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Anyone Here Practice Any Sort Of Martial Art?


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#141 RobP

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 09:27 AM

So, Arthyron, what's a class like? Is it centered on a type of attack, and various responses?

It can be, it's difficult to say as classes can often vary quite a bit in style or content. Typically our sessions will start with exercise / warm-up and then move into a progression of drills. We might start with something basic, eg evading a grab, then begin adding in other factors as we go along - for example, add in striking, add in an extra person, increase the speed. The session will then normally end with freestyle work bringing together all the factors we have been working. Mixed in with that will be some more exercises, with particular emphasis on breathing and psychological state.
There's class footage from the last couple of years on my Youtube page here

One of my lads also blogs the classes at Steve's Blog

#142 Arthyron

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 06:01 PM

Well, I could argue with them, as I'm guessing the Spetznaz will normally carry guns, which presumably they use a lot more than fisticuffs? Although I will (and just did) bring up the fact that the military uses BJJ, at the same time, they have tanks, missiles, guns etc. Punching or rolling around the floor must be very far down on their list of ways to kill people. :P

Sure, the Spetznaz uses guns, but they also have a host of other tools and weapons to do the job. If you watch the tv show "Deadliest Warrior," they had an episode featuring the Spetznaz vs. I believe it was the Green Berets or SEALs, one of the two. They were doing a simulation of a raid of a building. The Spetznaz guy was diving and rolling and shooting from all these weird angles, and the American guys were snickering at him "why doesn't he just shoot without all these theatrics." They didn't understand the difference in philosophy. While he was shooting, he was simultaneously using evasive maneuvers so as not to be shot himself, it's something the Spetznaz are very big on, being able to be deadly from any angle in any situation no matter what while mitigating as much as possible the offensive capabilities of the opponent.

Coincidentally, the "experts" chosen to represent the Spetznaz on the show were two former Spetznaz Sonny Puzikas and Maxim Franz, both of which are high level Systema practitioners, both of which people I know have trained with.

Good point. Mainly I'm thinking of the religious stuff, plus some of the dodgier videos (though admittedly, when I was just looking for those dodgier videos, they were edits by critics).


While there is a lot of encouragement to be ethical, positive, non-destructive people in training, not to harm your partner and the world around you, I've never seen any overtly religious stuff appear in any training videos, and I have the vast majority of them. I've also never seen it in any live training that I've participated in.

Yeah, that's the guy I was thinking of. Can't remember his name, but I remember seeing a picture, and he looked pretty beefy.

HANKTHETANK was his bullshido name, I don't know what his real name was. The videos are still up on his youtube channel. It's a pity they don't have too much of his stand-up stuff in the videos, it's mostly ground work.

My response would be, how can you incorporate that kind of thing effectively, as you can't train that against full resistance? Which is the big problem with anything like breaking fingers, punching in the balls, eye gouging etc: there isn't an effective training methodology, because it can only ever be done compliantly or without full force. Unless you have some seriously hardcore training partners, which perhaps is the case. ;)

You don't have to train full-force or full-speed or full-non-compliance all the time in order to be effective. There's a lot to be said for partial speed (but still non-choreographed, non-compliant, etc) training. If you're training full-speed all the time, all you're doing is training your flinch responses and muscle memory. If you train partial speed, you can do some of the more dangerous maneuvers/techniques much more safely. There's a whole lot that you can do or can go wrong when you go from point A to point B. Training slower helps you to see where you have holes and openings and where your opponent's weaknesses are. It also helps your body get a feel for how to respond, not so much by pure muscle memory, but through developing the neural pathways that enable you to respond organically and spontaneously to threats without building up tension, fear, and other detrimental physical and mental states.

Also, because in Systema you train to "take" blows, you can train putting more power and non-compliance in to maneuvers with less risk of harm to you or your opponent. Some might consider that hardcore. We wail on each other without gloves all the time.

I can remember an argument a while back that with eye gouging, you could perhaps have the other guy wear goggles. That might sort of work, but you're not going to get the same immediate and realistic feedback you do from attacking with an armbar, choke etc.

Yeah, you can get specialized gear to work on specific things if you want, but you don't need the subtle tactile sensations of popping out a guy's eyeball and feeling it squish around in your hand to train eye gouging. Just making light contact is enough to show you that you could utilize that kind of maneuver in that situation and to show your opponent that he's leaving his face open in that situation. I don't need to actually rip a guy's balls off to know that his groin is a viable target when we're sparring, etc.

Why would you be lying there locked up? It isn't a competitive match. The idea would be to use your grappling to defend yourself if you get put on the floor, then get the hell back up as soon as possible.

Though I'd agree that I'd probably recommend judo above BJJ for that. Throwing somebody on their head while you remain standing is arguably rather better from a self defence perspective, although it does have the drawback of being a little more difficult to explain in a court of law. "Er, yeah, I cracked his skull and now he has brain damage" is harder to defend than "yeah, I choked him unconscious, leaving no damage whatsoever."


Why? Because that's how you train. You train to tussle with a single opponent with the goal of putting him in some sort of submission move. When adrenaline is flowing and your heart is racing, you tend to revert to the most familiar movements. If you get taken to the ground, unless you're constantly training to get back up (which, unless I'm mistaken, is *not* the point of BJJ training), you're not going to immediately and naturally respond by fighting to get back up. You're going to immediately try to put the guy in some submission move, and hey, you might even be successful, which is great if it's just the one guy. If the other guy is also trying to grapple, it's going to make overcoming the repetitive impulses of your training that much more difficult.

Causing the opponent to fall in a non-controlled way is always going to be dangerous no matter how he gets to that point (being knocked out, choked out, hit, slipping, tripping, etc). Falling's a bad deal. As for choking, yeah, it's less likely to kill someone than dropping them on their head, but I avoid using prolonged chokes because they are still extremely dangerous, even if you know how to do them properly. A little too hard and "pop," there goes the trachea, or with blood chokes a little too sudden and little too long and *death.* If I ever use chokes, it's usually as a segue in to a more long-term restraint.


@Darthgall - Well, I don't really participate in any regular, formal Systema classes. I have an informal group of martial artists on campus that meets a few times a week to work on whatever we feel like working on that day, and these are people with various levels of experience in various styles of martial arts, lots of great cross-training. Basically, I train in that environment most often, and then maybe a couple times a month I drive up to another city where I have a friend who is also a Systema practitioner, and we work on purely Systema stuff (again, whatever we feel like). As the only certified Systema instructor in Indiana lives about 2-3 hours from me, we only make it to see him maybe once or twice a month. He only does private lessons, so when we go to see him, we usually focus on the areas we're having trouble with or new things we should work on on our own. Then we go back to our other training groups, and practice those things, integrating them in to our total martial ability, then we go to see him again and so on and so on.

As I understand, the way Systema is run in regular "dojos" varies from instructor to instructor, but it usually involves a sort of build-up. You often begin with warm-ups of some sort, then you deal with some basic concept (like RobP described) and over the course of the class you add in more elements or deal with different ways to implement that concept. The thing I love about Systema is it's so informal. The instructors are rarely full of themselves and on power trips. You *want* to listen to them because of that. You just work at things in your own way at your own pace, and they help you sort out how that works for you, give you ideas, troubleshoot, etc. In my experience, they kinda give you a "recipe" and you end up "cooking" the ingredients in a way that suits you naturally and organically.

Sometimes the classes are a bit more focused on a particular thing or a particular concept. For example, because my instructor excels immensely with knives (he had some 30 years experience with the Filipino arts before learning Systema), we may focus for the majority of a class on knife work, or knife disarms, or whatever. It really just depends. There's no rigid curriculum that needs to be followed, no "high-level" techniques shown only to experts, it's all on the table, because it's all related.

#143 slideyfoot

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 12:10 PM

Sure, the Spetznaz uses guns, but they also have a host of other tools and weapons to do the job. If you watch the tv show "Deadliest Warrior," they had an episode featuring the Spetznaz vs. I believe it was the Green Berets or SEALs, one of the two. They were doing a simulation of a raid of a building. The Spetznaz guy was diving and rolling and shooting from all these weird angles, and the American guys were snickering at him "why doesn't he just shoot without all these theatrics." They didn't understand the difference in philosophy. While he was shooting, he was simultaneously using evasive maneuvers so as not to be shot himself, it's something the Spetznaz are very big on, being able to be deadly from any angle in any situation no matter what while mitigating as much as possible the offensive capabilities of the opponent.


Weapons training isn't something I've done, so if you're training with guns just like the Spetznaz, fair enough.

You don't have to train full-force or full-speed or full-non-compliance all the time in order to be effective. There's a lot to be said for partial speed (but still non-choreographed, non-compliant, etc) training. If you're training full-speed all the time, all you're doing is training your flinch responses and muscle memory.


I would agree that you can't train full speed all the time, because you initially need to introduce the technique: if you only ever trained full speed, then you'd never have a chance to work out the mechanics. However, I also strongly feel that you then have to take the next step, which is building up the resistance until you ARE training full speed. Otherwise, the usual analogies apply - trying to learn to swim without getting in the water, etc.

Hence my problem with techniques that can only be trained in a compliant drill setting. I know in the context of my own training that there are loads of techniques that I can perform perfectly in a compliant drill, but would never manage to land in full speed sparring (e.***., a flying armbar or something flashy like that). I wouldn't know that unless I had tried it. With an eye gouge etc, I can't ever try it unless my training partner is willing to risk blindness, or I go into bars and do the Jean Claude Van Damme dance. :P

But yeah, as mentioned I've never tried systema (mainly because I'm not interested in RBSD), so I'm effectively arguing at partial speed, rather than having the full contact experience of actual evidence. ;)

But, the military values that training as much to cultivate a "fighting spirit". I worked with some cavalry units, and the phrase they always used was "lean forward in the saddle" to describe being aggressive and proactive about stuff; infantry liked to say "take the fight to the enemy"... anyway, doing some martial arts helps cultivate that outlook, I think.


That's the main argument I've heard: building the 'warrior spirit', or something like that. Makes a lot more sense in a military environment than the constant "he's a warrior" type thing you always hear on TUF. Speaking of military training, there was an interview with a combatives guy recently which might interest people on the thread, here. Tony Blauer also did one recently, here.

#144 MilkManX

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 07:38 PM

Previous experience in Judo,Shinkendo and some Wing Chun. That was all during High School/Early College.

Then I got lazy.

4 years ago I started taking Kyokushin Karate and within a year had switched over to Enshin Karate that is a cousin of Kyokushin but incorperates more Judo like throwing techniques. The style focuses on a technique that is named Sabaki. To use your position as an advantage for Attack and Defense at the same time. To counter from your opponents "blind" spot.
The founder is Joko Ninomiya who was the 1978 All Japan Full Contact Kyokushin Champion and also was one of the co-founders of Ashihara Karate before he left to start Enshin Karate in 1988.



I got my Black Belt this past November in Enshin Karate and still enjoy it each day. I plan on doing this for as long as my body will let me.
My art blog and commissions @ Mike Moran Illustration