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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2009 9:04 pm 
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Ok...I think the title stopped a lot of folks form reading further, so I have retitled this thread, as the real subject I'd like to discuss is the use of training in street clothes...your thoughts?

Based on original threads noted below:

<><><>
I just read a really great post elsewhere, and the poster has given me permission to post her initial thread. I post it here because I think it brings up several great scenarios and ideas very pertinent to this forum: women's reactions to thier clothes/mental barriers, training in street clothes/generally speaking, hitting girls taboo, and simply training to different scenarios.

Many thanks to Flea (HMIG) via Martialtalk forum. (original thread: http://www.martialtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=78296)

Quote:
NICE martial artists wear skirts!

-------------------------------------------------------------

It's summertime, and for me that means the long flowy sundresses and hippie skirts come out. I realized that from a SD perspective, dealing with all that extra fabric would add a whole new dynamic. So as an experiment, this morning I put a skirt on over my gym pants to see how it felt.

What a surprise! The extra cloth was only the tip of the iceberg. I found that the skirt touched a deep psychological nerve of "I'm a girl," and so all my actions became much more feminine. I minced daintily in most of the drills. I spoke softly. I giggled where I usually laugh. I tried not to get dirty. And most interesting from a technical standpoint, every time I fell I was careful to keep my legs together and hold the skirt down with my hands.

All this was unconscious, at first. Once I realized I was doing it, I just observed the thought pattern. I kept the skirt on to see where the sensation took me. It's a great education to watch one's thoughts dispassionately. I'm really amazed at how deep the gender conditioning goes just by putting on a different article of clothing. It's also a little embarrassing for such a self-proclaimed tomboy too.

Zo. The upshot of all this is that I'm hitting the Goodwill first thing on Monday to buy a junker skirt to wear at every practice for the forseeable future. This gender stuff needs a deeper look. That, and if I can learn to fight dressed like girl, I hope to be that much more badass once the skirt comes off. This may be an interesting challenge for the guys too as they occasionally struggle with the "don't hit girls" taboo.

Should be interesting ...

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Last edited by Shana Moore on Tue Jul 14, 2009 2:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 1:41 pm 
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Permission kindly granted by Karen at martialtalk to post her thoughts here as well:

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I periodically train in street clothes (those are, after all, what one is most likely to need to defend oneself in), and I teach classes in which my students come in street clothes and train in them, for the same reason. Granted, 90% of the time, street clothes for me means jeans and a t-shirt - but even sneakers can throw off your focus if you're not used to kicking in them. Sandals or dress shoes that come off at the first technique can throw you off - one of the things we practice is kicking your shoes off at the first attack, so as not to be hindered by them if they're likely to fall off anyway. On the other hand, spike heels are a great weapon, especially aimed at the instep following a shin rake.

You will respond as you train - and if you only train in a uniform, or gym clothes, that will likely hamper your response when you try anything else. Training in street clothes is a valuable technique, and I highly recommend it.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 2:46 pm 
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I believe there has been some discussion elsewhere about the use of uniforms in training and the pros/cons of doing so.

While I understand and respect the concept of uniformity that a gi can bring, as well as some of the concepts I've read on the feedback that a good uniform can bring.....

I'd like to ask if a gi is always the best training tool?

Based on the comments above, I think there is definately some benefit to training in street clothes, particularly for women.

Besides exploring some of the mental and emotional baggage that clothing can convey....it's a movement, awareness issue as well.

I know that training in tennis shoes and heels...and even sandals, makes a BIG difference.

If we are truly training for Self Defense scenarios, then shouldn't we train for the situations we'd actually be in...as I don't think we're walking around in our Gi's on a regular basis.....

hope to hear some good thoughts on this and related subjects.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 1:05 pm 
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Hey Shana,

I'm all over the idea of training in different apparal AND different envornmental situations -- it really cuts to the core of the movement IMHO.

An example: I posted a thing on Rick's excellent site several months ago about working out in a wet field where the mud was so deep and thick it was sucking my boots right off (I was dressed in a winter coat, trousers, winter boots, mitts, hat etc.). It was impossible to kick so my kicks morphed into short knee srtikes and hip checks.

I haven't tried yet, but I suspect it's it's equally difficult to kick in high heels. :wink:

The only way to figure this stuff out is to put yourself in the place/costume and try it!

And trying is an awful lot of challenging fun -- my little outdoor workouts have included all maner of different apparel (raincoats to running shorts) and have really helped open my mind and changed the way I view much of the movement within Uechi.

Kicking things with shoes/boots/sandals completely changes the dynamics of the kick -- the weight is different; the striking surface is different; your foot position is different. Same with mitts/gloves etc. on the hand.

Where I live a lot of young people are still wearing their trousers so that the waist/belt rides down past their, um...butt crack :oops: making it really difficult for them to walk (they seem to move with a kind of shuffling waddle :lol: ) let alone run or kick. I wonder what that feels like -- to perform effective kata dressed like a dissenfranchised penguin...

Anyway, I'm just pointing out obvious physical elements which change mobility -- you appear to be discussing phycological elements as well -- hope I added something.

Interesting thread.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 5:44 pm 
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TMA have good reasons for training in what they train...

Having said that lots of schools are doing 'casual Friday' where you train in whatever you come wearing that day...or whatever folks want to train in--everyday clothes for that time of year, etc.... Things can change fast, watch out for those high heels! :lol:

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 6:32 pm 
I haven't trained in a " Gi" for years.mainly tracky bottoms and a tee shirt
and to be honest I used to like the gi's.....seemed to add a bit of tradition to it :D
but there is other stuff if you want to go in that direction.try drinking a few beers then hit the punchbag :lol: ....or try shadow boxing in your front room .dancing around the furniture.all good stuff :wink:


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 7:42 pm 
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Chris, VERY interesting response, and I like that you simply went with the flow and adapted to the circumstances...and it sounds like that was a lot of fun!

I think this definately needs more attention. I was fascinated by the emotional aspect on the OP, but the purely physical aspect has lots of value as well. and.."disenfranchised penquin"..I almost peed my pants on that one. :lol: :lol: :oops: :lol:

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 4:09 pm 
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Depends on what you want to work on. Wearing a gi is great in dealing with cloth and clothes in martial arts. Some BJJ/Judoka clutch cloth like their lives depended on it. Get rid of the gi, and gripping the body changes.

Wear a gi, and gripping the body changes. Sure you can still work cloth stuff without a gi, but you had better have some damn durable jackets that won't rip.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 7:29 pm 
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If you like to grab clothes it's also good to train in stuff that rips. Nothing like setting something up and ending up with a handful of cheap shirt while the guy pounds the crap out of you.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 2:09 am 
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MikeK wrote:
If you like to grab clothes it's also good to train in stuff that rips. Nothing like setting something up and ending up with a handful of cheap shirt while the guy pounds the crap out of you.


Heh, heh - very good point! 8)

Personally, I prefer training in a gi -- it's simpler in so many ways, but find the change up to streetwear and athletic gear very eye opening; and frankly, practical when working alone, outside, or when focussing on SD.

I can't say, however, that my clothing has ever held me back emotionally from performing well physically. I mean, if I've been working all day and am filthy with wood dust or machine grime I do feel somehow less valuable than some dude in a suit who works in an office and ends the day as tidy as he began it -- but that's MY issue and it doesn't effect my ability to fight.

As clothing goes a gi is a great equalizer.

I think a large part of what Shana is addressing has to do with female specific gender issues which I simply don't feel qualified to discuss being male and all: I can't imagine wearing a skirt and If I did it would definitely make me feel different (specifically it would make me feel awkward and silly), but I don't think it would change my physical capacities - again, it's an interesting thread!

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 6:35 pm 
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Chris,
the original post specifically addressed skirts and female emotions, but I think you brought up a good male parallel. Quite honestly, any emotional reaction is a personal one and should be addressed in training at some point.

With your example you mention worth, and prsonally a guy in work clothes..gritty or snazzy has same worth to me as a person..at least until they open their mouth...then it can go either wayfor either person....

but here's a different take...is there an advantage in movement (ability and give in cut/fabric..as well as toughness) and also in willingness to fight (get dirty,rip,etc) for you when in day end work clothes vs dressed for a really nice date or social outing?

I noticed I am less likely to wear really high heels or tight skirts since I started training..in part becuase they would be restrictive in a fight....

so I think the emotional aspect is not distinctly female...but very appropriate for this forum

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 1:57 am 
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Hey Shana,

I had to think about it a little -- I try only to wear clothing I am comfortable in and I generally wear practical clothing -- so even if I'm in a suit I don't mind running or rolling if necessary.

But this is difficult to explain: the feeling of being both well dressed AND vulnerable when wearing a tie.

Well dressed because a really fine tie pulls a suit together and can say volumes about the wearer before they ever open their mouth.

Vulnerable simply because it's really easy to incapacitate someone with their own tie. Scarves too.

So okay, maybe males have their own equivallent of high heeled shoes. :wink:

Perhaps it's time to follow your friend's lead and stop by a used shop to purchase an inexpensive (three piece) workout suit.

The flip side is feeling comfortable using various articles of clothing as improvised weapons if necessary -- and it's easy to imagine high heeled shoes could prove devastating in the right (or wrong) hands! Belts are an obvious choice, but surely there are others...

Back to your point though - the emotion (for me at least) comes from being aware of a physical vulnerablity -- not because I feel like a different person when I'm wearing a suit. Given my example I should feel more vulnerable in my work clothes, but that's more of a 'socioeconomic feeling of vulnerablity' rather than an emotional or physical one.

Or is it really all the same just different??? :roll: :?: :?: :?

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 6:31 pm 
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same but different methinks :lol: 8O :lol:

I don't think of myself as a different person in a skirt, but I know some folks do. I am more aware of things that could happen in a skirt

For example, I roll on gravel in jeans will be felt but not necessarily hurt. But a roll on gravel in a thin gauzey skirt is gonna SMART pretty hard. Will that stop me? Not if my life depends on it...but it might cause a split second hesistation.

I don't seem to have the same emotional aspects of feeling smaller and weaker in a skirt, but practicality says flimsy fabrics and ones not so tied to your body could cause more pain, vulnerability...and then there's the embarassment of showing the world your undies....yet another argument for wearing pretty ones, eh?...you don't have to answer that 8O :oops:

One point that was brought up in the thread on the original forum is that a skirt hides your legs...now THAT'S an interesting point...in practice she found that partners couldn't always tell what she was going to do....

so training with what is seen as a liablity...could lead to some interesting discoveries...hmmmmmm....

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 3:48 am 
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MikeK wrote:
If you like to grab clothes it's also good to train in stuff that rips. Nothing like setting something up and ending up with a handful of cheap shirt while the guy pounds the crap out of you.


Agree, but here in canada, people tend to wear winter and leather jackets, so training with a gi is great.


Played with this before?(cheap shirt grabbed)


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