In the martial arts world, there are traditional, mixed and reality/tactical based martial arts. I consider myself to be a student of all 3. Today's post I will talk tell you my thoughts on traditional martial arts training. In my style of Karate, we practice in a Gi (uniform), bow, and use Japanese terminology. Some of the culture from that arts country of origin is adopted. The practice of traditional techniques are done in a way to teach perfection of technique, precision and focus. I have used these concepts in other aspects of my martial arts training over the years. Even though I teach an eclectic style (karate, kickboxing, and grappling), I integrate some of the principles I've learned from traditional martial arts training. It's like music. I enjoy listening to classical, rap and metal. Combat sports are more physical and favor the younger athlete. Tactical martial art training, require you to shoot guns (so if you are anti-gun, this is not for you). All can benefit from traditional martial arts training. Young and old, fighter or not, one is able to focus and get centered in traditional training.
Martial arts are a big business these days. Because the are ingrained in our culture through TV, Movies, and video games, most people are familiar with martial arts techniques. Commercial dojos and fight gyms are the norm and people make a living off of the martial arts. The unfortunate things is that many of these business are operated by unqualified people. They may have the business experience and smarts to run a business. I am not saying anything is wrong with that. Of course gym owners should be able to make money. My issue is with instructors who have no real experience trying to teach people how to defend themselves or compete. There are many young instructors teaching students around the same age and giving them advice on how to fight. Being around combat sports for some many years, I see guys who amateurs a few years ago coaching guys who have more amateur fights than they did. Would you let a doctor who hasn't done his residency see about you? I doubt it. Would you let someone who has only flown flight simulators fly you? No. It's like going to law school, never passing the Bar, and never working your way up in a law office, but yet you decide to open your own law firm. In martial arts and fitness you can pretty much do what you want. Market your stuff and be a good salesman (which are good attributes) is all you need to do. Like I said the business aspect of martial arts aren't bad, but consumers make sure you have a qualified provider of service
How do you know if what you are learning will work? It has to be tested. In science class you go to lectures to learn theories and then you get the practical from the lab. The same is the case in martial arts and in most things you learn in life. Theory has to be applied in some form or fashion. Trials can be controlled and uncontrolled. They can be moderate or extreme. For example, you can try a technique on a training partner in light sparring, moderate sparring, or full contact sparring. You can even go to the extreme of competing against an opponent you are completely unfamiliar with. Through trial and error, you learn what works best for you in certain situations. When you learn something new, you practice it in a controlled environment and then you test it. Many times, people get stuck in theory and never get the chance to apply it. So, be sure to get in the lab in and test what you learn. Be able to apply it under pressure.
In 1994, I was selected to be a part of Team USA in an international competition. I was one of 5 on a US team against Team Russia. This event was hosted by World Champ, Steve Shepherd in West Palm Beach, FL. Here's a video of my fight against Russian Middleweight Kickboxing Champion, Alexander Veronin.
I was in Japan a couple of weeks ago for the Annual Shidokan International Championships and 70th birthday of Shidokan founder Kancho Yoshiji Soeno. In addition to seeing some great fights of bare knuckle Karate and Gloved Karate, I had an opportunity to meet the Kyokushin's 1st World Champion, Katsuaki Sato. If you've ever seen the documentary, "Fighting Black Kings", you will remember him as the guy who wins the tournament. If you haven't seen it, be sure to check it out so that you can see how full contact Karate developed. Looking at the fighters from the early 70s, you can see that many of the Karate fighters come from the Shotokan point system by their stance and use of the reverse punch. The low kicks were snap round kicks with the foot. When you see a fighter like Sato, you see a fighter who is well conditioned and who has already adopted clinch and knee techniques from kickboxing. He uses Judo, spin back kicks, etc. Check him out.
In fighting a lot of techniques is not always best. Many times people look for flash and flare over substance. There is a simplicity to fighting. The most effective combat athletes use 2 to 3 techniques. Should you fear the man who has 1000 different techniques or fear the man who has practice 1 technique 1000 times. You better not let the later apply that technique. There is nothing wrong with learning a lot but make sure you have your basics down.
When I was coming up, all my instructors and coaches were men of experience. In todays time, I see a lot of younger coaches. Not saying a young instructor can't teach. But I see guys with little experience trying to teach. I always figured one hand to have a lot more experience than me to show me anything. If you were choosing a surgeon, you would ask to be referred to someone with experience over the doctor who is doing it for the first time. You should treat your training the same way. Now, I'm not saying that you can' learn from a young instructor. They just need to a really good and unique if they don't have years of experience.
The Floyd Mayweather Vs. Conor McGregor fight was one of the most publicized fights in combat sports history. A lot of fans were hoping that Conor would win. This was mainly MMA fans. Not one boxing fan I know thought that he would. Back in the 1980s, American Kickboxing was really big. Promoters would market it as the sport to replace boxing. I know of many kickboxers who also boxed (boxing paid more money) and they set out to chase boxing titles. They had a better chance of being successful because American Kickboxing was basically boxing with karate kicks. If you couldn't box you couldn't do the sport. Even with this, to match the hand skills of a boxer was still a difficult task because most kick boxers (MMA fighters) who delve into boxing start a lot later than most boxers (who start as kids). The talent pool for boxers is much deeper. I went to an amateur boxing tournament early in the day before watch the Floyd and Conor fight. This was a 2 day tournament running over 40 matches a day with some good talent from kids up to adults. Kids start boxing at 8 years of age. By the time they are teenagers, they've had a lot of fights. Floyd started a s kid, was an Olympian at 17, a World Champion at 20, etc. Conor supposed started with boxing as youth and then got into MMA. He fights floyd with Zero pro boxing fights. He has the advantages of size, youth, and reach. Even though he is an MMA fighter, he has finished almost all of his fights with striking skills. To expect him to been a quality boxer in boxing with less than a year of serious boxing training is unlikely. Floyd cover up and let Conor expend his energy and then pressure him until he folded from exhaustion. I knew he would tire because a 12 round boxing match is hard feat when one has never done a 4 round, 6 round, 8 round, and 10 round bout to develop into a 12 round fighter. Sure he made through most of the fight, but he has a 20 pound weight advantage, youth and height. Sure Floyd has been retired for 2 years and is 40 years old, but it doesn't matter when you are one of the best in the business. It was easy money for Floyd (and Conor too).
The advantage with fighting single bouts is that you can focus on one person. You google and Youtube your opponent and get fixated on him. Tournament fighters show up and fight multiple matches not knowing who they are going to fight. They might think that they are going to fight a specific opponent and then that guy might lose to someone they've never seen or heard of. Tournament are better for the development of a fighter. You adapt to the situation and you don't focus on one person.
The unique thing about Shidokan Karate as a style is that it is a mixed system. It incorporates techniques from several styles to make one well rounded. Shidokan was started in 1981 and continues to evolve. It is where traditional martial arts meets mixed martial arts. Here is a clip of Shidokan Atlanta's senior members competing in a mixed arena (MMA, Triathlon, etc.). Through years of competing and exploration, we continue to grow and expand.
World Champion Richard Trammell shares his experiences, views and thoughts on fitness, martial arts and fighting.