Have you run into that guy who thinks he can eye gouge his way out of your mount, groin punch his way past your guard, and bite your ribs from side control?
Well, today’s video is for him!
Now it’s true that on the street you may need to pull hair, gouge the eyes, kick the groin, grab the throat.
Then, if all that doesn’t work then you’ll need to start fighting dirty 😉
But a martial art actually consists of techniques, training methods and training equipment. And the focus of today’s post will be about training methods, i.e. how would you take those super-deadly ‘dirty’ techniques and train them realistically?
Say you and a training partner want to work on your eye gouging. You now have a choice…
- Do you simulate eye gouging, including the reactions you might get, and possibly develop a false sense of confidence in the move? or,
- Do you go full bore and actually try to gouge each other’s eyes out?
The problem with option 1 is that it tends to result in unrealistic expectations about how well your technique will work in real life. And it also doesn’t make you comfortable with the pressure, stress and heightened adrenaline levels of a real confrontation.
But clearly option 2 wouldn’t be an unsustainable approach to training either!
I would suggest that dirty techniques are the icing on the cake of your martial art, and should NOT be the cake itself.
That means you should spend 80 to 90% of your time working on your ‘sport’ techniques – moves which can actually be trained against resistance – and only 10 to 20% of your time on the deadly techniques.
If you get really good at the ‘safe’ techniques (which involves training them against increasing levels of resistance, culminating in sparring) then it will be relatively easy to add the eye gouges, groin strikes and throat grabs back in.
The skills developed by training the relatively safe techniques include timing, footwork, body positioning, distancing, dealing with pressure, weight distribution, and a hundred other things that are impossible to become skilled at if your partner is play-acting along.
These skills, once developed, are a delivery system. Then you can use that system to deliver anything you want!
The classic example of using sportive skills to deliver a dirty techniques comes from boxing…
Mike Tyson spent thousands and thousands of hours training with his coaches Cus D’Amato and Kevin Rooney. Never once in all those years did they drill biting ears off. But when he was losing against Evander Hollyfield, snapped and went for the infamous ear bite it was easy for him to do.
A normal human being fighting Evander Holyfield would probably never have been able to come within biting range without getting knocked out.
But Tyson had his delivery system in place. He could defend the incoming punches, close the distance, and clinch. All that he then had to do was change the actual weapon, swapping out his teeth for his fists…
This applies to all martial arts.
Imagine you were fighting Leandro Lo under a rule set that allowed eye gouging – do you seriously think that you’ll be able to win by fighting dirty? Not a chance! Leandro Lo would get to the top, secure a dominant position, and then eye gouge you all day long.
No, it’s not the technique per se. Instead the delivery system is the most important thing!
Work on your skills by training the safer ‘sport’ techniques for at least 80% of your training time. Include pressure, progressive resistance and live sparring.
Then, at the end, sprinkle in a few, carefully rehearsed dirty fighting techniques and you’ll truly be a formidable fighter!
My Dirty Fighting Rant in Video and Podcast Form
I go into this subject much deeper in the video that is embedded at the top of this post.
But it’s also a rant on my podcast too – and if you didn’t know already, my show is called The Strenuous Life Podcast.
Go grab episode 171 about training the deadly techniques on the podcast player that you already have on your phone!
For example, if you have an iPhone then it’s the purple app with the antenna-like thing in it; just click the Apple Podcasts link below to go to the right place and hit ‘subscribe’.
Here are the links to find the podcast on various players – the episode about training deadly techniques is number 171…
- Apple Podcasts (the purple app on your iPhone)
- Google Podcasts (the new google podcast app)
- Spotify (it’s free)
- Google Play
Or you can stream the audio here: