Sunday, June 28, 2009

How will you respond?

You are in a small street at night, alone, and three men walking toward you. You have cash in your pockets and they obviously did not intention of letting you keep it. You should feel safe because it has been more than fifteen years that you have trained in karate. Yet you are afraid.

What will you do?

These thugs will not warn you traditionally and wait until the referee starts the game. They will not attack you one by one. They will jump on you and will do anything to hurt you and you fly.

Which guard will you adopt?

In normal times, during your bi-weekly workout, You do a little light combat with your partner. It is the same when you arrive at a small regional competition. But you're not prepared for that. Never in your training you have received blows without control, with all the speed and strength possible. This is normal you say, otherwise you could get hurt. Well, not necessarily because today, the protection that exists uses a particular technology that permits combat as fast and strong as you want without representing too much risk for the other. Of course, if one is protected in this way, one may exercise the maximum of possibilities, without co-operation from one's partner, which finally brings us closer to reality. We can no longer say "yes but if you do that I do that! "Because in this type of training we have to respect the reality. It is certainly less fun and less magical than the usual training, but at least what we do at that time, we know that we can reproduce whatever the situation.

Let us return to our impasse, with our three bad guys. If all three are trying to attack you at full speed, their strength and their capabilities, what are your chances to of leaving?

Apart from the special commandos of the army or police, no one is ready for this kind of situation. The idea is not to prepare for a battle, which after all is unlikely to happen in his life. But if you train to be close to reality, if one knows what a full power, full speed attack is and is no longer afraid of that, then with our intent and our confidence we can overcome anything. I'm not saying that if you have confidence you can beat, arms tied behind the back, against five or six armed men. But whatever the situation, we can at least adapt . To train in a reality, we recognise that we have confidence in what we do, we can not be scared once in the heart of the action. If we train in unrealistic techniques, with a too co-operative partner, somewhere at the bottom of class we know very well that it would not work if we were in the midst of a real street fight. And even if our study is good on a technical level, the fact of never having experienced it in reality (to accustom the mind and body) we are handicapped. We can not confirm the value of a technique directly in the chaos of combat, because it is usually too late.

The confidence one has in oneself has nothing to do with the stories you or others can tell. The only true time is when it comes to a confrontation, it is often too late unfortunately. If one trains his abilities and skills in a realistic manner, one would have more confidence and trust in oneself.

How then do we train for performance?

First, if you train with the idea of being the most effective, you must train at maximum speed. It is clear that early in learning the techniques and the details of assimilation, you will begin gradually, very slow to very fast. Unfortunately, It is very often exercises where the opponent is co-operative and attacks quickly but always in control, so that some areas are too often forgotten when they are needed to be made effective. It is the attack at full speed of an opponent who doesn't co-operate that is important. Therefore, if you do not want to be injured in each training, we need appropriate protections in the workplace.

Secondly, when organising free combat training, remove the concept of rules. It is better to start with slower training and progress slowly in the speed but without rules, rather than take quickly away with restrictions. The idea of combining the concepts of combat and rules is an aberration. If you train to fight with restrictions, you develop bad habits by not being ready to suffer any attack. It is also obvious that protective equipment plays a very important role in the failure to get injured.

Thirdly, it is necessary that your partner becomes at one time or another an opponent who does not cooperate. In many styles of traditional martial arts, the partner tends to go with the defence, because he knows the attack, and tries to make the movement more smooth. If we want to give harmony this is fine, but if we are in a combat, we will have to do otherwise. Although we learn a variety of techniques during life, we will realise that none of them will apply to the letter during real combat. Therefore, the sooner we learn to recognise all forms of combat can have a partner, we can better respond to these techniques. It is in knowing how switch from one technique to another that we will succeed, without any co-operation, apply the technique you want on a partner. It is clear that without co-operation training can cause injuries if we did not use protection provided.

We have three important points that must be used for practicing training in the arts of combat somewhat realistically:

* Maximum speed,

* Maximum force,

* Uncooperative partner.

Now we have seen how to train, what are the results.

If you train in a traditional old system, you should have: exercises for physical strength, for flexibility, for the root, to breathe, to balance emotions, for the intent and for the displacement of energy. With all this, one can imagine that we get a total of movements of over 350 gestures, not at all! In the old styles, the same physical movements were used for both the chi kung and for fighting.

For example, the posture of the tree (you can find under chi kung). And the position with the arm at the shoulder may be used for each part of the training. Looking at the posture itself the practice of rooting seems obvious. To develop the strength of arm and back, a few simple isometric exercises are easily adaptable. To work the legs, just do the exercise down lower. In the same position we can cause a swing of the pendulum on the feet, heel to toe, with beats that allow arms to work relaxation and flexibility of movement. With these gestures, it is sufficient to add breathing techniques and meditation to balance the emotional work and enhance the intent, without affecting the basic structure which is the position of the tree. For the combat arts, a slight shift forward / backward and right / left, work on the hook, the slap and push action.

It is a simple example, but you can quickly see that it is not necessary to store more gestures to develop more capabilities and skills, just repeat the same movements with a different intention. It also includes with this example that if you repeat the same gestures with a fixed intention these movements can never be alive and usable. This may place or call into question the training of choreographed forms