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Old June 26, 2000, 09:34 PM   #26
Halo
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I am interested in taking up a martial art to learn some basic defensive techniques that would have practical value on the street. I have read about an Israeli method known as something such as "kravmagda", which I am sure I have misspelled, but does anyone know much about this, and would it be something worthwhile? I am also hoping to take up fencing, mainly out of historical interest, but I suppose it would enhance dexterity in general.
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Old June 27, 2000, 02:17 AM   #27
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I am not aware of any kata/forms in aikido and definitely not in Hapkido and it does in corporate sparring. They do do a lot of techniques that work okay when your oppononent is static, but it's a different story when the person resists. Some is useful and some you just look at and say, "the chances of that working out are slim", unless you've been training in it since you were 5.

As far as Krav maga, I personally wasn't impressed with it. It looks good, but the moves seem way to choreographed and reality just isn't going to happen that way. But, if you like it and it does something for you, than that's all that is important.

Like Skorzeny and others have said, I prefer arts with the contact: Kali, escrima, grappling, boxing, etc. You could look into finding a boxing gym and maybe taking a wrestling class at a local college if the martial arts schools are few and far between.
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Old June 27, 2000, 06:59 AM   #28
Danger Dave
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Halo, most of the 20th century military hand-to-hand styles I've seen (Krav Maga, whatever our military teaches, etc.) are nothing but streamlined versions & combinations of random techniques from older Asian styles of fighting, usually Jujitsu related styles (possible exception of Russian Sambo). You'd learn the same thing in about the first 3-4 months at any comprehensive martial arts school. On a modern battlefield, skill with a rifle is more important than knowing 17 different ways to kick your opponent in the groin, so they only require a passing knowledge of a few hand-to-hand techniques - from what I've seen, most military hand-to-hand combat training teaches a few techniques, but the students really don't get enough practice time to learn them.
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Old June 27, 2000, 09:37 AM   #29
Skorzeny
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KOG:

I was using the word "Kata" in its broad sense to mean pre-arranged series of attacks and defenses (rather than a series of codified techniques as in Kodokan Judo).

Aikido is exclusively practiced in such a fashion (I do this, then you do that...) unless you belong to a Tomiki Aikido Dojo (Tomiki was a student of both Kano and Ueshiba). However, most Tomiki Dojos are moving away from Randori (free-sparring) and Shiai (competition) nowadays. Tomiki Dojos are pretty rare to begin with, by the way, and are unlikely to be found in most parts of the US.

Hapkido is practiced the same way with joint locks. Its "free-sparring" is largely Tae Kwon Do in style and practice.

I agree with you fully that these stand-up joint-lock type systems are extremely difficult to execute against a resisting opponent, which is why I so strongly advocate Randori training. These systems do have some value, particularly for police officers (they are good for weapons retention - the one instance where an attacker willingly puts his wrist within your grasp).

Boxing and wrestling are all good components of a good self-defense system, but by themselves, they do have very signficant limitations. Also, the atmospheres of boxing and wrestling training are very intimidating to most folks.

Skorzeny

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For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence. Sun Tzu
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Old June 27, 2000, 11:01 AM   #30
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Roger that Skorzeny and I agree. I was taking "kata" or forms as say, "pinan shodan" or something in which the practitioner does a whole set of moves solo. Both aikido and hapkido do indeed do their techniques as you describe, a sort of one-step sparring type of deal. Good in the beginning to learn the technique but you do need the randori/sparring to see how it works in real time and often it shows how much more the practitioner needs to practice.

Even though those styles can be good, when you see several cops struggle with a perp, it shows that it's not all that easy to use on someone sometimes. I think the boxing and the wrestling would be effective because they are simple, quick to learn without having to remember the fancy moves of wrist twisting, etc. I also agree that military hand-to-hand probably isn't emphasized as much since firearm and other training is more widely-used.
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Old June 27, 2000, 06:52 PM   #31
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I am personally partial to older Japanese battlefield (koryu bujutsu) styles. These will be harder to find, but if you are willing to invest a lot of time, are very rewarding. Some of the more common of these in the States will be the "x-kans" or "Takamatsuden" (Bujinkan, Jinenkan, Genbukan) . If you check out a teacher from one of these organizations, use the same careful approach you would any other unknown entity: there are very good and quite poor teachers both even in this (though, I know of no poor teachers in the Jinenkan; then again, it has the fewest schools of the three). Do not train with anyone who proudly brags they were taught by or trained with Stephen Hayes. I have trained under Mr. Hayes, and I was most happy to move on when my initial contract expired.
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Old June 28, 2000, 10:11 AM   #32
Skorzeny
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Spectre:

With all due respect, Koryu Bujutsu is not entirely appropriate for today's environment.

Fighting systems have to be examined in historical and geographical context. What may have been appropriate for an era with long swords, armor and horse may not in an era with firearms, lawyers and cars.

I am certainly NOT suggesting that Koryu Bujutsu systems lack merit. I am merely suggesting that they may not serve the person who first posted the question about self-defense, compared to, say, a modern, scientific way of training.

They sure do seem and sound cool, though... But I guess that is the case with all mythical/mystical things...

Skorzeny

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For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence. Sun Tzu
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Old June 28, 2000, 12:18 PM   #33
jetrecbn1
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Skorenzy, I have taken some classes with Roy. He is great. He has received flak from other BJJ instructors(he was not certified). I have grappled some of his students and I think they are a bit under other Gracie schools(also depends on individuals), but if you talk about street fighting, I think they would be better prepared.
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Old June 28, 2000, 01:45 PM   #34
Glenn E. Meyer
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This is way out of my expertise, so this is worth what you paid for it.

Several friends of mine who do serious martial arts say they have profited from the
Insights (Hamilton's bunch) unarmed classes.

I didn't do them as I had a rather broken wrist at the time. I did find their defensive knife class to be a worthwhile one.
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Old June 28, 2000, 03:09 PM   #35
Spectre
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Skorzeny:

While you have always come across as a knowledgeable individual, I think we can happily agree to disagree. Personally, I notice a resurgence in armor, and the systems I speak of were at the cutting edge of firearms utility in their time. As well, some of these systems were used by Japanese policemen who were forced to use nonlethal means against members of higher social classes, so I feel it is fairly apparent they can be used in harmony with common sense in today's dynamic environment.

The real self-defense begins in the American legal system.

-Masaaki Hatsumi, soke, Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu
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Old June 28, 2000, 05:05 PM   #36
Skorzeny
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jetrecbn1:

You lucky dog! I have been meaning to train with Roy Harris, but haven't had a chance. I am planning to be in San Diego in a few months and will most definitely try to get some private lessons with him. His website, IMHO, is the most balanced, informative and useful one for those who are interested in martial arts for self-defense.

Spectre:

I guess we will have to disagree, indeed! However, I would like you to consider why Koryu Bujutsu "went out of style."

In the first place, Bujutsu, as a whole, is not the most efficient, scientific method of learning martial arts. All of us really owe a debt to Kano Jigoro (founder of Kodokan Judo) for marrying the Western scientific principles and Eastern martial techniques and creating the first modern system of martial art.

Before Kano, Bujutsu (or what remained of it) was not trained in a systematic, scientific fashion based on an efficient curriculum, nor were they practiced in Randori.

I could go on, but I would bore everyone to death... In any case, please consider why Koryu Bujutsu went out of style (before the Age of Mass Media, obviously since movies and TV often affect what people study nowadays, rather than "effectiveness" per se).

Skorzeny

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For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence. Sun Tzu
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Old June 28, 2000, 09:42 PM   #37
Spectre
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Skorzeny,

I'm rather surprised at this response from you, as I think it fairly obvious why koryu arts aren't as popular: folks spend less time on the battlefield, these days. Kobudo take time, sweat, and blood. It's easy with these ancient arts to understand how little we know, but how great we can become. These combine to reduce the attraction to the modern "instant gratification" dancersizers.

I think it beneath you to suggest most modern arts are scientific (and these ancient, experience-proven techniques not) at least, with a straight face.
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Old June 29, 2000, 03:30 PM   #38
Skorzeny
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Koryu Bujutsu went out of style long before the arrival of "dancercizers" or any form of mass media, for that matter. Koryu Bujutsu, by definition, included sword fighting, spear fighting, archery, horsemanship, swimming and other Japanese medieval military arts. Empty-hand fighting in real traditional Bujutsu was limited to skills in keeping those weapons in battle (what we might call today "weapon-retention") and some basic defenses against similar weapons (spear, sword, and etc.) when one lost one's own weapons. Pre-eminent among the arts was swordmanship and defense against swords.

With Meiji Restoration, a modern military force and banning of sword-wearing, many of the Bujutsu systems went through a process of transition. Many of them began to concentrate more on empty-hand skills (since weapons were largely banned) to remain "current." Many systems of this period (such as what eventually became Daito-Ryu Aiki-Jujutsu and Aikido) demonstrate their origin in their techniques in that they are derived from defending against "traditional" attacks (overhead "chops" - sword, Bo attacks - spear, etc. etc.). These transitional systems were initially restricted to the members of particular clans, but some were taught to outsiders, largely for money. Lacking a coherent, scientific training curriculum, techniques were often taught at a price (meaning there was price per technique). Despite this, even the transitional systems like Kito-Ryu Jujutsu, Fusen-Ryu, Daito-ryu were all going out of favor by the middle of the 19th century (they did completely after 1947).

About this time (late 19th century), Kano Jigoro created the first modern martial art (or science, to be exact) in Kodokan Judo, by combining Western scientific principles with the techniques of the "transition" Bujutsu. For the first time, principles of leverage, balance-breaking (Kuzushi) and others based on physics were taught in a specific curriculum. Randori came into being. When Tokyo Police held the first contest (the Ultimate Fighting Champion of its day) to select the most ideal self-defense system for its officers, Judoka from Kodokan demolished the practitioners of every Jujutsu-Ryu that came to participate.

This event basically ended "Bujutsu" in many ways. They survived in obscure form by emphasizing the mythical and mystical elements of their systems. In today's America, it has become fashionable to say that one trains in an "ancient, lost fighting art, shrouded in mystery." But the reality is that true Koryu Bujutsu went out of style with Meiji Restoration. Transitional systems looking for a new role hung on for another fifty years or so, but was finally fogotten and faded into obscurity by the end of WWII.

Today, it is my opinion that those who seek to learn viable self-defense skills are better served by training in rational, scientific systems of fighting in firearms, knives, sticks and empty-hand skills rather than "ancient" systems with a touch of romantic aura. Koryu Bujutsu is a beautiful thing as a well-preserved Japanese blade is a beautiful thing, but in practicality, both are obsolete and have been for over a hundred years. Now, does that mean you cannot use Koryu Bujutsu for self-defense? No. I suppose it is about as viable as using a Kantana for self-defense. But there are better alternatives that produce much better results with corresponding less effort.

Remember Kano's maxim of Judo: Minimum Effort, Maximum Result.

If "art," "beauty" or "history" is what one is interested in, certainly Koryu Bujutsu is fantastic, but if self-defense is what one is looking for, then Kano's maxim applies.

Skorzeny

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For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence. Sun Tzu

[This message has been edited by Skorzeny (edited June 29, 2000).]
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Old June 29, 2000, 04:39 PM   #39
Spectre
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Wow. I actually enjoyed reading your last post! Who are you, and what have you done with Skorzeny!

I will readily agree that koryu bujutsu is not for everyone. However, I also am aware that there are practitioners of these arts that have accepted all challengers, and never been defeated, including the last two heads of the Kashima Shinryu. This seems to make debatable your suggestion that the arts in question are virtually useless. Now, Skorzeny, I know you know everything-but anyone else reading this may benefit or enjoy reading the following.

[This message has been edited by Spectre (edited June 29, 2000).]
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Old June 29, 2000, 06:33 PM   #40
Erik
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If you know a decent Hapkido instructor, take him up on the training. It's a relativley versatile art, compared to many. You could do far worse.
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Old June 30, 2000, 08:58 AM   #41
Skorzeny
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For unarmed self-defense, I recommend the following:

Striking: Western boxing, Muay Thai, Savate, Jeet Kune Do.

Trapping: Jeet Kune Do.

Grappling: Free-style or catch wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Kodokan Judo (caveat: not Olympic-oriented), shoot wrestling.

Weapon-defense: Filippino styles (Arnis, Escrima and Kali).

For example, boxing, Judo and Kali together OR Muay Thai, BJJ and Kali would be good combinations to study.

One should also train in weapons-oriented systems involving handguns, shotguns and rifles if possible.

Skorzeny

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For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence. Sun Tzu
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Old June 30, 2000, 11:56 AM   #42
KOG
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The nice thing about Kali, providing you can find a good instructor, is that it's the parent art to arnis and escrima so if you learn kali, you get arnis and escrima. In addition, trapping, boxing, kick boxing are included in the panantukan portion of kali as well as other stuff. Grappling is there as well, though not to the extent of BJJ or judo as kali emphasizes bladed weapons; not the stuff you want to roll around on the ground with if you have a choice.

I also second the idea of training in all weapons; blades, sticks, and firearms. Perp isn't going to play fair, why should you? Get all the advantage as possible.
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Old June 30, 2000, 12:51 PM   #43
Skorzeny
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Spectre:

First of all, I don't know everything, but I do consider myself to be something of an expert in the history of combative systems.

Secondly, as many systems (legitimiate or not) of fighting there are (and perhaps more), there are those who claimed that they have never been defeated.

Largely, it is a matter of 1) deception, 2) exaggeration and 3) lack of experience. Meaning, some blatantly lie about their losses, some exaggerate their accomplishments and claim "super duper ultimate warrior" status and some simply hadn't fought enough against skilled fighters in a wide variety of circumstances to know.

Heck, I could run my own Dojo, "invite everyone" to fight me and beat up my students and claim that I've never been defeated.

Mythically, it is said that Ueshiba Morihei never lost a fight, but even if it were true, that does not make Aikido a viable self-defense system.

It's really about time that some of us left the "shrouded mystery of the ancient arts buried on some Chinese monastery" world and face reality.

Skorzeny

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For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence. Sun Tzu
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