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 » Tue Jun 19, 2018 2:10 pm

Here's something from Bruce Lee on 'distance' and why...

Understanding how to react to distance is one such cognitive skill commonly used to perceive threats. For example, Bruce Lee 195

once instructed a student to draw a circle on the floor that was the length of the student’s extended leg; the student then stood in the circle. 196

Bruce then moved toward him at various points outside and inside the circle. 197

When Bruce stepped inside the circle, the student instinctively moved backward. 198

Bruce said, “When your opponent is inside your circle and you cannot or will not retreat any farther, you must fight. But until then, you should maintain your control and your distance.” 199

Bruce’s instruction is considered a teaching of traditional martial arts, and it reflects the common law self-defense duty to retreat.

Physical and mental skills such as these give martial artists more control over their actions during a fight.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Tue Jun 19, 2018 5:10 pm

Hi Paul,

One problem about the learning of the art then putting aside, as you well put it...is something we have been addressing on my forum for years.

If one trains and in so training ends up 'conditioning' certain concepts, along with technique, he will most likely remain captive of that 'conditioning' and use it when he should have sensed otherwise.

For example, you don't close the distance with a runaway train coming at you...

you need to step out of the way...

If you train to instinctively close the distance with an opponent the size of Andre Tippet...well...you may find out that closing the distance also means picked up like a football and flying over oncoming traffic.

Gushy sensei made that point clear in his seminar when demonstrating with Andre Tippet.

We must of course learn how to handle ourselves in close quarters and learn more specific ways, such as Rory's Dracula's cape and Blauer's 'spear' ...

But I caution against 'closing in' as a 100% operant conditioning.

And I speak from the experience of having had to defend my life against multiple attackers with blunt weapons who had me surrounded once.

Good teachers are the ones who help a student
better understand the options in a real world street fight against an aggressor, and the ways to 'condition' this knowledge.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby paulg » Wed Jun 20, 2018 11:26 am

Maybe one of the reasons boxers have the reputation of toughness and effectiveness is because they fight/train with contact. And the reason they can do this is because they wear gloves (and soft headgear) when they train. So when they move to block or evade a punch they know in their heart that it is a real punch. And then when they throw a punch they know if they really hit or missed. In other words, they condition themselves to really hit or really evade. And judoka/wrestlers really throw each other (because they have mats and have practiced falling). As you have been pointing out to us for years, we in karate have unintentionally conditioned ourselves to believe we will not get hit because our exercises rarely involve actual contact. We go around secure in the feeling that if we really wanted to we could always move in those extra few inches and connect with a hard kick or strike. But when I have tried this at the Hut, by encouraging students to try to practice the drills with at least some contact (not to the face or throat, obviously) we see just how often it fails. Honestly, if we always trained for realism we would lose vast legions of students. The strongest and toughest would survive, of course, but at the cost of injuries to the average or weak students. Think of how many students have attained dan rank, and are going around thinking they can defend themselves, who have never struck anything, even a heavy bag! Or who have never blocked a strike really meant to hit them. I did an experiment at the Hut once a few years ago that opened people's eyes a bit. I had a real knife, and showed that it was sharp by cutting a piece of newspaper held up. I told them that I would just hold the knife out, not swing it or stab or move at all. And they all know me well and know I am mild and well-intentioned and can be trusted. All I wanted them to do was grab my wrist in a two handed gedan-barai move. That's all. Well, the anxiety level in the class shot way up. And absolutely everyone who tried the drill noticed that their attention was instantly and totally riveted on the knife. Forget about the evenly hovering attention and zen like calm of sanchin! Now this is with someone they know and trust. Imagine being faced with a violent and enraged stranger with a knife!

Please don't get me wrong here. I would never advocate abandoning sanchin or the other kata or the kumites. They teach invaluable lessons and are vitally necessary to develop power delivery. But as you have been telling us for years, they can only carry us so far, and they have the unintentional side effect of conditioning ineffective distancing. So we should do at least some realistic drills that go beyond the kata. And we should strongly support the need to stay in top physical shape (it bothers me to no end when I see someone who is soft or very overweight passing a dan test, because it sends the wrong message).

Consider that this is coming from someone who was very much a kata-oriented student. I still am, but a whack in the head or two woke me up a bit.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:17 pm

Hi Paul,

Your post is most excellent as you touch upon all the key components of the physical and emotional chaos an average class student will find herself totally immersed in while responding/reacting to a street attack_ where death or serious bodily harm are always strong possibilities.

As you know, denial is a pesky affliction in the majority of martial arts practitioners...

There is much knowledge and useful introspection to be gained by your post as it wades through our thoughts.

1.
We go around secure in the feeling that if we really wanted to we could always move in those extra few inches and connect with a hard kick or strike. But when I have tried this at the Hut, by encouraging students to try to practice the drills with at least some contact (not to the face or throat, obviously) we see just how often it fails.



Good point, and Rory talks about this in his books [operant conditioning]...

And you also know how many people in class simply will not engage in a free sparring session with full body contact...yet believe they are ready for 'stopping power' on the street.

Meditations on Violence and Facing violence should be mandatory reading for all of us.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:25 pm

2.
Think of how many students have attained dan rank, and are going around thinking they can defend themselves, who have never struck anything, even a heavy bag! Or who have never blocked a strike really meant to hit them.


Another way to sober up students is to have them face off with the strongest, heaviest, hard punching student in class and have him try to block a full power punch aimed at his solar plexus with a circle block but remaining in sanchin stance, without moving offline.

The majority will get hit pretty bad.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:25 pm

3.
All I wanted them to do was grab my wrist in a two handed gedan-barai move. That's all. Well, the anxiety level in the class shot way up.

And absolutely everyone who tried the drill noticed that their attention was instantly and totally riveted on the knife.

Forget about the evenly hovering attention and zen like calm of sanchin! Now this is with someone they know and trust. Imagine being faced with a violent and enraged stranger with a knife!


Right on Paul. The 'riveting' was a base indicator of 'tunnel vision' that will occur x ten folds if in a street fight. People just don't get that...you will hear them say..."well we train to expand our vision in sanchin"...believing they can neutralize a hard wired survival instinct.

And then we must realize that a “chemical cocktail” of hormones will affect the body in a real self-defense situation that cannot be replicated reliably in training.

This from a legal article says it all.

In fact, most students of traditional martial arts are not even used to being hit in the face.
being hit in a real fight can cause the martial artist to either freeze or overreact.

Once the martial artist is frozen into inaction or provoked into a rage, he becomes just like the ordinary man, and courts should analyze such a situation under traditional self-defense doctrine.

Accordingly, just because a person has trained in a specific skill set does not mean he is always prepared to respond according to the highest levels of his training in any violent situation.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:37 pm

4.
So we should do at least some realistic drills that go beyond the kata. And we should strongly support the need to stay in top physical shape (it bothers me to no end when I see someone who is soft or very overweight passing a dan test, because it sends the wrong message).

Consider that this is coming from someone who was very much a kata-oriented student. I still am, but a whack in the head or two woke me up a bit.


I agree. One of the Things I found useful is to practice in safety against some of the most habitual acts of violence or attacks one is likely to come up against and to imagine where from.

Then using the Uechi concepts and skills, attempt to deal with them not being afraid to modify a response in order to remain safe.

For example the gedan block with the ulna bone against a powerful kick in the street will break the ulna as it smashes against the rising tibia...and a fight means chaos, so the 'right' way to do that block won't work, especially under the chemical cocktail.

we have seen so many 'conditioned' forearms just break at the ulna bone from a powerful front kick.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby paulg » Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:32 pm

So here is a totally imaginary and impossible program that might help reduce some of the frantic feelings engendered by the chemical cocktail: start out doing hard sparring or actually fighting with people much smaller than yourself. Do it many times, until you feel super relaxed and confident. Then move up a notch to a slightly bigger, but still much smaller than you, person and repeat. Do this in graduated increments until you are fighting people as big or bigger than you are, and do it many times. Just kidding; much better to JUST TRY TO STAY OUT OF FIGHTS.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Wed Jun 20, 2018 7:16 pm

paulg wrote:So here is a totally imaginary and impossible program that might help reduce some of the frantic feelings engendered by the chemical cocktail: start out doing hard sparring or actually fighting with people much smaller than yourself. Do it many times, until you feel super relaxed and confident. Then move up a notch to a slightly bigger, but still much smaller than you, person and repeat. Do this in graduated increments until you are fighting people as big or bigger than you are, and do it many times. Just kidding; much better to JUST TRY TO STAY OUT OF FIGHTS.


Trying to stay out of fights is always the best bet even if provoked because win or loose you pay a horrible price...but martial artists seem to be conditioned to get into fights so they can prove to themselves that they finally found that 'missing manhood' ...same as a farthing drunk will threaten to 'drink you under the table' ....or maybe a few more katas will add a couple inches to their pecker...we have seen those guys over the years.

We have also seen some of them on my forum now and then.

But physical engagement with a question mark as to how it might end for you is still a basic way to develop some fortitude.

Take for example the All American Tournament at Madison Square Garden we fought in the 60's...

In the heavyweight division there was Ed Daniels[ the King Kong of karate at 6' 7" - 280 lbs] who always fought you full contact regardless of the rules.

Knowing that anyone of us in that division could draw him in the ring, took some courage in just signing the entry application. Many people just dropped out and went home.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Wed Jun 20, 2018 8:29 pm

I’ve had similar discussions on and off line too. There is a failure to appreciate that what is most efficient in a one-on-one fight can be seriously found wanting for self-protection. It’s also common for people who are heavily invested in “fight training” to mistake self-protection to be the same as a “street fight” i.e. “I can fight with or without rules” whilst never realising that it’s not about “winning the street fight” but keeping yourself safe from harm.

Ian Abernathy
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Wed Jun 20, 2018 8:36 pm

The problem is different, the objective is different, and hence the tactics and choice in techniques are also radically different.

It’s also important to note that – as I’ve heard Rory point out – there are rules in real situations in the form of laws. Approach self-protection like a “no rules street fight” and you may win the fight but lose your liberty.

Failing to understand that one-on-one tactics do not fare well in a multiple enemy situation means that a person could also easily find themselves winning the fight with the guy in front, while losing the fight they never knew they were in with the guy behind. Did a podcast on that too :-)
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Wed Jun 20, 2018 8:39 pm

These quotes by Ian Abernathy tell the tale:


Zach Zinn wrote:I've met and trained with many nice, talented Karateka who I have a lot of respect for over the years I’ve been training, but I have to say it's been a small minority that were interested in looking critically at their training



Totally agree with that observation. If people knew they were going to be attacked with 100% certainty then the tendency for “admiring the emperor’s new clothes” would disappear over night.

However, we are lucky enough to live in a world were the vast majority can live their lives free from imminent attack. And while that’s obviously great, not having training address the reality of self-defence, and hoping that such inadequate training will ever be tested, is unethical and wilfully delusional.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Wed Jun 20, 2018 8:43 pm

One of the great things about the martial arts is that they have so much to offer. I think exercise is very important for mental and physical health and the martial arts are a great vehicle for that.

They are also great for a means of socialising and as a form of pure enjoyment. All good stuff in my view! However, the martial arts should both enhance our lives as well as giving us the skills to protect that good life.

It’s no good though if instead of seeking what will actually work, we substitute a false sense of security (“fear management”) in its place.

Thanks for the post Zach! You’ve brought out a load of interesting issues there!

All the best,


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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:29 am

Gareth wrote:how else should/can someone in my position try to prepare for a real life scenario without actually having one (which I obviously don't want to do)?



That’s a big topic! Lots of elements to it. Essential though, you need recreate such situations in training while being mindful of the inevitable limitations of safe precautions.

Soldiers don’t learn how to fight a war by going to war. They are trained to deal with it before they are active by taking part in drills and training that impart the required skills.

Martial artists should do the same.

There’s lots of differing approaches and methods, but Rory’s stuff is hard to beat.

Very practical, logical and well communicated He has loads of good drills that help impart the required skills.

These drills fit are a natural fit for the pragmatic karateka too.

All the best,

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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:34 am

Hi Paul,

Good book to have.

Drills: Training for Sudden Violence by Rory Miller

BLURB: The speed and brutality of a predatory attack can shock even an experienced martial artist.

The sudden chaos, the cascade of stress hormones-you feel as though time slows down.

In reality, the assault is over in an instant. How does anyone prepare for that?

As a former corrections sergeant and tactical team leader, Rory Miller is a proven survivor. He instructs police and corrections professionals who, in many cases, receive only eight hours of defensive tactics training each year.

They need techniques that work and they need unflinching courage. In Drills: Training for Sudden Violence Miller gives you the tools to prepare and prevail, both physically and psychologically.

He shares hard-won lessons from a world most of us hope we never experience. *

Train in fundamentals, combat drills, and dynamic fighting.*

Develop situational awareness.* Condition yourself through stress inoculation.*

Take a critical look at your training habits. "You don't get to pick where fights go," Miller writes.

That's why he has created a series of drills to train you for the worst of it. You will defend yourself on your feet, on the ground, against weapons, in a crowd, and while blindfolded.

You will ree valuate your training scenarios-keeping what works, discarding what does not, and improving yourchances of survival. Miller's "internal work," world work," and "plastic mind" exercises will challenge you in ways that mere physical training does not.

Sections include * Stalking* Escape and evasion* The predator mind* Personal threat assessment This is a fight for your life, and it won't happen on a nice soft mat.

It will get, as Miller says, "all kinds of messy." Drills: Training for Sudden Violence prepares you for that mess.


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