Monday, August 03, 2009

Urban Samurai on Traditional Training Getting You Killed

Urban Samurai

The Urban Samurai is a blogger I actually learned about because he subscribed to my Twitter feed (as you all should!), and I’ve since learned, is an excellent martial arts blogger as well. Check out his site here.

Anyway, his comment on this weekend’s repost is worthy of posting on it’s own. Background should be reading Is your traditional training going to get you killed? A repost. His words, with my commentary in brackets. Final note before you read: please don’t take this and the linked post as a gratuitous attack on so-called traditional training. All styles, instruction, and training have benefits and purpose. You need to figure out for yourself what the what they are, and adapt what you need from that base, much like I did after starting in a semi-traditional style (traditional TKD), then moving over to more "reality-based” training after over 20 years in the arts. We can all learn from each other. On to the quote:

Hey Nathan. All the points you made were very valid. As someone who comes from a traditional background I can back up what you are saying. Most traditional schools do not teach proper self defense for the street. I believe in order to train for the street you have to train completely differently, make the training more intense and more true to life. Street fighting isn't pretty and neither is the training you have to do for it. Usually you end up getting hurt, but that is part of it, learning to take a hit. [This is quite true (getting hurt, and needing to learn to take a hit), and can only be minimized by competent instruction and a good gradient of contact, which is where traditional “control” can help]

In my own training (which is Kempo Jujitsu) I make a distinction between art and reality. I practice traditional technique for the sake of the art and the enjoyment of actually doing so and working at perfecting it. Even with Jujitsu though, I am under no illusions. Most of the techniques are not suitable for street self defense. For that I just keep things simple- simple strikes,simple locks and chokes etc. [Simplicity is probably key to success in almost everything, but in self-defense, it’s crucial to focus on those high-percentage basics – great point!]

Really it depends what you want to get out of martial arts at the end of the day. If someone wants to learn how to defend themselves then they should do Krav Maga or some other reality based art. If you just want to learn an art, then go traditional. I believe as long as people make the distinction between art and reality they won't get themselves into trouble. A good grounding in the basics is pretty much all you need for street self defense, technique wise. After that it all comes down to personality. How confident are you? How well do you respond under pressure? Can you actually hit someone and put them down? These are things that specialist training can improve to an extent. The rest you have to get from real live situations. Get a bouncing job, put everything to the test.[This is the “missing link” of much training that’s not self-defense oriented – learning to psychologically deal with aggression, another’s, and your own]

One final point. Most people go through life without ever getting into a fight on the street. You can over emphasize the self defense aspects if you're not careful. Yes, you should be as prepared as possible, but also strike a balance and don't let the perceived need to know how to defend yourself overtake your life [emphasis mine – fantastic point]. Some people get very obsessed by it all. That's why I think people should garner an appreciation for the art side of things as well, to provide a balance in their training and also to help them along mentally and spiritually.

When it comes to self defense, paranoia is not productive. Keep things in perspective.

Excellent post. Well done.


Wim said...

It's funny, I was in the middle of discussing this on an email list when I read your and Neal's posts. I just did a post on the issue on my blog. you might enjoy it. :-)

Martial University said...

I've trained in everything from traditional (jujutsu & wing chun) to combative (krav mage) to sport (savate & muay thai) to stuff in-between (jeet kune do) and I think ut of all of that the point I agree with most is the last one. While I definitely think you should train in something that will realistically and practically help you defend yourself, people forget that the statistical likelihood of ever needing to is fairly low in the U.S.

I mean, if you look at the U.S. mortality rate statistics, you're more than 100 times more likely to die of something else as you are to be killed by another human being on purpose or as a result of conflict (accidents aren't counted). So while I do think it's very important to know how to actually defend yourself, sometimes I think people get to stresses out over just focusing on whether or not it's effective in combat, and forget all the other physical, spiritual, mental and social benefits.

Honestly, since the top 17 causes of death are diseases with a nutritional element (heart disease, cancer, etc.) I'm more scared of Twinkies and Oreos than muggers.

Nathan Teodoro said...

Wim- Read and agree with your post. Great points.

Martial Univerisity- That last point in the comments was why I posted it, to be frank. You, I, and many others have written on the rest. The point bears repeating. Train to live, don't live to train. Keep it all in context. Love it.

Urban Samurai said...

Hey Nathan. Thank you very much for the compliments. I was just basically backing up what you already said in the article. I'm glad you found the comments useful though.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to focus on Urban Samurai's point regarding the statistical unlikelihood of REALLY having to use all these techniques we train. I 100% agree. While realistic training is absolutely necessary, having a mental balance with reality is also a must.

I posted a recent article about how over obsession with the martial arts can be unhealthy and possibly a symptom of a personality disorder.

As in all things its necessary to balance everything in life.