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I feel the need to address a particular subject that has been at the forefront of my mind. I have been training in the martial arts now for several years and i have found something of worth during times I've been injured. If I try and train as usual I either can't do it, create more injury or both. If I chose not to train then my skills diminished and my ability to effectively defend what is important follows suit! So what was discovered was a simple truth. The need to train and analyze your abilities whether healthy or injured is invaluable! It is easier to train while one is healthy! How many times during our lives will we be injured or handicapped? The number is unknown as is the severity of our issues. Whats even more unpredictable is when we may need our skills in a real life and death situation. These thoughts brings me to my point. We need to train and be ready during all aspects of our lives!
To properly train during our times of injury we need to know our physical and mental limitations. We must test and know what our bodies can and can't do. We should also listen to our physicians on what it is we need to do in order to heal. Once all this is known then we must see how mentally tough we are to be prepared to defend and protect our loved ones! It is not easy being in a combative mind set but necessary. While training injured we need to strengthen our other weapons to compensate the inability of our injuries. Where we are weak and vulnerable, we need to strengthen and build up those defenses. I don't mean to over push the injury rather strengthen what we previously knew to be suspect. An example is that I am right handed. Thus my right side is more adept at particular techniques. So my left is not as strong. Knowing this my thought is to work my left side triple what I do my right in order to bring my left up.
These thoughts and trainings can improve your abilities and make you more balanced and dangerous! I believe this wholeheartedly! I believe this will help others during their journey and give it freely to any who find it of worth. Use it and make it yours!!

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Hello Jason:

Thanks for posting, it looks like you have put a lot of thought into this topic. I agree there is a fine line between training for technique and training for reality or real life combat. I am on the low side of 50 and recently returned to FMA after taking 12 years or so off. The last six months have been, in a word, painful.

If I always train in my comfort zone, skills and techniques that I already know, I will not be chasing the learning curve which is a line in the sand move forward at a 100 miles an hour. Learning and improving skills requires pain, no pain no gain. I have to put myself into situations I am unprepared to deal with in order to develop and acquire new skills.

What I think is key here is the quality and skill of instructor. A good teacher is able to develop skills gradually, giving you just enough rope to be in danger, but not enough to hang yourself.

If a student is injured they are unable to train. This is a problem for the student as well as the school.

I am right hand dominant, so if my right side becomes incapacitated I am at serious risk. On the other hand I am most effective leading with my right side. So I am going to focus a major part of my training on what I do best. As time passes and I gain higher level of skills on the right side I will fall back and develop left side skills while training with less experienced students.

The issue we are not addressing here is conditioning. I think it's important to consider your overall physical condition while training in any martial art. An example of this is, if you are tall with long legs and arms you may be more prone to knee, elbow, and back injuries.

Being in top physical condition is very important in any martial arts training. The better your conditioning and the healthier you are the faster you will heal.

Hello Ray,
Thanks for adding to the discussion. The yo-yo effect is what I call this type of training. Yes we all need to develop our strong sides to gain a certain level of skill before we attack the weak side of training. This is true in every aspect of development. I am referring though to the absolute need to train our weak sides to a competent level for a combative scenario. Thus what is expected we do on our strong side is not what we would do with our weak, even if trained properly. Just understand what it is we would do! To know one self is to be the victor. To address your assessment of the correlation between being fit and healthy and our bodies ability to heal and be whole more quickly is right on!!
Hello Jason:

I re-read your post and comment after nursing my right hand back to health from getting soundly thwacked by a fast moving rattan stick. In a word, ouch.

Your comments address the reasons I moved from style to style back in the dark days before cell phones and the internet.

My first martial art school was traditional karate, all training was attacking or defending moving forward or backward. Looking to expand my skills I joined a Vietnamese school very similar to Kajukenbo. More angles and circular techniques, but no joint locks or throws.

Then I switched to a Korean style that included joint locks and throws. After a back injury I could no longer work out so I joined a JKD club for a few years then I took a break.

Finally I joined a Serrada school in order to learn more about weapons, and I was hooked.

Fast forward to today, now that I'm training again my health and fitness level has improved dramatically. So has my ability to defend and defeat an opponent in the street.

Sorry about the long boring history. I think you are correct, we all need to realize the limitations of our skills and train accordingly.

Individuals as well as styles have their strengths and weaknesses. I know there is not enough time in my life to address everything I need to know.

What I do know is that luck favors those who are prepared.

Its no different then when you join the military. Training can and will cause injury. Injury is part of combat, thats what we are trying to do is 'kill' the opponent because you are training for the REAL fight! Thats why our tournaments in FMA need to have higher standards by which one could judge by having competition as close to real as possible without severe injury or death. FMA in older times players would fight till injured or killed.The organization that in my opinion is striving for reality fighting in tournaments with judging with high standards of integrity & honesty is the USFMAF.
Well in terms of practicality , reality says that you must be able to function injured in a confrontation. The thing is though that most confrontations are over quickly and happen really fast, there are few spontaneous knock down drag out fights that happen. Not to say they don't. Which is a good thing , think about all the guys in the videos on Youtube of the guys who rob a store get bashed 15 times with a baseball bat and still take off with the register. Adrenaline and cortisol are wonderful things if you need them, though it ain't gonna be pretty later.

As far as improving both hands to have double handed proficiency goes, it is a must , but keep in mind the off hand is never quite as good , so stack the deck, plan ahead , carry your knife or dulo dulo in the left pocket instead of the right , (thank you espada y daga), learn how to shoot left handed if you own a firearm, if you are injured you have no business trying to slug it out with any one anyway .

I think if you are injured obviously you should not compete in a competition or tournaments. If you are a professional prize fighter and dinner and electric bills are on the line then I guess you gotta do what you gotta do. However most of us are not professional fighters, being careless and further injuring ourselves makes our dinner and electric bills harder to pay for if you cant work, folks who make a living teaching MA are smart enough to know when to say "OK, this is how to do it" and get some one else to do it. There are plenty of things to bash with a stick if one needs to work on something. Who couldn't use more power? I had a hand surgery that resulted in nerve damage and sensation loss in my left hand. I had a plastic cast thing on my hand which only allowed me to move my thumb and forefinger. I taped a stick to the cast and kept on drilling, point is I was still learning even if I did have to go slower.

My life time of rough and tumble pursuits,and affinity for sharp objects has provided me with plenty of opportunity to train injured, I have a bad foot from an old injury and rely on a walking stick through out the day to take some of the pressure off the foot, it hurts everyday but I find a way to do something even if it is for a few min. After you get into a decent training session you shrug of most pain for a while.

Even if you have to slow down, as long as you keep plugging away you will be fine. -Josh
well put sir!
Great post! To answer your question in my humble opinion is both! I see the value in both! Sometimes I think to do something different in our training is good! As long as what is introduced is good. I do like the fact that you in-abilitate via tape or tie off! But only as a part of your weekly routine! The other is to try and perfect your skills. The reality is no matter how we may perfect a technique the real life application won't be perfect! I think as we do techniques and train on our own we need to be proactive in using those techniques in various situations. I actually have a mental enemy/ enemies that I'm dealing with! This is also how I explore certain techniques and work out the goods and bads of the technique. Once I have it in my head I test it via spar! After it has been proven I commit it to muscle memory!


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