29 September 2008

Acronyms, Definitions and Terminology

Some words and acronyms mean different things to different people. Today, I am going to present a list of key terms and their meanings from my viewpoint. Some peoples opinion differ to mine I am sure. But when I speak about these things in posts, it is from the perspective of these definitions.

Awareness- Awareness encompasses all the skills, tactics and techniques we use during the pre-attack stage of conflict. It includes being able to recognise potential hostile activity from a distance. It includes the state of mind of actively watching your surroundings and like the namesake suggests, being aware of your surroundings from a security perspective.

It includes knowing what higher threat environments are and having the presence of mind to know when you are in the vicinity of such environments at that time and knowing what that means and appropriate actions that may be required. It also includes knowledge of such soft skills as verbal de-escalation and non aggressive posture. Finally, it also includes a prior knowledge and understanding of the physiological and psychological effects of combat on the human body.

Combat Sports-Combat sports are combative systems which actively compete in tournaments. Such systems include boxing, greco roman wrestling, kick boxing, muay thai, brazilian jiu jitsu, judo, shootwrestling, MMA and other hybrid systems. These systems are credited with teaching effective systems with an emphasis on being able to apply techniques on a 100% resisting opponent, as is needed to succeed in competition.

Common criticism of such systems highlight their one on one and unarmed nature. Supporters and practitioners highlight that if you cannot deal with one unarmed attacker, how can you possibly entertain thoughts of defeating more than one attacker or an armed one?

FMA- Filipino Martial Arts. Generally, Filipino Martial Arts are the most effective systems in using low tech weapons such as edged weapons and impact weapons being the quite common knife and stick as seen on the streets and homes today.

The good Filipino weapon systems place a high emphasis on being able to apply the learnt techniques in full speed sparring against a resisting opponent. This is a key element of all modern, effective systems such as the combat sports. The Filipino systems have a reputation for being the most effective systems for today's weapons.

MMA-Mixed Martial Arts. Mixed Martial Arts is the system of fighting seen in competitions such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and the Pride Fighting Championship plus many others. MMA systems are well known for being effective systems of unarmed, one on one combat that covers all ranges being standing, clinch and groundfighting and using strikes, body manipulation and submission holds. MMA also utilises modern training methods with an emphasis on applying techniques on a 100% resisting training partner. This involves progressive training methods such as live drilling and sparring and wrestling.

Modern Training Methods-Modern training methods are those methods which are used primarily by combat sports systems and some RBSD systems. Modern training methods provide a
shortened learning cycle compared to older methods. Modern training methods generally involve the following cycle; A technique is first learnt, the technique is drilled in a limited manner, the technique is drilled in a less restricted manner and finally the technique is applied in free sparring or wrestling or a realistic scenario. From the beginning, the emphasis is on being able to apply that technique on a resisting opponent.

Modern training methods also allow for almost 100% effort. This can be achieved by limiting the techniques that can be used and/or wearing appropriate protective equipment. Typical systems include Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (submission wrestling with no strikes), boxing (gloves and mouthguard) and RBSD (FAST Defence bulletman suits).

This is the benefit of modern training methods. The training is hard but also realistic in that the training partner is resisting up to 100% and the practitioner is under stress and feels the effects of stress and still is able to apply their techniques in this environment, in training.

By using modern training methods, systems quickly realise what works and what does not work and can be thrown out. Older training methods relied on doing a technique thousands of times to develop muscle memory. The problem with this method is that for sure, the practitioner can do a good technique but still has not developed the skills to know when and how to apply it on an attacker. Modern training methods negate this by having the student apply their techniques under pressure in training against a committed attack. The more intense the training session, the closer it is to reality.

Reality Based Self Defence. This phrase means different things to different people. Some people call what they do RBSD without really knowing what it is. Some people have a few different techniques they practise in t-shirt and shorts and call it RBSD and some do the same thing in military uniform and call it RBSD. What you wear has no impact on anything except looks.

RBSD attempts to give the student tools that work in real high stress situations. RBSD takes into account the physiological and psychological effects of combat. Generally, under stress we lose fine motor control and get tunnel vision plus more which is all factored into the tactics and techniques taught in RBSD systems. It tests what is taught by putting the student in realistic scenarios one is likely to encounter out in the world which stimulates the 'fight or flight' response.

Typically, they begin in the pre-attack stage of conflict and depending on responses, continue into the attack stage and post attack stage of an encounter. RBSD systems also tend to teach verbal strategies for diffusing situations before they go physical. This is an area lacking in most martial systems and generally is where all encounters begin in the real thing.

RBSD is a term that some don't like, even those that teach it as they believe all self defence should be reality based. Also, RBSD has a bad name in some areas due to poor systems that are taught and sold with the teacher dressed in military fatigues in a system aimed at civilians in a bid to sell that particular system.

Regardless, good RBSD systems cover many areas not covered by conventional martial arts.

Self Defence- Self defence generally means defending against an attack. An attack comes at you, and you defend against it. It is reactive in nature. Self defence generally does not include tactics of the pre-attack stage of conflict. It is the specific area of dealing with an attack. The tactics and techniques taught are physical in nature such as punching, kicking or otherwise physically dealing with the attack. This is different to Self Protection...

Self Protection- Self Protection includes areas covered in self defence. However, the main difference is that Self Protection also covers the pre-attack stage of conflict which encompasses all of the soft skills including awareness and how ensure awareness is maintained.

Self Protection is more pro active where as Self Defence is more reactive. It is just terminology but the difference in these terms and approaches leads to a different approach on the ground so to speak. Being pro active and being aware on the street will see you less likely to be caught by surprise whereas a reactive approach or one dealing with punches and kicks to respond to an attack are more likely to be caught by surprise. Self Protection encompasses more aspects of conflict, much more than just Self Defence.

Soft Skills-
Soft skills are non physical skills used in the pre attack stage of conflict such as verbal de-escalation, awareness and an understanding of body language both from a distance and up close, immediately prior to a confrontation going physical. Soft skills and awareness go hand in hand and often are just different names for the same thing.

TMA-Traditional Martial Arts. TMA are styles with strong traditional heritage. The styles country of origin has a strong influence on these systems such as the wearing of a traditional uniform, using the language and formal customs such as bowing and paying deference to senior members and instructors. Such styles are generally Asian in origin.

Typically, techniques are taught and 'applied' in a static environment which is far removed from today's likely situations and modern training methods. However, other aspects of the way of the warrior such as humility, honour and respect are emphasised which is sometimes sorely missing in more modern systems.

I'm a little different to most. I am of the opinion that Judo and Muay Thai are Combat Sports and not TMA's. Obviously Muay Thai has been around for a long time and could quite easily be categorised as a TMA but I personally don't call either muay thai or judo this for the following reason.

My main difference of opinion is that systems such as Judo and Muay Thai have an emphasis on being able to apply their techniques on a 100% resisting opponent and prove their strategies in a competitive environment. They are not static systems which depend on theories and likely outcomes. They actively go out there and test each other in a relatively free-form environment. They utilise modern training methods.

To me, this is primary difference. This is my main area of separation between combat sports and TMA. Not uniforms or countries or anything else. The fact that they compete and use 'modern training methods' is the main thing separating TMA from the combat sports for me.

What are your thoughts on these acronyms, definitions and terminology? Agree or disagree and why? Have I left anything out?

23 September 2008

Edged Weapon Awareness - Ray Floro Video

This video is perhaps the most informative and eye opening video I have ever seen regarding edged weapons. It gives a real perspective and insight into the dangers of what edged weapons and every day items are capable of doing to actual flesh.

Ray uses a credit card, pen, stanley knife and finally a bowie knife to cut through a leg of lamb.

As you will see, it is quite eye opening.

Ray Floro is one of the very best instructors I have ever met and is a truly great person as well.

Update: New post containing overview of all 7 videos from Ray Floro's Vital Truths series can be found here.

For more information about the man, check out Ray Floro.

22 September 2008

Dogbrothers Video

Here is a video of the one and only Dogbrothers. If you have never seen them before check this out. And if you have seen them I know you wont mind having another look.

I posted this on the Low Tech Combat Facebook group page as well. Thought I would share it here too. Its a good one.

Im not suggesting you have to train like this but I do think there is great insight to be gained by observing this and seeing what happens and try to appreciate what they are each going through and the pressures they are under.

Also, notice that some of them can absorb some great shots and keep going. The people here are under great stress and the hormones and adrenaline flowing through the body can dull the pain felt.

And this is still not real, though close. In the real thing you need to be aware that even good shots will not always stop an attacker. If you find your self in this situation, dont be surprised by this, keep going.

For more, check out the Dogbrothers.

What do you think of the Dogbrothers and their methods?

20 September 2008

Video - Alexander Karelin (wrestling)

For those that haven't seen much pure sport wrestling, check out this video of Alexander Karelin. He is a giant 130kg Russian wrestler who moves like someone half his size.

He lost his first match in 13 years in the Sydney 2000 Olympics after which he retired and moved into politics. Its not hard to see the effectiveness these techniques would have on the street. Devastating...


Punch on the street or not?

If you punch someone on the street there is a high chance that you will break a bone or bones in your hand. The head is a strong part of the body and it was designed or evolved that way on purpose as it protects the brain. This raises the question; should we avoid using punches or training in boxing so we don't break our hand on someone's skull?

Im not totally convinced one way or the other. I haven't been sold on either side of the argument as of yet. Should you punch on the street or use the open hand or palm strikes in stead? There are a number of considerations.

First, if you use punching a lot in your training, it is highly likely that you will use punching if you get caught up in a real altercation on the street because when the body is in this stressful environment, it behaves how it is trained to behave... generally. 'You tend to fight how you train' is a well used phrase.

This means that if you train a certain way, it is almost impossible to have the expectation that you will consciously be able to choose to fight in a different way in the heat of the moment. You cant, the body will just react, there is little to no conscious thought.

If you train regularly in boxing (as I have recently), you should expect that if you are forced to deal with a threat, you will throw punches. This can have implications as indicated above with a broken hand or hands.

Second, a lot of boxing defenses against the punch utilize the large area of the glove to block punches either by padding the punches down or simply covering your face with the large area the two gloves allows for.

This can have implications for the street. On the street you will not have those large gloves to interupt those punches coming from another large glove. This limits this tactic considerably on the street. Both the guard and the punches are too small for that boxing method to work.

Furthermore, holding the hands covering the face (where gloves would be held in boxing), leaves the naked hands open to being struck and injured as well.

And thirdly, if you were to punch someone in the head for real, there is a high chance that you will injure your hand on the attackers head. This will have implications if you use your hands in your work such as typing or using tools etc. It will probably not affect you at the time thanks to adrenaline, but it will have consequences later.

Sport to Street

So there are a number of factors to consider when looking at the merits of using punching in training such as boxing. This is one of the areas we must overcome when transitioning the superior methods of the combat sports into street practical strategies and methodologies. Of course some will take the position that it doesn't matter if your hand gets injured in an encounter, at least you have survived and maintained your health and safety. And this is a valid point. If this is acceptable to you, all the best. As long as you have considered the above points.

One simple method you can use to adapt the boxing defence measures is when you cover, raise your hands way up onto your head so your forearms and elbows intercept the punch, rather than your hands. The forearms and elbows are very sturdy parts of the body and can absorb a lot of impact. As well as this, fully utilise slips and change elevation.

This is a method I was introduced to by Ray Floro called the Crazy Monkey. This is just a small, tiny part of that system but is something that may be worth looking into if you have concerns about defending punches on the streets. It is also applicable when utilising the startle-flinch response as raising your hands up, covering your head and face is a natural thing to do.

Open or Closed hand?

And should you only use open hands to the head? It is a difficult thing to train for under pressure with contact which is one of the benefits of boxing. Can you train to use closed fists to the body and open hands to the face? That would be nice but is quite difficult to achieve though is definitely worthy of consideration.

I'm not proposing a magical solution, it is really down to the individual. I just wanted to highlight some areas for consideration.

It's in the Application

So I am not pushing one idea over the other. I just think it is worthwhile considering what is best for you. I will say though, it would be unwise to totally stop boxing for fear of injuring your hands on the street as that is akin to throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Boxing is a fantastic system which quickly teaches people how to APPLY techniques on a resisting opponent who is fighting back. That is an essential component of ANY system for teaching elements of low tech combat.

I am not really sure sure how I will manage this in my own training, but I do keep it in mind when training. I would be interested in hearing peoples opinions or ideas on this matter. Feel free to leave a comment below.

17 September 2008

Low Tech Combat now on Facebook!

Low Tech Combat now has a group on Facebook. If you are on Facebook please join up! Post away, add things of interest and contribute. Its the group with the philosophy of being well rounded by studying awareness, reality based self defence (RBSD), filipino martial arts (FMA) and mixed martial arts (MMA). Enjoy!

Low Tech Combat on Facebook!

16 September 2008

TMA v Modern systems

Ive been thinking about traditional martial arts (TMA) compared to more modern systems for a while now and a thread on a forum today has sparked the matter for me. Like many older or less young martial artists and self protection practitioners, I trod my first steps on this pathway by joining a traditional martial art. It was a long process where I began at the back of the class in tracksuit pants and a t-shirt and gradually worked my way through the formation and ranks of the class up to the front where I was often the senior student there of about 40 students.

Humble Beginnings

I still remember my first night there where the assistant instructor took me to the rear of the class and taught me how to make a fist, what knuckles to hit with and that my wrist and fist should be in line which makes it stronger to strike with. I loved it! I was learning how to defend myself!

When I first turned up, I had absolutely no idea and that realisation is what prompted me to join up as there were numerous school fights happening at the time and I didn't want to get caught up in one and lose. The loser of these school yard fights lost stature and sometimes friends where the winner was swarmed with new friends. I wanted to be the winner! As it turns out, I never did have to draw on my new amazing super fighting skills.

Way of the Warrior

It was a long gradual process during which I read books such as The Book of Five Rings, Hagakure, The Art of War, and The Unfettered Mind. These books were quite an influence on me and directly contributed to my outlook on the martial arts broadening and my behaviour gradually changing. I tried to emulate the people I read about and tried to develop myself into a 'warrior'.I guess the youngish age contributed to me seriously aspiring to such heighty ideals. Although those goals were indeed large, it certainly kept me out of trouble where many of my friends were getting mixed up in illegal activities and getting caught. I really wanted to be good and DO good. The lessons coming out of those books meant a lot to me.

Change of Outlook

Today, my study of the martial arts is very different to what it was. I no longer practise a traditional martial art (TMA). As previous posts explain, I study systems which fundamentally develop ones ability to APPLY their techniques on a resisting opponent such as bjj, boxing and general MMA type systems as well as similarly structured weapons systems. I do this because fundamentally, the practise of martial arts aims to teach skills which give one the ability to successfully defend and counter any physical attack that may come their way. The systems I practise today focus on doing that for todays threat.

Different Threat Today

The threat we face on the streets today are very different than the threat faced in south east Asia hundreds or thousands of years ago which is what TMA were developed for and is still today, essentially, the focus of these systems. TMA is basically formal military training for a thousand year old battle field complete with formations, weapons of the era (swords, nunchuka, Sai etc.), uniforms, ranks and compliments to senior ranks (bowing).

Today, the threat doesn't attack with the above weapons or on horseback which is what flying kicks were developed for.

The Urban Threat

The threat today has had too much alcohol, uses violence and the shock of violence to his advantage, uses superior numbers, takes belongings at knife point, lurks in the dark in urban areas, carjacks, breaks into homes and in the extreme actively tries to kill other people for no real reason.

This list is not exhaustive. It is a very different threat environment to what the warriors faced in the past. We need to study systems that are geared up for todays threat.A Journey along MMA?

However, the scene surrounding some of the modern systems can appear quite unsavoury. A famous world champion boxer biting the ear off his opponent in the ring, MMA fighters puffing up their ego in pre fight slagging matches and general character traits not becoming a warrior that is espoused in the classics. Does this have to always be the case? Can systems like MMA be practised for their physical benefits and still facilitate the development of the mental and spiritual journey? Do fighters only practise boxing and MMA etc. with the hope to compete, become champions and seek glory and fame? Are there people out there who train in these systems and others because they ARE so effective then go home and read Musashi?

Best of both Worlds

I feel that the more effective, proven, high percentage systems of bjj, thai boxing, wrestling, boxing, dogbrothers, kickboxing and judo can offer a lot to the serious TMA practitioner if only they can look past the bad light that is sometimes shone onto these systems and look deeper at the fundamental true beauty of them. There is a lot to learn and studying these systems doesn't mean you have to give up your beliefs and become a hot headed fighter. Some of the most polite, respectful people Ive met have been MMA practitioners and the study of these modern systems involves a lot of hard work, commitment and dedication which is quite a spiritual journey to undertake in and of itself.

A Renaissance

Its my belief (and not just me), that the study of the classics, some of these listed above, combined with hard, effective training is actually a pinacle in the history of hand to hand or low tech combat and the way of life that follows. For the first time in history, the worlds martial arts are being tested against each other and they are mutating and combining where today, there have evolved certain systems which are 'specialists' in certain areas.

It is not just the martial arts that are changing. The self defence industry is evolving as well. We have self defence systems such as ISR Matrix, Red Zone and S.T.A.B. knife defence that use the latest training methods to quickly allow for them to train students up to a good standard very quickly. ISR Matrix even integrate the legal use of force in their progressive responses to the threats actions.

When these different specialists are combined they form extremely formidable systems which is contributing to a true renaissance in the combative arts today.

It is a great time to be alive to witness it. Dont deny it, embrace it.

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment.

15 September 2008

Where is my training at?

Well, Ive been busy this last week with finishing my first major assignment for uni. Also, Ive been wondering how my training has been going and where it is and if its going how I want...

My boxing skills have certainly improved and is something I have never really done for any focused length of time. I am much more confident now in not only using my hands and evading someone elses, but of getting hit and it not being game over so to speak.

No Surprises
About half of my time spent boxing has been sparring and Ive noticed that it has gradually gotten more and more intense and harder as Ive been sparring the same partners. As would be expected, Ive worn a few good hits in the last 6 months or so, some of them quite hard.

It gives me confidence to know that I can wear a few hits and keep going. This is a really good skill to have. I would say almost as important as conditioning in some ways. I would hate for my first experience of being hit to be in the real thing. I think it is best to experience as many things you are likely experience in the real thing as possible. BEFORE it is real.

Stress Testing

As well as developing core boxing skills and getting hit, another valuable skill Ive developed by boxing is operating under the stress of maybe being hit and making sure I do the correct thing like be offensive, cover appropriately and use counters etc. By training in boxing with gloves and mouthguard and sparring, it develops similar attributes as rolling does for bjj or submission wrestling.

You develop the ability to APPLY what you know on a resisting opponent. This is something I try to make sure is a major area of every system that I practise today. It is not only a form of stress testing but you can use tactics like set ups, break rhythm, fakes and draws which are skills of major importance to real life combat.

Indeed a feared streetfighter I was exposed to as a younger guy had just one move but he did it successfully on everyone he faught and because no-one had seen him before, they didn't know what it was. It was basically a sucker punch.

Alive Weapons Training

The weapons training that I do when I am able also uses a form of stress testing and free environment to routinely drill or spar certain movements. As each move is learnt it is immediately drilled with appropriate protective equipment against a live opponent.

Again, it is a form of stress testing and inbuilt learning how to apply the techniques against a shifty, thinking opponent.

Enjoying Rolling too much?

So yeah, im happy with my striking training at the moment but my ground game has stagnated. I think its because Ive recently gotten back into it and I am enjoying it so much. That may sound funny but Im actually just enjoying rolling again and am not aggressive in attacking, im more just wrestling for position and going for sweeps, reversals and turn overs and things.

By not being very offensive (going for submissions), it enables my training partners to be offensive which of course puts me behind the eight ball. But I am really enjoying it and my overall game is improving but I am certainly not putting my partners under the appropriate pressure thats needed and that is something I intend to work on in the coming months. I want to focus more on setting up and applying submissions which at the end of the day, is what it is all about.

Looking Forward

I havn't been able to do any weapons training lately but this will be rectified in a couple months. I really look forward to training with Ray Floro again. He is one of the most talented and best instructors I have ever met. And what he teaches is truly low tech combat. His is a truly great system.

My combat conditioning is fine at the moment. I finished Ross Enamait's Infinate Intensity program a few weeks ago and have since backed off a bit and have focused more on my actual boxing and bjj training and done things like skipping and hitting the bag to transform my general conditioning into more low tech combat specific conditioning.

All up?

Im really happy with the boxing as its something Ive never done properly before and Ive learnt a lot and my other training will be picked up in a couple months. My program lately consists of the following:
  • Mondays-boxing (padwork only),
  • Tuesday-no-gi bjj,
  • Wednesday-kickboxing (padwork only),
  • Thursday-no-gi bjj,
  • Friday- boxing (sparring only) and
  • Saturday-MMA (drills, techniques and some sparring).

Its limited but am biulding up areas where I have been weaker in the past. When I get back to Sydney in another month or so, my regime will change a lot and fill the gaps and look more like my last post.


06 September 2008

What training regime?

I'm going to present some ideas for training regimes where the goal is to be prepared for the most likely of scenarios one may find themselves in as well as being prepared for some less likely though potentially more dangerous scenarios.

The ideas below will be geared for conflict in low tech combat. For my ideas on what low tech combat is, click here for a previous entry.

The 3 Pathways

There are generally three pathways that need developing. They are academic, RBSD and MMA. My previous blog on the full spectrum of low tech combat explaining how the various aspects fit together can be seen here .

The academic pathway refers to the reading of books, participating in forums and doing courses where you can learn about the pre attack stage and the physiological and psychological effects of violence and stress on the body.

Pre Attack
The pre attack stage covers such things as an awareness of high risk times and places, key indicators for detecting a possible attacker, de-escalation strategies being both verbal and physical including body language and home security and personal security principles. There are many many aspects of low tech combat that does not involve an actual physical encounter.

Another area of study is what to do after being engaged in low tech combat. This includes aspects of first aid including advanced first aid and legal considerations. These are suitable topics for study in the academic pathway.

Another area for academic study is the study of past warrior cultures such as the samurai in Japan, the Spartans of Greece or even commandos during WWII. Study in this area can give perspective, be a great source of motivation and may help further instill and develop the warrior mindset.

Anytime and Anywhere

This academic pathway can be pursued at your own leisure. There are numerous excellent books covering the subjects listed above and reading a book on a subject you are interested in is much easier than reading one which is not of interest.

There are also seminars and audio-visual (DVD, VHS) packages which contain lectures and discussions on these matters. This academic pathway can be pursued at your own individual pace and leisure and can be a valuable use of time when travelling by air or instead of watching television amongst many other times.

Reality Based Self Defence

The next pathway of development for someone intent on learning about low tech combat is Reality Based Self Defence (RBSD). RBSD deals with the pre attack stage of conflict along with the first few seconds of the actual conflict.

A good RBSD system will also deal with some areas covered in the academic pathway such as utilising the key indicators of a possible attacker and using effective de-escalation strategies. This is achieved by using trained role players in realistic scenarios.

Stressful Scenarios

These scenarios link what is learned academically to applying it in stressful realistic scenarios. This is the main benefit of good RBSD systems. It also makes the study of the physiological and psychological effects of combat very real and actually aims to stimulate these same feelings of real low tech combat by engaging in very realistic and fear inducing scenarios with trained role players which operate by themselves or as 'multiple attackers'.

Rapid Learning under Pressure?

RBSD systems claim people can be taught up to a level of proficiency in only days. They claim that due to teaching only methods that work under the condition of high stress (such as gross motor movements and utilise natural human reflexes), they are reliable under stress which is the environment of a real encounter.

They also claim that learning and experience when under this stress short circuits the time needed, as by the end of a course, students will generally already be applying their techniques under stress, thus negating the need to perform thousands of repetition's in order to develop muscle memory.

How Often?

I am offering the opinion that it is important to do at least one good RBSD course or seminar a year. These skills need refreshing and like most skills, are perishable. If possible I would recommend two, three or even four if you are lucky enough to have that many run near you and can manage the time and finances.

Some areas are lucky enough to have RBSD sessions weekly which is a great idea if this is your situation. Generally these will not be as in depth as the comprehensive courses but will condition you to regularly consider the pre attack and into the initial physical aspects of low tech combat.

Experience Fear in Training

The good courses stimulate very real emotions and the experience gained by attending these cannot be understated. The elements of fear, apprehension and simply fear of the unknown are often missing in day to day training. Step outside of your comfort zone and attend at least one of these courses per year.

Combat Sports

The bulk of your training should be made up of the combat sports. These are systems where you will regularly and routinely be forced to deal with a live human opponent who is fighting back at you up to 100%.

Generally the activities of these systems focus on learning a technique, drilling it in various realistic ways, then sparring or wrestling or both. It is this process which is geared towards applying what you know against a resisting opponent that makes it so special.

Takes Longer

This aspect of low tech combat takes the longest amount of time to develop by far. Regardless of how long it takes, it is essential. There no shortcuts here. You cannot hide when you are engaged in prolonged one on one combat.

As a rule (though like many rules are not absolute), the person with the highest skill/ability will always win. The Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (bjj) brown belt will always defeat the bjj blue belt. The experienced boxer will always beat the new guy off the street. These systems teach how to apply technique on a resisting and mobile opponent! The many variations and level of skill required is what makes it take so long to learn.

Capable Regularly and Routinely

This skill is readily observed and is very real. For example, walk into any wrestling or Thai boxing gym. Ask the head trainer who the top guys are then watch a class. The top guys will be in control 99% of the time. This is repeatable.

Come back the next day and the next. This is perhaps how the true skill is measured. It is the ability to regularly and routinely be able to control, and if required defeat your opponent. The partners are trying things, using strength, set-ups or trying to be quicker but it doesn't matter. At the end of the day, it is skill that matters.

Its all in the Training Methods

It is the combat sports that have developed one on one combat to the highest levels. These systems have developed training systems that allow for realistic combat, safely! This is the secret to these systems success.

Training in these systems is the most efficient use of your time if developing person to person combat skills is the goal. They have developed excellent training methods due partly to competition. Fighters regularly compete in the ring.

The Strong Survive
This is a test of the techniques and methods. The strong survive. If a system does not work, that system will pass by the wayside. The successful methods are adopted and further improved upon.

To be well rounded takes time and a little planning. Today, it is widely accepted that it is foolish to not train in standing and ground skills. On top of that, clinch range needs to be included as well.

Transferrable Attributes
Everyone knows what systems are more effective at what aspect of low tech combat. It is a personal choice as to what you decide to learn, follow what interests you. Another positive for the combat sports is that they are an excellent foundation skill.

Attributes developed doing MMA are easily transferred into weapons training and RBSD multiple attack scenarios. The same cannot be said of either RBSD or weapons training.

I would recommend at least 3 days a week, preferably 5 days spent training in the combat sports. To be well rounded you may have to practise at more than one gym, or maybe focus on one area for while then move onto another.
A Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) gym may combine numerous aspects of low tech combat into one gym.

Putting it all Together

On top of the above, time should be found for weapons training and conditioning as well. No-one said it would be easy or there is a short cut.

So in conclusion here is my opinion on what may best be described as the ideal low tech combat regime:
  • Read at least one book or find one seminar or lecture a month relating to the academic pursuit of low tech combat
  • Participate in at least one RBSD course per year and local weekly RBSD sessions if available
  • 3-5 days a week of combat sport sessions such as MMA
  • 3-5 days a week of conditioning sessions
  • Weapons training can be personalised to seminars, DVDs, private lessons or regular classes
The next challenge is finding somewhere to go to blend all of the above into the one place!

04 September 2008

Energy Drink!!!

This is not really so much about low tech combat but sure is about power! This is an oldie but a goodie and think its quite funny still.

Do you want to be uncomfortably energetic?

Try it

03 September 2008

Leadership qualities for us

I wanted to spent some time to discuss something which I've considered for a while and first heard about a long time ago from where I can't remember.

I want to briefly examine the similarities in traits displayed by people who are aware of their surroundings in regards to self protection, and leaders.


A person who is aware and has practised awareness as part of day to day life will by nature, position himself in positions where he has a good view of his surroundings. This gives the aware person good observation of his surroundings which will enable him to detect possible threats early and therefore allow him to begin planning appropriate actions at the earliest possible time. By maintaining good observation of his surroundings he will not be caught by surprise which is a major factor in any conflict.

A typical scene portraying the above could be a group of people out at a restaurant for dinner. As they enter the restaurant, the aware person will already be identifying a seat that faces the entrance, as he will be slightly uncomfortable with his back to the entrance.

360 degree Observation
A side benefit of sitting facing the entrance and towards the rear, is that all activity inside the restaurant can be monitored and observed. By simply consciously choosing to sit facing the entrance, it enables the aware person to provide good situational awareness of his surroundings. A person sitting with their back to the entrance does not have this awareness.

In the above example where security considerations were what determined what seat was most beneficial, I will now use the same scenario using leadership as the driver.

The Natural Leader

A leader likes to be in charge and in control. Often, others want the leader of a group to be in control or in charge as it is beneficial to the group. In this scenario, a leader may consciously choose his actions or subconsciously.

As a leader walks into this restaurant, he will want to be in control of the dinner conversation so will likely choose a seat where he can observe everyone at the table comfortably and they can observe him. This will help control the conversation.

On top of that, a leader will want to know what is going on around him perhaps with other patrons or wait staff. He may want to observe who enters the restaurant in case someone he knows enters. The best seating position for him will perhaps be the central end seat which is facing the entrance.

Two Paths to the same Point

Two different motivations were used to come up with the same seat. Both have a need or desire to know what is going on around them. Awareness is a trait that can be applied to more than just self protection. It can simply be situational awareness, to know what is going on around you and to have some control over it.

It is my belief that awareness can be used for more than just self protection and indeed, awareness is something that a leader displays and developing awareness can improve a persons leadership qualities.

People Watch

Next time you're out, observe who sits in the most commanding positions. Most people have been out walking along the street or in a supermarket and have ran into friends at some stage. Who saw who first and from how far away?

This could be due to awareness driven from self protection concerns or from awareness, driven by the leadership quality of wanting to know what is going on around them. It may also have been dumb luck.

Leadership Qualities

Practise and study of low tech combat develops other leadership qualities such as self confidence, discipline, perseverance, humility and integrity. The study of low tech combat instils many qualities not only relevant to its study but also to life in general.

Leadership is a quality much sought after in life and in business and qualities developed from the hard, disciplined training that we do, can be transferred to other aspects of our life. Leadership, is a major example of this.

Sit in that commanding position, control the conversation, see your friend first and have a big smile ready. Take more control of your life.

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