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Hi Les, good question. I'm not sure of the numbers across the pond but here in the states it goes like this. The army recruits on average 80,000 NEW recruits each year. The marines recruit on average 36,000 NEW recruits each year. EVERY SINGLE RECRUIT will complete a level 1 basic combatives course. In the army, this is primarily basic BJJ. In the marines, it's a combination of both stand-up and ground skills. Then they field-test it under very stressful conditions with LOTS of contact. Of those 115,000+ recruits, approximately 60-70% will get out after their first enlistment. So we now have about 80,000 combative trained former soldiers and marines jumping back into the civilian world EVERY YEAR. Not all of them will be nice people. That's a hell of a lot of people running around that are very comfortable with fighting on the ground.
Does kenpo answer all of my martial art needs? It depends. For self-defense, nothing can touch it. For fighting though, I want the conditioning, game play, strategy, and "randomness" that fighting systems such as Muay Thai, BJJ, and Boxing have to offer. I haven’t had a "fight" since 1982, but I have used my kenpo over a dozen times since and I have yet to wind up on the ground. When I teach kenpo, I incorporate all of my training and experiences into it. Personally, I believe that if you have never experienced fighting where your opponent is actually trying to hurt you, then you can't teach it. You have to feel the rush, fear, and adrenal dump of a fight in order to be able to express it to your students. In my mind, to cross-train or not depends on your goals. If learning kenpo as a stand-alone martial art meets your needs, why do you need to go anywhere else? If you want to be the total package, then learn and understand systems that you may end up facing on the street someday. It can't hurt and it will add to your overall martial art experience. By the way, since starting BJJ, I'm almost 48 years old and have a nice six-pack I'm very proud of (no paparazzi please). Just my take, I could be wrong.
Thanks for the info. Josh. I was really hoping to see a stand alone curriculum a la the Club and Knife. Just the fact that we are exploring "street" grappling vice sport grappling is a huge plus for us. I have been teaching grappling in all my classes since 1994 and have been studying BJJ since 2002. The Gracie method which I first started in under a Pedro Sauer black belt emphasizes self defence as well as the sport aspect. Unfortunately, I felt very uncomfortable with their self defence although I had to teach it in my BJJ program. A year ago, I switched over to a sport only system (De La Riva) and it fufills all my needs. Training in BJJ is my "going to the gym" workout. I'm in the best shape of my life because of it but my base is kenpo and I know my kenpo works. Looking forward to seeing where Mr. Paul takes us in the ground game.
So, what we are really looking at here is “would studying the ground fighting benefit you and your school?”
It is extremely important for us, the members to provide feedback to our instructors about what is happening in combat. This is how we grow as martial artists and as an association. Mr. Mills and all of his top students (and friends in the arts) have in-depth conversations about street, ring and sparing encounters… what worked and what did not.
I also fully agree with Mr. Jacob statement about Mr. Mills not teaching material until the student is ready. A great teacher does this for the student. Until we listen, I mean really listen to what Mr. Mills is teaching, many will never see the next level. Time is our greatest asset. It is not something that should be taken for granted.
Thanks for the heads-up on what's been going on in the pain labs. As both an avid kenpoist and an MMA enthusiast (might be testing my luck in the cage sometime in the next year), I'd been wondering about the AKKI's plans for the areas of ground-fighting, and also working concepts that we all understand for the street, into the ring or cage.
Looking forward to the future under Mr. Mills' direction,
2nd Black, AKKI (now in Baton Rouge, LA!)