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  1. Wounded Ronin is offline
    Wounded Ronin's Avatar

    ...is THE PENETRATOR

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    Posted On:
    10/09/2006 6:16pm

    supporting member
     Style: German longsword, .45 ACP

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!

    Comments on an article on controlling the flinch

    I found an article somebody wrote on controlling the flinch and turn away reaction in MA students: http://www.fightingarts.com/reading/article.php?id=196

    It's a good thing to write about, I suppose. Few things fill a serious martial arts hobbyist with shame more than watching some MA student on a video clip do such things as turn his back when under fire, and things like that.

    But, I wonder if this article isn't making things too complicated.

    One way to do this is through various drills. They go a long way to allow you to eliminate your fear in a safe environment.

    One of the best drills is to use a pad (often on a handle) to simulate various attacks -- straight punches and hooks to the head, body shots and various types of kicks. Try to keep a proper fighting position, hands up, and move -- shift position, duck under hooks, and shift your head to the side of a punch (known as slipping a punch) while blocking it with your hand or forearm. Gradually you will become more comfortable with being attacked and the pace can be increased. The pace of the practice attack should always push you a little beyond where you feel comfortable. This forces you to improve.

    Later, actual punches and kicks can be introduced -- at first done slowly and over time increased in speed and power. While you may just be defensive at first, after a while you will learn to also take the offensive. Be careful to use protective equipment unless you are practicing this drill in slow motion.

    On an advanced level a similar activity entails actually allowing soft punches to land. If you are more advanced you can allow harder punches. Through this method you will learn how to take a punch, how to tighten up or move to eliminate its effects and this will reduce the fear factor by reducing perception of possible pain. Avoid any actual hits to the head, however. This is dangerous.

    See, I think that's just a little bit too complicated. Me, personally, when I was instructing people out here in the FSM? Well, we don't have any special gear, just sparring gloves, pads, and mitts...so my training regimen just consisted of getting hit a lot. Like, during sparring, if someone turned his back, I'd just chase him and punch him a lot in the back of the head in the hopes that he'd learn not to do that.

    Of course, I also lost most of my students. I only had two people who wanted to keep with it, and only one out of the two totally stopped flinching and turning. The other one moved away and couldn't continue training, and he improved, but he'd still turn and run if you put too much pressure on him. (It didn't happen often, only when I was specifically really putting the heat on him.)

    What's your take? Are elaborte feel-good drills necessary to make people not disgracefully turn their back and run? Or is my method best? Provide negative reinforcement (increased punching to the back of the head) whenever the undesired behavior is performed (turning the back)?
    “nobody shoots anybody in the face unless you’re a hit man or a video gamer.” - Jack Thompson
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Th...%28attorney%29
  2. Khun Kao is offline

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    Posted On:
    10/09/2006 7:02pm


     Style: MuayThai

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    My take is that there is nothing complicated about the quoted article that you posted. I didn't read the entire article, mind you, but just the part you included in your post. There is absolutely NOTHING complicated about that. As a matter of fact, I find the part you quoted to be overly simplistic and just stating the obvious.

    Your way of "teaching" people not to flinch or turn away was obviously lacking since, in your own words, most of your students quit, and the ones who didn't quit still didn't "get it". Maybe you should read the article a few times and try to learn something from it?
    Last edited by Khun Kao; 10/09/2006 7:05pm at .
  3. Ke?poFist is offline
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    Enforcer of Northeast Anti-Silliness Department Inc.

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    Posted On:
    10/09/2006 7:03pm

    supporting member
     Style: Kaju, BJJ, Judo, Kempo

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    You suck at the teaching.

    Anyway, I agree pretty much with the article, but what I don't like is how it says to have no head contact. If you never get hit, then you never learn to deal with it. You still have the irrational fear of it. Just last night I was training with a friend who's a much better striker than me, and I found myself shying away, and just looking for the clinch.

    He noticed, and we worked on me just defending, and getting hit....alot. Eventually I started blocking with the top of my head at certain points, which freed up my hands to clinch or counter punch as I followed his hand back in.
    Knowing is not enough, you must apply...
    ...Willing is not enough you must do
    ~Bruce Lee

  4. Khun Kao is offline

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    Posted On:
    10/09/2006 7:07pm


     Style: MuayThai

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I've now actually read the article, and I agree with what KempoFist says. Overall the article has very good information in it, but I don't necessarily agree that moving up to light/minimal head contact is "advanced training". I still consider that to be novice material.
  5. alex is offline
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    STOP POSTING!

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    Posted On:
    10/09/2006 7:14pm

    supporting member
     Style: Muay Thai

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Wounded Ronin
    See, I think that's just a little bit too complicated. Me, personally, when I was instructing people out here in the FSM? Well, we don't have any special gear, just sparring gloves, pads, and mitts...so my training regimen just consisted of getting hit a lot. Like, during sparring, if someone turned his back, I'd just chase him and punch him a lot in the back of the head in the hopes that he'd learn not to do that.
    if someone did that at my gym they would get thrown the **** out. if an instructor did that... well they wouldnt because there is no way my coach would let someone who would do something so dangerous train students.

    Of course, I also lost most of my students. I only had two people who wanted to keep with it, and only one out of the two totally stopped flinching and turning. The other one moved away and couldn't continue training, and he improved, but he'd still turn and run if you put too much pressure on him. (It didn't happen often, only when I was specifically really putting the heat on him.)
    well i think that proves how effective that method is then.

    What's your take? Are elaborte feel-good drills necessary to make people not disgracefully turn their back and run? Or is my method best? Provide negative reinforcement (increased punching to the back of the head) whenever the undesired behavior is performed (turning the back)?
    Your method is crap. If i went to a gym and saw an instructor hitting people in the back of the head I would get them reported to the local sports governing body.

    **** dude do you know anything about teaching? POSITIVE reinforcement. part of my degree is in psychology, particularly learning. YOU DO NOT TRAIN SOMEONE WITH NEGATIVE REINFORCEMENT. this is psych 101 stuff. And pretty fucking common sense as well. My coach has never once said "your punch is crap" or anything like that. if my punch is crap he will show me a better way, work with me to improve it and when it gets better he'll give me positive reinforcement.

    As for teaching people not to flinch, this should be worked into your padwork. with our padwork drills you must always be prepared for the other person to throw a punch (not hard) with the pad if they think you are not covering properly. we also do drills similar to the article (although i think hitting lightly to the head is hardly dangerous) where one person will shadow box while 2 others throw punches from the sides. the person has to continue punching and blocking while the hits come in.

    Sparring is also important. you gotta start them off light- throw combinations but not hard. constantly remind them not to flinch. then over time increase the power and bingo, you are sparring hard contact and the guy isnt turning away. I can say i have never seen someone at our gym who flinches after 3-4 months in the fighters class.
  6. SimonBelmont is offline

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    Posted On:
    10/09/2006 7:57pm


     Style: BJJ

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I think what you're asking raises another question: How do you introduce live training to those who naturally shy away from it?

    There are people who practice martial arts with absolutely no interest in sparring or live training. Even if you approach them and explain that anything they learn is useless if they don't spend time sparring even if the chief instructor of ths school seconds this opinion they will still choose not to do it. Some of these people are scarred and some simply view their MA as a hobby instead of a self defense tool. Some people actually like to LARP. They know they're LARPing and they accept it and they actually like doing it. Look at all the people who do Wushu which is basically figure skating with weapons.

    How do you convince those people that sparring and live training is not only essential but that it's also fun? How do you get them interested? It's not easy and it is probably one of the reasons why many bullshido schools don't want to train live. They are afraid that if they do they will lose students.


    I don't have an answer to the question I'm posing but I find that the beat them till they get it right method does not appeal to the majority. It takes a certain personality to appreciate that approach to the problem.

    Personally I got tired of the school that I was training at. It was just too much of a chore to get more people to attend the sparring classes too much of a chore to get people to spar during open mat hours. Trying to convince the instructor to include more sparring in day to day classes did not have much effect probably because of the lack of interest in the majority of his student base. There's a sub group of students who are really into sparring and get together as much as possible to spar but suprise surprise they're starting to gravitate toward other schools.

    I am one of those. I went looking for a school that trained hard and live every minute of class and I found one.
  7. ViciousFlamingo is offline
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    Pingo

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    Posted On:
    10/09/2006 8:22pm


     Style: BJJ & Judo

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    In a completely separate direction, what about the advice in the article on controlling the eyes?

    Thus to stop or reduce the tendency to blink, slightly narrow your eyes, thus bringing conscious control over the muscles used in blinking.
    I've never heard this, and I'm wondering if narrowing my eyes will help any. It feels like to me just sitting here that trying to force my eyes open is a bad idea, but trying to keep them narrowed would be annoying at best. I don't flinch all that much, but maybe I'll experiment with the eye thing next time I spar.
  8. Epicurus is offline

    I'm grindin' 'till I'm tired...

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    Posted On:
    10/09/2006 8:28pm


     Style: Judo. Some BJJ/Kickboxing

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    To me the key to getting over it is just to keep your eyes WIDE open and just think really hard about it for a while. Eventually you get used to it and don't have to try anymore. I would NOT reccommend hitting the person who turns away in the back of the head just because it is a safety risk. Try kidney-punching them or tapping them on the shoulder or something ;)

    A good drill that I do to work on the flinch if I start to do it too much is to gear up and have a partner just try to attack me while I defend. This helps me work on not flinching and tightens up my parrying/slipping game a lot.

    It's important to do at least one defense drill with protective gear on so that the punches can be fired with full intent to hit so that you get used to dodging a real punch and not a deliberately missed punch.
  9. eyebeams is offline

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    Posted On:
    10/09/2006 9:34pm


     Style: Kickboxing/Grappling

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    If you have students with different comfort levels you'll have to have more eleborate progressive methods. It's all well and good to brag about how effective jumping right into the mix is, but it's not effective for the people who stop training, is it?
  10. sidran is offline

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    Posted On:
    10/09/2006 10:00pm


     Style: Kung fu, Jiu-jitsu

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by fightingarts.com
    One way to do this is through various drills. They go a long way
    to allow you to eliminate your fear in a safe environment.

    One of the best drills is to use a pad (often on a handle) to simulate various attacks -- straight punches and hooks to the head, body shots and various types of kicks. Try to keep a proper fighting position, hands up, and move -- shift position, duck under hooks, and shift your head to the side of a punch (known as slipping a punch) while blocking it with your hand or forearm. Gradually you will become more comfortable with being attacked and the pace can be increased. The pace of the practice attack should always push you a little beyond where you feel comfortable. This forces you to improve.

    Later, actual punches and kicks can be introduced -- at first done slowly and over time increased in speed and power. While you may just be defensive at first, after a while you will learn to also take the offensive. Be careful to use protective equipment unless you are practicing this drill in slow motion.

    I remember actually doing this exact drill when I was taking karate way back when. I see a lot of usefulness in it for people who are just starting out and need to work on their blocking reflexes and everything. It helped me a lot with my reflexes and I didn't have much of a flinching problem after being there, so I don't see a problem with it.
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