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"What would happen if you mixed Coach Roger Mayweather's style of reactive focus mitt training with the kind of armed self defense skills that MAA James A. Keating is famous for?"
That was a question I wrote in my training journal several years ago. At the time I didn't have an answer to it; just a vague idea of how it might look if the two of them were working out together.
Here on this latest YouTube video you see us working on the answer!
What evolved over time is a program that covers empty hand and armed self defense while developing coordination, endurance, and the ability to flow art to art. You see us moving from unarmed elbow shields to reverse grip knife to pistol, never missing a beat, just a constant series of actions.
The concept of flowing art to art is one that was popularized in the 90's by luminaries such as Sifu Paul Vunak. This was typically seen expressed at the time through the lens of unarmed training, so a technique might start with a snappy Savate kick, then flow into a Wing Chun straight blast, and finally end with a series of Muai Thai elbows and knees from the clinch.
Mr. Keating, who trained with Vu and numerous other JKD coaches in the day like the late Sifu Larry Hartsell, followed this logic and expressed his concept of flowing art to art in the realm of armed self defense where he'd combine elements of numerous Eastern and Western arts, possibly flowing from Fencing to Kali to Tai Chi in his response to an attack.
The focus mitts act as the energetic glue between the different arts. The mitts are the training method which helps us relate all the material and put it into motion. They are the vehicle by which we study our martial arts Venn Diagram to better understand and refine it.
For those of you unfamiliar with the term, a Venn Diagram is when you draw two or more overlapping circles representing sets of information as a means of studying their relationships. The area where the circles overlap is called the Intersection and contains all the elements universal to both sets.
For example, if one circle represents fruit, and the other represents the color red, the intersection will contain all fruits which are red (apples, strawberries, tomatoes, etc.)
In martial arts terms, by overlapping three circles in this video (empty hands, knife, pistol) and studying their intersection we find the universal connections of physical motion between these methods of self defense.
By emphasizing the practice of these core skills street level proficiency can quickly be gained by the new student. That way they can spend their time in perfecting what they know rather than superficially acquiring more and more techniques.
Overall the Armed Reactive Mittwork program is something that can be learned in a matter of hours and honed in a matter of months. It is exciting to practice and can be added into any program as a way of developing the connections between the arts.
All my very best to you,
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