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Over Confidence
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2006/10/25 9:23
From Auburn, AL
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I have been fortunate in my two years of training in the Bujinkan. I have traveled around the U.S. and to Japan. I have met many different students and teachers, and have had to fortune of finding an excellent, practical, and thorough instructor with real life experience.

I enjoy chatting with other martial artists from the Bujinkan as well as other systems, and as of late an issue has been showing itself to me more and more. The problem of overconfidence.

In my discussions with other artists from our system, as well as others, many have it in their minds that they are head and *** above everyone else around. Some I think truly believe that they will never be hit in a real fight; a belief that will likely result in a rude awakening.

I think that there is a reason that a lot of the Sanshin and Koshi Sanpo puts you 45 degrees to the attack on the inside of the opponent. If you get hit in the face, guess where you go most of the time. Have someone hit you with tight left hook from behind and see where you end up. I'll give you a hint, it starts with Ganseki and ends with Nage. Get snap kicked in the side of the abdomen and you'll see Koku pop out pretty quickly. Also don't forget to consider why our strikes (done correctly) typically make people go backwards instead of to the inside 45.

I'm not an instructor, but if I ever have a student I'm going to remember that if they die because of my faulty instruction; that is on me. And Soke says that those who are overconfident are the first to be killed. I've yet to see someone just state this in plain words here, so I thought I'd go ahead and throw it out.

Thanks for reading.

Posted on: 2008/12/1 15:26
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U.G. Wilson
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Re: Over Confidence
村長 :: Sonchou
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overconfidence is no good.
lack of confidence is no good.
confidence is good. Takes a while to find the balance...


take care,

Jan

Posted on: 2008/12/2 2:54
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Jan Ramboer
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‘It is only when the eyes and the brain get exhausted that there are no lies and you can get the truth’ Thomas Hirschhorn
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Re: Over Confidence
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In a seminar out here recently, Jack Hoban spoke about why we train. He said that we shouldn't train "to win", but rather train to live. This is very different.

Aside from that, our training can swing the odds, but it will never be the complete answer. Everything is affected by luck, the up and down of the human condition, the environment and so many other factors. Our own technical skill is really only second to our will to live and luck.

Being over confident is to tip the balance to think we can handle everything based on our skills, or just because we are who we think we are.

Under confident is, well, the opposite.

True confidence is in knowing that we have done everything we could do to prepare for a situation, and have done everything we could do to live through it - regardless of the outcome. At least that's my philosophy.

Posted on: 2008/12/2 10:24
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Darren Dumas

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Re: Over Confidence
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Exactly guys.

I was making two points, one much more suddley than the other.

Yes, watch out for over confidence, but have confidence that our waza is taking getting hit into account.

You have to be 'ok' with getting hit. It doesn't mean you have to be use to it, or numb to it. It just means you should at the least be conscious of the fact that it's very likely you will get hit, and hard.

I just think that there are many people who train in our art and others that don't understand the real concept of another human being trying to hurt them and at the very least partially succeeding.

I don't mean to be preaching to the choir, but I am really just throwing this out so that maybe someone somewhere who may be risking their life on this has some time to correct it.

Posted on: 2008/12/2 12:07
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Re: Over Confidence
村長 :: Sonchou
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Quote:

if I ever have a student I'm going to remember that if they die because of my faulty instruction; that is on me.


In my opinion its also on the student for continuing to train under your faulty instruction. People have to take responsibility for themselves, even as students. If you say that it is all your fault that a student "fails", then you are also saying that you can take all the credit for a student's "successes" or skill. The student is an independant human being who should be responsible for his own successes and failures. Even if you're "teaching it right," the student can still "learn it wrong" and go out and get him/herself messed up.

You as an instructor should also still be a student. That means that your instruction will never be perfect. If your student goes out and gets him/herself messed up because you aren't a perfect instructor, who's fault is it?

When someone new walks into my dojo, I view them as already being a martial artist (albeit on a different part of the path). They are a woman or a man, adult in most cases, with their own mind, will, choices, priorities, etc. They aren't a helpless, mindless ball of goo that I take and turn into a martial artist.

The Bujinkan Guidelines are quite clear that the Bujinkan isn't responsible for injuries that occur. Sensei has often mentioned this in class, including mention of the fact that you can also die and that we should be aware of this risk and take responsibility for ourselves.

Sorry for going on... I don't mean to be mean... (I just get on a roll sometimes...

Posted on: 2008/12/2 12:23
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Re: Over Confidence
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Recently, Jack Hoban Shihan was doing a seminar here where he talked about the importance of kamae. If your kamae is correct, there should be no opening for your attacker - unless they do something first, or you present the opening, or they attack from some other advantage (i.e. force multiplier).

In doing a kata, if your uke is trying to attack you as part of the technique, are they taking advantage of a perceived opportunity (i.e. lure or generated opening) or are they forcing the attack against a strong defensive position (i.e. suicide)?

It is important to look at kata from this viewpoint. Anybody coming in against my seigan no kamae, with their sword raised back in daijodan, will surely find themselves impaled and/or spliced open easily. So, how does one attack in daijodan without being killed? It does take some opportunity to make that kind of starting attack "logical".

These questions are important when looking at the beginning of a technique. Kamae are often just "speed bumps" which are quickly passed over, in my opinion. Yet, they represent the basic, most important element in a kata. The rest of the kata is the failure or tactical use of the kamae. It's all about space and whether it is collapsed or controlled. Getting hit involves a collapsing of space. Not using kamae correctly can cause your space to collapse. No space means no freedom and control.

Confidence plays directly to kamae. Confidence is the control you have in your kamae and movement. Controlling your kamae and movement keeps the space from collapsing.

In training in Togakure Ryu kata/concepts, I was taught that appearing weak, not confident, was key to the kamae - the initial presentation - so that the attacker becomes confident they have won. Then, in their confidence, you have the element of surprise. So, there are ways to manipulate these things into advantages.

At least that's my understanding...

Posted on: 2008/12/2 12:34
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Darren Dumas

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Re: Over Confidence
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Briefly, I said if a student dies BECAUSE of faulty instruction. I didn't say if they "fail"; I didn't say if they "learn it wrong". I would also note that the instructor doesn't HAVE to teach them, or even once they have began teaching them continue too. If character flaws arise that an instructor isn't able to help with; and these flaws placed themselves or others in danger then there is no reason to continue to instruct them. Over confidence is comparatively easy to correct. It involves some physical pain, but it gets the point across to most people.

Absolutely Darren, I find no fault in what you said. Waza is ,in simple terms, the application of kamae. This is not the issue under discussion.

I'm not saying confidence isn't important.

All I'm saying is that I have seen a lot of overconfidence as of late, this is a very dangerous thing, and seeing as I haven't seen this under discussion specifically here, I wanted to bring it up.

Posted on: 2008/12/2 12:57
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U.G. Wilson
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Re: Over Confidence
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Quote:

Coyote wrote:
All I'm saying is that I have seen a lot of overconfidence as of late, this is a very dangerous thing, and seeing as I haven't seen this under discussion specifically here, I wanted to bring it up.


I get what you're saying. I think if you provided some specific examples of what you've seen that prompted you to write your thoughtful post, that might help us understand your point a bit more.

What overconfidence have you witnessed firsthand and what consequences have you seen arise from it?

I'm not trying to sound negative in any way. I'm just curious what experiences you've had to make you think this out so much to post it?

Posted on: 2008/12/2 13:04
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Darren Dumas

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Re: Over Confidence
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One very dangerous thing I've heard many times (especially among promising lower grades) is that they aren't worried about looking around their surroundings or maneuvering themselves around dangerous areas in public because they can "feel" threats before they encounter them.

I know of one incident of an individual "feeling" that someone in a bar & grill was a threat and nearly starting a fight with the much larger individual certain that he would be fine.

Many of the people I'm talking about seem to get hung up on sakki and all that. I've dodged strikes from behind during training many times. These "happy accidents" (as the late Greg Dilley would say) are no substitute for awareness; but rather an augmentation.

I've heard more than one individual say that they "worry about what would happen to someone who attacked them". Often times these folks are of negligible skill even in training.

The problem is they don't state this to their instructors, often only to their peers. (Probably why I've been hearing it as I am a peer, not an instructor.)

I think that Clint Smith (a firearms instructor from Oregon) said it best. "We train to magnificence so that in a real fight we can be mediocre; and mediocre wins most gun fights." I think that this idea is being lost on many students, and it's a dangerous idea to loose.

Posted on: 2008/12/2 13:46
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Re: Over Confidence
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Thanks - I think those comments are interesting. I've heard similar things from people. The "hocus pocus" crowd thinks their sakki detectors are going to save them, the "Kata collectors" think their techniques will save them, and those who think the Bujinkan is incomplete run to MMA/BJJ/etc thinking that will save them.

I think people theorize about combat too much instead of listening to those who really know what combat is about. The real combat survivors know what it "feels" like and most would rather train to avoid it instead of training to get into it.

Sometimes I wish some of the over confident would have a reality check (without getting hurt, of course) just so they could "feel" it. But, the closest we get is to train with someone like Soke or one of a few top Shihan who can project that "feeling" into their uke.

Even then, reality is still reality. Real combat is not fun, it's not pretty, it's not something to look forward to unless you are a psychopath.

Yet, we all love to train for it - that's why we show up, put on black PJ's and play around with sweaty people. But, I wonder how many actually train to avoid it altogether, knowing just how awful and unnatural real combat really is...

Posted on: 2008/12/3 3:28
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Darren Dumas

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