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  #881  
Old 11th October 2017, 10:31 PM
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Recently caught the repeat of Todd Samson's Body Hack episode that looks at the science of fear in a fight. As many of us know, the majority of a fight happens before the first hit is ever thrown - it's psychological. This is something that traditional martial arts have understood for centuries and that the modern military has invested a lot of time and money into researching. In this episode Todd Samson visits an MMA gym with some interesting results.
https://tenplay.com.au/channel-ten/t...on-1/episode-1

And this is a common criticism that I have of a lot of martial arts schools -- traditional or modern, across all styles... a really common thing I see, or more accurately, that I don't see, is teaching students about the science of fear. It's such a critically important element of any fight and yet so many schools today just don't look at it. Not all of course, but you'd be surprised at how many schools just don't.
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  #882  
Old 21st October 2017, 09:31 PM
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A really intelligent and interesting video: Top 5 Mistakes Aikido Experts Always Make
The person in this video is an Aikido practitioner who loves Aikido himself, but he's also critically analysed his own art and devised ways to improve it. He's also worked as a bouncer for 17 years. While the video focuses on Aikido I think that the message of his video is applicable to all martial arts.
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  #883  
Old 29th October 2017, 11:16 AM
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Funniest fight commentary evah! It's as if it were scripted by Bill Birmingham. #wiredworldofsports
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAF0ZeCpPqE
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  #884  
Old 12th February 2018, 11:00 PM
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This year I've switched to another class in the same Tai Chi school. This is a Baji class. I've only been to two lessons so far, but unlike other classes they do teach:
* practical applications
* exercises to promote fitness and endurance (gaaaah)
* sparring! - students are required to provide their own protective gear

One of the other guys that I was training in Tai Chi Push Hands with comes from an Okinawan Karate background, and he's joined this Baji class too. We're both quite nitpicky smart alecs () and try as we might, we have yet to find any real faults in this Baji system!

The main criticism that we both agreed on is that it's probably too advanced a fighting form for people with little to no prior martial arts experience. This is because Baji is very close-quarter combat.

In any case, at the end of each lesson I'm drowning in my own sweat and am absolutely knackered!

This is the form that I'm currently learning. So far I'm only up to about the 15 second mark on this video. But it feels so good to be learning a form where I'm also being taught the practical applications for each move and it doesn't feel like I'm learning some meaningless dance routine!

A Japanese Karate master experiences Baji (as well as an Okinawan Karateka)

P.S.: In this video the director and film crew admit to the same Baji instructor of being skeptical of the Baji that they've been seeing. And so they ask for a private demonstration.

Last edited by GoktimusPrime; 12th February 2018 at 11:34 PM.
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  #885  
Old 20th February 2018, 10:36 PM
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Question for discussion: What would be the one martial art outside of what you're training in or have trained in that you admire the most?

As a Tai-Chi/Kung Fu practitioner, I would say that the one non Kung-Fu art would have to be Brazilian Juujutsu. Things that I admire about BJJ include:
  • It's a relatively simple yet incredibly effective fighting form
  • It's a passive martial art, meaning that it only has defences, no attacks. "But that's ripping off Aikido!" Uh, no. Aikido came from Juujutsu (originally called Aiki-Juujutsu), so take that. But whereas many Aikido schools just don't teach effective self-defence,
    most BJJ schools do. Check out this video: Why Aikido is absolutely useless -- and the person who made this video loves
    Aikido. The name of his channel is AikidoFlow, he's an Aikido black belt and is also a bouncer by trade, but he's also a big critic of his own art.
  • The passive nature of the art also makes it ideal for self defence from a legal POV because you don't strike the opponent. The main objective is to simply immobilise the attacker so that he cannot attack you. Once the opponent is immobilised then you are in a position to negotiate (e.g. order him to stop resisting/fighting etc.). As long as he continues to struggle, you can maintain or tighten your grip. He's not going anywhere until you have compliance. And you keep him pinned in a vise-like grip until authorities arrive.
  • It is a fairly non-presumptuous martial art. Aikido tends to suffer from something that many other martial arts schools suffer from too -- too many assumptions, especially the assumption that your opponent isn't bigger, stronger, better skilled and just a mean son of a glitch. They assume that the opponent is evenly matched, honourable and will fight fair. Good martial arts schools don't make these dangerous assumptions, and I find that BJJ tends to be pretty good in this regard. Their training philosophy still retains the traditional mindset of assuming Murphy's Law, with the sole exception that they do assume that you won't be outnumbered. But in terms of 1 on 1 combat BJJ is bloody impressive. Historic Japanese Juujutsu does actually have techniques for combating multiple opponents, but with BJJ's preference for ground fighting I don't know how much of that remains.
  • BJJ teaches you how to fight immediately. None of these rubbish excuses that I hear so often from other schools where being combat-ready taking years or decades to achieve. Okay, extended years or decades of training will make you more masterful as a fighter, but basic proficiency in fighting should not take that long. BJJ allows you to be able to defend yourself today, not tomorrow. And again, this isn't anything that's unique to BJJ but for whatever reason it's a principle that many other schools have lost but BJJ has kept.

Check out this video of a BJJ White Belt vs a Kung Fu fighter. This white belt totally owns the Kung Fu fighter! A novice! See... this is how every martial art should be taught. Your beginners should be able to fight! Okay, he's not a masterful or even expert fighter, but remember, he is just a beginner. But he's not incompetent either! This White Belt would actually stand a fair chance of survival if he were attacked on the street by some random thug. I'd say better odds than the Kung Fu fighter that he beat. And this is what the core purpose of our training is -- to increase our odds of survival in the event of an attack.

Yes, I know that BJJ is not unique in this regard. There are other martial arts schools out there that do similarly equip their students with decent fight competency in a relatively short period of time. But they can be a pain in the butt to find! I've spent years switching schools and classes trying to find the right instructor, and this year is the first time in many years that I've found an instructor that I'm satisfied with!

But if you can't be bothered spending all that time and energy trying to find a new teacher, then I'd say consider BJJ. The main reason why I haven't jumped into BJJ is because the nearest BJJ Dojo to me is really, really expensive. It is certainly not a cheap art to study. But it is, IMO, definitely an impressively effective fighting form that I have full respect for.
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  #886  
Old 6th March 2018, 09:52 PM
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Something that I've said before is that I'm personally not a big fan of martial arts uniforms, and I'm really not a fan of wearing them outside in public. One of the main reasons being that it can potentially attract unwanted attention and possibly provoke violence in people who are just looking for a fight (and see a martial arts uniform as a challenge).

Tonight after training I decided to grab something from the shops on the way home. Before exiting my car I flipped my shirt and wore it inside out in order to hide the name/logo of my art. Not that I think many people know what Baji even is, but just didn't want to run the risk of someone even thinking that it's a generic looking Kung Fu shirt and then wanting to challenge me. And I'm so glad that I did this, because after taking only a few steps I was confronted by a bunch of really loud and rowdy tradies who'd just finished work and were making a late night kebab run. I didn't want to confront them so I tried to walk around them, giving them a wide berth. But they were walking three abreast and it was hard to get around, and one of them gave me a very intimidating glare and got in my face making a rapid foot-stomp at me - obviously trying to scare me. I maintained eye contact but otherwise didn't react. Just kept my calm and kept on walking. He and his friends sneered at me and, thankfully, also kept on walking.

It was a tense situation, but I'm glad that I wasn't showing any logos that might have potentially added fuel to the fire. It's no guarantee that it would've happened - maybe nothing would have been different. But why take the risk? The best form of self defence is avoidance, and if not walking around advertising that I train in a martial art can help me avoid a fight, then why not take that extra precaution?

The only time that I can imagine that wearing a martial arts uniform would be meaningful would be during a public demonstration, performance, exhibition etc. But even then, I'd change in and out of my uniform for such events. That and I really don't like wearing blasphemous non-Transformers apparel. One thing that concerns me is seeing kids walking around in public places with martial arts uniforms on. It's not a terribly safe habit and I think that kids should be encouraged to either only travel straight from home to training and back, or they should change in and out of their uniforms. Or just train without a uniform -- have a sensible dress code instead! (e.g. loose fitting comfortable sports clothes - similar to what you might wear at the gym)

And don't even try to tell me that martial arts uniform are upholding a tradition, cos I'll be telling you five ways from Sunday how that's just historically incorrect!
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  #887  
Old 10th March 2018, 08:24 PM
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After learning Baji for about a month I did some sparring with a friend who's a Wing Chun fighter this morning -- I've been sparring with him on and off for a while now, so he's familiar with my fighting style and he's seen me transition from:
* my old Tai Chi (my default fighting style)
* "Practical Method Chen Style" Tai Chi (which got my butt kicked by him every time - I call it the most impractical practical method )
* Bagua x Tai Chi Push Hands -- the Bagua didn't add much to my repertoire because the training was so much more focused on form over function (sigh), but the Push Hands classes had more of a greater influence.
But in all, my opponent would eventually acclimatise to my evolving fighting method and we would end up being evenly matched.

So after a month's worth of Baji lessons I resumed sparring with today, and I was honestly expecting not much change. It's only been a month. I thought most likely I might try to do some Baji but with so little training I'd just go back to my old default fighting method. What happened next surprised both me and my opponent.

The Baji training kicked in almost immediately. My previous fighting method was now replaced (or perhaps augmented) by this new fighting method that I've been learning for the past month. No more Push Hands. No more arm spiralling. No more attempts at outmanoeuvring. No retreat. No surrender. Only this relentless drive forward to utterly annihilate my opponent. And the weird thing was, whenever my opponent scored a hit in - 2 in total (one hit to my rib, one to my face) - the fear and anxiety of being hit only drove me to charge in even more!

The basic principle of Baji reminds me of what Pippin said to Treebeard in LOTR - "The closer we are to danger, the farther we are from harm." At first this seems like it makes no sense and it's so counter-intuitive to what I've learnt from other martial arts. Why would you move towards the threat? That's stupid! But damn it, it freaking WORKS! It works because by getting in close, you are basically starving your opponent of options. When a fighter is right up in your face there are fewer things that you can do, and even as you try to do stuff, the attacker just gets even closer, further limiting your options -- literally starving you of choice.

And this is only after one month of training! Not years -- a month! I felt that $20 a lesson was expensive, but in all honesty, I'm definitely getting my money's worth! Cos at the end of the day, it doesn't matter what style you do or prefer. It doesn't matter what belt or rank you are. All that matters is how you answer the question, "Can you fight?"
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  #888  
Old 12th March 2018, 09:27 PM
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Well, got my butt massively kicked during tonight's sparring. Although I was put up against the top student in the class, whereas I'm a raw beginner along with one other guy. Not complaining per se, just saying.

Excuse me while I sit my sore butt down... aaah... XO
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  #889  
Old 20th March 2018, 11:39 PM
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I found out tonight that the one guy in my Baji class who always refuses to spar does so because he "values his brain too much." i.e. he's afraid of brain injury.

And while this is not a totally unfounded fear, the risk of concussion in our sparring is remote since we do wear as much protection as possible, including martial arts head guards and MMA-style gloves that pad the knuckles, plus none of us are hitting with full powered hits (that's what focus pads are for). I'm not sure how he intends to become even remotely competent if he never actually ... ya know... practises beyond just doing forms. He previously learnt Yang Style Tai Chi and admits that he has zero clue as to how to use it, because again, he exclusively learnt the forms and never practised the applications. *sigh*

Okay, the risk of brain injury in sparring is not 0 -- there is a chance even if it's minimal. But if you don't learn to apply your techniques and in the odds that you are attacked IRL, then the odds of sustaining serious injuries including head trauma (e.g. king hits/coward punches etc.) is much higher! You can practise all the best techniques you like in your forms, but unless you also practise the more practical application of these techniques then your wonderful techniques become about as effective as a fart against a cyclone.
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  #890  
Old 4th April 2018, 12:00 AM
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UFC fighters vs Marine Corps fighters

Predictable results. This is why I'm generally not a fan of competitive martial arts. As I've often said, whenever you modify any fighting style for competition you invariably compromise it. Despite the fact that these are highly skilled UFC fighters, you can see them making various cringeworthy errors that wouldn't fly in most traditional martial arts, and which these Marines are adept at exploiting.

The Marines' fighting principle is more like what we do in traditional martial arts. Terminate a fight as quickly as possible using a few moves as possible. It's all about effectiveness rather than prolonging a fight, and they make no assumptions about the enemy. I do say principle as the execution is different, and the Marine Corps trainer does admit this in the video. Obviously modern soldiers carry a personal arsenal of weapons which is why they will assume that the Marine is armed. Interesting to see the Marines using the Japanese 銃剣 (Juuken; gun sword) in their combat training. In Japan there is an uncommon martial art called Juukenjutsu (銃剣術) which is where this training weapon comes from. It does focus on using the rifle as your primary melee weapon, bayonet fighting etc.

But yeah, the spirit of the Marine Corps training is pretty much the same as what we see in traditional martial arts and what I find to be typically lacking in competition martial arts.
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