“Making Changes in martial arts training”
By Master Roger Koo
2. Comparison between traditional martial arts and the unique theories/philosophies of Koo Self Defense
3. Why it is ineffective to Block
4. Our Unique Training System
5. The Myth of Traditional Punches
6. The over emphasis of the Black Belt
7. Koo Self Defense Black Belt Training
8. Update on K.S.D Training Curriculum
What you are about to read will change your entire outlook on street self defense training. The theories, techniques, and methods of training of the Koo Self Defense system will completely shock and frustrate any martial artist. In this article you will be reading information that other martial artists don’t want you to know. This information will be for those who want the brutal realities of what really happens on the streets, and what really works in terms of self defense.
This article will demonstrate that it is impossible for all the other martial arts’ schools in the world to train majority of their students to maximum performance, because they all follow the same path. Very few martial artists have tried to break away from tradition, because it is not the thing to do. These few martial artists tried and criticized tradition, but they are not strong with their comments, (their movements contradict their theories, because they still incorporate traditional movements, and traditional methods of training in their styles).
The harsh realities of what happen on the street will be pointed out, and what you can do to learn the most unique practical street self defense in the world! This article is very controversial because of its bluntness and straight to the point. The Koo Self Defense unique training system which I have developed will make total common sense to any martial artist, as well as to the public who do not know anything about the martial arts, because the training is designed for anyone who has a desire to get fit and develop the ability to defend oneself on the street, in the shortest possible time. The Koo Self Defense training system was established in Cartersville, Georgia, U.S.A. on February 1, 1992.
I have been in the martial arts for more than forty one years. The majority of those years were spent in the traditional martial arts. Originally from 1992 to 1996 I call it Koo Karate because the public in general associate that term with self defense, but since I created my web site on the Internet in November 1996, my system of training was being classified under the banner of Japanese style. The Koo Self Defense system is very unique and does not come under the origin of Chinese, Japanese, Korean or Okinawian styles of martial arts.
My system of training is not a mixture of different types of martial arts combined. On the contrary, our training method is completely opposite in every aspect to all other martial arts in the world today!
My article will cover the theories and philosophies as to why:
(1) we can produce the most powerful martial art’s athletes in the world, not just a few of my students but the vast majority of them regardless of age, size, physical ability and disability.
(2) why all the techniques are performed on mitts and shields using non traditional, natural, stress free, and self corrective movements.
(3) how the methods of training allow a student to dictate how intense the interval training workout can be. People in general possess a certain amount of natural power and the Koo Self Defense training can double. triple, quadruple and beyond as they set no limits.
In the Koo Self Defense system, a student’s ability is not determined by the color of their belt, but on the output of their individual training. In June 1996, all colored belt testing were eliminated, except for the Black Belts and above which has more meaning for instructors. The system of colored belts is still maintained with the students moving up the ranks based upon the number of classes and the minimum two months of waiting period between ranks.
The use of belts only denotes time spent training and it is not the color of the belt that dictates how powerful a student is. It is up to the individual student based upon how hard and how many hours of training that determine that factor.
It will take a beginner two years of hard training before being eligible to take the Black Belt test. The Black Belt test is the most objective system that I have developed. The test is very demanding physically with numerous drills performed on focus mitts and shields. These drills are then followed by a very strict criteria of breaking NEW plastic rebreakable boards ranging from one to four together based upon a percentage of FIRST TIME BREAKS using both hands and feet.
The Koo Self Defense instructors are not determined by their rank, but by their dedication, experience, effectiveness of their teaching, and the results they can produce. Since the birth of Koo Self Defense in 1992, the students’ incredible accomplishments are starting to get recognition. More and more articles are being featured in martial arts magazines, newspapers and televisions revolving around the students and instructors.
The unique training that Koo Self Defense offer is becoming widely accepted by the martial art’s world as the most practical and effective self defense for the streets. Koo Self Defense is evolving and revolutionizing the martial arts’ world.
Back to Top of Page
2. Comparison between traditional martial arts and the unique theories/philosophies of Koo Self Defense
All other martial arts follow the same path. Many martial arts may proclaim to be different and unique, this may be true in their theories, however, their movements, and class training contradicts their concepts. If you were to put one student from all the traditional martial arts’ styles currently in the world in a football stadium to perform a typical front punch, a low block or a basic form (kata), they will most part looks alike. Consequently this means that no matter what special gimmick they attribute to a movement to try and make it unique, a block is still a block, and a stance is still a stance.
Here are ten reasons to prove that the other martial art schools follow the same path:
(1) they continue to emphasize forms/patterns (Katas) for self defense.
(2) they continue to punch and kick “in the air” or “control” their techniques in their sparring. Their movements are a “start and stop system” with no follow through with either the elbows or knees locked out when techniques are executed.
(3) they are obsessed with “Perfection of Technique” with minute degree of accuracy and everybody must look alike.
(4) they make their students practiced millions of repetitions for blocking, punching, striking, sparring, and learn many impractical stances that have no reflection to street attacks.
(5) the students are still taught to analyze everything (the if ‘s and the but’s).
(6) the students are still taught that the color of their belt (a piece of cloth) determines their abilities.
(7) the students still have to go through a “subjective testing” system for Colored and Black Belts.
(8) they practiced hundreds of knife or self defense drills that bear no reality to street situations and too often long series of complicated movements.
(9) they practiced huge arsenals of restraints techniques which are futile against the worst scenario, an attacker pumped up with full of drugs, which render them immune to extreme pain and pepper sprays.
(10) they possessed too many techniques that take a lifetime to master.
Every martial art’s style has developed theories on: Forms, Blocks, Stances, Sparring, Punches, Perfection of Techniques, etc., and based upon these theories, they created their curriculum to teach self defense. First, let us examine what every other martial art considers to be their foundation: FORMS (KATAS). In every style whether it is Tae Kwon-Do, Kung Fu, or Japanese Style of Karate etc., their curriculum revolves around forms. The basic movements are the alphabets of their style. From this alphabet the forms were developed, and from the Forms, Prearranged, Semi and Free Sparring was designed. There is also emphasis on the quantity of techniques being learned.
It would take a lifetime to master even a small percentage of these techniques. In the English language the alphabet is taught at the very beginning level of education, and can later be used to form words, logical sentences, and convey ideas. This is not true in traditional martial arts training, where the so-called alphabet cannot even produce one logical statement.
An example of this is the difference between the forms being taught and the application of these forms in sparring and in other class activities. In free sparring, their students cannot apply any of the basic movements from the forms or prearranged sparring. Why? It is analogous to teaching one to play tennis and then throwing them into a badminton game, where on the surface they are similar, but in reality they are very different.
According to the standards of the other martial arts systems, everyone must look alike in the performance of these forms to be considered correct. However, it is not true that identical techniques can produce the same results for everyone since all people are not created physically equally.
If you look at boxing, no two boxers punch the same, the commentators always point out to the audience, the different styles of each boxer. The boxer repertoire of techniques and the way he delivers them is based on his size, and shape. In many Olympic sports, different type of body shape would suit different types of sports.
The theory and development of many of the stances in all the other martial arts originated from Judo. That style designed many types of precise, stable stances with the emphasis on a lower center of gravity. Once again concentration was on the look of perfection for each stance. Therefore a student who performs any stance must have their hands and feet in an accurate, precise position. Hours of intense training are done in order to perfect these stances and movements.
However, the reality in a street fight is, it will happen so fast, and most times without warning that you do not have time to get in these stances. You will not have time to make sure your feet are precisely positioned at this angle, and your hands at that angle. Stability is a necessary skill in Judo as a sport only, because the goal is to throw your opponent off balance and to the ground. When judo is performed, there are rules, and it is on nice padded mats.
On the street, there are no rules, and there are no mats, only concrete, stones and sometimes pieces of glass.
Even if you were to throw your opponent down, what’s next and how many complicated movements are needed to apply it. The longer you are in a street fight the worse it is for you with chances that you will be hit more, and most likely lose. You want to get out of that situation by finishing the fight off as fast as you can by whatever means possible from biting, gouging the eyes, pulling hairs and so forth.
Many stances have been designed by other styles, and incorporated into their particular training, However, the principal of these stances (stability) were still the same as Judo. Some martial artists will even make their students walk with a book on their heads to improve that stability. Does that reflect practical training for street self defense?
How many stances or techniques does a street fighter have in his arsenal? Fighting revolves more on fast mobility than stability.
There is a clear distinction between ‘sparring’ and ‘fighting’. The idea of perfection of techniques has always been strongly emphasized in other martial arts. From the first day of the student’s training until their highest level the student will be constantly being over corrected for the perfect look in minor details thus preventing the continuous flow of learning.
This path creates a training process which stifles the student’s ability to obtain a thorough workout. In every style there are different interpretations of the same movements, therefore this leads to dissension between instructors and confusion among students. Here is another topic to think about.
Do you believe that the other martial artists can develop any hitting power by throwing techniques with maximum power in the air, especially techniques that resulted in locked out elbows and knees and movement that comes to a full stop?
Do any professional bodybuilders who exercise use only the air, and no weights? Of course not, they need that weight for resistance to work the muscles and develop their strength, the same principal must apply to martial arts training. The way the techniques are delivered on that resistance is extremely important to achieve any gains.
In all of the traditional martial arts system regarding their movements the students are told to believe the more tense they are in executing these techniques with speed, the more power they generate. The students are victims to the illusion of power demonstrated by their instructors. The power is usually demonstrated by the snap of the uniforms.
Many instructors used heavy canvas uniforms with the use of starch when washing their uniforms, to cause the snapping effect. The other martial arts are unique in regards to emphasizing tension in all of their movements. The more tense the movements, the more power that the individual feel.
There is no sport or Olympic event that would ever promote that philosophy. If you look at all of the Olympic events, examples like the 100-meter sprint, or the power lifter who lifts 500+ pounds, are they as tense as a martial artist when they try and achieve maximum performance? The answer is Definitely Not. In order for the sprinter, or power lifter to achieve maximum performance they must be as relaxed as possible, and therefore when they perform, they are explosive and can push their body to the maximum.
Even the commentators of these two events can point out to the audience how relaxed the athletes are by watching them before and during their performance. The body mechanic of other sports is to utilize maximum efficiency using the entire body weight. This is contrary in traditional martial arts which emphasizes lower centers of gravity which minimizes the use of the entire body weight.
The development of sparring was designed for tournaments in order to gain more public awareness. When the public watched any type of karate tournament, they are switched off by the impracticality of their movements. Martial arts’ movies entertained people with precise choreographed fighting scenes which sometimes last for many minutes and many people do not believe these super human feats that they portrayed.
They can distinguish between reality and makes believe. Tournaments are governed by a set of rules of fighting and there are no rules on the street! Sparring was also designed so that the students could try to actually feel what it’s like with someone trying to attack them, and some martial artists argue that if you don t know how it feels to be hit, you would not know how to react.
The reality of the situation is that in a real self defense situation, where it is not a controlled environment, no padded floor and no rules, the attacker/s mental focus is totally different for those who practice sparring. The street attacker wants to hurt you quickly as much as possible and will keep coming until he does. The word “control” does not exist in his mind, nor is he trying to impress anyone with his techniques where most of the times there are no spectators around.
Another reality is that in a real street fight, where the adrenaline is pumping one can be hit several times without feeling any pain. On the other hand if one has been trained to deliver the knock out techniques, (like a Koo Self Defense student) one would stand a better chance of finishing of a fight. No one can take a good punch, no matter how tough they are and even the very best of the boxers get knocks out sometime.
Back to Top of Page
3. Why it is ineffective to Block
The development of blocking in martial arts was designed because the students are train using attacking techniques that come to a full stop with locked out arms or legs. If any martial artist attempted to block a series of hooks and uppercuts that were delivered with maximum power, and follow through, it would be impossible. If it were, don’t you think the boxers, who fight for millions of dollars would be doing it?
The only choice they have is to concentrate on mobility, ducking and weaving, side stepping and shielding their body with their arms. This is how we train our students in Koo Self Defense. We have completely eliminated all types of blocking in training except against weapons.
Our theories are proven in a documentary on “Human Performance” that was featured on The Learning Channel here in Georgia during the months of May 1996 onwards. This episode was specifically profiling the careers to professional boxers. The way they deliver the power movements (the right cross, hooks, and uppercuts), the body mechanics of how they use 100% of their body in their movements were all demonstrated.
They demonstrated scientifically that although the jab was twice as fast as the hook or the uppercut, the latter possessed twice the power. This is the evidence that supports Koo Self Defense theories and movements. In relation to this chapter about the impracticality of blocking, the documentary discussed the effectiveness of throwing powerful fast continuous combinations (the way the other martial arts do this is totally impractical).
One of the boxers that was featured could throw six punches in less than one second on a moving target. Do you think anyone can block that many punches in that short a time? Unfortunately, many students from other martial arts, still believe that they actually can apply blocking to many punches or kicks thrown by their opponent in a fight.
The reality of a street fight is that the attacker will not throw one or two punches at a time like they do in traditional martial arts sparring. The street attacker will throw a volley of many fast, wild, furious and powerful combinations not stopping until he has knocked you out, or killed you.
The very first minute of a fight is the most crucial time. Both parties are exchanging what appears to be fast, furious explosive punches at each other. BUT both parties are ill prepared for battle. They are unfit and are only using their natural strength for power. Within that first minute, both will become very exhausted, ultimately grabbing each other resulting going to the ground and will wrestle for a very long time getting nowhere, unless one of them really play dirty like biting or poke at the eyes.
On the other hand, if one of the party has been trained for knockout punches through rigorous training just as in K.S.D and delivers them in rapid, continuous explosive movements while absorbing the other party weak punches, the fight would be over very quickly as the human head cannot withstand that constant pounding.
The Koo Self Defense students practice set flowing combinations. Beginners would practice a series of 12 sequential movements utilizing strikes, punches, elbows, knees and head butts onto focus mitts. As they progress up the ranks, the numbers of movements are gradually increased reaching 23 movements at Brown Belt and 27 movements at Black Belt.
We have students depending whether it’s a child or an adult that can throw 23 powerful movements onto focus mitts within 4 to 8 seconds. The theory of Koo Self Defense for street self defense is that we firmly believe that the student who has been trained to deliver the knock out hits, (using natural and practical movements that can be applied immediately), will stand a better chance of finishing a fight.
It is the philosophy of Koo Self Defense to develop any student to his or her maximum potential from day one. In class, from the first day of training, the students’ natural power, will double, triple, quadruple and beyond with no set limits into awesome hitting power over a period of time, through our unique style of training. The student is also geared to develop their stamina/endurance, and mobility the two other necessities needed for self defense.
I believe that the majority of a fight only lasts a matter of seconds. When you are defending yourself, you have to push your body to the maximum in a short amount of time. This is why you need the mobility, stamina and the hitting power to finish off the fight.
Keeping that statement in mind, look at the sport of boxing and how it is changing. Boxing has evolved, and the performance and style of 1800’s boxers cannot match modern day’s fighters.
The Ultimate Fighting Championships, cruel as it is banned in many states, is not “street fighting.” This event first made its appearance in 1994. It was an event that brought all the martial artists, boxers, wrestlers and other disciplines together to find out who was the best fighter. The competitors, (two at a time) fight in an octagon cage with a well-padded floor, bare knuckles and eliminate each other until the final match, where the best two would fight for the championship. There are all these martial artists from Traditional Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Ju Jitsu etc. who train to block, trains for stability, and fancy techniques.
The octagon is designed for the grappler, with some limited rules like no biting, no eyes gouging, no dirty street fighting. They fight on a well-padded floor which is to the advantage of the grappler. The reality of a street grappling is that these few things that have been eliminated would end the fight quickly. The grappler would like to be as close to your body to stop any hits with the fists, but it would not prevent the fingers from gouging the eyes, biting the jugular veins or squeezing the testicles which are all easily within range.
Grappling limits you to fight only one opponent and not simultaneous multiple attackers. If you watch any U.F.C. match there has never been any time for forms, blocks, stances, or fancy kicks. Does that make sense to you?
All that training, and the fighters cannot even apply what they learned, in their matches. The people in the crowd are booing, because the grappler and shoot fighters are wrestling on the padded cushions for twenty minutes to end the fight in some kind of head lock or joint lock.
It is just recently the fighters have learned to adapt to the grappler. The fighters realized now that they need that hitting power in their hands and elbows, to finish the fight, so they train to develop this power. In changing their fighting style and increasing their power some fighters are now wearing gloves in order to soften the blows, because otherwise there will be some serious injuries, the way they are pounding each other.
Unfortunately the U.F.C. demonstrates only a fraction of the reality of a street fight. In a street fight, there are no rules (in the U.F.C. the fighters cannot eye gauges, or bite, this would finish off the fight very quickly) there are no padded cushions (any floor grappling would be finished quickly once the head is pounded on hard concrete), only hard concrete with stones and glass, and no referees to help you.
The U.F.C started in 1994 and proved all of my philosophies and techniques. Since the development of Koo Self Defense, I have trained students to deliver the knock out hits so they will able to fight off attackers quickly. The students develop this awesome power in class, (that is one reason we do not spar) pounding those mitts and shields only.
They will become conditioned to react to any sign of trouble, and go on the offensive immediately (no hesitation) with the mentality of a fighter. We focus on mobility because the reality of a street fight is you have no choice but to be on the move, your attacker is rushing with ferocity, swinging wildly, with no control, no hesitation (the worst case scenario is, he is hyped up on PCP and will feel no pain) the only way to stop him is to hit him in the head with enough power to stop him, enough power to wobble his brain.
The wobbling of the brain will shut his system down, that is what they call the knock out you cannot concentrate on stability and perform your stances, it will not work! Should a grappling situation arise, only a choke would render the attacker unconscious or in the worst case scenario the breaking of his neck which would be fatal.
The use of joint manipulations would be futile against an opponent on drugs as broken joints (elbows, knees, ribs etc.) would not be felt by the attacker. Furthermore, as mentioned above, if you are untrained or ill prepared for battle and you have exhausted yourself against such an opponent who feels no pain, what then, after all, you are exhausted, it’s then his turn and he has all the time in the world!This is why Koo Self Defense trains the student to develop the habit to hit a moving target, because that is what they will have to do in a self defense situation.
Stationary targets are simple drills to maximize power, but moving targets are harder to hit, and require more training. Anyone can train themselves to shoot a pistol and be accurate hitting a bull’s eye on a stationary target. Yet to do the same thing with a moving target is a very difficult task.
Unlike many other martial arts that focus on the nerve points of the body, which are impossible to hit when moving, Koo Self Defense uses the same principal as the boxers, to hit the general area with so much power that pinpoint accuracy is not necessary for a knock out. The students at Koo Self Defense do not punch and kick in the air concentrating on perfection of thousands of techniques.
Back to Top of Page
4. Our Unique Training System
Now I will explain how we train on the mitts and shields, how we deliver all techniques on them, to the maximized performance level. All the movements at Koo Self Defense are self corrective because the students are hitting mitts and shields.
The training at Koo Self Defense only uses practical, natural, stresses free movements, performed in a relaxed manner. Unlike tradition, where they use artificial movements performed in a tense manner that locks out their joints. The students at Koo Self Defense are not taught any movement that cannot be delivered with power.
It is impossible to deliver power using traditional techniques, because of the mechanics of the movements. The instructor of those arts is always correcting the student for perfection. At Koo Self Defense, we are not concerned with how pretty the students can look, but by how much power they can generate, and that they are not hurting themselves in the process.
If the traditional techniques were the most practical, don’t you think the professional boxers who earn millions of dollars for a fight would use them. These traditional movements are not natural, all of the boxing movements are, because they had evolved from street fist fighting.
The other martial arts realize that the mechanics of their punches are not practical so they teach their students boxing style punches, at Brown Belt. Does that make sense to you? They train their students for almost two years with movements they cannot apply, and then teach them something completely opposite.
It’s like if you were to teach an apprentice the nature of a business in a foreign language, then place him in a job, where he would only use his mother tongue. That is why Koo Self Defense uses Boxing style of punches, because they are proven to work, Koo Self Defense also uses modified Tae Kwon Do kicks and strikes, every hand and feet’s technique thrown, is delivered with maximum power, follows through, no control, no hesitation, and using the mass (not just the hips as specified in all other martial arts) of the entire body behind that punch or kick.
Look at all the Olympic events. In order for any athlete to achieve the maximum power in his performance they must use their whole body (not just the hips) and be completely relaxed! Another major part of training in other martial arts is pressure points. It is true there are pressure points on the body, however, trying to hit the precise point on a moving target is near impossible (only unless the attacker has got you in a hold, then you can eye gauges, go for the groin etc.)
It is like a person placing a black dot in the center of their hand, and then asking you to hit that dot while he moves his hand around. Do you think you could do it? That is why the boxers do not train to hit pressure points. The boxers just try and hit the general area without forming a proper fist within a 16-oz glove, which gets the job done, they are still able to knock out their opponents.
In the training at Koo Self Defense we do not emphasize any street value for forms/katas. The students perform non traditional forms without any blocks for aerobic purposes only, for a very short time roughly about five minutes just to warm the body up and it’s for adults only. We do not spar, block or emphasize stances for training.
Many people from other martial arts have come to Koo Self Defense to see what we are all about. They come with many questions, they ask, what if this? What’s about that? . We say to them these ‘If and But’ never happen. The reality of a street fight is that there is no time to analyze what you can do to stop your attacker. Trying to rehearse for any situation is impossible because you cannot predict what the future is.
In a street fight, it is so wild, happening so fast, there is no time for logical thought. A person’s natural self preservation (fighting instinct) overrides any training a person may have. All Koo Self Defense training gives you is the hitting power to fight with, when you do fight for your life. We have many drills to try and condition the student to react and not freeze in a self defense situation.
The majority of the martial arts schools in the world learn thousands of techniques (Tae Kwon Do boasts 3200 techniques, and in the martial arts magazines some martial arts claim to have 60,000 techniques). The students of these other martial arts are taught to perfect the quantity of these techniques, and this would surely take a life time. A person wants to join a martial school to learn how to do practical self defense.
This has to be achieved within a few months and not a life time of training. Just imagine every military force in the world require you to spend a life time of training just to learn how to fight! Let us reiterate the fact that the ordinary street fighter, who knows fewer techniques, than the number of fingers on one hand can knock out any traditional martial artist. This ordinary street fighter uses all practical effective movements, the boxing style, and has the hitting power and the mentality of a fighter to back it up.
If you look at the evidence in the ‘Human Performance’ series profiling the two professional boxers, British Middle weight contender Ritchie Wooden, and American Middle Weight Champion of the World, Quincy (Roy) Jones. The episode will show time after time that one or two very powerful techniques will finish of a fight. One particular title defense that Roy Jones had was shown in this episode. Roy Jones was throwing a volley of powerful, combinations. He finished up his opponent with a series of hooks and uppercuts which are the two most powerful, effective weapons in a fighter’s arsenal. Boxing has its limitation too as it’s a sport with restrictions of rules.
Hopefully now you might understand that it does not make sense to you to learn thousands of different techniques, and it is impossible to perfect anyone particular technique. The student should be focusing on how effective the movement is (the power behind it) rather than how perfect they look performing it. The training method that the other martial arts do to practice these thousands of techniques is impractical as well as the techniques they are using.
The students are taught to punch and kick in the air with maximum power, using, traditional movements, performed in a tense manner, concentrating on perfection of techniques. As mentioned earlier, delivering all techniques in the air is useless, to achieve any hitting power because there is no resistance to work the muscles. Therefore, these other martial artists can only be concentrating on one thing: precision, accuracy and really the beauty of the movements.
Some martial artists have come to that realization of the use of mitts and shields. However the way that you make use of the mitts and shields are extremely important in obtaining a thorough workout and developing your hitting power. From the feedback of many other martial artists coming to Koo Self Defense, we have found out that these schools do not use mitts and shields to their maximum. We ask them to throw their strongest punch or kick, something they would use to defend their life with. These people would just tap them, and make sound effects. When they delivered techniques they would punch and pullback, or kick and snap their leg back.
Some of them would hurt their wrist when they punched, or fell backwards when they kicked. These people were so used to hitting the air, they were not used to hitting an object with maximum follow through power. They were taught to keep the wrist straight, but what appeared to be straight is not when you hit for maximum follow through power. If you do not use your body properly when you throw a kick against an object, you will be on the floor.
That is why the training at Koo Self Defense is Self Corrective, If you punch, or kick wrong you will feel it. Koo Self Defense beginners are taught techniques considered by most martial art organizations to be for advanced students only. For example, what we explained earlier in about other martial arts teaching boxing punches to only Brown Belts above. The round punch (hook) for instance, which is the same punch most street attackers would use, is taught from day one at Koo Self Defense, allowing the student to cultivate this technique from the very beginning rather withholding it until he or she has reached the so called advanced level. As well as using the bare knuckle which takes some time to develop the proper wrist conditioning, our beginners are also taught to deliver the hook using their palms. This is very effective especially for women and children. Within one month of training, all beginners have doubled their hand power.
The Koo Self Defense system eliminates all the traditional constraints normally imposed upon beginning students by the martial arts organization they belong to, or the instructor. Most instructors hold on to the traditional thinking that he or she must possess the most power, rather than allowing the student to utilize their own natural ability to produce maximum power from day one. In many cases a lower belt in the Koo Self Defense system surpasses the power of Black Belts from other styles whose organizations impose such restraints.
Back to Top of Page
5.The Myth of Traditional Punches
The type of punches that the students perform in traditional martial arts schools where they punch and kick the air using traditional movements use mechanics that do not make any sense. As in all traditional movements there are a start and a stop to each movement. The basic punch is delivered from the hip with the palm facing up (the start). The punch is then thrown and the hand comes to a complete stop with the arm fully extended (the stop). Now, most martial artists agree that toward the end of the punch there is a twisting of the hand as found in all martial arts’ textbooks.
Many of these students and instructors have the misconception that this twisting gives the punch more power, and will have more of an impact on the opponent. This is not true, and here’s why! This twisting theory was developed by Gichin Funogoshi. Funogoshi developed his theory based on the bullet theory. Funogoshi believed that the bullet was given its power and acceleration because of the spinning motion. He was wrong! The bullet gets its power and acceleration from the gun powder.
The only reason they designed the bullet to spin was so that it went straight when it was shot from the gun. When they first designed the gun and the bullets, the bullets would go in a random direction, sometimes even killing the wrong person. However that is another story, back to the twisting theory. Most martial artists agree that impact occurs in the twist.
I want you to examine the physics of this movement. The speed of the hand at the start position where the fist is at the hip is zero. Now the speed of the hand at the stop position when the arm is fully extended, with the elbow locked is also zero. Let s say that the speed in between the start and stop position is 200 km/hr, which sounds pretty fast doesn’t it? So if the hand goes from 0 to 200 to 0, what is the hand actually doing at the point of the twisting of the wrist? The fact is the hand is actually decelerating very rapidly (slowing down) when the hand is twisting and coming to a stop.
The faster the punch, the faster the decelerations in order for the elbows not to hyper extend! It is like driving a car and going from 200 km/h to 0 km/h the car cannot stop immediately, and it must slow down in order to come to a complete stop. The same with your hand the only way it could keep accelerating is if it were to come out of its socket. That is one of the main reasons why we do not perform that punch. Another reason is, that those punches from the other martial arts, prevent them from throwing powerful continuous combinations.
As mentioned earlier, the traditional mechanic of their punches starts and stops. In order for them to throw a second punch they must have finished the first one. The boxing style punches that Koo Self Defense uses do not stop like the other punches. Each punch thrown rotates the entire body to throw its second, third, fourth, punches, etc., making each one more powerful because of the rotations from one direction to the other.
Koo Self Defense trains its students to use boxing style punches because those techniques only slow down after impact is made with the object and impact is made much closer that one would imagine using the bare knuckle, except for the longer range techniques utilizing the palm, side fist, back fist, reverse knife hand. Power, and acceleration are still at 100% when impact is made, and then we follow through with 100% to make it even more effective. The students at Koo Self Defense, using all boxing style of punches and modified kicks and strikes, deliver the majority of the punches to head high targets as well to the body (concentrating on the area where knock out occurs).
All the power punches at Koo Self Defense follow the same principal as the hook in boxing. The movement of the punch is in a circular motion. Some martial artists argue that any type of punch in a circular motion is telegraphing, that your opponent can see it coming. If that is true why then don t the professional boxers see them coming. An individual observing the fight may be able to see the punch coming, however the person who is actually in the fight, where the opponent is right in their face throwing many fast powerful combinations at them, is a totally different situation.
Back to Top of Page
6. The over emphasis of the Black Belt
Too many people put too much emphasis on Belts, whether it is colored belts or black belts. On the street, your attacker will never ask you what belt you are or will be impressed by your rank. There is no one to impress on the street. It’s your attacker and yourself.
Even in our unique training system of KSD, we have produced many Black Belts. On their achievement for the K.S.D Black Belt, they all underwent gruesome physically demanding test for stamina, endurance and power.
They were amongst the very few among the population who have achieved optimum fitness, strength, power, stamina and endurance.
All that hard training for a piece of cloth, just to proudly say they achieve a “Black Belt” is a total waste. It’s like saying I was once a state “sprinter” champion in high school. Twenty years have gone by, are you still a “sprinter” champion?
To achieve a Black Belt is just the beginning. Now is the time to maintain your physical fitness for the rest of your life and to keep fine tuning your awesome power for the day you might have (or hopefully never have to use) in a real life threatening situations.
7. Koo Self Defense Black Belt Training
The Koo Self Defense Black Belts have the most all-round power in hand and feet’s techniques after training for about two years, and they have tremendous hitting power. At the Black Belt level the students at Koo Self Defense start learning how to defend against sticks and knifes. The students start to learn this at Black Belt because a person must be able to defend themselves with their hands first before they can learn how to defend against weapons.
There are three criteria necessary for defense against weapons, and they are speed, timing, and you getting control of the weapon. For getting control of the weapon blocking can now be applied. This is the only scenario where blocking can be used. Because when the attacker is coming at you with a knife, he is only concentrating on attacking you with the arm that has the knife. He will not think about punching you, kicking, using knees or elbows, just focusing on the knife.
The students are taught many restraints to get control of the weapon. There are very few movements from grappling that with practice can be applied quickly and effectively. The Koo Self Defense system has a different approach when teaching these selected few movements. Many of the grappling movements are too complicated and take too long to apply. A more effective way of learning how to defend against weapons, is to show the student the basic principal of getting control of the knife.
After, the students learn to fight through experiences. This will make you improvise and experiment with what can work for you, it will also help your reaction time. This training will develop your speed and timing which are essential. The way that we apply the grappling is different from the other martial arts. We are always moving around and then intercepting the attacker when he commits himself after striking with the weapon. The attacker will only throw the arm with the weapon, and he will commit himself at the end of the movement in a missed attempt.
Once that opportunity presents itself you must close the gap and get control of the weapon, once you have control of the weapon you can break joints, choke or knock the attacker out. In a weapon fight you have to expect some minor cuts and the goal of the Koo Self Defense student is to reduce the quantities that they get cut through the rehearsal training. The environment of the class rehearsal and the brutal environment of the street is not the same.
However, if the students can reduce their injuries so that they only get cut with the plastic knife 10% instead of 100% of the time in the non vital areas, they will stand a better chance of survival on the street. When the student first starts learning how to defend against weapons they may get killed about 90% of the time, after a couple of months maybe 60% and so on.
Back to Top of Page
8. Update on K.S.D Training Curriculum
Since the abolishment of all Colored Belt Testing in June 1996, our students’ performance in terms of stamina and hitting power have increased enormously. I was very much criticized by students and Black belts who have undergone colored belt testing that standards will fell as a result of eliminating all colored belts testing. Time has gone by and the results stand for themselves.
Read some of the testimonials from our own students especially from the one who have been in other martial arts testifies about our low ranking students, i.e.,: Yellow & Orange Belts.
Another major change in our unique training curriculum occurred in the last week of July 1998 with the elimination of all type of “Forms/Patterns/Katas” to be replaced by Master Koo’s unique “Kick Boxing Hyper Aerobics.”
Why? Bottom line, and many individuals join a martial art studio for health/fitness reason first and secondly for street self defense. Where can you go in any martial art’s studio and receives a COMPLETE TOTAL BODY WORKOUT in one package ‘AEROBIC, ANAEROBIC AND FLEXIBILITY’ at every class.
A typical KSD class will now consist of a minimum of 15 or 26 minutes of KSD’s unique Kick Boxing Hyper Aerobics followed by 12 minutes of Yoga Stretching/Balance exercises and either 20 minutes or 30 minutes (depending upon the KSD Kickboxing aerobics class at the beginning) of very intense Anaerobic (hitting focus mitts and shields with extreme power that leaves all students breathless).
As mentioned prior, we are not spending our time being corrected for the “perfect movement,” we are actually training hard at every single class.
You may have seen many variations of Kick Boxing Aerobic workouts on television, many of them incorporating traditional movements with blocks (which have no real practical value, just done purely as a matter of exercise and possibly harmful long term to the joints).
KSD’s kick Boxing Hyper Aerobics is packed with many variety of movements, the same that are done in the “Anaerobic workouts,” except they are not executed with power because there is nothing to hit in the air. The movements are light with full body rotations and varied in speed according to the music. Toward the last 4 minutes of the aerobic workout, the intensity of the workout is increased pushing the heart rate up high and includes random plyometric exercises. “Plyometirc” are agility, Strength and muscles power exercises. They are very demanding on the body and we do this in short burst.
With the introduction of the “KSD’s Kick Boxing Hyper Aerobics” workout, it has taken KSD level of stamina and endurance to a new level. In the short time that it has been introduced, the feedback from our students that they are losing fat where they have not previously lost before.
Back to Top of Page