I put safety warnings on some of the bunkai demo videos we make.
Some people think this is overly cautious.
Here is my perspective:
Not everyone understands how the body works or how the techniques work.
I do not know everyone who is looking at these videos.
Some people are experts. They have never seen this material before.
But when they see it, they get it. They use it and teach it to their students.
Some people try to imitate it and try it out on their friends. They need the safety warning.
Some people think it is tough to get hurt, or to hurt someone else. It is not. It is better not to get hurt in training.
Can it be useful to have the experience of taking a hit? Or multiple ones? It is. Getting taken down, using pressure points, seizing, joint locks – all of it can be a useful and necessary training experience if you want to use your art for self-defense. But you need to know what you are doing. You need enough practice and skill to do it in a positive way, so that it will be helpful and not cause injury.
Not everyone is even interested in self-defense. They are looking for fitness or focus training. That’s okay too. They will take a different approach to contact.
As use of force instructors, for initial certification, we all got pepper sprayed. We got tased. We got cuffed, taken down, proned-out and moved around at high speed in unpleasant environments, training with less than perfect people with less than perfect technique.
It was not fun. It was not like, yeah let’s do that again. But it was useful. And you remembered the experience when you needed to draw on it.
But no one ever said you know it would be real manly if we got shot, to see if it really works. We know it works. The same goes for full-power punches to the head, chokes to unconsciousness and strikes into vital targets. We can be confident they will work without experiencing them or doing them to training partners.
Can you toughen most of your body? Yes.
Do people break bricks with their hands and two by fours with their forearms? Yes. But you need to condition up to it. Will alone is not enough.
My advice: keep it safe.
Don’t let strangers twist your head. Or let them show you exciting new pressure points by jamming their fingers into you. No need to give an exhaustive list of what other dumb or dangerous stuff you should avoid. Use your judgement. Know your training partners and instructors. Do not do what does not feel right.
You are responsible for your body. It is up to each of us personally to stay in control of our training and make good choices, every step of the way. Encourage your friends, students and training partners to do the same.
Be strong, work together, go step by step, get good advice, and do it right.
Post Copyright © 2023 by Jeffrey Brooks, Mountain Karate, Yamabayashi Ryu, Saluda, NC USA
Photo by Alexa Popovich, via Pexels
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