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Registration date : 2007-06-27

PostSubject: OVERVIEW OF COMBATIVES: PART THREE   Thu 10 Sep 2015, 11:15


I would suspect that many readers haven't actually yet experienced Combatives training, and may be looking for such training. One thing I would caution against is what we might call Psuedo-combatives. There are countless schools that talk about reality, and point out the shortcomings of traditional martial arts. An unwary student could believe he had found the "real thing". Here's a couple of pointers to discern whether the system is truly street-relevant...
1] How many techniques are taught? If the syllabus runs to much more than a dozen primary strikes, beware.
2] Do they teach complicated training drills? Some teachers denigrate traditional kata, then teach drills which are every bit as useless as those kata.
3] Do they teach "trapping"? That's a big clue!
4] Do they teach Situational Control? If not, give it a miss.
5] Can you learn the stuff quickly, or, does it take years. Combatives can be learned very quickly.
6] Is the program based on what you need, or, are you expected to adapt to the program?
7] Do the teachers talk about "self defence"? If so, they may have missed the point. Combatives operates from a concept of self-protection. This may seem a small distinction, but it is actually significant.

[A good sport, but is it good self protection training?]

Again, there is nothing wrong with training in a Psuedo-combative system, as long as you realise that it is actually a modern martial art. If you want something for the street look for a genuine Combatives school.
Having considered Traditional Martial Arts [TMA] and pseudo-combative systems [such as JKD], let's now discuss the position of Mixed Martial Arts [MMA] for self-protection. There is a continuous discussion in various online forums concerning this subject, so it's certainly worthy of a look here.
The first point to grasp is that the important part of the term Mixed Martial Arts isn't the word "mixed", it's the phrase "martial arts" They are still doing a martial art.... in fact, a martial sport. MMA enthusiasts will argue that their sport provides them with the skills, tools and attributes essential for self-protection; but we disagree.

MMA practitioners punch, kick, throw, lock, submit an aggressive opponent who is trying to do the same to them. In other words, they fight. They would assert that these components can then be transferred to the street, but can they?
Let's take, for example, a soccer player. He has skill in ball control, runs around the pitch, interacts with team-mates, and tries to score. Could he then enter a Rugby match?
Or, consider a clay pigeon shooter. He fires a powerful firearm at fast, mobile targets in rapid succession. Could he then be put into a SWAT team making a dynamic entry, or, on to the streets of Baghdad?
Obviously there is a lot of "other" stuff surrounding street self-protection, beyond certain skills.
This seems common sense to me, but apparently a lot of guys can't grasp it.

To further illustrate what I'm talking about, let's take an MMA concept to the logical conclusion. An MMA competitor preparing for a match would undergo a highly specific training regimen.
He usually knows exactly when the match is, and can timeline his training program in detail.
The match rules are well known in advance, and often competitors negotiate amendments to their own advantage. If during the match a fighter is injured, or just wants to give up, the fight will be stopped.
He will study his opponent, assess his strengths and weaknesses, watch tapes of his previous matches, and perhaps talk to past opponents.
He will then train against sparring partners who can simulate the style, size and speed of the opponent.
He will discuss match strategy with his coach, and mentally prepare for various scenarios.
His nutrition, supplements and rest will be considered alongside his physical training program.
This is great, and obviously is the way to success in the arena.
Let's ask that same competitor to prepare for the following....
You don't know when the fight will occur, but it will probably be when you least expect it.
You don't know who you will be fighting, he may outweigh you, he may bring a weapon, and by the way, he may bring a mate, or, three.

You must keep to the rules [known as the laws of the land], but he doesn't.
The fight ends when he wants it to.... which may be when you are in a coma, or dead.
Now obviously, you wouldn't prepare for that situation in the same way, but that depicts precisely what self-protection is about.

[Gary Spiers trained in Goju Karate in Japan, and was later a member of the Gt Britain Karate squad. However, when it came to the street he used headbutts, biting, gouging as well as a few well-chosen strikes]

Sport, even "No Holds Barred" events [I love that title] is all about playing by the rules. The rules define the sport. When it comes to the street the MMA guys are trying to transfer from a very structured situation into a totally unstructured one. A lot of the reality based training drills promote the experience of dealing with an unknown, unstructured situation, and this is a much better approach in my opinion.

In my opinion Mixed Martial Arts [MMA] have taken martial sports to a new dimension, and have taught everyone a great deal about what is needed to win in that environment, under those rules. It's also great entertainment. The various MMA events have produced a number of great competitors, none better than Randy Couture, who should be a national figure in America; he's a true fighting athlete and an outstanding role model.
A final thought, when investing your time in training considers your outcomes. What are you training for? Are you training for fitness, are you training for sport, or, are you training to prepare for violent confrontations? If so, consider the maxim used by an eminent Special Ops training consultant: -
"We train as we operate, we operate as we train"

Following from my comments on MMA, I want to clarify my position regarding ground-grappling in self-protection. Firstly, I'm not really trying to change anyone's mind here. If you are heavily into MMA and are confident about your ability to look after yourself, this thread isn't directed at you. The purpose of this overview of Combatives is to gently guide those who are looking for self protection advice; and to provide some concepts to consider in creating a personal training regimen.
How much time should you devote to the ground situation? There is a truism that most fights end up on the ground. This is false. However, let's freely admit that statistics are unimportant if you actually end up on the ground, it has happened, and can happen to any of us.

[We all need to train in ground defence. Here Mika shows what to do]

What is less likely is that both combatants will end up tangled on the ground. You may go down and your assailant(s) are still standing, and commence stamping your head in. Or, he goes down and you deliver the leather. For both to go down, and be at grips, requires a pretty rare circumstance. If fact ground grappling is usually a result of falling/tripping while engaged in standing grappling, so the first lesson is avoid what some call "vertical grappling"
So, it's quite rare for both to be engaged on the ground. How often then do you think either is trained in MMA/ground grappling? The chances of you confronting a trained grappler in his element are slim.
However, shit happens, and if you are grounded and tangled the last resort is grappling.... and you are not going to give him the chance to employ his stuff anyway. Without discussing our entire lesson plan here I'll just state that grappling is the fourth, and last, option to employ.

[Larry, from the Liverpool Gutterfighters, is an experienced grappler. However, working on the Liverpool nightclub doors he'd never use a submission technique]

Remember, this is about Combatives, and I'll refer you to the working definition right at the beginning of this thread. You are not trying to control him; you are making him react to you. Remember, you don't want to be there, fight to your feet. Forget guards, mounts, and positions. Overwhelm him with continuous aggression.

[Si Squires demonstrates a counter-grappling technique]

Rules? There are no rules, except "do whatever it takes to win"
Again, this isn't intended for the MMA enthusiast. One thing I've learned over the years is you can't change the minds of shooters who prefer Weaver-stance, guys who like trapping, and those who are heavily in to MMA.
Self-protection is a much wider study, with tactics, mindset and what Fairbairn called artifice being more important than technical skills.

Another myth which seems current in MMA circles is that Combatives consists of a guy alone in his basement, or, garage, slamming Chinjabs into a SparPro over and over again. Like most myths there is a grain of truth there, but let's see where that truth actually is.
In fact, to me the main training for Combatives is with a partner, or, group of partners. Having a Padman who can move, provide feedback and encourage you to maximum effort through those final few strikes when you are totally drained, is invaluable. In addition, partners are essential for scenario work. Combatives training is as realistic and dynamic as we can make it. Although we may exclude sport-sparring this doesn't mean we don't experience open-ended confrontations.

A while back I remember a couple of guys dropped into the Liverpool Gutterfighters with a view to joining. They immediately left when they saw one guy on the ground being kicked and stamped by everyone else in the class!

And anyone who has experienced the Stress Tests devised by Si Squires and his crew won't feel at a disadvantage by not doing sport-sparring.
Many guys who train supplement their gym/partner workouts with some regular solo training. And this is where the myth of the "SparPro Commandos" comes from. In fact trad martial arts, mixed martial arts as well as Combatives is well supported by personal solo training. Heavy bags, wall-pads, and, yes the SparPro type dummies are all ideal.

[Brian, from the Liverpool Gutterfighters, takes on two padded assailants]

There are a minority of guys who have never formally trained in Combatives, and for one reason or another lack a training partner. For them the SparPro in the garage, the well thumbed copy of "Kill or Get Killed" and the tapes of Kelly McCann may be their only route to self-protection training. While this is far from ideal it's better than nothing. What it's not, though, is mainstream Combatives training.

Remember those blockbuster action movies where the hero finally decides to take on the baddies and breaks into an armoury to equip himself for the fight. Anyone with the slightest knowledge of weapons was always amused to see the hero sling several weapons over his shoulders, many of which did exactly the same job. Instead of climbing over walls or trekking through the jungle with all these weapons it would have been better to select one long gun, together with sufficient spare mags, plus a backup pistol.
Of course this is entertainment, but do we similarly clutter ourselves with unnecessary "weapons" when we prepare ourselves for self protection?
Over the past couple of years we have discussed technique selection quite a bit. It is obviously of interest to our readers, and is an important topic. In this post I want to reinforce a couple of points.
Combatives instructors must present the full curriculum of major pre-emptive strikes and effective counter-strikes. Ideally, of course, this curriculum will be based on their personal experience. Failing that, they should be first generation students of someone who has such experience.

As an individual you should train under an experienced instructor, then select strikes which best suit you. This is a completely subjective. We are all physically and emotionally different.
At the Second International Combatives Seminar I asked the guest instructors to present a different essential strike. The idea of this was to offer a "buffet" of techniques from which the trainee could select a core to take away for future attention.
Talking to Kjetil at the VIP Protection Program he made the point that very few techniques are desirable in the armoury. So, examine your syllabus and look at what you can retain and what you can discard.

Start with a major hand strike, it may be the Tiger's Claw, it may be the Elbow, it may be one of several excellent strikes, that doesn't matter; what does matter is that it suits you. You feel good doing it. It is natural for you.
Now analyse the strike. Is it a long-range strike, like the Tiger's Claw/ In which case, you may want to add a close-range follow up.

Is it a close-range strike, like the Chinjab, in which case you may want to include something like a Slap to deal with that distance.
If you are a fan of the Hammerfist, you probably like the "cycling" action, so will want to work on the offhand action.
We all must work on transitioning to kneestrikes, using hookups or clamps to reinforce this.
So, you end up with a compact package consisting of a long-range hand strike, a close range hand strike, and the ability to shift target attention to the Lowline with kneestrikes. That's a pretty decent little package to work on.
Can you add more? Sure, but when you remember you'll be working on task-related fitness, weapons disarms, stress drills and scenario work, you don't really need to expand the syllabus, just increase the intensity.
There is nothing wrong with training more strikes, but for the majority of readers with limited training time it may be wise to stick to that compact package.
Train hard, stay, on guard!


Check Six,
Dennis Martin
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