Don’t you think that the idea of both of you squatting down, as if to defecate, whilst one holds onto the other’s wrist, so that they can apply a countering technique, is somewhat off the planet?
– Ollie Batts (said here)
For those that may not understand what he means, he’s talking about compliant training technique. You and your (compliant) partner face each other, assume a horse stance (“squat down”), partner offers up his wrist, you grab it and apply some sort of wrist lock technique, and your partner never resists. Partner taps because an ounce of pressure was applied, and you stand up smiling because you are obviously a badass. Yes, lots of people have a problem with this sort of training… because what are you training?
Granted, in the beginning, learning any technique requires such cooperation and compliance because you need to understand what’s going on. But once you have the basic idea in place, your partner needs to resist, which could just be applying more tension and “counter force” so it’s harder to apply the technique, all the way up to active resistance and “fighting back”. But, it really all depends upon the context and goal of your study. If you are trying to learn how to defend yourself, do you think some mugger or rapist is just going to compliantly offer their hand for you to twist? Or do you think there’s going to be struggle, resistance, and fighting? So which way do you think you should train? If however you are just training to wear a flashy uniform and look good for the crowd and the camera, I guess just ensure your teeth are straight and white and keep smiling… or grimacing profusely when the technique is applied to you. There’s nothing wrong with that, if that’s what you want to do. Just be honest with yourself and the training you receive.
Really, that’s what it comes down to. Ollie’s comment was a (not so?) subtle jab at Kuk Sool, but likely a deserved one (note: Kuk Sool is FAR from the only art that is like this). Kuk Sool as a martial art is actually a very good one and could be most effective — if it was taught in the right context and manner. However, these days the context predominantly seen for Kuk Sool is compliance and “looking good”, giving office workers a chance to exercise and blow off a little steam after a long day behind a desk. Nothing wrong with that (I can’t deny my fitness/conditioning level was amazing during my time in Kuk Sool). But I left (in part) because I was not being taught in a practical way and had a hard time dealing with instructors that demanded they knew how to do things “realistically” and “properly” when unskilled me could have just grabbed them and sat on them without much effort. Where are your 3608 techniques to save you now?
What Ollie wrote made me laugh, but it’s good food for thought. Ultimately it’s about knowing what YOU want out of your study. If you are wanting exercise and spirituality, find an art to allow you to follow that path. If you want to know how to fight, find an art for that path. You have to be honest with yourself, your goals, and what you’re studying. If it’s not meeting your goals, you waste your precious time and energy to continue down a path that won’t ever help you achieve your goals.