Good talk on blocks

Sensei Canna offers insight into the real world of self defense!

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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:37 am

Here's my take:

Most attacks work because all those who attack others are repeat offenders who have been involved in attacking others and overwhelming them since their early years...longer than you have been training.

They are good at it and if a criminal attacks you, you can bet on it that he has perfected his attack after yrs of practice. You will be overwhelmed at once and the only response that will allow you to overcome this 'overwhelment' is rage.

Attack with rage immediately, continuously and brutally until you can escape. Then GO! Statistically, more men are killed at crime scenes because women don't stick around to try to keep control of the guy - they run for it.

The emotional drive and the brutality and the unceasing nature of your attack upon this jerk are much more important than your finesse or 'skill.'

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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:19 am

On the business-marketing forum there is a discussion of legal implications when advertising self defense
“Do you all advertise 'self defense' as part of your offerings? I've been warned of legal problems associated with that statement.”
[Rich Castanet]

In order to have a clear understanding of the issues we first must define what karate is; then we must define what self-defense is; then we must determine if they are compatible in today’s world, today’s modern society!

The problem I see is many of us are in denial of the many facet components of “self defense” and have a real problem defining what self-defense is along with its many component parts!

Think about this: what if a prospective student says to you “ I saw your sign advertising self defense! So you teach self-defense? But against what type of attacks, against what kind of opponent[s]...against empty handed attacks or with weapons?"

What is your reply? How do you sell the student on the worth of karate for self-defense? How do you phrase your words in anticipation of possible litigation against you? How do you envision self-defense when trying the hard sell upon a new prospect? How do you sell Uechi-Ryu as the best tool for self -defense?

What would you tell a jury of your peers what your qualifications are for teaching self defense?

What would you present to a jury of your peers as the “self defense” curriculum you follow when teaching “self defense” to your students??
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:23 am

Here is some wisdom garnered from the Police martial arts association:the people who need to perform daily against violence of man.

1] It is nice to include very complicated
Material, but chances are, no one will retain any of it.

2] Deal with realities.

3] STAY AWAY FROM VERY PHYSICALLY DEMANDING MATERIAL! You might think that you are helping when in fact
If one of your participants gets injured, all physical training may be put
On hold.

Your job is to teach safety material, not fitness! [A good way to lose students]

4] It takes a lot to survive on the streets; these people [police officers] are an endless source
Of very good information. Most of the time, they only know one or two
Techniques that they have been using their whole careers.

If it’s not broken
Don’t fix it. Add to the number of technique choices they have. They will
Decide if they like the material you are offering.

NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER,
Tell them that they do not know what they are doing, or they are doing it
Wrong and you will show them the right way. Work with them, do not preach.

5] I have taught officers defensive tactics and I have taught self-defense. There is a
World of difference!

6] You can teach the same techniques to an officer, and the first time he "appropriately" uses it, he is slapped with a lawsuit.

That same lawsuit lists you as well, because you
Taught the technique.

Liability is a big issue! [ think about this one in your dojo setting ]

7] We also make sure they know where a particular technique would
Be placed on the force continuum, so that they can decide what technique is
Appropriate.



If we, as teachers, used this approach in teaching civilians our so-called “self defense”, we would be in a much better moral and legal position when the s** hits the fan!
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:26 am

Peyton Quinn said it all re: this discussion in A Bouncer's Guide
..."My objection to those who crowd the dojo with their interest in the art alone (that is, the "art" as they see it; not in its self-defense application) is that they dilute the wine.
They pervert things. They clutter the path and can obscure the True Way with a false image. I'm not talking about insuffiecient skill, but of insufficient spirit"


I see Lotus Eaters all over the globe writhing in agony similar to the last moments of Count Dracula. I hear their pitious moans.

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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:31 am

“It is the verbal assault that really unsettles most people during an attack and is usually the one thing that they won't/can't condition against.”
[Shelly]

Next to being caught by surprise and knocked on your butt before you have a chance to react, this is the most dangerous time of the “ interview “!

The punks using stand up taunting verbal aggression are more interested in seeing your fear, humiliating you, and hearing you plead that you don’t “ want any trouble “ or plead for mercy _ that they are in the act of violence itself or they would have launched an attack earlier on!

It is difficult to deal with the situation to say the least because you feel the emotional slaps triggering the cocktail demanding either flight or fight in anticipation of a deteriorating state of affairs as your mind begins to cloud up!

Experts recommend going into “computer mode” [like Mr. Spock of Star Trek] showing no emotion and not appearing frightened or arrogant, saying very few words, if any at all, do not incite or placate, using an extremely limited set of facial expressions and body positions!

Look at the tormentors with deadpan eyes and continue on with your progress and direction in calm manner! On the inside, you should be awakening the tiger to strike a preemptive blow as savage as you can make it, upon sensing the imminent attack!

Not easy to do when _ “ taunts” especially aimed at you in the presence of your wife/girl friend or directed at them might trigger the blackest deadliest rage in you!

Very difficult to even train for as it really gets you p*** off at your dojo mates!

Recall the Peyton Quinn drill I mentioned on another thread: Your class split in two by a line and an aggressor disguised by a stocking cap walking up and down the line projecting malevolent intent and using the foul language of the street verbally abusing or intimidating everybody!

Your “ cocktail” will trigger, bet on it; and your job is to remember how to breathe [you will be surprised how the Uechi breathing goes out the window] and to watch his hands, hear what he says, not buying into or reacting to his threats!

Very tough assignment! The first impulse is to want to shout back and kill the punk! And in real life you may well have to do that if you sense you won’t be allowed to walk away!

No easy answers, it depends on your read of the situation and on your temperament and on how many punks you are facing!
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:42 am

Deadly force trainer Ralph Mroz, writes that under stress, our bodies are hard wired for some reactions, such as –tunnel vision- auditory exclusion- distorted sense of time- loss of fine motor control-threat focus etc. He goes on to say that trying to fight “ mother nature” is mostly a loosing game!

On the other hand, the execution of effective fighting techniques, empty hands and or firearms, is not hard wired and they prove to be very difficult to train for and program!

Mr. Mroz and others point out that regardless of any long time training some reactions which emerge in violent encounters simply cannot be suppressed and we should not even try!

Then there are some basic fighting skills that are necessary to augment along the natural body response in a fight!

Mroz says that there are few black and white and much gray areas between impossible to perform tasks and totally necessary skills, and the job of a competent trainer is to understand which skills or concepts lie along this axis and to mold his teachings accordingly!

And yet any teachings can only be an approximation since we are all different in body, mind structure, the baggage we bring along, and “where you are on the scale of your own skill development and ease of learning.” [Mroz]

My view is to stay away from the countless techniques and application principles which do not reconcile with your autonomic response under violent assault.

And along the axis as outlined above, remember that in spite of your teacher’s best efforts, it is your ultimate responsibility as to what you will allow to program into yourself given your genetic make up and coordination! Some of us really have no business on a dojo floor learning the violence of movements.

“ Every time you train, you are making a choice about what you are training into yourself. If your goal is practical defense, then try to make your choices by recognizing the distinction between things that you must master and things that you are not likely to. In other words keep it as simple as possible.” [Mroz]
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:52 am

So is traditional training useless?

Anyone who asks this question shows his ignorance.

We first need to study and understand the complexities of body alarm reactions that become all pervasive when you realize you are about to take a serious ass-kicking...or about to be 'laid to rest' for eternity.

When combined, traditional and modern concepts are a winning combination!

Let’s review some basics:

1] We train and fantasize we are ready for anything Then we are out on a date, walking through the park and some low life scum surprises you out of the darkness with a knife in his hands and shouts “

Hey you M*** F*** give me all your money “ While at the same time he grabs your girl friend by the tits.

2] The cocktail will hit us like a ton of bricks; blood flow redirects from our extremities to the major muscles, thighs, chest, arms!

3] Now the major muscles are primed for flight or fight but hand dexterity and coordination suffer from the vascular occlusion, resulting in deterioration of fine and complex motor skills!

Fine movements of the fingers and hands are degraded most of all [particularly in our fingers].

4] Epinephrine and other hormones release in our blood stream will cause all muscles to tighten including the clenching of our fingers into the primal fist!

That is why firearms students are taught to keep the trigger finger outside the trigger guard to prevent tight muscles from jerking the index finger against the trigger thus firing an involuntary shot! [Firing a gun is gross motor action,

trying to neatly form a shoken fist with our index finger is a fine motor skill—using open handed strikes can be fine motor skills…. most Uechi students I have talked to who had been in a fight, told me

“ Well I just punched the guy” …so what happened to our “open hand system? “

5] the legs will go heavy on us, we will forget all the glamorous martial arts techniques, all the fancy stances, the fancy locks, the fancy take downs etc.

We will be left with primal gross motor action assuming we can mentally make ourselves trigger a response at all!
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:54 am

Obviously, to be effective, our training model must address and be reconciled with these serious physiological changes!

The techniques are built into our katas, provided they are performed along the concept of explosive performance and determined intensity, discharging power from the legs up through hips, waist, chest, shoulder and arms [always invoking the gross motor muscles]!

I will not outline which techniques are best at surviving the “cocktail”, those are extremely personal to the individual make up, however, all of your training must concentrate on the acceptance of the dominance of the primal instincts over motor performance!

Some cross training is helpful, in the “right stuff” such as grappling work [but simple gross motor applications]

Weight training, conditioning, free sparring, scenario drills, impact training, reaction time drills!

There is, of course lots more that could be done, but students won’t follow a very demanding routine for long, so the above is fine if done with mindset conditioning!


The best fighter I ever saw was Taro Tanaka of Japan at five foot two! Collegiate champion from Japan, Katas that whipped like high-speed bullets, and a front kick, punch, take down combination that was deadly!

He would practice 1000 kicks/punches a day and would say, “ Van you only need to front kick and punch but you must go through walls”
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:57 am

All the practice we do, including sparring, kumite, bunkais, and two men drills with our dojo brothers, lack that “certain something” that, on the street, would turn you into a different person and trigger different body “ machinery” so to speak!

That “ certain something” is MALEVOLENT INTENT! Your adversary’s intent is what makes any attack, a potentially deadly one.

Since the intent of an attacker is unknown, regardless of whether he attacks with a weapon or without, when we train with the goal to defend, we must always assume that the attacker is a deadly menace!

It is this “ sensed intent” that triggers your body alarm reactions to the fullest and sets in motion the “deteriorations” engendered by the “ cocktail”!

That is why lots of the “stuff” we do like second hand, in the dojo, has a tendency to fall apart in the street!
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:05 am

The thing is...if you ever get involved in a street fight...it won't be a 'quickie' so you can go back to sleep. You will be engaging someone in self preservation as you are at risk of death or debilitating injury.


“ educating” your mind set is _to make you feel comfortable to launch very important “ combat strokes” shaking you free of denial and fear to “commit”!

Another problem, not readily grasped, is that “ mindset” must be nudged to become “ sustained” in combat strokes! Lots of times it waxes and wanes during the skirmish, leaving big holes in your physical/psychological defense mechanism!

A bigger problem we all face when we practice is that certain “ smugness” which develops because we lack the reality of getting stunned, shocked or startled, when injured in the affray!

Somehow, because we have been doing conditioning standing still like dummies, we program the belief that we can prevail unscathed, and this can be fatal!

You are going to be hit/hurt/stunned and made to bleed.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:08 am

People who have been there many times [in particular our dynamic David Moy] will tell you just how dangerous, desperate, mind numbing, and unforgiving violent engagements actually are!

It is not a game, a match, or tournament; it is a battle to survive whether the opponent is armed, unharmed, or short or tall, skinny, or fat!

Knowing you could be dead inside of a few minutes creates a very mind numbing effect. You need to at least visualize to feel that desperation.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:12 am

When training in mindset [as you should in everything you do during a workout] remember that you visualize taking steps to end the situation once it starts because it will not go away!

Also don’t even think that there will be a glimmer of compassion in your attacker! And never believe the playing fields will be even when under attack; you will always seem to be at a less than advantageous position!

Martial arts students have a way to fantasize combat situations that fit neatly within the parameters of their system!

The real world attacks today, should you find yourself in one, will probably be one with full malicious intent, with baseball bats, screwdrivers, knives, box-cutters and non – compliant Uke!

Why is it that the tournament black belt champion died a horrible death at the hands of that Jamaican gang banger without putting up much of a fight?

You need to keep asking yourself this question every time you step into a dojo...because you could well be next.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:16 am

The moment we, as students or teachers, start entertaining the concept of self defense in a volatile street fight, we must accept the fact we are entering a very complex and capricious arena that needs much more specialized understanding in order to just function!

If we really want to cross the threshold into the combat/self defense arena, we must develop mentally, physically, and tactically, and we must embrace a basic force continuum of skills with and without weapons!

Most people will not even want to think weapons, and that is fine, but then they should not be really thinking self defense beyond engagement with the occasional “ Chicken thief “ to borrow a phrase from Bill Glasheen’s Dad!

Think about the face of your likely/potential enemy in this day and age; think about all the knives out there today, the knife culture has taken very strong roots in the US

Think about the road rage incidents where somebody coming at you with a baseball bat or other improvised weapon, is common occurrence today.

Some people argue, “ Not all defensive situations are like that, Van “ ~ true, so what situation do we elect to train for?
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:18 am

First and foremost, all our training [if we elect to prepare for a defensive situation] must hone our mental conditioning to be able to give our body the definitive “go” command in preempting a situation….

the most difficult thing there is when caught in a reactive state! You know ---the “ making you want to do it” ~ It all starts from this point!

Programming the “go” command is even more difficult when we force to accept the understanding of the mind set and malicious intent of the enemy, most often the chronically violent, sociopath offender!

Are we really ready to “commit” against such evil adversaries?
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:19 am

The uncomfortable truth is that most of us will never be able to mount countervailing violence of the type needed to prevail in a real serious confrontation, especially if weapons are used against us!

There are notable exceptions, but for the most part this truth holds in spite of the denial and the reflection in the dojo mirror!
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