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How much time for a beginner to practically use your system?
#1
Question 
Quote:I'm going to be very careful how I word this because I don't want it to come off as a challenge to what you are teaching in a negative or unfriendly way. And I preface my remarks from the perspective of a 'fight' being an attack from a violent aggressor in an uncontrolled environment in which there are no rules.

In LEO circles we teach that a fight averages 7 seconds in duration with injury occurring in the first 3 seconds. A fight is a chaotic, fluid and violent situation. Refined motor skills are generally impaired due to adrenaline dump which affects manual dexterity and can cause tunnel vision and auditory exclusion. Generally speaking, gross motor skills are going to be predominately used in response to the attack and a person will have a small number of go-to movements to employ.

Systems such as WWII combatives were taught in terms of hours over the course of days. In other words the training was very short in duration. Yet it was extremely effective. Well over 2000 successful cases have been documented, over a fourth of them were deadly force. Boatman edged weapons, for normal line officers was 8 hours (or less) in total training yet is widely regarded as one of the most successful edged weapon defense systems available with actual LEO documented statistics. As I've spoken of before, prior to implementation of the system, LEO were injured 86% of the time in edged weapon encounters. Within two years of the systems being implemented the injury rate fell to 17%. This was in G.B. and forgive me if the stats are slightly off as I'm going off memory. But I know I'm within a % or two.

Now to be clear, I'm not talking about turning someone into Chuck Norris in a day. I'm not talking about the ability to take on hordes of savages without breaking a sweat. And personal intestinal fortitude goes a long way. But these (and other systems) have allowed ordinary people to successfully defend themselves in typical (and sometimes atypical) violent situations with a minimal of training. And I personally know of two cases in which, with no additional training, the person successfully defended themselves decades after the initial training because the training was useable from long term memory. In other words, it was so stupid-simple that decades later they were able to recall and physically use the training. One of these cases was in the news maybe 15 years ago where a WWII vet trained in WWII combatives used it against a young robber in a convenience store. The CIA actually got involved from a research perspective to find out why the vet was able to use it so effectively. The funny part is that responding L.E. didn't believe the 'old guy' took out the young guy (armed with an edged weapon) so brutally until they reviewed the security camera footage.

So my question would be; why is it taking over a year for a student to be comfortable in their ability to handle an attacker in a real fight? What skills are being taught that take over a year to develop to the point that the student has a reasonable chance of personal defense?


A different board had this question in the title.  Many folks were responding with numbers all over the place.  Some were 6 months to over a year.  I made the reply that I've put in quotes above.  In my professional opinion, if it takes over a year to have someone be proficient enough with the training to effectively defend themselves then what is being taught is garbage.  I don't mean that to be mean but it should NOT take over a year to have some sort of working knowledge of how to defend yourself.  My initial reply was:

Quote:After the first class. That isn't meant as a boast but rather the goal of our training methodology. And it doesn't mean a student can take out a gang of ninjas after one class. But I stress to new students that I want them to walk away from the very first class with information and some level of skill that they could use if attacked in the parking lot on the way to the car. Whether it's information about situational awareness to prevent an altercation or some useable skill to employ if forced to use force.

What we teach begins with stupid-simple. Then we build upon that and tailor it to the specific students strengths. Nothing fancy, nothing fluffy. Many gross-motor skill combative systems take very little time in which to become proficient.
That's when I saw the post on this instructors student taking over a year to become proficient or as he termed, comfortable with defending themselves.  This is a TKD (sport) instructor so to me that speaks to the reason.  Again, not trying to be mean or sound superior, that's not my point or intention.  Only that what is being taught isn't correct.
Two thousand years ago wise men sought Christ, wise men still do.

Techniques are situational, principles are universal.

Fast as the wind, quiet as the forest, aggressive as fire, and immovable as a mountain.

He who gets there first with the most...wins!

Minimal force may not be minimum force!

We don't rise to the occasion...we sink to the level of our training.


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#2
I cannot definitively put a time on it because each person learns/progresses at a different pace. I only teach a few concepts so that the student does not have to go through the 'if then' quandary. As in Hick's law the more choices available, the longer it will take to decide. My concepts are based on
1. Recognize/respond to the attack
2 Counterstrike
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#3
Before I respond to the OP, I'd like to comment on the Vet being able to use his skills. There is a big difference between someone physically attacking you and the situation where you take on someone intent on something else, in this case a robbery. I saw a video a couple of days ago where a guy was threatening people on a train. He may well have been high on drugs. A guy with some sort of MA training grabbed the bad guy from behind in a RNC and choked him out. I have two new guys training in a private class who learned the RNC yesterday in their third class. I am confident either of them could have done the same thing in that situation. So in this robbery, the bad guy is intent on robbing and the Vet has time to sum up the situation and take appropriate action based on his previous training. It is a totally different situation when someone is attacking you directly. Even in the controlled environment of the dojo or gym it is difficult to do more than defend against a non scripted attack, weapon or not. On the street., significantly harder.

So ...

Looking at the OP it specifically says 'your' system, so from my perspective that is Krav and Okinawan Goju, both of which I teach as reality based. The fight is defined in the OP as 'a violent aggressor in an uncontrolled environment'. I teach a similar thing again in that I say you need to protect yourself to survive the first three or four seconds of an attack. (Please take this in the context of an unprovoked violent attack, not a consensual fight.) it will take about that time before you can begin to take effective action against your attacker, perhaps less if you see the attack coming. The action you take will now be commensurate with your training. Less training, basic response, more training, hopefully more effective response. So how long until you can use your training? I start teaching effective striking day one and protective covering about the same time. I start basic knife defence on the first day as well so I would like to think that even after just one lesson a new student might have some rudimentary skills.

Now all the other factors come into play. What is the personality of the student, is he/she confident, what is the physical ability of the student, and so on. It takes a lot of training to develop what I call 'instinctive response', sometimes years. There is no simple answer to the question.
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#4
The OP of the thread responded:


Quote:I'm using the words "real fight" broadly here, essentially to mean an altercation against a person attacking with negative intent (not sparring). In addition, "self defense" is neither our primary focus, nor is it marketed that way. Like others have said, we teach things from the first class that could be used in defense, but the average student in our school won't be "comfortable" using things in an uncontrolled environment until much later (and to be honest, in some cases never will). Our average student isn't out to learn WWII combatives or edged weapon defense.


To be completely fair to the gentlemen, he runs a sport TKD school so I'm assuming has very limited SD experience himself.  An instructor can only teach what he/she is familiar with.

My response:
Quote:I understand that folks take martial arts for a variety of reason. Some to get in shape, some as a social activity and some to compete...

If some of the things that are useful for self-defense are taught on day one, why do you think it takes so long for your students? Why do you think some of your students will never be able to use what they have been taught? I would suspect that some just never develop the mentality to not be a victim. Others have a difficult time differentiating sport from defense and when to appropriately apply either in a given situation. And others, and there are a few that I've seen over the years, unfortunately can't walk and chew gum at the same time. In my experience it is usually number one or two. Some just never develop the mindset that they need to do whatever is necessary to defend themselves (or loved ones) and fall into a 'this can't be happening to me' frame of mind. As to the second, I've talked about a TKD student I once had about 15 years ago or so. She was a 2nd Dan and was wonderfully skilled. One of those people that could jump up, spin around and kick a quarter off the top of a door and leave ten cents change. Had more trophies than Carter had little liver pills. But all of her training was sport oriented. Nothing wrong with that as that was her focus. Her dad brought her to me for defense training. I was teaching a yellow belt class at the time and demonstrating a technique we called the 'Linda Blair'. It was a simple takedown using the head. Her eyes got as big as plates and she was terrified at actually having to go hands on with someone. She was use to competition where she stands here, you stand there and someone says 'go' and it was mostly kicking and such with no prolonged physical touching. That was an eye-opener to me. It baffled me at the time that anyone could be a 2nd Dan and have no idea what actual self defense entailed. Unfortunately she didn't stay very long. She was more interested in twirling a lighted staff for some upcoming demonstration than getting into the thick of things.

And again, that is simply my perspective based on the experiences I've had throughout the years. Why would you suppose it takes so long for your students? Or why do you feel some will never get there at all?



My intention isn't to embarrass him but to see what he thinks.
Two thousand years ago wise men sought Christ, wise men still do.

Techniques are situational, principles are universal.

Fast as the wind, quiet as the forest, aggressive as fire, and immovable as a mountain.

He who gets there first with the most...wins!

Minimal force may not be minimum force!

We don't rise to the occasion...we sink to the level of our training.


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#5
That's fair comment. I haven't any students in the category 'will never get there' but I do have one older guy who has taken many years to get where he is today. When he started out he was your typical victim. Now he has the self confidence to feel secure in his environment and not be pushed around. I have no black belts who couldn't give a good account of themselves but they have been training hands on cqc for years.

The biggest problem I have is to get females to hit someone. They are fine on the pads and bags but when we are doing conditioning training and I say 'hit me' they don't want to hurt me even though they see others guys hitting me as hard as they can. I can only hope that in a life and death situation they might change their minds and get stuck in.
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#6
Besides a few altercations in my younger years I have no real life combat experience so this really is just my two cents worth.

Mentality is harder to overcome for some people than others.  I have a young lady who has earned a blue belt but is just not an aggressive person.  Call her "Jane." But one day the lights went on.  I had asked her to serve as a sparring partner for another young lady who was testing for her green belt.  This green belt is young, small, and has significant dance background.  Call her "Joan." So her martial artistry is excellent.  When I had these two spar, I said, "Begin," Joan threw a simple kick, Jane bypassed it, exploded in, punched Joan as she came in, got behind her, put on a rear naked choke as she dropped her to the ground, and had Joan desperately tapping in 3 seconds.  Joan got up crying. 

I gave Joan a break to compose herself.

I looked at Jane and said, "What finally caused the switch to go on?  where did this inner warrior come from?"

All she said was, "I had a bad day."

True story.
Martial Arts done well leads to a more virtuous life because everyone is fighting something.

"If your eye is single, your whole body will be full of light.  But if your eye is evil, even the light that is within you will be darkness.  If the light that is within you is darkness, how great is that darkness?"  (Jesus of Nazareth)
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#7
I tell this story, just to illustrate how somewhat difficult it is or can be to infuse that certain something, into women in general. There are exceptions, we had one when David and I were teaching, he knows to whom I referring to, but I digress.

Taught a woman's SD class years ago when back in NY and the majority of women where either wives or girlfriends of LEO's or Firefighters, with some school teachers and secretaries. Anyway, class had around 20 and was a month in duration, 2 nights a week at 2 hour length. Final day and we held it with some of the their male counterparts in attendance. Now before we held the class, I got one of the husbands I knew, a fellow officer and told him what was going to happen in the class and if he was OK with it. When we got to the final 15 minutes, I put on the padding, kind of like an early "Red Man Suit" and pulled this particular woman from the class. She was petite and very shy and I preceded to pummel her with a hand pad and was calling her all sorts of derogatory names and in general just being overtly nasty and threatening. It took almost 5 minutes of this abuse, with every other woman sitting, yelling and throwing stuff at me and then she finally had enough and came at me with rage and tears in her eyes and went at me with a vengeance, with the rest of the woman yelling their approval and egging her on. I finally got her smothered and calmed down enough, where she could listen and stopped the other's from yelling. I turned to the other's and asked them, how long did it take before she finally defended herself and the husband who was keeping time, said just at 5 minutes. I then told the ladies that within that 5 minute time frame it took her to get mad enough to do something, if this was a real encounter, she would either be already dead, knocked out, dragged off and most likely raped or possibly abducted. To say you could hear a pin drop, would be an understatement. You could look into the faces of not only the women, but the men and see the light coming on. Now just how long that light stayed on within them is another question, but at least there was that moment. As an instructor, that's all we can do for any student. If your not in a high liability job situation, where one must be ready and willing, everybody else is just going along with life and everyday living. We / they don't have to dwell on the bad guys and 99.9% won't ever find themselves in a situation (hopefully).

Now as an add on to that story, there was also a woman who attended, that was in a previous class, that wanted to address the group. She told them how she was in an apartment elevator, about 3 weeks ago and was attacked. Even though she got a little roughed up and her blouse was torn half off, she was able to defend herself and hurt the attacker to the extent that he could not continue and when the doors opened and a couple of men where there, they held him until the police arrived and one remarked, "I sure glad it wasn't me in there with her, I may want to have kids some day"........... Sorry that she had to go through something like that, but heartwarming to know, that I was able to teach something of value. As Conrad's Jane stated.........."I had a bad day", Somehow that feeling or mindset if you will, should be offered up as a trigger of sorts, to get females to help themselves.
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#8
A couple of additional posts that I made:

Quote:Sure, that can help to an extent. But in modern society martial arts are not what they use to be in the 'ole' days. Allow me to clarify that statement. Martial arts, in large part, were originally designed to inflict the most damage possible in the shortest amount of time possible to either effect a successful escape from an altercation or overcome an enemy during battle. Pretty simple. And so was the training for all intents and purposes. Nowadays the martial arts have morphed into competition, exercise and social interaction. That's all fine (although I am strictly against children being in competitions because it is, imo, very hypocritical but that's anther thread for another time). But for getting off the couch and away from the damn video games the martial arts a big win.

But this means that the neighborhood dojo/dojang is almost certainly going to be sport or social interaction. Again, that's all fine and well. If someone is looking for that they are all over the place. And if they advertise it as such then that's fine as well. But it is not the same as martial arts meant for pure self defense. Two entirely different animals. They can have the same window dressing but they are two entirely different methodologies.

For example, to become proficient in a typical martial art may take quite a while, perhaps years. There are drills and perhaps forms to learn and perfect. Again, that's all fine and well. Self defense on the other hand, if it is true SD should take a very short amount of time. And if it isn't then it isn't true SD. Let's use Charles Nelson as an example (since I'm rereading his material again at the moment). Mr. Nelson taught SD for five decades. He had positive reviews and endorsements from military, police, security and private citizens alike who used his system in real world encounters in NYC. Many of which were truly violent altercations involving weapons. He started off with 15 lessons. Now, again to be clear and in line with what I've said in my posts above, that doesn't mean that the person is now bullet proof or that they can compete in a cage match against a gorilla. But what he offered was gross motor skills that were stupid-simple and worked. And people, after a very short duration of training were able to successfully defend themselves in a variety of encounters. By the way, one of the things he instilled on day one was the will to live/survive and do what it took to go home. Some people walked away after 15 lessons with some life long useable skills. Some folks trained with him for years or decades to hone those skills or because they were also instructors (many martial arts instructors trained with him). But that training was based on the same few go-to skills within the 15 lessons.

And I would encourage any instructor that doesn't specialize in self defense, but wants to offer it to his/her students, to seek out a competent SD instructor and learn the methodology. Now if the student base doesn't want it, don't waste your time unless you personally want it. But if some students would like more substance than what is normally taught then learn and then teach it. Just make sure the SD instructor is actually a SD instructor. Anyone can say they teach SD just like anyone can say they teach effective skills for a tournament. Make sure they have the proper credentials/experience in either case.
A comment made in response:
Quote:Regardless of how effective the techniques in your style are, I think it's totally reasonable to say "an average student probably won't be able to successfully fight a 'bad guy' for quite a while" when your average beginner is a shy 9-year old that's scared of hurting people.
My reply:
Quote:I suppose that depends on whether or not a 9 year old girl is the average student for your school. But it also depends upon what is taught and how it's taught. A properly taught 9 year old girl with the proper mind set can accomplish quite a bit. Plus they have the element of surprise on their side. There have been news stores of young girls that have held off home invasions with the family rifle because someone taught them properly. As with fighting, doesn't mean you're ready to join special forces and go fight the barbarian hordes, but as Mr. Nelson was fond of saying, in a fight the technique only has to work once.
Additional commentary that I posted:
Quote:Hours can be a viable scale to judge the effectiveness of a system when used against actual results. We need to confine this to self-defense since that was the focus of the OP. As I've discussed in other posts in the thread, you simply need to look at what is already out there and how has it performed. Boatman edged weapon defense is less than 16 hours in duration, yet it is widely regarded as one of the (if not statistically) the best. A wide range of L.E. agencies in several countries use it. It has document real world uses-of-force to show it's level of effectiveness. So one could say that if it takes more than 8-12 hours to become effective in an edged weapon encounter that the wrong material is being taught. Caveat, we're not talking Hollywood fantasy knife fights but rather real world common attacks. So it really shouldn't take 6 months or a year or multiple years to gain proficiency against an edged weapon attack. At least to the extent that you are successful in defending your life or the life of another. Doesn't necessarily mean you are unscathed, but you have disabled your attacker and lived another day. If someone isn't proficient in a short amount of time then either they just don't have the heart/mentality to survive an attack OR they are not being taught the best possible way to defend themselves.

Same with other forms of attack. As mentioned, WWII combatives have been effective in on and off duty altercations. The training time is incredibly short. Charles Nelson SD has had documented successes on/off duty for decades with 15 or less lessons taken (figure that's about 15 hours or less). So if it's taking months or years then I'll simply say the wrong material is being taught or the methodology is wrong. And again, it is possible that the person themselves are to blame in isolated cases. But I'll say, and try not to offend by saying it, that most instructors in modern martial arts think they know what SD training is, but actually don't. SD can be continually trained for as long as you like, but to have some general proficiency takes...or should take, a very short amount of time. If it isn't, the wrong material/methodology is being taught to the student and by default the student should not be blamed.
A lot of people in that thread replied in the six months to a year (or more).  The point I'm trying to impart is that real self-defense doesn't take that long to teach or learn.  Obviously the more training the better, but people can use real gross motor skills to defend themselves successfully in a short period of time.  If what is being taught as self defense is taking months or years...then the wrong material is being taught.
Two thousand years ago wise men sought Christ, wise men still do.

Techniques are situational, principles are universal.

Fast as the wind, quiet as the forest, aggressive as fire, and immovable as a mountain.

He who gets there first with the most...wins!

Minimal force may not be minimum force!

We don't rise to the occasion...we sink to the level of our training.


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#9
If I remember correctly it was Bruce Siddle that came up with the 5-minute litmus test. That is, if the student can't learn the skill in 5 minutes and be able to apply it through the adrenal state than it has a high probability of failure for real self-defense.

The problem is that many traditional and semi-traditional martial artists have been so conditioned to believe in traditional learning theories and methodologies that they have a hard time seeing alternatives, many of which can create competent self-defense practitioners in relatively short periods of time.

Steve
"Personal safety is a way of life, not just a hobby!" ~Steve Zorn
Personal Safety Unlimited
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#10
(04-21-2016, 04:12 AM)szorn Wrote: If I remember correctly it was Bruce Siddle that came up with the 5-minute litmus test. That is, if the student can't learn the skill in 5 minutes and be able to apply it through the adrenal state than it has a high probability of failure for real self-defense.

The problem is that many traditional and semi-traditional martial artists have been so conditioned to believe in traditional learning theories and methodologies that they have a hard time seeing alternatives, many of which can create competent self-defense practitioners in relatively short periods of time.

Steve



I have link to several of his articles that I'm going to put on the board.  Do you have a specific link to the 5-minute methodology?  I'd very much like to take a look at that if you have a link handy.  Thanks.

Smile
Two thousand years ago wise men sought Christ, wise men still do.

Techniques are situational, principles are universal.

Fast as the wind, quiet as the forest, aggressive as fire, and immovable as a mountain.

He who gets there first with the most...wins!

Minimal force may not be minimum force!

We don't rise to the occasion...we sink to the level of our training.


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