From Jeff Burger, an attendee at the Rhode island seminar last weekend. Jeff is high ranking BJJ player and Thai Boxer - vet of living in Thailand....
I love the sport and competition aspects of the martial arts, it keeps me challenged. That being said I feel every martial artist is obligated to spend sometime learning how his or her art differs from reality.
This past weekend was my first time training with Hock Hochheim at Derderian Academy of Martial Arts in Rhode Island. Hock covers a lot of bases empty hand, knife, stick, gun, mis-matched weapons, drawing the weapon for speed as well as under stress..... it goes on and on.
One thing I was really happy to see in a combatives class was martial arts. Yea that sounds weird, you would think that combatives / self defense means martial arts. Sadly nowadays there is a battle going on between sport vs combat martial arts. This has made for a bad separation for both parties.
One of the most important things I look for in a teacher is ability to communicate the information, just because you can do does not mean you know how to teach. To be a good teacher you have to really understand the material, understand how people learn and be able to organize the material.
Hock is one of those good teachers. Example - He took us through the old Hubud drill and kept it simple through a logical progression and in a very short time made the advanced easy to do.
For years I have heard MMA and "reality" fighters trash these types of martial arts drills as useless.
You can do it, you can do it on them, you can show how another fighter used it and you can even show them how they have used it themselves and they will still argue against it.
"Learn all you can from the mistakes of others. You won't have time to make them all yourself." ~Alfred Sheinwold
Experience is the best teacher, so besides getting your own find a teacher who has it. If you are doing sport then you want someone who has been in that sport, you would not go to a wrestling coach for boxing lessons or vice versa.
For self defense / combatives an experienced teacher is crucial. There are far too many arm chair warriors, wannabes and fakes trying to make a buck out there.
Unfortunately most of the people with real fight experience are dead or criminals. Finding someone alive with enough brain matter left to understand what the lesson was in what happened is no easy task. Myself I try to look to LEOs (Law Enforcement Officers), military (the older the better) and the few martial arts styles I can still repsect. HocK fills all those categories.
My favorite part of the seminar was Hock himself. I would pay the same price just to hear him tell stories all weekend. He has a big personality, a sick sense of humor and he does not hold much back on his opinions.
I go to seminars for three reasons.
1. To learn new material.
2. Stay motivated.
3. Meet like minded people.
I walked away with plenty of new material.
I really like the things that are so simple and so obvious that we just do not see them and I got a couple of those. I'm looking forward to doing some stick work with people real soon. (insert evil grin)
I see some bad elements growing out of the MMA and "reality fighting" craze and I fear for the future of martial arts. Too many gyms are trying to be bad ass factories and they have lost the soul of martial arts training.
Raffi Derderian Academy of Martial Arts has a great group of people. Your dojo, kwoon, gym should feel like your extended family, a brotherhood, clan, tribe whatever you want to call it. It was nice to be in that dojo atmosphere of learning and sharing.
Thank you Hock Hochheim for sharing your knowledge and thank you Sifu Raffi Derderian for bring these types of instructors to your school.
(and thank you back Jeff)