Friday, September 11, 2009

The Myth of the Fully Resisting Opponent

This is something I wrote some time ago, in response to a specific statement. It came up again on the last post, so I thought some clarification was in order. There has been some slight editing fromn the original version.

Van's forum is all about facing up to the flaws in our beliefs, the things that we think are true that may have a cost when things go bad. We are popping the myths that we create about ourselves and our training.

I submit that if you have never had anyone try to gouge your eyes out to escape from a rear naked strangle, you've never tried the technique against a "fully resisting opponent". The first time, I let go of the strangle to protect my eyes. The second time, I knew better. (Edit- but one eye is still blurry almost twenty years later. From that eye gouge or the one four years later? Not sure.)

If you've never cranked on the technique so hard and fast that you heard a "crack" from his throat, you were playing a gentleman's game, politely.

In the time it takes to put someone in a juji gatame and start to yell "Back off or I'll break his arm!" You can easily be kicked in the head three times. Maybe more. I remember the first three pretty well.

If you've feel you've hit a real opponent as hard as you can hit, take the gloves off and try again. I've known people with shattered hands to keep punching, and people with broken skulls to keep fighting.

A fully resisting opponent isn't resisting. He is acting. A pure attack with no thought of defense. He's not resisting your technique, he's trying to beat you so badly, so quickly, that you can't USE a technique. (Edit- I was thinking of the predator ambush when I wrote this.)

I avoid the threads on "Uechi pointy things" (Edit, and what really brought this subject up- someone was claiming that eye gouges and throat spears weren't allowed in his particular brand of ultimate, anything goes, cage fighting because they either didn't work or were too hard to execute.) because I don't know enough about Uechi to contribute. But I have once used a spear hand to the throat. It was easy. It didn't require me to practice magic or have faith in untested complex precision techniques. It left a man who outweighed me by over a hundred pounds on his knees trying to scream and making no sound. That image still bothers me.

Train hard. Hard rolling is fun and good for you and good training. But don't pretend that either you or the other person is going all-out. You want to use the same partner tomorrow and so does he. And don't pretend that dangerous techniques are difficult or complex. You don't avoid them because they're difficult to make work, you avoid them because you need to recycle training partners.


Steve Perry said...

And there you have laid the problem out perfectly. If you go all out in training, somebody is gonna get seriously hurt. You, the other guy, or both, and if you break all your toys, you won't have anything to play with. Which is still better than being broken yourself ...

Normally, I drive close to the speed limit. If I'm on the interstate and traffic is light out in the hinterlands, now and again the needle will creep up a bit, but mostly, seventy-five is enough over the limit so I am okay. That doesn't mean the car isn't capable of going faster, because a couple of times, I have let the little horsies run and I know it can. But at ninety or a hundred in the Mini, if I hit bump, I might get airborne, and my reaction time isn't what it was when I was fifteen, so better for everybody, including my wallet, to keep it down.

So, how do you get to from that seventy-five cruise to a hundred in your martial art without risking your ass and those of the other players around you?

You can't. But you might can minimize the risks.

Do it in baby steps. Don't think that having somebody go all Crazy Eddie on you is the way to learn anything other than that is a bad idea. Because if you do that, then I'm going to have to do it to keep up, and we are back to breaking our toys.

Have him punch at half-speed and -power. When you are okay with that, then ramp it up until he is coming at full speed and power. Yeah, it's just a single technique and you know what it is and that is coming, so it's not unbridled; on the other hand, you can get a sense of how a full-power shot feels, and if you can't deal with one, you surely won't be able to deal with multiples.

Adding in a second or third attack jacks up the risk, but if you can deal with that, then you are likely carrying the tools you need for most of the time. Because if your martial art requires that you stand there and block or parry six or eight or ten attacks, it's missing something. Pure defense is, unless you are extremely skilled, a losing game. You can block a score of attacks, but if the twenty-first gets through, you don't get points for the first twenty, do you ... ?

Being old, slow, and with a small skill set myself, I figure the sooner I can get done and leave, the better it is for my personal health, so the longer the dance lasst, the more risk to my ancient hide. I believe that I've had enough training so something will be there if I call on it. Never know for sure, but you have to start somewhere.

jks9199 said...

Damn... You guys ain't leaving much for anyone else to say! Like both Rory & Steve have said (many times!), nobody really TRAINS against full resistance... unless they don't like having playmates.

Dave Grossman recommends helping out the K9 handlers as a way to experience something of the intensity of a full on attack. I don't know... I haven't had a chance to put the bite suit on, though I've had a few dogs come at me! It's definitely eye opening...

In my experience, there are two different types of "resisting opponents" in the real world. The first type is just trying to get away... They'll stop resisting when they feel safe. (They're kind of gentlemanly that way!) The other is the type that's trying to hurt or kill you. It's different -- and they won't stop until you STOP them. (I think this came up somewhere else recently, or in a recent post or discussion. I'm being lazy about digging it up...)

I might even argue for a third type: the just plain crazy, not cooperating with anything ones who do nutty stuff like bash their heads into walls or cruiser cages and are struggling against things that only they can see. Harder to explain or deal with those... The first two are lots more common, and they're easy enough to deal with, in principle if not fact.

IRTBrian said...

Hey jks9199,

In regards to working with the K9 I have done that and yes that is a serious eye opener.

I think when talking about resisting attacks having some alive training is very, very important. However, do not confuse it for the real thing as it simply is not. Still in my book variety is the spice of life so having some one pop you every now and then is a good reality check. :)