CAN YOU MIX OTHER ARTS WITH GUIDED CHAOS?
|WING CHUN vs. JKD vs. SYSTEMA vs. GUIDED CHAOS|
"BEGINNINGS AND ENDINGS"
by Ari Kandel, GC 4th degree
[editor's note: You can read this great article as well as other terrific pieces and blog posts on Ari's brand new website!]
Go check it out and please post your comments!
|People often ask whether it's possible or advisable to "add" Guided
Chaos (GC) training to whatever other martial arts/combatives training
they currently do.|
Politically correct answer: Sure, keep practicing what you like, adding the GC will just make it work better. . . .
Problem with that answer: It will never allow you to discover your own full potential.
My personal story:
doing the kiddie Karate and then Tae Kwon Do black belt thing, I
realized after some close calls in my mid teens that I hadn't really
learned anything practical. I started researching and found Jeet Kune Do
(JKD). I picked up a bunch of videos and went nuts with friends,
beating on each other wearing motorcycle helmets. Prophetically, one of
my training partners took off his helmet after a clash and said, "Jeez,
was that as CHAOTIC as it felt???"
Couldn't find a JKD school
in New York City at that time, but managed to make a couple seminars in
Connecticut and New Jersey. Good times. Then I walked into a Wing Tsun
class, thinking I'd stay a few months and pick up some Chi Sao (sticking
hands) skillz. . . . Got completely controlled the first night,
completely knocked out the second. Seven years later, I was the second
most senior instructor in NYC, and I also taught Escrima (Filipino
martial arts that trains primarily with sticks and knives) with the same
organization. Neither the Wing Tsun nor the Escrima were anything like
what I'd been led to expect while I was involved in JKD.
the Wing Tsun training saved my ass several times, I began to feel
uncomfortable about it. Reality never went the way I expected it to go,
the way it had gone in training--even though I was successful. I started
to look around. Got involved in Russian Systema, both regular classes
and a few seminars with master instructors. See Attack Proof Newsletter #90
for the story there. A chance meeting with some long time students of
Charlie Nelson (WWII Marine and self-defense instructor), during which I
was soundly smashed for asking stupid questions, got me involved in the
close combat community, in particular Carl Cestari's crew. I also began
practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts, after a few
months of Judo.
Things were rather nebulous. Some Wing Tsun
students were complaining about the close combat attitude I was bringing
into the classes (although some loved it). The Wing Tsun and Escrima
classes I had been teaching at Columbia University had morphed into
close combat/self-defense classes. The BJJ/MMA was keeping me in great
shape, although I felt it was a bit limited in terms of real-life
practicality. Carl Cestari's crew had only occasional sessions in
Jersey, and I wanted to get some quality hands-on close combat training
on a regular basis closer to home. . . . That's what got me into a GC
class for the first time--the close combat aspect. I discovered there
was a lot more to it though. Much of that journey is documented in the
first few years of the Attack Proof blog.
Regarding GC and other martial arts:
Systema and GC, all martial arts that I know of attempt to train
certain movement patterns, structures and habits into the student,
claiming that such patterns, structures and habits are the "best" for
dealing with violence. This includes JKD, except that the exact
patterns, structures and habits each particular JKD teacher teaches vary
widely (Original JKD, JKD Concepts, instructors' and students'
preferences, etc.). They're still, however, teaching movements and then
attempting to apply them.
GC is different in that it
acknowledges that violence is so chaotic and human movement so variable
that there cannot be any "best" moves or patterns independent of the
complete context of each unique moment of each unique situation. To
attempt to deal with the fluid chaos of real violence with a
reductionist set of trained movements and habits will result in one's
never really perceiving nor being able to move effectively with the
reality of a given situation. All one can do in such a case is hope that
one's superior attributes will allow him to force his round and square
pegs (his trained movements and habits) into the jagged, irregular holes
(real violence), regardless of the resistance and friction.
I decided for sure that GC was for me (after attending the Nanuet class
with John, following a few months of other classes and a few private
lessons with Al), I dropped all my other training, as this was the only
way to rid myself of patterns and habits that stopped me from perceiving
and moving with REALITY. This was no small thing to me, as my Wing Tsun
and Escrima teachers and fellow students had become like an extended
family, and I got ex-communicated by some of Carl's guys for even
suggesting that Perkins is legit. (Notably, the guy who originally
introduced me to Carl, one of the longest-term and smartest of his
students/friends, is now John's student.) After I devoted myself to
Guided Chaos training exclusively, most of those movement habits and
patterns that I had been forcing into myself for years dissipated within
a few months. Why so quickly? Because they were not natural (no matter
what my instructors had said), and once Guided Chaos gave me permission
to yield to reality rather than blindly fight it, and then
constantly exposed me to reality, my subconscious mind and body quickly
ditched what they knew were useless habits. Of course, I'm still trying
to break certain habits of mental and physical tension that may or may
not be related to my previous training, but the overt stuff dissolved
quickly. Now it's mostly a matter of improving my ability to perceive
and act on reality with maximum accuracy and celerity.
I find it
impossible to practice other martial arts while practicing true Guided
Chaos, because while the point of Guided Chaos is to free your mind and
body up to adapt spontaneously and efficiently to all violent motion,
the point of other martial arts (besides Systema, which I commented on
in Newsletter #90) is to restrict your mind and body to those motions,
positions and ideas that the arts dictate are optimal for their limited
paradigms of combat. The two endeavors actually work against each other!
It IS possible to practice any martial art while also practicing the
Guided Chaos exercises. However, simply practicing the exercises is not
the same thing as practicing Guided Chaos.