For several years now I’ve been training an eclectic mix of martial arts for myself. In a single session I often train Kickboxing, Reality Based Self Defense, Kali , Jiu Jitsu, Silat, and Karate. That’s why my training sessions have to be about 2 hours long, after a warm up.
I’ve trained these exclusively at times, meaning all I did was Kickboxing or Kali or Systema to the exclusion of the others, for weeks, months, or years. Now, after almost 50 years in the martial arts, I am comfortable mixing all of them to my joy and delight.
I’m not a professional competitor, I don’t own a chain of schools, I don’t pay dues to masters above me, I’m not locked in to any particular style, and I’m not adoringly worshiping of any instructor. Some will view this as disloyalty to my “masters” and consider this standing as “not traditional.” Well, if you’ve read any of my other stuff you’d know I don’t value tradition as much as some. I think that often along the way students and teachers of the martial arts miss the point that, to paraphrase something else “The martial arts were made for man, not man for the martial arts.”
Sure, it’s good to have a solid foundation in any one of them, realizing the benefits of the style or training, and recognizing the liabilities of each. Training a particular martial art’s skills sets make for solid skills that those who try to do it all at the beginning lack in. Look at MMA’ers who have done nothing but MMA. Yes they kick and punch and throw and choke. But so often their kicks look amateurish, clumsy, unbalanced. Their punches look like schoolyard haymakers and nothing else. They look for volume and brute force, not precision.
Then look at someone like Cung Le or Geroge St Pierre. Cung Le has one of the best looking and most effective lead leg side kicks in the business, and George all round demonstrates abilities that only come from exclusive Karate training.
But these are professional athletes who will do whatever it takes to win in a competition. They are also subject to protocols us civilians are not, like starting face to face in a ready stance, having a referee who will restrict them to the rules, having a particular space to fight in. We need to recognize some subtle differences between training martial arts for fight sports, and training martial arts for self defense.
I’ve had my fun training for competition, won and lost. I’ve had a couple of real life encounters, won and lost. Losing a real life encounter is a lot different than losing in a tournament. Hell, the entrance to each is a lot different. In real life there will probably NOT be a get ready face to face start. Your real life opponent may be a better boxer than you. You, a good stand up boxer may find yourself on the ground in a flash at the start. You, a good Judo/Jiu Jitsu person may be attacked by multiple attackers. In a multiple opponent scenario “pulling guard” on one person can be suicide.
Random violence is chaotic. I’ve learned that much. I’d hate to be the instructor who spent lots of time on an upward block against a stiff armed front punch from a static training partner, so that it “looks good,” then the student out in the world easily gets sucker punched and “Philly dumped.”
Instructors need to think and choose what they want to teach and train. So I train a variety of skill sets. Each with its own progressions, but in no particular order.
In any training session with me you may do some boxing, knife tapping, take downs, ground work, self-defense scenarios. Does that sound chaotic? When you step outside the dojo, I don’t know what you may encounter, if anything, and hopefully never. When you step outside the dojo, even on the first day with me, I want you to be at least familiarized with more than one of the many chaotic possibilities you may encounter. We can’t cover them all every time, but we can certainly go over more than just a rising block against an uninspired front punch.
For those who’ve asked; No I don’t teach Shorin Ryu Karate. I don’t teach Tae Kwon Do. I don’t teach an exclusive brand of Filipino Martial Arts, I don’t teach American Kickboxing, etc. I teach skill sets from these and other martial arts that I’ve trained along the way, and I’m still learning.
If you’re looking for a black belt in something or other, a certificate as a guru, I don’t offer those, you can buy them or make them up for yourself like many have done. If you’re looking to train all around fighting and random self-defense skill sets for your own personal edification; then I may be the one to call!
Kali Silat & Self Defense Training Group