Monday, July 28, 2008

Does it work?

You’ve just learned a brutal looking technique. Does it work? Just because it works in class, doesn’t mean it will work on the street, down a back alley, where the stakes are higher, when your opponent is less cooperative and more resolved.

I’ve seen a number of techniques which worked wonderfully in class, but when I went to apply them in a real world situation, they didn’t work so well. Only my training to continue with something else kept me in control of the situation. After awhile, I developed an instinct to determine if a technique would work on the street.

There are a number of factors to consider--the size of the man is one. Strength can sometimes overcome a good technique. You may have great martial arts skills, but I wouldn’t advise you to go in the woods and attempt your favorite combination on a berate bear--even if the bear has no rank. Some behemoth guy you may be facing may be as mean as a bear and break you up while you are trying to twist, lock, or spin him away. You better have an effective, precise, and damaging technique to deliver or suffer the consequences.

Believe it or not, some techniques won’t work on a drunk person as well as they do on a sober one. I know from experience. I tried a nice wrist twist and lock on an inebriated patron when I was managing a nightclub. It didn’t work so well. It worked so many times before on other people. Had no effect on the drinker except to make him ask what I was doing. I had to continue to a better and more effective technique to get him out of the club.

A person with a lot of adrenaline rushing through their system will be able to withstand more pain than normal, so those blows may not deter him from attacking. Even dropping an elbow to the spine of an attacker, might not work if he is pumped up and determined. I’ve witnessed it too many times. They may hurt later, but get you then, if you are not careful.

In class, the person is your partner, helping you learn the technique. In the street, they aren’t going to help you do anything but hit the ground and bleed. Now you need timing and distance appreciation to counter what your attacker is doing while applying your own attack. This is not a coordinated dance, this is a fight.

This is why you need to train and work on doing damage with the technique. You need to condition your weapons so they are more effective. Make that makawara your constant companion, so when you punch or kick, extreme damage can be done.

Sometimes you should go to a tournament with the goal to test certain techniques, not the goal of winning. If your techniques are effective, winning will be a by-product of your success. In fact, that should really be why you go to a tournament, to test your techniques and their effectiveness. How else will you know how they really work, unless you get into a real fight and take the gamble then?