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Re: hard vs soft naivety
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I guess what confuses me Markk is that you say to train in both hard and soft ways, which I understand and agree with, but then you go on to knock hard training. So not sure where you're headed.

Using an exercise to help you survive the type of attack I'm refering to is very important in my opinion. This is about training for a type of attack you might receive.

Have you ever had someone bigger and stronger than you simply come at you with fists flying at your upper body in rapid succession? What did you do? Did you get hit? How many times? Did you get knocked down?

Can you tell me how in your regular training you practice getting hit? Maybe we're all talking about the same thing.

Br,
Jeff

Posted on: 2006/9/22 5:30
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Jeff Jackson
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Re: hard vs soft naivety
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Jeff, I didnt knock hard training, just standing there and getting hit. See, IMO, if someone throws a punch at you there should be a reward for using good taijutsu, such as not getting hit (positive reinforcement). I mean, if your practicing getting hit, why cover up at all? Just have everyone line up and let Ralph punch you in the face. this would save time if the purpose it to "take a hit", get rid of the covering up and dancing around.

Look, if your gonna get hit, in a real fight, it aint gonna be in the arm, and I doubt you will recover well from it.

you asked if I ever had someone bigger come at me, smacking away, arms flailing. Yup, we did a traiing drill for just that. Did I get hit? Yup, right in the nose......BUT, the drill was not to stand there and allow it.....so I LEARNED TO MOVE SO IT DIDNT HAPPEN ANYMORE.....or, you get hit again.

I think a real problem here is that when people in general talk about "real fighting" they relate it to sparring, and how sparring prepares you for it. However, in a real situation, such as someone tring to mug or kill you, your not going to get a chance to recover from the hit to the face.....the attacker is predatory and uses that to finish you off.

Pay attention and think about this comment:

There is no defence against a perfectly executed ambush.

Unless you sqare off in a school yard fight, your not going to know the attack is about to happen.

Try this training drill (most likely you already have):

Pad up, gloves and helmet with face cage, stand in the center of a circle created by your training partners. Close your eyes. One person will attack you from any directon with a push and a punch to the face or head. Your job is to recover from the push and use taijutsu to defend from the next hit.

To me this is much more useful than taking the hit. As I mentioned, in the normal course of training there will be ample opportunity to know what it feels like to get hit.

Again, just my opinion,
Markk Bush
www.bujinmag.com

Posted on: 2006/9/22 7:37
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Re: hard vs soft naivety
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I think there is some purpose to breaking the shock value of being hit. However, too much and you become soft on defending against it because you know you can take it and it doesn't scare you. But, maybe that "fist" may have an unseen blade protruding from it.

I'm also inclined to think this kind of training is like learning muto dori by taking a stab to the belly first. Rather misses the point of "self protection" in that regard.

It definitely a debatable issue with no end in sight...

Posted on: 2006/9/22 7:55
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Darren Dumas

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Re: hard vs soft naivety
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Ah, gotcha Markk. Thanks for the clarification. I didn't mean to say that we don't move. We are not allowed to hit back, but we absorb or deflect as best we can, covering up, defending, moving. Anything we can do to work on what is best to do while being attacked like this. We don't stand in one place and just get beat on. Sorry for the confusion.

I've never done the exercise you mention. I've had a couple times in past schools where we'd get a blanket thrown over our heads and we had to move and defend as attackers carefully attacked us.

Also, I'm not talking so much about real fighting as experiencing something that is close to what can be thrown at you in real life. To minimize that shock value as Derren mentions.

Most times, ambushes will not be perfectly executed. The military trains to survive ambushes. So if there was no hope of survival, why would they spend the effort and money to do so. I think we can find ways of training for a situation where we're surprised by the intensity of an attacker. Or practice understanding the different feeling of being punched in different ways and different directions with different forces. And then work on different responses to this. That's what I'm trying to get across.

I personally get a lot out of the exercise I mentioned. A lot. I'm glad I do it. I think it adds something to my experience in learning to persevere. I would recommend the same to others. Done at their comfort level and intensity until they are comfortable cranking it up to whatever level they want to take it.

Br,
Jeff.

Posted on: 2006/9/22 9:13
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Jeff Jackson
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Re: hard vs soft naivety
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Hey Guys!

I'd like to jump in here for a second.

One of the things I have noticed, particularly in the Bujinkan is the amount of talking that is done while training. This is where I used to get a bit frustrated.

Half of the class may be working on something diligently while the other half is standing around talking about the movie they saw last night. To me this is not hard training.

In my own opinion, soft training can be "hard" too. If one puts all of their concentration and effort into it for the full amount of time. My classes usually are 2 or 3 hours in length but this just seemed to be too much for the people when I left Japan.

Here in Japan it was quite normal for my guys to do so due to the "culture" of training in this country, but my warm up alone wiped most people out in 15 minutes back in the United States. I literally had to change my BKR class structure. Shorter classes and less warm ups.

Many people in the Bujinkan seem to think that warm ups and stretching are "homework" and do not need to be done in class. I tend to agree with this if people really did do their "homework", but we all know this to not be the case for most. This is obvious when someone has been training for 10 years and still can not touch their toes or do 30 push ups.

I guess my definition of hard training would be to put everything you have into it, hard or soft. If you are training for one hour then shut up and train for one hour. At most places I visited I saw more joking around and talking than actual training. This is okay if your goal is social, but for those who are going to war, working in prisons, live in violent areas, etc. you should put everything you have into the training time and then talk about things after class over a beer or tea. (I prefer the beer!)

I don't thnk it really matters at what intensity you train at, as long as the training is done with full concentration and dedication.

Nice thread by the way, I like where it is going.

Sean Askew
Bujinkan Kokusai Renkoumyo
Tokyo, Japan

bkrninpo@aol.com

Posted on: 2006/9/22 13:51
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Re: hard vs soft naivety
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Hi:

Hard and soft, whatever that means both have their moments. A few years ago someone asked me why I picked this art. I had to think as I was being asked to articulate something that was not entirely conscious. In the end I said that it had two elements that I liked. First, it was likely I would always be learning. Second, it left me with a wide range from avoid, to entangle to break to.........best left unsaid.

I think that hard and soft are part of the full spectrum. You have them all. Just like weapons. Is your arsenal a gun or a stick or a pen, lamp, book, rope, etc. Or even a feather rapidly brushed across an opponents eyes. Even with these the range is soft to hard. Or you take someone’s balance with a "softer" move and follow on with a strike.

On getting hit I think that having been exposed to some teachers who can hit quite hard, and pinch like the devil, has been good. Even a few injuries while painful have helped. When I first met Ed Lomax I had hurt my arm and was forced to train for a week in Japan with my arm in a sling. I probably learned more that week about the essence of many techniques than I would have had I not been injured. Your body learns to shake things off quicker which may mean, any Docs out there, that you are a bit less susceptible to shock and neurological disruption. That by the way is part of the point of some of the more extreme military training regimes.

As to ambushes if you look at this issue it is usually part of the setting. In a minute I will walk the dogs at around 10:30PM. Likelihood of an ambush = low. Small town and quiet residential neighborhood. Well an 80lb Shepherd and her tank like companion helps as well. Roll time back a few years and I am headed to my car in San Francisco after enjoying the nightlife. Likelihood higher. Circumstance, environment and situation.

Anyway I think that as with most things gray is the most realistic perspective.


Also, as guilty of yakking as I can be Sean is right on that one.

Posted on: 2006/9/22 14:54
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Re: hard vs soft naivety
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Last night I was demonstrating a technique and needed my uke to do a straight punch to my face (jodan tsuki). He was moving ok, nice flow, but there just seemed to be something "wrong" about his punch. To make a point, I suddenly just dipped my head and did a kikakuken to his fist, using the top of my head as a battering ram and slammed it dead on into his clenched knuckles. His weakly clenched hand and wrist collapsed under my strike and, in fact, he actually faltered off balance - shocked.

Even though we were practicing slow and smooth, he still needed to have that "realism" in his attack. Subsequent strikes by him were much better, having enough behind it to make it something worth evading and something that had the right stuff to keep him in good kamae when it was similarly "tested".

In fact, I saw that everybody started doing their jodan tsuki with much more intensity - not speed - but with intent to actually plow a fist through their tori.

Anyway, it was a nice experience and I thought I'd share...

Cheers!

Posted on: 2006/9/22 15:06
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Darren Dumas

I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, or in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. ~ Thomas Jefferson
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Re: hard vs soft naivety
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A few months back, a friend of mine and I were doing some training, and nothing really seemed to be working right, neither of us could unbalance or make the other react to our punches and kicks. After some deliberation we decided to up the "intensity" and if you didn't move then you would get smacked in the nose. Suddenly, the techniques just seemed to happen, opportunities to strike opened up and within minutes both of us were all muddy from getting thrown around! It's truly amazing what a little "intent" will add to your training! just an observation...

Posted on: 2006/9/25 9:42
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Re: hard vs soft naivety
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I agree with h20oni...I've trained with people who don't use the correct intent and it's really annoying. For example, when uke's intent isn't to strike you, but rather their whole goal is to thwart your technique (because they know exactly which technique you're trying to do). Frustrating when you're a noob trying to figure out this crazy stuff!

That said, at some point it wouldn't be as much of an issue because you can just go with the flow and do whatever technique presents itself, but in the beginning for learning something in particular it's detrimental.

~DC

Posted on: 2006/10/28 17:35
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Re: hard vs soft naivety
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One of the issues I think occurs in this kind of discussion is what you mean by hard. People use hard to represent a heavy throw, fast attacks, heavy intent, and others. But hard training in my opinion does not have to be fast or result in slamming the uke. You can have a great deal of intent and move very slowly. It is not easy, but it is possible and works pretty well when done correctly. Take all the intent of making a punch land with a great deal of damage. Find your target (uke's nose), and punch. Just do it slower than you normally would in a real fight. Done well, the uke can definitely feel the intent and want to react properly, but has the time to react, or at least can work on the type of reaction they want to.

Jeff

Posted on: 2006/10/29 9:06
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