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PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 2:21 am 
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Melinda Beck is one of my favorite writers in the Health section of The Wall Street Journal. She often comes up with some very interesting and creative pieces about current research on health topics which affect us all.

Any of us who are involved in martial arts in general and Uechi Ryu in particular understand the concept of putting pain in perspective. As I simplistically tell my beginner students, part of martial training is understanding the difference between "good pain" and "bad pain", and learning to respond accordingly. Some pain we seek out because we know it may make us stronger. (Mildly sore muscles after a workout, ever so slightly tender shins and forearms after conditioning, etc.) Other pain tells us that we need to stop (pain associated with stretching) or we've done something very bad (pain associated with tearing a muscle or causing a bruise). In the end though, we cannot master an opponent if we don't first master ourselves. And we cannot master ourselves in a fight - or preparing for it - if we can't put pain in its proper place.

With that intro, I'm going to post the bulk of this article, and leave it open for comment from our audience. Much of this rings true to me both from my training as a systems physiologist and my years of experience practicing and teaching martial arts and sports in general.

- Bill

Wall Street Journal wrote:
NOVEMBER 15, 2011

Rewiring the Brain to Ease Pain
Brain Scans Fuel Efforts to Teach Patients How to Short-Circuit Hurtful Signals

How you think about pain can have a major impact on how it feels.

That's the intriguing conclusion neuroscientists are reaching as scanning technologies let them see how the brain processes pain.

That's also the principle behind many mind-body approaches to chronic pain that are proving surprisingly effective in clinical trials.

Some are as old as meditation, hypnosis and tai chi, while others are far more high tech. In studies at Stanford University's Neuroscience and Pain Lab, subjects can watch their own brains react to pain in real-time and learn to control their response—much like building up a muscle. When subjects focused on something distracting instead of the pain, they had more activity in the higher-thinking parts of their brains. When they "re-evaluated" their pain emotionally—"Yes, my back hurts, but I won't let that stop me"—they had more activity in the deep brain structures that process emotion. Either way, they were able to ease their own pain significantly, according to a study in the journal Anesthesiology last month.

While some of these therapies have been used successfully for years, "we are only now starting to understand the brain basis of how they work, and how they work differently from each other," says Sean Mackey, chief of the division of pain management at Stanford.

He and his colleagues were just awarded a $9 million grant to study mind-based therapies for chronic low back pain from the government's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM).

Some 116 million American adults—one-third of the population—struggle with chronic pain, and many are inadequately treated, according to a report by the Institute of Medicine in July.

Yet abuse of pain medication is rampant. Annual deaths due to overdoses of painkillers quadrupled, to 14,800, between 1998 and 2008, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The painkiller Vicodin is now the most prescribed drug in the U.S.

"There is a growing recognition that drugs are only part of the solution and that people who live with chronic pain have to develop a strategy that calls upon some inner resources," says Josephine Briggs, director of NCCAM, which has funded much of the research into alternative approaches to pain relief.

Already, neuroscientists know that how people perceive pain is highly individual, involving heredity, stress, anxiety, fear, depression, previous experience and general health. Motivation also plays a huge role—and helps explain why a gravely wounded soldier can ignore his own pain to save his buddies while someone who is depressed may feel incapacitated by a minor sprain.

"We are all walking around carrying the baggage, both good and bad, from our past experience and we use that information to make projections about what we expect to happen in the future," says Robert Coghill, a neuroscientist at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Dr. Coghill gives a personal example: "I'm periodically trying to get into shape—I go to the gym and work out way too much and my muscles are really sore, but I interpret that as a positive. I'm thinking, 'I've really worked hard.' " A person with fibromyalgia might be getting similar pain signals, he says, but experience them very differently, particularly if she fears she will never get better.

Dr. Mackey says patients' emotional states can even predict how they will respond to an illness. For example, people who are anxious are more likely to experience pain after surgery or develop lingering nerve pain after a case of shingles.

That doesn't mean that the pain is imaginary, experts stress. In fact, brain scans show that chronic pain (defined as pain that lasts at least 12 weeks or a long time after the injury has healed) represents a malfunction in the brain's pain processing systems. The pain signals take detours into areas of the brain involved with emotion, attention and perception of danger and can cause gray matter to atrophy. That may explain why some chronic pain sufferers lose some cognitive ability, which is often thought to be a side effect of pain medication.

The dysfunction "feeds on itself," says Dr. Mackey. "You get into a vicious circle of more pain, more anxiety, more fear, more depression. We need to interrupt that cycle."

One technique is attention distraction, simply directing your mind away from the pain. "It's like having a flashlight in the dark—you choose what you want to focus on. We have that same power with our mind," says Ravi Prasad, a pain psychologist at Stanford.

Guided imagery, in which a patient imagines, say, floating on a cloud, also works in part by diverting attention away from pain. So does mindfulness meditation. In a study in the Journal of Neuroscience in April, researchers at Wake Forest taught 15 adults how to meditate for 20 minutes a day for four days and subjected them to painful stimuli (a probe heated to 120 degrees Fahrenheit on the leg).

Brain scans before and after showed that while they were meditating, they had less activity in the primary somatosensory cortex, the part of the brain that registers where pain is coming from, and greater activity in the anterior cingulate cortex, which plays a role in handling unpleasant feelings. Subjects also reported feeling 40% less pain intensity and 57% less unpleasantness while meditating.

"Our subjects really looked at pain differently after meditating. Some said, 'I didn't need to say ouch,' " says Fadel Zeidan, the lead investigator.

Techniques that help patients "emotionally reappraise" their pain rather than ignore it are particularly helpful when patients are afraid they will suffer further injury and become sedentary, experts say.

Cognitive behavioral therapy, which is offered at many pain-management programs, teaches patients to challenge their negative thoughts about their pain and substitute more positive behaviors.

Even getting therapy by telephone for six months helped British patients with fibromyalgia, according to a study published online this week in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Nearly 30% of patients receiving the therapy reported less pain, compared with 8% of those getting conventional treatments. The study noted that in the U.K., no drugs are approved for use in fibromyalgia and access to therapy or exercise programs is limited, if available at all.

Anticipating relief also seems to make it happen, research into the placebo effect has shown. In another NCCAM-funded study, 48 subjects were given either real or simulated acupuncture and then exposed to heat stimuli.

Both groups reported similar levels of pain relief—but brain scans showed that actual acupuncture interrupted pain signals in the spinal cord while the sham version, which didn't penetrate the skin, activated parts of the brain associated with mood and expectation, according to a 2009 study in the journal Neuroimage.

One of Dr. Mackey's favorite pain-relieving techniques is love. He and colleagues recruited 15 Stanford undergraduates and had them bring in photos of their beloved and another friend. Then he scanned their brains while applying pain stimuli from a hot probe. On average, the subject reported feeling 44% less pain while focusing on their loved one than on their friend. Brain images showed they had strong activity in the nucleus accumbens, an area deep in the brain involved with dopamine and reward circuits.

Experts stress that much still isn't known about pain and the brain, including whom these mind-body therapies are most appropriate for. They also say it's important that anyone who is in pain get a thorough medical examination. "You can't just say, 'Go take a yoga class.' That's not a thoughtful approach to pain management," says Dr. Briggs.


Rewiring the Brain to Ease Pain
Write to Melinda Beck at HealthJournal@wsj.com


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 11:47 am 
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To those who do kotekitae and perhaps ashikitae and/or karadakitae (leg conditioning and body conditioning), the process may not amaze you at all. But this really is a big deal.
Wall Street Journal wrote:
In studies at Stanford University's Neuroscience and Pain Lab, subjects can watch their own brains react to pain in real-time and learn to control their response—much like building up a muscle. When subjects focused on something distracting instead of the pain, they had more activity in the higher-thinking parts of their brains. When they "re-evaluated" their pain emotionally—"Yes, my back hurts, but I won't let that stop me"—they had more activity in the deep brain structures that process emotion. Either way, they were able to ease their own pain significantly, according to a study in the journal Anesthesiology last month.

No lie... I've seen "experts" (generally without training in physiology, neurology, or biological psychology) declare that myriad conditioning methods like rubbing/pounding the arms or rolling the shins with a wooden roller work by destroying nerves. In my recall, most have been people on the outside looking in who view what we do as being extreme and ill-advised. One advanced practitioner in our style actually stated that rolling the shin "popped capillaries" which led to nerves being destroyed. While contact no doubt leads to a thickening of the skin the way the tips of our fingers get thicker when playing guitar, it's more than that. We who actually do the training understand that our ability to feel doesn't go away. Far from it... in some ways it's enhanced.

A simple touch of areas trained by Uechi conditioning methods reveals that all senses are intact. Thus the "biological destruction" theory doesn't hold water. It's akin to learning to eat and even enjoy hot sauce. Just because someone learns how to munch on jalapenos - and like it - doesn't mean one can no longer taste a subtle sauce and pick out the individual flavors that contribute to the whole. What apparently changes is the perception of the contact. Months to years of contact leads to learning how to do so without causing damage. While that is happening, the process rewires our brains so that the practitioner fine-tunes the difference between "I feel that" and "Ow!" To someone completely unfamiliar with the exercises, they see what we do and are amazed/alarmed. To the practitioner, it's just what we do. And now to the researcher in brain function and anesthesiology, the rewiring going on in the brain - in parallel with conditioning of the skin - is something very special.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 19, 2011 1:45 am 
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While I didn't originally intend to have a monologue, It does seem appropriate to draw some concepts out a bit. And I can do so with a personal anecdote.

With all the people I've taught pro bono through the years, I've occasionally tapped into my network as students have evolved into their careers. For example I was having eye issues and wasn't getting them resolved with an ophthalmologist I had seen. So I went to a mere optometrist who happened to have been one of my students back in my UVa days. She worked extra hard - because of our relationship - and discovered something that professionals with years more training weren't able to find. (And she knows I'd do the same for her.)

Another of my students was a dental hygienist for a while, and I chose to go to whichever dentist she worked for. I made it clear to the dentist that I was coming to see the hygienist, and didn't mind him also working on my teeth. :P Anyhow... my karate student hygienist worked for someone who happened to be a black belt of a local taequondo instructor. So there was plenty of martial interest in the room.

This dentist's "master" was also one of his patients. As I understand it, he needed extensive work through the years. He chose not to have Novocaine with any of his procedures. But while doing so, I was told he engaged in very purposeful and visibly dramatic meditation. It's as if he put himself in a hypnotic trance, or something very similar to it.

Well in my last visit, I had an old filling which had cracked and needed repair. So the dentist - knowing that I was a martial artist - asked if I too wanted to try the procedure without Novocaine. He was confident (more confident than I) that I would have no problem with it because I was a "karate master" and of course I had... well... he believed in the whole martial dream - both fact and myth. Me? I knew I was wearing Fruit of the Looms, but what the heck. I thought I'd give it a try.

In the end, I think it hurt a lot less to have him drill out the filling, clean out the tooth with the drill, and refill it WITHOUT the Novocaine. By the time someone's sticking a needle in your gum 7 ways to Sunday, I've always wondered if the whole pain numbing thing wasn't a silly ritual. Really... it didn't hurt that bad. It hurt less than the damn needle.

There were several things going on here.

First... with years of kotekitae, ashikitae, karadakitae, and weight training, I really did have a fairly sophisticated understanding of pain. Yes, I felt the drill. No, I didn't believe it would "hurt" me. He was clearing out a bad filling, cleaning out possible infection under a filling, and patching things back up again. I had no sense that I was being harmed, so what I felt didn't bother me. It's the same lack of concern about "pain" that I feel in the weight room when I know that extra set or repetition is going to make me stronger.

More importantly, my brain has been wired to put myriad senses in their proper place. When I'm sick, I get pain from being sick, and I know the pain is from being sick, I can be as big a baby as the next person. But when an intense sensation is associated with something I have some control over and understand won't lead to my demise, it's a lot easier to acknowledge and then put into the background of all sensations.

And finally... The dentist who thought the sun rose and set with his "master" was amazed that I didn't get on with some kind of overt ritual or heavy meditation. It was a lot more like the "walking meditation" mindset I would have in Sanchin or when doing conditioning with a partner. It isn't a careless or casual mindset, but there's no "terrible purpose." I guess I could describe it as less deep meditation and more mushin. In any case, I gave this karate student another view on the whole mindset issue. It wasn't necessary to be P T Barnum to accomplish my feat of non-response. I just did it as a matter of course - as I've done it for thousands of such sessions through the years in the karate class.

More later. Meanwhile... feel free to chime in with your thoughts, impressions, or personal anecdotes.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2011 5:06 pm 
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Part of the study of pain in martial arts is understanding to what degree it can be used as a tool by us, and used as a tool against us.

Pain is a functional response. Pain is our inherited alarm system. It's there to help us understand and mostly avoid things which can harm us. Occasionally the messenger is wrong, or a little too much Chicken Little. And sometimes pain ideally should be considered with other important factors in a life/death scenario. At that moment a built-in hierarchy of needs should ideally aid an individual in doing what best leads to short- and long-term survival.

I've had little issue with students being badly hurt in my classes. Yes, I am blessed. But I also have the gift of great process in the Uechi Ryu and "Bill Ryu" (mixed martial arts) book of tools. In this regard...

  • I do not let people do partner work until they've engaged in conditioning.
    ...
  • I do not let people do full speed freeform (jiyu) partner work until they've engaged in prearranged (yakusoku and bunkai) partner work.
    ...
  • I dial up the conditioning work before putting people in higher levels of partner work. Before doing Kanshiwa Bunkai, I have them start on forearm conditioning. Before Kyu Kumite, I have them start on leg conditioning. *WAY* before jiyu kumite where "stuff" can happen, I have them start on ukemi, or the art of rolling/falling. (I introduce this early because the consequences of a bad fall can be catastrophic, and it can take a long time before some are reasonably well trained).

What I don't necessarily advertise in this process is that I secretly use pain to teach my students. No, I don't beat on them like the nuns did me in parochial school. (It used to be fashionable; now it's a crime. Go figure... :lol: ) But *life* is full of teaching moments that coincidentally involve pain. I would be derelict in my duties as an instructor if I didn't let my students taste a little bit of that hot sauce. There's no better way of understanding the fall off a cliff if you don't go to the edge and get that visceral feeling. And no scum-suking, ambulance-chasing lawyer has found a way to sue Nature, although they would if they could. ;)

Basically I give every opportunity for a person to experience "little pains" so they don't experience "catastrophic pain." And I set the stage for a process of self-discovery.

So when I throw a roundhouse kick into your block and you throw one into mine, we both feel it. If we kick harder, we feel it more. If we kick less hard, we feel it less. If we come up at an "unfortunate" angle in a kick (the way some experienced instructors are teaching... :evil:), well that shin or top-of-foot sooner or later is going to hit an elbow. Then I don't have to argue with a superior why my students kick the way they do; their own bodies have taught them "truth." I do have to create the environment for proper learning, where the better alternatives are at least available to the individual. And I'm all for a process of self-discovery where an individual finds a unique path.

But ultimately... I know that if I close my eyes and punch at something, the chance of hurting my fist increases. If I kick carelessly into whatever, the chance of smashing my toe, damaging my shin, or hurting my foot increases. If the training is "right-sized" for pain, we learn to flinch against doing bad things, and gravitate toward practices that have the best cost/benefit ratio.

The same goes with falling. I start with mats, because we don't want indiscriminately to be triggering flinch responses. The mats give a student a chance to work through mistakes before doing things correctly. But ultimately when the form is pretty close, I pull the mats away and have students do "small" rolls and "small" falls. That accomplishes two things. If their form isn't quite right, pain says "No!" And when they fine-tune the form and minimize the pain/bruising, they condition themselves not to flinch from rolling/falling on hard surfaces if that alternative is a safer alternative. I know that I can dive-roll out of a leg grab. I know that if I fall in a gravel parking lot, I'll be able to get back up again.

More later...

- Bill


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2011 10:17 pm 
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many ways to look at this:

Some very well known teachers of self defense [not dueling] like what you will find in the streets...are of the opinion that the focus of defensive training should be on how to carry a deep 'hurt' on the attacker, and not on taking a pounding to 'condition' us to take a beating on the street, which they find ridiculous like the 'combat ki' people who condition themselves over years on end to take shots to the nuts and the throat.

:wink:

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2011 11:55 pm 
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Van

I swear... I didn't ask you to come in and post this thought! :lol: This was my next subject, which I was going to address after a pause.

And I had your opinions in mind. ;)

- Bill


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 3:32 am 
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Take it away Bill :mrgreen:

I am sure we will all agree that it is the 'weapons' we need to condition so they will not 'fracture' upon impact with the opponent's body.

The same old story: if we raise our hands or feet/legs to an opponent....then we better stop him upon 'first touch' or we are in trouble.

We must know where to hit [generally] and be sure we 'hurt him' or he will not stop, just get pissed off.

Reason why 'impact training' is critical.

And never forget the 'continuum' despite some old posters' misguidings we have read here. :lol:

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 4:28 am 
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Wall Street Journal wrote:

Experts stress that much still isn't known about pain and the brain, including whom these mind-body therapies are most appropriate for. They also say it's important that anyone who is in pain get a thorough medical examination. "You can't just say, 'Go take a yoga class.' That's not a thoughtful approach to pain management," says Dr. Briggs.


That's how the article ends, and it's an appropriate ending.

From personal experience... A very dear friend of mine experienced pain for probably several years, and no MD seemed to be able to put his/her finger on what "it" was. "It" turned out eventually to be metastatic pancreatic cancer, and it was eventually a fatal illness. Could death have been averted if a diagnosis was made at an earlier physician visit? We don't know. But the delay certainly didn't help.

So that's the way it is in medicine. There is pain, and then there is pain. Ignoring the message or being ignorant of the root cause can be fatal.

And then there is martial arts.

Learning to deal with the pain of training can give us a lot of training time. More training is generally better.

Learning not to fear or flinch from the normal pain of a self-defense encounter may make it possible to act without hesitation. Understanding the value of conditioning - whether it be iron shirt training or tempering of our weapons - can lead to a more effective warrior. The right dose of conditioning very well may lead to a healthier practitioner.

However...

An obsession with Sanchin "testing" may make for impressive demonstrations. But if Sanchin "testing" means taking it while an alpha figure beats on us, well... I'm not so sure we're ingraining the right mindset. This is why I prefer a lot less teacher "testing" and a lot more give-and-take conditioning. If we're allowed to give what we take, well then maybe that mindset puts us in a better frame of mind when facing an aggressor.

And then - as Van mentioned - there are other levels of the force continuum. Please, someone tell me the value of iron shirt training when facing an armed attacker. Is there any kind of conditioning that prepares our bodies for blades or bullets? I think not. On the contrary, we must have a reverse mindset in these venues - one where any kind of contact is viewed as potentially fatal.

So is learning to put pain in its place wise when it comes to our health? It depends...

Is learning to move beyond the pain important in self-defense? It depends...

- Bill


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2011 4:43 pm 
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Bill Glasheen wrote:
If we're allowed to give what we take, well then maybe that mindset puts us in a better frame of mind when facing an aggressor.


Van Canna wrote:
Some very well known teachers of self defense [not dueling] like what you will find in the streets...are of the opinion that the focus of defensive training should be on how to carry a deep 'hurt' on the attacker, and not on taking a pounding to 'condition' us to take a beating on the street, which they find ridiculous like the 'combat ki' people who condition themselves over years on end to take shots to the nuts and the throat. ;)

Understand that these two posts and mindsets are subtly different. And in my opinion, neither viewpoint is superior - without more information. As I said above, "It depends..." Context is everything.

First... I don't know who first came up with the characterization of "dueling" in our self-defense conversations. I know I contemplated that narrow view early on when one of my instructors (who had also taught green berets) used to have us do 3-on-1 (or more) aikido randori. I also contemplated it even earlier in my Japanese martial art when that instructor had the black belts do 3-on-1 karate sparring. In both venues, the initial experience was to get the sheet kicked out of you. It was humbling. My old-school Japanese karate instructor would never give us any secrets. He subscribed to the school of hard knocks (quite literally), and we students had to network amongst each other to pick up ideas. My aikido instructor (also a Goju teacher, by the way) would occasionally stop us when we were "stuck" in an impossible situation. He'd "tap in", and make the solution look easy. It was wonderful sharing the room with a savant like that.

Stepping back from this self-defense problem, one thing becomes clear. You cannot "trade blows" in that situation and expect to come out alive. A few people in the Japanese karate class (including my friend Bill Stockey who accompanied me to the last Uechi camp) were on the football team and had the physical presence to match your punch with their PUNCH. The math worked in their favor before the first blows were traded, so their learning curve was different. It was fun to watch from a distance, but you can't borrow that DNA. You have to play the game with the hand you were dealt. And that meant watching how my shorter and less-built Goju/aikido instructor solved "the problem."

My own way of stripping my students from the dueling mindset was my classroom game of "barroom brawl." Mostly I did this at half speed to keep people from getting hurt. But there were just a few rules.

  • Every man/woman for themselves.
    .
  • DO NOT DUEL!!! If I saw people pairing up into sport matches, I'd yell at them from the sidelines.
    .
  • Look for the most vulnerable person, and go for it. This sometimes meant finding exchanges in progress, and attacking the victim. Nasty... but like life in a prison or on the streets.
    .
  • Learn what to do so you aren't like "the victim" in the above transient situation.

So this is some of the wisdom I offer to the street situation

Rule number 1 - Don't fight fair. Coming from special forces and being the typical small-but-scary dude you find from that walk of life, you learn that said people have a killer instinct that comes out when the time is right. This isn't a John Wayne Western; this is survival. We're talking about facing a preponderance of force, and even the law begins to recognize that everything now is very different. You want a good application of the Uechi "groin strikes"? If you had both hands on my (formerly special forces) instructor, he wasn't shy about reaching down and grabbing your package. The mere presence of hand on genitals has a profound effect on an alpha male. Suddenly what "the bad guy" has in his own hands doesn't seem to be so important. And in that split second of hesitation and retreat, the fighter with the killer instinct suddenly is two techniques ahead - and counting. Either that or he suddenly has moved to the 2-dimensional high ground (e.g. on the bad guy's back). In one many-on-one encounter I experienced in real life, I walked the mouthy alpha leader right into traffic, where he almost was run over. I can't take credit for a thoughtful strategy; rather "He" came out and just acted. Talk about a force multiplier... :twisted:

Rule number 2 - Throw the whole "No first strike in karate" philosophy out the window. The preponderance of force situation means trading blows is just ignorant. The conditioning (pain tolerance) advantage can quickly become irrelevant. Enter the preemptive and/or surprise attack. It's a bit like a chess game where one must change the advantages of the situation as quickly as possible. So if it's many-on-one, sometimes a preemptive and decisive attack on the group leader can dramatically alter the psychological flow of the situation. Leaderless, the followers can all quickly become cowards.

Rule number 3 - Use your space to your advantage, and against their advantage. The dumbest thing to do is stay in the middle of a circle per the Kanshiwa bunkai situation. Few packs of predators "take their turn." It's best to use all your footwork to your advantage, and keep people in each other's way. The philosophy of that is shown in the "grab and carry" move in Seisan (and there are ways to grab... :twisted: ). The footwork comes from Uechi tenshin exercises.

There are more rules to the game, but those are three important ones.

Nowhere in the above did I talk about the "advantage" of being able to take a hit. Imagine our kotekitae or ashikitae exercises where I hit you, and then you hit me three times. How long will that go on before you realize the stupidity of the situation?

- Bill


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 1:39 am 
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Bill,

Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving.

What you write is all true down to the last word.

My worry has always been the 'programming' that invariably sets in from all that we do and think on and off the dojo floor.

We will do things under stress that we won't believe we did even if filmed by a secret camera then shown you later.
We'll have trouble recognizing ourselves in the filmed sequences.

Now how to deal with that?

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 3:58 am 
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Van Canna wrote:
Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving.

You as well, Van!

I had a "working holiday." In these economic times, it pays to distinguish oneself - even if that suks in the short run.

But time spent now is time off I can take later, so it isn't all bad.

Van Canna wrote:
My worry has always been the 'programming' that invariably sets in from all that we do and think on and off the dojo floor.

We will do things under stress that we won't believe we did even if filmed by a secret camera then shown you later.
We'll have trouble recognizing ourselves in the filmed sequences.

Now how to deal with that?

I totally get what you're saying, Van. We can almost read each other's thoughts by now. Scary... :lol:

The first thing that comes to mind is the words of the late Ahti Kaend. When confronted with the idea that something more could be taught which would enhance the Uechi training, his response was "I have enough problems with students fuking up Kanshiwa kata!" Seriously though... It is true. Many of these prearranged exercises people worry about are just beginner exercises. And truth be told, people struggle with getting just the basics down.

Many useful things we do can create bad habits. Sanchin can create bad habits if it's all you do. But if it's part of a broader program, then not so much.

I don't have all the answers. But I do feel that introducing myriad new training exercises which create good habits is a good path. It's a bit like the way I do my weight training. I keep with a routine for about 12 weeks, give it a rest, and then come up with something new to train my body. I'm always trying to keep it guessing. I'm constantly trying not just to maintain strength, but to build new neuromuscular movement patterns in my brain.

Freeform exercises also is where it's at. And I feel strongly (from experience) that they don't necessarily need to be done full speed and/or full power, so long as you're delivering that speed and power in other venues (such as kata and resistance training).

Ask me again in a few years. I may have a different answer. ;)

- Bill


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 5:27 am 
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Glad all is well, Bill. And, yes, I understand.

In a way i doubt that there is any 'perfect way' to train with a 'guarantee' given the nature of violence these days...to wit
Quote:
1. Walking down the street with the wife.
2. Surrounded by 6-12 thugs intent on giving a beatdown, which is common here in Philly. Such a gang killed a guy last year, beat him to death. Other people have been stabbed and beaten.


And
Quote:
Mob mentality is nothing to mess with, especially when dealing with punks because each one is going to try to outdo the other in brutality until someone is either dead or really injured.


Quote:
As others have said, choose your friends more carefully. Avoid rough-trade bars, where trouble can find you. Winning an acquital is not winning at all as the cost of your defense team will mean financial ruin unless you're Donald Trump. The objective is to avoid indictment. Virtually any use-of-force incident beginning or ending at a bar, road rage incident, or love triangle means major legal trouble.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 2:54 pm 
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Location: Richmond, VA --- Louisville, KY
Quote:
1. Walking down the street with the wife.
2. Surrounded by 6-12 thugs intent on giving a beatdown, which is common here in Philly. Such a gang killed a guy last year, beat him to death. Other people have been stabbed and beaten.

It's worth mentioning that this is a rare scenario. I remember a conversation I had with a Uechika years back, who lived in Manhattan and studied with Dave Finkelstein. He was teaching me the ins and outs of walking on the street in New York. I still remember something he told me... "One of the rules of the street is that couples are off limits." I have noted that - for for a number of reasons - it is a good rule of thumb.

So I guess my response here is that one can become obsessed with preparing for the unusual, all while being negligent in preparing for the more common.

Quote:
Virtually any use-of-force incident beginning or ending at a bar, road rage incident, or love triangle means major legal trouble.

There are your more common scenarios. And avoidance seems to be the operative word.

People who train for self-defense because they're exposed to violence in these scenarios frankly are asking for major trouble. IMO trouble will find them long before they've become competent in self-defense. And when I say self-defense, I mean it in the larger context - from soup to nuts.

We all have our ways. My personal way of walking the talk is - for now - not drinking. It's a convenient path for a father trying to convince his teenage boys not to drink. If I can make the sacrifice...

As for drinking in general, there's a time and a place for that. There are two things that don't mix well with alcohol - public mating rituals and driving. On the mating rituals thing... A good portion of society relies on the loss of inhibitions that alcohol brings in order to hook up. God forbid anyone learn to be charming without the aid of beer goggle eyes or compromised judgement. That's just too much work you know.

But I preach...

- Bill


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2011 4:29 am 
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Bill,

Here's something really interesting....

http://www.targetfocustraining.com/inju ... oin-part-2

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2011 4:20 pm 
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Hello, Van!

First... That was a sober video from the Combat Focus Training group. Remember the days when several of us were fighting the Ki people alone on my Forum? Oy! We had chi-sters coming out of the woodwork telling us how unenlightened and narrow-minded we were. God forbid we use the mundane (e.g. science, real-world sports examples, logic) to combat the fantastical. And yet that's exactly what this gentleman does. And to put some graphic reality to it all, he even provides pictures. Those alone will bring a sane man to his knees.

I will say that it took me a few minutes to understand his physiologic vernacular. "Reduced intra abdominal pressure" had me scratching my head for a second, but I know what he means. I have my own vernacular I use to describe the phenomenon - taking the starch out of your opponent. By any particular mechanism, we all know the state of body.

Bruce Miller puts a great deal of thought into targeted sequential striking (a.k.a. kyusho) in his many writings. He's a taiji practitioner, physician's assistant, acupuncture practitioner, and inventor of his own style. His written works - while far from polished - helped me a lot in understanding this whole subject from a modern science point of view. He wrote a nice 3-part article on the subject that was published on fightingarts.com. It's well worth your time to read these articles. I'll provide links at the end of this post.

Here's the pressure point world the way Bruce organizes it.

    Type 1- Pain: most common, but not always reliable.
    .
    Type 2 - Muscle: may not cause pain, and can be nullified.
    .
    Type 3 – Reflex: least common, do not necessarily cause pain, but most reliable.


So for all the negatives about targeted striking that work on pain, the positive is that these targets are the most common and most easily accessible.

As an aside... In another of Bruce's works (by purchase only), he has another category of points he calls "organ points." This is another of his artificial stratifications, but it's worth noting. Striking the groin, the eyes, the ears, and the kidneys is targeting which puts someone in a very different place. If you gouge someone's eyes, it had better be a fight to the death or on the battlefield. Otherwise there can be long-lasting effects which may mean years of battles in the court systems. Can most people "go there" when needed?" Without the operant conditioning and without the absolute need, probably not.

Kicking the groin falls into the general realm of Level 1 or pain points, and also into the realm of organ points. The advantage of course is that any moron can do this technique. The most gross motor kicking action is the best. Oddly enough, we experienced martial artists fear the beginner with no skill who cannot control his kicking motion. Nine times out of ten, they hurt themselves on your elbow. But every once in a while, a poorly-executed kick unintentionally cripples the training partner. The unintentional groin shot has to be the most common of all of them.

All that said...

It's worth mentioning that a rare few individuals are capable of withstanding a groin shot, and it has absolutely nothing to do with ki. Some individuals - and they are a rare few - can retract their testicles into the inguinal canal and then "milk" them back down into the scrotum. A rare few even have their cremaster muscle involuntarily retract the testicle up that far. (Quick anatomy lesson... The cremaster muscles relaxes when you're hot, allowing the testicles to escape body heat. They contract when cold, pulling the testicles up snug to the body where they stay warm.) These individuals are capable of testicular retraction to the point that they can do the "karate magic show" of full groin shots, and appear not to be damaged. But this isn't a teachable technique; it is P T Barnum at his finest.

It is also worth mentioning that there are anecdotes in the LEO literature of PCP-drugged perps who withstand full groin shots - complete with testicular bruising or rupture - and keep on coming. My great grandfather used to tell my dad stories of fighting drugged Native Americans who would keep coming at you with a bullet in the gut and even intestines hanging out. This is a rare and very dangerous opponent who would only respond to the kinds of "Level 3" spots that Bruce Miller speaks about above.

And for these "highly-motivated" opponents, we take a page from Wikipedia which speaks to the issue in warfare.

Quote:
The Artillery Single Actions [Colt 45] were issued to the Infantry, the Light Artillery, the Volunteer Cavalry and other troops because the standard issue .38 caliber Colt M 1892 double-action revolver was lacking stopping-power. For that reason, the .45 Artillery SAA Revolvers were used successfully by front troops in the Spanish-American War and the Philippine-American War. Theodore Roosevelt's Rough Riders charged up San Juan Hill wielding the .45 caliber Artillery Model.


- Bill


Pressure Points 1: Going to the Heart Of Pressure Points: What They Really Are


Pressure Points 2: Some Observations On Their Use

Pressure Points 3: Types Of Points


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