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Sensei Canna offers insight into the real world of self defense!

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Postby maurice richard libby » Tue Jan 26, 1999 8:09 pm


Aiee! A thousand pardons! Of course that was your list. What was I thinking? [Off stage, the sound of head banging on wall].

I like your burn out sessions. It would be interesting to do a variation of the routine Mr. Canna wrote about earlier,(5 mile run, to simulate the chemical cocktail), using your burnout session folowed by sparring or something.

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Postby Jason Bernard » Tue Jan 26, 1999 8:56 pm

I think I read somewhere that some police department (New York maybe? or LA?) where they got some police officers to run the 100 yards dash and then empty their pistols at some ridicoulously (sp?) close range (like 10 or 20 feet) and discovered that they tended to miss a lot?

It makes you think how anybody can think about hitting a hostile moving target with a jumping spinning back hook kick o' doom (tm), let alone a simple straight punch/palm heel or low round kick after 5-10 seconds in a fight, when you have experienced the unique occasion of seeing your own blood, tasting your blood on your lips, your head has been rattled from a good punch or two to the noggin AND to top it all off you have landed a couple nice shots, your opponent is standing there bleeding as well (and remember inside you will be thinking "****, I did that to another human being ... what am I thinking?"), but is still there, and is still coming after you ... unless you train for it. I mean try asking any student to do anything (like sparring) after one of those burn-out sessions. They'll likely tell you to "Take a hike." (at least) and not come back. You just can't (well, I can't at least), but what is nice is when you can finish one of those, because I assure you when I firsted started doing them I was on the floor in 2 minutes. (It really makes me respect the boxer, 6-12 rounds x 3 minutes with 1 minute breaks ... very impressive stuff).

By the way, that link came back with an error "No data in document"?

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Postby moulton » Tue Jan 26, 1999 10:13 pm

Hello Maurice.

Yes, running IS aerobic, but what I found out was that I had developed a TREMENDOUS amount of physical ENDURANCE from long-distance running that was a large asset to many ALL the physical things I did, not just karate. In karate, two benefits immediately come to mind: 1) Ability to rigorously immerse oneself in karate classes, even several back-to-back, and 2) Ability to breathe slowly and smoothly even when the sparring is moving at a fast pace.

I personally feel that there is NEVER too much endurance. But while you focus mainly on endurance training then strength/ strength training remains on the backburner and suffers. If you run hard, fast, and long then you loose muscle mass in your arms unless you also weight-train at the same time. It's all in the balance of things and personal preference.


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Postby Van Canna » Wed Jan 27, 1999 3:57 am

Jason-san ,

Thank you for the outline of what's really important to concentrate on in training ! Very well written and to the point ! What saves the day is sudden explosive power blows taken to the opponent with extreme prejudice ! Some of the two men sets we see performed in so many systems have very limited value as they are not executed with the correct emphasis for the street ! Uechi Ryu is no exception ! They foster very bad habits hard to break ! Too much emphasis on stilted , unrealistic attacks and counters without seizing , locking and loading for explosive counter ! Sensei Campbell doesn't care for certain prearranged kumites and I second his opinion !

As you know , in a real fight , punches will never come at you the way they are thrown in two men sets , and you are indeed lucky to intercept a blinding fast punch coming at you out of nowhere ! Therefore we must program 'latching '{ the lock} on the arm with an intercept block and' yank it out of the socket' as we load and fire a counter with explosive power ! Very advanced concept , not practiced enough ! Too much emphasis on quick moves and releasing too soon ! Which means your opponent is not disabled , not tied up by your block , and you will have to confront his next technique which you may not be able to block ! Controlling the opponent is essential ! Power drills are almost non existent in some schools ; too much work on katas and two men sets that look like dances and not on stopping techniques !

What you suggest is something which should be worked on as a special class , weekly , in addition to traditional sets !

Tracy -san , I know this right up you alley ! Maybe we can put something togheter for a workout at Gem's hut !

Jason-san ; I was put through the 100 yards dash and then asked to solve 'duelatron ' simulated real life combat scenarios at Mas Ayoob's range {LFI} under the tutelage of the gunner's guru , John Farnam ! I can tell you that it compounded the effect of the chemical cocktail to the point where we were missing targets at six feet distance , and doing the "chicken walk" disoriented and without taking cover while trying to clear preprogrammed malfunctions of a colt .45 and reloading under return fire ! also the dismay of firing at targets which would collapse and spring back up again posing threats anew ! A lesson I will never forget ! Teaches you real quick what you really are under extreme stress !

Regards ,

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Postby maurice richard libby » Wed Jan 27, 1999 5:19 am


I like your list. It's pretty comprehensive, and well thought out.

There is one thing to think about though. Running is an aerobic endeavour and fighting is essentially anaerobic. Most real life encounters are over in about tens seconds.

Also, too much endurance detracts from sterngth, especially in kicks, (see the article on Charles Staley's web site for a more comprehensive discussion), so I'd personally try to be moderate in the running.

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toronto/moose jaw

[This message has been edited by maurice richard libby (edited 01-26-99).]
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Postby David Elkins » Wed Jan 27, 1999 9:19 am

I would love to add my 2 cents worth to this fascinating discussion....what I would really love is to live near you guys to be able to train with you!!!!
Nothing extraordinary just a couple of biased comments.
1) I think endurance work is very over rated and over done in many dojo. A properly organized resistance workout, eg, minimal rest between intense efforts, provides all the endurance that one is likely to need for the street. It's a personal thing, but I think doing repetition air punches, kicks, etc up and down the deck is pretty much a waste of time. Far better to strength train and do "slammer drills." Running has been documented to be injurious to the joints over the long run (ha) I have many torturous drills that I expose my group to and all are hopefully contributing directly to the ability to survive a street punk and his "habitual acts of unwanted aggression." Back to the point, a resistance program that is based upon intensity can be performed outside the dojo setting and the benefits are enormous. In the dojo you can use medicine balls, duffel bags filled with sand, hojo-undo primative equipment such as nageri-gamae (gripping jars), ishi-sashi (stone padlocks - nowadays light dumbbells), sashi-ishi (training stones - if you have access to outdoor training have students clean and throw a heavy stone. It uses some of the same muscles involved in a punch or palm heel strike.), Uechi training stones (Rik Lostritto Sensei and I are writing an article on these as we speak), and the wonderful Okinawan chishi (weighted lever - or for us handyman impaired, a sawed off sledge hammer.) Found objects can be used very creatively. I have a 25 lb. disc with handles welded on the flat side that was some auction piece of junk that I use to do Sanchin with and rotate the dingus after each step as though doing a Seichin type double "block." End a session by having students sit on the floor facing one another and wrestle a baston trying to gain the advantage. All great stuff! Not to replace the resistance work outside of the dojo, however. An old Wing Chun proverb says "in a fight between two people from the same style, beware of brute strength and superior structure." I firmly believe the order of the admonishion is not random! Great strength can be developed from any rep/set protocol that is not harmful to the trainee and is followed in a disciplined and INTENSE manner over time. Presently I'm personally doing heavy singles on a very limited number of movements and really making a lot of gains. I've also gone the one set to failure route and that's productive also. I find that as I age, my ability to recouperate from that type of workout is more prolonged than I'm willing to tolerate.
2) I think it is very important for the teacher to teach the entire curriculum unchanged but to level with the student as to what they see as the limitations of any given movement/idea. It's all there for a reason and while I might not yet have figured out that reason, it may save one of my students lives. For instance, Sokuto Geri - one of my favorite Hojo Undo movements for a variety of reasons is probably the last thing I would consider using in a direct facing reference to someone bigger, stronger, or meaner than me. Especially as a preemptive strike I would much rather use a lead hand drop step shuto to the throat, face, guard hands, or where ever it landed, follow up with a bushoken against the cervical vertebrae and then take the angle and blast out the knee or leg with sokuto geri, but not as we do in Konchiwa bunkai. To demonstrate this to students I like to accept their sokuto geri and simply charge into them much as a big intoxicated lout might do before they put the boots to them. I think this kind of honest with students - demonstrating the efficacy of all of the movements of the system, what concepts underpin their use, and suggesting alternatives is all that any of us can do.

Good training,
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Postby Jackie Olsen » Wed Jan 27, 1999 3:56 pm

Good discusion on the physical reality training which I whole-heartedly endorse. I also believe that the martial artist must continually examine his/her emotional-mental mindset to assess what limiting philosophies, belief systems and patterns keep him/her from self defense reactions.

I've personally undergone survivalist training in the desert, gun workshops/seminars, and self defense workshops (apart from Karate training) to examine my fears, push me to my limit and beyond. Hopefully, to simulate what I would do under certain conditions. This training has taught me about danger signals, trusting my instincts, defining boundaries, defense on the ground, what to do if you "freeze", making the first strike count, etc.

In one of the advanced workshops -- after two days of training and talking -- (this was when I was a Nikyu), several attackers would circle around a group of men of women. You didn't know how you'd be attacked, how many, or when. The first time I had one attacker come at me with a wooden knife. Startled, I froze for a second which was enough to get my face "sliced" until I disarmed him. I came off the mat, shaking and crying about my disfigurement (the attack was all to real). The instructor, said "Jackie, it's OK, YOU"RE ALIVE!"

The caretaker helped me calm down with orange juice and showing me in the mirror that my face was not sliced.

After the round, the instructors anounced that several people would have to go again ... what I relief that I was not one of them, or so I thought. Again the men stalked their prey. I stood there relaxed and relieved.

Suddenly, one guy grabbed me from behind, another came forward. I managed to groin kick the guy in front, drop the guy holding me (thank goodness for Seisan Bunkai), disarm him (I think I was "cut" again in the process)and take him down, before running like a bat out of **** off the mat.

Moral: What Van Canna and others have constantly taught ... you will get hurt, the trick is to stay alive.

Jackie Olsen
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Postby david » Thu Jan 28, 1999 2:00 pm


The type of training you describe is very important because, as you said, it is necessary (you wrote) "to examine my fears, push me to my limit and beyond. Hopefully, to simulate what I would do under certain conditions. This training has taught me about danger signals, trusting my instincts, defining boundaries, defense on the ground, what to do if you "freeze", making the first strike count, etc."

Working technique/reflex drills with beginners and even more advanced practitioners, I always advocate moving increasingly towards full speed and contact. Invariably, someone will get hit. The hit illicits a variety of responses from the recepient, be it fear, anger, pain, etc. My response always is to get used to it and move on. In fighting and in life, you will take hits. This doesn't define whether you are a good or bad martial artist. What does is how you react to it.

My recent training in weapons systems brought that home to me again. Initially, I when I got hit or sliced/stabbed, I would stop and think, "Damm! I just got caught/killed." Now, I just keep going and evaluating afterwards whether a certain technique that got in was potentially fatal or not. If it were not then I won in the sense of having survived.

The training has reinforced one thing in my mind: In a confrontation with a weapon carrying attacker, It is not a matter of not getting hurt, I probably will, but a matter of surviving. My mindset is to accept that and go on with it.

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Postby Cecil » Mon Feb 01, 1999 8:46 pm

Just wanted to say I love everything you all write. Keeps me thinking and learning new things!!!!!!!

[This message has been edited by Cecil (edited 02-01-99).]
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