Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Locking In UFC Fights

We had posted our last joint lock flow drill last week and got this comment on YouTube:

MJED1978 (1 week ago)
that isnt gonna work dude
try that in ufc and get your ass handed to you

And here is the response of my training partner, who was working me over in the video we made:

Response: (1 week ago)
Thank you for your input. If you listen to my opening comments on the video, I state that I would never intend to fight in this exact sequence. Rather, it is a matter of applying principles in motion. You compare these moves to what you see in the UFC....Several years back I was fortunate to share a teaching seminar with UFC fighter Matt Hume....His segment was all about joint lock flow on the floor; beautiful stuff, and very effective in the UFC as well.

(D.R.) With a little digging I found this compilation of UFC fights that all end in a joint lock or choke. If you watch, you will see that all the fighters TRANSITION AND FLOW into the final technique that ends the fight.

So MJED1978, '78 probably being the year of your birth, I've been pounding on dudes since before you were born. I can tell you thet these drills are very important to develop spontaneous reaction controlling someone in a fight.
Furthermore, not every confrontation can be resolved by hitting someone. Professionals, policemen, bouncers or people catching shoplifters can't beat on people.
Make sense now?


JoseFreitas said...

And in any case, who the heck gives a shit about what works or not in the UFC or MMA or whatever? I for one have absolutely no intention of ever getting into a fight like that, rather, I would think avoiding the Octogon to be in fact one of the ultimate displays of self-defense awareness ever! Also, let's face it, I've got a life, I don't really plan on being anywhere close to a place where I could be attacked by an MMA fighter, not to mention that I think most of them are actually smarter than that, professionals who are probably training for their next fight, rather than out on the street attacking schmucks like me.

Pople tell me ALL the time, "Dude, that's never going to work in the UFC" to which I ALWAYS respond, Thank God, because I never plan to be in the UFC. So far, my only encounter with serious violence ever (in 43 years) was partially resolved with help from my training. Now, I plan on lasting for at least another 43 years, so I guess I still have to train for one more fight, statistically speaking...

People think that self defense and surviving a street encounter has something to do with MMA or whatever. I am sure a professionally trained MMA athlete is going to be better at surviving a street encounter, but to me martial arts is not only about that, and in addition I can't afford (or am interested) in training for six hours a day for a competition. People who "think" that they are training for self defense and talk about the UFC are seriously deluded. They haven't really been looking at the facts of everyday self defense, what kind of encounters happen, what skills are really necessary, etc... They train for something so desperately, that they create the conditions that will allow that something to happen in their life.

UFC or MMA is about winning a fight you know is going to happen before hand with some rules. Self defense is about running away and surviving an unpredictable fight with no rules. The goals are totally opposed and it's idiotic to think that the skill set necessary for one is the same as the other one, even though one skill set includes most of what the other one requires - but at a cost or investment that most people who need the other one can't invest.

Dave said...

I have to disagree with you here.

What this kid MJED1978 is really saying is that most training that TMA guys do won't work on another trained martial artist.

One of the main reasons for that is the simple lack of reality testing against non-cooperative opponents. As far as that argument goes, I'm in total agreement with it.

Your statements about "never being in the UFC" ignore the fact that many people DO train to fight: high school wrestlers, gang bangers, street fighters, etc. And awareness of better UFC-type techniques has quickly grown thanks to the UFC's popularity.

Basically, the likelihood of you facing MMA techniques on the streets is really, really high thanks to this "UFC effect."

As martial artists that train to defend ourselves and our families, we can stick our heads in the sand and hope it goes away or we can do realistic training in order to better face it.

It's our choice.

JoseFreitas said...

OK, even though I agree in principle with you here, I'll play devil's advocate for a moment. Notice also that I did say that someone trained for the UFC or whatever is probably better prepared for a confrotation than your average martiual artist. My main issue is a consideration of 1) investment versus return and 2) qualitative difference between a UFC bout and a self defense situation. They are totally different, and even though the MMA guys are better prepared than the TMA to handle self defense, my argument is that for the most part, if you do not have the time or mindset to invest in this better preparation, TMA is a reasonable substitute, that also adds other dimensions of return on your investment. That is why I say that if someone tells me that something won't work in the UFC I really do not worry overmuch about it (of course, the caveat being that it will be tested in the dojo with a least minimum seriousness against non- or semi-cooperative partners).

Also, when you say that "many people DO train to fight: high school wrestlers, gang bangers, street fighters, etc. And awareness of better UFC-type techniques has quickly grown thanks to the UFC's popularity", realistically (we should maybe try to get some statistics here), how many self defense situations out of the total robberies, rapes, attacks etc... which occur every day actually involve people who trained in MMA?

As my friend Marc McYoung says, the statistical truth is that your self defense encounter is not going, probably, to include the stereotypical "uber-bully on steroids" that most people who train for self defense phantasize that they will eventually defeat... ESPECIALLY if you take a lot of steps to insure that you address self defense where it really begins (ie in awareness training, or even before, you know, going to college, getting a degree, insuring that your life will not include violence in it). I would in fact ask you to go over to his site and read his description of sports moves and techniques used in TMA:

Basically, I don't really disagree with you, I am simply making a plea for better definition of terms, so we know what the heck we're talking about when we say "self defense" or "MMA".

From Marc's site:
"Let us say again and very directly, the goal of self-defense is not to win; winning is the realm of fighting and is concerned with ego, pride, gain, coercion and the countless other motivations for fighting. Nor is it to kick the shit out anybody who dares to attack you. It is not an excuse to "unload" on someone and physically harm them for dissin' your precious self. And it especially is NOT a chance to vent a lifetime spleen of anger, frustration and bile on someone who you think has given you a perfect excuse to engage in violence.

The goal of self-defense is not to be physically injured by an unprovoked or unwarranted attack by using a reasonable amount of force. If you are engaged in physical conflict for any other reason or using excessive force, it is not self-defense. It is something else. THAT is what you will be judged by. And yet, it is exactly those motivations mentioned above that many people have who believe they are "defending themselves""

Dave said...

First of all, I think you're mainly responding in your first comment to the rude, childish nature of most of these UFC-type arguments. I agree with your sentiment about that. Even when they have a point, it is only rarely made politely.

Second, the articles you mentioned are great. I don't see a lot so far that I disagree with. Thanks for mentioning those.

What I like about MMA is that it takes grappling seriously and puts it back into serious training, especially for self-defense. I think that grappling rather than striking is way more important for self-defense.

MMA also provides a cross-style platform for fighting that I respect even if it has the limitations that MacYoung brings up.

Finally, MMA puts the need for martial artists to be in shape right up front. I've never agreed with traditionalists that tell people that being obese is no big deal.

MMA guys always assume the opponent is in shape. That's an important consideration when you realize how many inmates lift weights in prison.

Formosa Neijia

JoseFreitas said...

Dave, I agree with all your comments, but my point is perhaps slightly different than the one you make. My point is this:

Contrary to general perception, you're probably a lot more likely to get assaulted by a more or less regular guy than an ex-con on steroids - at least that's what statistics say. Although I agree that it is best to be prepared for all kinds of eventuality, I also think that it is pointless to train without having a seriously well thought out goal in front of you. My point is this: grappling around the dojo is not a goal. It is a type of practice, I agree it has lots of value, and I couldn't agree more that people who do this 5 times a week are probably more prepared than anyone else for a confrontation - but the goal can be anything at this point, and probably their goal is to win a MMA event, not to be able to defend against random violence on the street.

No argument there, nor any argument re. the fitness issue you bring up. Although I think you can be a good martial artist even if you're obese, it is obvious you'd be better off if you were in shape. At the risk of seeming shallow or callous, I would say that you can be a good martial artist even if you're missing an arm or bound to a wheelchair, but no one would argue that it is irrelevant wether you have that arm or not, or wether you're on a wheelchair or not.

To make my point I would suggest the following experiment: set up a typical assault scene and train with it. Have the Attacker on one side of the room, and the Defender on the other side. Attacker has to get the Defender's wallet, and Defender's goal is simply to make it through the room and escape through the backdoor. The point of this experiment is not wether Defender can win or Attacker can win, or who is better. It is simply to show you that if you take this sort of things in consideration, your training will change considerably. The set of skills needed to survive this exercise as Defender is very different from the set of skills needed to be a good MMA fighter. Obviously, one will go a considerable way towards helping the other, but they are still different sets of skills. And you can make things really funny: if Defender is a good grappler or MMA type, allow Attacker to have a knife, hidden behind his back. Make it a Shockknife, and I guarantee that the MMA type will forever think about self defense in totally different ways. Give the Defender a time schedule to get out of there, or Attacker receives support in the form of two friends armed with knife and baseball bat, and he'll start thinking twice before going to the ground. Expand the exercise to include many people walking around the Dojo, and only one of them is the Attacker, and the dimension of awareness enters the training. Etc.

If Defender's goal is to survive the initial onslaught, strike back once to create an opening (or not) and run like hell, your strategies change considerably. In my experience, there is an incredibly fast learning curve, once you identify some basic things you need to do; I won't go into them, Marc McYoung covers them pretty thouroughly in his site and books (which I can't recommend enough), but the point is that rolling around the ground grappling is not one of them. Certainly knowledge of some good, basic standup grappling techniques, with an emphasis on takedowns (because they provide such dandy openings to get the hell out of there) is a plus. Then, further down the road you can explore the more complex issues of fighting and do the more specialized things. But initially, if selfdefense is your goal - and not some macho bullshit fantasy of pounding on the bad guys - you need to make this basic assumption your core central response. Only after that will you get the chance to progress to higher levels.

The problem with the UFC or MMA thing is that it fosters misconceptions. Certainly, you and I agree that jogging or weightlifting would be a plus towards self defense abilities. In the same spirit I think that boxing and MMA are useful towards the goal of selfdefense, but only if you know their place in your training regime.

So, when I say "who gives a shit what works in the MMA" it is exactly in this spirit. The very same things might work, but that's not the point. I would say exactly the same thing if we were talking about American Football: sure, being a proplayer is certainly a good start in selfdefense, but then again, who gives a shit? I'm not going to start playing football in any case, nor are their training methods relevant or applicable to me, except in the vaguest of ways.

The goal should define the training method. Beyond that, it's fine and dandy to look at anything else, but if you have a goal in mind, don't be distracted. Personally, I don't have the time, inclination or motivation to train in MMA type methods, except for very basic stuff or ocasionaly taking seminars. But when I train in TMA's, and considering that self defense is not even my main reason for training (if it were I wouldn't be investing almost half of my training time in practicing the jian), I don't worry overmuch about wether "it would work or not on the UFC", provided that I test what I am doing and I have a clear, direct goal for that type of training. And having fun, of course!

Dave said...

One of the reasons I strongly disagree with MacYoung's "just run" strategy and the self-defense scenarios he puts up is that they don't mesh with my experiences.

Most of my self-defense experiences have involved grappling rather than striking, have happened inside or in small enclosed areas, and almost all involved the presence of someone that had to be defended or that I simply couldn't count on to run away.

Seriously -- are all these "just run away" guys single, or something? Have they never been caught in a corner?

Second, physical strength was an issue in every single encounter.

Hence, I often find myself agreeing with the UFC crowd -- even though they make for unpleasant company sometimes. :)

Formosa Neijia

JoseFreitas said...

Fortunately, I have been in only two confrontations in my life, and only one was serious - and I mean really serious. The really serious one involved grappling, but only because I failed to see that it was going to be an assault, I COULD have run, and didn't because... well, can't seem to remember, but I clearly knew that I was going to be attacked, and basically just stayed there stupidly. The other time I resolved the issue easily using some basic "slipping" punches and elbow qinna.

I agree with you that physical strength was as much a factor as skill in at least one of my confrontations, and I'll agree also that grappling (but NOT groundfighting was a main issue in part of these confrontations. Won't argue with that - but I wish I had run away, and been more aware.

Dojo Rat said...

Boys, boys, boys... settle down or I'll stop this car and come back there right now!

You guys are great, keep it coming!

JoseFreitas said...

Hey DR: I've decided to give you a scientific name. Ratus Martialis Invulgaris. In any case, its better to have this kind of aruments in intelligent blogs than in idiot forums. I'm off for about ten days of holidays, see you guys in August!

Steve said...

I don't know where that other guy trains, but the MMA guys I train with in BJJ learn lockflow and transitions and consider them to be very important.

I do agree that pressure testing and resistance are important, but we drill movements all the time and light sparring is critical. Transitions and lockflow are the difference between a blue belt and a black belt in BJJ.

Thanks for the post.