The 3 kinds of fights

Check out John Hackleman’s excellent vlog above about the three kinds of fights. Hackleman is Chuck Liddell’s coach, and he makes excellent points about the 3 kinds of fights: MMA fights, kid playground fights, and adult self-defense. If I were a martial arts coach, I would make sure that all of my students knew which fights they were training for. A punch is a punch, and all fights require good physical fitness, but each category has its own goals and aims, and therefore each requires its own preparation. I agree with everything that Hackleman says, and here are some of my thoughts:

a) For MMA fights, the goal is to win by the rules. So if you know there are three rounds of 5 minutes each, you have to budget your energy so that you don’t gas out. If you know that knees to the head are illegal against a downed opponent, feel free to put your hand to the floor so he can’t knee you in the head. If you get an extra $5k for KO’ing someone with a head kick, practice your head kick. It’s not about self-defense, nor is about inflicting pain. It’s about winning in a way that makes sense. If you happen to lose, it could be a big deal but it’s never the end of the world; you can always fight again.

b) For kid playground fights, Hackleman points out that the main reason behind bullying is domination. In a playground fight, there is self-defense involved (don’t put your hand to the floor because you can get kneed to the head), but it’s not life-or-death. In most cases, you’d be best not to simply try to defend yourself and get away. You’re best off fighting in a way that makes a loud statement–punch the bully in the face and make sure he feels some pain. It’ll decrease your chances of future bullying. As Hackleman says, even if you lose in a playground fight against a bully, it’s likely that the bullying will stop. Bullies tend to look for easy targets.

c) Self-defense has no rules during the fight, but it there are lots of rules that could apply in the courts after the fight. You don’t know if your opponent has a knife, a gun, or friends. There are no 5-minute rounds, so expect to go all out–you will be completely gassed after 30 seconds–less if you’re not in shape. There’s no putting up your hands and sparring. As I said, you don’t know if your opponent has a knife or a gun. Once you’re certain it’s going down, you’re just going to charge forward and start throwing. There’s no such thing as losing because if you lose, it’s quite possible you’ll end up dead. And if you win on the streets, you can still lose in the courts.

Of course there’s overlap in all three of these categories, but it’s important to train specifically for what you’re looking to accomplish. There’s no point in studying the repercussions of the law if you’re only doing MMA. There’s no point in training around Unified rules if you’re just doing it for self-defense. If you’re trying to defeat a bully, there’s an entire verbal component of self-defense that you need to train. Regardless of your purpose in martial arts, you need to know what you’re training for.

43 thoughts on “The 3 kinds of fights

  1. Good point on training children in martial arts. It has answered my questions about its utility.

    “Self-defense has no rules during the fight, but it there are lots of rules that could apply in the courts after the fight. You don’t know if your opponent has a knife, a gun, or friends. There are no 5-minute rounds, so expect to go all out–you will be completely gassed after 30 seconds–less if you’re not in shape. There’s no putting up your hands and sparring. As I said, you don’t know if your opponent has a knife or a gun. Once you’re certain it’s going down, you’re just going to charge forward and start throwing. There’s no such thing as losing because if you lose, it’s quite possible you’ll end up dead. And if you win on the streets, you can still lose in the courts”

    I don’t understand this? What self-defense situation do we mean? A robbery? Mugging? Home invasion? Rape and murder where they begin by shooting the husband or boyfriend in the head? Terrorist attack or grievance collector mass murder? Angry people looking for trouble? Situational awareness is your best defence and is in fact your ONLY defence. If you don’t know if an attacker has a gun, a knife, backup, and they surprise you, you will be dead if its a serious attack. So you are supposed to know, who is around you at all times, places and locations you may be vulnerable, patterns of attack employed by criminals, and awareness of being stalked, interviewed or being observed, location of your own backup and safe haven, police response times, your personal alarm and sos systems. Forget about hand to hand if its a serious threat. Firearms, evasion and backup will be more important.

    People conceal guns and knives in the usual places and it’s difficult to draw and arm a gun when you’re already in a melee. The real threat is when you’ve got a bead on you. If you have time, look for their backup first, where they are in relation to you, where their hands are, and if they have vehicles.

    I am unsure of the utility of even training in “street self-defence” since if the street is really that dangerous, your chances of survival increase exponentially just by moving out entirely, or forming a militia for collective defence.

  2. “Once you’re certain it’s going down, you’re just going to charge forward and start throwing. There’s no such thing as losing because if you lose, it’s quite possible you’ll end up dead. And if you win on the streets, you can still lose in the courts. – See more at: http://www.bigwowo.com/2016/05/the-3-kinds-of-fights/#comment-323188

    Going forward and start throwing at full power is what most guys do in such a situation, including the instigators of violence, but why would you do that? If you train and train hard, you’re already more competent than 60% of people in your weight category. PLUS, a lot of guys that fight on the street are actually ineffective. They put a lot of strength and energy into attacks that are ineffective.

    Instigators of street violence as a hobby commonly roam in packs and they always pick their targets. The threat profile is also different. They could try to masquerade as drunk or angry people in order to get close enough to sucker punch you and deliver the knockout blows they practice on their friends and each other.

    Let’s say that 90% of “street” violence happens by people closing the distance, then trying to land full power flurries of punches on the other guy’s head, and if they fail it devolves into a mess of ineffective grappling and grabbing as they try to get into position to finish the fight with more punches to the head. Why would you do the same thing and slug it out? It’s not efficient. You have no control over the tempo or momentum of your attack. If you observe, in a street fight or even just a training simulation, the ones who put their full power in but they’re not in a good position always take a second or a moment longer to react or recover. If you don’t succeed, you will now always be reacting.

    When they begin they’re not controlling the distance and they are not aware of it. They have one default that is to close the distance and deliver punches. Or maybe they’re thinking about “shooting” or Blowjob Jitsu “takedowns”. They’re not thinking about getting badly hurt by fast kicks to their groin and lower body or getting their legs swept from under them or knee broken/twisted and then having to fight on their ass because they can’t get up, or getting knocked out by a knee to the face or just one hammer blow to the back of their head because they tried to “shoot”. The sucker punchers certainly aren’t able to fight from knockout blows that don’t land or setups that failed to work. They won’t be able to fight if you blow their cover, such as when they’re shouting and getting “in your face” and relying on you to be passive and submissive so they can deliver a proper sucker punch, but you begin by backing off with your arms up and then triggering the attack prematurely by rapidly stepping forward FAST and pushing them HARD to control the distance or tip them on their ass.

    That’s the interesting thing the felons know that most civilians don’t. Getting in someone’s face and yelling doesn’t even qualify as an assault so they use it to paralyze you, try to back you in a corner or dupe you into leaving your chin up in defiance, in jurisdictions where the first punch is considered the instigator, so you try to back off ineffectually or “dare” the other person to strike first, or hope the problem goes away. But if the fight begins with pushing then it’s mutual combat. There is a difference. A lot of guys who depend on a setup lose the advantage when the setup is broken. Use surprise and misdirection to your advantage.

    I think what I’m trying to say is, it’s good to train hard but if you’re serious, then effective self defence has to be about not just defeating the obvious opponent but in staying on top of and in control of the environment around you.

    We should also be realistic about the threat and risk profiles we face. If we always go out at night and share street space with drunkards and angry people the risk of an altercation increases. But what about when you get married and don’t go out so late anymore, because you’re now a family man? The threats and risks you face become different. All that time spent fighting from the ground on your ass, taking on two attackers in the dojo, etc has become just a hobby. If before you had a 1/250 chance of being attacked now the odds have become 1/1500 or more. You won’t even have a buddy with you as you go about your business. You are now more likely to become a victim of an armed mugging or a deadly home invasion than someone who wants to start shit with you with his fists.

  3. I agree that there’s an additional skill of trying to control the environment.

    They have one default that is to close the distance and deliver punches. – See more at: http://www.bigwowo.com/2016/05/the-3-kinds-of-fights/#comment-323191

    Assuming your opponent has made clear his intention to hurt or kill you, I think that’s what the most effective street combat looks like–close the distance and hit. You don’t want to be standing on the perimeter like a boxer or MMA fighter. You don’t want to go to the ground. It’s too dangerous because he could have a gun, knife, or friends. You want to do whatever you can to avoid having to fight, but if it’s clear that he’s in your space and poses a danger, you have to do what you have to do.

    In a lot of cases, you might not even have to move that far forward because he will have already invaded your space in order to set up the sucker punch.

  4. “In a lot of cases, you might not even have to move that far forward because he will have already invaded your space in order to set up the sucker punch. – See more at: http://www.bigwowo.com/2016/05/the-3-kinds-of-fights/#comment-323193

    Not a wise thing to give advise on street fights on the internet. These things are geography dependent. In US people might start shooting, where I grew up people might attack with iron rods or some sharp edged weapon. Martial arts training would probably make your reaction time better, and some self-defence training might at least prepare you (somewhat) against someone with an iron rod (but no training).

  5. John,

    I think it’s pretty universal no matter where you are. Don’t allow yourself to get hit first. If you’re going to get hit, you’d better hit first, regardless of where you live. The only exception is if the odds are overwhelming, i.e. he’s got a gun or knife that you can see. In that case, just curl up in a ball and shout “Vincent Chin!” in a very loud voice.

    Not a wise thing to give advise on street fights on the internet.

    If you’re talking about liability…John Hackleman said it first!

    No, but seriously, I agree 100% with John Hackleman, and I’m endorsing his views 100%. There’s nothing against the law here–the law allows you to defend yourself. I truly don’t believe you should ever let someone just molest you at will, and if he’s made it clear that he’s going to kill you anyway, it’s self-defense. Don’t go looking for the fight, but if it’s there and it’s unavoidable, you need to do what you need to do.

  6. I think the combat element is a vital, but also does not represent the whole or sum of self-defence. There are other elements that are more important. I don’t mean to diminish from being able to fight well, I just feel that it’s not “complete” without a broader and more comprehensive perspective. It’s not enough to train for combat, even if you train hard. The training is a basic requirement, what will be vital is understanding how danger happens and develops.

    Even in scenarios where a guy is going to stab you or shoot you, this scenario doesn’t just happen out of thin air. You aren’t typically suddenly confronted with a guy who whips out his knife or a gun with an intention to kill. There are often “tells” or things that were going on beforehand that, if you can detect early, gives you the chance to prepare and respond appropriately.

    No you don’t have to give up and cry “Vincent Chin!”. :p

  7. I agree with all that, Sengge. If you can avoid it, avoid it. That’s another thing to be said about MMA: it’s the best place to test your MA. The streets are not the place to try things out. If you win, you don’t really get anything. And if you lose, you lose a whole lot. Making things even worse, there’s always an element of chance. You could be a great fighter, but if you happen to put your face in the wrong place, it could be a bad day for you. Understanding the environment is the best way to avoid fights, and if you can avoid it, that’s the best course of action.

  8. No, I’m not saying avoiding fights is the best. There are times where it’s better for you to fight and beat ass. It might not even be a potentially lethal situation. Maybe some guy is trying to finger your girlfriend against her will. You can walk away but that’s not likely to help your relationships. Or maybe someone grabs your handphone off your table and smirk’s at you “Watcha gonna do about it”. What I’m saying is that you can’t look at only the combat, you have to be ready before that. You can only be ready by being constantly aware of your environment, who’s in it, observing and sizing up threats and potential threats, and this informs you of how to respond and what level of violence to use.

    Many self-defense instructors play up knives, guns, getting killed, getting injured, multiple opponents, but this may be to encourage and play up the fear and siege mentality that drives people to enrol in self-defense in the first place, and then to get them to keep paying the fees. The fear and anxiety of being vulnerable. If you were truly vulnerable, you would move in a pack and always have a buddy. This means you no longer fight alone, so why is all the sparring done alone?

    Lets says that the stress scenarios involving bigger opponents, multiple opponents, simulated knives, guns, surprise, injury are meant to help you to retain the ability to function, and not just teach you to perform “correct” actions out of reflex. Let’s say they are meant to help train you to possess a mindset of aggressive domination and control over your opponent and the environment even under odds, instead of only inculcating a siege, fear and “fight or flight” reflex.

    You are not always the underdog. Just my opinion, but the majority of guys who fight don’t actually have background or training in fighting. They do so out of anger, drunkenness, seething grievance or some desire to dominate. They are not full time fighters. If you train, you are already better than 60% of people in your weight class.

    If you train, why not train not just to react, but also to control and dominate the opponent and the environment? Why not train to be ready, to be alert, to be prepared, not out of fear but for mastery over fate?

    Yes, going in fast and delivering a flurry of blows successfully to the face and head will end the fight. But there are many other ways. Why employ only one range, when you train in other ranges? Flurries of full power blows are not the only way to end fights. If you’re fighting non-professionals, there are so many ways to open up their defences for finishers, or even degrade the defences and guards of semi-pros. In school we used to trap poorly delivered punches and kicks, or deliver swift, hard roundhouse kicks to opponents trying to run away or back out of punches to the face. This was something we learned on our own with no instruction. This was child’s play. It was instinct. I assume that hard MMA training will fill up your repertoire.

    The environment and circumstances plays such a huge role. I think the self-defense instructors downplaying this and selling formulas and solutions do a grave injustice to their followers. If you were in Singapore and a larger, drunk but “soft” white expat with a large beer belly tried to lay hands on you, would you punch his lights out and give him multiple facial fractures? It’s different from a fight that begins in an English pub filled with crackers, right? If there’s a road rage situation and two guys step out of the car and move on you, would you pull out one of those judo moves meant to kill people on the spot? Technically yes it can be argued being ganged up on by two violent and hostile opponents has a high chance of being lethal. But overpowering force is not necessarily the best way to handle every situation. I thought that the MMA and self-defense training is meant to widen your repertoire.

  9. I think I agree with Sengge overall. Some jujitsu self-defence is useful in controlling a single attacker instead of breaking his nose. Situational awareness, and avoiding certain places is to me a good advice. Long time back, we had a guy who use to train with us full-contact. He would get drunk and get into fights. Usually gets beat-up by multiple attackers. Don’t be that guy.

    Random mugging can go either way. More organized robbery where they put big rocks on the road, and then come attack your car with iron rods is tougher to repel. Don’t travel to such places alone at night, and carry something. I don’t read such things in the US.

    You have to know your environment. Walking through slums at night for a man in Brazil and India, I imagine, are very different experiences.

  10. “As Hackleman says, even if you lose in a playground fight against a bully, it’s likely that the bullying will stop. Bullies tend to look for easy targets.”

    This is true. If a smaller guy gets in a bigger guys face if bullied, tells them to shut up when harassed, fuck off, etc, and pushes back when physically confronted, the big bully will likely give up. Also what’s interesting is that bullies usually aren’t the biggest guys around: they are typically either smaller, average, or maybe slightly above average in size, and are trying to stake out their position in the pack. They themselves have usually almost always been bullied.

    There was an attitude I adopted when dealing with bullies. I learned it from Joe Pesci’s character in Goodfellas, Nicky (who was a small guy) as described by Ray Liotta’s character.

    “You beat Nicky with fists, he comes back with a bat. You beat him … And you beat him with a gun, you better kill him, because he’ll keep comin’ back and back until one of you is dead”

    Basically without outright threatening the bully you let him know that even if he ultimately wins the fight & beats you up, you aren’t afraid to fight and will beat him pretty badly and it won’t be a short fight. And you let him know that afterwards you will come back at him again and again when you start feeling better. In other words it won’t be painless for him and ultimately he will lose. Most bullies won’t bother after a while because they are trying to dominate and not incur any costs or embarrassment.

  11. “For kid playground fights, Hackleman points out that the main reason behind bullying is domination.”

    Is it just my observation or doesn’t bullying get the worst in 7th-8th grade (puberty) and then tappers off for most people in high school…

  12. The Blah,

    It’s great stuff to know, right? I think most smaller kids worry about getting beaten up, but in the end, it will end the bullying.

    There’s probably also some good lessons for kids in how to manage the crowd. You can embarrass a bully with your words. There’s probably a lot of training that can be done in that area as well.

    Now here’s a question. What if the bully knows martial arts? This video has been making the rounds:
    http://www.bjpenn.com/mma-news/paige-vanzant/video-kid-lays-ultimate-beatdown-bully-school/

    People have been saying that that BJJ kid was bullied. I don’t know about that. It’s really not clear who the bully is. And I think the BJJ kid went overboard. He could’ve just as easily sat on top of him in the rear mount and talked his way into peace rather than putting an armbar on him. If this video got to the principal, I’d hope she would suspend both boys.

    Sengge and John,

    I agree.

    I think that part of the “training” also should involve the words you use and the places that you go. A lot of problems can be avoided with carefully applied words and actions. Most fights start on the verbal level, so a big part of mastering self-defense has to involve verbal defense. This is true with both bullies AND street attackers.

  13. http://www.bjpenn.com/mma-news/paige-vanzant/video-kid-lays-ultimate-beatdown-bully-school

    Bullying is a pattern of behavior, not just a single incident. In the video above, black shirt was clearly the aggressor. His body language said that he wanted a fight, even though he did not have the resolve.

    However it could just have been a disagreement that the red shirted boy could have just defused and walked away from, or at least called truce. They could have talked about it. A shoulder check and a push without resolve is just a weak challenge and does not hurt anybody. I do not see the kind of sustained sadism that usually accompanies a bullying episode.

    But ok, so they want to fight. But the arm bar?? Isn’t that a move meant to break arms? I don’t know what the hell people are teaching in MMA dojos these days. It’s like they make it a taboo subject and try to impose an information embargo on the most violent moves but that just results in people training unsafely even when under supervision, or doing things without knowing what the hell they are doing.

    Somebody needs to clue these kids in properly, and judging from the comments on that video’s page, large parts of the MMA “community” are definitely too stupid for such a simple task.

  14. That video was cathartic. It looks like the kid with the black t-shirt started it, but maybe he was coming back after a previous encounter so who knows.

    Usually quiet timid guys are bullied. If in a loud voice the kid or adult being bullied says shut up, or shut the fuck up while also walking in towards & in front of the (i.e. “get in his face) bully, that can stop it, however the person being bullied has to be prepared to fight. But once that is done the odds of a real fight are rare. Almost always the bully does NOT want to fight. The kid who is bullied does not want to fight either, but he has to pull of the bluff and pretend he actually likes to fight if it gets to that.

    The bully knows that if he is a lot bigger than the person he is bullied and beats up the smaller guy, the bully actually looks worse in the eyes of normal people (i.e. “picking on the little guy”). His popularity will actually go down.

    One caveat that goes against my previous advice. In certain cases it is best not to fight bullies. Most bullies won’t use knives, guns or bats, but, at least in my jr. high & high school there were a couple of real thugs who would use weapons. Because in most schools there aren’t many guys like this, it’s probably not work getting in a real fight with them because getting knifed just isn’t worth it. These kids will usually drop out of school or get tossed in juvie at some point. Granted, if most of your school has kids like this the bully will have to be physically confronted, however it also means the kids have really bad parents for allowing them to be in that sort of environment.

  15. People have been saying that that BJJ kid was bullied. I don’t know about that. It’s really not clear who the bully is. And I think the BJJ kid went overboard. He could’ve just as easily sat on top of him in the rear mount and talked his way into peace rather than putting an armbar on him. If this video got to the principal, I’d hope she would suspend both boys.

    I think that’s the dark side of these techniques becoming popular. I’m not saying that scraps could not be dangerous before, because there have been many cases of people dying from hard hits to the head (strikes or head hitting the ground hard after a knockout). Still, I’ve also seen some more disturbing videos of kids or young men intentionally dropping others on their head as if they were channeling kevin randleman. I mean, I’m surprised I haven’t heard of more tragedies or grisly injuries.

    Striking is dangerous but submissions and grappling are even more, IMO. I remember when I was in a Tang Soo Do class where they were teaching throws as well, and my partner, who was a black belt, was more scared of practicing that than sparring.

  16. I worry about that too.

    In my opinion, that kid who applied the armbar is more in-the-wrong. He could’ve broken the other kid’s arm. He probably would have if the girl hadn’t broken it up. If a person has that kind of knowledge, he needs to be punished when he misapplies it.

  17. “In my opinion, that kid who applied the armbar is more in-the-wrong. – See more at: http://www.bigwowo.com/2016/05/the-3-kinds-of-fights/#comment-323274

    Maybe its a cultural thing, maybe not. When I first came to the US, I was surprised that people would openly flaunt their martial arts background. In my training, modesty was big part of the culture. You are taught not to show off in public, not to just apply what you learned to beat up people. I often see kids in the US walking in the grocery store with their martial arts uniform on.

    I think in the long term, it would be good for the martial arts schools to impart some training in humility to their students, and not develop a surfer attitude. Because, if these kind of things become more common, people are not going to sit idly by.

    Its not a sport where people tap out. What is the kid thinking of doing? Keep applying pressure until the arm breaks?

  18. When I was in high school, there were some guys who studied Tang Soo Do with a Korean master who ran a big martial arts school. It was a tough martial arts school, the real deal with hard sparring and physical conditioning, and the Korean master worked them hard. These guys were seriously good fighters. One day, two guys fought in school. No one got hurt; there was some shoving, but once the guys started squaring off, they threw a few strikes that didn’t land and agreed on a stalemate.

    The Korean master heard about it and was furious. Both kids were ordered to take some time off of training. They both had to skip their next belt test. There was some serious contrition there: “Master H**** found out about our fight, and he kicked me out for the rest of the month.” There was no anger, no resentment, no blame, just contrition. The boys accepted that what they had done was wrong.

    It’s a far cry from that BJJ video where the kid’s friends posted it online for all the knuckleheads to give their props.

  19. No, you’re right, that probably is part of the issue.

    Gracie jujitsu is definitely on a whole much better than judo in ground work. Every so often you’ll get a Ronda Rousey or Neil Adams or Kimura with a great ground game who will destroy any BJJ person in front of them, but in general, BJJ has a much larger vocabulary and a more practical philosophy for groundwork. The reason they were able to get that far is because the Gracie culture encouraged its adherents to go picking fights and bragging about it. We wouldn’t have BJJ if it weren’t for that culture.

    But then there’s that question of whether that’s good for society in general. I feel that it isn’t. I think most civilized people feel that it isn’t. That’s why Hackleman in the OP says that kid fights should never be over mere insults.

  20. Byron,

    “Gracie jujitsu is definitely on a whole much better than judo in ground work. – See more at: http://www.bigwowo.com/2016/05/the-3-kinds-of-fights/#comment-323280

    With your Judo background you know better than most, the time limit to setup a long winded submission in Judo tournament is not there. Thats probably one of the reason Gracies ask for no time limit fights. One could just as easily ask, how well BJJ players do in a Judo tournament such as the Olympics? Judo has limitations, and these are mostly because of the sports rules. I have read that Judo newaza is quicker, and more forceful. I had a Judo friend (no Olympian but decent) who would put a lot of pressure when he pins.

  21. John,

    You are correct. It’s all about the rules. In many ways, they’re completely different sports, even though they overlap. Olympian Travis Stevens (who is a black belt in both) has a good interview here:

    http://bjjstyle.com/fighter-in-focus-travis-stevens/

    JJS: Do you believe there is a difference in training mentality and etiquette between judo and jiu jitsu?

    TRAVIS: There is for sure. Judo is a lot more aggressive and we tend to bully our way through positions. BJJ is a lot more technical. There is also a lot more drilling in BJJ because there are so many different types of positions that it’s a necessity. Judo doesn’t have a quarter of the positions that BJJ has, so we can do a lot more live training. If I had to compare the two I would say judo is checkers and BJJ is chess.

    JJS: What would you suggest are the biggest differences between jiu jitsu and judo?

    TRAVIS: The pace. Judo is so fast and aggressive; you only have a few seconds in each position to either finish or improve your position. BJJ can move fast but 75% of the time it is moving slow, where people will explode and get to a position, hold it and rest and think about their next move.

    JJS: Tough question, but which grappling art do you prefer to train?

    TRAVIS: I get more satisfaction from judo because of how aggressive and fast paced it is. I love that feeling of my body feeling broken and beat up after an intense training session. I do like BJJ because I can have a lot more fun with it. I can be a lot more creative and I can train a lot more often which is a huge plus.

    Here’s the thing–in a judo match, if you’re passive in standing/throwing, a referee will give you a penalty. If you’re passive in ne-waza (groundwork), he’ll just stand you up. So if you’re bad in ne-waza, you can just turtle up in a ball, and after 5 seconds or less (it’s laughably short), if there is no progress, they’ll stand you up. If you’re good at ne-waza, you have to be really fast and aggressive because you want to sink in your submission or pin before the ref makes you stand. Everything is rushed on the ground because you have very little time. On the other hand, if you’re bad at tachi-waza (standing), you’d best not just stand there otherwise you’ll lose on penalties for passivity.

    It’s the same issue with a lot of sports martial arts. Since judo doesn’t usually reward good ne-waza, judo fighters typically don’t focus as much on improving ne-waza.

    Also, as Travis says, the mindset is very different. I don’t think I ever went against a BJJ guy in competition, but I grappled with some BJJ guys in practice. Because they aren’t rushed, they’re not as aggressive. It sometimes gets frustrating because they’ll just sit there and let you come to them. If you’re in their guard, they’ll spin around to meet you when you try to pass it. There’s more perseverance in their mindset. You spin around like crazy. A judo fighter in practice will typically just let you pass in order to break the pattern, but a BJJ guy will just continue the pattern while you tire out.

    Most of the basics are pretty much the same–judo always had a triangle, a rear naked choke, etc.–but with everything together, they have a lot more techniques and names for techniques–this is what Travis is talking about with chess vs. checkers. As far as I know, judo didn’t even have a name for the “guard” before BJJ came into the picture. The bigger vocabulary allows them to discuss and improve more quickly. When I started grappling with BJJ guys, one issue that I had trouble dealing with is that there were four or five ways to sink the triangle, which I didn’t understand at first. They’ve got ways to react whether you’re moving left or right which most judo guys aren’t familiar with.

    But like you said, it also goes the other way. My son did BJJ for a little while, and while I was in the locker room, I overheard two of the BJJ guys talking about their last tournament. One of the guys said he cleaned up because he started taking judo classes and was tossing people all over the place and going for the points. I watched some of the tachi-waza in the regular BJJ class, and yeah, that’s definitely a weakness. John Danaher, who is one of the top BJJ trainers in the country, has said that BJJ standup is often terrible, even at the black belt level.

  22. Also, on those few occasions that I did sink a submission on a BJJ guy, it was exactly as Travis said: I powered through something or I got lucky. But that’s not exactly the most efficient way to do things… 🙂

  23. The best kind of martial art for staying alive is any one that that you gets your heart rate up and that you practice regularly. Heart disease kills orders of magnitude more people in the US than homicide, and some of the other 14 causes of death that rank above homicide can be at least partially prevented through regular exercise.

    Really liked the BJJ vs Judo discussion, though.

  24. Imagine learning mountain climbing with zero intention to actually climb a mountain whatsoever. Even worse, in the off chance that you actually have to climb a mountain, what you learned will get you killed.

    Why not take up dancing or barefoot running?

  25. Jeff,

    That’s a great point. If you’re going to be training two or three times a week, you might as well do a martial art that gets your heart rate up. That will definitely save your life.

    Glad you liked the BJJ vs. Judo.

    There will be more on martial arts later this week!

  26. Sengge,

    Well, it might be better than nothing. Depending on what you learn, of course.

    I’m of the mind that basic fitness is mandatory. Some may disagree with me, but it’s just too easy to gas out or even have a heart attack if you’re not fit.

  27. “Imagine learning mountain climbing with zero intention to actually climb a mountain whatsoever. Even worse, in the off chance that you actually have to climb a mountain, what you learned will get you killed.”

    If that mountain climbing reduces your chance of dying of heart disease dramatically, and then the chance of actually having to climb a mountain is extremely remote, then why not? One could make similar arguments about people taking cardio kickboxing classes. Most people have zero intentions of actually doing kick boxing and would probably get hurt if they actually did, but they can get great cardio benefits and the chance of them actually using kick boxing is very small.

    “Why not take up dancing or barefoot running?”

    Some might argue that some martial arts are basically one of those two. Dancing can be a really good workout – used to do it regularly. The scientific jury is still out on barefoot running, though.

  28. I was taught that what I learned or practice should be fit for purpose. It does not make sense for me to learn and train in, say, sea kayaking but in a manner that will get me killed when I am actually at sea. Neither is it ambitious for me to say I train but have no intention of going to sea whatsover, nor logical to say the odds that I would ever need to kayak at sea as opposed to taking a nice, well maintained boat, are so low that it does not matter how I practice it, IT ONLY MATTERS THAT I SHOULD GET MY HEART RATE UP. LOL!

    If I ever said such a thing, I feel that physical vigor would have come at the cost of mental decrepitude.

  29. Sengge,

    I think it’s fine, as long as other people are testing the martial arts that people are studying. MMA is a bad way to go if you value your brain cells. But it undoubtedly could be effective in battle. (I say “could” because a lot of it depends on one’s street smarts and quickness.) So why not practice it if it’s effective and is good exercise?

  30. Pingback: Martial Arts Always Evolve | bigWOWO

  31. “I was taught that what I learned or practice should be fit for purpose. ”

    Well, I did have a cardio kickboxing instructor who was later arrested for extortion. He did emphasize combinations, which seemed like logical sequences, and good form, using core and rotation to maximize striking power. When I recognized him in the paper and read that he used martial arts in his “business”, I did think to myself that maybe I did learn something practical and useful! I also questioned the vetting done for exercise instructors at my workplace.

  32. That’s really horrible, almost as horrible as a guy enrolling into sensual massage classes in order to become a more accomplished Gentleman Rapist.

  33. After the comedy sketch above I looked for some of Ben Nguyen’s fights

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bWbad4hBo4

    This one is absolutely brutal.

    Drives home the point in my mind that you can’t only train in one range and expect all fights to be resolved there. You should train for good competency in all of them. In this fight I think Ben was outmatched at kick range, and his competitor was larger too. Ben took a lot of heavy shots to the legs, in the end his only move was to shoot for a take down. If Ben were willing to go close in into Wing Chun range things might be different, but we don’t get to see that.

    Fighters should train in all ranges

  34. Been away from the blog for a few days, but I just went to the the NBC Olympics Judo site. It looks like Travis Stevens is in the finals against a soon-to-be-determined opponent. He’s in the finals, which means he’s getting either gold or silver. Let’s hope it’s gold!

  35. He’s going to fight the Russian fighter. I can’t watch because I don’t have a cable subscription, but let’s keep our fingers crossed. If Travis does it, he’ll be the first American man in history to win an Olympic gold in judo (he’ll be the second American in history, after Kayla Harrison won in 2012).

  36. Pingback: Kayla Harrison wins second Olympic gold | bigWOWO

  37. Agreed.

    Not to mention, the guy is trained in MMA. If you spend your time teaching yourself to be a deadly weapon, fighting is attacking with a deadly weapon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *