First I apologize for the length needed here. Second, to David, Thank you for these videos, I think they're excellent. I'll tell you a little about me: I am 28 now and a practitioner of Aikido (although I've been away for some time) I WILL NOT claim to be a master or expert (or even of rank) at any style nor will I tell you I'm the greatest fighter in the world. I'm just a man uncontent to wander through life unknowing. I learned about fighting the way most did when I was young, by getting in to fights (though I avoid fighting or even harsh words whenever I can now). This uncivilized smashing and tugging at each other made no sense to me, so I started looking for a better way.
I'm a little guy (6 ft 165 lbs) so standing toe to toe evenly seemed foolish. If we stop and look at other forms of training (i.e. Boxing and Kick Boxing.) we see that sparring sessions happen with frequency (I leave out Karate, Tae Kwon Do and others because the sparring is all done with prescribed techniques). How often can we expect someone to come at us with an Atemi, or even better a "roundhouse" kick? Very rarely? In my opinion, those who are trained in the arts have the mental capacity not to use it unless necessary (although I'm sure there are a few idiots out there who stray). How many "fights" now are done fairly? None. A fight is combat and the goal in combat for most is to destroy. Anything and everything can be used because there are no rules. If a man attacks me and throws me to the ground then tries to stomp on my head, am I wrong to bite his ankle till he falls no matter how barbarian? No, because my goal is survival, especially in unprovoked attacks.
As for the guys in the original video, I've never known a woman who would be happy about me fighting over her that I wanted to stay with, they are both obviously led by emotions, neither is thinking clearly, and no "technique" is applied unless you count trying to throw your opponent down and stomp on their head technique or (in the case of the white kid) giving up and just trying not to get hurt too bad. It does show a good amount of typical human character from the 2 guys going at it to all their "friends" without enough sense to step in and separate them.
Some of you know already that when an opponent is about to strike or move there are gestures the normal person makes. A shift of the eyes toward the intended target, "cocking back" the fist, even something as small as seeing the muscles in your attackers shoulder tense can be enough warning of a strike. I normal training the guides of attack and defense are set out for us and we don't NEED these signs, therefore we don't learn them. If I know exactly what technique I'm supposed to use because I know exactly what technique my "opponent" will use what do I learn outside muscle memory and proper technique? Not that these aren't important, they are the basis of our training.
Please bear with me as I don't have my copies of these books here at work (I may make an error in the quotes). O'Sensei mentioned on several occasions a point of white light in the path of the opponents attack, Sun Tzu said it is impossible to make someone else vulnerable, only possible to make yourself invulnerable, and YamaTsunetomo (Hagakure) wrote "There is something to be learned from a rainstorm. When meeting with a sudden shower, you try not to get wet and run quickly along the road. But doing such things as passing under the eaves of houses, you still get wet. When you are resolved from the beginning, you will not be perplexed, though you still get the same soaking.", Musashi wrote of crossing at the ford, Takuan Soho spoke of No Mind, and many others I won't get in to in this message. All these speak of a response to your opponent's actions. Your opponent's actions dictate yours whatever they may be. You MUST be able to react to anything your opponent does to even be able to use any technique. I believe I heard Irimi Nage defined as Stepping in and taking control of your opponents destiny and I think I have a small understanding of maintaining my circle and disrupting the enemy's. All these fit together under the same principle, we do not train our opponent to act, we train ourselves to react. You absolutely MUST believe in victory and surrender after you are dead to "win". Training your spirit and your mind are as important, if not more so, than training your body. In time your muscles will slack and your body become frail and weak, this is time we can't change that, but your spirit and mind can remain strong long after.
I think these types of drills are necessary if you follow the way for more than challenging yourself. How many times have we heard "Cover your face" "keep your head up" "keep your eyes open" or "Is smashing your opponents fist with your face a new style you came up with?"? In most fights people are guided by anger and fear, and do not think rationally. To apply anything you've learned (in fact to make it out without serious injury) you must be able to find your center and stay calm. It is very easy for me to saty calm and follow proper technique when I know what they are and I hear Sensei tell me to begin and end while facing someone whose skill / style I know. Most fears come from the unknown which is what you face. I have asked untrained friends to do the same type of drill and mix it up to learn how I will TRULY react and fix as many flaws as possible in myself. So, to wind my tirade down, I believe this type of training allows you to learn that you may get hit, to take a hit, and how to react and learn how to NOT get hit. If you don't do it now, my opinion is start (in your classes, with a friend, with your significant other [Don't hit them, just ask them to hit you, you might be surprised at how eager they can be
] or however else you can think of) it WILL benefit you. Thank you all for your time. Respectfully submitted, Brian A. Barnard