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Author Topic: Damage Potential of Stick -vs- Light Protection  (Read 3848 times)
James Struthers
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« on: March 07, 2011, 09:05:39 PM »

Searched through the topics and did not see this one out there.  My past experience in full-contact fighting with sticks led to a pretty healthy respect for the weapon.  It is elegant, fast, agile, and capable of delivering and focusing force with extreme efficiency.  I remember some time ago reviewing the series 1 vids with a sparring partner and we both left with the same thought;  why are not more folks severely maimed or flat-out killed given the extremely light gear that you guys wear?

I definitely admire the work that the Dog Brothers have done but still look at this issue with some degree of wonder.  Even with a relatively light (3/4" to 1" x 30") stick, I am pretty sure my buddy could fold a three-weapon mask around my face like it was a wet-paper towel with a simple jab.  Even with splinted body armor, broken ribs, separated cartilage, and sternal dislocations are not too hard to accomplish.  When you add to the list the all too common fractured ulna/fingers/stripped thumbs and concussions that occur when using MUCH heavier armor, I have to ask how folks deal with this.

I am in no way trying to be provocative with this question, but am seriously interested in how many serious (like hospitalized) injuries occur during your guy's work.  It is a bit hard for me to get my head around a low-incidence of crippling injury in lightly protected stick fighting.  If I were facing some of the folks I used to spar with as lightly protected as you guys seem to go, it seems probable that one of us would leave the fight on a gurney and the other would likely have broken bones.

Interested in any feed back or comment on this issue.
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bjung
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« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2011, 11:04:27 PM »

Because we're tough  grin

I remember a Gathering several years ago where there were between 30 - 25 fighters and 8 people ended up with concussions/severe head blows which prompted a speech by Guro Crafty on the importance of protecting your head. I have seen other injuries as well.  cry

BUT if you train your footwork, blocking, approaches, etc, then you will have a skill set that gives you the confidence to carry you through the day. there's always a lot going on and more experienced guys seem to know where and when they can take a hit versus what they need to protect. Plus trying to hit a guy who is moving well/fast and trying to hit you really hard can be quite difficult as well.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2011, 11:14:25 PM »

I want to lay back for a while on this thread so as to encourage comments by others, but for the moment I remember the number of concussions in that Gathering being 6 by GM Gyi's estimation, not 8.  Also, I would draw attention to the thread on head injuries, concussions, etc.  I started it precisely for the reason of raising consciousness and keeping us aware of continuing growth of understanding with regard to head injuries.  Also, please note our "Attacking Blocks" DVD focuses rather intently on head protection skills, as does the "Snaggletooth Variations".
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James Struthers
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« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2011, 11:56:43 PM »

While I understand the emphasis on active head protection ( as it is easily the best target), a strike to the head is typically followed by a cross-over to the upper ribs or another target of opportunity.  Even with a light stick, ribs and arms will break.  Not to mention the incapacitating target of the upper hip (the body can not move to escape the force of impact).  This can land you several days of not being able to get out of bed.  How do folks deal with this? 

All of this is viewed in the light of, once you step up, your personal safety is not ( and should not be) a concern of your adversary.  Your own safety must be your concern.  Footwork will do a lot, I agree; but at the end of the match, one of the combatants must go down.  My question is more along the lines of how this is done so that everyone can walk away from it massive medical expenses.
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Guide Dog
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« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2011, 10:31:26 AM »

James,

Think back to the original UFC. How many deaths were there? Yes, if memory serves, the Sumo guy had his jaw broken by a well placed kick, and I think the Savate guy broke his hand. Just think about the striking, ignore the grappling.

Yes, there was no biting or eye gouging allowed, but how many people involved were permanently debilitated? None, and that was the first time that people boasting, "If I were to really let my attacks go, people would die" had an opportunity to see if that was true. What did we learn? Many of the techniques we thought were deadly turned out to be nullified by fighting in the adrenal state.

Now, turning our attention to RCSF, this also turns out to be true much of the time. The midline horizontal shots we are taught are so deadly in many systems really don't do much in the adrenal state. One of my post-gathering rituals is to go home, take of my shirt and have my wife help me with injury inventory because, frankly, MOST of the shots I don't feel during a Gathering. This is not to say that I haven't been hit hard or that the organization doesn't boast skilled fighters because I have and it does.

Body shots, if they are only leaving a stick hickey, are not severe enough in the adrenal state to be a worry. This is one of the gifts of fighting in a Gathering, rather than training for and speculating about things like hand shots, I have expereinced hand shots.

Yes, there are injuries. Yes, I have seen broken bones and blood. I'm fairly certain I have fractured some small bones in my right hand at a Gathering, but I never gone to the doctor (yet) because in a short time, the pain went away. After one of the last tribal Gatherings at which I fought, I had something like 10 fights (not counting knife fights) in two days, and I went and took a Kali/JKD class the next day. Why? To prove something? To be a "tough guy"?

No. I went to class because the more effort I put into making a Gathering seem like a semi-regular training event, rather than a life-threatening test, the less I have to focus on nerves and the more I can focus on being present during the Gathering, enjoying the tribe members (because, and this is the truth, DBMA attracts some of the nicest, most authentic, funny guys you could ever meet), and enjoying the special nature of the fact that only a handful of people in the world want to do RCSF, and I get to be one of them.

Again, not to be a "tough guy", but to be in that elite number, and be able to bring that self-discovery to my life, my family, my classroom (I teach high school), and my martial arts students.

The human body is capable of handling a lot more than we think it can in our crucible-less, initiation-free culture. That's what I've found to be true.

GD
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Spartan Dog
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« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2011, 01:47:41 PM »

While I understand the emphasis on active head protection ( as it is easily the best target), a strike to the head is typically followed by a cross-over to the upper ribs or another target of opportunity.  Even with a light stick, ribs and arms will break.  Not to mention the incapacitating target of the upper hip (the body can not move to escape the force of impact).  This can land you several days of not being able to get out of bed.  How do folks deal with this? 

All of this is viewed in the light of, once you step up, your personal safety is not ( and should not be) a concern of your adversary.  Your own safety must be your concern.  Footwork will do a lot, I agree; but at the end of the match, one of the combatants must go down.  My question is more along the lines of how this is done so that everyone can walk away from it massive medical expenses.

Your post reads as though the whole thing worries you....I mean...REALLY worries you...

"Even with a light stick, ribs and arms will break"  you wrote WILL break, not MAY break...

Then you wrote "...the incapacitating target of the upper hip..."

Incapacitating ?  Really ? 

If you believe that the human body is that weak, then in my opinion, your experience will mirror your belief.  I myself am only about 72 kilos and not that sturdy.  At the last Gathering, I had bruises that swelled up considerably.  But I never let all that worry me.  My only concern is being able to fight at the next Gathering, and doing well enough for me to be happy with myself.
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bjung
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« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2011, 08:04:52 PM »

All of this is viewed in the light of, once you step up, your personal safety is not ( and should not be) a concern of your adversary.  Your own safety must be your concern.  Footwork will do a lot, I agree; but at the end of the match, one of the combatants must go down.  My question is more along the lines of how this is done so that everyone can walk away from it massive medical expenses.

A few things

Actually, part of the code is that my adversary's personal safety IS my concern. The aim is to test yourself and to be friends at the end of the day. people who partake in the gathering understand this. No one "must go down." That thinking isn't really part of it. It isn't a street fight. The goal isn't to break somebody, but to support each other's development as martial artists.

Yes, it is dangerous, but in 20 plus years, there have been hundreds of fighters, and THOUSANDS of fights with few serious injuries. the DB safety record is pretty strong.

And actually the day after the Gathering I'm usually up and out early with lots of energy instead of in bed, it feels great.

Guro - 6! i stand corrected, my memory fades! there was a lot going on that day  wink I do remember the speech though  grin
Just to echo what Guro mentioned, the attacking blocks and snaggletooth material really provided a foundation for protecting my IQ during fights. great stuff (and fun drills)
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James Struthers
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« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2011, 09:50:00 PM »

Thanks your your replies to my question.  They really helped me get my head around some issues that I had been wondering about with respect to how the DB operates. 

@Guide Dog. "Again, not to be a "tough guy", but to be in that elite number, and be able to bring that self-discovery to my life, my family, my classroom (I teach high school), and my martial arts students."

Top flight attitude, man.  I really respect and share your ethic in this regard.  I think that it is often misconstrued that folks fight  to "beat the other guy" or to "be tough".  For me it was always about finding and testing yourself against the best opponent (and friend) that could be found.  Sort of a journey where you find out many unexpected things about yourself through fighting.  The fight is not as important as what you take away from it (especially the win/loose part).  Think it is similar, if not identical, to religion in that regard.



Your post reads as though the whole thing worries you....I mean...REALLY worries you...

"Even with a light stick, ribs and arms will break"  you wrote WILL break, not MAY break...

Then you wrote "...the incapacitating target of the upper hip..."

Incapacitating ?  Really ? 

If you believe that the human body is that weak, then in my opinion, your experience will mirror your belief.  I myself am only about 72 kilos and not that sturdy.  At the last Gathering, I had bruises that swelled up considerably.  But I never let all that worry me.  My only concern is being able to fight at the next Gathering, and doing well enough for me to be happy with myself.

In short, I do not believe that the human body is weak; it is capable of feats that are borne in dreams. It does however have some structural limits.  And no, the thought of injury does not particularly concern me.  As Guide Dog pointed out in his constructive reply, adrenaline takes care of most immediate pain issues, leaving only the problem with blows that are hard enough to injure or cause a shock-like response.  Other injuries heal with time.  I am more curious about how injuries are managed to the point that you can continue to train, assuming you fight one or two days a week.  Not to mention how many three-weapon masks you go through in regular training  smiley.

In reading your reply, I think you might have some presumptions regarding experience in this matter.  In fact, my experience does mirror my beliefs (and the reverse is true) on this issue.  Power generation to accomplish what I described is simply not a problem.  Your experiences in not being able to generate it may mirror your belief that it is not common or possible (certainly not my problem).  And yes, a well placed blow to the hip will put you in bed (as in can't rise) for about a day.  So I consider that incapacitating.

And to bjung;  your response really helped me get my head around the subject.  Your description of the general ethic was quite clear.  Thanks for that.

Anyway, thanks again for the replies.  While our experiences may differ in some regards, I do respect all you insights and perspective.  Hope to meet some of you in the future.
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Spartan Dog
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« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2011, 01:51:43 PM »

In short, I do not believe that the human body is weak; it is capable of feats that are borne in dreams.

This is not the impression I got from reading your post.

Power generation to accomplish what I described is simply not a problem.  Your experiences in not being able to generate it may mirror your belief that it is not common or possible (certainly not my problem). 

Really ?  How do you know what I am and am not capable of ?

I am 51 years old, and I have been active in the fighting arts since 1979. I am training to fight at my third Dog Brothers Gathering this spring. I am a member of the Dog Brothers Tribe, and I am proud of the fact that this honor has been granted to me. The opinions of those tribe members who I have had the honor of meeting and fighting against, are those that matter to me.
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The Tao
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« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2011, 06:57:11 PM »

My take? Stick? Light protection?

I love the Dog Brothers. It is the only place that I have found that isn't filled with blood lust spectators, that don't know anything about getting in and actually fighting.
The people at the Gathering get in there and get it done, find out what works and what doesn't.
Protection? Not, being rude, but are you for real?
I want someone to punish me (not kill me, but certainly make me pay, if my training, stamina, or physique are not up to snuff).
I truly believe that Guro Crafty and the others knew what they were doing when they built this.

If this was safe or meant to be safe, I wouldn't want anything to do with it, and Kostas nailed it... I don't care what anyone thinks unless it is someone that fights at gatherings. Everything else is just talk and speculation. There is no better way to prove who is correct, than to go and show everyone, and be friends at the end of the day.
Respects.
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unstpabl1
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« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2011, 07:18:51 PM »



  I am more curious about how injuries are managed to the point that you can continue to train, assuming you fight one or two days a week.  Not to mention how many three-weapon masks you go through in regular training  smiley.

..


Like a professional Boxer, Thai fighter or even grappler training percautions are taken. I have no intention of doing a Gathering but even I can train with a group, spar and learn the craft the same way I can train at a MT or jits gym. the misconception just like in Thai or jits is that it's balls to the walls full contact.

I apologize for responding as I only occassionally and recently train with No Ho, but as a newbie I saw the quote and thought the heart of the question really is How can I train without killing myself and students? I understand that concern LOL

If there is a group or seminar near you...check it out ...you'll be very pleased with the safety concerns, the intelligence of thee guys and the practicality of it..It makes sense

Hope this helps

Mike

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sting
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« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2011, 09:32:34 PM »

  why are not more folks severely maimed or flat-out killed given the extremely light gear that you guys wear?

After watching the Gathering clips in the DBMA Gathering Footage video tape, I also wondered why every (eventually) got up and no one died.  The first test of taking a hit to a fencing helmet still had me wondering.  After a reasonable number of stick fights, both in practice and at the Gathering, I'll take a shot at explaining the mystery.

The number of concussion-worthy swings are relatively low coupled with the few opportunities to land one.  There are also more targets than the head, and your opponent's stick and arms get in the way too often.   The head is a fairly small target to strike at a distance, and the most common #1 angle also intersects an opponent's weapon-less but typically raised arm.  Most of the time in a stick fight is in the range at which the sticks do not intersect at all.  Some time is spent in the range in which the sticks but not the hands intersect.  Less time is spent in the range (largo mano) in which a stick may strike a hand, which is also full stick intersection.  Nearly zero time is spent in the range in which a strike will touch an opponent's head, and this typically is accomplished with a timed lunging strike.  Instead, opponents close and hug (because it's safer) and typically fall to the ground and roll around without causing much damage until fight buzzer is over, well, because it's hard to do anything else. 

A comparison to the number and quality of punches delivered to a heavy bag vs. a moving opponent in a boxing match is fairly accurate.  Finally, there is the gentleman's agreement that an obviously one-sided stick fight will not end with a finishing stick blow to a disabled opponent's head.  Crafty Dog wisely refers to this in his pre-Gathering speech, and I believe that the fighters reliably pay heed to the warning.  The phrase I like and use at my training club is "1. Do not cripple your friend, and 2. Do not bring him to tears."
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Baltic Dog

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bjung
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« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2011, 09:59:58 PM »

Instead, opponents close and hug (because it's safer) and typically fall to the ground and roll around without causing much damage until fight buzzer is over, well, because it's hard to do anything else. 

Last week my boxing coach tied me and my classmate together preventing us from working the outer range, I found the inner ranges just as nerve racking.  Tying to establish the hug or the clinch required more energy and I took repeated hooks to the body. ugh.
In the stickfighting context, I'm just as worried about being able to pick up punyos in the close range. ouch.
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Scurvy Dog
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« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2011, 11:01:07 PM »

Finally, there is the gentleman's agreement that an obviously one-sided stick fight will not end with a finishing stick blow to a disabled opponent's head.  

This ^

In my first Gathering while fighting Oli C-Ghost Dog from Switzerland, a glancing blow to my head spun my mask slightly so that I could no longer see properly. Instead of delivering a blow to my head while I was temporarily blind, Oli let me fix my mask instead. After righting my mask, we exchanged a quick sign of respect between us and the fight was back on.

It's not really about hurting or punishing each other and more about testing one another. That is what draws me to the concept and idea of DBMA. We are strengthening the Tribe through fighting, not weakening it.
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The Tao
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« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2011, 02:07:39 PM »

Finally, there is the gentleman's agreement that an obviously one-sided stick fight will not end with a finishing stick blow to a disabled opponent's head.  

It's not really about hurting or punishing each other and more about testing one another. That is what draws me to the concept and idea of DBMA. We are strengthening the Tribe through fighting, not weakening it.

I actually misspoke and should have chosen my words more carefully. I agree with what Scurvy Dog wrote. Punishing one's opponent or self has nothing to do with it and is not the aim.
Making and helping ourselves and each other become stronger it what it is all about.

My apologies.
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Jonobos
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« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2011, 02:49:52 PM »

I think you are far underestimating the damage the body can sustain. It is my amateur opinion that those mid line attacks to the torso are more oriented toward having a bladed weapon. They simply don't do enough damage to stop the fight. After the fight they can certainly slow you down, but they are not a fight ender in and of themselves. Even the notion that a single heavy hand shot will end the fight is seriously flawed. It CAN, but don't count on it.

On the question of masks, I have been using the same mask for 3+ years. The same lacrosse gloves as well.

It almost seems to me that people get hurt more wearing heavier protection, because they tend to sit and exchange blows.

There are different levels of training. A gathering event is at the far end of the spectrum, and sumbrada and similar drills are at the other. If your interest is in full contact stick fighting twice a week I don't think you will last long. Go all at it once a week for a month. Then dial it back and focus on the gaps you found. Go back to harder contact again for a while. Dial it back for a while. Training is cyclical. Its not all or nothing all the time. At least not if you want to "walk as a warrior for all your days."
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PhilipG
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« Reply #16 on: March 14, 2011, 11:17:11 PM »

Regardless of the potential threat to life and limb by fighting like this, I would have it no other way. We came out from the darkness of too much protection and into the light of reality and real contact.
 
I found that what I gained by shedding the protective equipment was worth much more than what I lost by having less protection on.

This is our legacy. It does not take a lot to see the value of it. Damn the torpedos.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #17 on: March 15, 2011, 12:48:39 AM »

WOOF!!!
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Sheep Dog
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« Reply #18 on: March 15, 2011, 02:11:39 PM »

To echo Guro Philip...

I traded protection for enlightenment.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #19 on: March 15, 2011, 03:00:00 PM »

Hence:

"The greater the dichotomy the profounder the transformation: Higher consciousness through harder contact." (c DBI)
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sting
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« Reply #20 on: March 15, 2011, 07:40:33 PM »

Last week my boxing coach tied me and my classmate together preventing us from working the outer range, I found the inner ranges just as nerve racking.  Tying to establish the hug or the clinch required more energy and I took repeated hooks to the body. ugh.
In the stickfighting context, I'm just as worried about being able to pick up punyos in the close range. ouch.

I agree and have a lot of fun in this range.  However, most of the fighters I have watched in the Gathering spend more time pushing each other in this range or closing to a complete hug.  If you know how to deliver blows in the clinch, most of your opponents will be surprised.
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Baltic Dog

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Kaju Dog
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« Reply #21 on: August 20, 2011, 05:46:17 AM »

TTT;

Food for thought,  what are some of the injuries we have commonly seen ata a Gathering in the last 3-5 yrs?  

Ulna damage comes to the top of my mind.  *Tip, resist the urge to block a DB's "Caveman" strike with your arm.  It is a reflex action that must be re-educated.  Best block - dont be there

Wrist and Fingers are high on the list as well. Tuck your thumbs.

Head shots always come in high numbers and alot has been said on the subject of Head Trauma,  TAKE HEAD SHOTS SERIOUSLY!  
Just one good headshot without the mask is like getting cut with a live blade.  Take the head shots as seriously as you do the wounds received by the blade.  Respect the potential of wisdom that could have been gained from the experience and swallow the pride enought to learn from the ones that bitchya.

Just my .2cents - Been a long day but good night at the club.  

Yip,
KD smiley
« Last Edit: August 20, 2011, 05:50:17 AM by Kaju Dog » Logged

Kaju Dog
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« Reply #22 on: August 20, 2011, 05:52:03 AM »

To echo Guro Philip...

I traded protection for enlightenment.
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Cranewings
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« Reply #23 on: August 21, 2011, 02:28:30 AM »

This is a really cool thread. I've always wondered about some of this stuff.

Personally, I'd never volunteer to fight with someone targeting my knees and elbows with a weapon. I think you have to be pretty brave to go through with that.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2011, 02:46:30 AM by Cranewings » Logged
Cranewings
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« Reply #24 on: August 23, 2011, 12:05:50 AM »

James,

Think back to the original UFC. How many deaths were there? Yes, if memory serves, the Sumo guy had his jaw broken by a well placed kick, and I think the Savate guy broke his hand. Just think about the striking, ignore the grappling.

Yes, there was no biting or eye gouging allowed, but how many people involved were permanently debilitated? None, and that was the first time that people boasting, "If I were to really let my attacks go, people would die" had an opportunity to see if that was true. What did we learn? Many of the techniques we thought were deadly turned out to be nullified by fighting in the adrenal state.

GD

I don't know how true this is. I always got the opposite message from watching the UFC. Sure, a lot of people were proven to be weaker than they said they are, but in a general case I think they were right. I've seen a lot of fights where a single punch knocked someone out. There was a TKO by karate straight punch to the stomach in one. In fights here in town, I've seen people TKOed by a single kick to the leg. A buddy of mine held a guy in the clinch and broke several of his ribs with a single knee.

Yeah, maybe people aren't dying, but I think single hit wins and yes, debilitation, are more than possible. I'm not surprised that equals have a hard time doing it to each other, but it is out there and for my own training, the ability to do that is a goal.
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Guide Dog
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« Reply #25 on: August 24, 2011, 12:57:33 AM »

Cranewings,

Certainly, when a technique lands, it can end the fight. I once took a glancing, accidental groin shot with a stick at a Gathering (wearing a cup), but try as I might, I had to call off the fight, and that turned out to be the only exchange.

I am in agreement that a single shot can end a fight, having experienced it. I don't know how much long-term debilitation has been caused in DBMA but fight-ending shots. If someone takes a really good head shot, Guro Crafty will often tell that person they are done for the day. Of the folks I have seen who have had their days ended by a good head shot, I don't remember anyone carried off of the floor.

I would suggest that your goal should be to avoid/prevent violence if possible, and if not, your next goal should cultivating the ability to use whatever level of force is appropriate. If drunken Uncle Fred wants to "test your Kung-fu" at a family get together, I don't know that knees from the clinch, or a fully committed Thai round kick to the back of his leg, are necessary. If someone is trying to seriously harm you or your family, they need to be put down.

GD
« Last Edit: August 24, 2011, 11:14:29 AM by Guide Dog » Logged

Dr. Bryan Stoops, Ed.D.
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Offered in Chino Hills, California
JKD/FMA/Silat/muay Thai/DBMA,
Savate/Wing Chun/grappling
http://stoops-martial-arts-academy.com/
bryan@stoopsma.com
Cranewings
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« Reply #26 on: August 24, 2011, 01:05:31 AM »

Sure, good stuff. Thank you sir.

I did say it was, "a goal," but I didn't articulate it very well. You are totally right.
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