Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Keep it Simple: Innovation Through Method not Technique

“Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail.” - Henry David Thoreau

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” - Leonardo daVinci

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” - Albert Einstein

“Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” - Albert Einstein

“The simplest things are often the truest.” Richard Bach

“Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art.” Frederick Chopin

Every great martial artist, defensive tactics instructor or coach I have ever known were masters at simplification. Yet martial artists and people in general always seek to complicate things. They over analyze and extrapolate dozens, if not hundreds of possibilities for any specific situation. Now it seems that I tend to "beat up" martial artists, but the same holds true for any form of education because it's human nature to do this, it's just that martial arts fall into the realm of what I do.

There is a need to over teach, over explain and a need to ADD technique instead of subtracting. With instruction people get bored. They feel that if they can remember the technique in class and repeat it that they actually KNOW IT. This is bullshit.
I have thrown tens of thousands of edge of hand, chin jabs, reverse punches, single leg take downs, double leg take downs and the list goes on and on. While technically the techniques have changed, they have all evolved over time. My edge of hand 20 years ago may resemble the one that I do know, but the velocity and brutality in which I deliver it has changed. The single leg take down I learned in first grade was not the one I did in college.

Any good instructor feels they need to keep the class engaged and stimulated. Adding new technique is the easiest way to keep students interested. The learning curve is reset and they are not bored. But adding new technique is like giving your kids cookies when they're hungry. Sure it shuts them up and you know they will eat it, but in the end it's not good for them. What you need to do is feed them their meat and vegetables. The only way to get them to eat what's good for them is to present it in a different manner. You need to do the same thing for your students.

Techniques and tactics of hand to hand combat WILL NEVER CHANGE. The only thing that changes is technology. We know what techniques work and there is nothing new under the sun. Since Cane crushed Abel with a rock, man on man combat will always be just that. REAL innovation is in HOW you train, not WHAT you train.

Good instructors, excuse me, GREAT instructors will innovate in the drills that they use to educate their students. When you force students to adapt their skills to new and different situations those skills become ingrained and instinctive. This is what you need to accomplish: give people a proven set of skills that they can apply to any situation. The less skills the better. In the SDTS we have a lot of technique. I personally use only about six. But my six might be different than your six so in a universal program you need to allow students to explore and grow. But the six techniques always consist of three that everybody does and three that are unique to them based on past experience and aptitude.

Innovate your training. I watched SDC Instructors Reuben Bean and Joe Landry do SDTS entry drills that I never even thought of! They broke a combination down even FURTHER! It was awesome.

It's easy to give techniques. There are millions of them out there and most of them are inefficient or completely impossible to perform in a life and death situation. But they are abundant and there are thousands upon thousands of videos to purchase and its easy to collect technique and impress a great deal of people. But that's doing them a disservice.

Imagine a football coach who showed up every week with a new set of plays and completely new offense and defense. How well do you think that team is going to perform, not very good. A good coach prepares his team by adapting what they already do to their opponent's strengths and weaknesses. They train to adapt, just as you should do, just as you NEED to do.

Don't add, subtract. Always seek to simplify. Innovate in the way you train and don't be afraid to experiment. I have had a massive amount of failures to create one thing that works. But even in the innovation process there is learning.

Train Honestly,
Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company

Damian Ross is CEO of the Self Defense Company and developer of The Self Defense Training System, the most lethal and effective self defense system in the world, The Guardian Defensive Tactics Police Combatives Program, 60 minute Self Defense and the Family Safe Program. Mr. Ross also founded the Self Defense Instructor Program that helps people develop their self defense careers from the ground up. Mr. Ross is originally from Ridgewood, NJ where he was a High School Hall of Fame Athlete in football and wrestling as well as a varsity wrestling coach. He then went on to Lehigh University where he was a varsity wrestler and football player. Mr. Ross has 3 black belts, 4th Degree in Tekkenryu Jujutsu, 2nd Degree in Judo, 2nd Degree in Tae Kwon Do. In addition to his martial arts experience, Mr; Ross spent 8 years in the professional security and personal protection business. He is internationally recognized as one of the foremost authorities in reality based self defense.

1 comment:

Kosta said...

Very honest post!
The truth about self defense is that there is very little time to think and react and the smaller your skillset is, the better.
The better chance you'll have of using your techniques when it's for real.
It's better to have a few techniques you can actually use than many techniques that will be useless.
So by having mastered a few useable skills you are much better of than merely memorizing hundreds of techniques which will prove useless.

Thanks for this useful post!