Empty Handed Training

Discussion in 'Strategies, Tactics, and Training' started by D.B. Cooper, Sep 22, 2022.

  1. D.B. Cooper

    D.B. Cooper Member

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    This is kind of a follow on topic to my earlier thread about trainers being booked out for a year in advance.

    I recently decided to look for "empty handed" training, specifically, Tae Kwon Do, Hapkido, or both. I already had some prior experience, many years ago, in Tae Kwon Do, so it was natural to gravitate that way. I quickly discovered that martial arts has become a day care center. I checked out all of the local dojos in my area, and all are primarily for children. Even the "adult" classes are 1-2 adults and 6-8 8th and 9th graders. (Nice, good kids as near as I could tell, but kids nonetheless.)

    What is going on? I spoke to one instructor who put it into two categories. Child care was there bread and butter, and ever since MMA/UFC hit mainstream entertainment, most of the adults started doing that. Is this what you are seeing in your dojos as well? Is there something out there that isn't MMA that also isn't kiddie care? I seem to recall that there were always adults in the TKD classes I took in my teen years. Anyone have any suggestions on what an adult looking for real hand to hand training should gravitate toward?

    The other thing I noticed is that this is expensive stuff. $2200/year at the one dojo that has any adults in the classes. (6 hrs per week of training.) Perhaps that isn't expensive compred to the $1820 I just spent at Gunsite for one week.
     
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  2. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    I’m very personal and highly controversial opinion, empty handed training is far superior for everyday life than firearms training.

    Tae Kwon Do for example, when one reaches a certain level and if taught well, will have certain balance, stamina, flexibility, hand eye coordination, muscle explosivity, and various other forms of agility. It is a very practical discipline.

    As far as cost, $2200/yr compared to $1800 for Gunsite isn’t exactly a fair comparison. The martial arts is an ongoing progressive training program and Gunsite was a one time thing. If you were to progress in Gunsite there would be more outlays of money for comparatively less value.

    All that said there may be better options than Tae Kwon Do. Krav Maga, BJJ, various forms of grapple combat, etc. seem to have more practical utility for the defense situations we perceive to be of highest regard.

    In the end, any physical training is better than nothing. A whole lot better. Something as simple as weightlifting and sticking to a training plan increases mental vacuity, toughness, strength, flexibility (if you stretch afterward), focus, concentration, and agility.

    They are all a discipline, just like shooting can be if done in a structured format.
     
  3. WrongHanded
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    WrongHanded Contributing Member

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    $2200 a year ÷ 52 weeks a year = $42.30

    $42.30 a week ÷ 6 hours per week = $7.05 per hour

    But you might consider a martial art designed to actually work against street violence. TKD is a sport, and Hapkido only works against people who aren't actively trying to beat your head in/kick your legs out/tackle you to the ground. The Gracie family (the origins of BJJ) proved repeatedly that most of those traditional martial arts don't really work. MMA then proved that BJJ alone doesn't work.

    Find a serious fighting school and you'll probably find fewer kids classes too.
     
  4. D.B. Cooper

    D.B. Cooper Member

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    Yeah, I looked at the only BJJ dojo in my area. They have separate kids class earlier in the day. (The TKD places do, too, but, as I said, even their "adult" classes are full of adolescents. I expect the BJJ facility to be the same.) Their pricing is about the same on a per-hour basis, but they offer about half as much "mat time" as the TKD places. The only Krav Maga dojo in town has an "adult" class with a minimum age of 13. smh.

    I would add that, while I don't know anything about Krav Maga, I really don't like MMA. On the surface, it gives me "Fight Club" movie vibes and just seems to be yet another pop-culture glorification of violence. I'm sure it's a case of having your cake and eating too.
     
  5. CoalCrackerAl

    CoalCrackerAl Member

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    I took up Okinwan Karate. Here is some info on it.
    Okinawan martial arts - Wikipedia

    I still practice on my own too keep my skills up. We did full contract sparing. Cant do it today. Health reasons.
     
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  6. Corpral_Agarn

    Corpral_Agarn Member

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  7. Matthew Temkin

    Matthew Temkin Member

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    I was taught something along these lines.








     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2022
  8. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    In my opinion, adults who seek self defense training are looking for realism. I believe that excludes most things other than Krav, BJJ, MMA, and to a lesser extent, boxing and Muay Thai. I know this will ruffle some feathers, but karate, kung fu, and the rest of that sort are seen either as woo-woo chi power silliness, or kid stuff.

    I personally prefer Muay Thai, but acknowledge its real shortcomings as self defense. It is very good against unarmed opponents - as long as you stay on your feet. It is worse than useless against armed attackers, as it does not address that subject at all, and several key components of Muay Thai are exactly the wrong thing to do against someone with a knife or gun.

    BJJ solves the problem of going to the ground, but doesn't address the problems of standup, or of weapons.

    MMA combines the best of Muay Thai and BJJ - and whatever else works - but again, doesn't address weapons. And yeah, there are a lot of backwards caps and punisher tattoos in most of those places. It may be worth putting up with - although ultimately, I didn't think so.

    Krav tries to be realistic, dealing with stand-up, groundwork, and weapons, and may be the best place for someone like the OP. It's far from perfect, but outside of the really specialized force-on-force stuff (which really ought to be more common, in my opinion - it is the gold standard) I can't think of anything more well-rounded.

    <edit> And yeah, the Krav place where I train has a lot of kids, even in the adult classes. I don't worry about it. They tend to hang out on one end and the adults on the other. If it really bothered me, I would stick to the level II and above classes, where there are very few kids - and most people can get to level II with just a few months of two or three times per week training.

    <another edit> Cost, around here, seems to be around $1200/year for just about any of the various gyms.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2022
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  9. Mike OTDP

    Mike OTDP Member

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    Yes, there's a lot of martial-arts-themed day care out there. But there are also some serious dojos. Don't confine yourself to one style when looking - the quality of instruction is FAR more important than which particular style. Check out clubs, too. I have the good fortune to live in an area that has a solid Matsamura Orthodox karate dojo, train with them.
     
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  10. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    I have experience in wrestling and judo through high school, a little bit of BJJ (OPTEMPO ruined that with deployments) and several different versions (I think 3- with me being "instructor qualified" in 1 of them) of "the latest way to do HTH" during my time in the military. As a discipline/sport/usefulness, my vote definitely goes to MMA. It is a complex game involving stand-up strikes, throws, sweeps, chokes, submissions, ground and pound, and so on. I have been training pretty hard in it for just under 4 years, and I supplement it with 1 no-spar kickboxing session a week to improve my striking IQ. The reason I choose MMA is because it is so "all-encompassing". Other combat sports like boxing, BJJ, and so on - while effective in there own universes all the time and often effective on the street, are very 1-dimensional. As someone who trains in MMA, you pick up on the vulnerabilities of these 1 dimensional combat sports REALLY fast. Meaning, if I am fighting a boxer, I try to take him down as quickly as possible with either traditional "shots" or judo throws, and start pounding his face. If my opponent is a BJJ fighter, he is going to get a lot of strikes and low leg kicks before we lock up. The point is to attack your opponent's vulnerabilities and get him out of his "comfort zone" as quickly as possible and overtake. Most people who get in confrontations on the street either rely on sucker punches or on aggressively employed bad techniques, where someone with a little experience can see what is coming a lot of the time. Time sparring with MMA rules will teach this and many more lessons- which will come with a certain amount of negative consequences.
    As far as where you train, combat sports and martial arts gyms, dojos, etc. are as varying as shooting "schools". There are all different levels, and the quality of the instruction depends 100% on the quality of the instructors. Where I train has kid's kickboxing and jujitsu classes that are more like the "day care" concept, with adults training during separate sessions. Sometimes students from the other classes will stay after just to watch the more advanced classes, with the goal of maybe transitioning into a higher level. The MMA class is the smallest classes there is, because most people don't want to go through with it. If you are serious about getting this type of training, look for classes that are adult only, and accept that most learning in these sports comes with some pain. Avoid businesses that will put their people in the ring at a low level of proficiency, or pressures everyone to compete, or with a reputation of bullying beginners. We have a reputation of teaching mat bullies who like to pick on the less experienced painful lessons. Where I train only has a few fighters that actually compete in MMA and kickboxing- the owner isn't one to sacrifice people early who may have potential to be better later, not to mention that it doesn't help the rep of the gym. All of the competitors from where I train do pretty well, though some of the time they are just beating up someone another gym put into the ring before they probably should have. One of our fighters just won his first pro MMA fight and is looking for a contract. While this may seem intimidating to someone walking into such a place for the first time as a beginner, in a good dojo, it won't matter- regardless of the background you may claim to have, a good dojo will assess every new student and work to bring him or her "up" without sending that person home after the first lesson with a concussion or fracture.
    So, best advice- shop around, and beware of anyone who wants you to sign a contract up front, look at the reputation of where you want to train, TRY not to be intimidated, be prepared to put the work in if you want to reach any level of proficiency, and accept that you will be outside of your comfort zone to get there. This is how you get better and become more confident, no matter what specific combat sport you choose.

    If you want to learn more things that are "weapons-centric", I would recommend Krav- IF you can find a legit school, but AFTER you have obtained a foundation in unarmed combat.

    spar 2.png
     
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  11. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    This, in my opinion, is excellent advice. I've signed two such contracts at fighting gyms and had terrible experiences at both. Everywhere I've gone since has been month-to-month, with much better results.
     
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  12. shafter

    shafter Member

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    In my opinion BJJ is where it's at for realistic empty hand self defense that actually does full on live rolling. Where I train I'm also learning judo throws as well.

    Muay thai, wresting, and boxing are all good as well but maybe harder to find. As far as adolescents there is a good mix of ages where I train but leans towards younger. Let's face it, fighting is a young man's game. If you want good training you're going to be going at it pretty hard and past a certain age you're gonna feel it for a few days after.
     
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  13. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    BJJ is an excellent tool, and much better by itself than nothing. Someone experienced in BJJ has a huge advantage on the ground- the challenge is getting there, since the ground isn't where we live. You may find yourself in striking range way before you are in grappling range, so the chances of getting hit in order to get to where you are able to do your best work is the first thing to be concerned about. MOST "street fighters" open up with an overextended bomb with their power hand- 89% chance it will be from their right side.
     
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  14. WrongHanded
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    WrongHanded Contributing Member

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    Very true.

    BJJ and other grappling arts have one distinct advantage over striking arts: If you're not trapped on the ground, you have a chance to disengage. But if you are trapped on the ground, and you don't know what to do, you're screwed.

    A combination is best, but if only learning one, it really needs to included ground fighting IMO.
     
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  15. DMW1116

    DMW1116 Member

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    The best argument I’ve heard in favor of BJJ or other grappling as a starter came from one of Jocko Willink podcasts. If someone tries to box with or kick me, I can run away/leave. That was his general advice for civilian defense anyway. He recommended starting with grappling/BJJ because that option is removed once someone grabs you. When I trained, MMA was in its infancy. I ended up cross training in Judo and kickboxing at separate places.
     
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  16. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    The only issue I have with BJJ is that it's great so long as you've only got one opponent at a time. If the dude's got a buddy, I don't want to find out about it while I'm laying on the ground.

    I think it's a great tool to have, but I wouldn't want it to be my only form of training.
     
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  17. TomJ
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    TomJ Contributing Member

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    I studied Goju Shorei Karate for over 30 years. The school I went too was great but closed, and I've been pretty particular in looking for schools for my sons as too many don't do a good job of teaching realistic self defense. My youngest son is 15, and when looking for a school for him we chose a Krav Maga school. It's a style that focuses on self defense and teaches realistic techniques. I'd take a look at the Krav school in your area.
     
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  18. whisler

    whisler Member

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    My buddy has studied Krav for several years now. His instructor says that Krav Maga is not a martial art, because there is no "art" to it, it is just brutal.
     
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  19. Corpral_Agarn

    Corpral_Agarn Member

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    For me, I was looking for an effective discipline where I wasn't taking intentional blows to the head.
     
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  20. DMW1116

    DMW1116 Member

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    There were a few hard throws in Judo. I only had my bell rung 2-3 times in kickboxing. I got kicked in the head just as hard a couple times by a pair rolling on the Judo mat behind me. It wasn’t a concern then but now I am of the same mind set.
     
  21. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    You guys are wusses. I've experienced no effects from getting kicked in the head or even from that time when that thing with the carburetor that was kind of blue and sunflower. Pork chop!
     
  22. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    Excellent point here.

    The typical street thug isn't too confident on his own. The ones I worry about travel in pairs or packs. Your years of training in whatever discipline you subscribe to can go out the window PDQ if you encounter one of these groups. I'm pretty confident about my chances in a stand-up fight, but if I go to ground one-on-one, oh well. Then I'm gonna be concerned about those extra guys standing around...

    PS: I absolutely hate getting hit in the face or the head.
     
  23. DMW1116

    DMW1116 Member

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    The benefit a skilled grappler/BJJ practitioner has in a multiple opponent scenario is they have more of a say in whether or not they get taken to the ground and if they do they have more options on how to get back up. Wrestlers are probably better in this regard but any grappling art has lots of practice on how to avoid being taken down.

    Multiple opponents are a problem regardless of system. Even Musashi used the narrow paths in a rice field to limit his engagements to many short 1 v 1 encounters during his many vs one sword fight.
     
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  24. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    BTW, I don't have a punisher tat, and when I wear a ball cap, it is bill-forward.
     
  25. Good Ol' Boy

    Good Ol' Boy Member

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    I took Okinawan Kempo for several years in latter High School. Its served me well in a variety of ways, especially the few scuffles I got in. Thats all I have for personal experience.

    But I remember my teacher handing me VHS tapes of recorded UFC fights to check out. This was back in the infancy of the UFC.

    I don't practice any more as I have leg issues that prevent me from doing so. But I still watch and read a whole lot in regards to this topic.

    As much as I like Wing Chun I think the best combo nowadays is BJJ mixed with Maui Thai for general SD, even if you're not competitive.
     
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