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Coach James Poidog

To spin or not to spin | Training Spinning Techniques

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1 hour ago, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

What's Karate shit talk? I'm not entirely sure. Putting Karate down, or Karate people putting other fight styles down?

Both I guess :).  Everybody does it.  Substantive analysis like you do is valid.  But shit talk generally, knee jerk stuff is something I try to be careful with, just for myself.  I try to maintain 100% curiosity all the time, though critique is part of that.  Doesn’t apply to anyone else so I’m gonna drop it.   

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22 minutes ago, threeoaks said:

But shit talk generally, knee jerk stuff is something I try to be careful with, just for myself

Totally so. I do have a problem with mystification of fighting styles. I mean, I was a huge Kung Fu cinema fan, and so absolute love that kind of mystification, in film, but it's difficult when it comes into the real world. Karate is a difficult subject. Much of what is "Karate" is quite far from it's origins in Okinawa (reportedly then, it had very few kicks, now its stereotypically identified with kicks). Even when it came to Japan in 1922 it took a hard turn away from its roots and continued on a fairly strong path towards un-realism. They tried to correct that with full-contact, but it really seems like it never found its realism root, for a hundred reasons. But, I like to think of Karate as kind of compressed file, that likely contains a ton of wisdom and knowledge from eras that are not our own. And that is super cool to me. If you can unzip the file there is probably a Goldmine in there, and I'm sure many have claimed, or have worked to do so, translating it into fight contexts, but wholesale Karate feels a little fantasy based. In thinking about unzipping files, I really like for instance what these young dudes are doing:

 

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11 minutes ago, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

 But, I like to think of Karate as kind of compressed file, that likely contains a ton of wisdom and knowledge from eras that are not our own. 

 

I love that idea of a compressed files and I don't disagree that much of karate has taken a turn towards the unreal.  Part of it is I don't really like the word "karate".  Seems important to be precise.  I also don't think being original (Okinawan) necessarily makes things right.  I am not always looking for the oldest thing although that is also of interest, just not definitive.  I tell you what Kevin, I was in tears when it became clear that for family reasons I was going to have to add in Korean Tang soo do (a precursor to Tae Kwon do, heavier roundhouses, many other differences but still a 20th century hybrid like so many).  I just absolutely hated it but I have to do it (my mentally ill daughter is trying to get back to her practice and she needs to see a beginner, me, for courage).  I am learning some brutal things (so many approaches to yanking off the testicles lol), and because my teacher knows I prefer Muay Thai, he is at pains to explain the real purpose in different movements.  The single blow thing, for example, is obviously ridiculous so Tang soo do also teaches nasty little hand and wrist locks as a sort of backup in case your opening salvo fails on the street.  But this is not a defense of karate.  Go ahead.  Chop at it.  I love that video!  Two smart guys making solid arguments for the necessity of "kata" or forms.  Makes sense.  I didn't know Okinawan was so grappling based.  Style I hate is Shotokan.  So still, so low.  Seems just fucking pretentious.  That is probably similar to peoples' reactions to flying shit.  I have shot thousands of frames of different styles of karate at tournaments so I'm somewhat aware of the variety.  But my heart and soul are with Muay Thai, as much as they can be from this country.

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11 minutes ago, threeoaks said:

I also don't think being original (Okinawan) necessarily makes things right. 

I think the only interesting thing about (supposed) Okinawan Karate is that it is likely closest to the root of actual combat or realism. On the other hand what we have from that lineage maybe is rarified now. If you don't appreciate Shotokan though, Shotokan is kind of the bottleneck through which almost everything else got passed through, if I got that right. You may find the Taekwando book I recently read interesting. I'm a sucker for these kinds of historical tracings. It goes way too into the history of particular strikes, but the general history about the TKD evolution from Karate (about half the book) is crazy good.

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Just now, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

I put up extensive screenshots of one of the best chapters (to me), it will give you a sense whether this author has the right tone and level of detail. Not all the book is this good, but I really liked parts of it:

 

Yes I have seen you posting about it and bought it. Expensive!  But nerdtastic.  Thank you for putting up screenshots.

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3 minutes ago, threeoaks said:

Expensive!  But nerdtastic.

Well said! For me, if I really care about Muay Thai, and its clash/synthesis in the west I really need to understand the history of what happened to TKD, which seems like a disaster (from my pov). I know that some people involved in the progeneration of Muay Thai in the west are inspired by the perceived success of TKD, and for me this constitutes maybe an existential danger. But, if I don't know what the hell happened with TKD, it's very hard to see if Muay Thai faces anything worrisome in that direction. My hope was that it would clue me in on all that, but instead the really interesting parts were what happened in the 1920s before TKD, when modern ideas about martial arts were just developing.

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So wait wait... then the whole thing about TKD's jumping spinny spinny stuff being from infantrymen who knocked the cavalry guys off their horses..... was that an urban myth all along? 

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43 minutes ago, Oliver said:

So wait wait... then the whole thing about TKD's jumping spinny spinny stuff being from infantrymen who knocked the cavalry guys off their horses..... was that an urban myth all along? 

Horses in the Age of the Gods were 20 ft high, little known fact (pretty damn spectacular, though)

 

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52 minutes ago, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

Horses in the Age of the Gods were 20 ft high, little known fact (pretty damn spectacular, though)

 

This is a beautiful and amazing feat of acrobatic skill but I can definitely see why you wouldn't want Muay Thai heading in that direction.

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Thing is, you can kinda feel sorry for that every new guy with the red hat. Sounds like you guys had good training starting out so were decently schooled, but in loads of countries it's a bit shocking. In the beginning, this one gym (stayed there about 5 minutes, for this reason) had a trainer only wanting us us to do his bizarre convoluted long ass 13, 14 hit combinations. No joke, one would involve superman punch, then flying knee, then spinning back something, then another jumping teep, then his own ninja matrix move he invented... I mean it was cringe. Didn't know where to look.

Growing up, there were guys running gyms this way to keep paying members coming back because it felt fancy and exciting. He knew his... well, basically cult members, loved to know they were learning the same thing they saw in a highlight reel the previous day on their instagram.

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14 minutes ago, Oliver said:

Thing is, you can kinda feel sorry for that every new guy with the red hat. Sounds like you guys had good training starting out so were decently schooled, but in loads of countries it's a bit shocking. In the beginning, this one gym (stayed there about 5 minutes, for this reason) had a trainer only wanting us us to do his bizarre convoluted long ass 13, 14 hit combinations. No joke, one would involve superman punch, then flying knee, then spinning back something, then another jumping teep, then his own ninja matrix move he invented... I mean it was cringe. Didn't know where to look.

Growing up, there were guys running gyms this way to keep paying members coming back because it felt fancy and exciting. He knew his... well, basically cult members, loved to know they were learning the same thing they saw in a highlight reel the previous day on their instagram.

And thats also a big issue. I can understand coaches "de-evolving" there style to fit customer demand. From a business perspective this makes some sense. But I also see it as treating the whole gym in a dishonest way. The thing I tell all who train with me is simply whether you want to fight or not (and I really dont care either way, no pressure) you will learn how to fight. Again, not against spinning or fancy techniques, just against them being the focus over the basics that will win fights. The term basic even has a deceptive ring to it. You need a lot of time on those to really understand the nuances of why they work. Skipping them, or placing their importance as less, makes it really hard to actually progress, even to the point where the fancy techniques you want to learn become less for it. Hope that makes sense. In the frand scheme of it, its a minor annoyance and more a slightly frustrated joke. Ive never actually turned away a student because of this. I just always looked at it as an opportunity to educate them. Usually that works well.  

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Basics, basics and more basics. I'm really anal about balance. I don't mind spinning elbows and I'm really partial to the spinning back kick to the liver. You can take the boy out of karate but you can't take the karate out of the boy. Ahaha.  Back to balance, before you can do anything,  you have to be able to move and maintain balance.  Some people have a great deal of trouble understanding this.

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To spin a varying amount of rotations. I come from a muay thai background where you don't see many spin kicks, and from there have dabbled in Combat Sambo, where you definitely see them, and I've begun training Shaolin for fun, the combat sport variant of which is Sanda.

I think you should be proficient with at least a spinning backfist or elbow. Obviously there's no real need to use spinning techniques offensively - although mixing a back spin kick and a wheel kick together are VERY useful - but if your leg is caught and parried the quickest way to get your momentum back is to take that spin and go straight into a back elbow or fist. Artem Levin was particularly proficient at that. When you know you have something like that up your sleeve, it lets you kick with more confidence too. You don't have to go to it every time your kick get's parried, but it's usually not a bad idea to throw it, especially when you know their guard will be down after just parrying your kick. 

That being said, I don't think reliance on spinning is a good thing unless you have multiple weapons. You'll see Sanda guys (despite kicking being far riskier in Sanda than it is in Muay Thai) routinely incorporating double attacks between spinning back kicks, wheel kicks, backfists etc and it works because that turn becomes a chamber where you can't predict what is coming. It's also why we've seen quite a few good Thai's be KO'd in China. 

That being said the approach to training in Sanda comes with the forms and Qi Gong that grants you the flexibility and mobility to throw those kicks with ease, that you don't really get in Muay Thai training. You see some Muay Thai purists act as though spinning techniques don't work, and that's categorically wrong, it's more that Muay Thai kicking is so based in power that you see great fighters kick in a way that most other martial arts would view as over commitment, I don't think those heavy swings of kicks necessarily lead themselves to spinning technique. The Thai approach to fighting just doesn't lend itself to spinning techniques in the same way martial arts rooted in Kung Fu (Shaolin, Karate, Taekwondo etc.) do.  I think unless you're actively training a form of Kung Fu or Karate alongside your Muay Thai training regularly, I'm not sure spinning kicks are a good idea - because learning the technique of a spin kick in a vacuum doesn't teach you the timing or type of footwork you'll need to make that technique effective. While Sanda has a lot of similarity to Muay Thai, there's a definite "springiness" to it that makes explosion into spinning techniques more unpredictable. 

TL;DR: if you're going to throw spinning kicks spend a substantial amount of time in a martial art/combat sport that actually makes use of them - because you'll just telegraph them if you try to bust them out with a Muay Thai rhythm.

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