Monday, January 17, 2011

Blind as a Bat

Most of you who read this know I am a huge comic nerd.  Santa Clause brought the family (yes I let my daughters play sometimes) an X Box 360.  I went out and got “Batman: Arkham Asylum”.  It’s awesome.  So I was taking out a bunch of criminals (a cowardly and superstitious lot) when one of them hit me in the head with a chair.  The screen went black for awhile and when it came back I was seeing double and triple for awhile, then back to normal.  I thought wow that’s really cool.  As a guy who has had his bell rung once or twice I can say that’s pretty close to how it goes.  I don’t think the video game can make snot shoot out your nose (slobber knocker), or make you puke later but it was pretty close.



Batman need to choke a bitch?

That reminded my of some drills I worked with Rory, and some things he has written;

In order for a technique to be valid it must have four elements:

  1. It must have a tactical use.

  1. It must work moving or standing still. If you can’t hit hard when both you and the threat are moving, you can’t hit hard. If you can’t put a bullet on target on a moving target while you, yourself are moving, for all tactical purposes you can’t shoot.

  1. It must work whether you can see or not

  1. It must work when you are scared, under an adrenaline dump. If the technique needs a clear head and pinpoint precision to work, it doesn’t work.

Because violence happens closer than most dojo training I like to work closer than most dojo training.  Close in fighting or “grappling range” fighting can be used when you can’t see. 
Watch the video on this link

Could you tell the Judoka were blind?
Here are some more links to blind judo:


I can here you saying that is great for sport, but isn’t this site about practical application?

Yes, yes it is.  Here is an example of practical application (and poetic justice, which apparently is also blind)

Here is the link –

But for the lazy I have included the article here:
Mugger attacks blind man... who turns out to be a judo world champion
Last updated at 16:53 11 September 2007
The blind beggar was actually a one-time judo world champion
When a German mugger spotted a blind beggar at a train station in Germany, he must have thought it would be the easiest mugging of his career.
The teenage mugger spotted the 33-year-old beggar sitting outside a train station in the south-western town of Giessen and thought he would be easy prey, police said.
Intending to steal his cigarettes, the 17-year-old  threatened the blind man and then punched him in the face.
Unfortunately for the mugger, what he didn't know was that his would-be victim was Michael Esser, a former world champion in judo for blind people.
Before he knew what was happening he had been flipped over and put in a stranglehold.
The blind martial artist then pinned him down until police arrived.

Herr Esser need to choke a bitch?

Ok, so that is great for grappling what about striking?  Well if you train at “sparring” range not a damn thing.  But if you have strikes you can do up close at grappling / in fighting range the same principles that make blind Judo work make blind striking work.

Try this drill:
Cover your eyes with something (make sure you can’t see)
Have a partner strike you (correct form – slow motion)
Recover (counter ambush)– you should be close enough to touch your partner [I know that might sound ridiculous but I’ve seen enough Karate classes “spar” so far away from each other that actual contact much less delivering force into your opponent is impossible]
What strikes are available to you, what targets are open, where are they?  Your tactile senses are faster than your eyes you will be able to feel (almost “sees”) how they are standing and where all their parts are.  Again comic nerd it’s kind of like Dare Devil only minus Ben Aflec, so way cooler
Counter strike (correct form – slow motion) Not only is pulling punches a great way to develop bad habits its impossible to do if you can’t see.  So hit as hard as you can - slowly

Once you get the hang of it there many variations you can play with just remember keep it simple, keep it safe.

So after getting my bell rung as Batman I thought I would play with some of these concepts on my own.

Striking drill - I like to use a B.O.B. (body opponent bag) for anatomical targets but you can do this drill on any bag.
Hands on BOB’s shoulders or against the bag
Close Eyes
Hit BOB as hard as you can in places that hurt

Side effects – besides learning how to strike effectively from close range, and when you can’t see you will learn how to move while dizzy (bell rung) and lots of sneaky little strike that don’t look like strikes which set up your throws and locks (dirty Judo)

"...but my teacher Morihei Ueshiba sensei always had stated that in real fighting occasions 70% of aikido is atemi, and 30% is throwing" Shioda G.

"Atemi accounts for 99% of aikido." was a remark once uttered by the Founder" Saito M.


Counter Ambush drill – If you have a wing chung dummy or something similar this is fun
Hands on the wing chung dummy’s arms or at shoulder level
Close Eyes
Work your counter ambush as hard as you can tolerate
“The board should fear your hand not the other way around”

So – Add some blind training into your regimen.  Beat the hell out of training equipment.  Train safe and smart with your training partners.  Then if you ever get sucker punched, get your bell rung, get into a situation where you can’t use your eyes - it won’t be so scary.   

Remember –
In order for a technique to be valid it must have four elements:

  • It must have a tactical use.

  • It must work moving or standing still. If you can’t hit hard when both you and the threat are moving, you can’t hit hard. If you can’t put a bullet on target on a moving target while you, yourself are moving, for all tactical purposes you can’t shoot.

  • It must work whether you can see or not

  • It must work when you are scared, under an adrenaline dump. If the technique needs a clear head and pinpoint precision to work, it doesn’t work.

Train hard – Train Smart – Be safe

6 comments:

  1. Josh you're always good for a smile.

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  2. Makes a lot of sense for people who wear glasses, like me. First and only street "fight", I lost my glasses in the first half second... I am pretty much blind with out them. Needless to say, the fight went downhill from there. I still wonder, how I got away without serious injuries that day. So, yeah, techniques should work without being able to see.

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  3. Brother, you so need to see my whole blindfolded infighting progression. You'll love it...and then of course you'll make it better than I could imagine.

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  4. Thanks, looking foreward to it. I think I found a very cool place to do some scenario training when you come to MN as well.

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