Monday, July 02, 2012

Training Live

  I heard (again--sigh) that classical systems don't train live.  Maybe some don't.  Maybe most don't.  This is the list of the types of sparring that we did under Dave.  I don't know for sure how much was introduced by him and how much was already in the system.

Kumite- was straight up non-contact karate point sparring.

Tachiwaza randori- Judo throwing randori.

Newaza randori- Grappling.  It was under judo rules, but sometimes we would ignore the 25-second osaekomi ippon and keep going.  We didn't incorporate leg locks.  They were in the syllabus, but we played by judo rules.  I incorporate them now when I play.

Judo randori- combining both of the above

Sparring- was controlled contact but all strikes, throws, locks and immobilizations were allowed.  Contact was graded up to what we called 'stiff'.  Beginners would work light contact.

Jujutsu randori.  We had two different things called JJ randori.  One was counter assault.  Uke would give a committed attack and tori would take him out.  I now call this drill take-outs.  The second, cooler version was similar to 'sparring', above.  All techniques allowed.  Stiff contact (but it had to be controlled-- you wanted people to know they were open, you wanted it to hurt and impede, but still be okay for work the next morning) but it started at contact range.  Chest touching chest, chest touching back or chest touching flank.
There are a lot of reasons I love that drill.  You are in range for everything-- strikes (including head butts and some very interesting kicks) gouges, locks, throws and puppetmastering. Which means that everything you do has to be coordinated.  It is so fast and so close that if there are any divisions in your mind between classes of technique or offense and defense you will not be able to keep up.
Can't do that one in a seminar format.  Everyone needs superb breakfall skills; there has to be a level of trust and control (you will remember stiff contact from a head butt.  You might not be able to remember uncontrolled contact) and people who haven't been exposed to that tend to panic.

There are other live trainings.  Stuff not from Dave:

With Mac:

Contact stick fighting- Padded sticks and hockey gear

Mixed weapons- Level of contact depending on the weapon and the armor... but, yeah.  Fun.

From the Agency:
ConSim- Full blown scenarios with all force options and policy and force law in play.  Critical for developing judgment.

Stuff I've added:
The One-step- In a lot of ways this is the introductory version of JJ randori.  The big advantage is that you can do it safely with strangers even in environmental fighting.  It's live, but it misses the pain, fear and most of the effort (not quite the right word) of fighting.  How about very good live training but very low resistance?  That about sums it up.

Rolling Dirty- Grappling with the strikes, gouges and normally illegal locks in.  Have to control contact because, obviously, hammering the brainstem or rupturing an eardrum will really mess up someone's day.

All of these have value and you learn something. And with all of them you completely fail to learn other things.  Train hard, but don't fall in love with a method.  Training for dangerous things will never have a one-to-one correlation with doing dangerous things. Not unless the training has the same casualty rate as the event.


nry said...

We did alot of 'live' training in my previous JJ style, though it was in no way a traditional style - it was even part of the grading which I felt was excellent.

My current koryu training hasn't had any 'live' stuff in yet. We did a little of it on a course a few months ago, but it has so far not popped up again. I am very very keen to introduce it again, and when discussed with some others it was also something they wanted to re-introduce. I need to raise it with our UK head of style (who is also teaching us).

It was interesting to read your ideas on 'live' training, as I've done a good bit of dwelling on this recently. I wasn't overly sure that the koryu techniques were 'safe' enough to use in the type of stuff we did in my previous style, though your ideas appear to meet mine pretty well on introducing a slightly more controlled but still free/live/random attack and defence scenarios, building towards faster and more realistic scenarios, including weapons/multiple attacker/escape situations as people progress.

I'll get there with it, even if it means I am the one teaching - probably a few years off this yet though :)

Anonymous said...

''The military exercise of ‘milling’ is designed to emphasise the aggression ethos - attack is all that is allowed - which (shock, horror) would hold up for most people better in a real fight (because it actually resembles what a real fight is more than most ’systems’ ever will!) and the crazy thing is that this is accidental! It was only developed as a ‘bottle’ tester - never as a fighting method, but it underlines how important will is, over skill. Mindset is the underpinning requirement for combat - with it even the worst tactics and techniques prevail, without it the best skills fail. Keep the mindset/will/intent required for milling as the base element, then tune up the tactics and tools utilised (remove the ‘front crawl’ fighting style for starters!) and you will have a potent combative method. If I had 5 minutes to teach someone how to win a fight, I would not hesitate to recommend this approach - and it’d work too!''


Regarding milling:


Anonymous said...

Another example - Russian SF:

Not all Russian SF units have the same exam like the one shown on the video but similar. Depends on a unit.

For example Dutch and Serbian SF have the same (similar) test. I don't know about others.

It's interesting to compare different approaches. This is how they do it at the marine recon:


David said...

Your training may have been an exception Rory, and it's possible the schools that invite you for seminars are also exceptions in that they're interested in material outside the borders of their style.

In my experience, having checked out numerous traditional schools (of all sorts), the majority of them did not "train live", at least in the true sense of the word "live". Most styles, IME, have some sort of "take out drills" (as you call them), but the attacks tend to be pretty limited due to the conditioning often inherent in single style schools.

On the other hand, the problem I've seen with many traditional schools that DO "spar", is that they do it in an extremely ineffective and inefficient manner. It often does look like a combination of bad kickboxing and bad wrestling. You'll very often (and you can probably see this with a quick search on YouTube) see traditional martial artists sparring, but using almost none of the techniques they train in solo and cooperative partner drills. The same can be said for the majority of FMA/weapons material too...and for the same reasons in my opinion.

You have teachers who don't really have "the fighter's understanding", as Marc Denny referred to it. They teach techniques in forms and in cooperative drills, and then tell their students: go spar. They don't teach them how to spar, or how to use the techniques they train in sparring. Or, they say the real techniques they practice are too dangerous for sparring. I think this is unfortunately more common than not.

No matter how dangerous a technique is, you can integrate it into sparring either by using protective gear, lowering the intensity, or not going all the way. Sure, as you know, it's missing elements in comparison to real fighting, but you compensate by mixing the methods to balance that out. I don't think most traditional schools do this, at least from what I've seen. And when they do do it, they tend to do it VERY poorly. I think that's one reason you saw traditional martial artists getting taken out easily in the early MMA competitions. It's also why Kano's judo students were easily beating ju jutsu students...better training.

Jake said...

I think your experiences are the exception, not the rule. My own experiences are pretty similar to David's--many schools I've seen either don't spar, or spar uselessly.

Scott said...

One of the ideas I don't see much in training is the exit strategy. Heavy sled pushes will improve your takedowns from crap to very good... so once you hit very good quit them and do something else, they're not improving you any more, even if the several weeks you did them made the biggest single improvement ever in your game, you know? Practicing your slap on the heavy bag until it's about as good as your jab or hook will make you much better at blowing eardrums; longer than that, no real additional benefit. Once you squash the medicine ball you bought to practice alternating knee drops on into a fucking donut it's time to drill something else....
And hey, fight for top game with guys stronger and heavier than you. If you're rolling with someone smaller pull guard; Fat Guy Taps don't teach anyone anything.*

Why yes I am a heavyweight, why do you ask? ;-)

*Exceptions of course for the lightweights who beat the crap out of you; gotta love bjj. ;-) Plenty of women can outfence and/or outshoot me; bjj's the only art I got my ass handed to me by *unarmed* chicks half my size, sheesh.

Unknown said...

I have to say my experience of sparring in the dojo is very similar.

I have always trained in Kempo jujitsu (still do) and we have always sparred. All the methods mentioned in the article, with the exception of the last close quarter drill mentioned, we still do in our dojo.

I could never understand clubs who didn't spar because I've always viewed it as a vital part of training for many reasons.

I also agree with David. Traditional dojo sparring is quite a bit away from professional fighting. But I think that's because sparring only plays a small part in the training. Most traditional systems put most emphasis on drilling techniques rather than fighting. If the same students devoted all their time to sparring I've no doubt they would be much better.

Good sparring toughens you up, that's why I've always liked it, that and the fact that it is also a good workout, albeit a painful one sometimes.

Jake said...

Odd...there's a comment that showed up in my inbox, but isn't on here.

Anyway. Drilling "alive" and "sparring" aren't the same thing. We do Ballistic Micro-Fights in the PDR System (similar to Rory's ConSim), and it's quite a bit different from sparring. Still quite intense and chaotic.

David articulated as well as anyone why a lot of schools don't teach sparring well. No progression, no substance. Sparring is just tacked on.