Sunday, April 24, 2011

Self Defense vs. Competitive Fighting Part 2

In my last post on Self-Defense vs. Competitive Fighting, we looked at arguments as to how self-defense is very different from competitive fighting, and ultimately, competitive fighting cannot be translated to street self-defense.

Interestingly (and sadly), this was 'proven' recently when an amateur MMA was killed trying to fend off robbers.

But when you think about it, do you think your wing chun or self-defense skills would've faired better? or do you think the argument of "not doing anything because you know better" is, itself, the self-defense move?

Competitive fighting, while very different from street self-defense, still carries on many similarities and to completely ignore it, is, in my opinion, a shame.

Yes, the variables are different. Yes, there is hard cement. Yes, there are multiple attackers

BUT how do you plan on hurting your attacker so that you don't go to the ground?

With punches, kicks, elbows, knees, headbutts, etc.

These basic tools are found in competitive fighting and it's in competitive fighting that these tools are trained to oblivion, perfected, tweaked and under enormous pressure against uncooperative partners.

When they punch, they punch hard.

When they kick, they kick hard.

When they elbow, they mean it.

When they take someone down, there is purpose.

These tools are required for self-defense. So competitive fighting does have its place.

I had the chance to watch the entire (and only) season of Fight Quest recently. You can right away see the difference in how difficult it was for the hosts to fight against competitive fighters vs. the arts that claimed to be more 'self-defense' oriented. You could also see the shock in many of the 'self-defense' fighters when they were hit and hit HARD by the hosts who have MMA background - you can see it in their eyes and frustrations and then with that, them being thrown to the ground even more.

Some how, the FightQuest hosts, when natural reflexes kicked in, was able to kick harder, punch harder and with more impact than the 'self-defense' fighters.

So regardless of whether the variables are controlled or not, if you can punch hard, under stress and against an uncooperative partner, who cares?

Self-defense may be different from competitive fighting, but i think that competitive fighters can knock you out and, like it or not, that's really the end game.

Until then.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Self Defense vs. Competitive Fighting

My good WT colleague of mine brought this topic up: the difference between self-defense vs. competitive fighting.

They are no doubt very different things - but are they different enough to say that skills developed in the ring (or octagon) cannot be transferred into the street fight scenario?

Let's assume the answer is yes.

To me, the major difference between the ring and the street is that there are ABSOLUTELY NO variables controlled for. Multiple attackers, pocket knife, sucker punch, slippery ground, blearing music, flashlight in your face, friends holding you back, etc. Even when you take one guy out, anything can happen right after..or later in the evening,...or the next weekend you're out.

Here are some more differences that my colleague came up with:

COMPETITION ( ring fight)
SELF DEFENSE FIGHT

1. weight divisions
1. varying size range between fighters

2. rules
2. no rules( chaos)

3 third party help(referee and cornermen)
3.usually no help

4. one on one
4. multiple attackers(not known whom or from where?)

5. no weapons
5. weapons ( may escalate)

6. usually no serious injury
6. serious injury likely

7. preparation time
7 no preparation

8. known opponent strengths
8. opponent(s) not known

9. known opponents agenda
9. not known agenda

10. announced start time
10.unannounced start

11. round lengths
11. time unknown

12. start distance out of range
12. usually much closer physical start

13. no legal/moral consequences
13. serious consequences

14. stops when you are defenceless
14. continues past consciousness

15. agreed on fight location,footing etc
15. attacks from anywhere/behind

16. usually no physchological aftermath
16. lasting physchological problems quite possible

17. no follow ups to fight
17. possible escalation to legal/fatal problems

18. socially acceptible
18. might cost you reputation/church/job/friends

19. relatively equal size/speed strength ( matched skill set)
19 assume attacker will be bigger/stronger/faster ( unmatched skill set, attackers pick victims)

20. aeorbic conditioning important ( later rounds etc)
20. anaerobic situation usually (short and fast, 1 minute is a long street fight)

21. going to grappling on ground is a good tactic
21. could well be a very bad tactic

22. fear not major factor due to known quality
22. unknown factors make fear more of a major importance

23. safety equipment/relative skills make getting hit not so important to outcome
23. one hit to eye /throat/ groin/ knee etc can influence outcome largely,espeically with a weapon
( visualise getting light contact hits versus repeated knife slices)

24. one mistake not necessarly decisive
24. one mistake can decide whole situation

25. .equal desire to partake
25. uneqaul desire to partake

26.similar intensity( commitment level)
26. different agendas = different commitment

27. ? drug testing ( pain dullers, attitude enhancers)
27 no drug testing

can you add more?

Until then.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

WT Business Model

The Leung Ting organization boasts thousands of schools across so many countries. Because of this, it also gets a lot of flack from martial artists saying that their curriculum is drawn out, designed to suck money from the students and fatten the wallets of Leung Ting and Keith Kernspecht. While this may be true, i don't think you can be too quick to draw this conclusion.

Sure, it the world of martial arts, especially that of the Chinese martial arts, kung fu is seen as a sacred teaching of a very fine skill. Like that of a master swords maker, the art is passed on from teacher to only a few students - taking the time to mold the student into a finely skilled artist. i totally understand how this translate to wing chun or any martial art.

But when you make it a business and a successful one at that, the EWTO did everything right. A business cannot succeed if you take the above "sword master" model into a business model. in order for a business to succeed, the top guy, whether that's a master swordsmaker or a wing chun teacher cannot spend all his time teaching class, but instead must focus on the business.

That means the business must be able to run without his presence.

That means the business must be able to create predictable results on demand.

That means the business must have a specific process and/or protocols in place that systematizes and outlines how everything must be done.

Look at McDonalds - the CEO of McDonalds does not work at McDonalds, no matter how good he may be at flipping burgers or cares about the quality of a fine burger. When you walk into a McDonalds, you know exactly what you're getting no matter what McDonalds you go to. A Big Mac is a Big Mac. There are specific protocols and processes in place that determine exactly how things to be done - burger is on the grill for X # of minutes, at X degrees and must be flipped at X minutes, and must be topped with 2 pickles, 1 tsp of mustard, 1 tsp ketchup, etc.

So this is what the WT system had to do. And that's what it did. It created the student levels, broke down each grade into sections and created a grading criteria, a "how to teach" system so that it can bring in more students and create more instructors - it became its own machine - it became a real business.

There is no other way around it.

You cannot have it both ways, where the business is huge and yet the CEO-Sifu teaching the basics of the wing chun stance. He's got bigger things to tackle. That stuff his underlings/employees can handle. Do you think the CEO-Sifu can teach 300 or 3000 or 30000 students?

The model has to be able to accomodate the numbers. At the WT model did just that.

It is easy for us to judge the WT curriculum as "crap" and just a money making machine simply because it doesn't reflect our expectations of what we see in the movies (eg. Kill Bill part 2) - but really, it HAS to take this form in order for the business to grow to survive. And, also, it helps ease pressure off the CEO-Sifu too from teaching and running the business to just running the business.

Just something to think chew on.

Until then.


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