Aug 2, 2007

The Importance Of Aliveness in Martial Arts Training

Matt Thornton of Straight Blast International Gym explains the difference between "Alive" and "Dead" training, aka "resisting vs compliant" partner drilling.

Why is this so important?
Because this is the inherent problem of most Martial Arts Schools. When the partner offers no resistance, it's the equilvalent of thinking that you can defend yourself by doing kata and nothing else. No one's going to LET you punch/kick/throw/lock/choke them. If it was really like that, Self Defense training would be a walk in the park.
"Okay, today, we'll be learning how to defend against a knife attack. Watch as this high block to front kick combination works perfectly."

Do I really need to post that Jim Carrey SNL video again?

It's really amazing how people still don't recognize that some arts, whether it is Aikido, Systema, etc, etc, are just completely filled to the brim with compliancy.
It's not that complaint drilling is completely bad- it teaches proper form. It's just that it's bad when it's ONLY compliant drilling. Application is almost impossible when one has not learned how to deal with a resisting opponent.
That's really the true test of a technique: "Does it require the person not resisting/moving/attacking me?"

So, don't be cheated into learning at an overpriced/underqualified school- make sure you're actually learning something! You're taking Martial arts to learn how to defend yourself, not to how to dance.



Phi Le said...

I agree wholeheartedly, but I feel there is a place for compliance. When a student has first learned a technique, I feel they must first understand it (in an intellectual as well as bodily sense) as it would be, if it were executed perfectly without any resistance. Once they have a firm grasp, they should then practice it with gradually increasing degrees of resistance. They should, by no means, however, practice it without resistance for too long as that may develop bad habit.

ysc87 said...

oh, of course- I guess the post was a bit rushed, but it's a bit ridiculous to assume just because someone trains in an alive manner, proper form should not be introduced first.
Understanding a technique by practicing by yourself or with a compliant partner is a no brainer in most cases, but it's the fact that a large portion of martial artists just don't bother to put their so called perfect techniques through any sort of semi-real testing after they understand the technique that's the problem.

Mano said...


Self defense training can save you from the attacks in the real world. In real world an attack is usually over within a short time. A proper self defense training will allow you to use simple techniques to instantly avoid the attacker.