Training with Steve Morris

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Re: Training with Steve Morris

Post  Jeff Menapace on Sat Aug 04, 2007 11:45 am

Awesome stuff Steve. Keep them posts comin'!
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Re: Training with Steve Morris

Post  steve morris on Sun Aug 05, 2007 11:46 am

Thanks, guys. I like questions. Fire away.
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Re: Training with Steve Morris

Post  melvinfferd on Sun Aug 05, 2007 2:40 pm

hi steve,

brilliant post. much appreciated.
a few questions for you ...

as brian mentioned the whole open vs closed hand debate is a common one among those training purely for self protection. i think it would be fair to say that open hand techniques are slightly favoured as the preferred striking tool of the members of this board (maybe?). with the prime reason for doing so being the safety of ones hands. with the conditioning and tactics required to punch safely well covered above, lets ignore that reason for the following discussion.

so why strike with a closed fist? what advantages does it give over a palm? would it be fair to say that because you are trying to actively instill a high level of aggression into the striking limb, a clenched fist is a more natural physical manifestation of that aggression? one advantage you wrote about elsewhere was that by forming a fist this action actually fires the extensors in the arm and hence aids in the explosiveness of the strike. however doesnt it also encourage the firing of the flexors of the upperarm ie the biceps? and hence negate any advantage?

you mentioned timing and angulation of a strike. when the topic of what causes a ko is discussed, the common and often only answer that one reads on the web is brain shake. however mma/thai/boxing footage shows that different results occur depending on the delivery of the shot. so my question is, what are the different causes of the ko? stress on the brain stem? mere bouncing of the brain within the skull? and is distorting the jaw while causing little to no displacement of the opponents body the most effective method?

thanks for your insights

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Re: Training with Steve Morris

Post  steve morris on Mon Aug 06, 2007 5:37 am

Thanks for both those questions. Bit hectic here today, but I'll be on to it tonight.

Steve
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Re: Training with Steve Morris

Post  steve morris on Mon Aug 06, 2007 3:43 pm

so why strike with a closed fist? what advantages does it give over a palm? would it be fair to say that because you are trying to actively instill a high level of aggression into the striking limb, a clenched fist is a more natural physical manifestation of that aggression? one advantage you wrote about elsewhere was that by forming a fist this action actually fires the extensors in the arm and hence aids in the explosiveness of the strike. however doesnt it also encourage the firing of the flexors of the upperarm ie the biceps? and hence negate any advantage?

People get caught up in the detail of what tool to use and what theyíre really missing is realizing that the most important thing is the need to destroy the target. And itís on the basis of that need, and the opportunities that present themselves to you, that youíll strike the blow from whatever position you find yourself in, with the most available tool. Be that tool a part of your body, or a brick lying nearby on the ground.

Having access to that violence, and being able to freely express it without the restriction of a particular technique and sustain that effort until the job is done, thatís what itís all about. Particularly on the street. Above all, you need to be more violent, better able to express that violence, and better able to sustain that violence than your opponent. And coupled with that is the learned ability to translate that violence into a destructive physical act within the tactical context of the scenario or situation.

But first comes the violence and second comes the delivery system. And the choice of weapon comes somewhere after that, and itís determined by the context of the situation.

Now, I use my fists but I donít use them exclusively. And although I talk of cyclonic movement and using ripping, tearing action with the fists, I donít have a fixed way of doing that. Itís the principle of how I strike, not the Ďstyleí of how I strike. I donít want people to get caught up in interpreting what I do in terms of a style.

For example, I will apply the cyclonic action in a single shot or in multiple shots, close, long, at different angles, to different targets, from a start hands down to hands up, on the ground, fixed or moving, wherever. Itís what I have to do at that moment thatís important, and the situation determines that.

Itís like I was saying in a conversation with Mick the other day, itís more important to understand the principle of a move: a strike, a throw, a lock, a control, etc. so that you can apply the principle to the individual situation, rather than learning thousands of moves and hoping you can apply them in the heat of the moment. This is why you need to understand the principles of movement, particularly with regard to reflex and behavioural patterns, because theyíre the foundation of all human motor skills.

People can get misdirected if they see a move without understanding the principle behind it; they assume thatís the way Iím doing it all the time, and Iím not. Iíll change as the situation demands.

Now, having said all of that, speaking personally, generally speaking I can get more rapid fire and more angles with my fists than I personally can with my palm. Iím never going for one big Ďkill shotí unless itís a dead certainty. Iím bombarding him, and mainly the head.

Years ago I used to watch sumo, which is a good working reference to get an idea of palm strikes employed in a wide variety of ways. Although I experimented with them, I still prefer using my fists. And what I would always be interested to know is what were the incidence of knockouts from palm strikes within sumo?

When I close my hand, I can hit with any part of it. Itís a hard ball on the end of my arm, and I can throw it or launch it wherever I want, at any range and any angle. Iíve knocked guys out with it, broken jaws, fractured eye sockets, broken noses, etc. Not to mention arms, ribs, etc. I donít think I could have done that with my palms.

What might surprise you is that when Iím punching, the hand isnít rigid. So yes, Iím engaging the flexors, but not in a way that inhibits me from punching. Some research I looked at some years ago suggested that improving grip strength reduced striking effectiveness, and Iíve found that to be true. In the past, as my grip strength went up, my punch effectiveness went down. Iíd developed more of a pulling action, like a wrestler, than a striking action like a boxer. So I had to correct that and learn to strike a balance between the two.

When Iíve talked about using a piece of paper in my hand to strengthen the fist, Iím not actually trying to crush it. Iím just holding it. The extensor thrust is actually facilitated on impact. The pressure against the hand facilitates the extensor reflex to prevent collapse, rather like when youíre walking or running; you rebound as your foot hits the ground. You move; the ground doesnít. But in the case of the man, youíll be transferring that momentum into a target area of his body.

And when you get a sense of contact time, you can facilitate that extensor thrust by increasing the impulse into the target, rather like a great runner impulses against the ground. You can sense that moment of contact and enhance it. You get a positive and accelerated follow-through into the target, and thatís another reason why I rip it. I can increase the acceleration time of the follow-through and put more into the target. I also increase this effect by hitting at angles where I know it will be awkward for him to ride the force. And as I make that initial impact, Iíll suddenly and violently displace my weight at the angle of penetration. I use a startle reflex to do that, and I call it the nail-gun principle. It ensures that Iíve not only got velocity going into that guy, but also the mass of my whole body. And it really fucks him up.

Now, going back to the original point, when all of this is going on, you need to still be driving your car. Youíre still in command. If a better opportunity presents itself than what might be satisfied with a punch, you take it. For example, a slap, a strangulation, a lock, whatever. Youíre not fixed in your attitude.

That, and the importance of violent intent, are the key things I want to impress on you.


you mentioned timing and angulation of a strike. when the topic of what causes a ko is discussed, the common and often only answer that one reads on the web is brain shake. however mma/thai/boxing footage shows that different results occur depending on the delivery of the shot. so my question is, what are the different causes of the ko? stress on the brain stem? mere bouncing of the brain within the skull? and is distorting the jaw while causing little to no displacement of the opponents body the most effective method?

Put aside the causes of vasovagal syncopy, which can be elicited by pain, stimulation of baroreceptors or afferent branches of the vagal nerve or cranial nerves, not to mention loss of equilibrium by stimulation of the labyrinthine receptors, etc. (I havenít got my books, so I have to put just fucking etc. in because Iím going off memory here not to mention having taken too many shots in the head LOL). What I can remember, the knockout (which isnít guaranteed, but I believe itís a higher percentage of dropping a guy than the above) happens because the hemispheres of the brain are violently rotated against the brainstem. This effects the RAS, which shuts down consciousness, momentarily or sometimes permanently.

Itís difficult to know the pathology of why a given guy goes down on a given occasion, and probably impossible to replicate anyway. The thing is though on this one, although I understand the pathology if you like, for me Iíd rather let the doctor in the hospital determine why the guyís there. The important thing is that heís there and not me.

Thatís why I do bombard the head violently. I want to get sudden, shocking rotation from different angles, because I know thatís the high percentage move for a knockout. If he goes down for another reason, itís a bonus. But I know if I put my full body weight explosively into his head, repeatedly, somethingís going to give.

On a practical level, what I would suggest you do, and you infer youíre doing it already, is to watch boxing and Muay Thai and MMA, K1, even street fights on You Tube, and form an impression of the violent movement of the head and the angles at which the force was delivered. And the violence of those generative forces which were part of that delivery. As well as to try to empathise with the mindset and the violent impulse of the striker. Tyson in his heyday is a great example.

You can borrow from somebody elseís experience. And Iím pre-empting Monty Sneddonís question, but thatís one reason why I say, ĎWatch the fight.í Itís a shortcut.

You need a visual image of the effect you need to cause. You need a kinaesthetic representation of the generative forces by which to do so. You need a sense of the violent impulses that gave rise to that generation of forces. And you need to grasp the biomechanics of the move within a tactical context. Then you get your answer.

So next time you go to the pads or bag, for example, you carry that impression with you. And try to replicate it. And working off a feedback systemóbecause itís a process of trial and erroróyou have to realise when youíve failed and donít kid yourself that youíve done it. You have to keep stepping back, analyzing, and going again. And keep going back to the fight to watch it to see if youíve missed something. Or to reinforce what youíve already absorbed.

But itís essential that you do that in a right-brained way. That youíre capturing it as a sense rather than a collection of details. Itís an impression. Because itís on the basis of the impression that the subconscious organizes the detail of your response. You donít want to be motor-oriented, you want to be working off stimuli. You are there, in the ring. You are Tyson. You are in the situation.

You fool the brain. It doesnít know the difference. The trick is fooling it in a way thatís an accurate representation of the combative reality.

Thatís how Iíve done it for 40 years. Iíve stolen lots of stuff from guys and they didnít even realise it. Thatís how I do it. OK, so sue me.
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Re: Training with Steve Morris

Post  Guest on Mon Aug 06, 2007 4:14 pm

Marvellous stuff, Steve!

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Re: Training with Steve Morris

Post  Julian on Tue Aug 07, 2007 2:31 am

Wow, brilliant!
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Re: Training with Steve Morris

Post  steve morris on Tue Aug 07, 2007 10:09 am

Glad you enjoyed it.

Steve
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Re: Training with Steve Morris

Post  Lito on Wed Aug 08, 2007 7:45 am

Hi Steve,
Brilliant posts my friend; brilliant posts. But...

You wrote:
Years ago I used to watch sumo, which is a good working reference to get an idea of palm strikes employed in a wide variety of ways. Although I experimented with them, I still prefer using my fists. And what I would always be interested to know is what were the incidence of knockouts from palm strikes within sumo?

Let me preface what I'm about to say by acknowledging that you have made it clear that using fists are a personal preferrence. With that said, I understand where you are coming from. However, I believe your sumo analogy is a flawed reference point for objectively judging the effectiveness of punch-mechanics-based palm strikes. Palms, fists, hammerfists, axehands, etc. are simply the tools, the conduits that impart explosive impact generated by whole-body sequential torque into/through a given target. In the case of sumo, the "strikes" they employ are the antithesis to explosive punching. Sumo "strikes" amount to glorified pushes/shoves not punches. It wouldn't matter what tool was being used (palms, fists, etc.) to apply sumo "strikes," the end result would be the same--glorified pushes/shoves due to the body mechanics (or lack thereof) used. Due to the objective of the sport, that's understandable because the goal in sumo is not to knockout an opponent; but to toss an opponent out of the ring as quickly as possible.

I think a better reference point sport-wise is Pancrase in their early years when Bas Rutten was king. For instance, watch his very first fight and watch him knockdown his bigger Japanese opponent (his name eludes me right now) with a beautiful rear straight palm-heel strike. In other fights of his, you'll see Bas blast guys effectively with palm hooks, palm uppercuts in addition to his lead and rear straight palm shots.

Street-wise, there are prolific guys out there like our own Mick Coup, John Skillen and Lee Morrison along with Peter Consterdine, Dave Briggs, and Mo Teague who have completely rendered opponents unconscious with palm strikes countless times. I have also successfully used palm strikes (in the form of modified boxing-based straight palm strikes, palm hooks, and overhand palms) with the same results a decent amount of times myself.

I'm not saying one is better than the other because both have proven their worth. I just personally prefer palms over fists because of the significantly lesser risks of breaking bones and sustaining cuts. This, in turn, psychologically "free" me to strike uninhibitedly with full power due to not having to worry about those probable results and consequences (disability, infection, disease, etc).

When I actively taught, I didn't impose my personal preferences on my students. Instead, I had them find out, discover, what works for them personally through experiences. However, a few ways I did influence students to convert to palms from fists (for head shots) was to 1) ask them how they would "punch" a concrete wall full-power; 2) unexpectedly push/trip them down from behind and watch them break their forward fall with their palms not fists and, 3) have all-out, anything-goes, full-contact Animal Day fights with motorcycle helmets on.

Bottom line, I think, as you've said, what tool you choose and use is a matter of personal preference based on various factors and experiences. Again, like you said, it's not the tool or the strike that's of utmost importance, it's the violent intent (along, if I might add, the violent intensity and the violent tenacity) behind it with the objective of neutralizing an opponent as quickly and clinically as possible (i.e. knockout).

Anyway, that's my two cents on this topic...

Take Care,
Lito


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Re: Training with Steve Morris

Post  steve morris on Wed Aug 08, 2007 11:23 am

I hadnít really thought about it before, but now that youíve brought it up, it seems important to think about what the reason might be for the rule in sumo that you canít punch but you can strike/push with the open hand? And one reason might very well be that if punches were allowed, there would be many more cuts and knockouts. You wouldnít even get to the wrestling game. Just a thought.

And of course thereís also the possibility of hands being broken; I donít deny that the sport of sumo wrestling would be damaged if fighters kept breaking their hands or smashing each otherís heads. Rules and conventions are often there to highlight what the audience want to see and downplay what they donít want to see.

So Iím the one who asked the question about sumo knockouts, I figured I better check it out. Watch this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHAWtwOmClA

But the thing is, Lito, joking aside, I donít want to get into the debate you guys are all having over fists vs palms.

The only thing I can say about Pancrase is that I had stacks of videos on it, and some of the fights looked like theyíd been worked, which considering the Yakuza associations wouldnít be surprising. So although it could be used as a skill reference, I never relied on it without testing it for myself in realistic conditions. For me, some things just didnít seem to represent the reality of the fight. What I mean by a fight, I mean a dog fight. I donít mean a boxing match, a controlled stylistic exchange. Iím talking about a dog fight. So with respect to your example, Iíll have to look at it. Iím only ever interested in the Ďdog fightí examples within any context; beyond that, Iíll look at the skill content but consider it untested until itís been proven in the dog fight.

I try to look at things without any prejudice. It doesnít serve me as a fighter to do otherwise. I donít look for what I want to see, I look to see whatís there and learn from it. Thatís all I do.

The palm can be a great pre-emptive strike. But then again, so can the fist. Sure, there are plenty of examples of doormen knocking guys out with the open hand. My friend Dennis Jones, I donít know how many heís knocked out with his palms, or Mick; youíd have to ask them. Iíve knocked guys out with the palm, but then again Iíve also knocked a guy out with my hip.

The point is, I donít rely on anecdotal evidence exclusively. Thatís why I say to people, watch the fight. And the important thing about the fights Iíve seen which are representative of standup, the real dog fights, either on the streets or in boxing, Muay Thai, MMA, the majority of the times you see the guy taken out is with the fist. Thatís not saying that palm doesnít work, but fist doesnít have to be proven to work. We know it works.

The risk of injury is a separate point. Iím strictly interested in what works in the fight. And Iím seriously into body-tempering, which isnít everybodyís cup of tea. But I donít force that training philosophy onto anybody else. If they want to know about it, Iíll tell them how to do it.

Just the other day I put a breaking clip up on my site. And the story behind that is that I had run out of bricks, so I was going out into the garden and digging up house bricks, engineering bricks, which were wet. I cleaned them off and then whacked them. In doing this, I damaged my right hand, which had already been broken before and badly set. And so I switched to my left hand, even though my right hand was fucking useless. I used a tea-towel as a kind of psychological prop, because these were fucking challenging breaks. And then I hurt my left hand breaking the bricks, so I switched back to the right for the final break. Thatís me. I still completed the break. And thatís what I would do on the street.

The reason I used sumo as a reference is because David Dubow had a company, IMS, in Japan, and I had access to film footage on sumo. This is back in the mid-seventies when I was thinking about all these questions. In the seventies, I was slapping through two bricks, flat, no supports, with a palm. Now, thatís pretty effective, I would say. And my good friend Tom OíShaughnessy used to walk up the road from Picadilly Circus to Earlham Street every afternoon and give me a report on where he was when he could start to hear me slapping the bag.

Back then in Earlham Street, guys could use whatever they liked in my gym. Slaps, punches, whatever. It was a free-for-all. They decided what worked best for them. And guys were getting knocked out right, left and centre. We werenít interested in validating a particular system or move, we just experimented with fighting and how to fight better. The mix of what we did and who we were produced a lot of different ways of fighting. I didnít convert to MMA, I was doing MMA.

ĎWhen I actively taught, I didn't impose my personal preferences on my students. Instead, I had them find out, discover, what works for them personally through experiences. However, a few ways I did influence students to convert to palms from fists (for head shots) was to 1) ask them how they would "punch" a concrete wall full-power; 2) unexpectedly push/trip them down from behind and watch them break their forward fall with their palms not fists and, 3) have all-out, anything-goes, full-contact Animal Day fights with motorcycle helmets on.í

If I ever come across a guy with a head like a brick wall, Lito, I think Iíd run, never mind the palm! Iím looking, when I hit a guy in the head, to damage whatís inside of it. Iím looking for the knockout.

Of course you break your fall with your palms, youíre trying to soften the impact. When youíre hitting someone, youíre trying to increase it.

When you put guys in crash helmets, youíre prejudicing the result. (Unless I was in the class!!) The preference would naturally be to use the palm out of fear of injury, and the larger impact surface of the hand is probably going to have a better effect on the helmet. But itís not a very good representation of a head. For me, itís a flawed test. You seem to have an agenda to convince them that palm is best. I don't look at it like that. I just use what I have to use at the time.

When they did research on monkeys and they crashed them with crash helmets on, the incidences of death were higher when the head was rotated than when it was a direct impact. So the key is sudden, violent, twisting of the head. Thatís just a side note.

Speaking of motorcycle helmets, I remember a time when a guy turned up on the stairs in one mumbling insults from under the visor thinking he was safe inside. I hit him with my fists, elbows, palms, whatever. I think I might have even head-butted him. I didnít hurt myself, not significantly anyway, but I sure hurt him. And thatís me. Iím just interested in winning the fight, I donít really care what happens to me in the process. Thatís what I told you on the phone; when Iím in a fight Iíve almost got a suicidal mindset. The risk of a hand injury just doesnít worry me.

Iíve refined the training since Earlham Street. Rather than having a straight fight to test a particular move or weapon, Iíll create a conditional fight. We could have palms versus fists, palms versus palms, fists versus fistsÖthe list goes on. This is easily tested on an individual basis.

And rather than continuing to discuss it, surely it would make more sense to let guys do this for themselves. For a person who isnít on the door or in some form of frontline work (by which they will have already determined what works best for them) itís best to create a situation thatís unbiased and gives them the opportunity to decide for themselves what works best for them, and what doesnít.

In other words, what works best for me, Lito, might not work best for you. But what doesnít work best for me might work very well for you. Sorry to sound like Donald Rumsfeld there. What Iím saying is, itís personal choice. If youíre capable in training of creating a realistic situation that is relatively safe, then that will determine what the person needs to do. And for me, thatís what I rely on. Thatís my method.

I think we both agree that the violent intent is the most important thing. I want to get the guy to that level, where heís going to win the fight heís in, no matter how he has to do that. Heís violently goal-oriented and purpose driven.

I can understand where youíre coming from in your line of work. Itís presumably the same for doormen; you have to consider infection, breaking of your hand and then youíre out of a job, etc. In those situations, you have to balance the effectiveness of the strike against the risk to yourself. Itís just not personally something I can relate to.

I give you the principles, but itís your journey. Your responsibility, not mine.

PS I havenít looked at the Bas Rutten clips you sent yet, so Iím canít respond to your point there until Iíve seen it. I know he favours using the palm in the street, but thatís Basís preference. He worked as a bouncer, and naturally the open hand would make sense from his point of view.
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Re: Training with Steve Morris

Post  Guest on Wed Aug 08, 2007 12:11 pm

steve,

i think i understand what you say about not giving in no matter what, broken hand, broken jaw, whatever it takes unless your unconcious or dead you are going to win,you are going to do the bastard no matter what.

but how do you train the majority of people to have that mentality when there not really like that no matter what they say, sure there are plenty of people in all walks of life that say they would do this or they can do that but if they were a 100% honest they would fucking shit themselves if they came up against someone with the same desire and intensity as you.


i have trained with martial artists that if they hadnt taken up the sport they would of still of flogged everyone in the dojo because they were scrappers even at school, they had that mentality and then on the other side of the coin the student of that teacher would say iwould do this kick or this punch but never tried it in a live arena, im going off the point but what im trying to say can you instill that scrapper,never give in mentality that comes natural to the few into those that want to achieve it by training.

many thanks mick.

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Re: Training with Steve Morris

Post  Lito on Wed Aug 08, 2007 2:13 pm

Hi Steve,
Please take my responses as a way to stimulate constructive discourse and food for thought for our membership. I mean no disrespect; just expressing my viewpoints and learning from you in the process...

You wrote:
I hadnít really thought about it before, but now that youíve brought it up, it seems important to think about what the reason might be for the rule in sumo that you canít punch but you can strike/push with the open hand? And one reason might very well be that if punches were allowed, there would be many more cuts and knockouts. You wouldnít even get to the wrestling game. Just a thought.

The reason no punches are allowed is because the objective of sumo is to push an opponent off the ring as quickly as possible; nothing more, nothing less. It's strictly a form of stand-up wrestling with no strikes allowed. If punches were allowed, with palms or fists, then there would be knockouts and it no longer could be classified as sumo.

I donít want to get into the debate you guys are all having over fists vs palms.

There's no debate Steve. They both work; it just depends on your personal preferences on which one you use. I use both; palms to the head, fists to the body.

I try to look at things without any prejudice. It doesnít serve me as a fighter to do otherwise. I donít look for what I want to see, I look to see whatís there and learn from it. Thatís all I do.

I do my best to do that too. However, each person's intellect, background, and experiences are different and will influence their perceptions accordingly. There aren't too many exceptional guys like you around, so a hundred other guys can look at the same things you do and not extrapolate the things you get from your observations. That's why it's great that you are able and willing to share your knowledge and insights with others who are less perceptive.

The palm can be a great pre-emptive strike. But then again, so can the fist.

I absolutely agree! Which one you use depends on your personal preferences and concerns.

The point is, I donít rely on anecdotal evidence exclusively. Thatís why I say to people, watch the fight. And the important thing about the fights Iíve seen which are representative of standup, the real dog fights, either on the streets or in boxing, Muay Thai, MMA, the majority of the times you see the guy taken out is with the fist. Thatís not saying that palm doesnít work, but fist doesnít have to be proven to work. We know it works.

I concur. However, you can say the same thing about palms that you can about fists. The palms don't have to be proven to work, we know they work as proven in MMA and real-world fights.

If I ever come across a guy with a head like a brick wall, Lito, I think Iíd run, never mind the palm! Iím looking, when I hit a guy in the head, to damage whatís inside of it. Iím looking for the knockout.

I am totally with you about hitting a guy in the head and damaging what's inside it. I too am looking for the knockout. I'm looking to effect a knockout without damaging my hands in the process. If I can have both, why not? I use the concrete (or brick) wall question/demonstration/exercise as an "overkill" mentality confidence booster. Like you said to me about why you broke bricks; when you can hit something harder than a human head full-power and not injure your hands, it gives you added confidence in your strikes when you actually hit a head. Palms allow this with far less training than fists. The palm, in cocked-back position, is in a structurally more sound position than the fist is in relation to the wrist. The palm is locked in a more solid position and is supported by the ulna bone. Moreover, the fleshy part of the palm heel is of thick, dense flesh which has a lesser likelihood of cutting/splitting.

Of course you break your fall with your palms, youíre trying to soften the impact. When youíre hitting someone, youíre trying to increase it.

That's true, but I also look at this from the perspective that the palms are in a structurally more sound position (locked wrist, padded surface, and all) to take the impact of the fall, especially on a hard surface like a concrete pavement or ice. In relating the concrete pavement to the human head, again, it's an overkill mentality showcasing the structural integrity and cut-resistant quality of the palm.

And rather than continuing to discuss it, surely it would make more sense to let guys do this for themselves. For a person who isnít on the door or in some form of frontline work (by which they will have already determined what works best for them) itís best to create a situation thatís unbiased and gives them the opportunity to decide for themselves what works best for them, and what doesnít.
I absolutely agree.

In other words, what works best for me, Lito, might not work best for you. But what doesnít work best for me might work very well for you. Sorry to sound like Donald Rumsfeld there. What Iím saying is, itís personal choice. If youíre capable in training of creating a realistic situation that is relatively safe, then that will determine what the person needs to do. And for me, thatís what I rely on. Thatís my method.

You're right, it is a personal choice. I believe I am conveying the same message. Oh, I like what you rely on; I like your method...

I think we both agree that the violent intent is the most important thing. I want to get the guy to that level, where heís going to win the fight heís in, no matter how he has to do that. Heís violently goal-oriented and purpose driven.

When there is no other viable option and it has to get physical, I totally agree.

I can understand where youíre coming from in your line of work. Itís presumably the same for doormen; you have to consider infection, breaking of your hand and then youíre out of a job, etc. In those situations, you have to balance the effectiveness of the strike against the risk to yourself. Itís just not personally something I can relate to.

I understand.

I give you the principles, but itís your journey. Your responsibility, not mine.

I completely concur. It's each individual's responsibility to discover the cause of their ignorance and find their truths.

Thanks so much for being here and sharing your knowledge.

Take Care,
Lito

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Re: Training with Steve Morris

Post  steve morris on Wed Aug 08, 2007 3:23 pm

Brian S:
You wrote:
But isn't this also a flawed test? Whatever they did to the monkeys, the wearing of a helmet would skewer the results, depending on what kind and what level of protection the helmet provided.

I should have made that more cleaer; I was writing this kind of fast and this was just an aside. It was research done on the testing of crash helmets. The higher incidence of coma and death came from rotation. It's a little off topic, but just to illustrate the importance of violently rotating the head.

Isn't there a contradiction here? You don't care what happens to you during the fight, as long as you win. Yet, when hitting with the fists, you don't hit as hard as you can to prevent injuring them?

The reason for the clawing shots is not primarily to save the hand, that's just a side benefit. It's the most effective and most damaging way I've found to hit. I can get more weight, it conforms to the power lines of the body, and the clawing action gives me more dig and makes it harder for him to deal with the shot. I can also repeat it again and again from any angle, it just keeps coming.

The other thing about it is opportunity. I don't advocate one big shot becuase it's too risky. If he gives me it on a plate, I'll take it. As a pre-emptive shot, I'll take his fucking head off. But in my training I hope for the best and plan for the worst, and I can't rely on one big shot even though I'll train it as part of my arsenal.

The point about conditioning the hand is that it gives me the confidence to hit as hard as I need to, to put him away. Just because I might be hitting from a short distance or in a particular manner, that doesn't mean I'm not hitting as hard as I can. I am hitting as hard as I can. I promise.

Mick S. wrote:
can you instill that scrapper,never give in mentality that comes natural to the few into those that want to achieve it by training.

That's no guarantee, but I believe it's possible. If I didn't think that, I would only be training that 2% of natural born killers, and I'm not.

The most valuable lesson I believe I can pass on as a martial artist is my mindset and the violent way I move. People, if they're at all sensitive, they pick up on it by being around me. And I also try and impress that dogged mentality on people, that locked-in focus on what you need to do.

I think one of the things you notice, without actually putting people in a fight, is you start to see their firepower when they're working the bag or in pad drills. You see those who are emotionally involved and those who aren't. And somehow those who haven't got that innate violence, because it's often suppressed by society, they have a problem with tapping it. That is, if it's there at all, and sometimes it isn't.

What I've found, and this is just an observation, is that if I can get people to specifically or non-specifically perform violent exercises, it sometimes switches them on and produces the violent mindset I'm trying to get them to reach. That forms the basis of the bullet. And then to put them in drills which are preconditioned, where they can express that violence against a man. They train that way until that total commitment of emotion and biomechanical response becomes an instinctive action. I think the military call it 'reflex shooting'.

To react reflexively to a situation, shoot first ask questions later, you first need a bullet. Your mind is the bullet in this one. And I've got to find a way of you reflexively hitting with that emotionally supercharged bullet. That bad intent.

I have a number of ways of doing that.

There seems to be a feedback mechanism going on. It's like how, when you make a fake smile, you still release endorphins and if you smile long enough and hard enough, you'll feel happy (so they say!). In the same way, if you perform these violent acts, sooner or later you'll start to become aware of a violent mindset and you'll be able to call it up at will. you'll have a representation of the emotional and physical content of the move, as well as the effect you want to cause (e.g. knockout, breaking bone, etc.)

I suppose the other thing is that within the gym there are going to be a percentage of people who are naturally violent. And the other guys who are naturally more reserved and potentially the victims, they can pick up off the predators a sense of how it is to be the predator. They can 'get out of themselves'. As a trainer, I give them permission to do that. I don't try to repress that or keep them down. I want to see them up.

And I can do that because I've got long experience and I know I can handle the shit that can go on when something goes wrong, like when you've got a guy who's a loose cannon. I can deal with that. And because of that, you end up with this strong esprit de corps.

If we're talking about the guys who are not the predator types, the ones who would normally be the victims on the street, then the last thing you want to teach them is technique. Sometimes technique is taught as a form of discipline or obedience, or sometimes people are led to believe that superior technique can overcome a natural born killer. And technique is used to raise people's self-esteem in the belief that this high self-esteem will give them protection in the form of physical confidence, so that they won't be singled out for attack. But that's not the way to go. If there's any violence in these guys at all, you've got to find it and get it out of them. That's of primary importance. Concentrating on technique actually inhibits that.

For the natural-born killer types, you sometimes have to help them learn how to switch their emotions on and off so that they are in control of the emotions and not the other way round. But this isn't usually my problem as a trainer; usually it's the former problem of getting people to tap those resources that they don't even sometimes believe they have because they've been repressed by the person or suppressed by society.

So yeah, I reckon I can do it, at least for those who want it.

Lito: you're saying that there's no debate, but I've been on this forum for two days? And there have already been multiple references to the 'discussion' on palm vs. fist. It's like Star Wars...

I haven't got the photo, but one of my tricks used to be to punch through a standing brick. Now I don't know about structural alignment, but I dont' think I could have done that with my palm. But that's me. I'm not out to convince you, honestly, because I don't have a position on it except with reference to myself.

I'm not trying to validate the usage of the fist except to say how effective it has been for me. But you seem to be trying to validate the effectiveness of the palm against the fist, not as a point of your preference, but by giving me examples about alignment. To me, like I said, until the last couple of days I never even really thought about it, and I still think it's a side issue. It's like saying, do you kick with the ball of your foot or the top of your foot. Or shoul dyou use your forearm? Or your elbow? Or what part of your head should you use when you head butt. I just can't get into it.

Lito, all I know is this: when i was sitting down with my kids tonight, Sean who is 14 months slapped me five times in the head with his palm. But then Ty comes along, he's 5 and a half, and gives me a right cross with his fist. So, who knows? Vive la difference. That's how the world goes round.

Oh, and what's this about no striking in sumo? didn't you watch the clip???

Good night.

Steve
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Re: Training with Steve Morris

Post  Julian on Thu Aug 09, 2007 1:39 am

Deep stuff, Steve! You're just one week around here but with some of the most informative post I read so far. I don't think people would fall asleep with your long posts because when I read a new post of you I can't stop. There's a little voice in my head which says "Yes, that's true. I concur. etc" It's like the answers were already in my head but you pointed it out. Like Picasso said" I don't search, I find" So all in all, many thanks for sharing you knowledge on this forum!

BTW: Nice slap from the sumo guy! Saw similiar ones on a Sport Channel but mainly executed when they made first contact. Hm, when there's really a debate on fist vs palms. Let's quote James Lee (Bruce Lee's friend): Everything works, nothing works."...

Looking forward to more great posts Very Happy

Best regards
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Re: Training with Steve Morris

Post  melvinfferd on Thu Aug 09, 2007 2:06 am

Lito wrote:The reason no punches are allowed is because the objective of sumo is to push an opponent off the ring as quickly as possible; nothing more, nothing less.


lito, i know you are very knowledgeable concerning martial arts in general but the above comment suggests that you havent watched much sumo before. or maybe you were just in a hurry when posting? either way, just to clarify ...

The winner of a sumo bout is mainly determined by two rules:

1. The first person to touch the ground with any part of his body other than the soles of his feet loses.
2. The first person to be pushed out of the ring loses.

both ways to achieve a win are nicely shown here ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEe-UIvftUg&mode=related&search=

Lito wrote:It's strictly a form of stand-up wrestling with no strikes allowed.


incorrect. the official rules state that one cannot strike with a closed fist. palm strikes and slaps are allowed.
in addition to the clip provided by steve, heres a highlight vid. take note of the last 2 fights.

http://jp.youtube.com/watch?v=q9T1GR6s0vI&mode=related&search=

Lito wrote:If punches were allowed, with palms or fists, then there would be knockouts and it no longer could be classified as sumo.

if one gets knocked out you simply lose via rule 1 stated above.

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Re: Training with Steve Morris

Post  Monty Sneddon on Thu Aug 09, 2007 2:26 am

Hi Steve.

After reading your excellent answers, I get the impression that at the end of the day when everything's kicking off as it were, the result not the means of achieving that result, is what you're interested in?

If I'm picking you up correctly, I found an interesting quote that you might like, then again maybe not!! Very Happy

"Technique is the method you use in something to express yourself. As long as you are saying what you want to say, it doesnít matter how you say it."

Monty.


Last edited by on Thu Aug 09, 2007 2:29 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Training with Steve Morris

Post  melvinfferd on Thu Aug 09, 2007 2:28 am

oh forgot to mention... FANTASTIC posts steve, thoroughly enjoying them.

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Re: Training with Steve Morris

Post  steve morris on Thu Aug 09, 2007 3:35 am

Great clips Melvin(Simon). And this is what I was looking at when I was looking at sumo way back when: the dynamic application of the open hand. When I was in Japan I'd watched sumo, and I was impressed by it. To me it was a snapshot of a fight, and if you put these guys in suits and they dropped about 100lbs, it would be a great way of not only fighting a single guy but multiple guys.

And particularly, without trying to be presumptuous, for people in the security business. One thing, having known a lot of big guys over the years, was their difficulty in actually making a fist. And here would be a great source of how to fight using the open hand. Providing you can filter out the ritual and just see the short mini-fights, the clashes. And being able to stay on your feet.

I'll start resourcing sumo for 'Watch the Fight', and while you're on that trial, melvin, why not bring in some more evasive work of sumo so we've got a more complete picture.

Anyway, great example to seek to emulate except maybe in the weight department...


Last edited by on Thu Aug 09, 2007 3:41 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Training with Steve Morris

Post  steve morris on Thu Aug 09, 2007 3:36 am

Oh, and Monty--I couldn't agree more.
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Re: Training with Steve Morris

Post  Luciano Imoto on Thu Aug 09, 2007 7:06 am

"The most valuable lesson I believe I can pass on as a martial artist is my mindset and the violent way I move. People, if they're at all sensitive, they pick up on it by being around me. And I also try and impress that dogged mentality on people, that locked-in focus on what you need to do."

Even when I watched for first time your DVD clips I pick up that mindset, easily. And since that I understand the real "internal" martial art. Furthermore this strong INTENT (almost like a kamikaze) saved my skin some times in Brazil and moulded my own style of fighting.

About this specifc mindset and violent way of moves, all the ancient fighters showed the same qualities in their lifes: Musashi, Wang Xiangzhai, Sokaku Takeda, Ueshiba (in young age), Bruce Lee...

Mr. Morris, you are an avis rara because most of this specimen of 'berserkers' donīt have good didatic methodologies (patience, scientific research, ego and self-control, etc). But you are a Coach, a Teacher of teachers, and your descriptive messages to share your vision and experience with us have great value.
Every generation often mistakes the warriors that are in there midst...

One point: debates are fine! I see debates like some type of fight, intellectual matches, and some personal ideas need to be revealed in public Twisted Evil

When do you will release your book? Question
E-books with photos and ilustrations of fundamentals and principals behind the MorrisMethod are welcome too!


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Re: Training with Steve Morris

Post  Lito on Thu Aug 09, 2007 7:34 am

Hi Simon,
You wrote:
lito, i know you are very knowledgeable concerning martial arts in general but the above comment suggests that you havent watched much sumo before. or maybe you were just in a hurry when posting? either way, just to clarify ...

You're right. I'm not much into sumo and didn't watch the clip Steve posted a link to. My bad...

Thank you for the clarification. I stand corrected.

Take Care,
Lito

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Re: Training with Steve Morris

Post  melvinfferd on Thu Aug 09, 2007 9:26 am

steve morris wrote:I'll start resourcing sumo for 'Watch the Fight', and while you're on that trial, melvin, why not bring in some more evasive work of sumo so we've got a more complete picture.

evasive work from the get-go and that within the "car crash" (a term stolen from mick) are held in quite different regards in sumo. to evade to the side as your opponent charges in is called a henka and is considered by many as poor sumo. it is especially frowned upon if a higher grade wrestler chooses to perform the move. heres is an example ...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMY2hzVHuZ4&mode=related&search=

so to crash in on an angle is more honorable (though it didnt help this guy)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFcr06uMcj4

here are some more successful examples
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arTqPWeLnEU&mode=related&search=
and...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gvmv-44QDo

an example of good movement within a fight ...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWfzMIbTcpc&mode=related&search=

and lets finish with some striking (great clip)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z83S0cZVp60&mode=related&search=

hope those were of interest

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Re: Training with Steve Morris

Post  SteveC on Thu Aug 09, 2007 12:49 pm

This guys got something going on!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEe-UIvftUg
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Re: Training with Steve Morris

Post  Kemlyn on Thu Feb 28, 2008 3:31 am

Hello Steve.
I have read in the past that sumo was the main type of hand-to-hand combat training engaged in by the Japanese police.
I don't know wether this is still(or was!)the case,but I can definitely see the value that this kind of practice would have when a police officer needs to close,dominate and control a subject.
One drawback I can see though is getting too used to emloying the large 'mawashi'(the belt/diaper thing!)for grips,when a criminal is unlikely to be wearing one on the street!
I think however that any kind of wrestling is of huge benefit for law enforcement/security personnel.
Finally,having seen black-and-white pictures of (industrial revolution-era)
Sumotori,they where much smaller,more athletic and more muscular than today's behemoths.
As long as you had prior warning that some 600 pound Yokozuna was going to attack you,you could probably avoid him fairly easily(anyone remember the coliseum scene from Monty Python,or Emanual Yarborough in the UFC?).

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Re: Training with Steve Morris

Post  PullupPastor on Sat Mar 01, 2008 9:49 am

A nice fast explosive event sumo. Extremely interesting to watch -i remeber Ch4 had a few series of it - at the time the most successful fighter was actually relatively small and muscular...wolf something...


Heard tales that sumo wrestlers will condition there hands by slapping trees. But also that bullying and peaking orders inside each schools sound like needless pettiness...

Also unfortunately at higher levels it seems to be blighted by large amounts of corruption and match fixing -


Several years ago, two former sumo wrestlers came forward with extensive allegations of match rigging--and more. Aside from the crooked matches, they said, sumo was rife with drug use and sexcapades, bribes and tax evasion, and close ties to the yakuza, the Japanese mafia. The two men began to receive threatening phone calls; one of them told friends he was afraid he would be killed by the yakuza. Still, they went forward with plans to hold a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents' Club in Tokyo. But shortly beforehand, the two men died--hours apart, in the same hospital, of a similar respiratory ailment. The police declared there had been no foul play but did not conduct an investigation. "It seems very strange for these two people to die on the same day at the same hospital," said Mitsuru Miyake, the editor of a sumo magazine. "But no one has seen them poisoned, so you can't prove the skepticism."

Whether or not their deaths were intentional, these two men had done what no other sumo insider had previously done: named names. Of the 281 wrestlers covered in the data cited above, they identified 29 crooked wrestlers and 11 who were said to be incorruptible.

What happens when the whistle-blowers' corroborating evidence is factored into the analysis of the match data? In matches between two supposedly corrupt wrestlers, the wrestler who was on the bubble won about 80 percent of the time. In bubble matches against a supposedly clean opponent, meanwhile, the bubble wrestler was no more likely to win than his record would predict. Furthermore, when a supposedly corrupt wrestler faced an opponent whom the whistle-blowers did not name as either corrupt or clean, the results were nearly as skewed as when two corrupt wrestlers met--suggesting that most wrestlers who weren't specifically named were also corrupt.


http://www.iht.com/articles/2000/01/22/sumo.2.t_1.php

http://faroutliers.blogspot.com/2005/05/freakonomics-of-sumo.html

http://pricetheory.uchicago.edu/levitt/Papers/DugganLevitt2002.pdf



The cynic in me says i doubt you can really trust ANY high profile sporting event.
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