The Bigger They are...

John Perkins:

"As some of you know I have been training a group of NYC bouncers for a certification program. In the last few weeks I have made some interesting discoveries.

   One discovery I made is that not all very large men 350 pounds to 420 pounds have a problem with endurance, at least, when it comes to realistic fighting. I found that the endurance of most of these 6'6" to 6'8" men was impressive. When we had them move at half speed fight simulations they were able to keep up the pace for 3 minute intervals. At high speed they were able to deliver full power blows for 15 to 25 seconds at a rate of 3-4 blows per second.

   Most of these men were also quite agile and could perform good to excellent footwork while moving at full speed. They were able to cover ground easily. They could cover 5 to 10 yard shuffles and runs as fast as anyone in general. The impact, however, was tremendous when compared with average men at 180 to 250 pounds.

   When regular heavy weight grapplers attempted to go for the legs of the 350 to 420 pounders I was surprised at how easily the big guys were able to dispatch the smaller men. First off the 200 to 250 pound men were not able to get to the legs of the big men because the big men were able to drop low and simultaneously strike the heads of the smaller 6' to 6'4" men with accurate, stunning and potentially deadly blows with only minimal KCD training. To me this was a thing of beauty. Most of the truly large men that I have seen in the past were not as athletic or fast or strong as most of these NYC professional bouncers.

   Most of these big men were able to get the knack of sensitivity training and balance training quickly. I believe that the reality of their jobs forces a geometrically quicker learning curve to occur similar to that which I discovered happens to military men who are about to leave for a combat zone or have had real combat experience and must return to the same.

   The most important personal lesson I learned was this. In the beginning of my practice with the very large men I found it difficult to push them any appreciable distance. I thought that I would have to develop some form of strength training to deal with the sheer bulk of these fighters. I found, however, that within 3 sessions with them that my thinking was incorrect. What I discovered simply by handling them for some time is that I was able to control and move them and effectively work with them simply because I suddenly got the hang of moving with them. It was only a matter of making the principles of KCD work on a larger format.

   I am not saying that any KCD practitioner or just any martial artist can just get the knack for handling very large men by just working out with them. I am saying that a person who has the principles deeply instilled within them can begin to work on larger and faster opponent/partners and develop greater proficiency in general.

   One thing that happened was that Mike Watson (4th degree KCD, 6'3", 240 pounds) worked with a man from out of state who was a bit taller and heavier than himself. The man was a professional with martial arts and real life brawling experience. He thought that his superior reach and what he thought was superior fighting skill would make dealing with Mike no so difficult. He finally got the message when he flew 15 to 20 feet across the room three times. Without harming the man Mike was able to demonstrate the principles of KCD effectively. The man signed up for the entire certification course immediately.

   I am so happy that this situation has come up for me because of the new dimension in learning that I personally can experience. I believe that it would be only a matter of 6 months to a year of serious training for the majority of these ultra heavy weights to be nearly unstoppable in hand to hand combat.

   Remember, these are not the ordinary heavyweight men we are talking about. These men have learned life's lessons on the streets of NYC and have overcome many obstacles to be where and who they are.

   If you are invited to work with some of these guys count it as a chance to develop a more well rounded fighting ability on your part. Even Mike Watson sees this as a great opportunity to hone his already prodigious skills. If Mike can improve so can you."

Good luck, JP
Containing the Over-travel

By John Perkins

I have been asked many times over the years why I don't use body armor when teaching KCD. The answer to this is not so simple.

   First of all we have found that most of the available armor suits like FIST or RedMan are not suitable for actual full power strikes. The helmets are totally inadequate for neck protection when delivering any substantial chin jab. The knees and other joints of the body are not protected from dislocation with these suits. The oversized head protection of the original model mugging suits is far too large to simulate a human target and makes realistic neck and eye attacks as well as ear and head attacks nearly impossible for actual street use against serious trained antagonists.

   Many reality based martial arts have stated that they rely on these suits for their full contact sparring and that it is better than nothing to at least limit the type of strikes that can be practiced than to not strike with full power at all.

   In KCD there are so many head strikes and neck strikes and joint strikes that to practice with such limitations makes it nearly impossible to use the padding. Instead of this we practice slow movement which simulates the full power applications of various strikes found in the arsenal of KCD.

   Many other martial arts utilize the concept of slow training to practice for real combat. Most of them, however, complain that they must practice slow movements which in many cases cannot approximate full power/speed movements and are thus limited in the type of strikes etc. which can be practiced.

   In KCD this is not the case. We practice the concept of controlling the overtravel found in full contact type movements.

   This is accomplished by practicing all of our attacking movements slowly while simultaneously dropping on each of them. Since KCD close combat strikes are performed with the inclusion of drop stepping into each strike all of the realistic flow and all of the elements of full contact are contained even though the movements are practiced at slow speed. A gradual increase in speed occurs during practice with the advancing ability of the KCD student.

   Most martial arts perform their full speed movements with some sort of overtravel built into the movement so that they can derive  more power. The problem arises when centrifugal and gravitational forces take over the practitioner and too much contact and falling past the opponent occurs during sparring practice.

   Since KCD movements are all contained within the parameters of maximum balance through the use of drop stepping into the movement which allows full power to be applied without overstepping past an opponent, slow practice can easily be sped up over time without damage to the students who simultaneously practice evading strikes. During practice both the KCD strikes and strikes from other martial arts are practiced. The full power strikes of KCD are, in most cases, as strong or stronger than the usual strikes practiced in most martial arts. All martial arts strikes can be enhanced by the practice of dropping into the strikes without overstepping. Here the energy of the strike is applied most directly to the target without any wasted motion.

   A good example of a maximized strike is the lunge punch practiced in most Karate styles. Here the forward motion of the whole body is stopped suddenly by landing on the lead foot while a punch is applied. Although this is a slow punch it is powerful. KCD strikes are all done with this concept except that it is a more distilled form of the same process. This allows the KCD student to strike with great power from relatively close ranges, often just inches from the target. It also allows for tremendous power to be delivered from farther away. All of this without causing one to loose balance and maintain the ability to strike from seemingly awkward and impossible angles and to perform combinations at a blinding rate of speed.

   There is also a drill that we use where slow movement is practiced with live opponents and sudden full speed screaming combinations of striking and pulsing are applied to the training dummies which are able to move in many directions and through the use of a person pushing and pulling the dummy, strikes and pushes are applied against the live practitioner.

   Here the students are able to move with each other slowly and still train full force against an inanimate object.

   Once a KCD practitioner has enough skill he may practice gently against an opponent who has no KCD or little KCD practice.

   This must be practiced with people who can be trusted to realize that the simulated strikes to their throats, eyes, heads or other vulnerable parts of the body would be effective if done full force.

   Often a non KCD fighter will move with us at full speed and after a simulated blow to the temple or eyes is performed on them will not recognize this and keep on attacking with full force movements against the KCD practitioner. Here much skill is needed on the part of the KCD trained individual to not get hurt when the opponent does not recognize that he would be disabled easily by a jab or strike to a vulnerable body part. If the guest takes advantage of this he is usually warned and usually after a few times realizes that he is vulnerable to certain strikes. When he ignores this and due to ego problems or other mental misjudgements he is asked to not participate. If a serious and prolonged attack is applied against the KCD practitioner and malice is detected and only a self defensive movement will stop the onslaught of the guest only then will he be struck with only enough force to stop the furtherance of any potential damage to the KCD student or instructor.

   This allows for the guest to get a feel of KCD and the KCD student to experience other types of attacks.

   Evading the overtravel of the opponent is as important as containg one's own overtravel during practice.

   Overtravel can come in many forms. It can be performed during kicks or punches as well as internal type pushes and grappling.

   An ability to evade all of these types of attacks and controls is essential to KCD practice.

"When addressing the issue of overstepping, one drops to redirect his/her momentum back to an ever-changing yet stable base to prepare for the next moment of the encounter." --Rich LaPlaca, KCD student

   Good luck to all and practice with care. JP

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