|Kiyohide Shinjo Sensei breaking two 1″ boards with a small surface strike|
Martial artists–usually of the competition-driven variety–often like to point out that certain techniques don’t work, are impractical, or simply too difficult to make work. There are certainly bad techniques out there, that simply do not work in reality, but I will often see perfectly sound techniques being lumped into these complaints. In my experience, these people are really all complaining about one thing–time. Specifically; the time it takes to be use the technique effectively. They don’t want to put in the time that is necessary to develop the skills and/or conditioning needed to make the technique work. This is commonly said of small surface strikes (as seen in the photo, above), standing joint locks (as seen in the photo, below), and tactile sensitivity training (also shown in the photo, below). Of course, these comments usually come from people who haven’t had the techniques applied to them by a skilled practitioner, and don’t really know anything about how to make them work.
|Detecting a push, redirecting it into a standing lock, and following with strikes|
For competitive martial artists, this mindset makes sense. They need to develop a set of skills that fits the ruleset of their sport as quickly and efficiently as possible. This means that they are going to focus on the most basic techniques that work in that environment–things like punches and kicks are much easier to learn and become effective with than small surface strikes, standing locks, and tactile sensitivity. That isn’t to say that those techniques are bad, of course! The trouble is that they can be limiting in the long term, and if you are training for the long term, then what is the harm in exploring the more time-intensive methods of your art?
|Matt Brown using tactile sensitivity in his fight against Robbie Lawler|
These techniques require more time and effort than the basics do, and most people aren’t willing to put in the time and effort–they can argue about effectiveness all they want, but this is what it really boils down to. They can perceive no immediate benefits from it, so they ignore it. Thankfully, as I mentioned in my article on traditional karate techniques in MMA, some people in high-level mixed martial arts competition (which is the best ruleset for these types of techniques) have started to see the light. They have put in the time to make techniques like tsumasaki-geri (toe-tip kicks) and tactile sensitivity useful to them, and they have benefited from it. The more they succeed, the more others are likely to see the value in the more esoteric/advanced methods of fighting, so I suspect we are going to see a slow rise in their popularity.