Saturday, November 6, 2010

More Thoughts on Close Cover vs. Extended Guard

Perennial pain-in-the-ass Scott -- ("Expert" video at this link, LOL), writes in to challenge the concept of a close guard as we practiced at the Cartmell MMA seminar:

"The old masters 150 years ago had experience with real violence, they knew what they were doing when they designed the forms and they didn't do it just for muscle training! If some modern people aren't able to use the postures and stances the way they were passed down it is because they don't have the correct theory of power that goes with the movements."

Scott, with all due respect, looking at the extended Bagua guard and details of body alignment in your video you are not following your own advice. You wouldn't last 15 seconds against someone that can really hit.

Let me clarify what I believe the value of the extended guard to be.
If a guy is beyond kicking range but closing in, it is perfectly natural and smart to raise your guard up. Extended may be fine, like a "hey, back off" position. It can even appear non-threatening, especially if there are witnesses.
-But look at the video above;
Once a boxer has moved into serious punching range, you gotta' cover. It's easy to knock down or simply hook-punch around the extended guard at this range.
The technique in the above video is exactly what we practiced at the seminar last weekend.
Look, the extended guard is a natural defensive posture. There's nothing wrong with it at a certain range. I practice it in traditional form work.
But in close against someone that can really hit, without a close cover you're done.


Martial Development said...

I think Scott's comment on the prior post was 100% correct. (But yeah, I'm not a fan of his videos so much either.)

Covering is defense, and (if the fight is on then) defense is nonsense.

Posture and structure are also nonsense. (Not implying that all traditional martial arts are wrong...but maybe that is a topic for another time.)

If we throw out all that stuff, only then we can talk about the comparative value of different forms of "guard".

Martial Development said...

P.S. Defense is not nonsense if it is a voluntary fight, with rules and without hard feelings, and where the goal is to collect the biggest check or bragging rights.

But one will be hard-pressed to demonstrate that is the developmental context of CIMA.

Bill said...

We all can argue about this, nothing wrong with that, but only if you can back up what you say in the real world.

Bill said...

we can settle this kind of discussions, any takers?

Scott said...

Well, yeah, point taken. I need to do better videos. My idea up 'till now has been to just push the button and clown around.

The big issue is not really about the guard at all. It is about this newish idea (from Tony Blauer I think) which is the use of the flinch response in training so that you can fight immediately without going into an OODA loop.

In my opinion, traditional Chinese martial arts from Shaolin to Bagua were designed with full knowledge of the flinch response and the OODA loop and the positions used in traditional forms are flawless.

Tim Ferriss is just funny. In Liuhe xinyi when we lift our arm up to cover the head we do it with an uppercut, finger strike, ear-hair-beard grab, elbow strike and shin kick---all in the same amount of time and effort it takes him just to block.

And just for the record, I have been hit with a heavy hook punch--many times--and I learned that blocking isn't a great strategy. Time lost is brain lost. Being hit with a really good hook is like being hit with a 150 pound bag of rice, you can block it but it's still going to knock you down.

Martial Development said...

I really wanted to attend this recent seminar, but some other things came up at the last minute.

For the record, I did broach this issue with Tim the last time I saw him. He was teaching just this cover against just this hook, actually.

A few times I accidentally counter-punched my partner instead. It was not an accident in the sense that it didn't work--it worked perfectly. It was an accident in the sense that we were drilling something else, and I wasn't trying to be that guy who always inserts his own material into someone else's class...

Anyway, I asked Tim, why aren't we doing this instead? I was hoping he would point out some flaw in my preferred response, that I hadn't noticed before, after doing this for many years. But all he said was, "Yeah, you could do that too."

So long story short, I too have the Cartmell blessing, FWIW. :D

And the idea that I need to "settle the argument" with random dudes on the Internet is just precious.

daniele.perkele said...

I usually block hooks in sanshou as Ferris shows on his videos... however, the way and the angle he actually does that in his videos, he would be knocked off surely. If you watch closely, the opponent's knuckles are passing through the gap between his wrist and bicep, right to his neck...

Dojo Rat said...

Everybody has good points.
Tim did rely on "flinch responses".
The cover is a natural response.
The extended guard is fine for slightly beyond kicking range. Closer in, hands up in front of your face to deflect or smother punches. Default position is cover your head.
Tim was teaching us to not stand in and trade punches, but how to go to clinch and takedown.
That's his method, he likes to grapple, and it's difficult to argue with his method because he can make it work.
No offense intended Scott, you made a few good points.

Gye Greene said...

The technique/approach in the video was pretty innovative. But it seems a little "all or nothing" to move your entire arm up from your core -- thus exposing your belly, floating ribs, and those juicy nerves under the armpits.

What if the guy feints high, then goes low? You've totally opened yourself up.


Gye Greene said...

Addendum: If your attacker is any good at trapping, you've played right into his hands: His cross-hand on your elbow, and he's home free.


Dojo Rat said...

Well G.G., you make good points.

But it may indeed be easier to trap a persons arms when they are in an extended guard. That's how I have trained trapping anyway.

Also, if you have your arms close to your body, moving them from high guard to low guard is much faster due to the length of extension.

Just my opinion, but it seems the questions you present could occur with either guard, and perhaps more so with the extended guard.

Man, I am reversing a lot of previous thinking about this subject...