Lyle Bogin wrote:
I watched the video and it sounded EXACTLY like it was supposed to. There are a bunch of guys in this field of martial arts who are not of the stereotypical make-up, but Mr. Thornton has nailed it.
First, pick a buzzword from the Tao Of Jeet Kune Do and rap about it's necessity and meaning. Pay careful attention to not cite the source of your inspiration.
Second, say something about really fighting. Anything will do.
Third, attack other martial arts. Be sure to use the words "dead", "pattern", and "useless". Karate and aikido make the best targets, because we all know Bruce Lee studied kung fu that means it's cool.
Fourth, explain that your system has no kata, then find one technique and "break-it-down" instead.
The rest is all optional. You can now teach any technique.
I understand the points being made here and even agree with them (generally speaking), but my problem is that these guys are convinced they are re-inventing the wheel and they deny the validity of a wide range of practices based on something they are not really even sure of.
Wow you really have no idea of what Matt talks about. Yes he hates kata and static drills. But his points are very valid. He is saying you need to understand why you are training and what you are really doing vs what you want from your training. If you say you are doing kung fu for self defense and you are only doing 'kata' (or whatever they call it) how can you expect to know how to apply it when someone is really trying to hurt you? The first time you get punched in the face your whole world is going to change. Your going to find out that you have never really felt what it was like to block a real attack, or how to maintain your guard while someone is raining punches in. But if you are doing kata because its fun or because you want to preserve tradition, he would say more power to you.
People get upset when you attack their beliefs. People get mad at me when I tell them I don't think they are training efficiently with their time. One of the things that hits home for me is during his Iceland seminar. He shows a 'armbar kata' (funny thing to watch, one guy pretending to do a armbar). It is obvious that this will never help you do a armbar. The same thing goes with his chess kata. In fact, I believe he is very right, single person kata will give you poor technique. You will take shortcuts in your technique because you do not have another person resisting you. I see this everyday and the proof is in what you can find by walking into 90% of the martial art schools in the US. Standing around dancing does not make you a good fighter. How many times have you learned something in kata only to be told "in a real fight you will want to do this instead". I have heard that tons of times, in TKD. I have heard it tons of times in Judo (this is how you should do O Goshi for your test, but in randori you never want to try it that way.), even in aikido. Yes, this idea of aliveness isn't a new idea. But its not a JKD idea either. Its a wrestling idea, a boxing idea, a judo idea, a baseball idea, and a football idea. I would even suspect that this is how all martial artists learned back 'in the old days' I bet kata came later in life. I could be wrong, but I really feel there is no faster way to gain competency then though doing.
I didn't' want to post in this thread because I don't really care if aikido can work in a fight. I don't use it when I fight. I use bjj and mt. I use aikido so I do not have to fight. I do want to relate my story of my bjj training. I grew up studying TKD. I got a blackbelt when I was 17 (started at age 12). I was very successful at point sparing. After my instructor died I went around trying other arts for a while kung fu, karate, all the stuff in town. I stayed away from judo and boxing because I thought they were 'just sports' (and bjj didn't' exist in my area yet and I hadn't even heard of the UFC). Eventually I got into reality based self defense stuff like krav maga and did that for a year or so before it got boring (I found out this wasn't really due to krav maga, but due to my instructor's limited training in krav maga). I then got back into TKD and Hopkido for a short while but I just didn't' like the current environment of TKD (5 year old blackbelts, etc). Eventually I found a great aikido place near me.
Aikido was a huge eye opener for me. I am training with great guys who had lots of experience in other martial arts. My instructors are awesome. They introduced me to the UFC (which I had heard of by then, but didn't really watch all the time) and really changed my ideas on what fighting was. After about a year of aikido, I was really into it and was reading regularly about the founder and tohei. I realized a lot of these guys came from judo and I wanted to experience it. So I joined a judo club in town and trained there for about 3 months (in addition to my aikido training). They focused on sport judo and the instructor really had a hatred of ground work and didn't' spend much time teaching it. I went to a few other clubs and found that I was getting beat because of my lack of ground work. I eventually wanted to fix this as I wanted to be complete so I found and joined a bjj club.
The bjj club changed my entire outlook on training. The training was hard and fast, very physical. No more then 15 minutes was ever devoted to training techniques, most of the time was spent sparing. A typical class would be warm ups, body weight exercises, new techniques, the same new technique drills with increased resistance, then sparing. This was way more sparing then I ever did in judo (which focused on fitting in for throws and static throws more then anything) and I was loosing a lot. I was loosing to guys who only had 3-4 months bjj and no other martial training their whole lives. Even in MMA sparing (where you would think my other training would help) I was just getting ran over. Funny enough, I eventually quit judo because of sport politics and rules of the sport (I found the MMA ruleset is really want I want with the sport bjj ruleset a close second).
I started reading and listening to Matt Thornton, changing the way I trained on my own time and setting up a small gym in my basement. I started working resistance based drills with my friends (isolate a technique and work it with movement, timing, and resistance, increase resistance, then incorporate back into sparing). Punches, kicks, chokes, whatever, I trained it all like this for about a month. All of a sudden I had changed, people in mma/bjj class started saying things like "wow, your getting really good" and "you have really changed in the last few weeks". I even started trying to incorporate my aikido training into this mindset. I started working ikkyo and a few of the other basics I've learned and developing drills that fit with mma competition. I am not sure if this is due to my inexperience in aikido (its very likely) but it always ends up just looking like poor judo or bjj. And this is how I've been training to date.
Whats my point on this insanely huge post? I have studied martial arts for well over 13 years. I am very successful at everything I have tried. As much 'knowledge' as I have, it wasn't until I cut away the fat. I removed the kata's and 'ideas' of what good technique was, removed the patterned one step sparing, removed the 'you throw the static punch as wait' training, and removed my notions of what I thought a fight was like that I started getting good at defending myself. Once I started training everything with timing, motion, and resistance my skills increased. I gained more practical skill in 3 months then I have gained in 13 years! I don't train for the street when I train my bjj, but after training bjj I really had doubts if I could defend myself on the street. Now I know my limitations. I know what I am capable of doing. I know what I am willing to do. And I know what I need to improve. I recently had a friend come stay with me for a week and I took him with me to bjj class. He has been training in tkd and hopkido for as long as I have been training in the martial arts. Very athletic and very good at what he does (He used to beat me in point sparing constantly). I was amazed at how easy he was to control. His strikes seemed telegraphed and slow, i got the clinch and takedown easy and really had to use no effort to control him. We went over how I have been training and he is adopting the same methods I use and beginning supplemental training in bjj.
After telling this story, most people ask me why I am still training aikido. Its all dead patterns, and kata, etc. I can only answer this. My aikido instructor can still defeat my attempts to attack him. I have performed the wrong attacks, I have tried to sneak one by, I have adjusted my stance and grip. He just does whatever it is he is doing and throws me. It is that curiosity that drives me back. I want to know how to do that. In the mean time, I'll continue to train with as much motion, timing, and resistance as possible. I really don't think it has anything to do with what art you train, but just how you train. I think that training with as little static drilling and kata as possible will help you gain skill as quickly as possible. As you get older maybe the kata and other less physical aspects of the training can come into play. Maybe that is what allows you to train forever. I really don't know. I'm almost 26 years old and I got a while still to bang it out
I guess what I'm saying is that if someone came to me for self defense. If they told me they only had 6-1 year to learn how to defend themselves, I would not teach them kata's, or one step sparing, or point sparing. I would teach them techniques for no more then 6 minutes per technique, start a drill with motion and timing, add resistance immediately, increase resistance and get them sparing as quick as possible, hopefully by the end of the first night. I guarantee that if you took two people with the same body type and physical conditioning, trained one the 'traditional' way with katas and 'dead pattern' drills. And trained the other with 'aliveness' by using lots of drills with motion and resistance, and lots of sparing. Then the two met for a fight, the one who trained with 'aliveness' would look very good compared to the one who focused his training on kata. You don't even need to give up your kata and pattern drills. Why is there anything wrong with adding a new dimension to your training. Try adding more sparing, or adding resistance to drills now and again. You might love it, you might hate it. But dismissing it is just as bad as saying kata is worthless. I think I am qualified to say that I think kata is worthless because I've done kata for more then a decade. But most of the people who decry resistance drilling and rough sparing have never tried it. If you find something that works better for you, then that is how you should train. We are not cookie cutters. Even in the 'aliveness' world there are arguments on the best way to train. Gi or No-gi? Allow neck cranks? Knee bars? Look at how many different opinions there are out there. Everyone has their own idea and its great.
Its in your hands to make the most of your training. Your teacher can only point the way he thinks is best. He however is not all knowing and can be wrong in some cases. Martial arts are a very oral tradition, it has to be this way. Video, books, etc lose a lot of the little things that make these arts work. But there is a problem with oral traditions, things are lost, or changed over the years. Things can become wrong. Old ideas are rediscovered all the time. If you are unwilling to look at these new ideas and old discoveries and examine your training and try new things, you are really doing a disservice to your art. It is going to make a lot of people angry, but I think it is necessary.