Thursday, June 16, 2011

Slow it Down

Bruce Lee once said that if you want to learn to swim,then you have to get into the water and no amount of simulated land swimming will teach you to swim.There is a lot of truth in that analogy and he was primarily referring to using actual live sparring vs forms & merely practicing techniques in learning how to fight.The analogy though has many shortcomings as does a lot of Lee's assertions.Lee was a visionary and way ahead of his time,but he was more of a martial artist rather than a reality-based self-defense exponent.
           You wouldn't take someone who doesn't know how to swim and throw them into the deep end of the pool and you shouldn't take someone wanting to learn unarmed self-defense and throw them into a full contact MMA match.To learn to swim, you start off in the shallow end and get comfortable being in the water and used to moving your body around and how it feels.You then progress to learning how to float and how to dog paddle.You learn start practicing your swimming technique in shallow water until your proficient enough to proceed to deeper depths.It's a progression and the same applies to building martial skills of all types whether it be unarmed defense, knife or firearm training.You don't give a firearm novice a .44 Magnum and turn them loose at it at the range without training and instruction.You first teach them safety tips as well as how to hold/grip the gun and it's basic operation.You describe what they should expect upon firing the weapon  and do many dry runs of dry firing and handling drills.You also usually start off with a lower caliber weapon so as to not overwhelm them and perhaps even develop bad habits & flinch responses.
                    These same principles apply to learning how to slip a punch or how to escape the mount.Start of slowly & learn the movement first and get the basics down.When actually performing the technique with a live opponent,start off in slow motion getting the feel & timing down before trying to do it at faster speeds.Start with prearranged sequences in which you both know what is coming & then you can progress to spontaneous reactive training,sparring or Force on Force,but when you first start doing these training methods,you should still start slow & easy.Slow motion controlled sparring is hard for many people to do since people tend to get competitive,so try to refrain from doing so and find a partner that will work with you and not get overly competitive.Remember that this is training,not a contest.Once your more advanced,have good control and good training partners,then perhaps you can advance to more advanced pressure testing of your abilities and technique.Irregardless,stay safe in your training.
                   In regards to full contact training etc, I don't personally fee that it is necessary for the individual wanting to learn self-defense and in many ways actually contradicts the principal of True self-defense/Real Defense in that your risking injury in order to learn how to prevent it(which is the goal of self-defense/preservation).If you do participate in any Sparring, Force on Force,Free Form or Live, Dynamic Reactive training,it must be conducted in as safe a fashion as possible.Injury risk can be mitigated by the use of quality safety equipment,but the biggest preventive thing you can use is your head/brain and avoid activities that are obviously simply too dangerous.Injuries don't make you tough,they actually make you weaker and less prepared and capable and hinder your training so stay safe & train smart!