "Real-world self-defense"

    I have that problem.

    Many of my students are either kids (14) or women who don't want to get hit.

    When I was younger, I was at a really tough school. My instructor kicked my butt regularly. And once, after sparring, I was, okay I'll say it, pouting, because one of the big guys dropped me with a punch or kick.

    I complained that he was much bigger than me and he hit me really really hard.

    My instructor said something very wise to me: He said, "If I thought you were only going to be attacked by women your own size and weight, that's all I'd have you fight."

    He was right.

    Since then, I've gotten older and have no interest in being pummelled, but I probably should practice getting hit harder than I do. It helps you get used to the shock value of being hit. I hit the big guys (Like Chris, who is new), but if I hit the women, they would leave. Not my school.

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    Default Re: "Real-world self-defense"

    I agree. I think Kenpo is a great way to help women develop that "I'm not a victim" attitude. And really, that goes a long way. Men should train a little harder because we're less likely to avoid trouble. Damn hormones!

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    Default Re: "Real-world self-defense"

    One of the major problems of martial arts schools (the one's in my area) is that they cater to the family atmosphere without informing them of the reality of what they are being taught. If you are teaching people to be able to compete in tournament martial arts then you should tell them that with activitites such as this... that they are not ready for a committed violent assault. They should be informed from the beginning that what they know benefits them in the ring and "helps" outside of it. Of course it imparts knowledge of timing, targeting and the ability to find a better way out of a stiuation but the person who tries "self defense number:191, Screaming Mimi's Revenge" might have that very thing turned against them by a commited attacker who is accustomed to violence.

    Some of the fault lies with the instructors who acquiese to things like "i don't want to get hit" and "i don't like sparring...it's too rough." A large chunk lies with us who tollerate such behavior from our peers. What did they think they were training for, creative dance? It is up to us as proponents of combative disciplines to impart to the average person that there is a difference between the padded gloved atmosphere of a guarded ring and the violence of an assault of a person trying to do you serious harm.

    Some things we can do to educate is:

    *Demonstrate by example: Train with discipline and intesnity to show what good hard training is all about:
    *Be Honest: tell people to flush their notions about martial arts. Let them know the difference between tournament atmosphere and training for actual assualt. Educate them on the difference so that they can be informed.
    *Cross train: Let those that train in tournament style stuff take a peek and taste of some reality based training and let some of the reality guys do the reverse...See what happens

    It's al good...
    Regards,
    Walt

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    Default Re: "Real-world self-defense"

    Quote Originally Posted by kroh
    Some things we can do to educate is:

    *Demonstrate by example: Train with discipline and intesnity to show what good hard training is all about:
    *Be Honest: tell people to flush their notions about martial arts. Let them know the difference between tournament atmosphere and training for actual assualt. Educate them on the difference so that they can be informed.
    *Cross train: Let those that train in tournament style stuff take a peek and taste of some reality based training and let some of the reality guys do the reverse...See what happens

    It's al good...
    Regards,
    Walt
    I have to agree. Exposure, education and interaction are really the only methods to dispel those doubts. You can tell a person anything you want and they chose whether or not to believe you. Exposing them to the realities, educating them on the differences and make them interact with them in all the varied environments literally forces them to rethink what they may have taken before at face value.
    "Change is not necessary...Survival is not mandatory" - W. Edward Deming

    "When I hit....I hit the whole enchilada" - Master David Leung

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    Default Re: "Real-world self-defense"

    Quote Originally Posted by takai
    Exposing them to the realities, educating them on the differences and make them interact with them in all the varied environments literally forces them to rethink what they may have taken before at face value.
    Yep...It was a real eye opener when I got rocked in the skull for the very first time. Knuckles in the skull can close and open eyes in new and exciting ways.

    Regadrs,
    Walt

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    Default Re: "Real-world self-defense"

    First, understanding what you teach and being able to show them how it works. Don't be afraid to let the new students "feel" a little of what you are talking about.

    Second, get past the dojo style attacks and work the techniques from more realistic scenarios. And get in close- thats where pure Kenpo occurs- Where "pure knuckles meet pure flesh." (Do I need to name the source?)

    Spar with varying levels of contact. For advanced students, some hard contact should be required. There's no BS or cheats with contact, and even the junior students watching this will know they are looking at the real deal.

    Start working out with different stylists that do realistic training and sparing. Word will getaround you aren't afraid to put your stuff on the line.

    Last, you don't have to go looking for fights to prove you can. You can find people you trust who have experience in many different types of fights and situations. Military, police, security people, even street types (hopefully reformed) or other martial artists (not necessarily even in Kenpo, just with fight experience). Work with them ahead of time so there are no surprises, then have them guest instruct a classs or two.

    I guess the bottom line is if you are real in your own training, and are real with them, they'll see it.

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    Default Re: "Real-world self-defense"

    [img=thedan]I guess the bottom line is if you are real in your own training, and are real with them, they'll see it.[/quote]

    nice...I second that
    Regards,
    Walt

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    Default Re: "Real-world self-defense"

    At our school the adult BB students make a pretty big deal out of someone new joining. There are a bunch of them willing to pair with the brand new adults during class and help them individually with their techs. It wasn't that long ago that the newbie was me.

    For me it was a great experience because it was training with constrant supervision. The BBs were great, they would put a lot of passion and play-acting in to the attack but very little contact. They would encourage me to pound on them really hard. In turn, they would *very* gradually build up their strikes until I was the one encouraging them to hit me harder.

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    Default Re: "Real-world self-defense"

    That is a really cool idea...nice!
    Regards,
    Walt

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    Default Re: "Real-world self-defense"

    Hello TheSensei,

    Just joined so my response is late.

    You posted about keeping it real for beginners.

    Some of the responses have been really good (to my mind):
    I agree but I also take a slightly different tact in this matter.

    I draw out of a beginner where they stand before I show them anything.
    I make it kind of an ethical dilemma type of question.

    For example:
    “What would you do if someone used 2 hands to shove you back wards.”

    In my humble opinion;
    Most beginners that I have met have 3 problems.
    1. They are overwhelmed by the concept of hurting or being hurt weekly.
    (They have not done this before.)
    2. They are overawed by the speed and power being demonstrated.
    (Striking several times in a second is not a usual occurrence.)
    3. They absolutely cannot admit this to themselves, much less to anyone less.
    (I am not a candyass!)

    Let’s face it; joining Martial Arts is a commitment.
    Practicing takes time, and so does skill development.
    It seems to me that beginners want to get good.
    But they don't understanding what that means...yet.

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