Thursday, June 10, 2010

How do we defend against kick-boxers and armed attackers?

Our self-defence requirements include scenario training against differently trained attackers, and armed assailants.  That said, I think that intensive training in weapons and in a fist-and-foot style helps a lot in comfort and expertise in those kind of scenarios.  And that takes training time, whether in one art or many. 

I have trained in ken-jitsu a little bit, and I like it.  In people who have done a lot of sword-work you can see it reflected (positively!) in their jiu-jitsu.  Similarly, as I make progress in chinese boxing, I am finding all sorts of cross-connections with jiu-jitsu.

Real combat, especially when weapons are involved, is of course extremely dangerous.  Personally, I'd rather face a kick-boxer than an attacker with a sword.


Anonymous said...

It’s commendable you try to prepare yourself and your students for a wide variety of scenario’s and situations (comprehensiveness is one hallmark of jj after all), however I’m wondering whether your or one your teachers or higher ranking students have real experience with boxing/kickboxing. After years of jj I thought I was ready for pretty much anything, until I took a few classes in savate and they basically wiped the floor with me in sparring (something I hadn’t done before, at least not that kind of sparring). Sure we wore gloves and all but I know I wouldn’t have fared much better without them since I’d never be able to grab them to do apply one of my hard earned throws or locks: their punches and kicks where just too fast and in such rapid combinations I was completely overwhelmed. At that point I decided to do regular training in kickboxing and explore other arts to see what they were about and how I’d fare against them. I’m not saying kickboxing is the holy grail of martial arts or the best art or whatever (like everything it can be countered using the right tools) but if you haven’t sparred one of these guys you can’t claim your defenses are adequate against such highly evolved punches and athleticism. What I miss in a lot of jj-training is realism and dynamic ways of training: don some gloves once in a while (mma-gloves are designed to allow you to grab) and practice actually trying to hit each other instead of all that pre-arranged stuff. You’ll quickly find what works and what doesn’t. It’s still not the real thing of course but at least it’s closer to it. Jj has a lot of offer and if modified it can be a formidable art (especially up close) but I found it lacking in certain skills, most notably defending modern style punches. It’d be hard to defend against something you don’t really know yourself. This is one of the reasons I started training in kali: if you don’t know how you can attack with a knife and how quickly you can change direction you’ll be cut up or stabbed, no matter the stripes on your belt or the amount of training hours you have.

Obviously weapons up the ante in terms of danger and skill required to successfully counter them, however the most important factor is his skill level and intention, regardless of whether or not he has a weapon. In my view an amateur with a sword is far less dangerous than a professional who’s unarmed but bent on destroying you. If you’re out cold all that is needed to sever your connection with the tangible world is one forceful kick aimed at the right place and you’ll be just as dead as when he’d cut you in half. In any case the chances of facing a swordsman (let alone someone who’s actually skilled at it) is close to nil (at least when you’re not frequenting the yakuza), while the odds of encountering an individual with some training in pugilism are fairly high. Bit of an odd comparison though.

Dan Prager said...

"I’m wondering whether your or one [of]your teachers or higher ranking students have real experience with boxing/kickboxing."

Certainly, some of my teachers have significant experience in fist-and-foot arts, including western boxing and chinese boxing. Chinese boxing is part of our larger system.

It takes to time to advance on broad fronts, whether you do so within one martial art or by cross-training in two or three.

If the body mechanics and teaching are compatible, then they can be mutually enriching. This is our situation, partly through deliberate adjustment.

Nevertheless, most (not all) people seem to do better by exclusively training in either jiu-jitsu/judo or chinese boxing for a few years within our larger system. The exceptions are, of course, highly motivated.