Monday, December 21, 2009

Moving Outside of My Art

Everyone who reads here knows that I am involved in Muay Thai. For the year end, the head instructor at our gym did a seminar. The first part was teaching sparring techniques for Muay Thai. The second part was Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The last part taught some self defense for the street, and it was JKD based.

These are the three arts that are taught at my gym. I only have time to practice Muay Thai.

Trying something different was quite a revelation. Honestly, I didn't like the BJJ. I do have a new respect for the guys and girls who practice it. As with any of the martial arts, there is a ton of technique involved. Having never rolled before I knew nothing of what was going on. The guy who I was partnered with was super though and helped me through the moves.

The JKD stuff we did was cool. With that art you are never trying to score on an opponent like in MT. All of the strikes and holds are for destruction. We did a couple of small flows and practiced some street situations.

During the JKD I was partnered up with one of the instructors. During a certain move I discovered something really amazing. I am completely hard wired for Muay Thai. During part of the JKD flow, my opponent threw a jab at me. I instinctively used my right hand to parry that jab down and made a quick step in with an overhand elbow. I apologized to the guy I was with who quickly told me that there was nothing wrong with what I just did. It was all a result of my years of being hard wired to MT. I have to admit after I did the move I was pretty blown away. I literally didn't even know I was doing it, I just did it.

After doing this seminar, my original observations about MT as far as self defense are correct and I stand by them. I have grouped the various martial arts into three classes (this list does not include all martial arts). For self defense, I would put something like Karate or TKD at the bottom, MT in the middle, with Krav Maga and Jeet Kune Do at the top. Even after that short one hour of JKD it was very apparent that those guys do a lot of stuff for the street that we don't even think about in MT. As a corollary, if you are elderly or not in shape, no martial art will help you. So frankly, if you are a black belt or whatever in any art but are a fat ass and gas out in thirty seconds, I will still kick your ass.

All in all it was a cool day. I learned a lot getting out of my art for a bit and it was super cool to understand that my body has learned so much through muscle memory. Like a golf swing or anything else, you have to practice and go to the gym, or you will not develop as a martial artist.


knirirr said...

Interesting stuff, as ever. May I ask if there was anything in particular you found difficult or unenjoyable about the BJJ?

if you ... are a fat ass and gas out in thirty seconds, I will still kick your ass.

I think that I might manage up to two minutes, but I'd probably get my arse kicked anyway. ;-)

Dan from Madison said...

I think I didn't like the BJJ because I really didn't understand what I was doing. It was literally the first time I have rolled. The guy I was with gave me pointers such as always keeping contact and controlling the arms but it was too much. I might enjoy it more if I could get into a beginner class. But as I have said before I only have so much time.

Oddly, even on the ground I was trying to keep on my toes, like in my MT stance. That sounds goofy but it is true.

As far as conditioning goes, it really is the key to a lot. Aside from keeping out of dangerous situations, my best self defense technique is running.

knirirr said...

By the way, I read the JKD link you mentioned. It is interesting how it resembles Bartitsu.

Dan from Madison said...

Cool link, Milo. I find it fascinating to see how different martial arts are evolving. Something like JKD or Krav Maga isn't really its own art, they combine things from tons of arts from western boxing to MT to Kali to whatever and blend them together to be the most effective self defense system.

One thing that does suprise a bit though is that we aren't seeing too much of the blending in ring sport yet like UFC. In general, I see MT for standup, wrestling for takedowns and BJJ for ground (although I did see a pure boxer in the cage on WEC last Saturday and he did well). I think this will also change as the years go by and that sport matures and develops.

knirirr said...

Thanks. I did not realise that there wasn't much blending in UFC; I thought that participants were very keen on training in MT and BJJ for that purpose (I agree that wrestling would be good too but thought it unfashionable). Of course, I am rather ill-informed about the sporting scene.

I am currently studying additional arts (Edwardian Boxe Fran├žaise and Ju-jitsu) so that I can increase my range of unarmed skills towards something resembling what is described in the Bartitsu article.

Dan from Madison said...

I think I said that wrong. I meant to say that in the UFC you basically see guys using MT for standup, wrestling for takedowns, and BJJ for the ground game. The blending that I am not seeing is the positions inbetween. For instance if a guy has a single leg on his opponent and they are pinned on the cage, it seems like they guys don't know what to do. A background in different arts would facilitate striking in these in-between situations.

knirirr said...

Ah, I see! Thanks.
Renaud wrote a chapter of his book on the topic of transitioning between different skill sets during a fight. There's an article about it here.

Dan from Madison said...

Cool article. I will note that figure four shows a classic MT move, uppercut elbow. ;) Although we would cover our forehead while performing it.