I thought the seminar turned out well. It was nice to meet a lot of folks in person, finally. I was happy to see that I have made progress since the last seminar in November, I can also see that there are many places that still need work. Specifically I think I have to work on receiving force vs. tolerating it.
I enjoyed talking with you during lunch and learning more about your perspective on martial arts. I did some thinking about the points you raised -- some were similar to conversations that I've had with Takeo in the past. Specifically, your comments about having to train your guys to be functional very quickly, reminded me of past conversations with Takeo. Takeo, Rob, Hunter and I kicked some of this stuff around after the seminar. Takeo wanted me to say that if you had any thoughts you wanted to communicate with him about this post, to just send him an email-- he doesn't want to participate in martial arts forums at all. I saw your recent posts in this thread too, about what the right balance is between connection training and sparring training. I think about that a lot too, because I don't get to train with Akuzawa as regularly as I'd like, so I have to test stuff out in sparring to keep from deluding myself.
The issue it seems in the military environment is how to incorporate connection/bodyskill training while still rapidly giving people usable combative skills. I seem to remember some reading about how the Army conducted tests to see which was better-- a limited introduction to grappling or a limited introduction to striking. The thrust of the article was that initial infantry training has a lot of other skills besides hand to hand... is that right?
Any connection/bodyskill training conducted in this paradigm might not be considered pure, however, that's not the point. The point would be to develop a system that was better than what would be there otherwise. Purity goes right out the window. I know, that I was happy to more or less stop sparring for a while and work on the conditioning exercises and re-patterning my movement. I understand that you and Takeo operate under a (justifiably) different paradigm.
My thought would be that the best way to look at this would be to evaluate other systems which had similar requirements -- namely, training people to fight quickly, while still including bodyskill/connection training. Rob has told me that in the beginning, Akuzawa had them train and condition for two years before they started sparring. After talking with you at lunch, I gather that would not be acceptable for your soldiers, because they need skills they can fight with right away.
For the purposes of this post I'll examine a few systems as case studies: kyokushin karate, Li Tai Liang's sanshou program, and the old time Japanese Self Defense Force toshu kakuto training.
Kyokushin karate is well known for it's full contact striking (no face punches, clinching or ground game though) style of fighting as well as challenging tournaments. Mas Oyama, the founder of the style also had extensive contact with Kenichi Sawai, who founded Taikiken. Taikiken is an internal martial art that is derived from Yiquan, and it emphasizes a lot of standing postures.
Some kyokushin upper ranking guys have also done quite a bit of Taikiken, and at least two prominent ones that I know of have incorporated it publicly: Hatsuo Royama and Hajime Kazumi. You can find videos of both on Youtube. What is really interesting is that with Kazumi you can see over time how he has incorporated the Taikiken training into his movements more and more. Specifically you can see it here:
I've heard from a friend of a friend that Royama emphasizes the Taikiken standing practices to his students.
To really evaluate this of course you'd want to take a look at the competition records of the students over time. While the success of individual competitors might not be too indicative, the question is, what is the overall trend.
However, Kyokushin lacks a clinch game and a ground game. This is a result of the ruleset under which they fight. Thus, it might not be such a good model for a military combatives program that must address all ranges of fighting.
Li Tai Liang's Sanshou
Sanda is Chinese rules kickboxing. It allows (generally) standing strikes like muay thai, as well as throwing from the clinch. There is no ground game.
Li Tai Liang is a sanda coach from China who used to teach the Chinese police. Li is also a master of Xingyi, an internal art based on spear fighting. Xingyi , interestingly, is also the parent art of Yiquan/Taikiken. My understanding is that the Chinese police have to go through a fairly compressed hand to hand training program.
I have a lot less info on this than I'd like, but I did see some videos that were posted (briefly) of Li working sanshou methods with his students. It looked a lot like he was striking and throwing at the same time, somewhat similar to what I've seen from Akuzawa.
Since sanshou allows the clinch as well as strikes to the head, it probably is closer to an mma environment than kyokushin, and thus might be a closer fit for a military combatives program.
Old time JSDF Toshu Kakuto training
Akuzawa has emphasized that a lot of his training concepts came from a former JSDF instructor. The JSDF guy did a lot of bayonet (jukendo) training and that's where he got his bodyskills. All of what follows is from conversations I've had with Rob and Akuzawa. [Rob if you're reading this, jump in and tell me if I am getting stuff wrong] that a lot of the old time JSDF Toshu Kakuto training was based on Nippon Kempo, which allows striking, clinch and a limited ground game. You can see the modern stuff here:
I don't know if they still do a lot of the bayonet training, or if it's just exclusively ''sports'' type movement now.
It would be interesting to see how many people who were brought up in the old time system were able to pick up the bodyskills in addition to the regular rough and tumble methods.
Anyways, that's enough from me. I hope you find my speculation somewhat useful.