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Question(s) on Martial Arts training.

Discussion in 'Tactics and Training' started by Gallium, Jun 21, 2010.

  1. Gallium

    Gallium CLM

    Mar 26, 2003
    Ok. I'm veering off the beaten path a bit here, but from my experience as a shooter I know that a lot of shooters and trainers (especially police trainers that teach at police academies) also often teach defensive techniques, submission holds, arm locks, etc.

    The world of martial arts, it seems has more "styles" and disciplines than there are shades of blue.

    My questions:

    • What discipline are you a student under?
    • What is the level of training required to be fully recognized as an "instructor", a "master"?
    • What is that level of training required to attain the higher tier/ranking? Is it number of years studying? Number of years studying + teaching? Or some combination of other things?
    • What are the requirements for testing, and / or promotion for a higher rank?
    • How is your discipline set up to absorb someone else from another discipline, with or without rank?
    • Is your martial arts discipline recognized by some national or international council? If yes, what is that council?
    It takes on average, 2000 contact hours to gain a 4-yr college degree (1hr/week * 16 weeks = 1 college credit; 120 credits to graduate = 1920hrs). Of course, it is assumed that for every hr in the classroom, another 2-3hrs of non-classroom study/research/work is required, which means a year of college (if done right) is ROUGHLY equal to a year's worth of employment (1920 hours /40hrs week = 48 weeks) using a 1:3 ratio of class time : study time (:animlol:)

    How many hours on average, does it take for you - in your discipline to progress from "non-ranking" to the 1st rank? For each successive rank?

  2. rargos

    rargos Vox clamantis

    Jun 30, 2007
    If you're learning martial arts for self-defense, then you're asking the wrong questions. Rank, testing, number of hours studied, styles, etc. ... it sounds like someone more interested in colored belts than in learning to fight.

    I've studied martial arts since I was a teenager. My observation :

    Size and physical conditioning is number one. In any kind of prolonged fight (more than a few seconds), the bigger guy or the guy in better condition usually wins, regardless of training. Maybe Bruce Lee could take out someone a foot taller and 100lbs (of muscle) heavier, but that's very rare.

    I studied at one karate school where new students were required to do the following for their first belt :

    1. Run a mile in under 8 minutes
    2. 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, 100 deep-knee bends
    3. Punches/kicks against a bag for 5 minutes, each hand/foot
    4. THEN you did the part of the test where you demonstrated "techniques"

    Most of their mid-level students would have kicked the *** of the strip mail "masters" at other local schools.

    Yes, there is a LOT of value in learning joint locks and other self-defense moves taught in many martial arts schools, BUT you'll also spend a lot of time and money learning a lot of crap that's worthless in a real fight.

    You also have to be able to take a hit (or several). If you crumple when you're punched in the face/gut, it doesn't matter what belt you have.

    I think martial arts are VERY valuable in many ways, but if you're just looking to defend yourself, I would be less concerned with hours, ranks, and styles and more concerned with general fitness and "toughness".

    Good luck!

  3. Gallium

    Gallium CLM

    Mar 26, 2003
    Could it possibly be that I've reached the level of instructor and want to have a discussion on these things? This is a staggering amount of assumption on your part for an opening remark.:)

    Thank you for your response. Unfortunately, you both start, and end your response with assumptions that do not apply to me! :)

    People do martial arts for a SLEW of reasons. Not everyone shows up wants to be able to "learn how to fight". When I enrolled my kids into karate, it certainly was not to teach them self defense skills. One of my sons had a learning disability, and it was the recommendation of his medical team that martial arts would be THE BEST physical activity to assist with his under-development. Swimming was also high up on the list, but his disability precluded him from getting in the water. They are still there years later, and now they also do sparring, and I still don't have them there with any intent to use karate as self defense. My wife also does martial arts (not with me, she refuses to have me teach her ANYTHING) and she is also not there hoping to glean any self-defense aspect from her participation.

    Folks engage in martial arts for a myriad of reasons.

    - self defense
    - for conditioning and/or exercise
    - to socialize
    - to develop balance and / or core strength
    - for status
    - as a talisman
    - directly or tangentially required for their occupation
    - etc etc

    One of the problems I see in firearms training (and to some degree, in martial arts) is a lack of transitional consistency with standards.

    The questions I have posed are as a result of conversations I'm having with two folks who are advanced instructors in martial arts (above 4th dan or 4th degree black belt) who also have black belts in other disciplines. One of the things that came up - and without bashing any other discipline, is how different each of these disciplines can be, and how breath-takingly different SCHOOLS within a specific discipline emphasize some things over other things, and how do they assimilate someone from another discipline into their school (at what level).

    If you have time, would you care to answer the questions I asked, instead of filling in the (incorrect) blanks with the assumptions?

    I've asked eight specific, discrete questions. You answered one (the 3rd). For that, I thank you.

  4. MTPD


    Nov 9, 2005
    There is nothing wrong with martial arts training. I was a 4 year varsity wrestler in HS and it was a valuable experience.

    However, I have personally known several martial arts instructors (Karate) and all of them carried concealed. That suggested to me that even martial arts "experts" weren't comfortable going unarmed.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2010
  5. MTPD


    Nov 9, 2005
    Exactly! That's the same answer given by the head guy at a pro gym us HS wrestlers trained at during Christmas Breaks.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2010
  6. JW1178


    Jul 17, 2009
    Well, I took Tae Kwon Do and an offspring of some crap called Choi Kwan Do for a total of four years. Got to Red belt in both, although I could have had a black belt in the Tae Knon Do, but I got tired of the long forums that had nothing to do with any real techniques. I only would show up for sparring because they had contact sparring, but no contact headshots with the hands. So yeah, you could kick to the head, but not punch. BS. I kind of got kicked out of there because I would grab anyone's leg and twist them to the ground if they tried to kick me in the head, or I would just block and punch to the face. The main instructor would not make a deal of it, he was pretty realistic, but some of the others got so pissed they wanted me to leave. The final straw was when I knocked their little protege cold. He tried to teach me a lesson by spin kicking me in the head hard, and he got me, but I came back with three hard hooks to his jaw and put him out. I had a bad headach and saw stars and felt dizzy, but I'm sure his was much worse. He had been studying for 14 years and lived for that place, and I took him out in about four seconds, and I'm no badass.

    Anyways, what I figured is this, 99% of these martial arts places are just family places, more interested in the Art, they aren't really into really teaching anything you can really use.

    Size and physical fitness? I kind of dissagree with that as being a main factor, although it is a factor. I learned in the USMC that intensity has so much to do with it. I know that you don't fight the other person's game. A short person is stupid to try to go toe to toe with a tall person, he needs to get on the inside and come up, kind of how Mike Tyson did. He would come in low, then up, worked very well. It would be stupid for a tall person to try to grapple out a short stocky person, he needs to stand back and keep the distance. Knowing how to take a hit, and give a hit is quite important. Just because you are strong doesn't mean you can hit real hard. You have to be able to generate power
  7. Guntrainer


    Nov 15, 2007
    Most martial arts disciplines have rules. Not applicable in the real world. The folks I play with train to stop an attacker, single or multiple, either by stripping or escaping grabs, taking an arm or leg out of the fight, striking the attacker(s) to take away his ability to fight, or if needed, to cause loss of consciousness. The only time this training is used is to stop an attacker. Period. I don't hang around stupid people, don't go to stupid places, and try not to do stupid things.

    Taking an attacker's balance and using his strength against him always gives the defender the edge. This training does take a long term commitment, realizing this is very perishable.

    After three years with this trainer, I am not a beginner, but also not a senior student. Despite approaching retirement age, I can demonstrate enough basic techniques in my firearms training classes to show folks that they need more than a firearm in their defensive toolbox. Having only a firearm in the defensive toolbox is not acceptable in today's society.

    I use the youngest, biggest guys in my class. Defeating grabs and neutralizing a guy 25 years old and with a huge disparity in size always gets the point across. My advantage is that they do not take a fellow old enough to be their Grandfather seriously. :supergrin:

    On the street, I feel confident I can come out ahead of an attack, if I cannot avoid or evade. Using the firearm is absolutely the last step, and only if I am in fear of IMMINENT serious bodily injury or death. I often, but do not always carry a firearm. I nearly always carry an edged weapon, and have trained extensively with it. Places that prohibit firearms do not mention a high quality edged weapon.

    Our trainer also carries (both knife and gun), but unless an attacker has a deadly weapon, he frankly does not need a firearm. The trainer also has unreal firearms and edged weapon battle skills.

    As far as a larger attacker, we have had several very large folks leave after a few sessions. It seems a 6' 275 lb gym rat cannot accept the fact that a 5'2" girl can hand him his behind, and that he cannot do anything to stop her.:upeyes:

    No rules, no belts, no bowing, no mickey mouse. Proper technique, used against the weaknesses of the human body and mind wins, and does not allow an attacker to use his strength against you.
  8. Drew,

    I started in Taekwondo (actually Tangsodo but that's a long story) in college.
    it took 4 years to make black. 2 workouts a week, 1 hr per workout. After that I took me 3 years to make second black. Something like 3 years to make third. About another six to make forth. And another 10 I made 5th. I've been in TKD for over 30 years.

    Sixth black is master. 4th and 5th is 'instructor' and is considered an expert.

    First age... yes age. You can't even make master until you are at least 35 years old, no matter how long you have been in or how good you are. Second you have to pass test of the physical abilities and knowledge of the art. This includes things like forms (patterns), sparring, board breaking (including jump kick, as you notice my avatar shows me doing a jump back kick), 'one step sparring', and self defense. The higher you go the more complex the forms, sparring (two or three at once), self defense, etc… are. And yes, long before you make master you run the classes.

    Oh man... that would take a book all in itself!

    You start at the bottom. But after the first test, depending on how much skill is showen at the techniques used in THIS art, you may get promoted up. But I can assure you it's never to the same rank as you were in another art!

    I'm recognized by both the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) and the International Taekwondo Federation (ITF). Happly my master is a master in both, in fact General Choi Hong Hi tested my master for 2nd black long time ago (the General is theo one who founded the ITF.) And that is why our forms below black belt are ITF (and awfully close to TSD forms) and WTF at 1st black and above.

    Plus I'm VERY active in Krav Maga. And they have their own multiple 'Krav Maga' systems and fractures like TKD does (and most martial arts systems!) And KM has their own test for their levels (and it's a tough multi-hour test mind you.) But KM is not an art like TKD at all. No Hebrew, no forms, no oath or tenants.

  9. Been under three Grand Masters MTPD. All three Koreans. One, John Chu, an Korean officer in their Air Force before coming to USA. My present GM was a ROK in Vietnam.

    And the two military ones owned guns. In fact one time Chu said to the class, "Man with good arms but does not know how to punch has nothing. Man with good legs but does not know how to kick has nothing. Man with gun, but does not know how to shoot, has nothing."

    Oh, and yes I pack! Hands and feet are last ditch defense. I'll use a beer bottle or a rock if I can get one (especially if that other guy is BIG.)

    Oh and MTPD.. google Jack Bauer.

    But I'll say this..One time Chuck Norris bragged he shot 15 terrorist and ran out of bullets. Jack Bauer retorted he shot 94 terrorist and ran out of terrorist.

    Last edited: Jun 22, 2010
  10. Gallium

    Gallium CLM

    Mar 26, 2003
    Hey Deaf,

    Thanks for your very pin pointed and detailed responses! I guess my questions and the answers seen are illuminating as to who are true students of martial arts, and those who've had a passing fancy with it. :cool:

  11. MTPD


    Nov 9, 2005
    Holy Cow Deaf! That's not a sport, that's an occupation or a fanatical quasi-religion!

    I can only imagine how good combat shooters would be with that much training!!!!
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2010
  12. It is a way of life. But don't think I walk around at night wearing a black belt or orental style cloths or look like a ninja, thats for people like Steven Seagal.

    But I was lucky. When CHL first started here in Texas I became more and more orientated toward self defense. Both at shooting and martial arts. This is why I do IDPA and Krav Maga as well as TKD. All my workouts, gym or dojo/dojang, are self defense orientated. I am no preening weight lifter who looks in the mirror all the time (but I wish I had a body like Bruce Lee had!)

    Some people like to play golf, others tennis, but my fun is combat shooting and self defense training. I’d be bored out of my gourd sitting around a golf course. Now a beach with a bunch of young lasses… that's another matter!

    Two words... Rob Leatham, or maybe Ed Mcgivern. And if all the training was self defense orientated and not fancy show stuff or games, they would be greased lighting and tough to beat by anyone.

  13. I actually AGREE! Fitness is very important.

    Once at an Isshinryu school a woman told me that size and strength does not matter. Yea, she really believed that.

    But if that didn't matter, why does Boxing, wrestling, MMA, even martial arts tournaments have divisions? Why do the women not spar the men?

    We all here know the answers. Yes skill is important, but size, strength, stamina, and such all matter. The more fit you are the better off you are.

  14. MTPD


    Nov 9, 2005
    In HS & college wrestling there are weight classes, and very seldom is anyone in a lighter class able to beat a heavier opponent.

    Our heavyweight was twice state champion and took 2nd place in the olympic try-outs. Since we didn't have any other heavyweights our coach would either wrestle the heavyweight himself in practice or have 2 of us lighter guys wrestle him at the same time. The heavyweight always won, even against strong two-at-a-time oppopnents.

    In H2H, size and strength matters! Combat shooting? Now that's a different story. Years ago when I was still doing IPSC I had a Team S&W female pro-shooter beat me all the time.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2010
  15. HK Dan

    HK Dan

    Mar 27, 2008
    Drew, Marc Denny & Gabe Suarez saved my life. Recently.

    This is from their "Die Less Often" series. No details, as I have been mirandized over the incident.

    I am a FIRM beliver in martial arts as a prime (first) technique in dealing with problems of this sort. If you're not, you aren't thinking clearly. DLO shows CLEARLY that if your prime response to a kinfe attack is drawing your gun, you're already meat on a slab. They show you plainly how it'll happen and how to prevent it,and IT WORKS.

  16. rwheet


    Jun 19, 2010
    I don't want to push. But could you give us the story behind this. I have trained with Marc Denny twice. And can affirm that he is a awesome teacher. Your experience could all so help some one else.
  17. Glocked-N-Loaded

    Glocked-N-Loaded Slow and low...

    Apr 12, 2009
    Took Karate as a kid but never was serious about it. I did however enjoy the PPCT(Pressure Point Control Tactics) training I received in law enforcement.
  18. Gallium

    Gallium CLM

    Mar 26, 2003
    I would be interested in hearing about your situation as well, when the dusts settles. :)

    I'm as guilty as anyone else deviating from a stated topic or question :embarassed: , and I don't have any compelling need to WISH to impose strict parameters on anyone wanting to talk about stuff outside the subject area. So yeah, when you can talk about it, I am in! :supergrin:

    As for your perspective. The term "martial" is usually associated with characteristic befitting a warrior (, so any type of defensive/offensive skill is better than nothing, I agree. Any skill that begins to condition your mind that you might be an intended victim of attack, is going to help your self-awareness, and hopefully kick start the development of your "warrior" (never give up, never quit, fight to dominate, to win, to crush) mentality.

    I was (and still am) seeking out questions from those folks who are involved in martial arts, at that level where they can provide some sort of comprehensive response, as Deaf did. I didn't know where else of GT to post this...:cool:

  19. Hedo1


    Oct 1, 2007
    SE Pennsylvania

    I started out as a boxer. Studied Tae Kwon Do for a few years after college. Then back to boxing. In my late 30's I trained in MMA, not to compete, just to learn some techniques. Also studied with a martial arts expert to learn disarm and retention techniques as well unarmed defense against a knife and offensive techniques. His style was a mix of many classical styles. He trained for over 40 years.

    I was a light heavyweight as a boxer (amatuer). When I first began to study martial arts I knocked my instructor out with a left hook when he said to come at him full speed. He was a second degree black belt and in shape at 160 ibs. I outweighed him by 15 ibs and was in excellent condition too. It was a good punch but it wouldn't have knocked me out or anyone else I've faced in a two cents at least.

    Here's my observation on martial arts and hand to hand combat in general. Learn a few good techniques and become very adept at them. Really learn to throw a punch correctly, learn an arm bar technique and a few chokes and escapes. It takes time to learn them all and compete. You are better off learning a few things and practicing them often.

    Another thing I've observed is the first punch ends the fight 95% of the time. Most people give up after one punch because they've never been hit hard before. I've never seen an untrained person take a 3 punch combination from an amateur boxer with some skill and not go down. Boxer's are always the most sought after guys on a crew of least they were in my younger days.
  20. HK Dan

    HK Dan

    Mar 27, 2008
    I know, I know. I've been mirandized for the assault and I really don't want the prosecutor to be able to say "And then he bragged about it on the internet!"

    Suffice it to say that a guy pulled a gun on me, told me I was about to get shot, and Marc Denny's training saved my life and his. I don't think he'll ever step in close and make a threat again (bad call). The local sheriff knows what happened, and told me I did a good job, but mirandized me for my statement just the same. I think I'll keep 'er close to the vest for a minute. :)


    Btw--I called Marc and thanked him personally. He has the full story and has asked for a write up when the time comes. He'll have it first!