Sunday, March 16, 2014


What is realistic training?

Do you consider yourself to train under realistic circumstances? Or do you train to use your skills to fight realistically.

There’s a distinction here that’s very important.

On the surface, I think we can imagine the more conventional scenario of what we might think is “realistic training”:

• Uncooperative partner (tense, strong, resistant)
• Unlimited or many variables (sucker punch, no hint to type of attack)
• Attacks are unorthodox or do not resemble your style
• The drills are aggressive, under stress and pressure
• Realistic environment – cement, street, alleyway, bar setting
• No gi, training in normal clothing and shoes (And the list can go on)

Of course, such training can provide many benefits and I see much value in this. However.. There’s a difference between this type of ‘realistic training’ and training to use your skills to fight realistically.

 Let me elaborate.

You see, let’s take a moment and go back to your more traditional type of training. That could be wooden dummy training, chi sao training, partner drills, etc. Even within the context of it being more “traditional”, I ask you if the drills are being trained to the extent and difficulty to build the appropriate skills, reflexes, structure, etc to FIGHT REALISTICALLY.

To fight realistically, you’re going to need significant body structure, punching power, footwork and that means solid structure, ability to absorb a lot of force, no hesitation in reaction, etc. but where does all of that come from? Ironically, it comes from what we would perceive as traditional drills and exercises.

The major factor, however, is to train with the proper mindset and partner that trains these factors INTO you. Even though the drill may look silly or ‘unrealistic’ it’s actually training the reflexes, structure, strength, footwork, stance, etc that’s required for realistic fighting.

Of course, without this intent, the traditional drills become useless and won’t work anyway.

I do believe that chi-sao, lat-sao, partner exercises, etc can distract us from this intent as we all get lost in the drill - get lost in trying to win - and we forget that we’ve lost by not training for the real purpose of training – to fight realistically with our kung fu.

I don’t believe wearing camo pants and a t-shirt that says “SEALS” on it will justify any training to be realistic, but I’m sure many don’t see it this way.

Training to fight realistically doesn’t mean that your training has to look ‘realistic’ and training that looks realistic doesn't equate to being able to fight realistically either.

Until then.

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