Episode-1083- Young Smith on Martial Arts Training and Home Made Training Aids — 25 Comments

  1. This is not related to this show but know that according to an auto reply that I just got from Steven Harris ;
    ** URGENT UPDATE *** Due to immediate and serious family medical issues I am in the hospital with family. I will be seriously delayed in getting back emails to you for the week of 3/4/2013 to 3/10/2013 Thank You… – Steve”
    I hope you’ll join me in wishing the best for a member of our TSP family.

    • Indeed, I am aware of the situation, Steven has asked that I do not discuss it in detail. I can tell you as of now things have gone fairly well and thoughts and prayers are appreciated deeply by the Harris family. Any details beyond that I leave to Steve to discuss as he feels the need to.

  2. Long time listener, first time commenter.

    Jack, awesome idea about the chain and padlock! I am on it.

    I keep a towrope with integrated clasp hook in my auto EDC. You can train with that as a long range flexible weapon. You can clip a weight onto the tow rope hook as well. That would turn your tow rope into a “Meteor Hammer” (the “Cannon” term Young Smith was struggling to remember).

    Couple observations on the knife discussion near the 59 minute mark:

    30 years ago, my Kung Fu instructor (Canadian Special Forces trained) taught us that if you were facing an assailant that was holding a knife in their forward, outstretched hand, then you knew that person was likely unskilled with a knife. You knew you were in for a fierce fight if your opponent faced you with their open hand and kept the knife in their ‘reserve hand.’

    After listening to today’s episode, my current Shaolin instructor (extensive 22 SAS experience) just happened to do another knife combat lesson tonight. Because there was a new student attending tonight, he lead off with his first and most important lesson that he loves to repeat:

    “This is the way you hold a knife when you want to fight with one – not the Hollywood way …” he would then go onto say the exact same thing you did Jack. Hold it like a fishing knife, not a Steven Seagal “Under Seige” knife.

    When you train with people that have real world life and death experience, you can cut through the crap of how to do things.

    Just thinkin’: would any combat handgun instructor teach you that ‘the proper’ “jammy combat” technique was to stand straight-kneed, in an open-faced stance where you point your handgun at your opponent sideways, flat in front of you? No, but that’s the cool way they do it in the gangster movies, right?

    • Exactly! It isn’t that there is no place for a reverse grip, that grip is about concealment. Such a grip is designed to basically assassinate someone, not defend yourself. It works only on a person who is not fighting back. With that said your teachers line makes a great point, here is an even better one. Not only would you not clean a fish with a reverse grip what about a deer or a pig, both far more a human analog then a fish.

      A listener who is now on my TSP BFF list just gave me three feral hogs they shot on his ranch. So in two days I skinned, quartered, deboned, trimmed three pigs. In all that cutting how many times do you think I used a reverse grip?

      Those enamored with the concept should think about that.

      Anyone with fantasies about knives should read this page then well the rest of the site,

  3. I’m soo glad we have begun talk on this subject! But just like the bee keeping series we need more than just this guy’s (Young Smith) perspective. Normally Jack is spot on, on just about everything but…… I 100% disagree with a comment Jack made about “grappling”. It was something like “I’ll learn it if I have to but I’ll avoid it at all cost” he went on to say because you never know if some bad guy has buddy with a knife or something like that. My belief is if you become a good grappler, wrestler or Jiu Jitsu guy so you have the ability to keep a fight on your feet. That’s why guys in the UFC train soo much on takedown defense so that they can keep the fight standing for that ” knockout of the night” purse. I might be a bit bias because I’m a career wrestler now in Jiu Jitsu with a background in Army Combatives. I’m my opinion Matt Larsen of the ARMY Combatives program would break this whole subject wide open.

  4. Forgive me if i miss quoted you Jack but this is a subject near and dear to my heart. I believe the best Martial Art(s) is “mixed martial arts” its proven time and time again in the cage, ring octagon, street or where ever. In the core of mixed martial arts is Boxing and or Kickboxing, Wrestling and Jiu Jitsu and Judo. Just my opinion thank you for giving me a forum on where i can speak my mind.

    • You are entitled to your opinion and I am more then justified in mine. The last thing anyone with a brain should WANT is to go to the ground in a street fight. At that point you are most vulnerable to additional attackers. That doesn’t mean we don’t learn to grapple but if it isn’t for the ring you better lean to get the hell up as soon as possible.

      The biggest problem I have with martial arts is the blind ignorance within it to real combat. Real combat is not the octogon, not the ring, not a dogo, that is sparing and organized dueling for lack of a better term. Go to the ground in the wrong place and guess what happens, you DIE, really fast. Again that doesn’t mean you don’t train on how to do it but you better get the point I am making or in the wrong place it could get you killed.

      Let me ask you how hard it would be for me to walk up to you and any other person and kick either or both your brains out of your skull with one swift stomp while you roll around together? How hard to slit your throat? Stab you in the kidney? Stomp on your larynx? How hard for 3 of your opponents buddies to do all of that at the same time.

      Taking a fight to the ground in a real world scenario is stupid because of what you don’t know. You don’t know the guy is alone, you don’t know if people there absolutely will kill you if given the chance, period end of story. Ground fighting is for the ring and for when you end up on the ground.

      Your claim that MMA is the best is more proof of what many martial artists don’t know or perhaps don’t want to know. Again the ring, the octagon, etc is NOT and can never be combat. And frankly neither is two dumbasses who “take it out side”.

      Real combat is when an untrained person takes a knife in a prison yard rush with no warning and opens up your guts. Real combat is when 4 guys grab you with zero warning, and they don’t fricken gather in a circle so you can try to play Bruce Lee. Real combat is when a guy ambushes you as you get into your car striking you in the back of the head with a hammer.

      I have witnessed or seen the aftermath of all of those as ACTUAL EVENTS and I am telling you most of the MMA attitude doesn’t do shit in those instances. It then goes to 100% survival instinct and forms, katas, armbars, etc are all gone, it is bloody and live or die.

      I knew a marine that went to jump school alongside me. He went out on a weekend alone big mistake with townies in the Benning area. He ended up coming back to base with massive stitches in his face, neck and ears, not from knives but just a beating.

      Apparently some how he upset or insulted some townies who never acted as if that was they case, they bought him a few beers and asked him if he wanted to go to another bar. He said sure and 6 guys and he headed out, they attacked him from behind, beat him, stomped on him, etc. He was a tough guy and a big guy, he gave as good as he got, grabbed one guy by the throat who ended up seriously injured (well deserved) but what kept him alive.

      He got away, and ran into the darkness of the back lot, found a big truck and went under it and up into the frame where he could not be seen. He listened to the gang saying shit like “we have to kill this guy now” and “yea we better or we are all in trouble”. Eventually these thugs realized they were now 5 in number not 6 and went to find their buddy barely able to breath and beat feet to the Hospital where they were all later arrested. The marine went across the road and dialed 911 from a pay phone and sat bleeding waiting for the cops and paramedics.

      Tell me how MMA is the best training to deal with that? “Best” is just a way of trying to convince yourself that you are better then others based on a style or system. Let me tell you in the real, violent, bloody and life and death world, the best system is survival by any means necessary. I don’t think that marine knew any martial arts other then basic marine hand to hand, but what saved his life was running and hiding. If I was going to develop a fighting system that was considered the “best” that technique would be part of it.

      I don’t know but I think it is being in places where people tried to kill each other for real that makes me take a different view then most. Working with Val of the KGB also opened the little bit of my eyes that needed it. He told me simple ways to kill people in a crowded street and walk away with no witnesses, that told me how vulnerable we really are.

      • We can “what if” ourselves till we’re blue in the face. The fact of the matter is, is that knowing wrestling, jiu jitsu or grappling call it what you want. Gives you a much better chance of getting away from a attacker or multiple attackers.

        I’m a staff sergeant in the army like most soldiers I carry a m16 but I also carry a Barretta M9. If for some reason I was separated from my primary wepon I could use the M9 to get to my M16 or other long range weapon.

        • You can say that but it doesn’t change facts on the ground. Frankly you are arguing at this point a point I never made. I never said not train on ground fighting I said to avoid fighting that way in the real world at all costs because it can get you killed and it can.

          As for MMA being the best that is like saying Martial Arts is the best in and of itself. MMA doesn’t really exist as a true system. Every MMA fighter and every MMA instructor is different from the next. All MMA is frankly is what Young and I advocated, “take what works best for you from each system and make it your own” though it is the philosophy of a far more advanced human being then me.

          As for “what if” I have seen far more events like what I am describing then the hypothetical scenarios used in training inside dojos, gyms and studios all over the world every day. Not one situation I described was a what if, they where all what happened. I do hope you listen to the first half of today’s show with an open mind.

          I also recommend you listen to these episodes

          Again though please don’t write off what happened events as what ifs.

        • I see now that I’m am arguing against a point you never made. My apologies. Unfortunatly I’m not articulate enough to get my point across. I know what I want to say but it just doesn’t come out right. I’d love for you to talk to Matt Larson of the ARMY Combatives System.

        • Anyone that wants to be a guest simply needs to fill out the form and if they look interesting Dorothy will book them. Frankly though real Army hand to had is pretty simple and has been around a long time before this newest idea. I would not teach the average person standard Army hand to hand, it is designed for killing. I don’t think most people get that. I think you served? If so you know what I mean, I will look into this latest craze and see what it is all about.

  5. Rolando, thank you for jumping in. I do have ranking in traditional systems but am far from a traditional fighter. ( and I am also no where near a professional MMA fighter ). My subject was general self defense and training tools. I do agree with Jack that grappling for self defense is entirely different than grappling in a ring. I consider myself a decent grappler, and have effectively (and often effortlessly) applied the little Judo, BJJ and Gracie Jujitsu I have been honored to learn – and still when I was a bouncer and found myself grappling on the ground with an opponent in the middle of a milieu – I chose to release my opponent to protect my head. (I still had him for a while with my guard) I do hope Jack brings other martial artists on to further discuss the subject.

  6. Yes! Mr. Smith, you speak my language. Im going to compete this month in the pan ams (jiu jitsu) in Irvine Ca…. A shocking percentage of street fights end up on the ground. Not sure where i read once but if i remember correctly it was north of 80%. Weapons training is something i have little to no experience on, I’d like to learn more on knife and baton fighting. I really do hope we continue the mixed martial arts discussions.

    • The Gracies pushed that statistic. I say victims end up on the ground, fighters end up on the ground with their attackers and survivors just decided they want to live. I would also be happy to talk further with you, or anyone. Visit my blog, Facebook or occasionally I get on Zello.

    • But who are the people taking it to the ground? Out of the percentage of people who fight, how many of them take or do martial arts? If they are serious about it it has to be a very low number just because of the ethics that you pick up along the way. So I think its a safe assumption that those 80% going to the ground have no real experience above some street brawling. No real system per se. Just an observation. I never want to turn my back and I never want to go to the ground. Situational awareness is the best defense!

      • Most fights go to the ground because it is natural. People lockup, someone goes off balance by plan or circumstance and down they both go. Every boy in my day wrestled with his buddies, it is normal behavior. We can wrestle and really try our best against friends with no one getting hurt. You really can’t box with out someone getting the worst of it. So this natural innate behavior takes over.

        Most people that fancy themselves a bad ass MMA or not are mostly in fights because they choose to be. Outside of sanctioned events this is what I refer to as moronic stupid behavior.

        If I am ever in a real world phyical conflict again in my life I can tell you that it will only be because I could not avoid it, not because I am afraid but because I am NOT STUPID. I would do as much to avoid a fight with an out of shape guy I am 75 pounds heavier then as I would to avoid a fight with a trained fighter who is bigger then me. It has nothing to do with the opponent, I train so I can defend myself, not so I can fight anyone that gets in my face or pisses me off.

        Next I can tell you the person starting the fight will say after it is over that “that guy didn’t fight fair” or “if we had a rematch in the ring I could kick his ass” likely to people who don’t care because I won’t even be there at that point. Hopefully for his sake all he will have gotten is a few strikes because if I am seriously afraid for my life he is likely to get a different type of ballistic strike.

        I have no desire to prove myself better then another person at fighting. Why? It doesn’t prove shit. I can beat up Fred but someone can still beat me up right, specifically in a ring with rules, etc. so what have I proven? That there are people I am a better sportsmen then? Really no shit, that is proof of what? That I am not the worst at something.

        All the arguments about what system is best are based on the performance of the top 2% of fighters. Most of the people making the claims are not in the top 40%, even so if they are say a 50% fighter, they can beat 40% all the time and about the top 40-60% some of the time (everyone has good and bad days) but what does it prove. Even that guy will likely get the shit beat out of him by some dude named Billy Bob that wears bib overalls every day because that is all he can find that will fit him.

  7. Mr. Smith, has the best attituded i have ever heard.
    I have seen people who have studied so hard at one disaplin that when you through something they have never seen, they lock up or back out. I am going back throught the belts after 20 plus years in Tae kwondo with my 2 girls ,ther 9 and 11.
    Thanks great show , Bull

  8. Great show Jack! Awesome guest, Young Smith! It would be super to have you come back on blade weapons and the filipino martial arts. I carry a CS Large Voyager with a DYI zip tie mod, so I can deploy my knife faster than normal people with a switch blade (People, check your local laws before you carring a blade). Under the logic of the protectionist in NY, MA, and CA, my hand would be illegal in their fine (fine in term of taking money from people) states 😉
    I think another element to add to the speed equation is the efficiency of a movement. Take the children slap-hand game for example, most slapper would first drop his hand 2-inch and draw a big circle in mid air to build momemtum and hit the slappee’s hand as hard as possible. But it would be much faster of a slap, if the slapper just rotate his hand (right hand) counter-clockward and slap the slappee with a short slap. One can apply this efficiency thinking in all kind of move. I hope I explain what I mean efficiency well here.

  9. A very enjoyable episode. I have been studying martial arts off and on for years with three different instructors. With my last instructor, I stopped short of getting my black belt. I discovered that he was misrepresenting his art and himself. He had fake diplomas and real diplomas that had been altered. He lied about the origin of his art, his teacher and his military career. I only share this because there are teachers out there that do the same. It’s a shame since this guy had amazing skill (50 years experience) and an amazing curriculum. I believe an instructors ultimate goal should be to lift the student above their own skill level.

    We learned the following the arts:
    Wing Chun Kung fu – He taught as an entry level art. Originally designed to teach a lady, Wing Chun, to deal with a larger target, her suitor. As the legend goes. Bruce Lee’s first martial art taught to him.
    Hsing-I – One of the 3 internal Chinese arts. That utilizes simultaneous attacks and blocks based on 5 movements. It advances up into animal forms later on. Referred to as mind body boxing.
    Tae Chi Chuan – Already covered in the podcast. Just about every movement in Sun Lutang’s form has a self-defense application. Max effect with least amount of effort. Good stuff, I had the same results as Mr. Smith.
    Silat – Indonesian(primary)/Phillipino art that is derived from multiple arts and peoples. The island chains that make up Indonesia were major trade routes where people would bring their goods as well as trade skills. I find the art to be an excellent combination of stand up fighting, takedowns, with a healthy combination of knives and sticks (kali and hand sticks). I see the pocket knife coming in handy while “defanging the serpent” with what I learned from this art.
    Bagua – one of the three internal Chinese martial arts that utilizes circular movements and deals with multiple attackers. Ball room dancing on crack.
    Mizongyi – Referred to as lost labryinth style. I called it angry shaolin fighting. I just started scraping the surface of Mizong and Bagua when I left. I found them to be very complimentary to eachother.
    We also dabbled in Hapkido, Aiki Jui Jitsu, BJJ, Savate and traditional Karate. Salt and peppered with some Sambo and Systema. We favored learning the healing arts as well, Qi gong, massage and Reiki. We trained Iron Palm and Iron Body with using dit da jow. I went to this school for 3.5 years up to 6 times a week. I learned a lot, but only realized I had so much more to learn.

    Jack, if I am able to make a permaculture workshop, I would love to exchange some martial arts training with you.

  10. Glad to hear Jeet Kune Do getting some mentions. It is an effort by a great martial arts practitioner to get past what he thought of as classicalism and down to the science of movement. Everyone’s JKD ends up looking different, because we’re all built different. I notice that the guys who are most proportioned like Bruce tend to fight/move more like he did. Short fire-plugs like me end up looking lots more like a modified Wing Chun. He never intended to impart a system that made everyone fight the same. Read “The Tao of Jeet Kune Do”, a compilations of Bruce’s notes on his studies over time. It’s a good look over his shoulder and I think helpful to any martial arts student.

    Great show. Re:MMA and real-world violence, I encourage everyone to get a copy of Sgt. Rory Miller’s “Meditations on Violence”. He gets to the heart of the “octagon vs. real-world violence” issue as Jack did above.

  11. Thanks for having Young Smith on the show. He was may instructor for some time. He and his Dad took this overweight guy that did not think he could do Karate and taught me that I could. They taught me to believe in myself. He is a great man and I am so thankful for my training with them!

  12. Someone once asked me about my martial arts training, thinking it was bs. The guy was a college wrestler and wanted to test me. When he asked me to show him something all I did was pick up a stick that was laying nearby.

    When ego is not a factor and there are no rules sometimes the simplest solutions are the best

  13. First of all, I want to thank you for this podcast. I think that you touched on some good points. What I do not hear enough of is the importance of understanding the history behind the various techniques that we learn. For example, in BJJ, rubber guard is great for flexible guys with wiry legs, but not so great for someone who is 6’4″ and 270 lbs. This doesn’t mean that big guys can’t do it, but it may not be realistic to expect 90% of big guys to be comfortable manipulating their knee like that. I do not hear this enough and I applaud you for sharing this with us.

    One thing that I found a bit off was the stance taken on Judo. There are moves in Judo that favor different body builds. There are throws when you have to get under the center of gravity (waist) of the person you’re throwing and these favor shorter, stocky guys that you mentioned, like the iconic shoulder throw (seionage). However, there are many throws that favor taller who use their size to tower over the person like in a legs reap (osoto gari) or to use their length to stretch someone out for a throw (harai ogoshi). Just like you mentioned previously, different body styles favor different moves, and Judo has throws for short vs. tall, tall vs. short, and for opponents near the same height.

    There was a dialogue between Modern Survival and Rolando about the merits of MMA and grappling. As someone who wrestled and practices Judo and BJJ (along with FMA, muay thai, western boxing, and Systema) I remain steadfast to the point that Young Smith said which is to know what works for you. Rolando, I am sure that in the Army Combatives system that soldiers train with weapons. One of the problems that I noticed as a grappler is that we do not train with weapons. Grab your buddies, some training knives and some batons and use them when you roll. We grapple with knives and sticks in FMA and it changes everything (especially when people “fight dirty” and bite). Rear nakeds with a stick? Or arm-locks? Defend a triangle with a knife? It will really make you see how vulnerable we are when we grapple. As a career wrestler, I am sure that you take down the average person. Just train in an environment that allows you to see where grappling may endanger you, then experiment to come up with techniques to better protect yourself (this may also mean that you may abandon certain moves if you find that it would be too hard to overcome the danger it will put you in). For instance, try having the person full a knife when you attempt to tie-up or take a shot, or have someone else jump into the fray after you take down the first guy. These will help you to have a conditioned response to be aware of the threat of a weapon and develop the instinct to deal with it so it becomes an unconscious effort whenever you have to apply it. Use what you have because you’re good at it and reinforce it by probing for weaknesses. Don’t abandon what you got.

    As for Modern Survival, it is perfectly valid to not want to take the fight to the ground. As a grappler, I’d rather stay on my feet (so I can run away sooner!). I also agree with you that it is erroneous to say that one style is better then them all. I will say that some styles are more for sport and others are just not realistic. This I why you need to know what you’re looking for. Don’t go to a school that focuses on competition if you wanna learn how to survive on the street. Your best bet is to train at a place that trains to fight in real life. MMA is designed for sport. You can adapt it to deal with street situations, but understand it’s limitations in (1) no weapons, (2) there are no rules (groin shots, eye gouges, biting, (3) multiple attackers, (4) you are wearing clothes (sounds simple but try fighting in business casual or jeans and see how well you can move). Let me be clear that an MMA fighter would whoop the crap out of the average person. I just caution people to be aware that they are trained to fight trained fighters, and most people are not trained fighters. The conditioned response of a professional competitive fighter may work against trying to fight an untrained fighter.

    All in all, this is a great discussion. Thank you for posting great material.