16 posts / 0 new
Last post
Black Tiger
Black Tiger's picture
Self Defence attacks!
All I wonder to myself many times why do traditional arts or those claiming to be "real" martial arts STILL use the following attacks in the Dojo to train their students? In all my years I have never been attacked this way and neither have any of my students. Have you ever been attacked this way in "real" situations etc? Do you train this way or do you use a bunkai that is whaqt you'd find happening in "real" situations    
Zach Zinn
Zach Zinn's picture

Do you really need different responses for Karate attacks vs. "real attacks"?

The whole point of training against something like the above is that you are dealing with an extended lead leg, and an extended lead foot, that's all it is, a position. It doesn't have to be a punch in zenkutsu, it can be a  casual stance with a grab + punch etc. etc. The point is, what you do should work either way, and should not be depedent on a particular kind of attack.

One the one hand It's certainly true that there is way too much of this sort of formality out there, and you see a ton of stylized "non attacks" like the above that people work techniques against. Not good.

On the other hand i'm always a bit confused by people saying they are doing something different by practicing entry against a haymaker than  a Karate attack, as one's response shouldn't be a whole lot different in either case. The problem with people working against stuff like the above to my mind is less about what the general attack actually is, it's that usually when you see it done they aren't actually trying to hit eachother, use real distancing or intent..etc. Basically it's an attack based on aesthetics, if you do it right, it's just a straight punch, neither a Karate, nor  "street" punch.

miket
miket's picture

I think its critical to train against 'real' HAV type attacks.  In our classes, we typically distinguish between the'attacker' role as wearing either a 'feeder' or a 'player' hat.  If the former, they are supposed to feed HAV type attacks, if they are a player, they are allowed to use higher level skill attacks (i.e. a round house to the head) because then are typically training tactics against more ahletic-fight oriented tactics (i.e. countering the 1-2, not just dealing with random punches from any angle.

The reason I do this is most easily illustrated by contrating a lunge punch with a simple haymaker.  For instance, in my karate training I learned to move outside the straight punching arm for all the typical reasons, moving away from his 'second' punch, trapping his arm across his body, gaining what my friend Kent Nelson calls the 'back pocket' position, etc.  So... all wrell and good.  Except when you try to apply such entries against roundhouse punches, you typically move right into the line of force at its maximum moment.  So,  In lieu of that, I teach inside entries vs. just about any punch type attack with the additional concept of either 1) entering in with a protective barrier (i.e. a "crash" entry which I tell students is like driving your car over the threat), or 2) entering in a manner that renders the specific TYPE of punch to be irrelevant.  The fact is, the idea that we will be able to 'read' anything but the most telegraphed kind of attack on the street (think the John Wayne wound up roundhouse) is a likely fallacy.  In reality, we are much more likely to be reacting spontaneously to pressure and (as you note) poisition than we are to trying to catalog what the threat is doing. First off, its really really hard to do with even a lot of years training.  Second, whole we are orienting to the first stimulus, the second (third, fourth) etc . is already inbound.

A lot of times, nowadays, I don't even specificy the attack, unless of course we are doing a "structured" series where I as the instructor am dictating a specific chain of movement.  If not, more frequently, I have gone to leaving the attacker role much more open ended (armor helps for this), so that the student is forced to 'find' and 'connect' a desired outcome to what is perhaps a less than ideal initial situation in which they truly have no control over whether the attack might be a pushing or dragging grip, an attempted limb restraint, 'in your face' type aggression, or a punch (or kick) of any variety. 

mike23
mike23's picture

I think you answered your question somewhat in your first sentence. "...traditional martial arts..."

1) Techniques used to perserve a tradition.  The pictures could be from many styles but could be a classical Shotokan punch or block...But Shotokan people fight using much different techniques.

Some modern styles are reality based. Some stick with tradition.

There's plenty of "karate" for everyone to enjoy.

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

I’m of the view that we should make training as close as possible to what we are training for. Using such attacks alters the timing, distancing, cues, openings, etc from what is way more likely in reality. The right “feeling” and context also get lost. Personally I see this as a major error in karate training that finds it’s origins in karate’s shift from practical self-protection in a civilian environment to sanitised karateka vs. karateka affairs in a dojo environment. As Itosu wrote in 1908 (when karate was on the cusp of this shift) “[Karate]is not intended to be used against a single assailant but instead as a way of avoiding injury by using the hands and feet should one by any chance be confronted by a villain or ruffian.”So practically and historically we should be focusing on what is most likely and practical when “confronted by a villain or ruffian”. Oizukis and Junzukis – in the way that are commonly utilised in modern one-step sparring – are not it.

As a quick aside, I see the correct use of this type of technique being the control of the enemy’s lead arm with the hikite such that is pulled down and hence clears a path to the head as the karateka throws all their weight behind a punch and drives through the target (the head of the enemy tends to drop when the arm is pulled down hence why many Oizukis are “middle level” in kata). It should not, in my view, be applied from an unrealistic distance with the hand being held on the hip for no purpose.

So what we see in much of modern one-step training is a practical technique being applied in an impractical way which creates an impractical feed for impractical practise. Always defending against “karate style attacks” is very common though and the bottom line is that we should not have a myriad of defences for such an unlikely and impractical feed while far more likely events go unpractised.

From a practical perspective, I feel such practise should be dumped. If people want to practise such things for other reasons (art, enjoyment, preserving a facet of the modern tradition, etc) then that is valid enough, but there is no good justification for such practice practically. This is a topic I coved in more details in the “reinventing violence” thread:

http://www.iainabernethy.co.uk/content/reinventing-violence

If karate had always maintained the use of realistic feeds, would anyone be suggesting that an oizuki from ten feet away would be a more practical way to practise instead of something resembling reality? I don’t think they would which I feel shows it is an embedded historical oddity and the attachments to such practise come from considerations other than practicality (i.e. “tradition”, personal investment, a need to have past masters be infallible, etc). If practicality is our main concern, we need to train in a practical way and hence jettison such practise.

All the best,

Iain

Zach Zinn
Zach Zinn's picture

 

Quote:
So what we see in much of modern one-step training is a practical technique being applied in an impractical way which creates an impractical feed for impractical practise. Always defending against “karate style attacks” is very common though and the bottom line is that we should not have a myriad of defences for such an unlikely and impractical feed while far more likely events go unpractised.

I guess I don't make a huge distinction between "Karate style attacks" and not, Karate attacks should just be like the acts of violence done really well right?

I figure beyond the obvious tactical adjustments (like what Miket mentions about straight vs. round punches) what should the difference be between responding to HAPV and responding to Karate attacks, if anything?

It seems like the examples of these unrealistic attacks are not "Karate attacks" really...but rather stylistic remnants of demo that somehow got confused with reality. So what in your opinion neccessitates a specifically HAPV scenario, rather than simply "close hook punch" " close the gap and lead leg punch", or do you consider that kind of training HAPV?  Do you think we should go by statistical likelihood of type of attack, or is it less clear cut?

Hope the question make sense, sorry if it doesn't.

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Hi Zach,

Zach Zinn wrote:
I guess I don't make a huge distinction between "Karate style attacks" and not, Karate attacks should just be like the acts of violence done really well right?

They should certainly be as close as safety allows to what will be faced in reality; but that’s not the case for the vast majority of one-step practise. The distance is wrong, the timing is wrong and the “attacker” always throws a very predictable - “attackers” frequently being criticised for any variation in the attack – unrealistic strike and then stands there to let the “defender” do their thing. Your way of practise may be a little different, but it is the common practise of one-step sparring that I’m referring to.

Zach Zinn wrote:
I figure beyond the obvious tactical adjustments (like what Miket mentions about straight vs. round punches) what should the difference be between responding to HAPV and responding to Karate attacks, if anything?

There is a different timing, a different distance and a different “feel”. The tactical adjustments are also very significant I feel. However, even if I were to accept there is no difference, that begs the question of why work against formal lunge punches all the time if there is no difference? Why not stick with something far closer to reality if there is no benefit to changing? Of course, to my way of thinking, there is a huge difference so there is no gain and significant losses by choosing something so formal over realism.

Zach Zinn wrote:
It seems like the examples of these unrealistic attacks are not "Karate attacks" really...but rather stylistic remnants of demo that somehow got confused with reality.

I think that’s a very valid point. However, what I feel we are discussing in this thread is the type of thing shown below. No offence is intended to the people in the clip, I put it here merely to show the type of practise I feel Black Tiger and I were referring to. I think it’s important we have an example in this thread so there is no confusion about the kind of practise I am referring to (I get the impression you may be thinking of something different?).

There is no realism here and nothing of genuine transferable value. Real situations are nothing like this and hence any attributes developed trhough such practise have no relevance to realism.

Zach Zinn wrote:
So what in your opinion neccessitates a specifically HAPV scenario, rather than simply "close hook punch" " close the gap and lead leg punch", or do you consider that kind of training HAPV?  Do you think we should go by statistical likelihood of type of attack, or is it less clear cut?

One thing I feel is important to make clear is that it is not about simply giving the karateka a series of realistic defences to common attacks. If that’s all we do we are engraining a reactive mindset and that is very problematic in itself. We need the “mess” and the feeling of relentlessly gaining and maintaining advantage. This is the kind of thing I prefer to practise (skip ahead to 6:00):

All of this is from Naihanchi / Tekki Shodan. It is unscripted, but complainant. Where I feel this kind of practise has a massive advantage over the kind of stuff shown in the first clip is that the methods, feeling and mindset are directly relevant and transferable to live practise (kata-based-sparring) and real situations. The methods used in “common or garden one-step sparring” are a dead end as they are not transferable.

All the best,

Iain

JWT
JWT's picture

Hi Iain

My old instructor is the bearded Roger Hall in the first clip.  I guess that shows that this form of trainingisn't a total loss?  It inspired me to go and seek out answers! :)

Jon Sloan
Jon Sloan's picture

I think that most of us on here probably agree with Iain's thoughts on this subject.

To which I'd add that if you take away the technique part of the discussion and look at it from a mindset / psychology approach then the long range one step lunge punch stuff gives us these pre fight cues (at least in the way it's practised in most karate dojos) -

attacker closes distance but still not to touching range, bows, moves away, withdraws their attacking hand (which you aleady know will be their attacking hand) all the way back to their hip, sometimes gives a small shout, lunges in, usually again toward a pre-determined target on your body often they'll also aim toward where the target was when you started the drill, regardless of whether the defender has moved 'too soon' and that target is no longer in that position, i.e. they don't track the defender stand there patiently in a deep stance waiting for the defender to perform their defence

Very few, if any of those things are pre-fight cues in the real world. Rather they are things like

closes range to touching or closer stays at that range, tracking defender if he/she moves verbally or physically distracts potential victim, often using physical movements that set them up for the attacker's favourite shot, .e.g. throwing cigarette away, asking the time, for a light, briefly looking off over defender's shoulder to tempt defender to follow the gaze, etc. moves in with verbal rage posturing, ballooning and so on

None of these real world cues are found in the more formal one step sequences. So, someone training only in the formal method will never have experienced the build up to attack that they are likely to face. Instead, they're training their minds that attackers do things pre-attack that will never ever happen.  

JWT
JWT's picture

Black Tiger wrote:
I wonder to myself many times why do traditional arts or those claiming to be "real" martial arts STILL use the following attacks in the Dojo to train their students? In all my years I have never been attacked this way and neither have any of my students. Have you ever been attacked this way in "real" situations etc? Do you train this way or do you use a bunkai that is whaqt you'd find happening in "real" situations

I think this does come down to what you are defining as a real "martial artist" and what you are defining as "traditional".

I don't think these drills have any combative value for self protection, and agree with pretty much everything Iain has said.

I do think that these drills have a value for training for sport kumite, for fitness, for balance, for coordination etc... All of these can, in my book, come under the banner of being martial arts training and also of being traditional training.  The former because they involve people defending against valid attacks (valid in that it will hurt and cause damage if it landed with the speed and power the practitioner has developed), the latter because the training method has been used for many years.  These drills are still valid for purposes other than self protection.

I also consider myself a real and very traditional martial artist, and yet these were among the first things I ditched from my first club syllabus on breaking away from the association pictured (ESKA), because my training was orientated more towards self protection.  I therefore worked from HAOV based bunkai drills.

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

JWT wrote:
My old instructor is the bearded Roger Hall in the first clip.  I guess that shows that this form of training isn't a total loss?  It inspired me to go and seek out answers! :)

Small world! As I say, no offense is intended to the people in the clip. It was simply the first example of the kind of one-step practise I wanted to illustrate that I saw when searching Youtube. There are millions of others I could have picked because the practise is so widespread.

I get the point about it inspiring you to seek out answers :-)

It’s also probably worth me pointing out in this thread that my criticism of one-step sparring comes from someone who practised it for over 20 years before dropping it. During that 20+ years (and since) I have never came across anyone who can logically explain or demonstrate why it is a worthwhile and efficient form of training with reagrds to self-protection. My conclusion therefore is that it was not a worthwhile form of practise. My own students never practise such things and the result has been more training time for more practical way of practise. They have got much better as a result. I did give it a chance though ;-)

All the best,

Iain

Zach Zinn
Zach Zinn's picture

Thanks for the explanation Iain, I appreciate it. Turns out i'm on board with all that. I guess it's the creation of discreet "defenses" part that I always questioned.. If its approached in a more holisitic manner though, it seems to be the way to go...I share your criticisms of the stuff in that video.

PS I own your beyond bunkai DvD ( as well as doing a bit of the material at your Crossing the Pond thing years ago) and it's fantastic, blends perfectly with other stuff i've learned with Kris and elsewhere, so definitely the way you are framing hapv with your stuff is something that makes alot of sense to the way I practice. Sometimes though I see stuff on youtube elsewhere that is labelled and conceived of as "defense against haymaker" "defense against groin kick" etc..that is the kind of thing I wonder about, and you addressed it.

JWT
JWT's picture

Iain Abernethy wrote:

JWT wrote:
My old instructor is the bearded Roger Hall in the first clip.  I guess that shows that this form of training isn't a total loss?  It inspired me to go and seek out answers! :)

Small world! As I say, no offense is intended to the people in the clip. It was simply the first example of the kind of one-step practise I wanted to illustrate that I saw when searching Youtube. There are millions of others I could have picked because the practise is so widespread.

No offense taken.  Like you, these were the first things to go from my syllabus as I branched out on my own.

Gary Chamberlain
Gary Chamberlain's picture

Black Tiger wrote:
In all my years I have never been attacked this way and neither have any of my students.

Maybe you need to start drinking in a pub next to the local shotokan club.

wink

Gary

mike23
mike23's picture

Now, now be nice..

Black Tiger
Black Tiger's picture

Gary Chamberlain wrote:

Black Tiger wrote:
In all my years I have never been attacked this way and neither have any of my students.

Maybe you need to start drinking in a pub next to the local shotokan club.

wink

Gary

PMSL @ Gary

That's where I'm going wrong.

The amount of times I've had to ask my attackers to do this

LOL