Previously I published a lecture in a college class by a jujutsu expert on why he believes karate to be fantasy-based training instead of reality-based training. He introduces the concept of alive vs dead training. For training to be alive, it must training resemble your actual execution. Jujutsu training does resemble execution in that the players actually perform their techniques exactly as they would in the field. They grab each other as strongly as they can, and do something very close to what they would in real life.
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Beyond Fight or Flight Featured
It is commonly taught that when an organism is threatened it will respond with one of two instinctive reactions: fight or flight. In other words, when an animal or a person is threatened it will instinctively stand its ground and fight or it will run away.
Your Training is Dead Featured
In the following talk, a BJJ instructor discusses aliveness in training and why arts like Karate and Aikido are “dead.” He also discusses why they are fantasy based arts who’s practitioners are deluded into believing that they are effective in a fight when in reality they would quickly fold under resistance.
A lot of people take up karate for self-defense. Instead, they learn how to spar and wrestle. I have written elsewhere that sparring and wrestling are not self-defense – they are sports. Self-defense is not combat. Self-defense are those skills which keep you from being attacked in the first place – such as avoiding bars and other places where attacks tend to occur. While you and I may successfully defend ourselves against a single person in a duel after school by sparring our way out of it, real combat is something else altogether.
Most of my teaching now is done by seminars so one thing that I get very often is afterwards people tend to come up to me and ask questions like, “this has made me want to start taking martial arts lessons, what style or school do I recommend?” I get asked for recommendations on martial arts schools and styles quite often and I have two responses that I typically give.
The movie the “Karate Kid” really only had one villain. Johnny, the blonde antagonist of Daniel LaRusso is a punk kid that can’t be held totally responsible for his actions because he’s following the tutelage of the real villain Sensei John Kreese. The Kobra Kai Dojo, under Kreese’s leadership, instructed young kids to be bullies and to prey on the weaker members of society. It is quite possible that a true life John Kreese has just stepped forwards.
A classic method of intimidation, both in movies and in real life, is for someone to put a knife to your throat. Feeling the sharp sting of the metal blade as it digs into your flesh definitely bring to the forefront of your mind the fact that you are merely mortal. For the most part criminals with weapons like to get as close to you as they can with those weapons because the natural instinct is that the closer they are the more control they have. Therefore, guns, knives, and many other weapons are often held very close to the victim so that there is no mistaking the grave situation they’ve found themselves in.
One of the biggest mistakes that martial artists make when finding themselves in a real self-defense situation is adhering to the rules of their martial art. Boxers take up an en guard posture and assume a boxing stance. Grapplers prepare to grapple. Karate experts will assume that half of a back stance that looks like a kendo posture with their hands forward. Basically, they prepare to compete – or duel.
In the last few decades there has been an increasing amount of ‘modernisation’ of the traditional martial arts, by a number of organizations. In my experience a large part of this modernisation has been due to the influence of western boxing, kick boxing and more recently MMA on Karate, Tae Kwon Do, and other styles. I’ve trained with a number of martial arts organizations; Japanese, Korean and Australian. Some included only traditional techniques, some included both traditional and modern, and some had discarded completely certain traditional techniques in favour of modern alternatives.
When most people start talking about self-defense with me, they expect me to tell them about grappling vs. striking arts, particularly effective moves, tactical and strategic advantages, and tell them stories of my many victories. That’s never what I talk about when asked about self-defense. Instead, I talk about this: 100 ways to never find yourself in a violent situation.