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JKD UnderGround >> Making it your own


11/28/09 1:59 AM
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laqueus
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I often see the quote by Bruce Lee about making the style your own, but I haven't seen any in depth discussion about doing that, at least not in a JKD context. I'll see stuff about Judoka looking at what's good for a tall player or a short player, but that's the extent of what I see about customisation.

I also haven't really done much in the way of it. I've looked at what comes naturally to me or what I've found works reasonably well, but I haven't really approached things looking at what my attributes are and what my potentials and limitations are.

I'm 6' tall, and 140lbs right now (been on hiatus from training due to injury, which came from losing muscle being sick for over 2 months with the flu), I've got long arms, and short legs (short for a 6' tall guy anyway). So that obviously frames to a degree what my gifts and limitations are. I'm also not terribly strong, and my range of motion and flexibility isn't that great, but that's obviously something that can be fixed.

My frame's pretty much determined, I'm 25 years old, and I'm not going to be growing much. I might get quite a bit stronger, but I've never hit over 160lbs, and I doubt anything more than 180lbs is very likely. In that aspect I'm always going to be a smaller guy - so I figure my style should assume that. Where I'm a bit more unsure is with my height, I'm taller than almost everyone my weight, but if I look at my potential weight being 170-180, the guys who start having a noticeable weight advantage over that will be my height or bigger. This isn't terribly hard to do for grappling, I already practice with people who are heavier and my dimensions, and I like competing in absolute divisions. Striking, not so good, it's prudent for me to work with guys my weight, which means I'm going to be taller. I know I can use my reach on guys who are shorter than me, but guys with more reach I get lit up.

My striking knowledge and experience is pretty limited, I know I've got strong knees in the clinch, and my reach gives me a decent jab, but otherwise in terms of tactics and strategies I don't have much to go on, that's something I'll need to research, and also simply discover, more about.

Grappling I'm going through a big of a change, I've always gone for underhooks, but since starting Judo I've found overhooks work well for me, so I'm thinking about everything I can do for working overhooks into my game. I'm finding since I also have a long torso, I can overhook while mounted and it serves me well. So at this point I'm looking at overhooks being something I'm making my own. It's a pretty basic component of grappling, but it's interesting looking that simply my body type makes one thing a lot easier, and more effective than another.

I haven't really thought about this explicitly before today, so that's about as far as I am.

So what about you, what special considerations do you have for yourself, what tweaks have you made that suit you specifically, and make your style a very personal one?
11/28/09 1:51 PM
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WidespreadPanic
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Edited: 11/28/09 2:12 PM
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Doing MA/MMA/SD training or any kind of physical culture, let alone, trying to build the body you want on top of doing MMA is a daunting task. But...don't despair. It's not like in the old days where nobody had a clue. We have much better facilities, better food supplements (compare liquid protein of the 70s vs whey PP of today).

What I do is make a lot of lists, keep journals and track my workouts and diet, almost to an obsessive degree (I use Excel).

I try to build a conceptual framework, and get ideas from that, and use it to 'think outside the box'.

As to training, I've said many times (based on experience), that consistency is the most important factor in any training. Getting in there and doing your routine every day, not getting injured, learning to handle 'excuses', not being sidetracked is key. When you are successful, record your thoughts. See what is motivating and use that (things like 'while you're watching TV, she's in the gym doing squats', etc.).

It's also important to realize that there is 'training you want to do' and 'training you will do'. Often, I want to do certain things, I know I'm deficient, but it's hard breaking away from the things I like to do. I console myself by saying 'at least I'm out here, that's more than most', but it's not always a consolation.

Next, I try to break down things into components. Looking at MMA, what does it consist of?

01. Durability, staying power, general conditioning;
02. Takedowns and bridging the gap;
03. Grip fighting and clinching;
04. Tie-ups and pummeling;
05. Trips, sweeps and standing grappling;
06. Ground fighting (break this down also);
07. Stand up game (kicking, kneeing, striking);
08. Reversals (getting dominant position, getting back up when taken down);
09. Resisting (avoiding and countering - trips and throws, strikes, top position, submissions);
10. Sport-specific conditioning (grip strength, neck strength, power (vs strength), reflex development);
11. Experience (learning to roll and spar safely);
12. Nutrition, wellness (tracking what you eat, going beyond 'dieting');
13. Positive mental attitude (self-talk, imagery);
14. Rest (learning how to sleep well, getting adequate rest, napping, etc.);
15. Recovery (active recovery, tapering, peaking);
16. Functionalizing (experience, muscle-memory, time on the mat);
17. Working on your game. (understanding delivery systems, leverage, application of force, use of non-attribute-based methods, finding landmarks, studying elements of various games (see Erik Paulsen), working strengths vs weaknesses, finding the holes in your game.);
18. Studying tapes and written materials, breaking down you knowledge into manageable bits;
19. Studying and applying anatomy, physiology and energy systems;
20. Tying it all together, and cross training (parkour, fartlek training, gaming, working with a variety of opponents).

At 25, time is on your side. Keep going, don't give up and you'll get there. I know it's frustrating, looking at phenoms who are already in the UFC at age 22. But in the end, the goal is competing against yourself, being better than you were at the beginning.

That's a pretty good start. Within a week try to do 'something' related to each of those, even if it's just reading or studying something.

HTH.

      
11/28/09 2:01 PM
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WidespreadPanic
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Edited: 11/28/09 2:05 PM
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 In terms of consistency I like to break it down like this.

If you train 3x per week, that's only 12 sessions/month or 144 sessions/year, max.  With vacations, layoffs, illness, you're down to 100-120 sessions/year. That's not a large amount from which to expect improvement. Obviously, we're dealing about ability to recover, base training and other things, so you can't start out doing 7 days a week from day one. Start -very- slowly. Just adding one day per month adds up exponentially.

I try to train 5-6 days per week on average, though I aim for 6 or 7 (doing various things). That's 20-24 sessions/month, 240-288 sessions/year. In the month of July (my 'season"), I try to do two-a-day for three weeks. (were I younger, I'd be able to do more, but I'm way over the hill, lol). Potentially, that adds 18-20 more sessions for the year. I usually make about 90% of this yearly goal.

When I graph and track my workouts, I look for trends. Peaks and valleys. I usually can have mini-peaks about 6 times a year and have mega peaks about twice a year. I try to look at the training I've done in the three weeks building up to the peaks, and try to repeat that.

Leading up to my 'season' I work on tapering and try to track how that affects things. I'm not always successful. In fact, I miss my peak during the 'season' 2 out of 5 times (looking back). It's frustrating. I have to deal with having average genetics.

Another key is learning 'how' you get where you're going. You may know 'what' to eat, but the key is learning 'how' to eat what you should.  Further, it's important to know how to build habits, avoid temptations and how to keep from doing that which you know is wrong or bad for you. So it's a constant process of learning, trial and error. But as I said above, we virtually know everything you need to do to become the best you can be in MMA, unlike 'in the day' were almost nobody had a clue and in fact, there was a lot of misinformation.

$0.02

 
11/29/09 6:20 AM
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BigSifu
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I train 5 times a week. When I'm not training I read,take notes,look up stuff on the internet,watch vids,etc...

I do a lot of stuff outside of MMA (Kali,PFS/RAT,) so when I get in a rut with one thing I can switch gears.

I find that when you go to the gym,you need a plan that addresses whatever your weakness is. Don't worry about what the other guy is doing,find what works for YOU. Your body will go through many stages,I will be training when I'm 65,but I'll train differently.

The best way to develope your "style" is to work against different sparring partners of different shapes,sizes,and skill levels.

Work hard at all ranges,don't worry too much about your "style",it will be different in 5,10,20 years!
12/2/09 6:39 AM
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phauna
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Your style just comes out of what and how much you do of things. So if you train jits five days a week you are going to be a ground specialist. Personally I started MA doing a lot of lame traditional styles like TKD, and I call them lame but when I do striking, I do kick better than others. Even though I don't do TKD kicks, I just seem more flexible and 'used to' kicking re balance and footwork. I assume this is because of my base styles.

Similarly a stint in Wing Chun now affects my kali stuff, I can't seem to untrain certain things and this has become my style. One way to see what your style is is to ask your partners how they see you. I've been called a triangle guy, a guard guy, a no gi guy, that kicking guy, that flexible guy, that wrestling guy, that guy who whips out weird submissions. Things I'm not include a strong guy, an aggressive guy, a power guy, a fast guy, an infighting guy, etc.

My build dictates some of the stuff above, I'm tall and not as strong as others in my weight group. However my previous styles often come to the fore. I've whipped out some tai chi, chi gerk, unbalancing foot sweep type things very occasionally. Pak sao and jab to the head works well. I do wrestling sweeps from four quarters and not jits ones. Gogoplata is a go to, etc. These are my style.

Think about the types of partners you face. In jits there are the heavy pressure guys and the bouncing all over the place acrobatic passing guys. In striking there are the head hunters, the counter punchers, the easily angered, the easily cowed.

There doesn't need to be a specific place you are aiming for if you continue to spar realistically with a variety of partners. This is your laboratory, if things don't work try other things. It's hard to know your goals if you don't know what works for you and what doesn't. There may very well be no goals, just the process.

Okay even longer. Fedor is the epitome of what an unarmed fighter can be, well rounded, powerful, savvy, a good planner, a good survivor, etc. So to become like Fedor would be a good goal for a martial artist. Fedor is the highest goal that we know of.

However, what will Fedor do when he inevitably loses a match? Will he continue to do the same things, will he just try to become even more Fedor-like? Probably not, his goal will change, his style will change, someone has worked him out so he needs to adapt. So there is not much reason to consciously map out a style you think will work. Your style may only work for now, not always.
12/2/09 2:46 PM
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laqueus
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Something I've noticed with what people think about me is that half the stuff isn't true. People think I'm strong, flexible and have long legs. I'm none of those, I just have technique to overcome the limitations of being weak, inflexible and having short legs.

I'm also thinking that my style isn't strongly dictated by what I train. I started out in Karate, and then added some wrestling. I did wrestling very naturally, and was with no BJJ training able to work some basic open and half guard into my game without being pinned. I taught myself through videos, and got way further much faster with grappling and no instruction than I ever did with striking. Naturally that's resulted in me gravitating to what I'm good at and neglecting what I really need to work on.

Obviously it could go a couple ways, if you're naturally good at one and not the other, the first thing you train might be it and it'll look like it's because that's what you started on, or it could be what you have a hard time with, and you realise when you switch to something else that it's much more for you.
12/2/09 5:32 PM
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twinkletoesCT
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I'm 5'10", 175 and leanly built.

My entire BJJ game is built around the expectation that my partner will have more upper body strength than I do, and I will have to nullify that advantage.

If he doesn't, it's just a bonus. :)
12/5/09 7:07 AM
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phauna
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laqueus - I started out in Karate, and then added some wrestling. I did wrestling very naturally, and was with no BJJ training able to work some basic open and half guard into my game without being pinned. I taught myself through videos, and got way further much faster with grappling and no instruction than I ever did with striking. Naturally that's resulted in me gravitating to what I'm good at and neglecting what I really need to work on.


Work on everything but there's no problem being good at one thing, or even specialising. A pure grappler still beats a pure striker most of the time. If you ever fight someone for real they will probably be hopelessly out of your league anyway, not many people can fight or train to fight. Trained usually beats untrained.
12/5/09 7:23 AM
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laqueus
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Yeah of course, there's certainly a positive way of looking at it, but if I'm going to improve myself I think I need to look at what I do a bit more critically. Admittedly I've noticed that my most difficult fights are when I'm being aggressive on someone circling away and trying to keep the fight standing, and in an actual fight if someone's a threat to me they'll be moving into my range, but I'd still like to particularly at least develop the striking ability to avoid being knocked out by a good boxer long enough to reliably and consitently get the clinch and get the fight down.
12/7/09 11:49 AM
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WidespreadPanic
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Edited: 12/07/09 11:55 AM
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 ^ IMO, I think the main things one should be able to do if they want to be a well-rounded, intermediate fighter are:

1. Good takedown skills - double, single, and a couple variations;
2. Whizzer, single collar tieup - basic wrestling clinch game;
3. Ground game consisting of:
  a. able to reliably get to guard from mount;
  b. a couple good sweeps (knowing the principles behind reversing);
  c. two good subs from the guard, three from top control;
  d. two or three 'games' from top control - tight and close, loose and mobile, knee in belly;
  e. escapes from the mount - upa;
4. Mobile kicking skills - teep, roundhouse, leg kick - inside and outside;
5. Stand up skills:
  a. Good peek-a-boo defense (Rodney King - crazy monkey);
  b. non-telegraphic jab - double-up jab;
  c. left and right hook - left hook, hook off the jab, right hook to the body, double right hook (hi-low), liver shot;
  d. superman punch - (some think it's easily countered, but done in combo it's a good distance getter and sometime fight ender);
6. Sprawl (and variations to stuff the takedown);

I think if you can perform the above with a modicum of skill against a resisting opponent (functionalized), you'll have a pretty good game. I may have left something out, didn't talk about conditioning, or tying all these skills together...

$0.02
12/7/09 2:22 PM
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Seul
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"
I'm also thinking that my style isn't strongly dictated by what I train. I started out in Karate, and then added some wrestling. I did wrestling very naturally, and was with no BJJ training able to work some basic open and half guard into my game without being pinned. I taught myself through videos, and got way further much faster with grappling and no instruction than I ever did with striking. Naturally that's resulted in me gravitating to what I'm good at and neglecting what I really need to work on."


I did the same thhing (almost exactly), and found the same thing to be true. I've never been all that good at stand-up (even though the karate school I went to sparred hard and some extremely good guys mixed in with all the lay-people), but I picked up wrestling very quickly. Same thing happened when I started doing no-gi submission (though for me, my ground-game improved a ton when I started basing it more around wrestling basics and less around the guard).

I think it's important to find stuff that fits your temperament as much as your body type. I tend to be pretty aggressive (in terms of putting on pressure), but I prefer to base everything aggressive off of counters; this is a natural tendency I have that's shown itself in all the styles I've trained, and when my coaches/trainers take note of this and help me develop my skills in this direction everything goes better for me.

Widespread Panic-

That's an excellent list, imo.

What do you train in? Have you fought? What is your training history like?
12/7/09 2:32 PM
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Seul
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Also, I notice you didn't include a straight right on your list; do you think r-hooks are more important? how so?


though i agree that right hooks are a useful tool. I developed a really good close-range right hook/overhand right that I can throw fast, hard, and with good timing (or in combo body to head) during a hiatus from formal training; it's been a really useful punch. I can usually get it off against people who are much much much better than me (it's the only punch I can reliably land on my boxing trainers, they can block/dodge everything else) and it fits in well with my bread and butter wrestling moves. It's the only punch I've been able to put people down with, though I'm working on my left hook.
12/7/09 2:43 PM
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laqueus
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As far as street self defense goes I have an issue with basic boxing - you're going to break your hands. Pancrase style fighting makes more sense there, but there isn't really much out there in terms of alternatives to punching with a closed fist, so it's almost like you have to settle for maybe breaking your hand.

Personally I find the jab to be by far the most important (or straight lead, that's kind of like 1.5 punches) probably for everyone, but I find personally a rear uppercut would work better into my game than a cross or hook. I wouldn't necessarily suggest that for anyone else, but given how hard striking is for me, I think it makes sense to work the punches that I have the least failure with, strengthen them and then have something worth threatening opponents with in sparring so they actually have to respect coming inside my reach.
12/7/09 5:27 PM
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Seul
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^^^I agree with the jab thing 100%, I amazed (now that I've been shown how to start developing a good jab) how much it is increasing my comfort with standup.

I disagree with boxing for self-defense, I think it is amazing. I think breaking your hands is not a huge concern (punch people in the nose or on the side of their jaw/chin or in their body), and I think learning how to defend yourself against someone trying to punch you in the face is invaluable (imo, boxing does this the best).

I think most self-defense scenarios (at least in the western world) that don't include weapons involve people trying to tackle/grab each other and people trying to punch each other in the face. From this perspective, western boxing and wrestling are going to be very pertinent.
12/7/09 5:31 PM
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laqueus
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Well certainly I see it being important for defensive purposes, but if possible I'd like to not break my own hands.
12/7/09 8:50 PM
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WidespreadPanic
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Edited: 12/07/09 10:58 PM
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Learning to a real hook (not just a bent arm blow) is a great skill to have. Sure you should be able to throw and time a cross, but a straight left, or straight lead is the hardest strike to learn (non-telegraphically) and if you learn to do that, the right should work out naturally. That's why I didn't list it.

For a 'jab' on the street, probably good to use a JKD type finger jab, but not to poke the eyes, just enough to cause tearing. BUT, the main reason to know boxing is that sloppy boxing is what most guys are going to use against you - if you are good at boxing, their attacks will seem primitive and sloppy and easy to handle.

I really think takedowns and chokeouts are the best for the street. The takedown nullifies about 95% of fighters/thugs, and the RNC doesn't leave any marks. But I'm mainly talking gym sparring. Along the way to developing the skills I listed you'll learn a lot of collateral skills, and the 'flow' in each of those ranges. Most people will focus on just a few, but you should learn enough to execute credibly in each of those.

Just some quick thoughts off the top of my head. Good thread.

 
12/9/09 2:45 PM
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Kai Tremeche
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I'm always so disappointed with the disdain for punching. If you're in an engagement that lasts long enough that you are having to worry about your broken hand, you are going about self-defense wrong.

Self-defense situations are something to always avoid, like car accidents.
12/9/09 2:56 PM
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twinkletoesCT
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Kai - I LOVE the post you just made.

I also find that I both DO agree and DON'T agree at the same time.

I love the comparison to car accidents as a way of encouraging avoidance, and I think it's a fair one in THAT way.

However, I wonder if it doesn't imply something unintentional about the implications of training for self-defense...because you can't train to improve your odds of surviving a car accident, but you CAN do so with self-defense. And I think the question of "well, how?" is the underlying question in all of these debates.

I think self-defense instructors play the following role: we help provide students with an understanding of WHAT options are available to them, and then we help them determine WHICH of those options are appropriate to them personally.

So from this perspective, I'd say ALL students should be avoiding conflicts, SOME students should buy a home security system and a big dog, SOME students should carry a gun, SOME students could benefit from hands-on training, SOME students should be including boxing in that training...


I don't think you said anything that conflicts with what I wrote, but I think some people could read an implication in your post that heads in that direction.

And I still love it. Pithy. Concise. Good times.

Best,

~Chris
12/9/09 3:09 PM
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Kai Tremeche
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twinkletoesCT - Kai - I LOVE the post you just made.

I also find that I both DO agree and DON'T agree at the same time.

I love the comparison to car accidents as a way of encouraging avoidance, and I think it's a fair one in THAT way.

However, I wonder if it doesn't imply something unintentional about the implications of training for self-defense...because you can't train to improve your odds of surviving a car accident, but you CAN do so with self-defense. And I think the question of "well, how?" is the underlying question in all of these debates.

I think self-defense instructors play the following role: we help provide students with an understanding of WHAT options are available to them, and then we help them determine WHICH of those options are appropriate to them personally.

So from this perspective, I'd say ALL students should be avoiding conflicts, SOME students should buy a home security system and a big dog, SOME students should carry a gun, SOME students could benefit from hands-on training, SOME students should be including boxing in that training...


I don't think you said anything that conflicts with what I wrote, but I think some people could read an implication in your post that heads in that direction.

And I still love it. Pithy. Concise. Good times.

Best,

~Chris


Then I won't expound more on the subject other than I agree with you that training is relevant, we just have to keep certain things in realistic view.
12/9/09 4:44 PM
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WidespreadPanic
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 Kai, CT, I agree with your comments. I think it's only fairly recently that people have actually become competent at 'street SD', in that venue where there might be a single person threat, that they have come to realize the benefits of 'defusing, de-escalation, and evasion' as the ONLY response to such things. You can -choose- if you're going to fight or not if you have skill. If you -don't- have skills the other guy gets to choose. (IOW, if you have skills, he'd not really a threat and can't threaten you).

Of course I'm talking about such things as a road rage situation or a simple mugging (no weapon/gun), or some kind of bar fight situation. Back in the day when everyone did TMA and RBSD, they had only speculation and 'stories' of the authenticity of any type of training. Now, we know.

I also agree with CT that some people do need to up their skills, strategies and tactics, so there is some benefit to SD training, but -mainly- as a route to not needing to fight.

The last thing I want to do, if I lived in a dangerous area is to be at the point where I have to go H2H with a mugger in my bedroom. If I have a threat, then there will be dogs, alarms, bars on the window, and safe rooms and guns before I should ever need to 'get sweaty'.

$0.02


12/9/09 9:16 PM
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laqueus
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Kai Tremeche - I'm always so disappointed with the disdain for punching. If you're in an engagement that lasts long enough that you are having to worry about your broken hand, you are going about self-defense wrong.

Self-defense situations are something to always avoid, like car accidents.


Another more practical thing for me personally is I'm not even sure I have the heart/guts to hit someone hard. I've been having a mental block with that for years, so the broken hand issue is more something that would affect me after I get over the not hitting hard enough issue.

Still speaking on broken hands though, if you can hit someone without breaking your hands, that's always better than breaking your hands in the process. It's also not a matter of length of time in the engagement, you can break it on the first punch you throw, which could be a second into the attack.

And really, why settle for a broken hand if you can figure out a way of not having it happen? If it's unavoidable, then sure, I'll take a broken hand, but it's not something I feel I should just accept.
12/9/09 9:24 PM
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laqueus
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With regards to the car accident example, I'm as good at avoiding fights as I am car accidents. I'm actually anal about who I drive with, and if the driver is driving in a way I don't like I ask them to calm down or at least let me out (even if I have to walk - it's no big deal, I do marathons) and never get in the car with them again. I'm also always completely calm in the car, even if I'm giving directions and if the driver misses the turn off I don't freak out saying "it's right there", I wait 5 seconds and say "that's where we should have turned off, next option is up there" so there's no reaction where they slam on the breaks and swerve across traffic.

Similarly for self defense, I live in an area that's got a very low crime rate and I don't go to events or locations that have reps for having fights, or even risk of it. If a club or bar has security guards with a wand checking for weapons I don't even enter. If they're doing that it's a sign they're concerned people will bring weapons to a fight, and if they're worried about that I shouldn't be there. I don't even have to go as far as de-escalating or defusing the situation - they just don't happen at all.

So for me, this is almost entirely academic, and to a degree fantasy (aside from the fact that I do compete in MMA and related sports) to be thinking about Martial Arts in a self defense context. If I'm ever going to have to use it it's going to be in a completely bizarre situation, and I really have no way of predicting what might precipitate it, since anything that I can predict I avoid.
12/9/09 9:46 PM
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WidespreadPanic
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Edited: 12/09/09 9:48 PM
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^^ You mention not being sure you have the heart/guts to hit someone hard...

First, it's something you will just do naturally if/when such a situation presents. But, if I understand your point, it's not about being afraid, or being reluctant to hit someone. As soon as you do, especially if you break something - like their eye socket orbital bone, then you move into the range of felony battering and civil suits.

Second, most (though not all) people can take a lot of punishment (another reason to go for the RNC - you're not reduced to battering someone to a bloody pulp).

It's MUCH better to do a takedown (unless the ground is dangerous) and getting a choke. No marks - guy goes to sleep - or the takedown is jarring enough (say onto grass) that he quits.

Having said that, a quick hook to the liver or kidney can do wonders and rarely leaves a mark.

ALWAYS be looking for an escape route if you have to use physical means. Know who is watching you. Never fight where you look like the aggressor (holding up hands and backing away saying 'I don't want to fight' in a loud voice, even running to a secluded alley are all worthwhile strategies). Do not stick around - neither, hurt the guy so bad that if you leave him he'll die unless it's an all-out threat to your life or life of your loved ones. Then, you have no choice.

But, I totally empathize with the 'no heart' to hit someone really hard - a normal person. It never feels good afterwards to hurt someone, even if they were the aggressor. Plus, though this sounds a little 'emo' you're teaching them that physical violence can solve intrapersonal conflict. Why prime them to go home and beat their wife? I've made a couple 'friends' when I successfully de-escalated - most 'civilians' can be reasoned with. Predators, not so much.

You want to go home, have piece of mind. If you defuse you get that. If you hurt someone or have to fight, it preys on your mind.

$0.02

 
12/12/09 2:06 PM
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Sir Drinks a lot
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Member Since: 10/14/08
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Excellent thread.
12/17/09 5:57 AM
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phauna
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If you have to do some bare knuckle boxing on someone, just don't hit as hard. A few jabs to the nose and a hook to the ear will be quite dissuading, especially if they don't land anything on you while you do it. A broken nose, a teary eye, a stinging ear, it's enough to put most off.

If not, you can always shoot a double or single better off of a jab. You need some entry to the grappling range.

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