Wednesday, November 04, 2009

IS aliveness the most important thing?

I thought this Twitter thread was interesting. Low Tech Combat asked, “Who thinks "Aliveness" is not important?” To which Jason Crouch of The Martial Explorer answered, “what is aliveness.” My reply was:

tdatraining RT @jessecrouch: @lowtechcombat what is aliveness- Great question! Is it rhetorical? I will answer anyway: There is no hard and fast definition, like most things in martial arts, unless you isolate it to a particular system, e.g. JKD. It may be easier to define by asking what is dead in MA? Most think that a "dead" drill is one where the feeder, for ex, is not responding, but simply feeding an attack or responding with a defense without thought or emotion. He may as well be a machine.

An "alive" drill may be closer to sparring, in that a partner gives feedback or resistance. Is it important? Yes, of course it's important, but the "dead" is important too, because it develops basics, skills, and tactics and "aliveness" when learning something new can actually be detrimental to developing a technique or skill before the correct time. Does that make sense? I know their are lots of other perspectives and would love to hear them.

Being the expert researcher I am, I used the search term “aliveness,” and found this video on YouTube. Watch.

What do you think?


Patrick Parker said...

I think his boxers look fabulous with that shirt!

Elias said...

I think both are necessary. The static drills to get the basic technique correct, and the 'aliveness' to put it all together.

That being said, Aliveness is definitely a huge aspect of learning martial arts properly.

Jason Couch said...

I think that 1) you may have combined Jesse's name and mine, and 2) it's largely a false dichotomy- even the SBG guys don't teach the basic mechanics of punching with someone punching back at you.

But bringing up the topic of aliveness and sparring in general does have my thoughts swirling, so I'll have to think a bit and put pen to paper. Well, at least fingers to keyboard.

Jesse Crouch said...


Oh dude, that's weird. Our names are rather close.

WRT aliveness - I think both are important and agree with Nathan's assessment.

TheMartialArtsReporter said...

Agree that both are important and useful.
I always learn something from your posts.

Neal Martin said...

I agree also that both are important. Injecting aliveness into your training tends to bugger up your art somewhat as well. Suddenly all those nice techniques you practice just don't come off as well when an opponent is annoyingly refusing to stand still and submit to you. Suddenly you come across as being downright sloppy. But that just highlights the difference between art and realism and aliveness training is needed to show students the difference, otherwise they would all be harboring the false belief that all their techniques will work in a live situation.

I have practiced wrist locks and arm locks thousands of times over the years, but can I apply one when someone is resisting and moving around all over the place? Very rarely, unless you hit them first. Real fighting is far from pretty and it always involves a level of struggle that isn't present in static training.

It makes you wonder why you bother to learn all those techniques, doesn't it? I guess they come in handy as support for your core set of self defense techniques, that's how I view them anyway. If something fails at least you have backup. I'm a big advocate of pre-emptive striking anyway, a concept that all but eliminates the need for a whole gamut of techniques. I'm not hanging around to apply arm locks after that first strike, I'm running off down the road! It's not always as simple as that though and sometimes you don't get to run off, sometimes you have to stay and fight and that's when the rest of your techniques come in handy.

I'm rambling again. Both concepts are important. Good post.