T Nation

Krav Maga/Systema?


#1

All of you! FIGHT ME!

You'll win, and that's what I need to change.

Guys, I'm looking to start a martial art. I've recently been looking into Krav Maga and Russian Systema specifically. MMA, I don't know what your experiences are, but where I am those places are full of angry teenagers and even younger instructors trying to replicate T.V fights. It's an embarrassment to what I'm certain is a bonafide sport, but none the less that isn't available to me.

What are your tips?


#2

Well, my first tip would be to not to stereotype the people in a given gym. If you investigated each place and found they don’t seem genuine, well, fair enough, but if you’re just making generalizations based on how the people you see walking in the doors look - and it kinda sounds like that - I’d say you should change your tune.

That being said, Krav Maga and Systema are, like most martial arts crafted for “ThE StReEtzzzz”, great if they’re taught by an instructor that understands their craft, but beyond awful if they aren’t. Krav especially is sorta like Crossfit - it’s trademarked (which is beyond ridiculous) so you pay a fee to have that sticker on your window. And, if you’re representing them you’ve gotta do THEIR moves exactly how they tell you to. And, having sat through a few of their classes at different places, I can tell you for sure some of those techniques not only don’t work, but will get you killed.

The problem I’ve found is that most folks new to martial arts don’t know what they don’t know. They think a movement will work because it’s worked on the floor at their krav or systema place, but they don’t have the experience to know that fuck no, that move is more dangerous to you than it is to the other guy for a myriad of reasons.

So unless you can say for certain that you’re learning from a top-notch reality-based self-defense instructor, you’re probably better off sticking with boxing, judo, or Brazilian jiu-jitsu. These sports will teach you the basics of weight distribution, footwork, angles, range, and body mechanics, and because they’re competitive, there’s no faking them - either your coach puts out good fighters/players, or he doesn’t.

Once you learn how to handle your body, and the basics of fighting, you’ll be much more able to not only learn more self-defense oriented arts, but also tell if the guy you’re working with is selling you a line of bullshit or the real deal.


#3

Quality advice above from Irish. I’d actually agree with you on your experience of MMA gyms, as it’s been my experience of them too for the most part. That’s not to say some aren’t fantastic, you only have to look at some of the quality fighters out there to see some are doing it right, but it does seem to attract more than its fair share of douchebags.

The best advice I’ve read on the matter, and I think it may be a Sentoguy trademark, is: ‘the best discipline is the one you will commit to and train properly’. Honestly, boxing, BJJ, Muai Thai, kung po (I think that one might be a type of chicken actually), it doesn’t really matter that much at the end of the day, so long as you’ll enjoy it and train hard at it for an extended period.

I appreciate it was tongue in cheek, but don’t worry about whether someone here would beat you. Someone will always beat you on their day, however good you get, and ultimately it is your resolve and depth of character together with any skill you may learn that will be the determining factor in the outcome of ‘real’ conflict. With that in mind, I’d encourage you to pick a discipline that will allow you to test yourself, and push you outside your comfort zone. For that I think boxing, MT, BJJ, and wrestling will most consistently deliver.

Like Irish, I’ve lost count of the number of ‘Krav’ guys who on hearing I box have rushed to tell me how much more dangerous they are than me, and that if they hit me I would be dead. This to my mind is a sure sign that they’ve been poorly trained, and have been dangerously mislead. I also know one guy who has also trained krav with the Israelis, who has extensive combat experience, who feels it has given him real options on top of his existing skill set. He has clearly been extremely well trained. All that’s to say, longwindedly, that where you train, and who trains you, matters far more than the art itself. The main advantage of boxing etc is that you don’t tend to labour under delusions of dangerousness for very long before some generous soul reminds you of your place in the pecking order. This is a very good thing in my opinion for all those who are serious about fighting. There is little more dangerous to your long term health than delusions of competence.


#4

[quote]LondonBoxer123 wrote:
I also know one guy who has also trained krav with the Israelis, who has extensive combat experience, who feels it has given him real options on top of his existing skill set. He has clearly been extremely well trained.
[/quote]

This reminds me of something Kelly McCann told me about this - paraphrased, it was, “If you know how to box, you know muay Thai, you know whatever, and then I give you a knife - doesn’t that make you that much more dangerous?”

Not to mention that because I box, his more specifically combative-type movements came much easier for me than they did for the untrained guys (or those who trained in some nonsense like tae kwon do) because I already knew how to sit into a strike or what footwork would get me in position.

[quote]
All that’s to say, longwindedly, that where you train, and who trains you, matters far more than the art itself. The main advantage of boxing etc is that you don’t tend to labour under delusions of dangerousness for very long before some generous soul reminds you of your place in the pecking order. This is a very good thing in my opinion for all those who are serious about fighting. There is little more dangerous to your long term health than delusions of competence. [/quote]

Yup. When you box, or know Judo, or whatever, you know EXACTLY what you’re capable of. Not so much when you’re doing some of these killer commando arts that are just TOO DANGEROUS to actually … train…


#5

Solid, solid, advise from Irish and Londonboxer,

London,

“There is little more dangerous to your long term health than delusions of competence” , take it from someone who makes their living mentoring and training people for combat, no truer statement has ever been written. Nothing will get you killed quicker than this, either in a back alley or in the current world of urban combat.

Irish,
" When you box, or know Judo, or whatever, you know EXACTLY what you’re capable of", so true. You MUST know this to survive and it is a constant challenge, because humans always lie to themselves, that why it is so important to train and surround yourself with people better than you. Nothing humbles you like being in an environment, whether it is a boxing gym, Judo Dojo, or gun range and everyone there is better than you. You either grow and get better, or leave and continue to lie to yourself.

OP,
There are a lot of threads on here about the “best martial art for the street”, lots of solid advice from the regulars. Also do a search on “Reality Martial Arts” or RMA by Sento. My PERSONAL experience with Krav: spent 6 weeks training with a mid east unit, excellent. Everywhere else I have seen it taught: crap. Just my 2 cents.


#6

Aside from the excellent advice already given I would add:

-The quality of the instruction is as, if not more in some cases, important than the name on the Storefront. An outstanding coach is an outstanding coach and a crappy coach is a crappy coach, regardless of the “style” being taught. Unfortunately, as Irish and London pointed out, Krav Maga has become a franchise with standards for certification to teach on par with things like P90X or Zumba. There are absolutely some very skilled instructors and practitioners out there, but there are plenty of others who have no real experience or skill.

-Iron sharpens iron. In order to develop fighting skill, you’ve got to fight. Seems pretty obvious, but you’d be surprised how often it gets neglected, especially in “Traditional” or Eclectic Martial Arts schools. The better your training partners are, the greater the level of competition, and consequently the better you will likely get (if you stick with it and train hard of course). This is why fighters often seek out other top fighters to train with.

-Systema is one of those Martial Arts that is so inconsistent in it’s quality and applicability that I would hesitate to encourage someone to train in it unless they had access to a legitimate Spetznaz instructor or agent who was teaching it to you and had used it in actual combat. It looks really pretty and cool, but generally speaking, the more “cool” something looks, the less realistic it is.


#7

Tons of quality advice on here, as usual!

My two pennies worth (I’m a UK subject!), I love Krav and think highly of it. That said, you need an idea of what you want and, as someone else pointed out, you don’t know what you don’t know. Speaking generally about martial arts, some classes pound the conditioning element, and you might get off on that, others may be more technique driven. Some will give you an opportunity to do some form of sparring, others will be pretty much non-contact. It’s finding out what works for you without having to hop between disciplines every few weeks.

Again, IMO, Krav opens the door to other disciplines. For example, I noted a lot of the strikes were borrowed from Muay Thai, which appealed to me to move into that for a bit. I also wanted to spar more, so it made sense to switch for a while. You are also guaranteed to have folk in Krav from other martial arts, and they can share their opinions on this - which is useful.

The upshot is I couldn’t have made that choice without doing Krav first. I also know I will go back to it because it is an excellent system for self-defence work, which many traditional systems don’t cover.


#8

I would agree that the instructor is what makes the most difference. I studied a few martial arts when I was younger (Judo/ Kung Fu/ Tae Kwon Do). And studied Krav Maga when I was a young adult with an incredible instructor.

But my best experience was in Systema. My instructor was a military guy who had used his martial knowledge in combat (street and military). Two things I loved about the way he managed the lessons. The first thing he taught you was to be humble. He exemplified it even though he definitely could boast if he wanted to. The second thing I loved about learning with him was that we really fought in classes.

There were no rules. We used real punches, real kicks and real holds. And you learn to handle it. I loved those classes.
If you find someone who is that good - study with him.


#9

[quote]DoBear wrote:
I would agree that the instructor is what makes the most difference. I studied a few martial arts when I was younger (Judo/ Kung Fu/ Tae Kwon Do). And studied Krav Maga when I was a young adult with an incredible instructor.

But my best experience was in Systema. My instructor was a military guy who had used his martial knowledge in combat (street and military). Two things I loved about the way he managed the lessons. The first thing he taught you was to be humble. He exemplified it even though he definitely could boast if he wanted to. The second thing I loved about learning with him was that we really fought in classes.

There were no rules. We used real punches, real kicks and real holds. And you learn to handle it. I loved those classes.
If you find someone who is that good - study with him. [/quote]

Cool that you got to train with a legit a Systema guy, not too many of them around.

I would argue and disagree with your last paragraph though, specifically the first sentence. The system I train in is seriously hardcore, and back in the day even more so. We’re talking about people getting chunks bit out of them, or fingers nearly bit off; full power strikes to the groin and back of the head (rabbit punches), full speed and power sparring with real impact weapons (and no protective gear), eye attacks, body handles (hair getting ripped out, ears getting nearly ripped off, small joint manipulations (and fingers getting snapped as a result of it, mine included), bareknuckle punches, full power kicks, clawing/scratching, etc…

We call this “Free Fighting” and we’ll still do it when the higher ranks go at it from time to time. The big problem with this type of training though is that injuries are just too common (especially when being done by less experienced people) to make it a common/safe training method, especially when protective gear and more controlled conditions can still create quality fighting skills without such a high risk for injury.

Even during “Free Fighting” though there are rules present (such as you can’t purposely kill your opponent, you have to stop if they submit, or go unconscious), you have to wait till your opponent is ready to begin, you can’t ambush your opponent after you have already given up and they start walking away (though we always train for that possibility anyhow, so you likely wouldn’t be successful anyhow), you can’t actually gouge the eyeballs out of the head, you can’t rip their testicles off, etcetera…

Yes there are far fewer rules than most sporting fights, and far far fewer than point sparring competitions, but there always have to be at least a few rules or you are going to wind up with people being dead, permanently disfigured, or hospitalized on a regular basis and thus you’re gonna run out of training partners/students very quickly.

And the truth is that even 1 rule makes it not a real fight, but at best “realistic” (and yes the fewer rules the more realistic it is, but again there is a risk vs reward that you need to take into account).


#10

[quote]DoBear wrote:
I would agree that the instructor is what makes the most difference. I studied a few martial arts when I was younger (Judo/ Kung Fu/ Tae Kwon Do). And studied Krav Maga when I was a young adult with an incredible instructor.

But my best experience was in Systema. My instructor was a military guy who had used his martial knowledge in combat (street and military). Two things I loved about the way he managed the lessons. The first thing he taught you was to be humble. He exemplified it even though he definitely could boast if he wanted to. The second thing I loved about learning with him was that we really fought in classes.

There were no rules. We used real punches, real kicks and real holds. And you learn to handle it. I loved those classes.
If you find someone who is that good - study with him. [/quote]

Does sound awesome and I would love to try that class. However, as Sento said, it is hard to see how this could be applied in the strict sense. As you know, in arts like Krav, hammer blows to the back of the head, kicks to the groin, and kicks to the side of the knees, throat strikes, etc. are typical. I have seen some people donning full body armour so they can take these but, although useful, it hardly mirrors real life.


#11

[quote]JamesBrawn007 wrote:
Tons of quality advice on here, as usual!

My two pennies worth (I’m a UK subject!), I love Krav and think highly of it. That said, you need an idea of what you want and, as someone else pointed out, you don’t know what you don’t know. Speaking generally about martial arts, some classes pound the conditioning element, and you might get off on that, others may be more technique driven. Some will give you an opportunity to do some form of sparring, others will be pretty much non-contact. It’s finding out what works for you without having to hop between disciplines every few weeks.

Again, IMO, Krav opens the door to other disciplines. For example, I noted a lot of the strikes were borrowed from Muay Thai, which appealed to me to move into that for a bit. I also wanted to spar more, so it made sense to switch for a while. You are also guaranteed to have folk in Krav from other martial arts, and they can share their opinions on this - which is useful.

The upshot is I couldn’t have made that choice without doing Krav first. I also know I will go back to it because it is an excellent system for self-defence work, which many traditional systems don’t cover.[/quote]

I actually tend to think that arts like Krav fill the gaps between sport combat systems like Boxing, Wrestling, Muay Thai, etc…and reality moreso than opening the door for them.

For instance, in self defense arts you’re going to spend a decent amount of time dealing with ambush attacks (like “sucker punches”), since that is how many real fights begin. You’re also going to learn about the moral and legal aspects of use of force, how choice speech and body language can enhance your physical and legal chances of prevailing in a fight, the realities of weapons and multiple opponents, and the differences that terrain/environment can make. None of these will ever be addressed in a sport martial art/combat sport, because none of them has any bearing on what they do.

However, should you find yourself locked in “active combat” the sport martial arts/combat sports provide excellent training opportunities to test your skills against full resistance and make great “delivery systems” (as Matt Thornton puts them) to allow you to utilize other shall we say “less sporting” means of fighting.

Some RMA’s provide both, and I’m sure some Krav schools do as well, but I have also seen plenty of Krav schools that don’t introduce sparring or full resistance training until higher levels. I personally feel is a mistake and one of the reasons why I didn’t choose to train in Krav, but I somewhat understand it since Krav seems to be going the way of “Mainsteam Martial Arts” and realizes that many people aren’t willing to accept the truth of combat and instead want something that will make them feel badass and confident without really having to get their “hands dirty” and actually develop combative skills. So far it’s become quite lucrative and the system has grown in notoriety and exposure, so in that sense it is clearly working for them, so kudos to them in that regard. From the purist RMA perspective though it’s difficult not to see it as watering the system down and giving people a falsely inflated sense of effectiveness. But that’s just my personal opinion.


#12

[quote]Sentoguy wrote:

[quote]DoBear wrote:
I would agree that the instructor is what makes the most difference. I studied a few martial arts when I was younger (Judo/ Kung Fu/ Tae Kwon Do). And studied Krav Maga when I was a young adult with an incredible instructor.

But my best experience was in Systema. My instructor was a military guy who had used his martial knowledge in combat (street and military). Two things I loved about the way he managed the lessons. The first thing he taught you was to be humble. He exemplified it even though he definitely could boast if he wanted to. The second thing I loved about learning with him was that we really fought in classes.

There were no rules. We used real punches, real kicks and real holds. And you learn to handle it. I loved those classes.
If you find someone who is that good - study with him. [/quote]

Cool that you got to train with a legit a Systema guy, not too many of them around.

I would argue and disagree with your last paragraph though, specifically the first sentence. The system I train in is seriously hardcore, and back in the day even more so. We’re talking about people getting chunks bit out of them, or fingers nearly bit off; full power strikes to the groin and back of the head (rabbit punches), full speed and power sparring with real impact weapons (and no protective gear), eye attacks, body handles (hair getting ripped out, ears getting nearly ripped off, small joint manipulations (and fingers getting snapped as a result of it, mine included), bareknuckle punches, full power kicks, clawing/scratching, etc…

We call this “Free Fighting” and we’ll still do it when the higher ranks go at it from time to time. The big problem with this type of training though is that injuries are just too common (especially when being done by less experienced people) to make it a common/safe training method, especially when protective gear and more controlled conditions can still create quality fighting skills without such a high risk for injury.

Even during “Free Fighting” though there are rules present (such as you can’t purposely kill your opponent, you have to stop if they submit, or go unconscious), you have to wait till your opponent is ready to begin, you can’t ambush your opponent after you have already given up and they start walking away (though we always train for that possibility anyhow, so you likely wouldn’t be successful anyhow), you can’t actually gouge the eyeballs out of the head, you can’t rip their testicles off, etcetera…

Yes there are far fewer rules than most sporting fights, and far far fewer than point sparring competitions, but there always have to be at least a few rules or you are going to wind up with people being dead, permanently disfigured, or hospitalized on a regular basis and thus you’re gonna run out of training partners/students very quickly.

And the truth is that even 1 rule makes it not a real fight, but at best “realistic” (and yes the fewer rules the more realistic it is, but again there is a risk vs reward that you need to take into account).[/quote]

No one was obligated to participate in any part of the class. As you moved along you joined more and more activities and everyone had the ability to leave or join any activity in the class. If the instructor felt someone was prematurely joining an activity, he would put himself in front of him and show the person with fighting that it was still too early.

I assure you I meant what I said when I said we had no rules. By doing it this way we learned our limits and our teacher had the good sense to lead us back to safer pastures if we were jumping ahead of ourselves.


#13

[quote]JamesBrawn007 wrote:

[quote]DoBear wrote:
I would agree that the instructor is what makes the most difference. I studied a few martial arts when I was younger (Judo/ Kung Fu/ Tae Kwon Do). And studied Krav Maga when I was a young adult with an incredible instructor.

But my best experience was in Systema. My instructor was a military guy who had used his martial knowledge in combat (street and military). Two things I loved about the way he managed the lessons. The first thing he taught you was to be humble. He exemplified it even though he definitely could boast if he wanted to. The second thing I loved about learning with him was that we really fought in classes.

There were no rules. We used real punches, real kicks and real holds. And you learn to handle it. I loved those classes.
If you find someone who is that good - study with him. [/quote]

Does sound awesome and I would love to try that class. However, as Sento said, it is hard to see how this could be applied in the strict sense. As you know, in arts like Krav, hammer blows to the back of the head, kicks to the groin, and kicks to the side of the knees, throat strikes, etc. are typical. I have seen some people donning full body armour so they can take these but, although useful, it hardly mirrors real life. [/quote]

That was not in Krav, rather in Systema. See my response to Sento. It was one of the best experiences I have ever had. I learned to understand my limits and respect them. I used to jump into fights whereas now, I am much more reserved. I remember during my first lesson, the teacher said to me “you know what the best defense is? learn to run fast in the opposite direction. Unless you’re protecting someone else”


#14

[quote]DoBear wrote:

[quote]Sentoguy wrote:

[quote]DoBear wrote:
I would agree that the instructor is what makes the most difference. I studied a few martial arts when I was younger (Judo/ Kung Fu/ Tae Kwon Do). And studied Krav Maga when I was a young adult with an incredible instructor.

But my best experience was in Systema. My instructor was a military guy who had used his martial knowledge in combat (street and military). Two things I loved about the way he managed the lessons. The first thing he taught you was to be humble. He exemplified it even though he definitely could boast if he wanted to. The second thing I loved about learning with him was that we really fought in classes.

There were no rules. We used real punches, real kicks and real holds. And you learn to handle it. I loved those classes.
If you find someone who is that good - study with him. [/quote]

Cool that you got to train with a legit a Systema guy, not too many of them around.

I would argue and disagree with your last paragraph though, specifically the first sentence. The system I train in is seriously hardcore, and back in the day even more so. We’re talking about people getting chunks bit out of them, or fingers nearly bit off; full power strikes to the groin and back of the head (rabbit punches), full speed and power sparring with real impact weapons (and no protective gear), eye attacks, body handles (hair getting ripped out, ears getting nearly ripped off, small joint manipulations (and fingers getting snapped as a result of it, mine included), bareknuckle punches, full power kicks, clawing/scratching, etc…

We call this “Free Fighting” and we’ll still do it when the higher ranks go at it from time to time. The big problem with this type of training though is that injuries are just too common (especially when being done by less experienced people) to make it a common/safe training method, especially when protective gear and more controlled conditions can still create quality fighting skills without such a high risk for injury.

Even during “Free Fighting” though there are rules present (such as you can’t purposely kill your opponent, you have to stop if they submit, or go unconscious), you have to wait till your opponent is ready to begin, you can’t ambush your opponent after you have already given up and they start walking away (though we always train for that possibility anyhow, so you likely wouldn’t be successful anyhow), you can’t actually gouge the eyeballs out of the head, you can’t rip their testicles off, etcetera…

Yes there are far fewer rules than most sporting fights, and far far fewer than point sparring competitions, but there always have to be at least a few rules or you are going to wind up with people being dead, permanently disfigured, or hospitalized on a regular basis and thus you’re gonna run out of training partners/students very quickly.

And the truth is that even 1 rule makes it not a real fight, but at best “realistic” (and yes the fewer rules the more realistic it is, but again there is a risk vs reward that you need to take into account).[/quote]

No one was obligated to participate in any part of the class. As you moved along you joined more and more activities and everyone had the ability to leave or join any activity in the class. If the instructor felt someone was prematurely joining an activity, he would put himself in front of him and show the person with fighting that it was still too early.

I assure you I meant what I said when I said we had no rules. By doing it this way we learned our limits and our teacher had the good sense to lead us back to safer pastures if we were jumping ahead of ourselves.
[/quote]

I think you are missing the point. If you know you are going to be in a fight before it starts, there are rules. If you know that no one will be knifed, there are rules. If you know that if someone gets knocked to the ground their head will not be stomped repeatedly by 5 or 6 of their opponents buddies until they have brain damage, there are rules. If you know that you know that if things get bad enough someone will stop the action before anyone gets killed, there are rules. If your training environment is managed for hazards (e.g. If you get knocked out your head won’t bounce of a curb or you won’t fall into traffic, land on broken glass etc), there are rules.

The fact that a person could choose not to participate in, to leave or join any of the activities and that the instructor was watching and providing a margin of safety also means there are rules. Real, no rules violence does not require 2 willing participants, just 1, and nobody is necessarily there to say “stop”. Training can and should (if real personal protection is the goal) strive to be as realistic as possible. However there are always rules and it can never actually be “real”. That’s why live experience and training are never quite the same and never can be.


#15

[quote]batman730 wrote:

[quote]DoBear wrote:

[quote]Sentoguy wrote:

[quote]DoBear wrote:
I would agree that the instructor is what makes the most difference. I studied a few martial arts when I was younger (Judo/ Kung Fu/ Tae Kwon Do). And studied Krav Maga when I was a young adult with an incredible instructor.

But my best experience was in Systema. My instructor was a military guy who had used his martial knowledge in combat (street and military). Two things I loved about the way he managed the lessons. The first thing he taught you was to be humble. He exemplified it even though he definitely could boast if he wanted to. The second thing I loved about learning with him was that we really fought in classes.

There were no rules. We used real punches, real kicks and real holds. And you learn to handle it. I loved those classes.
If you find someone who is that good - study with him. [/quote]

Cool that you got to train with a legit a Systema guy, not too many of them around.

I would argue and disagree with your last paragraph though, specifically the first sentence. The system I train in is seriously hardcore, and back in the day even more so. We’re talking about people getting chunks bit out of them, or fingers nearly bit off; full power strikes to the groin and back of the head (rabbit punches), full speed and power sparring with real impact weapons (and no protective gear), eye attacks, body handles (hair getting ripped out, ears getting nearly ripped off, small joint manipulations (and fingers getting snapped as a result of it, mine included), bareknuckle punches, full power kicks, clawing/scratching, etc…

We call this “Free Fighting” and we’ll still do it when the higher ranks go at it from time to time. The big problem with this type of training though is that injuries are just too common (especially when being done by less experienced people) to make it a common/safe training method, especially when protective gear and more controlled conditions can still create quality fighting skills without such a high risk for injury.

Even during “Free Fighting” though there are rules present (such as you can’t purposely kill your opponent, you have to stop if they submit, or go unconscious), you have to wait till your opponent is ready to begin, you can’t ambush your opponent after you have already given up and they start walking away (though we always train for that possibility anyhow, so you likely wouldn’t be successful anyhow), you can’t actually gouge the eyeballs out of the head, you can’t rip their testicles off, etcetera…

Yes there are far fewer rules than most sporting fights, and far far fewer than point sparring competitions, but there always have to be at least a few rules or you are going to wind up with people being dead, permanently disfigured, or hospitalized on a regular basis and thus you’re gonna run out of training partners/students very quickly.

And the truth is that even 1 rule makes it not a real fight, but at best “realistic” (and yes the fewer rules the more realistic it is, but again there is a risk vs reward that you need to take into account).[/quote]

No one was obligated to participate in any part of the class. As you moved along you joined more and more activities and everyone had the ability to leave or join any activity in the class. If the instructor felt someone was prematurely joining an activity, he would put himself in front of him and show the person with fighting that it was still too early.

I assure you I meant what I said when I said we had no rules. By doing it this way we learned our limits and our teacher had the good sense to lead us back to safer pastures if we were jumping ahead of ourselves.
[/quote]

I think you are missing the point. If you know you are going to be in a fight before it starts, there are rules. If you know that no one will be knifed, there are rules. If you know that if someone gets knocked to the ground their head will not be stomped repeatedly by 5 or 6 of their opponents buddies until they have brain damage, there are rules. If you know that you know that if things get bad enough someone will stop the action before anyone gets killed, there are rules. If your training environment is managed for hazards (e.g. If you get knocked out your head won’t bounce of a curb or you won’t fall into traffic, land on broken glass etc), there are rules.

The fact that a person could choose not to participate in, to leave or join any of the activities and that the instructor was watching and providing a margin of safety also means there are rules. Real, no rules violence does not require 2 willing participants, just 1, and nobody is necessarily there to say “stop”. Training can and should (if real personal protection is the goal) strive to be as realistic as possible. However there are always rules and it can never actually be “real”. That’s why live experience and training are never quite the same and never can be.
[/quote]

Exactly. There were rules, even if you didn’t realize there were. There are always rules in training, even in the most hardcore of environments.


#16

[quote]batman730 wrote:

[quote]DoBear wrote:

[quote]Sentoguy wrote:

[quote]DoBear wrote:
I would agree that the instructor is what makes the most difference. I studied a few martial arts when I was younger (Judo/ Kung Fu/ Tae Kwon Do). And studied Krav Maga when I was a young adult with an incredible instructor.

But my best experience was in Systema. My instructor was a military guy who had used his martial knowledge in combat (street and military). Two things I loved about the way he managed the lessons. The first thing he taught you was to be humble. He exemplified it even though he definitely could boast if he wanted to. The second thing I loved about learning with him was that we really fought in classes.

There were no rules. We used real punches, real kicks and real holds. And you learn to handle it. I loved those classes.
If you find someone who is that good - study with him. [/quote]

Cool that you got to train with a legit a Systema guy, not too many of them around.

I would argue and disagree with your last paragraph though, specifically the first sentence. The system I train in is seriously hardcore, and back in the day even more so. We’re talking about people getting chunks bit out of them, or fingers nearly bit off; full power strikes to the groin and back of the head (rabbit punches), full speed and power sparring with real impact weapons (and no protective gear), eye attacks, body handles (hair getting ripped out, ears getting nearly ripped off, small joint manipulations (and fingers getting snapped as a result of it, mine included), bareknuckle punches, full power kicks, clawing/scratching, etc…

We call this “Free Fighting” and we’ll still do it when the higher ranks go at it from time to time. The big problem with this type of training though is that injuries are just too common (especially when being done by less experienced people) to make it a common/safe training method, especially when protective gear and more controlled conditions can still create quality fighting skills without such a high risk for injury.

Even during “Free Fighting” though there are rules present (such as you can’t purposely kill your opponent, you have to stop if they submit, or go unconscious), you have to wait till your opponent is ready to begin, you can’t ambush your opponent after you have already given up and they start walking away (though we always train for that possibility anyhow, so you likely wouldn’t be successful anyhow), you can’t actually gouge the eyeballs out of the head, you can’t rip their testicles off, etcetera…

Yes there are far fewer rules than most sporting fights, and far far fewer than point sparring competitions, but there always have to be at least a few rules or you are going to wind up with people being dead, permanently disfigured, or hospitalized on a regular basis and thus you’re gonna run out of training partners/students very quickly.

And the truth is that even 1 rule makes it not a real fight, but at best “realistic” (and yes the fewer rules the more realistic it is, but again there is a risk vs reward that you need to take into account).[/quote]

No one was obligated to participate in any part of the class. As you moved along you joined more and more activities and everyone had the ability to leave or join any activity in the class. If the instructor felt someone was prematurely joining an activity, he would put himself in front of him and show the person with fighting that it was still too early.

I assure you I meant what I said when I said we had no rules. By doing it this way we learned our limits and our teacher had the good sense to lead us back to safer pastures if we were jumping ahead of ourselves.
[/quote]

I think you are missing the point. If you know you are going to be in a fight before it starts, there are rules. If you know that no one will be knifed, there are rules. If you know that if someone gets knocked to the ground their head will not be stomped repeatedly by 5 or 6 of their opponents buddies until they have brain damage, there are rules. If you know that you know that if things get bad enough someone will stop the action before anyone gets killed, there are rules. If your training environment is managed for hazards (e.g. If you get knocked out your head won’t bounce of a curb or you won’t fall into traffic, land on broken glass etc), there are rules.

The fact that a person could choose not to participate in, to leave or join any of the activities and that the instructor was watching and providing a margin of safety also means there are rules. Real, no rules violence does not require 2 willing participants, just 1, and nobody is necessarily there to say “stop”. Training can and should (if real personal protection is the goal) strive to be as realistic as possible. However there are always rules and it can never actually be “real”. That’s why live experience and training are never quite the same and never can be.
[/quote]

I was going to make a snarky comment about reading comprehension but I figure I’d just invite you to one of the lessons when you’re in the area after which we can discuss the idea of rules.


#17

[quote]DoBear wrote:

[quote]JamesBrawn007 wrote:

[quote]DoBear wrote:
I would agree that the instructor is what makes the most difference. I studied a few martial arts when I was younger (Judo/ Kung Fu/ Tae Kwon Do). And studied Krav Maga when I was a young adult with an incredible instructor.

But my best experience was in Systema. My instructor was a military guy who had used his martial knowledge in combat (street and military). Two things I loved about the way he managed the lessons. The first thing he taught you was to be humble. He exemplified it even though he definitely could boast if he wanted to. The second thing I loved about learning with him was that we really fought in classes.

There were no rules. We used real punches, real kicks and real holds. And you learn to handle it. I loved those classes.
If you find someone who is that good - study with him. [/quote]

Does sound awesome and I would love to try that class. However, as Sento said, it is hard to see how this could be applied in the strict sense. As you know, in arts like Krav, hammer blows to the back of the head, kicks to the groin, and kicks to the side of the knees, throat strikes, etc. are typical. I have seen some people donning full body armour so they can take these but, although useful, it hardly mirrors real life. [/quote]

That was not in Krav, rather in Systema. See my response to Sento. It was one of the best experiences I have ever had. I learned to understand my limits and respect them. I used to jump into fights whereas now, I am much more reserved. I remember during my first lesson, the teacher said to me “you know what the best defense is? learn to run fast in the opposite direction. Unless you’re protecting someone else”
[/quote]

Sure, I get that. I wasn’t talking about Systema per se but any martial arts class where there is an ‘anything goes’, as a kick to the side of the knee, hammer strike to the back of the neck, etc. Would soon put an end to that and most likely the culprits on an assault charge! However, as I said, guided sessions keeping it as real as possible does sound like an awesome learning experience which would mirror the closest scenario to a street fight. Again, your instructor’s guidance is also spot on as, unless you are a natural thug, it is better for so many reasons to avoid/prevent.


#18

[quote]DoBear wrote:

[quote]batman730 wrote:

[quote]DoBear wrote:

[quote]Sentoguy wrote:

[quote]DoBear wrote:
I would agree that the instructor is what makes the most difference. I studied a few martial arts when I was younger (Judo/ Kung Fu/ Tae Kwon Do). And studied Krav Maga when I was a young adult with an incredible instructor.

But my best experience was in Systema. My instructor was a military guy who had used his martial knowledge in combat (street and military). Two things I loved about the way he managed the lessons. The first thing he taught you was to be humble. He exemplified it even though he definitely could boast if he wanted to. The second thing I loved about learning with him was that we really fought in classes.

There were no rules. We used real punches, real kicks and real holds. And you learn to handle it. I loved those classes.
If you find someone who is that good - study with him. [/quote]

Cool that you got to train with a legit a Systema guy, not too many of them around.

I would argue and disagree with your last paragraph though, specifically the first sentence. The system I train in is seriously hardcore, and back in the day even more so. We’re talking about people getting chunks bit out of them, or fingers nearly bit off; full power strikes to the groin and back of the head (rabbit punches), full speed and power sparring with real impact weapons (and no protective gear), eye attacks, body handles (hair getting ripped out, ears getting nearly ripped off, small joint manipulations (and fingers getting snapped as a result of it, mine included), bareknuckle punches, full power kicks, clawing/scratching, etc…

We call this “Free Fighting” and we’ll still do it when the higher ranks go at it from time to time. The big problem with this type of training though is that injuries are just too common (especially when being done by less experienced people) to make it a common/safe training method, especially when protective gear and more controlled conditions can still create quality fighting skills without such a high risk for injury.

Even during “Free Fighting” though there are rules present (such as you can’t purposely kill your opponent, you have to stop if they submit, or go unconscious), you have to wait till your opponent is ready to begin, you can’t ambush your opponent after you have already given up and they start walking away (though we always train for that possibility anyhow, so you likely wouldn’t be successful anyhow), you can’t actually gouge the eyeballs out of the head, you can’t rip their testicles off, etcetera…

Yes there are far fewer rules than most sporting fights, and far far fewer than point sparring competitions, but there always have to be at least a few rules or you are going to wind up with people being dead, permanently disfigured, or hospitalized on a regular basis and thus you’re gonna run out of training partners/students very quickly.

And the truth is that even 1 rule makes it not a real fight, but at best “realistic” (and yes the fewer rules the more realistic it is, but again there is a risk vs reward that you need to take into account).[/quote]

No one was obligated to participate in any part of the class. As you moved along you joined more and more activities and everyone had the ability to leave or join any activity in the class. If the instructor felt someone was prematurely joining an activity, he would put himself in front of him and show the person with fighting that it was still too early.

I assure you I meant what I said when I said we had no rules. By doing it this way we learned our limits and our teacher had the good sense to lead us back to safer pastures if we were jumping ahead of ourselves.
[/quote]

I think you are missing the point. If you know you are going to be in a fight before it starts, there are rules. If you know that no one will be knifed, there are rules. If you know that if someone gets knocked to the ground their head will not be stomped repeatedly by 5 or 6 of their opponents buddies until they have brain damage, there are rules. If you know that you know that if things get bad enough someone will stop the action before anyone gets killed, there are rules. If your training environment is managed for hazards (e.g. If you get knocked out your head won’t bounce of a curb or you won’t fall into traffic, land on broken glass etc), there are rules.

The fact that a person could choose not to participate in, to leave or join any of the activities and that the instructor was watching and providing a margin of safety also means there are rules. Real, no rules violence does not require 2 willing participants, just 1, and nobody is necessarily there to say “stop”. Training can and should (if real personal protection is the goal) strive to be as realistic as possible. However there are always rules and it can never actually be “real”. That’s why live experience and training are never quite the same and never can be.
[/quote]

I was going to make a snarky comment about reading comprehension but I figure I’d just invite you to one of the lessons when you’re in the area after which we can discuss the idea of rules.
[/quote]

Not sure where my reading comprehension is lacking. You said there were no rules. Sento pointed out how there were still rules. You emphasized again that there were NO RULES. I disagreed.

Look, it sounds like you had some great training opportunities. If I found myself in the area I’d be very interested to check it out. That is, assuming that I could be reasonably confident that nobody will stab me repeatedly in the chest when I think I’m in a fist fight or ambush me and beat the shit out of me in the parking lot after I think class is over. I only ask because those are distinct possibilities if there are, in fact NO RULES, as you are so adamant that there aren’t.

Carry on.


#19

[quote]batman730 wrote:

[quote]DoBear wrote:

[quote]batman730 wrote:

[quote]DoBear wrote:

[quote]Sentoguy wrote:

[quote]DoBear wrote:
I would agree that the instructor is what makes the most difference. I studied a few martial arts when I was younger (Judo/ Kung Fu/ Tae Kwon Do). And studied Krav Maga when I was a young adult with an incredible instructor.

But my best experience was in Systema. My instructor was a military guy who had used his martial knowledge in combat (street and military). Two things I loved about the way he managed the lessons. The first thing he taught you was to be humble. He exemplified it even though he definitely could boast if he wanted to. The second thing I loved about learning with him was that we really fought in classes.

There were no rules. We used real punches, real kicks and real holds. And you learn to handle it. I loved those classes.
If you find someone who is that good - study with him. [/quote]

Cool that you got to train with a legit a Systema guy, not too many of them around.

I would argue and disagree with your last paragraph though, specifically the first sentence. The system I train in is seriously hardcore, and back in the day even more so. We’re talking about people getting chunks bit out of them, or fingers nearly bit off; full power strikes to the groin and back of the head (rabbit punches), full speed and power sparring with real impact weapons (and no protective gear), eye attacks, body handles (hair getting ripped out, ears getting nearly ripped off, small joint manipulations (and fingers getting snapped as a result of it, mine included), bareknuckle punches, full power kicks, clawing/scratching, etc…

We call this “Free Fighting” and we’ll still do it when the higher ranks go at it from time to time. The big problem with this type of training though is that injuries are just too common (especially when being done by less experienced people) to make it a common/safe training method, especially when protective gear and more controlled conditions can still create quality fighting skills without such a high risk for injury.

Even during “Free Fighting” though there are rules present (such as you can’t purposely kill your opponent, you have to stop if they submit, or go unconscious), you have to wait till your opponent is ready to begin, you can’t ambush your opponent after you have already given up and they start walking away (though we always train for that possibility anyhow, so you likely wouldn’t be successful anyhow), you can’t actually gouge the eyeballs out of the head, you can’t rip their testicles off, etcetera…

Yes there are far fewer rules than most sporting fights, and far far fewer than point sparring competitions, but there always have to be at least a few rules or you are going to wind up with people being dead, permanently disfigured, or hospitalized on a regular basis and thus you’re gonna run out of training partners/students very quickly.

And the truth is that even 1 rule makes it not a real fight, but at best “realistic” (and yes the fewer rules the more realistic it is, but again there is a risk vs reward that you need to take into account).[/quote]

No one was obligated to participate in any part of the class. As you moved along you joined more and more activities and everyone had the ability to leave or join any activity in the class. If the instructor felt someone was prematurely joining an activity, he would put himself in front of him and show the person with fighting that it was still too early.

I assure you I meant what I said when I said we had no rules. By doing it this way we learned our limits and our teacher had the good sense to lead us back to safer pastures if we were jumping ahead of ourselves.
[/quote]

I think you are missing the point. If you know you are going to be in a fight before it starts, there are rules. If you know that no one will be knifed, there are rules. If you know that if someone gets knocked to the ground their head will not be stomped repeatedly by 5 or 6 of their opponents buddies until they have brain damage, there are rules. If you know that you know that if things get bad enough someone will stop the action before anyone gets killed, there are rules. If your training environment is managed for hazards (e.g. If you get knocked out your head won’t bounce of a curb or you won’t fall into traffic, land on broken glass etc), there are rules.

The fact that a person could choose not to participate in, to leave or join any of the activities and that the instructor was watching and providing a margin of safety also means there are rules. Real, no rules violence does not require 2 willing participants, just 1, and nobody is necessarily there to say “stop”. Training can and should (if real personal protection is the goal) strive to be as realistic as possible. However there are always rules and it can never actually be “real”. That’s why live experience and training are never quite the same and never can be.
[/quote]

I was going to make a snarky comment about reading comprehension but I figure I’d just invite you to one of the lessons when you’re in the area after which we can discuss the idea of rules.
[/quote]

Not sure where my reading comprehension is lacking. You said there were no rules. Sento pointed out how there were still rules. You emphasized again that there were NO RULES. I disagreed.

Look, it sounds like you had some great training opportunities. If I found myself in the area I’d be very interested to check it out. That is, assuming that I could be reasonably confident that nobody will stab me repeatedly in the chest when I think I’m in a fist fight or ambush me and beat the shit out of me in the parking lot after I think class is over. I only ask because those are distinct possibilities if there are, in fact NO RULES, as you are so adamant that there aren’t.

Carry on.[/quote]

Or how about just show up to class and mow everyone down with an assault rifle? Or pump Sarin gas into the ventilation system and wipe everyone out before they even know you are there? Or throw in a flash bang grenade to stun everyone, then run in and start busting skulls with a baseball bat while everyone is disoriented.

Look, we get it, it was rough training, like I said I’ve done lots of that myself. But there were rules, period. Without ANY rules people would be going to the hospital and/or morgue every time you trained, you would run out of training partners really quickly, and the school would be shut down by lawsuits, insurance companies, or the state in very short order.