Sunday, 11 July 2010

Biased towards pretty things?

When I was younger, I was mainly interested in boxing, great boxing looks so sweet and smooth and most people can not deal with an above average boxer. Don't believe me, go spar a round with a semi pro that is the same size as you.

When my granddad found out I was joining army, he showed me a little WW11 combatives he had picked up. The combatives worked well but for the most part it just looked so ugly. Amateur boxing in the 1980’s had some back and forth timing to its sparring. It was only later when I trained with some pro trainers that I realised that pro boxing was more staccato in its timing.

Someone (I think it was Kelly McCann once said that sport arts like boxing are something you do with someone, whilst combatives are something you do to someone. That’s certainly a great mindset to develop and train towards.

I think we all bring our own bias to the training field, I know for myself I have spent the last twenty years looking at martial arts a certain way, it’s probably why I was attracted to arts, such as boxing, Muay Thai and dog brothers stick fighting. All of which look smooth and sweet. Later I got in to Vale Tudo, which morphed into MMA overnight.

Along the way I picked up the Fence from Geoff Thompson and MUC from South Narc

Lately, being nearly forty five years of age, I have noticed a couple of things, the champions of sport arts are all young, the champion is not necessary the best you can be, just the best of the rest. None of this is an issue until you start talking about street self protection and you bring your sporting bias with you, because the fact is a street fight looks and is ugly. I have never been in a pretty street encounter and I don’t know anyone who has...

Most of the fights I have been in felt like slow motion car crashes.

If you read the various MMA forums around the net, you notice that anything that looks ugly is dismissed as being useless for street protection. It does not look right (read smooth) so better train sports delivery systems. There are huge advantages to training in sports delivery systems (see some of my other articles) however two crucial things change when you step out of the ring or cage: Distance and timing.

Normally the range closes to touching range very quickly and the timing beats accelerate as the fight goes on. So instead of the beat going one – two – three, it goes half - one – half – two etc. Fighting timing builds in speed and momentum. That’s why street fights are normally one way traffic. You have to overwhelm the others before they hurt you.

I currently teach old style boxing to my training partners for half the year and we then switch to combatives for the last six months. The feel and sounds of training are totally different. The combatives class just looks ugly and that’s how it should be. There’s another difference from the cage as well, there are no rules of engagement, so clinch range can suddenly become a weapons based environment when someone pulls a knife. There is nothing like introducing a blade to the training place to alter the range and timing of the conflicts.

There are no absolutes, so in the end it is up to you to make your own mind up, all I ask is that you don’t write off the traditional or ugly arts because they maybe just what you need. You may even consider mixing them like I do.

Very best of luck


Monday, 5 July 2010

Richard Sackville, arts to train 2010

Old style boxing, including standing grappling (Jan to June)

Combatives hybrid, mixed with MMA and WBE clinch (July to Dec)

Personal training – Silat (Jan to Dec)

Full contact stick fighting (on hold until 2011)

Vale Tudo - MMA (on hold, due to boredom)