What Makes Martial Arts Effective? Matt Thornton — Rokas

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What Makes Martial Arts Effective? Matt Thornton — Rokas

Postby marvin8 on Mon Apr 23, 2018 3:38 am

AikidoSiauliai
Published on Apr 23, 2018

Many people practice martial arts which are not really effective for what they claim to be. In this video martial arts legend Matt Thornton will share how he distinguishes what makes a martial art effective. We will also talk about empirical thinking in martial arts and on developing your own style.

Matt Thornton is a martial arts athlete, trainer, and founder of Straight Blast Gym International, an association of over 35 gyms worldwide engaged in training athletes in Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ), boxing and mixed martial arts (MMA).

He is well known in the martial arts community for his formulation and promotion of the concept of "aliveness" in training, as well as for being one of the first gyms to feature cross training in boxing and other fighting sports at the beginning of the growth of the sport of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in the 1990s. He was among the first American-born practitioners to receive a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ). . . .

Now to summarize this interview with Matt Thornton, in the end it all comes down to aliveness. If a martial art is practiced without alive drilling and it's just based on static form it will have no way to evolve as a functional practice. In other words if you are not swimming in water and practice your moves on dry land how can you expect to swim well the first time you are dropped in water? Thus in martial arts pressure testing and alive drilling is most vital if you want your martial art to be effective:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LP9MVkac--I

AikidoSiauliai
Published on Apr 16, 2018

Many see that martial arts such as Aikido are not effective for self defense but still believe Jeet Kune Do and Wing Chun to be so. In this video I'll talk with Matt Thornton, a martial arts legend who has been an instructor in Jeet Kune Do, yet was able to see it's flaws and went on the path to functionalize his martial arts. He will explain in a simple manner why Jeet Kune Do is not actually and functional martial art and why it is so.

Now to come back to the subject of whether Jeet Kune Do is an Effective Self Defense form, we need to look at the details of what an effective self defense form is. As Matt Thornton very well said in this interview segment: you can not expect a martial art to be functional if you do not include alive training with resistance. That applies as much for Aikido as much as Jeet Kune Do or Wing Chun.

Although Jeet Kune Do and Wing Chun appear more "realistic" and more as an effective self defense form, without proper training methods one can not expect it to really be effective for self defense. Jeet Kune Do (or JKD) also has a lot of techniques which are more favored by traditional martial arts which are clearly not effective for self defense which is interesting, because it clearly gives trouble for the vision of Bruce Lee that he had for Jeet Kune Do.

If you ask Matt Thornton whether he still does Jeet Kune Do, he would say yes, not because the forms of JKD are still used, but mainly because he follows the vision of Bruce Lee of looking at what is effective and what can be applied for self defense. This is something that would should all look for as well.

So in the end if Jeet Kune Do is an Effective Self Defense form or not, you will have to decide for yourself. Yet after listening to this talk with Matt Thornton I think you will have an easier time figuring it out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fuvgeP04TMI
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Re: What Makes Martial Arts Effective? Matt Thornton — Rokas

Postby RobP3 on Mon Apr 23, 2018 6:19 am

Well the marketing is certainly "alive"
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Re: What Makes Martial Arts Effective? Matt Thornton — Rokas

Postby Steve James on Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:31 pm

I tend to think that sports athletes and martial artists tend to think their opponent will be a martial artist or athlete. So, the debates about the effectiveness of wing chun or tcc focus on what those arts don't have that others do. MMA has accentuated those debates because the mma athlete specializes in being a generalist. He or she has to be capable in striking, kicking, stand up, and ground game.

I think it's impractical for the average person seeking to learn how to defend himself to think in those terms. First off, get a weapon. An adult needs a means of self defense today, not in a few years or with much training. It's the weak who need it most. Secondly, the weakest, the people who need it the most, may never be able to compete with a sports athlete. They may, however, be able to defend themselves from unskilled attackers. Just the willingness to fight back might help, or at least discourage some attackers.

Oh, but I agree with the benefits of pressure testing. Just so's you know.
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Re: What Makes Martial Arts Effective? Matt Thornton — Rokas

Postby C.J.W. on Mon Apr 23, 2018 6:50 pm

I also agree with his idea of training with "aliveness" and it basically echoes what I've been saying to non-believers for years.

TMAs no longer work mainly because the vast majority of TMAs do not train to fight anymore. In many systems, there's also a gap in the transmission of genuine combative skill and knowledge caused by generations of secrecy.
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Re: What Makes Martial Arts Effective? Matt Thornton — Rokas

Postby grzegorz on Tue Apr 24, 2018 1:53 pm

Matt Thornton! Talk about a blast from the past...

Yeah, he came about time and had a good message but more and more I see the value in martial arts as a hobby and realize that not everything needs to do kill kun do.

For me and most others I know training is a great stress reliever and great exercise. If an adult finds themselves getting into fights perhaps they should examine the choices they are making in life.

As much as I enjoy grappling I still think knife fighting and probabaly Krav Magav will be more realistic in a lot of ways since grappling is based on one on one MMA fighting.

Mix it up I say. Experiment and try different things to see where you are at. There is no reason for everyone's journey needs to be the same.
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Re: What Makes Martial Arts Effective? Matt Thornton — Rokas

Postby marvin8 on Wed Apr 25, 2018 1:25 pm

Steve James wrote:I tend to think that sports athletes and martial artists tend to think their opponent will be a martial artist or athlete. So, the debates about the effectiveness of wing chun or tcc focus on what those arts don't have that others do. MMA has accentuated those debates because the mma athlete specializes in being a generalist. He or she has to be capable in striking, kicking, stand up, and ground game.

Modern martial artists tend be more aware therefore better prepared for a variety of attacks. Today's attackers may be more well-rounded with the popularity of MMA.

I find sports athletes more humble and open to other styles (many have a traditional art background)—absorbing what is useful (e.g., Anderson Silva and Tony Ferguson open to wing chun, etc.) and discarding what doesn’t work. There is less debating, than film study of what works between two participants. Today's sports athletes are more measured by how effectively their practice works against ranked, non-compliant opponents and their fight records, than what style(s) of lineage they practice.

Steve James wrote:I think it's impractical for the average person seeking to learn how to defend himself to think in those terms. First off, get a weapon. An adult needs a means of self defense today, not in a few years or with much training. It's the weak who need it most. Secondly, the weakest, the people who need it the most, may never be able to compete with a sports athlete. They may, however, be able to defend themselves from unskilled attackers. Just the willingness to fight back might help, or at least discourage some attackers.

Oh, but I agree with the benefits of pressure testing. Just so's you know.

It is impractical for the average person to be over confident in their self-defense skills without pressure testing (e.g., aliveness pad work, drills, sparring, fights). Weapons (e.g., pepper spray, gun, stun gun, kinfe, belt, etc.) can help.

grzegorz wrote:Matt Thornton! Talk about a blast from the past...

Yeah, he came about time and had a good message but more and more I see the value in martial arts as a hobby and realize that not everything needs to do kill kun do.

For me and most others I know training is a great stress reliever and great exercise. If an adult finds themselves getting into fights perhaps they should examine the choices they are making in life.

I don't agree with everything Matt says (haven't read his work extensively).

He does not state "everything needs to do kill kun do." Training can still be "a great stress reliever and great exercise" while including aliveness: timing, energy, motion and energy.

At 1:52 Matt says:
Matt Thornton wrote:"When I say aliveness, I don't mean sparring. . . . Aliveness is incorporated in every drill we do. If you're going to a wrestling gym, there is going to be live drills. They don't have to be brutal or hard. And, they are not sparring. There is a sense of timing because they're alive. That is the ultimate answer to why some arts work and some arts don't."


grzegorz wrote:As much as I enjoy grappling I still think knife fighting and probabaly Krav Magav will be more realistic in a lot of ways since grappling is based on one on one MMA fighting.

Mix it up I say. Experiment and try different things to see where you are at. There is no reason for everyone's journey needs to be the same.

I agree. I do not like relying on grappling or going to the ground because of hidden knives, other attackers and disease. Matt does not say "everyone's journey needs to be the same." The journey can be different, but should include aliveness.
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Re: What Makes Martial Arts Effective? Matt Thornton — Rokas

Postby Steve James on Wed Apr 25, 2018 1:48 pm

Re: "Today's attackers"


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osRLJKnOB34

Some people study "martial arts" to be able to protect people like the one above. Today's attackers, in my neighborhood, go after the obviously weak. Modern mma has nothing to do with it.

Afa the
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Re: What Makes Martial Arts Effective? Matt Thornton — Rokas

Postby grzegorz on Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:46 pm

In my experience young to middle aged men who are in shape are rarely the victims of randoms attacks unless they chose to fight someone. In some places I have lived fights were using multiple people attacking someone using anything they could get their hands on as a weapon.
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Re: What Makes Martial Arts Effective? Matt Thornton — Rokas

Postby marvin8 on Wed Apr 25, 2018 4:22 pm

Steve James wrote:Re: "Today's attackers"


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osRLJKnOB34

Some people study "martial arts" to be able to protect people like the one above. Today's attackers, in my neighborhood, go after the obviously weak. Modern mma has nothing to do with it.

Afa the

The attacker in the video starts out grappling (headlock).

Again, Matt is not talking about MMA (or sparring). He is speaking about aliveness: timing, energy and motion. Aliveness (pressure testing) would help this 79 year old man realize his weaknesses and take subsequent steps accordingly. Steps may include training awareness of environment, avoiding dangerous situations, weapons, etc.

marvin8 wrote:At 1:52 Matt says:
Matt Thornton wrote:"When I say aliveness, I don't mean sparring. . . . Aliveness is incorporated in every drill we do. If you're going to a wrestling gym, there is going to be live drills. They don't have to be brutal or hard. And, they are not sparring. There is a sense of timing because they're alive. That is the ultimate answer to why some arts work and some arts don't."


Here is what Matt did say if you care to opine. At 8:08:
Matt Thornton wrote:. . . The way real style is developed is you learn the fundamentals of base, of movement of footwork, of distance of body mechanics, of applying joint locks and the positions on the ground. Those fundamentals transcend culture, body, era and venue.
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Re: What Makes Martial Arts Effective? Matt Thornton — Rokas

Postby Steve James on Wed Apr 25, 2018 5:15 pm

The attacker in the video starts out grappling (headlock).


Do you honestly believe that the headlock is new or has anything to do with modern mma?

Aliveness (pressure testing) would help this 79 year old man realize his weaknesses and take subsequent steps accordingly. Steps may include training awareness of environment, avoiding dangerous situations, weapons, etc.


Easy for you to say, but true. Otoh, one of the things he can't do is run away, either

Anyway, my point was that some people study martial arts to be able to defend those who can't protect themselves. I'm not saying that people should not "pressure test" their arts and be aware. I'm saying that it's the people who obviously can't do that type of testing who are generally the victims. They're not going to the gym at the rest home to do light drills. Nor do I even think that fighting back would work for the 79 year-old in the video.

Here is what Matt did say if you care to opine. At 8:08:
Matt Thornton wrote:
. . . The way real style is developed is you learn the fundamentals of base, of movement of footwork, of distance of body mechanics, of applying joint locks and the positions on the ground. Those fundamentals transcend culture, body, era and venue.


I have no problem at all with what Matt did say.
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Re: What Makes Martial Arts Effective? Matt Thornton — Rokas

Postby marvin8 on Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:54 pm

Steve James wrote:
The attacker in the video starts out grappling (headlock).


Do you honestly believe that the headlock is new or has anything to do with modern mma?

It was only an observation. Where is "new" mentioned?

Again, the subject is aliveness, not MMA. Here is the Matt transcription that has been repeated several times:
marvin8 wrote:Again, Matt is not talking about MMA (or sparring). He is speaking about aliveness: timing, energy and motion. Aliveness (pressure testing) would help this 79 year old man realize his weaknesses and take subsequent steps accordingly. Steps may include training awareness of environment, avoiding dangerous situations, weapons, etc.

At 1:52 Matt says:
Matt Thornton wrote:"When I say aliveness, I don't mean sparring. . . . Aliveness is incorporated in every drill we do. If you're going to a wrestling gym, there is going to be live drills. They don't have to be brutal or hard. And, they are not sparring. There is a sense of timing because they're alive. That is the ultimate answer to why some arts work and some arts don't."


Steve James wrote:
marvin8 wrote:Aliveness (pressure testing) would help this 79 year old man realize his weaknesses and take subsequent steps accordingly. Steps may include training awareness of environment, avoiding dangerous situations, weapons, etc.


Easy for you to say, but true. Otoh, one of the things he can't do is run away, either

Anyway, my point was that some people study martial arts to be able to defend those who can't protect themselves. I'm not saying that people should not "pressure test" their arts and be aware. I'm saying that it's the people who obviously can't do that type of testing who are generally the victims. They're not going to the gym at the rest home to do light drills. Nor do I even think that fighting back would work for the 79 year-old in the video.

I already said the 79 year-old needs to look at other actions other than fighting (his weakness). He can take the best steps at the moment. But, that still does not guarantee his safety:
marvin8 wrote:Again, Matt is not talking about MMA (or sparring). He is speaking about aliveness: timing, energy and motion. Aliveness (pressure testing) would help this 79 year old man realize his weaknesses and take subsequent steps accordingly. Steps may include training awareness of environment, avoiding dangerous situations, weapons, etc.


Steve James wrote:
marvin8 wrote:Here is what Matt did say if you care to opine. At 8:08:
Matt Thornton wrote:
. . . The way real style is developed is you learn the fundamentals of base, of movement of footwork, of distance of body mechanics, of applying joint locks and the positions on the ground. Those fundamentals transcend culture, body, era and venue.


I have no problem at all with what Matt did say.

Good. That was one of the main points.
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Re: What Makes Martial Arts Effective? Matt Thornton — Rokas

Postby grzegorz on Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:35 pm

I have a lot of Matt's work and I agree with him but I have also seen him being over critical.

I have posted his videos over the years here.

I got a lot out of him.
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Re: What Makes Martial Arts Effective? Matt Thornton — Rokas

Postby grzegorz on Thu Apr 26, 2018 12:23 am

The Tired Debate.

http://www.shenwu.com/discus/messages/1 ... 1040891387

We discussed the above link over a decade ago. In fact you can find Steve James in the comments. -joint-
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Re: What Makes Martial Arts Effective? Matt Thornton — Rokas

Postby RobP3 on Thu Apr 26, 2018 1:17 am

marvin8 wrote:
Again, Matt is not talking about MMA (or sparring). He is speaking about aliveness: timing, energy and motion. Aliveness (pressure testing) would help this 79 year old man realize his weaknesses and take subsequent steps accordingly. Steps may include training awareness of environment, avoiding dangerous situations, weapons, etc.

marvin8 wrote:


Awareness, etc, none of which MT teaches, as far as I know. In fact, I had an SBG instructor tell me I was some kind of psychopath because we involve weapons in our training. His focus was purely on "nice" training with a lot of putting other things down. It's another construct, similar to what they criticise in some ways.
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Re: What Makes Martial Arts Effective? Matt Thornton — Rokas

Postby grzegorz on Thu Apr 26, 2018 3:23 pm

RobP3 wrote:
marvin8 wrote:
Again, Matt is not talking about MMA (or sparring). He is speaking about aliveness: timing, energy and motion. Aliveness (pressure testing) would help this 79 year old man realize his weaknesses and take subsequent steps accordingly. Steps may include training awareness of environment, avoiding dangerous situations, weapons, etc.

marvin8 wrote:


Awareness, etc, none of which MT teaches, as far as I know. In fact, I had an SBG instructor tell me I was some kind of psychopath because we involve weapons in our training. His focus was purely on "nice" training with a lot of putting other things down. It's another construct, similar to what they criticise in some ways.


Thanks Rob. That is kind of what I was warning against. SBGi is very good at marketing but obviously somehow their styles are all you need. I drank the koolaid but took everything with a grain of salt. For me MMA styles are not really about street fighting as much as developing extreme conditioning. Extreme conditioning alone will probably win most street fights against an untrained fighter but a train fighter with a weapon?
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