Saturday, March 3, 2012
Confidence- Will it work?
My last two posts were all about the effectiveness of joint locks. There was a lively discussion over at My journey to black belt. I enjoyed it thoroughly.
My position, of course, is that joint locks are effective, and often superior to other forms of engagement in dealing with a violent confrontation. Joint locks, to a large degree, negate or greatly reduce the inherent advantage of being bigger and stronger. They also work on opponents who have certain advantages due to pharmacological assistance.
I say this all as I have used joint locks successfully on several occasions in real encounters. I have confidence in the techniques. I have proved that they work. I believe in the technique, and my ability to apply them.
As with any topic, we must always be careful not to be closed minded.
This is actually a statement directed at myself. Sue is one of the most open minded individuals that I have 'cyber' met. She read my comments, and those of others, and carefully considered a variety of points of view.
What I need to make sure is that my belief or confidence in joint locks do not make me closed off to different points of view. Sue made the following statement which I've been thinking about a lot lately.
"Size differences between attacker and defender may or may not be relevant – but if you want to convince me they are not then you’ll need to provide me with a good rational scientific explanation and with some tips on how small people can make techniques work on big people because I’m not yet convinced ;-)"
This comment may warrant a scientific discussion on balance, fulcrums, inertia, and the makeup of the human body and joint construction, but I'm not going to do that, at least not right now.
The part that has stuck with me is the last part. "...because I'm not yet convinced"
I could go on and on stressing how joint locks equalize size difference, but doing this would effectively close my mind to the real issue with anyone in the martial arts. If you don't believe something will work, it won't. I could put up diagrams of human anatomy, and write mathematical equations that would essentially 'prove' my point, but what good would that do? If you don't believe or feel confident that a technique you are practicing will work, or even could work, then they're of no value whatsoever.
The whole point of this post is to make sure that I remain open minded in the true spirit of Budo. I'm quick to criticize martial artists who believe that their way is the only way. While I pride myself on keeping an open mind to different points of view, I must remain ever vigilant that my own beliefs don't make me 'pushy' or close me off to conflicting points of view or underlying issues that I could miss in my desire to prove a point. I don't think that was the case here, but I've done a lot of thinking since the discussion.
Sue discussed that she struggles to turn a larger opponent's hand over into a wrist trap, or a z-lock, or a chicken wing, whatever you want to call it. She states she doesn't always have the strength to do so, depending on who she is working with. Fair enough. I offer (ed) up the idea of using a distraction technique to loosen him (or her) up to apply the technique. I talk about isolating, or hyperextending the joint to a place it has no strength to resist. This information I proffer is correct, and someone might agree on an intellectual level, but if they don't believe they can do it, or if their experience suggests it doesn't work, then it doesn't matter what I say.
In Sue's case, I might suggest forgetting about that particular technique for now, and focusing on joint manipulations which might be easier to apply. Any time you can use your entire body weight against a joint, you'll likely end up on the winning end of the equation. A wrist throw from a hook punch or an elbow lock/break technique may be viable method to increase confidence and proficiency in certain areas. This could lead to experimenting with more joint locks.
Without having the opportunity to train with someone, I am limited to discussing concepts as opposed to examining the execution of a specific technique. I will also say that some things just won't work for some people. I, for one, don't have as much confidence in some throws as I'm quite tall and have some issues with dodgy knees. A shorter opponent clearly has some advantages in this realm. The important part for me is that I still believe in throws, I've just had to adjust my style to focus on the ones that work for me. If I had not been allowed the opportunity to make it my own, I might have given up on throwing all together.
I want to make it clear that while the discussion with Sue was the springboard to this article, I am in no way making any comment on her training or on the instruction she receives. This is all about me and making sure that my own mind remains open to all points of view. I must remain ever vigilant against the insidious thing known as ego.
Train with an open mind.