Thursday, May 15, 2014

Do You Do Wind Sprints? Or Just Box?

What Is a Martial Drill? An Exercise? What is Martial Exercise?  By W. Hock Hochheim

     "Look at these guys (doing arm flow drills). Can anyone tell how this fits into a real fight?"  RBSD person complaining about a Filipino flow drill video clip.

     But if I showed you a video clip of Mohammad Ali chopping wood, would you ask - 'how does this relate or fit into a real fight in any way at all?' " Oh, but it's okay if Ali does it? But how does chopping down a tree fit into a real fight, then? Most can answer that, recognizing a classic boxer exercise, but they won't afford the same logical conclusion to many other martial arts drills and exercises. It is a prejudiced thinking disorder or just plain ignorance.

     The key word being "exercise." Do you do wind sprints? That’s an exercise. Do you maybe do push-ups? An exercise. Chin-ups? Another exercise. Weight lift? Exercise. People in American football “run tires” laid out on the ground. Exercises. If you showed me a clip of the football guys running tires on a football field, you could say, “Hey! Does this look like football?                                                            In any way?” 

     No, it doesn’t. Because, it’s just an exercise. Any power, speed, flow, and skill movements are just like that. Just exercises that often do not look like a hockey or street fight. No better or no worse than chin-ups. They are just simply EXERCISES. Yet, some of the greatest MMA coaches make their folks run, do push ups, run tires, chase chickens, hit heavy bags, work peek-a-boo drills, etc., etc. All for exercise. I do find it interesting when some groups blindly “OK” and approve some of their own abstract exercises like chopping down trees, wind sprints, etc., and then ridicule other exercises people in systems do.

     This essay comes off the heels of numerous internet comments from MMA and RBSD martial practitioners publicly making fun of video clips of some Filipino hand drills. One finished up with a video clip of a hockey game fight. 

     Now the video Kali clip of the Kali guys doing arm drills is out of context on several points too long to mention here but out of context nonetheless. But you could show me videos of guys hitting heavy bags or boxers chopping down trees or whatever, and I would view all that in the “exercise” context. I might add that the "hubad drill" - not hubUd - the block, pass, and pin drill format in that film is about number six in a series of FMA mano-mano sets. The first four look like … wait for it … simple boxing. 

     Most critics don’t know that by the time people are doing the hubad moves, they usually have done simple boxing-like moves FIRST. I learned this progression/formula in the Philippines, and I will tell you that many Filipino instructors don’t seem to know (or care) about this homeland progression either. Technically, by the time you are doing the block, pass, and pin drill, you should have done a number of strikes, bobs, weaves, ducks, covers, etc.

     Are the drills worth it? Prior to 1986, I did only karate and jujitsu and was introduced to Kali (which I did quite extensively, along with other things, for years). We did lots of these different “drills/exercises.” I cannot tell you how it increased my speed and coordination and other attributes in thousands of fast repetitions. (And, by the way, the patterns are meant to broken, a point usually missed or unknown by critics.) Breaking the pattern should be the last stage of the workout. 

     I have come to believe that everything you do should be supported by some kind of skill building drill, er, I mean … exercise. What are those? Make them up if they work. Take the advice and examples of others. For me, a lot came from mixing martial arts.

     I am not defending FMA. I rarely teach Filipino martial arts anymore. Only when asked and paid, too. While I owe a lot to FMA, I am not such a big advocate or have a tattoo of one system on my arm. I do see it more as a hobby and the people doing it studying it like a hobby, like golf or something. (Hey, it's exercise! Go for it.) But I use any and ALL drills from ALL martial arts (many from FMA) to develop skills and depth in people as needed. Sometimes I apply them like a doctor applies a prescription for some problem areas. 

     The real problem to actually discuss remains that Kali people (and other people/systems, too) overemphasize drills. Become drillmasters. Get too involved with them. Over-teach them too much and miss the end point. Miss other segments of training as a result. A proper training program has to organize and partition itself out to properly emphasize proper things in apportioned time. Otherwise, they lose their way. Miss the point. By watching that film clip, I don’t know what the full system is, what it did before the clip or after.

     The key point, the key question, is not seeing a video of a boxer chopping down trees, a kickboxer running wind sprints, a wrestler doing squats, football players running tires, or Filipino people doing arm drills and comparing them all to actual fights. The key issue is this: how much time does a system set aside for what types of training within itself? What percentage is conditioning? What part fighting? Attribute development? How is that all worked out and assigned? The true value of a system is its doctrine.

     What is the system doctrine?

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