My chi protects me! Part 2

Chris replied on the post I did about this practitioner’s chi protecting him against a blade. I’ll assume you read both posts so here’s my take on things:

First off, I understand where Chris is coming from but don’t really agree with his reasoning. I’ll cover things point by point and try to make as much sense as possible (not always easy for me, please be understanding.)

Why dont we see Mr. Inosanto chopping his arms with a sword?

Why don't we see Mr. Inosanto chopping his arms with a sword?

Chris said:

This is the consensus view among self-defense instructors: if you are attacked with a knife, you will get cut. You should expect to get cut. Your goal is not so much to avoid getting cut, but to avoid getting killed. So next time you meet a self-defense expert, look at their arms. Do you see any knife scars? Have they even once tested their theories against a real, razor-sharp blade?

The problem with the “expect to get cut” cliché is that it leaves no room for debate. It flat out presents your blood flowing as a fact where in reality, that is certainly not always the case. I can cite a large number of friends and fellow instructors, along with a bunch of authors I know, who faced knives repeatedly and didn’t get cut.  Following this logic, they don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. That just doesn’t track with me.

I also know an interesting Asian gentleman who’s nearing 60 now and started training at around five years old. He practices his knife techniques with a live blade and has in the mean time had plenty of opportunity to test the theories of his art (I’m understating big time). Last time I saw him, his forearms were not riddled with scars. So he should be clueless too if we follow that line of thinking. Again, I don’t agree.

Having scars from a knife attack means you got cut. It doesn’t mean you did a great job using the techniques you learned. It only means you got cut. Not having scars on your arms doesn’t by default make you clueless about knife defense. There just isn’t a causal link there.

Next:

Yes, he failed the test, and nearly chopped his arm off in the bargain. I am not particularly surprised at this outcome. Nevertheless, I wish we had more self-defense instructors of his caliber, and fewer of the type who are so casually mocking him now.

As Chris pointed this at me in particular, here’s my response:

My mocking him was about him deluding himself that he could avoid getting cut by a razor-sharp blade if he did some moves and breathing exercises. I did not mock him for “testing his theories” nor did I do it casually. I’ve seen my share of similar (better and worse) demonstrations and they all failed to prove anything but (great) showmanship. And wasn’t the whole point of these demos to prove you could withstand somebody else cutting you? I’ve yet to find one of these guys willing to let anybody from the audience cut them or use any other blade but their own…

This stuff is just a trick, and an old one at that. You can take a random guy from the street, teach him this stuff in a couple of minutes and he’ll pull it off after an hour of practice.  All the hoopla before the sword comes down is not necessary to pull it off; it’s just putting on a show:

  • You cut some fruit (soft tissue) to show the blade is “sharp”. It isn’t really dull, just sharp enough to go through fruit if you swing the blade.
  • You make a big production out of preparing for the cut.
  • You then cut your arm, stomach, whatever.
  • The crowd goes wild.

The problem is that there is never a “cut”. You see it clearly in this clip: he never draws the blade across his arm, he only chops it down like a hammer. With most blades, you can chop down pretty hard and only have a slight red line in your arm. Hell, I just did it with my Böker Gemini a few times before I wrote this sentence: not a drop of blood and I hit down pretty hard.

Test of the theory: no blood with the Gemini.

Test of the theory: no blood with the Gemini.

These type of demos were pretty common in China back in the day and the demonstrators traveled from one town to the next, trying to make a money impressing the audience.  I know there are some books out there who describe how to pull off the tricks they performed (this cutting yourself being one of them) but I can’t remember which one anymore.  Just think of them like a magician pushing swords through a box where somebody just stepped in. Now would you really try that one if you didn’t know how to do it?

Finally:

Do these results prove the man to be a self-deluded idiot? I sure hope not, because if the rare martial artist who actually tests his theories is subsequently labeled delusional, what does that say about everyone else?

I don’t think he’s an idiot. I think he deluded himself into believing he could sharpen his sword that much and still pull off the trick.  And he failed to pull it off.  Perhaps he wanted to up the ante by cutting down a tree instead of some fruit. It sure does look more impressive but it also requires a sharper blade.  He overdid it and that’s something I find funny.

I also mock him because he cheapens the arts by claiming his trick has any bearing on them. It doesn’t. He’s not testing any martial theory. He’s doing a circus trick. Just like these guys do an act and claim it’s martial arts:

It has nothing to do with martial arts and everything with (group) psychology. But they do charge  $461 for their DVD study course…

When this clip hit the Internet, I laughed pretty hard too:

Again, this is not about martial arts but about money.

Then there’s the value of testing your theories: sometimes there isn’t any. I don’t have to go break somebody’s nose to prove my left hook works. Last time that happened and I felt the crunching as my fist landed, I mostly felt sorry for the guy (having had my nose broken a few times, I know just how much it sucks the day after.) But it didn’t make me a better martial artist, not in the least. I also don’t go stabbing people to see if my knife work is up to par. What’s the point? (Oh, the razor-wit, the slashing humor!) There are limits to what you can get out of testing your theories; sometimes there’s just no added value.

I’d like to offer a final point for consideration: Why don’t we see somebody like Mr. Dan Inosanto, perhaps one of the foremost authorities on Filipino martial arts, doing these tricks? Simply because there’s no point. It wouldn’t prove any martial skill whatsoever. There are some martial arts demos that look like tricks and require actual martial skill. But they seem few and far between.

As always, feel free to comment on this post but keep it civil and without personal attacks. If Chris and I can disagree without turning things into a childish shouting and cussing match, you can too.

UPDATE: Chris replied in the comment section of this post and so did I.  Not sure if this discussion can go much further though.

.

Comments

  1. My reason for mentioning the “expect to get cut” cliche, is not that it is correct. Its existence shows how many knife defense instructors are speaking from personal experience with a live blade. Not so many.

    (“You will get cut” just happens to be the safest claim one can make without any supporting evidence, because people are predisposed to believe it.)

    Now, out of that small group with personal experience, how many would go further, and voluntarily receive an attack from a student with a sharpened blade? Fewer still.

    Out of that tiny percentage, how many would hold their arm still, and receive the blow, just for the sake of experimentation? Approximately zero. Actually, one person; we saw him in the video.

    (“Casual mockery” was actually my summary of Youtube comments, not your own–I linked to your blog because I’d rather send people here instead.)

    Red said nothing about his “chi” protecting him; he was not standing in front of an audience (camera notwithstanding); he obviously did not use a fake blade. So, on the basis of this demonstration, comparing him to a trickster showman is completely inappropriate. This was as real as it gets! It’s real blood on the ground!!

    We are witnessing the courage of his convictions. Courage is the most important attribute for any martial artist; without it no technique can function.

    Do such experiments have any bearing on martial arts? Well, if he had succeeded, the answer would be obvious.

    Having seen much that defies common sense, during my personal exploration of martial arts, I find it hard to criticize this man–and easy to criticize those who believe they knew better all along.

    “There is one principle that can keep a man in everlasting ignorance. That is contempt prior to investigation.”

    • @Chris:
      “Out of that tiny percentage, how many would hold their arm still, and receive the blow, just for the sake of experimentation? Approximately zero. Actually, one person; we saw him in the video.”

      I think we see different things in that video: You see a martial artist experimenting, I see a guy putting on a show. If he wanted to test himself for real, he’d have given Crudelli the sword to chop at him. I already gave the other reasons why I think he’s a showman, can’t really add much more that I haven’t said. So if we disagree on this, there’s not much left to debate.

      “(”Casual mockery” was actually my summary of Youtube comments, not your own–I linked to your blog because I’d rather send people here instead.)”

      Perhaps you should have been more clear then. No way can anybody conclude you meant Youtube comments when you point at my blog.

      “Red said nothing about his “chi” protecting him”

      No, I did. It was an inside joke. If you read “Martial Arts America” by Bob Orlando, you’ll see the reference on page 128. When I saw the video, the cartoon there immediately came to my mind.

      “he was not standing in front of an audience (camera notwithstanding); he obviously did not use a fake blade. So, on the basis of this demonstration, comparing him to a trickster showman is completely inappropriate. This was as real as it gets! It’s real blood on the ground!! ”

      IMO it was very much a demonstration, one he knew was going to be aired around the world to potentially millions of viewers. What better way to shoot to instant stardom? The fact that it was “real blood” doesn’t mean anything on the martial arts scale. Shows can go horribly wrong, it doesn’t make it any less of a show.

      “We are witnessing the courage of his convictions. Courage is the most important attribute for any martial artist; without it no technique can function.”

      Again, we see different things. I see someone who’s deluded himself into thinking he can make something work that either can’t be applied in real life or only works in a hyper-controlled environment. Following your logic, this guy has courage too when he tries his showmanship out for real. He’s not courageous, he’s delusional. Which is typical for tricksters like that; after a while they start believing their own fantasy. Simply because the students have played along for so long. But apparently he got called out and had to face up to his claims (the story is well documented, you can find it on the web) with a non-compliant practitioner. And that’s when the skills of these showmen fail.
      I repeat: real courage from the guy with the sword would have been to let Crudelli cut his arm.

      “Do such experiments have any bearing on martial arts? Well, if he had succeeded, the answer would be obvious.”

      The real question would be, what does it prove? IMO, nothing. Like I wrote, I did it with my Böker knife yesterday while I was writing the post. No blood at all. What does that prove? What’s the martial arts value? None. Absolutely zero. It doesn’t make me cut-proof when somebody comes at me with a knife. I’d be delusional to think that.

      “Having seen much that defies common sense, during my personal exploration of martial arts, I find it hard to criticize this man–and easy to criticize those who believe they knew better all along. ”

      After several decades of training, I too have seen many things that left my jaw on the floor. We can all only try to better ourselves by training hard and I’m still enjoying the slow progress I make. But this kind of nonsense, I’ve seen too much of it to call it anything other than a show.
      I’ve given you the Yellow Bamboo people and now also the Ki master. The guy with the sword falls in the same category for me. Now if you find my reasoning faulty, then I guess you believe in what he’s trying to do: not get cut when hacking himself with a razor sharp sword. Is it fair then to conclude you think the two other examples I cited are also things you deem possible? If yes, then I fear the onus of proof lies on you, not me.

      “There is one principle that can keep a man in everlasting ignorance. That is contempt prior to investigation.”

      Hmmm… You seem to imply I’m both ignorant and contemptuous. Isn’t that a bit close to ad hominem?
      Either way, you’re wrong. I clearly wrote I did not come to my conclusions lightly. I have investigated this and found it to be fraudulent. I explained in detail how this trick is done and did it again just yesterday. So either you didn’t read what I wrote or you’re making things personal. I propose we keep things civil and if that fails, agree to disagree.
      As a final argument, I’ll leave you with this. It explains things clearly. If you’re then still not convinced these are tricks, then I don’t see any point in continuing this discussion

      Respectfully,

      Wim

  2. My reason for mentioning the “expect to get cut” cliche, is not that it is correct. Its existence shows how many knife defense instructors are speaking from personal experience with a live blade. Not so many.

    (“You will get cut” just happens to be the safest claim one can make without any supporting evidence, because people are predisposed to believe it.)

    Now, out of that small group with personal experience, how many would go further, and voluntarily receive an attack from a student with a sharpened blade? Fewer still.

    Out of that tiny percentage, how many would hold their arm still, and receive the blow, just for the sake of experimentation? Approximately zero. Actually, one person; we saw him in the video.

    (“Casual mockery” was actually my summary of Youtube comments, not your own–I linked to your blog because I’d rather send people here instead.)

    Red said nothing about his “chi” protecting him; he was not standing in front of an audience (camera notwithstanding); he obviously did not use a fake blade. So, on the basis of this demonstration, comparing him to a trickster showman is completely inappropriate. This was as real as it gets! It’s real blood on the ground!!

    We are witnessing the courage of his convictions. Courage is the most important attribute for any martial artist; without it no technique can function.

    Do such experiments have any bearing on martial arts? Well, if he had succeeded, the answer would be obvious.

    Having seen much that defies common sense, during my personal exploration of martial arts, I find it hard to criticize this man–and easy to criticize those who believe they knew better all along.

    “There is one principle that can keep a man in everlasting ignorance. That is contempt prior to investigation.”

    • @Chris:
      “Out of that tiny percentage, how many would hold their arm still, and receive the blow, just for the sake of experimentation? Approximately zero. Actually, one person; we saw him in the video.”

      I think we see different things in that video: You see a martial artist experimenting, I see a guy putting on a show. If he wanted to test himself for real, he’d have given Crudelli the sword to chop at him. I already gave the other reasons why I think he’s a showman, can’t really add much more that I haven’t said. So if we disagree on this, there’s not much left to debate.

      “(”Casual mockery” was actually my summary of Youtube comments, not your own–I linked to your blog because I’d rather send people here instead.)”

      Perhaps you should have been more clear then. No way can anybody conclude you meant Youtube comments when you point at my blog.

      “Red said nothing about his “chi” protecting him”

      No, I did. It was an inside joke. If you read “Martial Arts America” by Bob Orlando, you’ll see the reference on page 128. When I saw the video, the cartoon there immediately came to my mind.

      “he was not standing in front of an audience (camera notwithstanding); he obviously did not use a fake blade. So, on the basis of this demonstration, comparing him to a trickster showman is completely inappropriate. This was as real as it gets! It’s real blood on the ground!! ”

      IMO it was very much a demonstration, one he knew was going to be aired around the world to potentially millions of viewers. What better way to shoot to instant stardom? The fact that it was “real blood” doesn’t mean anything on the martial arts scale. Shows can go horribly wrong, it doesn’t make it any less of a show.

      “We are witnessing the courage of his convictions. Courage is the most important attribute for any martial artist; without it no technique can function.”

      Again, we see different things. I see someone who’s deluded himself into thinking he can make something work that either can’t be applied in real life or only works in a hyper-controlled environment. Following your logic, this guy has courage too when he tries his showmanship out for real. He’s not courageous, he’s delusional. Which is typical for tricksters like that; after a while they start believing their own fantasy. Simply because the students have played along for so long. But apparently he got called out and had to face up to his claims (the story is well documented, you can find it on the web) with a non-compliant practitioner. And that’s when the skills of these showmen fail.
      I repeat: real courage from the guy with the sword would have been to let Crudelli cut his arm.

      “Do such experiments have any bearing on martial arts? Well, if he had succeeded, the answer would be obvious.”

      The real question would be, what does it prove? IMO, nothing. Like I wrote, I did it with my Böker knife yesterday while I was writing the post. No blood at all. What does that prove? What’s the martial arts value? None. Absolutely zero. It doesn’t make me cut-proof when somebody comes at me with a knife. I’d be delusional to think that.

      “Having seen much that defies common sense, during my personal exploration of martial arts, I find it hard to criticize this man–and easy to criticize those who believe they knew better all along. ”

      After several decades of training, I too have seen many things that left my jaw on the floor. We can all only try to better ourselves by training hard and I’m still enjoying the slow progress I make. But this kind of nonsense, I’ve seen too much of it to call it anything other than a show.
      I’ve given you the Yellow Bamboo people and now also the Ki master. The guy with the sword falls in the same category for me. Now if you find my reasoning faulty, then I guess you believe in what he’s trying to do: not get cut when hacking himself with a razor sharp sword. Is it fair then to conclude you think the two other examples I cited are also things you deem possible? If yes, then I fear the onus of proof lies on you, not me.

      “There is one principle that can keep a man in everlasting ignorance. That is contempt prior to investigation.”

      Hmmm… You seem to imply I’m both ignorant and contemptuous. Isn’t that a bit close to ad hominem?
      Either way, you’re wrong. I clearly wrote I did not come to my conclusions lightly. I have investigated this and found it to be fraudulent. I explained in detail how this trick is done and did it again just yesterday. So either you didn’t read what I wrote or you’re making things personal. I propose we keep things civil and if that fails, agree to disagree.
      As a final argument, I’ll leave you with this. It explains things clearly. If you’re then still not convinced these are tricks, then I don’t see any point in continuing this discussion

      Respectfully,

      Wim

  3. Dave Dubrow says

    I wish I could find something to disagree about here, but I can’t. I particularly like how you addressed the “You go up against a knife and you’re gonna get cut” canard. If you go into a violent encounter expecting failure, it’s what you’re going to get.

  4. Dave Dubrow says

    I wish I could find something to disagree about here, but I can’t. I particularly like how you addressed the “You go up against a knife and you’re gonna get cut” canard. If you go into a violent encounter expecting failure, it’s what you’re going to get.

  5. I spent a year writing about all-things chi on my blog. I started with the no-touch frauds and also looked at other aspects of chi (Qigong, etc.). All I would humbly suggest is that before we start to offer mystical explanations that we rule out the natural ones first.

    If you go to the end of this old news post you’ll see what most concerns me about this notion of chi:

    http://strikingthoughts.wordpress.com/2008/08/10/martial-arts-news-71008/

    “Why am I so hard on this? Simple. Any number of students who are being taught this bullroar probably believe it. What happens to them when they try it against a mugger? Probably the same thing that happened to this ki master…”

    -Bob

  6. I spent a year writing about all-things chi on my blog. I started with the no-touch frauds and also looked at other aspects of chi (Qigong, etc.). All I would humbly suggest is that before we start to offer mystical explanations that we rule out the natural ones first.

    If you go to the end of this old news post you’ll see what most concerns me about this notion of chi:

    http://strikingthoughts.wordpress.com/2008/08/10/martial-arts-news-71008/

    “Why am I so hard on this? Simple. Any number of students who are being taught this bullroar probably believe it. What happens to them when they try it against a mugger? Probably the same thing that happened to this ki master…”

    -Bob

    • @Bob: Occam’s Razor rules. :-) Seriously, I agree. I’ll take a look at your blog post, thanks for mentioning it.

  7. Hi, Wim. Interesting case examples you and Chris have give in your articles. These videos are great. I think Chris it’s almost some really good points Chris is sorta trying to make. The idea of expecting to be cut can condition you to failure or it can spare you from shock at the sight of your own blood. There certainly is more than is seen in the world of martial arts but these ‘tests’ have been done for years with never a positive outcome. That’s why it’s a show – it’s just one more guy who is destined to fail, and people love to see someone fail. Treating this as an honest ‘experiment’ would be like having people try levitation to disprove the law of gravity – you don’t see people doing that these days (except some yogis, who have been shown to be nuts and frauds too).

    Anyway, interesting posts on both sides. You might enjoy a couple of posts from my archives…

    http://www.mokurendojo.com/2008/11/chi-tards.html

    and the 3rd and 4th video on this post:
    http://www.mokurendojo.com/2008/11/chi-tards.html

  8. Hi, Wim. Interesting case examples you and Chris have give in your articles. These videos are great. I think Chris it’s almost some really good points Chris is sorta trying to make. The idea of expecting to be cut can condition you to failure or it can spare you from shock at the sight of your own blood. There certainly is more than is seen in the world of martial arts but these ‘tests’ have been done for years with never a positive outcome. That’s why it’s a show – it’s just one more guy who is destined to fail, and people love to see someone fail. Treating this as an honest ‘experiment’ would be like having people try levitation to disprove the law of gravity – you don’t see people doing that these days (except some yogis, who have been shown to be nuts and frauds too).

    Anyway, interesting posts on both sides. You might enjoy a couple of posts from my archives…

    http://www.mokurendojo.com/2008/11/chi-tards.html

    and the 3rd and 4th video on this post:
    http://www.mokurendojo.com/2008/11/chi-tards.html

    • @Patrick: I think I remember seeing the clip in your blog post when it first came out. It’s one of those things where I just shake my head and walk away. IIRC, one of the deThouars brothers said something like: Don’t teach bullshit, the truth is hard enough as it is. I agree with that.

  9. Excellent post, as are all the comments. I’ll hold my hands up and say that I have used the “expect to get cut” theory plenty of times, mainly because in my one encounter with a guy with a knife I did get cut, though not too seriously, just a small cut to my finger. I agree that it is a rather thoughtless thing to say. I say it so people won’t be so shocked if they do end up getting cut. But I understand such an attitude also invites failure from the outset. I don’t think I’ll putting forward that theory again though because thinking about it, it’s really not very useful. Thanks for the rethink!

    • Thanks Neil. I don’t really mind the “you’ll get cut” cliché as much. I do mind people forgetting the second part of it: don’t let that stop you. It’s like saying “when you get into a fight, you’ll get punched in the face.” Well, duh! The idea is to try to avoid it and keep going if it happens anyway. Oh well, that’s a rant for another day. :-)

  10. Excellent post, as are all the comments. I’ll hold my hands up and say that I have used the “expect to get cut” theory plenty of times, mainly because in my one encounter with a guy with a knife I did get cut, though not too seriously, just a small cut to my finger. I agree that it is a rather thoughtless thing to say. I say it so people won’t be so shocked if they do end up getting cut. But I understand such an attitude also invites failure from the outset. I don’t think I’ll putting forward that theory again though because thinking about it, it’s really not very useful. Thanks for the rethink!

    • Thanks Neil. I don’t really mind the “you’ll get cut” cliché as much. I do mind people forgetting the second part of it: don’t let that stop you. It’s like saying “when you get into a fight, you’ll get punched in the face.” Well, duh! The idea is to try to avoid it and keep going if it happens anyway. Oh well, that’s a rant for another day. :-)

  11. Years ago I had a friend that attended Fred King’s Kung Fu school in Portland. They did knife training with dull butter-knives and eventually worked up to live blades.
    Two guys were sparring with live blades one day. One guy had a pair of push-daggers. The other guy tried to parry a stab, and got a push-dagger right through the palm of his hand.
    Sorry, but I don’t need that kind of training.

    • Hey John,

      I think you misunderstood: The Asian gentleman I mentioned didn’t spar with live blades. He just trained his techniques that way, even with a partner. He had amazing control and respected both the blade and his partner. No BS, no grandstanding, just a lot of perfectly ingrained movement.

  12. Years ago I had a friend that attended Fred King’s Kung Fu school in Portland. They did knife training with dull butter-knives and eventually worked up to live blades.
    Two guys were sparring with live blades one day. One guy had a pair of push-daggers. The other guy tried to parry a stab, and got a push-dagger right through the palm of his hand.
    Sorry, but I don’t need that kind of training.

    • Hey John,

      I think you misunderstood: The Asian gentleman I mentioned didn’t spar with live blades. He just trained his techniques that way, even with a partner. He had amazing control and respected both the blade and his partner. No BS, no grandstanding, just a lot of perfectly ingrained movement.

  13. Now if you find my reasoning faulty, then I guess you believe in what he’s trying to do: not get cut when hacking himself with a razor sharp sword. Is it fair then to conclude you think the two other examples I cited are also things you deem possible? If yes, then I fear the onus of proof lies on you, not me.

    Wim, actually yes, your reasoning is faulty in many places, but I am not here to discuss Wim. I am here to celebrate a man who will chop himself to smithereens, just to find out whether his theory is correct!

    There are ethical considerations when asking anyone else to do the chopping–not to mention the impropriety of introducing multiple variables into an experiment design.

    Fault him for doing it on camera, if you must, but we could not be discussing it otherwise.

    • @Chris: No worries and no problem. Let’s agree to disagree then. The value of an argument is in the exchange, not in converting the other side to your own.

  14. Now if you find my reasoning faulty, then I guess you believe in what he’s trying to do: not get cut when hacking himself with a razor sharp sword. Is it fair then to conclude you think the two other examples I cited are also things you deem possible? If yes, then I fear the onus of proof lies on you, not me.

    Wim, actually yes, your reasoning is faulty in many places, but I am not here to discuss Wim. I am here to celebrate a man who will chop himself to smithereens, just to find out whether his theory is correct!

    There are ethical considerations when asking anyone else to do the chopping–not to mention the impropriety of introducing multiple variables into an experiment design.

    Fault him for doing it on camera, if you must, but we could not be discussing it otherwise.

    • @Chris: No worries and no problem. Let’s agree to disagree then. The value of an argument is in the exchange, not in converting the other side to your own.

  15. Hi Wim,

    I’ve heard the “expect to get cut” example and I’ve always disagreed. I do not expect to lose a fight even if the other guy has a weapon. I will modify my counter if someone has a knife. One favorite technique I would feel fairly safe with is selling (faking) a jab or back knuckle (or any high attack to draw the knife) and landing a rear kick…

    The only person I’ve faced with a knife was my ex-wife in a heated argument… I just snap-kicked the knife out of her hands… I don’t really think she was going to poke me but it was a mute point. :)

    • @John: The only thing I’m sure of is that thee are no certainties in a fight. It can go in all directions, all the time. Saying you will get cut is as certain as saying you won’t.
      My ex and I had heated arguments too but not to that point. I guess her pulling a knife on you didn’t help the relationship all that much. ;-)

  16. Hi Wim,

    I’ve heard the “expect to get cut” example and I’ve always disagreed. I do not expect to lose a fight even if the other guy has a weapon. I will modify my counter if someone has a knife. One favorite technique I would feel fairly safe with is selling (faking) a jab or back knuckle (or any high attack to draw the knife) and landing a rear kick…

    The only person I’ve faced with a knife was my ex-wife in a heated argument… I just snap-kicked the knife out of her hands… I don’t really think she was going to poke me but it was a mute point. :)

    • @John: The only thing I’m sure of is that thee are no certainties in a fight. It can go in all directions, all the time. Saying you will get cut is as certain as saying you won’t.
      My ex and I had heated arguments too but not to that point. I guess her pulling a knife on you didn’t help the relationship all that much. ;-)

  17. Just tricks… Tricks which (sometimes) need some skills but tricks… Some explanation from a “wing chun(ving tsun?) practitionner”:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gUHajQUQfk

    An other site wich learn you a lot of differents tricks to be a great master:

    http://kungfudo.com/2008/07/iron-body.html

    • @Jagwa. That’s the clip I used in my response to Chris. It does a good job explaining how to cheat with those tricks. Mind you, there are some legitimate skills in this area but they’re few and far between. And at any rate, IMO they’re side effects of the training, not the main purpose. Oh well… :-)

  18. Just tricks… Tricks which (sometimes) need some skills but tricks… Some explanation from a “wing chun(ving tsun?) practitionner”:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gUHajQUQfk

    An other site wich learn you a lot of differents tricks to be a great master:

    http://kungfudo.com/2008/07/iron-body.html

    • @Jagwa. That’s the clip I used in my response to Chris. It does a good job explaining how to cheat with those tricks. Mind you, there are some legitimate skills in this area but they’re few and far between. And at any rate, IMO they’re side effects of the training, not the main purpose. Oh well… :-)

  19. I say all y’all be skatin’ a thin line.
    Spitting salt water (from the first video), bowing at the dojo door, cracking your knuckles, rolling up your sleeves, what ever it is– we all practice purification rites before we demonstrate martial prowess.
    And that’s what martial arts are.
    A demonstration. A performance.
    Every technique requires a set up! (and every practice, requires rules.)
    Sgt. Rory Miller wants us to add more risk to our techniques. He suggests a fully committed dojo mate with a fast swinging baseball bat, instead of a knife, but same idea.
    The din is getting louder…Make It Real!!!
    In fifty years people may look back at martial artists the way that we now look back at the millions of people who practiced channeling and seances in the 19th Century. They were fooling themselves.

    A Test, a Test, my Kingdom for a Test!

    Of course my Kungfu is the best, I have so much Qi I used it to make you read this, and now you are getting sleepy…very sleepy…

    Seriously people, the guy on TV cutting his arm hasn’t made the 20th Century separation between performance and martial arts. The guys in the Video on the roof in Hong Kong are great, but the claim that there was a separate “vagabond” tradition ain’t true. Everybody was doing tricks. Now we have these put-it-all-on-the-table Americans claiming that everything they do is pure fighting, no tricks. Hah! Save it for your grand kids.

  20. I say all y’all be skatin’ a thin line.
    Spitting salt water (from the first video), bowing at the dojo door, cracking your knuckles, rolling up your sleeves, what ever it is– we all practice purification rites before we demonstrate martial prowess.
    And that’s what martial arts are.
    A demonstration. A performance.
    Every technique requires a set up! (and every practice, requires rules.)
    Sgt. Rory Miller wants us to add more risk to our techniques. He suggests a fully committed dojo mate with a fast swinging baseball bat, instead of a knife, but same idea.
    The din is getting louder…Make It Real!!!
    In fifty years people may look back at martial artists the way that we now look back at the millions of people who practiced channeling and seances in the 19th Century. They were fooling themselves.

    A Test, a Test, my Kingdom for a Test!

    Of course my Kungfu is the best, I have so much Qi I used it to make you read this, and now you are getting sleepy…very sleepy…

    Seriously people, the guy on TV cutting his arm hasn’t made the 20th Century separation between performance and martial arts. The guys in the Video on the roof in Hong Kong are great, but the claim that there was a separate “vagabond” tradition ain’t true. Everybody was doing tricks. Now we have these put-it-all-on-the-table Americans claiming that everything they do is pure fighting, no tricks. Hah! Save it for your grand kids.

  21. This is a very interesting posts, indeed. :)
    I happened to know what Wim’s Asian friend is, he would be 59 very soon. I am very novice in the martial Arts world. But the very reason I learned martial arts at first because “I have no choice” and then it grew on me. In my worthless opinion, we learn martial arts, so we don’t get hit or get cut/stub/chop. So the notions that you got to get the scars as a proof that you have learned martial arts, IMHO, is ill advice and a lots of BS. Many people speaks loud and jingo boistering when they or their teacher never been in Indian Country where their life depending on their skills, situations or just lucks to save them from not going to buy the farm. Too many so called martial arts expert proclaimed a lot of things from their safe/control environment without the understanding that in real situations anything can happen. Many rookies got brain freeze the moment he’s in the firefights, regardless if he’s in a special forces. How to overcomes the fear, panick and uncontroble situartions are learn and tested on the field. This you can’t learn it in school or dojo. We can practice dillegently and religiously, we can plan, choreograph movements, but when times come you must react.
    Last but not least. Martial arts technique is only a tools. You need to learn how to use the tools wisely for righrt purpose and in the right place and on the right times. Remember can’t use phillips screwdriver on the flathead screw.
    I could be wrong to,
    Tristan

    • I figure you know that Asian man a whole lot better than most people Tristan. :-) Thanks for stopping by and giving some feedback. Much appreciated.

      Wim

  22. This is a very interesting posts, indeed. :)
    I happened to know what Wim’s Asian friend is, he would be 59 very soon. I am very novice in the martial Arts world. But the very reason I learned martial arts at first because “I have no choice” and then it grew on me. In my worthless opinion, we learn martial arts, so we don’t get hit or get cut/stub/chop. So the notions that you got to get the scars as a proof that you have learned martial arts, IMHO, is ill advice and a lots of BS. Many people speaks loud and jingo boistering when they or their teacher never been in Indian Country where their life depending on their skills, situations or just lucks to save them from not going to buy the farm. Too many so called martial arts expert proclaimed a lot of things from their safe/control environment without the understanding that in real situations anything can happen. Many rookies got brain freeze the moment he’s in the firefights, regardless if he’s in a special forces. How to overcomes the fear, panick and uncontroble situartions are learn and tested on the field. This you can’t learn it in school or dojo. We can practice dillegently and religiously, we can plan, choreograph movements, but when times come you must react.
    Last but not least. Martial arts technique is only a tools. You need to learn how to use the tools wisely for righrt purpose and in the right place and on the right times. Remember can’t use phillips screwdriver on the flathead screw.
    I could be wrong to,
    Tristan

    • I figure you know that Asian man a whole lot better than most people Tristan. :-) Thanks for stopping by and giving some feedback. Much appreciated.

      Wim

  23. Wim,

    I happen to be with you here again. I always make the statement that if your are in a fight with a knife, expect to get cut. I never mean that you will always get cut, but that is what the other guy is trying to do. The test comes down to his skill with the knife vs. your skill. If you don’t want to get cut, make sure you fight with someone with much less skill or don’t fight a guy with the knife. I loved your analagy about the getting punched in the head.

    I personally train with live blades, it adds a whole different level to form and two person work, I have seen too many sloppy practicioners training with dull blades. That said, I have been cut, but my forearms are not riddled with scars. I have fought against a live blade and not been cut, I have fought against a live blade and have been cut…both times luckily the opponent did not want to kill me. Everyone that I know that has trained with a live blade has been cut at one time or another, that doesn’t mean that they are riddled by scars.

    • @Rich: I understand what you mean. I think the biggest problem is a total lack of nuanced debate over the Internet and perhaps society in general. People want sound-bites and short explanations. But to give an accurate answer, you can’t do that. You need to explain things in detail and on top of that, explain what you *don’t* mean or your words get twisted out of context completely. You know what you mean when you say “expect to get cut” but the other people interpret it differently and then start cadding all sorts of layers to it; all of thme nothing to do with what you meant.
      Ah, the joys of teaching… :-)

  24. Wim,

    I happen to be with you here again. I always make the statement that if your are in a fight with a knife, expect to get cut. I never mean that you will always get cut, but that is what the other guy is trying to do. The test comes down to his skill with the knife vs. your skill. If you don’t want to get cut, make sure you fight with someone with much less skill or don’t fight a guy with the knife. I loved your analagy about the getting punched in the head.

    I personally train with live blades, it adds a whole different level to form and two person work, I have seen too many sloppy practicioners training with dull blades. That said, I have been cut, but my forearms are not riddled with scars. I have fought against a live blade and not been cut, I have fought against a live blade and have been cut…both times luckily the opponent did not want to kill me. Everyone that I know that has trained with a live blade has been cut at one time or another, that doesn’t mean that they are riddled by scars.

    • @Rich: I understand what you mean. I think the biggest problem is a total lack of nuanced debate over the Internet and perhaps society in general. People want sound-bites and short explanations. But to give an accurate answer, you can’t do that. You need to explain things in detail and on top of that, explain what you *don’t* mean or your words get twisted out of context completely. You know what you mean when you say “expect to get cut” but the other people interpret it differently and then start cadding all sorts of layers to it; all of thme nothing to do with what you meant.
      Ah, the joys of teaching… :-)

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