“Just because you strike someone – even with a billy club – doesn’t mean they’re gonna stop.”
Words of wisdom from Jock Willink (former Seal Team member). In martial arts, we have this problem related to the dojo/kwan/classroom environment. Schools are bubbles and the student/teacher relationship and the methods used to teach (drills, defanged skills training methods like Chi Sao or the use of gloves and headgear and Bullethead suits) put us in unrealistic environments and we make unsupported inferences.
That would hurt, we think, when we strike the wall bag. If we haven’t been hit in the face lately, we have to dredge up corollaries. “When I stood up and hit my head on the cabinet, I was seized with pain.” So my idea is this is how an opponent would react in a fight. But (as Jocko points out) how often have we been knocked cold by a head injury or a punch? How often is anyone knocked out, even in bare knuckles bouts? People in fights can take a lot of damage and not react much (or feel it much) due to adrenaline (or being drunk or high). Even sober, we see it. The old time matches between people like Dempsey or Corbett or Jack Johnson – their fights would go on for hours.
You have a theory (like in Wing Chun – a series of strikes to the head causes knockout) and maybe some anecdotal evidence (Wong Shun Leung knocked 60 people out, they say). Then you train the techniques a few hours a week. Are you going to bet your life on the outcome? This is why in the old days (Hong Kong, Mainland China), the students were told to “go out and fight.” This is how you find out if your really have knock out power. Of course, these days, its as easy to get this experience and stay out of jail!
Also – I like this discussion of scenarios where you don’t want to strike. When I was in the military, I used to live next door to some of my buddies off base. One night, there is knocking on my door in the middle of the night. One of my buddie’s girlfriend is at the door, rattled.
“They’re fighting!” Turns out one of them came home super drunk after the other one was in bed and started cranking the music. It was Saturday night or more like Sunday morning. They were on the lawn, having a fist fight! I get out there and am perplexed. The drunk one was 6’4″ and weighed like 240. I was 6 foot and maybe 160. I had only studied boxing and Karate. Should I punch or kick him? He was not responding to reason. He was swinging wildly but not sloppily, beyond reason. I ended up tripping him and then me and the roommate sat on him.
But wouldn’t it have been handy to know some grappling in this moment?
In Wing Chun, the Chin Na was taught many years into the system. It was an advanced concept. And even then, it was meant to be a sort of “opportunity” action. A missed punch puts the arm into your hands in the right way and you throw a lock on. But it was always – and then you strike.
I have done some Jujitsu (Small Circle) and some BJJ but I would recommend that anyone, no matter your focus, do some Greco-Roman wresting or some BJJ, just to get that arrow into your quiver. We used to call these skills “Drunk Uncle” techniques.
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