Join Date: Oct 2006
I have been meaning to comment on this thread for a while, but didn’t have time to watch the videos (this one and the ones posted on Yael’s other thread). This is going to be long winded so go to the restroom now . . .
I have not done all the research that Yael has, to truly understand the argument that Matt is putting forward. I have read stuff over the years, but these videos are really the most exposure to this ‘concept’ that I have had (although I greatly enjoy SBG’s video with Rodney King).
I feel that he is wrong. He has taken the pendulum too far to the other side. “Dead” drills are how you teach the body to act reflexively, without thought, regardless of surroundings.
I have been brought up in what many people might call a “Traditional” Martial art (Kenpo Jujitsu aka Tracy’s Kenpo – to clarify NOT American Kenpo). We train directly under Al Tracy on a regular basis, as well as teach the way that he tells us to, i.e. Private Lessons. There is a lot of repetition, a lot of what Matt would call “Dead” training. There is also a good portion of Alive training and practice. But we do have forms/katas. We do have repetitive drills.
My problem is that he presents the fact that all Dead training is useless. People can’t learn quickly and efficiently to act under duress without repetition. The more I read about the subconscious reactions under stress (‘The Gift of Fear’, ‘On Killing’, ‘Blink’, ‘On Combat’, etc.) the more convinced I am that the training I am doing falls into line with these findings.
The chess example is extremely flawed in that it is talking about a mental game. It is talking about a competition of thinking, planning and foresight. Once the physical confrontation has begun, a life and death fight has nothing to do with these skills. When changing magazines on the battlefield or clearing a jam, we can’t have people figuring this stuff out as it happens. There must be repetition. We can’t have our law enforcement playing with simunitions for a hundred hours and expect them to perform flawlessly when they have to really draw down on someone. We can’t expect pilots to spend some time in the simulator doing random problems without practicing the procedures required to adequately solve those problems. In all these cases (and many more), the best results happen without thought. “. . . you will sink to your training.” Right?
Now if the game of chess required you to move the pieces as quickly as possible otherwise you would get hit or shot. If the game of chess forced you to recognize an attack, neutralize it, and destroy the attacker in fractions of a second, while experiencing tunnel vision, auditory exclusion, and loss of fine motor skills. . . then you would definitely be going through 1000s of repetitions of those patterns.
Another good example is CrossFit. What is Fran? Diane? Helen? They are workouts right?
They are forms. Aka Kata. They are a pattern of movements completed for exercise or to practice a movement. They usually consist of basics done in a predefined order and direction.
The Snatch, the Clean and Jerk. . . are techniques, combos, sets, basics, use what name you like, they are a movement that must be performed thousands of times to begin to be understood. Not only completed at max weight in complete movements. They must be practiced with no weight, little weight, moderate weight, with chains, with bands, one piece at a time, connected movements at a time, etc etc.
Unlike Fran and the Snatch, a real fight can’t be tested regularly (for most people). That means that there is no quantitative measuring stick that is consistent. There is no way to measure time or weight. The only thing to do in a controlled environment is go against another opponent on the mat, which is far from consistent. Sometimes you can eliminate variables (specific attacks, directions, weapons, etc). Sometimes you want to include as many variables as possible (multiple attackers, situation play, obstacles, etc). The bottom line is that testing for life and death struggles without risking bodily harm is difficult, if not impossible.
So, if you were told you were going to have to a workout some day in the future. This workout could happen at any time, any place, and include any number of stations (or even just one rep). And all you knew is that you would probably use some of the movements that you have been practicing, and possibly something you have never seen before. What would you do?
This is the epitome of the CrossFit “Hopper.” Does that mean that you never practice form for pull-ups? Does that mean that you only do max singles for the Clean and Jerk? No, it means that you do snatch balances; learn kipping pull-ups, do front squats with bands, the practice Burgner warm up, etc.
All that being said, Dead training must not be the only training method. But ONLY Alive training is not the answer either. There must be a continuum (what Greg mentioned I guess, but not what was presented in the videos). All methods must be used (Dead, Alive, Without an opponent, With an opponent, hitting pads, etc). I also shouldn’t have to say that improper training will give improper results. Perfect practice makes . . .you get the worm or something like that.
Now some of this changes in relation to sport fighting (which is the kind of perspective he might be coming from).
A fight in the ring is similar to chess with the exception that you have to be able to perform each movement precisely in order to get the most out of it. If you perform the movement incorrectly your chances of failing, injuring yourself, or getting beat down go up drastically. The movements need repetition to be understood, repetition to keep them sharp, and “Live” repetition to make the application complete. Sometimes will still take 1000s of good repetitions to make movement really smooth. To make it flow without thought.
I fully agree that Aliveness needs to be part of every fighting art where the outcome could eventually be a physical confrontation. I also think that too much Aliveness is a fast way to develop bad habits, and a hard way to re-invent the wheel.