Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Training vs Reality

One of my favorite quotes is "Philsophy practiced is the goal of learning." Henry David Thoreau said that.

We study theory, then struggle to put it in practice. We train in a dojo or kwoon, then have to think quickly on our feet when we get into a real life "situation."

Below is an excerpt from a very good article at Low Tech Combat, which explores the differences between training and reality. To read the whole article, click here.

We all know that the training environment is quite different to the environment we will likely find ourselves in if we ever have to use these skills for real. Our busy lifestyle these days often means that only little thought is given to these differences. We know we must take responsibility to protect ourselves so we go to work, go to the gym, dojo or dojang or whatever to train, go home, sleep and repeat.

What I wanted to do is put together a list of the 11 Key Differences Between Training and the Real Thing. These highlight some of the differences we often have very little time to consider. It is these differences that may contribute to surprise (which is bad), and a below normal level of performance in the heat of the moment.

11 Key Differences Between Training and the Real Thing

  1. Consequences. In the gym training, no matter how hard we think we are going, in the back of our minds we know that we are training with another person who is there to learn. They are not going to stomp our heads or launch a full power soccer kick at our faces. There is also an instructor who controls the action and is there to step in immediately if ever things get out of hand.

    On the street however, tapping out won't mean the attack will stop. There is no referee to save you and grant the attacker a TKO victory. Falling to the ground won't mean the fight is over. There are very serious consequences in the Real Thing.
  2. Space. Often, Low Tech Combat on the street is at very close range where each combatant has a hold of the other with at least one hand. There is no space to manoeuvre and get into your comfortable distance.

    If your preferred range is long range where you like to pick apart your opponent from a distance, this is likely to cause you some serious issues. In the Real Thing, space is quite often a luxury that is rarely granted.
  3. Time. In training, many people enjoy sparring and wrestling (myself included), but one aspect that is quite different in the Real Thing is that there will be little or no time to 'feel out' your opponent. There is no time for warming up first. There is no time for getting mentally prepared prior to the encounter. Attacks can flair up very quickly, often at times when you do not want them to. Real Low Tech Combat is fast.


Martin I. Saposnick said...

These points make perfect sense. Much depends upon the training protocol...and, of course, how ofter do you train over what period of time.

Having studied with William C.C.Chen for over 43 years I only had one instance in the street that required me to use my training.

I must add that training, like practicing the piano, teaches your body to move instinctively.

I was attacked by a taxi driver in NYC when I refused to pay him a surcharge (There's is no "surcharge" in NYC). As I exited the taxi so did the driver, who charged at me. I neutralized his charge, and, much like in the forms, my fist went directly to his solar plexus and he flew (to my amazement) backwards.

The police arrived and detained him and I went home, feeling somewhat pleased.

Rick Matz said...

My way of thinking is this - training in more or less a classical manner with teach the body to move in a certain way and to manifest the "jins" or distinctive attributes of a specific martial art. Cultivating a clear "wuji" mind will allow me to have enough "space" to *respond* appropriately in any situation.

Rick Matz said...

... and Martin, welcome.