Sunday, May 13, 2012
Blood Makes the Grass Grow!
When I was in my late teens, early twenty's, I used to go to the Renaissance festival. They had the society for creative anachronism which did their little “reenactments” of knights doing various forms of swordplay. They were all dressed up in their little armor outfits, and had their replica swords (covered with foam and such) and would offer the public the chance to give it a try.
It reminded me a great deal of how a martial arts “match” would be done. Both participants would face one another (swords at ready) and the “ref” would signal a start. I (of course) just had to give this a try (as it looked like fun, and I was considering joining their group).
When the signal to begin was given, I immediately cut downward at my opponents leg. This caused him to block the blow (low) with his sword and I shuffled in and punched him in his face shield (we had to wear helmets). When he staggered backward, I kneed the inside of his right leg (which spun his sword arm away) and I forearmed his chest (which put him on his ass). I was then able to bring my sword down (point first) under his helmet skirt.
(Foolishly) Believing that I had “won” the match, I found myself escorted out of the arena, stripped of the “armor”, and told that I was UN-chivalrous and not to attempt to participate again,...well SHIT!
This early experience obviously tainted me in regards to competitive matches (LOL), but it illustrated one of the mistakes that are made with these types of training methods. Not that the exercise needs to be more realistic, but that the consequences of making mistakes be realized by the student (as opposed to ignoring the problem, by not allowing it to occur because of “rules”).
On this subject, I was reading an article (on another blog), that was discussing training simulators used by the military (often for pilots).
They discovered that instead of allowing the student to crash the vehicle (plane, tank, boat), it was more beneficial (for training) to reinforce the correct actions being made initially (that would prevent the occurrence of the failure).
Having read what was presented in the article (which was done in more complete detail than I have done here) I was surprised to read the comment left (by another reader of the article).
“The Scenario must be authentic to the actual event being prepared for. Even though I was inducted into the Black belt Hall of Fame, and I sincerely do have the greatest respect for the arts, I do not consider classical martial arts training as true self-defense training. It does not simulate the actual event of a real fight or all that comes before a physical fight when there is the opportunity for de-escalation and avoidance. Nor does it educate the student about the thinking and MO of the human predator which will allow him to avoid being selected as a victim”
I had several problems with this persons comment. First off, what does whether they've been added to some hokey list make any difference at all (to what their about to say) ? And then, before saying something sucks, saying that you have the greatest respect for it ?
I don't necessarily believe that it is the purpose of the martial art (itself) to provide training in the other listed aspects. Many of those subjects are dictated by circumstance and situation. The establishment of the mental attributes of a predator can vary by geographical region as well as the psychological condition of the perpetrator.
Though those subjects Do fall into the realm of “self-defense”, I don't think it's the responsibility of the individual “martial-art/system” and/or instructor, to dictate the establishment of those conditions.
A martial art (as I understand it) should provide the methodology for training a student in the physical aspect of dealing with a physical aggression when (or just before) it begins. It should also provide the means to end that confrontation (if/when necessary). Training beyond that level is something that the instructor can/should provide the option of learning if/when needed.
This is a (generally) moot point if/when I'm training Law Enforcement. Those officers would find it rather presumptuous (of me, as the instructor) to attempt to instruct/inform them of legal precedence for the use of what was taught (much less a moral justification/restriction for the use of what was being shown).
It's this “show of force” attitude that spurs the whole sparring BS. Practice of this wanna-be dueling stuff serves no purpose for Life-protection or for the practice of the defensive motions/techniques that are being taught.