MMA, Krav Maga, Traditional Martial Arts And My Philosophy Of Martial Arts

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Discussion' started by UserName0, Jan 31, 2015.

  1. UserName0

    UserName0 Valued Member

    So, this is a first post that will probably **** everybody off, but its something that I think needs to be said and something that I've been thinking about for quite a while. My idea for a new system of fighting comes from my dissatisfaction with the martial arts i have studied and those on offer to me, and a need to have relevant skills in self defence as i work in law enforcement.

    I've trained in martial arts, on and off, for most of my life. I did various styles of kung fu and other traditional martial arts growing up. I found that it was very good for your health, but hopeless at teaching you how to fight. Over the last few years and up until very recently I did MMA. I found it was very effective for most situations, but is terrible for your health.

    Taking the amount of punches in the head that you need to, to train MMA without doubt leads to early onset dementia. When I would spar a lot I could sometimes still feel punch drunk days later. When I tell this to people who do traditional martial arts they say something like "you need to learn to cover up", but they don't know what they are talking about. You can't practice MMA without getting hit hard and this causes brain damage, but it is the live contact aspect of combat sports which makes them effective by allowing you to hone your skills under pressure.

    But if you are practicing MMA for self defence this is silly. Why intentionally damage your brain so that you can stop other people from damaging your brain? It doesn't make sense. This acquired brain damage is why so many MMA fighters eventually stop doing striking and concentrate solely on their ground game. But in a self defence situation there is only so much you need to know about grappling. Most people are not going to get in a fight with a BJJ black belt (unless you are the problem in which case you deserve a beating) because BJJ black belts don't need to fight people on the street to feel good about themselves. Most self defence scenario's will revolve around one or more unscrupulous characters who want to rob you, rape you, or otherwise humiliate you for their own enjoyment, and this requires a different, but not wholly different set of skills.

    Since giving up on combat sports I have longed for a new challenge, but everything I look into seems silly to me. At a first glance krav maga looks like a good choice, but when I read up on it I found out that most of the instructors are ex-military guys with no experience with combat sports. Just because someone has been in the military does not mean they can fight. Many military people probably can fight, but this is not by virtue of being in the military. The ones that can fight probably did some form of combat sport. From what I can gather krav maga is a kind of martial arts franchise which boasts about being reality based, but contains little live contact or sparring. I'm sure there are some legit krav maga schools out there, but the ones in my local area appear to simply be money extractors for people with little training in martial arts and huge ego's. When I looked on my local krav maga schools website it said something like "first lesson you learn 1. hammer fist, 2. groin strikes and 3. elbows" IMO none of these techniques are going to be effective in self defence at least not to a beginner and here is why:

    1. I have never seen a hammer fist work in a fight situation unless a. you are in a grappling situation and are using the hammer fist to smash your opponents face in or b. you use a spinning hammer fist which is not something that a beginner should practice and is probably too risky to be used in a self defence situation. Granted when fighting multiple attackers spinning techniques tend to be very effective, but I think they are referring to a simple standing hammer fist which is not effective in self defence.

    2. Groin strikes and eye gauging is not something that should be a core element of a fighting system. It might be effective if your life depends on it, if your attacker has a weapon, but most self defence scenario's are not that sinester and if you kick a guy in the balls or pock him in the eye you have raised the level of violence such that what at first might have been an attempt at mugging you has now escalated into a fight where ripping organs out of the body is on the table. If this mugger or one of his buddies gets the better of you, you will wish that you had never escalated the situation by using groin strikes or eye gouges.

    3. Here is a simple question: why throw elbows? In a mauy thia fight elbows are great because you can split your opponents face open and the referee might stop the fight. But why would you want to split someones face open in a self defence situation and risk contracting hiv or some other blood born virus from your attacker. This is a very important point. Unless you like starting fights, the most likely person for you to get in a fight with will be a violent criminal who is probably a junkie and who may or may not have a number of blood born diseases from years of intravenous drug use. Using an elbow to split this kind of persons face open will not stop them, it will probably just **** them off and put you at risk of contracting any of their diseases.

    So finally what would make a good self defence system? Below I outline my opinion on the skills most necessary for self defence from most important to least important.

    1. Wrestling

    By this I mean standing wrestling similar if not identical to the greco-roman tradition. There are guys out there with chins of steel and unless you can bang like tyson you won't knock them out. Wrestling is the most important because putting someone on the ground in an uncomfortable position is the quickest way to stop their momentum. Also, most people don't know how to fight from their back so unless your the guy who starts fights with BJJ black belts then once they are on the ground they should be good for a submission, ground and pound or if you work in security or law enforcement like myself, a wrist lock or pain compliance technique. One of the greatest things about wrestling is that it can be practiced full force in a sparring situation without causing major damage (permitting your training partner has the common sense not to spear your head into the ground).

    2. Striking

    You at least need to know enough about striking that you can use your strikes to set up your take downs and cover up (like my friends who do traditional martial arts are so fond of :p). Open hand and closed hand techniques should be practiced with pads similarly if not identical to the way muay thia boxers do pads. Open hand techniques (using the palm to strike rather than the knuckles) should be practiced more than closed hand techniques. The reason for this is: Even if you condition your knuckles and know how to punch without gloves on, the likely-hood of you hitting your opponent in the teeth and lacerating your hand increases your risk of blood born infections is too high. Closed hand techniques should only be used if you fear for your life. Remember, by preventing the transmission of blood born diseases like hiv, you are not only preventing you from contracting hiv, you are preventing your whole family from potentially contracting hiv.

    Sparring is important with striking but carry's with it risks as mentioned above. Imagine the irony of someone who practiced MMA their whole lives so that they could be safe enough at work and in the community to return home to their family, only to have their twilight years taken away from them or worse, to become a burden on their family, constantly having to have their partner or children wipe the drool from their face and MAP is intended to be family friendly. Use a little judgment please. because they are a 55 year old with early onset dementia. In my opinion no amount of glory is worth that. If all you care about in life is being the best fighter you can be then stop reading right now and go to your local MMA gym and train. But some of us are not willing to pay that price.

    My solution to this could probably be refined with practice, but it is the best I have come up with. My idea is to use focus pads in the place of boxing gloves and to strike with the palm. The larger surface area of the focus pad should cause less impact and allow students to practice their open hand techniques. If there is still too much impact then sparring should be done lightly to prevent brain injury and head gear should also be used. Sparring should not be attempted with closed hand or any kind of boxing glove. Some might believe that this will prevent students from learning how to punch in a combat situation, but consider that most boxers use a 16 ounce glove which radically changes the shape of the fist such that in a street fight situation adjustments need to be made, however boxers have never seemed to have a problem doing this. Here is where many MMA guys will pipe up and say that this will not work for a variety of reasons that I will not go into here, but as far as I can tell this is the most responsible way to practice boxing without resorting to strictly body boxing which is just a joke.

    Strikes to the body should be done with full force as this will not cause long term damage. Kicks should be used, but I would stay away from head kicks as they cause brain injury and unless you train day in day out (which might be good for professional MMA fighters but for your average joe that just wants to learn to defend him or herself and only trains 2 to 3 times a week) you will probably not be able go from walking down the street like it is any other day to throwing head kicks without tearing your hamstring. For this reason head kicks are not as effective in a street fight as they are in a muay thia boxing match. Elbows should be avoided for reasons spoken about above. Knees to the body should be done with moderate force while knees to the face should be implied, in other words knees should be lifted to the opponents face but not make contact with it which is what is done in most MMA schools anyway. If you are really keen on training head kicks they could also be implied in such a manner.

    3. Grappling and Submissions, Locks and Pain Compliance

    When I studied kung fu we called this kind of grouping of techniques chin na. I don't care what you call it. These techniques are grouped together in this way because they are ways of incapacitating your opponent which are close quarter, but do not resemble wrestling or striking, and should all be trained with a similar frequency. Included in this group are the various chokes, arm bars, triangles and other BJJ submissions, and security style wrist-locks like the transport wrist-lock and pain compliance techniques like (I don't know the technical terms for these) stiking your thumb into the nerves on the side the face just above the jaw or the front of the face just above or below the lips. For women extra training in BJJ may be necessary because it would be very effective in preventing rape as it allows you to fight effectively from your back.

    4. Weapons

    Disarming weapons is important in case you find yourself in a situation where your attacker has a weapon and you cannot escape. Disarming knives, clubs, and stickes should be a priority as they are the most likely weapons for an attacker to have. Depending on where you live and your work firearm disarms should be trained accordingly. I live in australia where the gun laws are strict so the likely-hood of me needing these skills is diminished, however if I worked in the military, police or lived in some states in america this might be different. Training in the use of weapons such as the samuri sword is not really a priority as the ability to swing a sword in a self defence situation is about as useful as having a good golf swing. Its not that it won't help, it's just that it won't help you very much.

    5. Dynamic Command

    You would be surprised how many confrontations can be avoided simply by using an assertive voice. If you work in security and are involved in any kind of use of force then using commands can give the opponent a way to comply instead of them not knowing what else to do but resist. A simple command like "stay still" can prevent a potential injury. Its also useful for self defence because it will get other peoples attention who might help and show your opponent that you will not let them continue with their behaviour whether that be trying to rob you or simply being offensive.

    And that is my philosophy of martial arts. I like to think of this way of doing martial arts compared to MMA as similar to natural bodybuilding compared with bodybuilding with steroids. If all you care about in life is having the biggest muscles you can, and your willing to damage your health to do that, than thats fine. But not everyone thinks like that. So, what do you guys think?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 31, 2015
  2. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

    Are you over, or under the age of 21?
  3. Wildlings

    Wildlings Baguette Jouster

    I've read just the first part of your post for now (coming back to it when I have more time) but I'd say that if you were constantly punch drunk from sparring then you should have changed gym, not necessarily art. You shouldn't spar hard all the time.
  4. UserName0

    UserName0 Valued Member

    We didn't spar hard all the time, but sparing hard any of the time is going to take a toll on your brain. I wasn't trying to say that I was constantly punch drunk. What I experienced was the onset of headaches and some forgetfulness which lasted a few days after doing a number of hard sparring sessions in a week (often to get fighters at my gym ready for their events). However, that is not the problem. It is the long term impact of hard sparring which is the problem. Also, I trained at a number of gyms.
  5. ned

    ned Valued Member

    Perhaps a more detailed history of your training background would help in understanding how you evolved your idea.
    (and convince folk you're not trolling :) )
  6. UserName0

    UserName0 Valued Member

    I am not trolling. I trained in various styles of kung fu from the age of 13 to 19. We practiced tai chi, tai tzu, wing chun, white crane, and various other styles. I trianed 4 to 5 times a week. I was kicked out of this school because I chose to do kick boxing as well as the traditional styles and my teacher didn't like that. I wasn't too fussed though, from the few fights I had experienced in pubs and night clubs I had already become suspicious of the traditional ways.

    Shortly after my break with this traditional school I got a bit lazy and trained only a few days a month for a few years, sometimes going months without training, and instead consentrated on my university studies and weight lifting. After completing my degree I began training consistently again, 4 to 5 times a week doing MMA. I did this for about 2 years (up until recently). I trained at a number of gyms in my region. Did a BJJ comp, but didn't like it. I'm currently working as a custodial officer.
  7. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

    How come Zaad can get a degree and become much smarter, while others can get a degree and still be stupid?
  8. Simon

    Simon Moved on Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    Chadderz, care to pad that out, rather than just have a dig at a newby?

    What opposite viewpoint do you hold to that which is posted above?
  9. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

    You're right, I am sorry.

    How can you go all the way through getting a degree, which is the epitome of intelligence, and still come up with something half thought out and basically unoriginal. All those things you have listed I do, and can do. Many systems can do the same. What makes your idea unique and/or different? You have also ignored that many people practice martial arts for recreational and social purposes.

    Anyway, please continue. I have nothing to do this afternoon.
  10. Aegis

    Aegis River Guardian Admin Supporter

    Just addressing a few of your points...

    It sounds like you're describing a backfist rather than a hammerfist. A hammerfist is a strike with the bottom of your clenched fish, much like a closed-hand "karate chop". It's quite a natural movement, and the downwards movement makes it very easy to get weight into to. Striking these into the collar bones or, with a different alignment, into kidneys, ribs, neck, biceps, etc, could in theory be one of the easiest ways to strike your way out of a conflict. It's not my chosen strategy, but it might work.

    Also, spinning techniques when taking on multiple attackers? Unlikely. Spinning techniques tend to have one targeted point of impact which is very powerful, but they won't do well for long against committed attackers who are surrounding you. With multiple opponents, far and away the best weapon you have is movement - you want to engage with one opponent at a time where possible, using them to shield yourself against the others until you see an opening to leave. Spinning techniques could in theory have a place in this, but in all likelihood I suspect they would probably make things worse most of the time as it would give other opponents the chance to outmanoeuvre you.

    If you're teaching someone the basics of self defence, you generally should teach them not to try and assess the degree of threat other than to ask "can I get out of this without fighting?". If the answer is no, then you're in a situation where your life may well depend on doing as much damage as quickly as possible, especially given you usually only have the element of surprise once. Teaching a beginner to moderate techniques to an appropriate level of violence is very difficult, and could easily end up with them being less effective in self defence. Again, I can see why you would immediately choose to escalate it as much as possible if you determine that fighting is necessary.

    Of course, de-escalation and disengagement tactics should also be taught to make falling back on that fighting skill as unnecessary as possible.

    Do I think these are the "be all and end all" of fighting? Definitely not. But if you were looking to teach someone one of their first principles, then "hit them hard where it hurts" would be a good one. Especially with the groin, a powerful knee strike has a lot more potential to do enough damage to end the fight then and there even if it doesn't hit particularly accurately, while anything targeting the eyes is highly likely to generate at least a flinch and possibly a release of whatever grab is currently happening. An experienced opponent is likely going to cover their eyes and shrug off any attempt to reach them, but an inexperienced fighter may lose simply because his eyes were targeted over something else.

    Again, not my chosen strategy, but I can see the arguments as to why it might be useful and relatively easy to teach.

    Because they're easy to generate power with, can strike at very close range with almost no opening and come with a ready-made hard pointy bit to strike with. As an added advantage over punching, you have much less chance of hurting yourself when striking with an elbow than you do with a clenched fist without years of conditioning.

    Most strikes, elbows included, will not split someone's face open. Indeed, most elbow strikes probably wouldn't target the face, but the sides of the head, solar plexus, ribs, kidneys, etc. In other words, you can teach elbows as an effective striking system without teaching to target specifically the face, the most likely place to bleed profusely. That said, elbows can target the face and they can split the skin open, but if you've already determined that you're fighting for your life (see above) then quite frankly it's better to risk some kind of blood infection and seek medical treatment afterwards than to select a less-effective technique and risk the consequences of losing this fight for your life.

    In any case, the probability of you hitting someone hard enough to release significant blood, that blood being infected with something contagious and life-shattering, you being exposed to that blood in a manner that allows transmission of the disease, and actually contracting that disease is far far lower than you likely expect. Disease transmission through bodily fluids is nowhere near the 100% contagion rate you might expect given the emphasis placed on this in some circles, and as long as you take precautions after the fact, blood spillage is only very rarely going to cause long term damage to the person who cause that harm.

    I should add to this that I don't train in krav maga and think that a lot of what I've seen as krav maga hasn't been particularly impressive, but drilling those basics in a well structured manner with good levels of aggression would, in my view, be a very good start towards getting out of a fight once it starts. Obviously there's a range of other stuff needed as well, so if the three techniques were the only things taught it would be a useless system, but in terms of actually using what you have to strike an opponent, they've chosen some relatively good ones for beginners to focus on.
  11. UserName0

    UserName0 Valued Member

    I hope many systems can do the same, that way I don't have to reinvent the wheel. I'm not looking to create anything that is entirely new or different. Essentially I want to capture what are in my opinion the best parts of MMA and modify the parts which can cause serious health issues to reduce these risks and make it more manageable for self defence purposes.

    Doing martial arts for purely recreational purposes is fine. I'm not here to tell people what they should or shouldn't do. Do what you want. But I regurly find myself in an environment where having at least some skills in self defence may save my life. Which is why I push the self defence angle on my "half thought out and basically unoriginal" idea.
  12. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    on phone on the street so short reply, but just to start with:

    -there are no systems (at least none worth the name) the core of which are eye gouging and groin striking.

    -hammerfists are possibky the least risky hand strike there is. as for effectiveness, what are you using them for? strikes don't work like attacks in a fighting game, because people don't have health bars. you have to use tools to achieve specific goals, and strikes are no exception. to wit, hammerfists can be used against many soft targets in the body, such as the nose, a relaxed biceps (goddamn, that one is nasty when it lands right) or the groin, and work against certain hard targets without breaking your hand (such as the collarbones like aegis said).

    -elbow strikes hurt a lot, are fast as hell, and are very powerful at minimal risk to the limb used. if you've taken as many head punches as you say, then you'll be aware of the effects of taking a direct penetrating hit to the nose. taking an elbow to the nose... yeah, i'll pass. elbows to the jaw and temple are no different than punches to the same, except perhaps a whole lot nastier. you mentioned law enforcement as well, and i've seen law enforcement use of elbow strikes, actually. saw a local gendarme on a train pat down an apparent thief, he found a knife on the guy's waistband, and immediately after taking it he hit him with two or three elbows to the face to stun him, put his own knife against his throat to prevent a reaction, and showered him with verbal aggression to provoke an adrenaline dump. beautifully handled, in my opinion, and an excellent use of elbow striking.
  13. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

    The guy got disarmed and THEN beaten up? That doesn't make sense :p
  14. Mangosteen

    Mangosteen Hold strong not

    i was stupid before? :(
    nobody i know got smarter with uni, they just got more knowledgable or became hard workers but some people still have obvious logical disconnects in other aspects of their lives.

    TBF to the original post, i dont disagree with many things he's saying.
    if your constantly getting punched in the head then you're eventually going to get accumulate injuries by pure statistics.

    but the trade off is that if you dont get punched a lot, you never learn how to not get punched (bobbing, weaving, defending)

    point on hammer fists - i've seen Inosanto demonstrate their use in dirty boxing and it seems workable with a lot of practice but thats not going to happen unless you get punched in the face lots.

    head kicks - i know a number of folks from my uni's thai boxing club who could snap out head kicks on demand yet only train 3 times a week. their are numerous videos of their interclub fights available. most people wont even attempt head kicks when they're wearing jeans though so its a non-issue.

    As usual the incidence of random violent crime aren't nearly as high in the UK (or im guessing Australia) arent nearly as high as brazil some similar places.
    and thats largely down to most folks not living in gang run favelas. most people practice MMA, krav, "TMAs" and even self defence courses as a hobby. for the original poster, this obviously isnt the case but maybe check with what is acceptable with management (because im guessing GnP and armbars with a break might not be)
  15. UserName0

    UserName0 Valued Member

    1. During sparring sessions with multiple opponents we found that spinning techniques (particularly kicks) were effective at keeping your opponents at a distance. In my training as a custodial officer they tuaght us a the hammer fist technique to stun prisoners. I asked the instructer what to do if the guy gaurds up. He said it probably wouldn't work and that you usually need to put them on the ground for this technique to be effective, if their gaurd is up.

    2.You may be right about the eye/groin strikes. But I am still skeptical of someone who puts that on thier website for the first lesson.

    3. In my limited experience I have found that elbow strikes to the head tend to be glancing blows which cause cuts rather than blunt trauma. I suppose elbows to the body may be effective, but I have always just used punches.

    4. Your right about the contagion stuff, it is difficult to contract blood born diseases. But the results of these diseases are pretty horrific.
  16. Simon

    Simon Moved on Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    Not doing certain techniques for fear of a blood born disease shouldn't even feature on the radar for anyone other than a nurse in Sierra Leone, or those working with drug addicts.

    It features so far down on the list of concerns that I wouldn't add it to a syllabus.

    In terms of elbows it is an aboslute must in any self defence system.

    Finally if you are leaving your class punch drunk I'd question the training methology, of certainly the equipment used.

    It's generally accepted that Muay Thai is safer because it doesn't just focus on head strikes and while I don't have facts and figures to back it up, I would suggest it's the same for MMA and Krav Maga.
  17. UserName0

    UserName0 Valued Member

    The research I have read claimed that MMA was the worst for head trauma. So its been pretty consistent: elbows are in and blood born diseases are the least of your worries. I suppose having your fist being lacerated by someone elses teeth is better than having their fist be lacerated by your teeth...
  18. Ben Gash CLF

    Ben Gash CLF Valued Member

    You had a concussion, you should have been off training for months and should probably have had a scan.
    Pugilistic dementia is a thing but by no means does everyone get it. It's also mis-named as various ball sports have the same issue if not worse.
  19. Ben Gash CLF

    Ben Gash CLF Valued Member

    Pugilistic dementia is poorly understood and MMA has not been around long enough to make definite assertions. You certainly get hit in the head far less in an MMA fight than you do in a boxing match.
  20. Heraclius

    Heraclius BASILEVS Supporter

    Concerning you're, um, concerns about striking, couldn't you tone the hard sparring way down? I can appreciate that it would be necessary to know how to give and take heavy hits, but doing multiple sessions a week seems a bit excessive to me.

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