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You Can't Fight In Here! The War Room Martial Arts Thread

Discussion in 'History & Military Discussion' started by EricD, Apr 21, 2014.

  1. I think before we can get anywhere productive with this line of discussion we need to nail down what, exactly, we mean by "yield huge dividends". And probably "actual combat training" to boot. F'rex, the actual training of a line infantryman in the U.S. Army will certainly equip one to survive an attack by every UFC champion ever on PCP all at once (if you have your standard infantry kit with you)...but that's a tad overkill for situations that aren't swarm attacks rampaging hordes of drugged up shirtless men in short shorts (plus Ronda Rousey, Holly Holme, and Miesha Tate) and always having your combat rifle on hand and loaded gets a bit awkward.

    If I can be somewhat more serious...I mean, if I can slip punches and parry them with my forearms and elbows in 16oz gloves, taking the gloves off isn't going to render that useless.

    Although if I've learned to deal with punches by covering up behind my 16 oz gloves I have a long, miserable experience ahead of me, as can be seen on every just about UFC card when someone gets stunned and reverts to the "put on earmuffs" cover that will keep your face safe and sound in boxing gloves but leaves you a sitting duck in 4oz.

    Now this we agree on, though.
  2. Imrix

    Imrix Periodically Malevolent QM

    Well, the thing is, you jest but historically speaking, for the people who really seriously studied practical fighting skills, that, uh... That wasn't unreasonable.

    One of the things we often forget is that our modern idea of a soldier is something of a recent phenomenon. Historically speaking, professional warriors like knights and samurai were usually members of a warrior caste that lived and breathed the fighting life, with its own customs, traditions and societal expectations. It would probably not be considered at all unusual for such a person to go through the entire day with an arming sword and a heavy dagger at their belt, analogous to an infantryman today carrying a loaded rifle everywhere.
    It does degrade your performance though. It makes you used to putting this much force into your punch for that much speed and power, which does create the risk of overextending and having to recalibrate in a real fight.

    This is what I mean by 'actual combat training'. You train to fight how a fight may happen. That means you train in the conditions that you may be attacked, which is at any time, anywhere. Which means you also spend time training for scenarios like what happens if I, an uncouth ruffian who knows you will slit me open in a fair fight as easy as breathing, instead ambush you from behind with a cudgel to the back. Which probably means your teacher begins the lesson by hitting you in the back with a club, and if he cracks a rib, well, tough shit, your enemy won't care so you can't afford to either.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2016
  3. Pale Wolf

    Pale Wolf For Spite And Profit! Magistrate

    The thing is that to kill, you still need to develop the opportunity to. You need to control the fight before you can kill. Those techniques for controlling the fight are the same ones you practice when unarmed, and we practice them full-out. We don't get to practice the killing-specific techniques very well, but that's more along the lines of 'stop the fight and point out that if this were live, someone would be getting kneed in the face right now, or be thrown into the ground head-first', and 'continually remind each other that despite liking our training companions, we don't like our enemies and if our hands are in the vicinity of something soft they should be doing something horrible to it'.

    Arm breaks and such are literally just 'establish an arm bar or a key lock and push their joints to the very limits of their range of motion... then give it a good old shove'.

    The actual flaw here is more along the lines of 'we've controlled the fight enough to deliver a highly dangerous technique, but because we couldn't practice it all the way, it doesn't actually put them down immediately, and now we have an opponent more alive than we'd have liked'. A storm of fight-controlling measures isn't something we're untrained for, it's the only part we're fully trained for.

    As Imrix put it, it's mostly 'win the fight, then finish as appropriate', with a good dose of sadistic improvisation both along the way and at the end. Eye gouges aren't the only thing that happens (in fact we don't even practice 'em), it's more like 'look if your hand is there, let it do its thing', and that's mostly to distract people with pain while you set up a lock or throw.

    There are specifically high-danger techniques that can't be practiced at full force, but those are throws and arm bars and arm locks. These are fundamental parts of the toolkit and such things are practiced in a sportized context as well (I imagine you've done a few in your time) - it's just that we maintain awareness that that is not actually full force and they can be done a lot less safely.

    All that stuff you train not to do - dropping a thrown opponent head-first onto a concrete floor, doing an arm bar or an arm lock overly hard or overly vigorously and tearing something, we also train not to do... when we don't want to. We just try to remember that all those safeties can be pulled out in a truly violent confrontation.

    You're probably not going to throw a hook with a sword unless it's a shield fight and the other guy's come around hilariously close to you (at which point you literally use the sword to throw a hook at the back of their head with the back edge of the blade). (Think Kuzuki, because you can totally do that)

    Overhand is easy enough, and delivered in a pretty similar way to the punch - transition into a 'window' guard, and do it dynamically, at speed and with proper crispness. Bang, you've just delivered a cut to the top of someone's head with the 'back' edge of your sword. It's essentially an overhand except you're punching with the sword and using your hand as an extra elbow.

    I imagine the reason your wrist was aching thinking about it was because you were thinking of cutting with the front side of the sword, but hey, the back's sharp too. It ain't decorative, even if it looks totally sweet.

    It's mostly jabs and crosses and backfists that turn into cuts - a downright cut is as I described earlier, pretty much a jab or cross except you're punching them with the sword's center of gravity, a horizontal cut from the right side is 'that except with your wrist flattened out', a horizontal from the left side is a backfist with the sword as your fist (it's usually delivered with the back side of the blade), etc.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2016
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  4. While I agree that the grappling in boxing compares favorably to the striking of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, you're gravely underestimating the discipline.

    Boxing isn't just "punch". It's a thousand and one ways to block, parry and dodge strikes aimed at your upper body. It's footwork, getting you in to hit, out before the retaliation comes, always cutting an angle...

    And it is incredibly frustrating as you chase one of the dirty so and sos round and round the sparring area taking pot shot jabs to the face WHY WON'T YOU STAND STILL AND CLINCH YOU FILTHY....ahem.

    Summary: In a one on one encounter between two unarmed individuals boxing is pretty decent.

    See, I am deeply skeptical of this approach to "actual" combat training. In this specific example, if all my students I was supposed to be training to stay alive on the battlefield are laid up with broken ribs because I, hard core teacher that I am, have put them through the "turn your back to me and I'm gonna hit you full force with a club" drill...

    Firstly, it's going to take my students even longer to become proficient at anything, because they have to recover from their broken ribs before they can train again, secondly, if a war breaks out and all the young men I was supposed to turn into warriors are laid up crippled because of my super hard core training, the only question is whether the enemy is going to torture me to death after they conquer us, or if my chieftain is going to have time to do it before the enemy shows up.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2016
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  5. BlackHadou

    BlackHadou A Brand New PosiBunny!

    Honestly, Wade, this isnt a situation thats going to be resolved by us on the internet. Its a matter of how someone is trained, and even boxers can take very different approaches to it.

    To relate it back to your original question, a person with a high melee score should have some degree of unarmed to represent basic competence. I feel the rest of this discussion has strayed from what the original question seems to have been, and while relevant to the thread, its not a discussion I think will ever be satisfactorily answered.
  6. Imrix

    Imrix Periodically Malevolent QM

    You're focusing on the 'hard core' teaching and treating cracked ribs as a certainty. That is not what I was getting at.

    The point, as I said, is to train to fight how a fight may happen, including situations such as being ambushed, or while already in pain. It's not about intensity of training, it's about the scope of what you train for.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2016
  7. @BlackHadou
    Eh. I'm yammering on and on about a topic that interests me, I might accidentally learn a thing or two, I'm cool with how this went/is going down.
  8. If you're going to the dojo/gym on Ambush Day, knowing you're going to be train for being ambushed, by being ambushed by the instructor and the senior students, and then you're going to claim those people who use gloves and mouthpieces are developing bad habits because of their 'unrealistic' training....
  9. BlackHadou

    BlackHadou A Brand New PosiBunny!

    Re: Boxing 1 on 1, my Sifu used to liken that to a nightmare situation not too unakin to a person who knows how to use a knife (which he called the your already dead scenario). Boxing is that one widespread discipline where its not immediately obvious your assailant is a poser, so his answer was treat it as if your in mortal danger from the get go.

    Generally, we were taught the basics of boxing (I certainly wouldn't call myself good, mind you) to get a feel for how they'd move, but our primary game with them was either make it a grapple where our skills are superior, bolt for it, or if no other options available, escalate it. Taking on a Boxer with a weapon is far more preferable then trying to fight them in a proper hand to hand unless you have a very well developed kicking game, since as my Sifu said, he's practised a shitton more with his hands then we have. Contrary to most peoples thoughts, developing a good kicking game takes a long time.
  10. Imrix

    Imrix Periodically Malevolent QM

    Why would you know this? Do you expect your instructors to hand out course curriculum's? Do you think a professional warriors tutor would do so?
  11. More productive, less sarcasm...

    I don't really see what's uniquely combative about "You start in a bad spot" training?

    That is, I've been in BJJ drills where the other person throws you with whatever he or she wants to and tries to move immediately to a submission while you defend. I've been in MMA classes where you start mounted with punches coming down and have to work our to escape.

    Now, if we're talking scenarios to teach you situational awareness so you DON'T get ambushed that's one thing, but trying to cover every possible way a fight might start (I'm sitting down. I'm in bed. I'm in a bathroom stall. I'm opening the door of my car. I'm running a fever, hobbling around on my sprained ankle, and I have just been tackled into the ball pit at Chuck E. Cheeses...) unless the other students are going to follow me around outside the gym and randomly jump me at various locations, I don't see how I'm supposed to get the desired realism.

    And even if they are it's probably still screwing my instincts up because I'm being taught to believe that the shadowy figure following me down this dark alley is probably one of my fellow students from the gym!
  12. Most people consider the lack of anything resembling a curriculum or a class schedule to be an indicator of a great lack of quality on a teacher's part, yes.

    Of course, I only trained with "martial sportsmen", not "professional warrior tutors", so perhaps I lack your unique perspective on things.
  13. BlackHadou

    BlackHadou A Brand New PosiBunny!

    I know the first time my Sifu introduced me to knife drills, he handed one of the seniors a prop knife before the class and started the lesson as per normal. I got quite a shock when 5 mins into our first set of drills I was now 'dead'.

    He was good at impressing on us that yes, if your opponent knows how to use a knife, you were probably going to get seriously hurt. Unfortunately, a street fight isnt a sport or a game. Its a genuine threat to your health, and he was good for, if nothing else, making sure we were accutely aware of that. It did end up saving one of my classmates lives.
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  14. Coming back to this...

    To be honest, that sounds like every grappling style I've ever done. That is, the throws are "safe" when done on the mats with a sparring partner who knows how to land. But a hip throw or a high crotch on asphalt when someone who doesn't....

    Well, better be able to come up with a very good reason why you felt that was necessary.

    As far as joint locks go...like you said, the actual break is the simple part, it's getting there, controlling the limb, and locking it out that's tough. If you can do all that, the break itself can be done as fast or slow as you want it to be...I've seen plenty of the former at tournaments when you've got strangers matched up and egos are on the line.
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2016
  15. DanielJH2112

    DanielJH2112 Last Kitten of Krypton

    So, quick question about the jambiyah dagger of Northern Africa. Do these make effective throwing knives or no?
  16. 100thlurker

    100thlurker atheshtarih and Enemy of the Lie Magistrate

    SMS Odette II
    No knife is suitable for throwing unless specifically designed as such.

    You can throw it anyway because sometimes something is better than nothing.
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  17. Simulium Novitius

    Simulium Novitius Relaxing After PT

    San Antonio Texas
    Sorry for necroing this thread, recently I have been working on MCMAP (Marine Corps Martial Arts Program), which includes knife combat.

    You generally do not want to throw your knife unless it is meant to be thrown and you are trained to do so. A knife generally makes most average people hesitate, giving you an opening to kill or a chance to talk the fight down or run away.

    It also gives a fair amount of space between you and the enemy.

    (Do not fight with a knife unless trained to do so.)

    (Please keep in mind MCMAP is designed around killing, so while almost useless at the lower stages, once you actually start learning more the potential for hurting the enemy in a life threatening manner explodes.)
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  18. Minow

    Minow sucking it down

    You failed to mention its effectiveness as an anti-cavalry weapon--


    I'm disappointed in you lurker. :(
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  19. 100thlurker

    100thlurker atheshtarih and Enemy of the Lie Magistrate

    SMS Odette II
    God, that scene is just a Mandelbrot of awful.
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  20. For any HEMA practitioners who might happen to be interested: Just got my hands, finally, on my Koning gloves yesterday. Been putting those bad boys through their paces since I got them.

    They still need breaking in, but as for first impressions, I'm quite pleased by how well I'm able to handle a longsword with them. With sword and buckler... eh, I'll probably just wear a normal glove for my buckler hand; the Konings are a touch too cumbersome to really bother with when you're trying to get your hands around the grip. I don't have anything with a complex hilt around at the moment, so I can't say for certain, but I'd assume that the glove is once again too bulky to be used with something like that.
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