20 April, 2011

Realism in Training

At my dojo, there used to be a regular tournament circuit that people would attend and participate in (this is before I joined, at least a few years prior).  That practice has since stopped, mostly because of a shift in the way we practice our sparring.

My sensei has us focus on singular items in our training, at times focusing on embodying a certain mentality, at others working on specific techniques, combinations or theories.  These include keeping tension in the legs in order to respond more quickly, trying to shift your intent to the evasive nature of a crane, and trying to sense the attack when it is imminent as opposed to reacting to it.

But overall, we try to have a more realistic sparring style, with the inclusion of throws, grappling work, etc.  We drill simple reactions to knife attacks and strive to treat them as a serious attack every time.  I find that this mental shift in training is what makes for a better experience, and it gives me some measure of confidence in my ability to protect myself.

Some of the items that I find the most interesting are what I have mentioned - mental embodiment of a style of response, treating everything as a serious encounter, evasive movement into a better position for your counter-attack, not defending but instead attacking the attack, relaxing the muscles of the arms to increase speed, sharpening your attention.

We also did a little review recently of the correct sparring posture to adopt.  Both feet facing forward, heels off the ground, bend the knees, one hand guarding at temple level and the other on guard at jaw level (such that the elbow protects the solar plexus).

Another key point I thought of was the fact that in a knife fight, you have to understand and accept that you will be cut - BUT - you don't want to get cut somewhere likely to be a grave injury.  The principle is similar to those of basic pugilism.  I would rather take a punch to the stomach than to the head - I have trained my stomach to absorb impact to a certain degree.  With a knife this isn't the case, but I would rather have a cut along the outside (non-fleshy part) of the arm than on the inside, and similarly there rather than my torso, and the same applies to the head.  Human nature is programmed to avoid blows to the head and groin before others, and this can be used to your advantage.  But it also means that you need to keep in mind what you are risking in any given situation.

Anyways, that is the end of another rambling post.  I just wanted to share some of the above disjointed ideas.

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