“Borrowing” Techniques from Like-Minded Approaches

This past weekend we hosted a 2-day course with Guro Ed Wong of Urban Survival Systems and the Modern Cimande Club. His fighting system blends techniques from Silat, Non-classical Gong Fu, and a number of other styles, and is dedicated to exploring and educating people in the reality of street combat, including many people in the field of security, law enforcement, and military. Ed (as he prefers to be called) teaches with very similar principles to Can-ryu Jiu-jitsu, but slightly different tools and applications. What’s great about this is that they are easy to blend with what we do.

The primary tools of his system involve the use of the “hammer, club and spike”, which translate into the fist, forearm and elbow, or the foot, shin and knee. There were a number of physical principles that he taught that fit right in with some of the combination striking methods we use in our own style. At one point, Ed was talking about stringing strikes together by remembering that the hammer can become a spike and conversely, the spike can become a hammer. This is the same principle we use in Can-ryu when we follow up an elbow to the solar plexus with a finger whip to the groin. Our “hammers” often use open hand strike versus closed, but it’s the same principle. Another principle he discussed was “ricochet” strikes, in which you ricochet from one strike into the next using the natural flow of energy. This reminds me of the way we sometimes “ricochet” from an elbow to the solar plexus into an elbow to head area strikes (i.e. chin, nose, brachial plexus origin).

Ed also taught a number of interesting variations of the head butt imitating the ways animals use their heads, animals such as the mountain goat, rhinoceros, and the giraffe. He also showed a few different ways one can get up from the ground that help keep you protected against multiple attacker situations. While these were all new ideas, they all proved very effective and easily fitting into what we do like a puzzle piece.

On the second day, we did a number of multiple attacker training drills in which we applied the various strikes, takedowns, get-ups, etc that we had learned throughout the weekend. We started with 3 attackers, working our way up to a 10-person swarm. It was great to see the versatility of his teachings, but I also appreciated his encouragement to blend what we do in our own training into the exercise.

At our dojo we often bring in instructors from other styles to share in their knowledge. Sometimes the styles are so different it breaks our students’ brains, and while enjoyable, it’s not always easy to fit what they teach into our own training. In contrast, Ed’s concepts fit very nicely with what we do. Coincidentally, his weekend course addressed a number of issues I discussed in my last blog post, 4 Self-Defense Training Habits that Can Have Dangerous Consequences. He is also quite open about learning from other styles and implementing it into what he does if it makes sense. You can’t help but respect an instructor, martial artist and person like that. Thanks for a great weekend, Ed! :)

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Comments (3)

3 thoughts on ““Borrowing” Techniques from Like-Minded Approaches

  1. Training in another style or system once or twice is generally fun (variety is the spice of life) but it’s not very productive since you probably won’t retain much. What I find more important is learning new training methods that can be used to practice what you already know.

    Styles that are effective and efficient do tend to be quite similar since they work with the same set of principles. To me however training styles that are too similar (technically and range-wise) is not a very efficient use of training time since they’re focussed on developing more or less the same skills while neglecting others. Imo there are three main categories that are vital to the development of an allround fighter: weapons (use and unarmed defense), striking (preferably some type of kickboxing since that seems to the most effective method in his range or at least the quickest way of developing basic competency) and grappling (standing, ground). If you have good basics in these areas, posse a basic fitness level and can work under stress you should be able to handle yourself in most situations. I laugh at those who think being great in one area and completely sucking in the others is the way to go.

    Since my current training focusses mainly on general self-defense (not nearly enough sparring for my liking and mainly orientated on unarmed stand-up fighting although lately we have been training more with stick and knife)I think I’ll try out the sambo school nearby. Mainly because of my weakness on the ground: I’m pretty sure I’d get beaten by those training in this type of fighting regularly and this needs to change. This’ll probably involve eating a whole lot of humble pie in the beginning but it should also be exciting and lately I’ve been somewhat bored while practicing.

    The system I’m training now is pretty great but imo it’s still too focussed on classical jujutsu (it’s not a good idea to teach complicated locks to beginners, not if you actually expect them to be able to defend themselves adequately), there’s not enough ground and there’s so much to train there’s just too little time to master techniques properly. At least not if you’re not super talented or have a decent skill level already. I wonder if it wouldn’t be better to just focus on one area for a given time (boxing, weapons, ground…) instead of mixing everything. Our students seem to forget way too quickly which is a sure sign of not enough practice and too much variety.

    Last week someone tested for orange belt and I was his uke, this reminded me of one of your blog posts. I discovered the main advantage of being an uke: you get rewarded with free drinks afterwards ;). The test itself was fairly good: technically her performed adequately (a few flaws here and there but nothing catastropic) but his attitude still needs a lot of work. It really doesn’t do to be timid and the stress level of a belt test still is nothing compared to an actual confrontation on the street.

    What do you do when students don’t show the appropriate level of focus and (controlled) aggresion when performing techniques?

    • To answer your question Zara, I introduce the concept in steps. If the person is very timid and you just tell them to be more aggressive, more committed, or to show stronger intent, they just can’t because they don’t have it in them yet. The first step is to work on physical focus and intent. The body and mind are very much connected. When the body is more committed and confident with the techniques, the person’s mental focus will gradually shift. As that happens, you start increasing the physical pressure, having the ukes be more aggressive because this can bring out one’s natural focus/aggression. Bear in mind that this can be a very quick process for some who have more natural inclination and very slow for others who aren’t as inclined. You have to be patient as the student comes around to it at their own pace, whatever that may be. This article is somewhat related if you haven’t read it: http://pacificwavejiujitsu.com/blog/how-to-us-adrenaline-flow-martial-arts-self-defense/. Hope this helps. :)

  2. Thanks for hosting me and it was an honor to be among such skilled and great martial artists. Anyone looking to get some “top shelf” training in self protection and martial arts look no further than Pacific Wave Jiu-jitsu!

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