28 June 2009

Walking the Path

Image by mlhradio

There is so much to learn on the warriors path. Today the warriors path is becoming more and more complex. For one, a person living in almost any country on earth, now has an entire planets worth of information and lessons learnt available to them. In the past, there was only a limited amount of things to be learnt.

The last post, titled How hard is it really?, was about getting up to a standard where most people can defend themselves against most attackers. And this can be achieved relatively quickly. This post differs in that it explores the study of the combat arts over a long time, where that study is perhaps life long and becomes are large part of ones life. It involves walking the path less travelled, the warriors path.

There are many aspects of Low Tech Combat to study when walking along that path today. Many of these are particular to the time we live in and others are age old and will probably remain a consistent theme.

'Alive' training

'Alive' training comes from the combat sports such as Muay Thai, bjj, wrestling, boxing and MMA. This training methodology emphasises being able to apply techniques on a resisting partner, one who is actively trying to defend, avoid and fight back as you are attempting to apply your technique.

'Alive' training has the philosophy that you need to be able to apply techniques on a resisting training partner if there is to be any hope of applying them on a real attacker; Because for sure, a real attacker is going to fight back and attempt to thwart anything and everything you throw at them.

'Alive' training such as drilling, wrestling and sparring is standard fare today. In days gone by, many systems only ever practised from a static position and with a co-operative partner.

'Modern' weapons

Modern weapons primarily consist of the Edged weapons such as the knife, and impact weapons such as the short stick. We know through an analysis of statistics that a knife attack is the most likely form of armed attack in many countries. The use of the knife today is very different from the use of weapons in the past. And the knife is a very common device found throughout the entire world.

Modern edged weapon systems also harness modern training methods such as 'Aliveness' and scenarios in order to maximise training value and realism. Weapon training today is quite different to weapon training in days gone by. For example compare what the Dog Brothers does to what an Iaido school does. I am sure that Sword training during times when sword fighting was common, was practised much differently to how it is conducted today. On top of that, knife and stick training is far more relevant to todays threats.

Legal considerations

We can assume that any physical altercation today will be captured on a mobile phone camera or CCTV system. The importance of the use-of-force is due to this. I dont think I need to go into too much detail here as legal considerations are self evident. This new consideration is probably very much, exclusive to our day and age. And it is a very serious consideration to make as mistakes in this area can have significant impacts on our life with prison being the most extreme result.

Physiological and Psychological effects of combat

The physiological and psychological effects of combat are well understood today. This is a new area of combat to study today. This is not just theory. An understanding of these effects, should be changing the way we train as well. Training needs to stimulate the same hormones and emotions felt during real Low Tech Combat. These are things such as adrenaline, fear, nervousness, apprehension, tunnel vision, loss of fine motor skill, auditory exclusion and more.

These physiological and psychological effects will be felt in the real thing. How effective is training that never stimulates these effects? Today, training can and should, at times, stimulate these effects.

There is another good reason why it is so beneficial to stimulate these effects in training. Research and experience indicates that movements and techniques applied under these physiological and psychological effects are readily retained and are more easily reapplied. They become much more ingrained and instinctive.

The body thinks it has just emerged from a survival situation and that skill which enabled it to survive is now hard wired. Training utilising this modern training method can massively reduce the amount of time spent getting up to a good standard, cutting out the requirement to do thousands and thousands of techniques to get muscle memory. Muscle memory is no good when the flight or flight responce is triggered.


This is a new training necessity in my view. In days gone by, society and the world in general was not as safe as it is today. Generally, people needed to have more awareness because threats to their safety and security was an everyday part of life. Today, the world is generally safer. Crime is lower and there is more general law and order now. The world is quite well governed and policed.

With that increase in safety, everyday people have become complacent and even have no personal security awareness at all. Today, this is something we actively need to train ourselves in. This area is a new area we need to practise when walking on the path today.

An evolution of combative systems

There are many many systems of fighting or self defence or self protection available for us to choose. These systems continue to evolve and combine which are creating more effective systems and are moving towards a 'worlds best practise' which combines all of the most effective techniques with the best training methods.

This is combining to develop a very high level of combative practise and those that don't adapt will be left behind. Today, we need to maintain pace with these improvements or risk studying an obsolete, historical cultural system.

Scenario training or RBSD

Scenario training is the next step after sparring. Up to and including sparring, all training is very sterile. Students are training in a sterile and controlled environment which is very different to the environment where a physical encounter will likely take place. Scenario training aims to simulate and replicate how and where a real attack will happen. This generates training experiences which are more likely going to be able to transfer across in a real situation.

The closer our training can get to the real thing, the more effective it will be. That is why soldiers cam their faces up and go out into the bush and conuct operations with blank rounds against a live enemy. It COULD be done in a more hospitable area but it would be removed from reality. This is why we need to simulate the environment we will find ourselves in too.

The path is a journey

All of these various aspects of Low Tech Combat today, provide ample material which would take two lifetimes to study in depth. Indeed, the warriors way offers learning opportunities throughout our entire lives. On top of everything, Low Tech Combat and how it is conducted continues to evolve and is evolving right now, as you read this. Are you on top of it right now? If not, there is much to learn! If you are on top of it guess what? It just changed somewhere, get out there and stay on top of it!

Walking the path involves more than simply being able to defeat the most likely attack from the most likely attacker. It is a mind-set where one is training, studying and preparing to be the very best they can be. The aim is to able to emerge the victor against anyone at anytime. Unachievable? Perhaps, but walking the path is aiming to get as close to that aim as humanly possible. There is much to learn.

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  1. To Whom It May Concern:
    Your various categories are enjoyable and profitable. A very good read which covers areas not necessarily gone-over by most other places on the Web.
    The section titled: "Awareness" might be updated?? "The world is not safer; Crime is not lower; There may be 'more general law' but typically, every criminal DOES NOT obey the law and order of the society they are "Criminalizing"; and,,, the world is not quite well governed and policed unless one is relying on the bottle-fed garbage coming out of places like CNN & some of our own government locations for "News" which is neither complete, timely or relative in so many cases, just to name three critical aspects every news agency of any credibility should be operating under.
    Of especially interesting thought and application is your section titled: "The Path is a Journey". The "Mind-Set" of this section is extraordinary and extraordinarily important!! WELL DONE!! You are providing a VERY GOOD SERVICE not found elsewhere that I know of. I will do all I can to publicize your site and will visit it often,
    Best Regards Always, chip

  2. Hi Anon. Thanks for the kind words.

    Actually, real statistics indicate violent crime is generally going down despite what sensationalists will tell you. And despite your opinion of mass media, well placed or not. This is across western countries generally as this is where the main readership is based from. My research has not taken me outside these areas.

    One quick link that illustrates this can be found at this article, http://www.lowtechcombat.com/2010/12/50-year-trends-in-violent-crime-in-us.html.

    The same seems to be the case in Australia and Canada as well.

    Anyway, thanks for your kind words. Its always good to hear feedback!

  3. Again, there's a thin line between SD and assault, I think it's not all that obvious, to most people, especially under duress. As the saying goes, train the way you fight, fight the way you train. If you train in mma then ground and pound is probaly going to come out in real conflict, if you get that far.

    In most SD encounters that would be considered assault. As the threat is considered neutralized, once on the ground. Also, one needs to consider both criminal and civil liability in their training.

    Tearing some dude a new asshole, might feel good, but being in prison or paying his medical bills via the sale of your house won't.

    Peace -Joshua

  4. Very true Joshua. And that is why I always stress that our reactions to an incident need to be early. So they are not really reactions, but proactive decisions. We need to see what is developing in front of us before it turns physical.

    Understanding how violence develops from a situation and goes physical is absolutely key in being able to do things which prevent it going that far. It is being truly proactive. A pre-emptive strike is not proactive, it is still reactive. And it has gone physical.

    All too often people do not consider the possible consequences of 'winning' a fight. Often, and especially for younger males, ego does not allow them to do these proactive things to avoid a physical encounter. They don't want to avoid it. They want to win a fight.


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