Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Concept Vs. Technique (Cont)

Concept Vs. Technique (Cont)

I grew so very, very weary of being told that my Thai Boxing punch, perfect in Thai class, was now wrong in Karate or Gung Fu. My karate kick, perfected under strict supervision by experts, was improper in Silat. Everything relates to the system you are. Skill in those eyes. Finesse in those eyes. Competence in those eyes.

I also grew so very weary of fighting the mirror image of the person in the same system in was in. Standing in a fight stance in front of me, squared off and solving specific problems for specific, in-system attacks. Myth of the Duel. Two stick fighters standing in a face-off duel. Entire martial arts are built on this stand-off as a platform, completely forgetting the "asses and elbows" platform and that is what is most likely to occur. if you like the art for art's sake-that's fine. I really don't. Never have and have always been unhappy. Military and police training got a hold on me early on and shaped my perspective.

I threw my hands up and left all systems in 1997. But my stomach was upset for two decades beforehand. I swallowed the rolaids and perservered. I never drank the Kool-Aid

I think that in scenario training, first one should learn to fight against the high percentage attackers.

Define the mission (where do you go and why)
develop generic tactics handy to use in most situations
Situational (what are the situation most likely to be?)
Positonal (try to take the time to get skill in the small details)

Criminals have patterns of attack. So to do the military. This forms a board base of practical study. Start with the high pecentage ones and work on down. This includes common grabs and positional problem-solving. Etc.

For over ten years, when we test, or work freestyle scenarios, I never tell people how to respond to an attack. I give them the tools. Many tools. They freestyle with their favorites, because everyone is a different shape, size, age, etc.

I dislike cookie-cutter systems with one-size-fits-all solutions.

Anyone who works with me knows this and for over ten years seen me change situations inside scenarios. In fact, scenarios constantly shift. I may toss in a new pedistrian to be taken hostage, etc. etc. But I have found I must maintain a scenario list with rotating options. Without a list I could miss some important teaching point. OTHERWISE, I may not include an important option! I repeat...

But I have found I must maintain a scenario list with options. OTHERWISE I may not include an important option!

And for over ten years, "Thrive in Chaos" is a motto on our shirts and outlines. This speaks to the mission of the program. Expect chaos. Prepare for Chaos. Thrive in Chaos.

This semi-"wheels-off" approach has also been used by police force-on-force training, since I attended the Military Police Academy in the 70s. This is were I was first taught this sceanrio-based, crisis rehearsal idea.

(I have invented very, very little, just some small tricks here and there) And I constantly pay homage to the smart people who inspired and taught me. It is just a common human courtesy (and Larry Hartsell told me to in the 1980s).

But I believe in starting with the high precentage of commom attacks for scenarios. (somewhere you have to maintain some kind of list, if even in your head) This high percenatge of criminal attacks is usually against untrained people. How do untrained people fight? They throw their weight around, they charge and they bear hug, and they tackle and they throw haymakers. Not in that order! And not all of the steps. Once this is covered, we can get more system specific.


Concept Vs. Technique

Concept Vs. Technique
This is the hardest subject for me to come to an absolute conclusion on, I struggle with this on a regular basis but I'm still on the path of no technique, strictly conceptual.

In our training we really try not to reference anything from anywhere, this is extremely difficult because we are always influenced by, Prior training, instructional's, Sporting events, Street fights, personal experience ect.. But we really try to build our concepts out of necessity and build our attack and defense arsenal from spontaneous opportunism. In our training there exist only Goals, Opportunities, Tools, targets, Range and Energy regardless of the circumstance.

I think the issue for me is specific application and rigidly adhering to each technique or sequence.

Take Blocking a right hook for example. I know many different ways in which to block this type of attack. Lets Look a technique from Kung Fu, Karate and Kali.

Kung Fu will at times use an Open hand Palm down soft hooking block attempting to flow with the energy and then grasp at the opponents limb.
Karate will at times use a Clenched Fist Palm up hard thrusting block attempting to injury to opponents attacking limb and then counter punch
Kali will at times use a Cover style bent arm style block attempting to injury to opponents attacking limb with their elbow to the muscle and then counter punch

So here is the problem, if I go to a Kung Fu school and use a Kali style block I will be reprimanded and shown the proper way to block with in their school or system, whether or not it was effective at the time.
Also during a surprise attack I may instinctively deviate from what I've been taught and thus resist the instinctive action. This is what is referred to as Stylistic interference.

It is too laborious to try to fit a specific movement in response to a specific stimuli when you can simply understand what tools you poses and then allow your body and mind to adaptively respond to the moment based on range and energy. Your body can only move in so many directions, why should you limit yourself to specific movements or conversely why should you attempt to memorize and catalog every movement that every system has to offer when you can simply do what your body wants to do instinctively and then refine those movements through training.

Ok so lets look at the right hook again only this time with the the conceptual approach. Because we have no specific techniqiue for a right hook punch, we have the freedom deal with it the same way we might if it was a lapel grab, clinch. ect.., We are looking at Range and Energy, we are attacking the energy of the movement so it doesn't reach us. We are jamming the attack, moving towards the energy of the attack, meeting the attacking limb before it meets us, also meeting the attacking limb ideally before it generates it's intended power. Plus with attacking the energy (as opposed to utilizing a specific stylistic memorized blocking method) we can utilize this movement with any attack with similar energy for example a Haymaker, A stab to the face, Someone grabbing the back of my neck to initiate a clinch, a lapel grab..ect.. these are all the same energy and I can prevent them with out concern or thought of which technique to chose.

I think a good example is Sun Tzu's teachings and how they go along way because they are mostly conceptual in basis. They are translatable and applicable to many areas of life. Where as other military writings Clausewitz for example were too technical in their approach, so when technology and terrain change their technical methods become antiquated as well. (although they may still be useful in a historical manor.) This analogously illustrates how I feel about Technique based system vs. The Concept Based.

"No scenarios? Yet have working scenarios."

I fall into the category of no specific scenario's.
There are a few ways that we develop and train scenario's
1. From personal experience, recreating events that have happened to us in the past.
2. From common situations that we may be placed in on a regular basis
3. From the FBI unified crime report statistics
4. From research in other area's, i.e. Books, Newspaper, magazines, Internet Forums.. ect.

So there actually is no specific scenario's we do as each person has different life experiences, job's, locations and lifestyles.

The way people attack is constantly changing and we need to stay aware of current trends., (the new trend of young people randomly punching innocent people for no reason other then to video it and get it on camera, is a good example.

Each Scenario is given some criteria and then created as a response to the situations as it unfolds as opposed to being scripted with an outline of specific events required

Big Rob

PS: This was from Hock's talk forum at writen by (guess)... Big Rob.