Number of Techniques

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Discussion' started by Indie12, Jul 30, 2015.

  1. Indie12

    Indie12 Valued Member

    Been A While Since I've Posted....

    So Here's My New Open-End Question:

    Does Knowing The Number of Techniques (How Many Techniques Your System Has or Uses) Help Increase A Better Understanding of Your Art or Does It Not Make A Difference?

    (For Example, Does Knowing That MCMAP (Marine Corp Martial Arts Program) Has 180 Techniques, Make Any Difference?) - This Is Just An Example.
  2. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    As a point of trivia, no. Why would it?

    Even knowing what all those techniques were, or being able to perform them all to some degree or another, isn't a very good gauge of overall prowess.
  3. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    Probably makes a difference for grading/rank to know how many techniques are expected to be known at each level.

    IMHO, what matters a lot more though, is how many of those techniques can be mapped back to real world experience (first or second hand) because to understand why a technique is done a particular way, context is important.
  4. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    I assume we all share the same opinion here.

    There is a big difference between "knowing how to do it" and "being able to do it". When someone stabs a knife at your chest, it doesn't matter how many techniques that you may know, it's how fast that you can react that can save your life.

    If you can use just 1 technique to defeat everybody on this planet, anybody who wants to learn that technique will have to learn from you. You are "THE" master of that technique.

    You can

    - write a book with 200 techniques (only words and static pictures are needed).
    - make a DVD with 100 techniques (you can re-make your video until you are satisfied).
    - demonstrate with 50 techniques (your demon partner will not fight back).
    - fight with 10 techniques (you have only 1 chance to make your technique work, your opponent also will fight back).
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2015
  5. SWC Sifu Ben

    SWC Sifu Ben I am the law

    I think it's limiting more than anything else. Pigeon holing something as being a single technique doesn't account for nuance or the slight modifications made based on circumstance. The are innumerable ways to use a jab. There are many different initiations and a few subtle variations for lap sao.

    Are they one technique or many? Who cares. Get good at them and learn to punch people in the face.
  6. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    Agree! You have to be able to execute your "single technique (let's call it door guarding technique)" in all possible situations and in all possible ways.

    For example, if "single leg" is your "door guarding" technique, you need to be able to set it up in 20 different ways, and also be able to execute it in 20 different ways.

    IMO, to master "single technique" at a time is the "depth first approach". It's different from the "breadth first approach" that you try to master all techniques at the same time. This difference may not matter much for the striking art. But for the grappling art, there are over 300 throws (take down) that it's just impossible for anybody to be able to master all throws in his limited life time.

    When you teach a student, you should ask him what goal that he has. Does he want to be a fighter? or does he want to be a teacher?.

    If he wants to be a

    - fighter, the "depth first approach" will suit him better.
    - teacher, the "bredth first approach" will suit him better.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2015
  7. Indie12

    Indie12 Valued Member

    There are certainly variations of different punches, strikes, kicks, throws, etc... But how would respond to those who say "less technique is better" or "quality, not quantity"?
  8. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    Surely the difference comes in actually knowing those techniques. Not simply in knowing there's 12 of them.
  9. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    I think it depends on the context and how the person learns. You could have two people, one knows 6 techniques, another knows 60, but the one that knows 6 techniques can hold his/her own under pressure, but the one that knows 60 loses it under pressure.

    What I'm saying is the number of techniques learned doesn't directly indicate how well they perform under pressure or in real world situations. Besides, the 6 techniques might have ten variations each, so is that actually 60?

    However, I know people that can learn better knowing the numbers. For example, tell them there are 20 techniques and they will practice all 20 techniques. If they don't know there are 20, they might only practice 15 techniques and forget they missed 5.

    Other people, might not benefit from knowing the number of techniques or even care. But I think these people are more prone to forget to practice some techniques because maybe they are less organized.
  10. aikiMac

    aikiMac aikido + boxing = very good Moderator Supporter

    1) I say that's the wrong way to look at what you're learning. I would rather encourage you to look for that which makes all the techniques work, so that your martial art will have an infinite number of techniques -- the number being limited only by your present skill level.

    As a "for instance" -- for instance, some would say, with a wink and grin, that aikido has one technique: the attacker falls down. But there are an infinite number of ways he might fall down.

    Similarly, as to aikido and judo both some would say that there is one technique: hit the attacker with a planet. But again there are an infinite number of ways to hit him with a planet.

    2) Don't capitalize every word.
  11. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    I agree. However, that has nothing to do with what Indie12 asked. He used the example of MCMAP. Does knowing that the curriculum contains 180 techniques benefit learning somehow? I'd say no. Particularly given your point that 180 techniques could literally mean 180 techniques. It could also mean 3 variations each on 60 techniques. Or 10 variations each on 18 techniques. Etc.

    Well, I can't tell you that you don't know those people. Just that I haven't come across that particular problem. But I don't gravitate toward places that catalogue things that way.
  12. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    I want to kind of take back some of what I said or at least clarify some. In the list of priorities, knowing just the number of techniques is of low importance. I just wanted to add in that knowing the number may aid in the learning process.

    I think it is very cultural based. I've noticed that Western systems seem to use numbering more than other systems. American Kenpo has possibly over 2000 cataloged techniques (99% are pretty much variations of a few dozen core themes). Except American Kenpo uses names for the techniques, but I think this is to imitate the Chinese systems. Systems like boxing often associate punches with numbers, such as #1 punch is a jab, #2 punch is a cross.

    So although a number like 180 doesn't have much value outside of trivia on the surface, the system itself might use those numbers in a much more meaningful way. Technique #180 is a specific technique as is technique #7... In these cases, there is a mapping of a number to a specific technique... this can aid in the learning process.

    For example, can say 1-2-7, to indicate a combination, jab, cross, uppercut. Or student is held from behind, could say 43 to be defense against choke from behind into Judo shoulder throw (I'm making up the number here for illustrative purposes).

    It is cultural though and the culture needs to support numbering as a means for learning, otherwise, it isn't very useful to number.
  13. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    Aikido has two techniques, make them fall down and if safe to do so, make them say "uncle". :evil:
  14. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    American Kenpo was precisely what I was thinking of as well. :)

    Though, having thought about this throughout the day, I have to agree with you actually. In FMA and fencing as well, numbering systems are prevalent. Not for number of techniques specifically. But angles and responses to those angles. Which is certainly a type of learning aid. So I think you have a point there.

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