Saturday, March 9, 2013

Patterns vs OODA

First to the question of how I rationalize the Bagua and Xing-Yi that I enjoy so much with the fact that I dislike preset patterns -
I like solo forms because they are fun, interesting and challenging, but honestly not really for any tactical reason beyond that.

They may have other benefits .... and I have certainly enjoyed playing and experimenting with them over time .... but whether those benefits are 'martial' is debatable.

What I do believe is that there are better and worse ways to do forms, and that I have certainly found practical uses for pieces of most forms I have practiced, mostly by having something come out in sparring, and thinking 'wow! that's in that form!!'

Also, I am curious about the structure of systems. Luo DeXiu mentioned once, after having spent the last 2 decades researching and comparing Bagua and Xing-Yi systems both in Taiwan and mainland China, that he felt that he could find nothing 'missing' from the Yizong system. Now that might sound self aggrandizing but I don't think he meant it that way.

I understood him to mean that in the context in which it was developed, and the parameters in which it sat, that he could find no gaps in the exercises, drills, forms, and method to get you to point of full understanding.
As I have not reached the level to be able to tell whether this is true or not, I cannot comment, but the thought interests me and a part of me would like to feel why he believes this is so for myself.

Is it the fastest way to learn to fight?  I don't believe so. (See below)

Was it really meant for people that already could? Yes, I think it was.

...................................

So, back to preset patterns and technical responses to pre arranged attacks ....

Practicing specific techniques may give you an answer to what you need to do in response to a certain thing happening ... but it does not give you any chance of learning how to see that moment coming. And if the thing is already happening, there is certainly no time to observe, orient, decide and actually act before it becomes something else .... in other words, you will always be behind in the OODA loop.

If you know what is going to happen, you are never watching for clues as to what MIGHT happen. You have taken away any motivation to investigate and understand precursors, tells, and set ups, deception, hesitations, and errors  ... because you do not need to look for them.

You probably have no need to watch for, and understand 'follow ups' either ... because again, they do not exist in this training format.

The first skill set I learned from Sonny was to 'read' the opponent, because he believed that this was the foundation for everything else, that this must be deeply ingrained to achieve an understanding of what things actually 'look' like (both visual and tactile) in real time. Only then was it possible to be in the right place at the right time to do the thing you needed to do.

Obviously this ability did not come instantaneously, it took time to learn how to 'read'. Random flow was Sonny's innovation on how to learn this stuff without having to do it in a real fight.

What is a threat, what is not, how much time you have, how far away they are, can they kick from there, which hand is more likely to come out from that position, what is open, what is not worth worrying about, how is the weight distributed, what is chambered?? etc etc.
What kind of person are they, how do they see you? ... and on and on.

Why is it so important?

- Everything that can happen, happens because the previous thing happened. 

- You will always be behind if you can't see this chain and learn how to change it's path.

- If your opponent can see this chain, your moves will always be predictable, which means that again, you will be behind.

- Being behind is bad, and the fastest way to getting cornered and lose.

Interestingly enough, the higher level, learned after you can 'read', is to learn how to 'write' your opponent. In other words how to MAKE them do what you want them to do. So you are always ahead in the loop - keeping them orienting (O) whilst you act (A).

This of course means that you will know what's coming next, having engineered it that way, and all those techniques? Here's where you finally get to use them.





18 comments:

Wes Tasker said...

You raise some interesting points about drills and being behind and not seeing the set-up. Do you then find no possible way that someone may do the drill mindfully and therefor 'see' a certain set-up and then, as more randomness and free-play is added to see more and more of the set-up and the follow through - eventually leading to also dictating or 'writing' the opponent as you put it? Especially in light of the end point of the drills being a random flow.

The European Historical Combat Guild said...

Yes Interesting points. Though personally, when using a form, as soon as we see a student expecting the form, we mix it up, or go and do the form with them and the movement they switch off, do something outside the form.

I understand from the older Koryu that the learning process is learn the pattern, explore the pattern, break the pattern, there is no pattern.

From reading Rory's books, and his learning of Koryu, that one is expected to change the moment one detects that the pattern is being relied upon/expected.
I do agree that fixed unchanging patterns, especially followed with no mindfulness or attention to the present are worse than bad. Though I have seen plenty of poor uses of flowing training as well.
All forms of training are tools to reach an end goal, the problem occurs IMO when people treat the tool as the goal.
One is seeing this in HEMA at the moment, people have no way to really test their skills, so they go for competition, as the pressure test, using the justification that they know it isn't real but its the best thing we can do, as if acknowledging that is enough. Though there seems to be an underlying sense that, there is a problem with what you do if it doesn't work in a competition. This has lead to a situation where people treat the tool, competition testing as more important than the end goal, because one seems concrete and the other is abstract.

Maija said...

Wes - Neither person should know what they are going to do next for sure ... ever ... if they are really concerned with prevailing, so I don't see any reason to practice something with no precursor.

The precursor is much much more important in my opinion as a gateway to understanding WHY you are doing what you are doing. Adding the 'why' later, having already trained the 'what' without context, makes it much harder to integrate the 'what' INTO the context.

Context first, always. Random flow should not be the end point of the drills ... it should be first.

Otherwise you get a huge amount of glitching in the 'Observe' and 'Orient' parts of the loop ... and many high level technicians I have sparred with within FMA and in other systems have a great deal of trouble manifesting anything they know in free form flow because of this.

In a free form duel, if I decide to do something with no real thought about whether or not it is the most tactically smart thing to do, (being in the 'what' stage and not the 'why')I risk being the first person to commit, and I am now predictable, and in the position described in the old adage "My opponent moves first, but I get there before them". Don't commit first if you are not certain.

More commonly ..... If I rely on luck, and half seen opportunities, I get the the same result, if my opponent knows what to look for.

Even if my opponent is not watching and is doing the same as me (most common) ... the opening they see will probably be the one that appears whilst I am hitting them, not any precursor ... and so to the 'glorious double death' or a force on force stalemate.

You can't just 'go', it's too dangerous if you don't know 'why' you are going ..
And you can only know why, if you understand what is going to happen next ....
Which means you have to learn to understand what is going on IN a continuum of movement and options.

EHCG - Again, I see no need for patterns, you can do it without, and the down sides - the glitching and freezing (stuck in the OO of the loop), are big problems to eradicate later.

Also agree that there is plenty of bad flow out there with no understanding of what is going on. 'Real' flow needs to have at least one practitioner who understands what 'tactically smart' decisions look like at any moment. They must also have the ability to calibrate this experience for the student, to lead them to be able to 'see' what is going on.
This takes skill. Sonny's Random Flow method is not just moving with no purpose. There is a learning curve, add ups, that direct it towards 'reality' ... which means, as I said, that for the best growth in skills, you should play with someone that knows what to look for, and how to present credible 'questions' for the student to 'answer' ... and then show them how every answer is connected to yet another question.

My question to you would be - what is the 'end goal' you talk about?
And what is missing from competition that gives a false path? And what is missing from the understanding/training, that prevents things from 'working' in competition?

Oh, and really appreciating the discussing BTW, thanks for your thoughts on this guys :-)

FSD said...

So what do you think about the speed/power element I mentioned in the comments in your last post Maija?

I think the key thing is to realize that every method of drilling has strengths and weaknesses, and you can use a variety of different methods to balance them out.

In a "fight", I agree that neither person should know exactly what they're going to do. But I disagree with that sentiment for ALL training drills. Training doesn't need to exactly mirror fighting, as long as it develops skills that are beneficial in fighting. You do need the total picture for training to be complete. And as I've said previously, doing too much prearranged training would be counterproductive.

Sparring, limited sparring, random flowing...these training methods are a necessity. I don't think anyone here is debating that...at least I hope not. But here's another thought... "Random" flowing or sparring is inconsistent by the very nature of it. I had a teacher that often used the saying "Practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect." Another great thing about SOME prearranged training methods is that you can have consistently "perfect" practice. You can do prearranged drills with real distance, functional techniques, real timing, AND full speed and power. I find prearranged drilling is a "better" way to ingrain conditioned/default/flinch responses to be used in a surprise attack.

With regard to the OODA loop...I believe Rory wrote about bypassing the OOD portion, possibly through conditioned responses if I remember correctly. One thing prearranged drilling can do is condition your mind/body to ACT when attacked, without the observe/orient/decide phases. The OODA loop occurs more on a conscious level. I feel that some prearranged training can help to hardwire default responses in on a sub-conscious level, to an even greater extent than sparring/random flowing.

Again, I'm not arguing against sparring or random flowing...just saying that prearranged drills have OTHER benefits. Other weaknesses too...but also other benefits.

Maija said...

FSD - Speed/power can be trained on a heavy bag quite randomly without the need for patterns.

I would note that training specific strikes for better power generation for instance, by repetition .. and then creating different combinations to practice recycling power, are not preset patterns in my book .. unless you get into a repetitive rhythm and repeat the same thing too many times. Again, I'd do it on a bag, not a person, but the trick of course is to see the real person as the bag.

For training power and speed with weapons, you can cut/strike at a hanging target or dummy. A small but heavy hanging target is particularly good because it moves unpredictable when you've hit it, so the next strike has to take this into account. Sonny would add a short piece of bungee cord to the rope that suspended the target, to make it move even more unpredictably.

Sonny also had targets with 2 ends that spun, like those old jousting contraptions that would hit you in the back of the head if you did not watch out.

So I guess my preference would be to practice these aspects of the game separate from the partner stuff ... isn't that how they do it in Muay Thai training too ? Light on the partner practice, heavy on the pads/bag?

As to to Operant Conditioning ... sure, possible to get a jump on a situation ... maybe .... but maybe not. It seems it would be prudent to also train out of the Freeze ....

Sword play contains specific ways of catching up, or breaking out of loops that need training ... But surely the only way to train the escape from the 'OO' .. is to REALLY experience the position you have to work your way out of?
And that situation HAS to be a surprise to really check if you can (A)ct (Operant Conditioning), or (D)ecide and (A)ct(Break the freeze) when the situation is against you.
If it's not really a surprise ... how do you know if your flinch works? And perhaps you don't need to worry about that so much if you are more confident about breaking the freeze because you have experienced what it feels like, and learned how to recognize it and how to fix it?
I don't know ... but that's what makes sense to me.

Lastly, I really don't think about 'perfect' anything ... it's all just doing and seeing ... not necessarily in that order ... actually more like at the same time.
:-)

The European Historical Combat Guild said...

Ah the goal ;), that's the tricky one isn't it, dealing with unusual weapons or looking at past methods... Especailly when one is looking at many methods that really are intended to make corpses and cripples. I think for me it is to find more in myself, what works and what seems not to, finding new parts of the puzzle but knowing that it will never be complete.
I think that is my problem with competitions at least as they stand, despite what people say, that it gives concrete answers and it is easy to mistake those answers for the "truth". A little like Rory and his talks on sparring etc. I am not saying that they aren't right, my problem with the certainty they have about it, and the fact that it has become the "way" to test, and if you don't agree you get looked at a little strange, a little too much cult like behaviour.

What missing from Comp and training? danger. risk compensation, gloves and too much armour for unarmoured competitions, so people get hit on the finger but can keep going after what would be disabling hits tot he hand. In training, I recently wrote a blog post. People stop, they train it in the technique practice, the sparring, they kind of "i hit you but i just want to check before i do it again" or other reasons.
Why things don't working in competition is down in part to not understanding the reality of movement, partly what is show in the manuals are things that you might do if it were real but don't work when people are padded with blunt swords and there is not the level of adrenal response one might have in a situation where the swords were sharp

Mike Panian said...

I read through this a couple of times before deciding on what I wanted to say about patterns, random flow and OODA because there is a lot about patterns in general that is tempting to talk about.

But the last few paragraphs in the article focus things for me. Your assertion is that random flow builds an understanding of what comes next and that this is powerful because everything follows from the prior situation. It trains simultaneously to be adaptive but also what is most probably given the prior.

Discussions about the OODA loops often center around the idea that you are going to get surprised in real life. Its also about thinking on your feet in general but the main gist is often when you are caught.

How do you get surprised in the first place? You get surprised when things unfold in a way contrary to what you expect. That can occur as a function of distance, timing or magnitude. An enemy can dupe you into getting too close, or hit you at a time when you least expect it or run you down with a car. To get the drop on somebody, you don't play the game. You change tactics and do things in ways that are intense and surprise and hurt. If I really want to win I set it up ahead of time to give me all the advantages. You take whatever plans the enemy has and you don't do it that way. This is what I have gathered by listening to Rory and it rings true to me.

Just to be clear, that's what we are talking about right? The OODA loop is the psychological response. The "OH SHIT" experience where all the best laid plans go out the window and you have to do something.

Seems to me that by definition then training this would require surprise and getting caught and having to act.

Like closing your eyes and having someone slap you in the face as soon as you open them and once having been hit...now what?

A large amount of training is about contingency recognition and an ideal of that is to be able to read and "write" your opponent. In this I think random flow is really good and perhaps one of the best ways to get a person to be adaptive without hurting them in the training process.

But dealing with the "Oh Shit" moment...I would like to hear more about what you and others think about training patterns or random flow to deal with that.

My experience in the several "oh shit" moments that I have genuinely had is that that experience seems to transcend training and act on a very primal level. I think that practice can help but at the same time I am not sure. Those moments are by definition out of control and unexpected.

One non-martial example. I had a bull terrier once. The dog was a fun dog but if you know the breed they are doofuses in the bush. This dog walked itself into a raging set of rapids. Did I mention they cannot swim well? I was standing there and the dog was in the water and heading for its demise before I knew what happened.

"Oh Shit!" (Dog is heading downstream FAST!!!)(OBSERVE)
"I gotta get to the bank before its too late" (ORIENT)
Thinking: There is no way I am letting that dog go. MOVE! (Decide)
I whipped my belt off, handed the end to my friend, waded into the water and snagged the dogs collar as she floated past. Yay for me! (ACT)

My training in whitewater rafting helped in the last few seconds, and gave me some confidence that if I also went into the water I would have some contingencies.

I felt good that I saved her. I really do not know if my martial arts or whitewater training had anything to do with that.

Is what we get from patterns or even random flow even about the first three parts?





Maija said...

@ EHCG - Agree with all your points regarding what passes for modern weapons 'competition'.

But .... My personal opinion is that there are 2 main reasons for this, both of which can be improved upon ... Never to the ultimate reality of truly fighting with edged weapons ... for that we will have to wait till the zombie revolution comes :-)

Firstly - One could try to truly appreciate what 'real' cuts and strikes do, and try to avoid them happening. One just needs to understand how important this is.
It was certainly why Sonny harped on and on about not getting hit all the time, why it was the PRIMARY focus of training, and why he brought out the live weapons to flow with when people started getting sloppy.

This also speaks to your point about not acknowledging hits - which I wrote about too. IF one is continually putting forward the importance of 'don't get hit', then I think it might be easier to focus on that in sparring too.
When I spar, I want to feel everything that hits me, where and why .. so I can try to NOT LET IT HAPPEN AGAIN. Because my highest goal is to take no hits, no injury, nothing. Too many people accept that they will be hit ... why does that need to the pinnacle of achievement? Surely there is a level above this?

So, perhaps training with that in mind, rather than the focus always on hitting and winning, might generate more 'sensible' behavior? (It would also involve cooling down the ego ... which is a bit harder ... but, so what)

Armor too, yes, huge problem .. unless you are using it as a weapon, in which case tactically you can do different stuff. But to play without, is always a good idea.

And as to stopping ... no need for that. Sonny would keep tagging us if we stopped, or hung out in range of his weapon. You can see it in the videos, always had us matching him by walking around and keeping distance - again great training to not stop or let your guard down.

Second part, and I think this is the part that has stopped the evolution of weapons play in many respects, is that people don't know how to play any differently. People have become used to the inadequacies, the sloppiness and the double hits, have become content with thinking this is as close to 'reality' as it gets and thus speaks truth. Whereas this is not so.

If they studied tactics, and played with the concept that 'staying alive above all else' was the goal ... it would change the game.
Of course the blow back anyone suggesting this will get will be great indeed! Because it is about WINNING! CRUSHING THE ENEMY! because as we know, DEFENSE IS FOR THE WEAK! But most should realize that 'don't get hit' encompasses the whole spectrum of behaviors, from not being there in the first place, to running, to blocking, to evasion, to attacking your opponent so they don't have the opportunity to attack you ....

Take a look at this great video of Bernard Hopkins, who at 48 years of age just won another title fight a couple days ago. Listen to what he says about defense and psychology, and tell me he's not doing it right .... :-)

(I might repost this vid as another blog post ... but here it is:)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=3Xhvexh41LQ

Maija said...

@ Mike - There are 2 parts - First is recognizing what is going on, becoming part of it. Once stuff becomes easier and easier to recognize, you start to see the precursors earlier and earlier. Part of that is in a spatial sense - which includes time, part is in a physiological sense - what is possible from various body positions, and part is psychological - noticing the tells, and predisposition of various people to do things in response to your 'tests'.

Second part, the part you want to develop, is creating the precursors to good outcomes for you.

Using the OODA loop as a model, the loser is kept behind, often in the OO section, or deciding wrong, and the winner is ahead in the loop, in D and A, to keep the loser adapting but never getting anywhere.
So not always about surprise, but certainly about not having enough time to change to doing something that effects the opponent, as opposed to just chasing them.

A good teacher can make a student loop and freeze, get them stuck in OO. Swords seem to be particularly good for this .. not sure if empty hand would work so well ...
Easy to confuse a beginner and get them flailing ... that is an OO short circuit. Not too hard to make this happen at the higher levels either, just happens in different ways for different people.

As a teacher, I need to have a repertoire of stimuli to create this freezing and looping in anyone I teach ... which is how they get to learn to feel it ... and thus learn to do something about it.

I can set them up, and tell them that they are being set up, kinda connecting their lizard to their human brains to practice learning how to over ride the OO.

In your dog example, the first two parts are not here, but the 'I need to do something NOW' feeling ... THAT you can recreate ... and thus the ability to recognize the feeling in the future so you don't freeze or loop too long.
It may be different in different situations, but it seems that very fact that you have felt it before and know it is a possibility, and that letting it continue is bad, seems to be the motivation to escape it. Perhaps this crosses over into other fields ... I don't know, but it certainly works for dueling.

Did that answer it?

Mike Panian said...

Yes, this is the discussion that I expected. You use of the OODA loop is occurring at a scale of the duel. It is within the context of the duel. And I see what you are trying to talk about in that context.

The additional thing that I am adding is that by changing the context and perhaps the scale of the encounter, you completely remove the relevance of the "within duel" tactics. Shift the scope of the interaction and the scale of the tactics and your opponent has a whole other problem to contend with. I think that this approach is more what happens in bad situations and that is the scale and context that I think is hard to train for.

Cheers,

Mike

Maija said...

Agreed ... but I am not certain how similar the internal 'feeling' of being stuck (frozen or looping or behind in the time/flailing) is?

When you notice that you are doing it, you have yo will yourself to physically act in a different way than what you are doing now. In dueling there a few very specific things I have found that work ... which are obviously not going to be useful in saving a dog getting swept off down a river ... but the feeling? and the 'can't just stand here must do something' feeling ... that might cross over.

Sonny said that he used to keep a folding knife on the bed table next to him, so first thing when he woke up, he trained himself to open the knife and throw it at a target, before anything else, without thinking really. Just do.

He said it changed his ability to 'just act' and to lose hesitation ... A great way to 'focus your day' he said ...

So again, perhaps the transition from not doing to doing can be practiced, and have some effect in other contexts in the 'real world'?
Though of course this is pure speculation on my part.

The European Historical Combat Guild said...

I suspect that almost all of the people involved think they understand those things, they carry out test cutting etc. yet at the same time, I can't shake the feeling that something is missing.

I keep coming back to one main thing, the tools (in this case the drills and training methods, forms, fee flow etc) are less important than the craftsman. The teacher makes all the difference, the good teacher makes the student learn through whatever method they choose.
I do find that whatever method people learnt with or rather the first one they experienced what they feel to be be truer "insight" with becomes the one they favour, and the one they feel the most assured of when passing things on to others.

Some people limit their field of view IMO, others try to broaden their horizons, I like to think of myself in that camp, I see you that way too, and people like Rory, Marc etc. too. Though of course we can all fall under that conformation bias.Though something I was brought up doing when looking at this field and that I am glad I find confirmed by those I admire, is the constant and open question of what we do and how we might improve it.

The European Historical Combat Guild said...

The clip was interesting BTW.
Jonathan

FSD said...

Wish I had a bit more time to write today...but briefly...on speed/power...IMO, learning to deal with your opponent coming with full speed and power is equally if not more important than learning to do your own techniques at full speed/power. So although you can train your own techniques against a bag, on tires, etc., you cannot get accustomed to an opponent coming 100% like that. With prearranged patterns, you can.

I don't see a LOT of stuff that's trained at 10%, 30%, 50%, even 70% working at 100%. The game changes very substantially when full speed and power are there. The DBMA "power" video mentions this if I remember correctly. Outstanding techniques will quickly fail under very fast, very hard pressure.

So Thai boxers don't TRAIN at 100% against each other, but they do fight that way, and they get a lot of experience through actually fighting. Even DB Gatherings are limited due to gear, etc. And I THINK that's one reason DBMA still includes pattern based training...so that they can get accustomed to full speed and power attacks and defense in a relatively safe way.

I agree about "no perfect anything"...was just using that saying as an example. Maybe a better way of putting it is "least imperfect"? Anyway, patterned training can get repetition in with full speed and power.

On conditioning responses...my experience is that prearranged patterns help very significantly with it. I see conditioned responses being the MOST important way to turn the tables, and sparring as what you need to be able to continue after you've reacted effectively, initially.

Different training methods have different pros and cons. For me, that's the bottom line. I'm willing to stop using any training method, or start using any training method, if I realize I could be training more efficiently/effectively. I'd be fine giving up prearranged patterns or sparring/random flowing IF I was convinced that either was detrimental. But I see them both as tools in my toolbox...each to develop different (and sometimes overlapping) qualities/skills.

Maija said...

@FSD - I think I understand what you are getting at, and agree that Muay Thai fighters get to combine the parts of their training IN the fight itself. But remember, it's a sport, and they don't do that very often compared to the days they train. Training and fighting are different.
One feeds the other of course, but though I think it is necessary to feel the full force of possible contact, why does it have to be in a pattern? It does not happen that way in a fight.

I suspect you think if it is not pre set, it is too dangerous to really practice true power + real speed, and I agree that going slowly or with less power can skew the 'what is possible' parameters if you are not careful.

But pre arranging seems to have the downside of also prearranging the success, and whilst this might be of benefit when working on structure, having a solid block/protective position, and learning how to 'take it' and counter ... the guaranteed success and lack of necessity to adapt or be wrong is something I can't quite get rid of in my head as an issue, and wonder if the pattern is necessary at all? Is what is bad outweighed by what is good?

Also ... Just as an example of a power training practice that was part of Sonny's method - One person was the striker, one could only block. It involved blocking a series of full power strikes, thrown at random. The striker used a steel machete or similar blade, and so did the blocker.
Sonny called it the 'cold shower' as it was intimidating, and sent sparks flying in you peripheral vision every time the blades made contact.
There was no pattern but the exercise started with enough body expression from the striker to indicate which strike was coming next. Once the striker could see that the blocker had a handle on catching every strike easily, then the speed would be upped.
It is a drill that can be done at full speed and power .... yet no pattern ... and I know that the strikes were powerful, because in one instance when we were practicing doing this with 'flush blocks' i.e. blade held against the body, I felt I was bleeding and realized the back edge of the blade had broken the skin by my hip, through the fabric of my clothes. It was a great exercise with great motivation to be 'right'.

It has just occurred to me that it may be the perceived risk of failure that makes a drill more powerful in my eyes ...

Maija said...

@EHCG - It would be fun to compare notes one day :-)

FSD said...

Maija...that "cold shower" drill sounds awesome. To me, it is kind of an in-between version of a prearrange pattern and random flowing, as it's partially prearranged, but still has the random element. I like that.

No doubt, there are DEFINITELY downsides to doing prearranged pattern training. For sure. But to answer your question, I do think the bad is outweighed by the good...when it's done right.

Interestingly enough, as at first glance you'd think "random flow" training would be less conducive to fantasy techniques, unrealistic range and distancing, etc., I've seen people getting as much "bad" from random flowing as from prearranged patterns.

I think the key is in having the "fighter's understanding", making ALL your drills realistic, realizing every drill has a downside or bad element, and compensating for those elements through diversity of training methods.

After a practitioner has the fighter's understanding and solid fundamentals, I like to use prearranged drilling as a "warm up"...as a type of isolation training to develop specific qualities...primarily speed, power, and getting used to full speed and power attacks. I really like spending 15-30 minutes of a 2 hour training session on really hard, prearranged drills. I get a lot out of them.

For a period of maybe 5 years, back when I was teaching full time, I gave up on them completely. I didn't see any short term benefit to them, and thought it was always better to do more realistic/random things. In the first 6 months or so, if I would take two people and train one with random methods and another with prearranged, the person with the random methods would kill the person with prearranged methods in SPARRING. I'm not exactly sure how that would work out in a surprise attack...maybe the person with prearranged training would have "better" conditioned responses. I don't know. But in any case, I quit teaching people the prearranged stuff. I noticed that my older students who had done and wanted to continue doing the prearranged drills had something that the people who didn't, didn't have. They had better, more solid structure. They were a bit more rooted. And they were most definitely a lot more powerful...capable of giving and receiving more.

So in my experience, there is real value in doing the prearranged stuff as a PART of training with specific goals (skill development). But I don't see them as effective short term training methods, and they have to be done right.

Maija said...

I think you nailed it FSD ..."A fighter's understanding" ....
The teacher, the one who is meant to know what the 'final picture' should look like, is key to making this stuff work.
This is why Sonny taught mostly one on one or in small groups where he could step in an correct what was going on.
It's troubleshooting at it's most basic .... but you need to have someone who knows what, and how to fix the things that need it.