Protective Gear – a discussion

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Recently we had a discussion on our forum about using protective training gear. When we put up raw footage, a lot of people were surprised we actually were using head gear!
My question is – why wouldn’t I?

Anyone who thinks you can learn to get hit in the head, or a student can learn to hit you in the head full impact…without training gear…should be hit in the head.
So, this is from our forum (and will show you what you’re missing!)
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I’m not a big fan of full body suits unless bats, batons, etc, are being used. The body is very different from the head.
You can heal from a cracked rib from training, I have.
You can’t heal from a cracked skull. I’ve suffered two concussions in training.

I learned one thing…a healing injury sustained in training is a liability in a real fight.
Getting people accustomed to being hit is a delicate process, which I’ll cover in the manual.
I know, I know – the future, the future.

If you watch the raw footage we are hitting the head very hard while it is geared up. Why?

Pramek Basic is about getting someone ready to fight quickly. I don’t need someone who can flow with the best – I need someone who can PDDA – protect, detect, disturb, and attack.

Protect themselves.
Detect flaw in the enemies methods through monitoring.
Disturb their equilibrium or disturb their attack.
Attack them effectively to end the fight..

How would someone simulate a full assault without protective head gear? It’s not possible – people will hold back. I would.

The use of protective head gears gets the practitioner used to actually hitting someone in the head. It removes one of the fears of injury – fear of injury, fear of injuring another person, especially your friend. Boxers don’t go into the ring and begin pummeling each other. They use head gear at first to remove some of the injuries and fears associated with injury and to get someone used to impact to the head.

We are hard wired to protect the face – that hard wiring can affect training effectiveness.

We hit extremely hard to the face and head because that’s what happens. You can’t have a student who is used to holding back…they have to be trained from the beginning that when you hit a head, you hit the head. Therefore the delay that is associated through emotional intelligence over years of training where you don’t actually hit someone in the head…you don’t actually hit someone in the eye – those things are removed.

I remove as much injury and fear of injury from training in strikes to the head so my students never have that delay. They don’t hold back – if they hit you, they hit you – they don’t pussyfoot around it.

It also helps the person getting hit to get used to being hit, and the impact associated with it. You can’t train someone to get full in the face without creating psychological blocks to it. These can be gotten rid of over time – but for Basic, you can’t afford that time lapse of someone flinching so they don’t do basic Monitor and Control. Pramek is an active fighting style – it is not reactive. Once someone has trained, it is an in the moment, seeing what is happening (Monitoring) and controlling the other person (Control). If you’re blinking, if you’re flinching – you’re missing valuable data about your enemies equilibrium, structure, movements.

If we were doing take down drills – we would not use head gear. But, we are striking the eye or hitting the ears (striking the visual and vestibular system) in coordination with a winch, lever, wheel – which is built to disturb equilibrium. They aren’t doing technique, nor do I enforce dogma (you can only do it this way!) Arash uses the wrong method of applying the wheel a few times, but it works, and it’s theoretically sounds.

In the Equilibrium video we talk about the three systems in our body to control equilibrium. So, we are attacking all of the three with this drill.

But, I challenge anyone to take Arash, who’s been training for a few weeks and is gung ho, but get him going full speed with 80% resistance on Chris in the initial phases of combat….and get him doing that without head gear. Heads bump in close quarters, people flinch, they feel nervous. Doesn’t happen – we are too conditioned, through the environment and by neurology to protect the face and eyes.

You won’t change evolutionary hardwiring to protect the eyes….but you can make that hardwiring a little cleaner. A thumb to the eye gets everyone, I don’t care who you are.

We put on head gear for a particular reason – to develop faster. To remove psychological and physical fears so that actual learning can take place. If you were dyslexic, and someone asked you to read – how many fears would you have in the way. Now, what if they showed you from the beginning to get around dyslexia, instead of trying for years to teach yourself. Arash or Chris may have an irrational fear of being hit in the face (I know Chris doesn’t, he had a busted lip after he and I worked together – paid in turn for the one he gave me two weeks ago). By using the head gear, I’ve removed potential barriers to training and got them focusing on the methods at hand.

Protective gear has it’s place. I tire of Systema, which has people punching each other at low impact, or just once and everyone falling all over each other wanting the magic to happen to them, swinging wildly, and hoping to land things. There is a place for Western concepts on boxing that blend into combatives. A right cross can be a cupped hand blow. If you are swinging wildly how will you control your enemy.

Things that work in the training room don’t always pan out in a real fight or high level psychphysiological simulation. Part of this is because they don’t put on gear. I’ve been to Russian and worked with real Russian fisticuffs guys – you know what’s in their gyms and training rooms?

Head gear.

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