Cooperative Resistance – Examining Techniques
Socrates said “The unexamined life is not worth living”. Well I believe the unexamined technique is not worth doing. It is your instructor’s job to teach you the techniques and movements of the Mi Guk Kwan system. It is your job however to dive in deep and actually understand them.
It is through this continuous process of examination and exploration that the possible applications of what you are learning can be revealed. The next step is to get a partner and try it out. Try the application you had in your mind, without resistance. First, see if the laws of nature allow for the technique to work before your partner applies “cooperative resistance”. That way we don’t even have to bother trying out your partner blocking you trying to throw a fire ball to knock them out, we know it will not work right off the bat. In a more serious example, you can try a throw out and see if it has application in reality before you have your partner provide ever slightly increasing levels of resistance. That resistance is crucial, as it will provide more and more reality to shine light on the technique itself.
It is important to remember that safety is of a paramount importance, and no one is advocating just beating each other up as a form of gaining understanding. The tool of “cooperative resistance” is very important in being able to learn how to apply what we do in more and more real life encounters: as we are never going to encounter a person stepping back into a deep front stance and yelling at us before they attack us on the street.
Two great exercises that can get you started:
Cross Hand Grab Number One
Do this with a partner back and forth. When you have learned the general movements, have your partner actually apply ever increasing levels of grip strength to your arm. If you are doing it wrong (most likely by not using proper body mechanics like trying to pull your arm instead of the correct movement of pushing your elbow into your appointment chest) it will become more and more apparent to you. After you can pop your arm out when your partner has your arm in a “death grip” ask yourself this question “What happens when my opponent grabs my wrist and punches me with that other hand?” Play around with that back and forth. There is no “correct” or “incorrect” answer. There is only logic movements which negate the incoming attack, and fantastical unrealistic movements not based in a logical reality. I would recommend scraping those and sticking to the movements which follow the logical process of application. As you continue on asking yourself how to do with that, you still have number 2, 3 and 4 of the cross hands to keep you busy. (Side Note: every single cross hand can deal with the other hand punching at you, so saying it cannot be done is an incorrect answer.)
Three Step Back Center Soo Do’s Than One Step Number 1 Through 10
Have your partner step back and make a low block. They will punch forward with a right hand, and you step back with your left leg and produce a right center open hand block in a back stance. You should be blocking over their blind side, not the open side of their body. Having access to their back is advantageous to you, and a problem for them, which is what you want in self-defense. Your partner attacks again and punches with the left hand, you step back with your right leg and make another center open hand block this time with the left hand. On the third punch of your partner, you step out on that 45 degree angle and produce one step number one.
Do all ten one steps with the drop back, step forward punch, as we normally do to learn the one steps.
Now comes the exercise. Have your partner adopt a fighting stance and have them attack you with much shorter stances and making “hook” or “haymaker” punches which are more likely what you are going to encounter in real life. Start slowly and have your partner use 10% of what they can fully throw at. This is not a “get hit a lot and learn” exercise, this is a “learn the application in terms of a more realistic scenario” exercise. Again, your partner should be using “cooperative resistance” to allow you to learn from the experience, without being overwhelmed by a flurry of punches. As you get better, you simply increase attack speed (and don’t forget you have intermediates too).
I do not want to put down what you should expect from these exercises but having taught them for a while, I do see some common lessons being learned.
The number one lesson almost everyone learns is that they have not examined their techniques enough.
SBN Mike Tabone