I have of late become more interested in how to keep training as you get older, as many of us lose flexibility, get stiff joints/injuries and lose the natural athleticism of youth. As such, I’ve become more interested in what I call “natural movement“. By this I mean, (as far as is possible) moving in a way that is natural for the body, rather than forcing a movement. For example, many people overly tense up at the end of the end of a technique with too much forced exhalation. Learning to relax more and breath more naturally is healthier at all ages, but more so as get get older.
Being a subscriber to Russell Stutely’s email Newsletter, it seems he is also having thoughts about adapting training as you get older (and he’s younger than me).
Anyway, I’ve long been an admirer of Russell Stutely (who has done an interview for this website before, so I thought I would share his thoughts. If you want to join up to his newsletter or find out more about Russell then CLICK HERE to visit his website.
Anyway, here in Russell’s own words:-
What are we all training for?You know I have been giving this a lot of thought over the last few days.After many long years of training, some great times, some awful times, some amazing times… I look back at the training partners / friends / colleagues etc. So many have stopped training for various reasons; Family, fed up, drifted away, injuries etc.
We have trained pretty hard… In my biased view anyway! We were always the first to step and try something out, spar or fight at whatever level people want… and for what?What did we really gain from it? I have a list of niggling little injuries (some a bit more than that) which are going to plague me for life.
I have friends in the same boat give or take.Yesterday I was at the gym, at my hilltop lair… and there was a younger couple doing Yoga together. They looked in great shape, were physically gifted (judging by the positions) and as I found out were completely injury free after 20 years!
I hobbled away cursing them under my breath 🙂 They were also really nice to chat to… which made me hate them even more! 🙂
As a Coach it is my job to teach in the best possible way. To give the best possible advice on an individual level. To guide, help, assist and to pass on as much knowledge and information in the most efficient manner possible.I am asked on many occasions about hard training, sparring, fighting etc. My answer recently has been do it if you want to. A few years ago my answer was ALWAYS that you MUST do it.
My answer today and for the forseeable future, is why do it? Unless you have aspirations to be a proper fighter, then why bother? You will probably get injured. The injury / injuries could well have an impact on your daily life – for the rest of your life.
Do you really want to take those chances to satisfy your own ego?I need to know what I am doing works? Is a standard cry… or it needs to be pressure tested.
Well… yes and no. We all know that a good punch in the mouth works right? So do we really need to pressure test that? We all know that a soccer kick to the head works right? Do we really need to pressure test that?
What we really need to pressure test is HOW TO GET INTO POSITION to punch them in the mouth etc etc.
This can be trained at speed and power with SAFETY in mind. This is called training HARD AND SMART.
Something which I did mention in my 200+ A4 Page Book – Karate – The Hidden Secrets many years ago. Available all over the web and at my store:-)
I don’t know about you but I really wish I was as injury free as the Yoga couple I met!
NO.. I am not bothered about being in as good as shape as them either! Or about being as nice….They need to rotten up like the rest of us! 🙂
What is IMPORTANT is knowing what I / You want from your training. That is the KEY. Everyone is different and everyone is on their OWN JOURNEY. I will try to NEVER judge anyone else’s journey ever again.
If you / they or I am ENJOYING my training, then carry on doing it. I still think it is CRITICAL to UNDERSTAND as much as possible about your Art. It is ESSENTIAL that you make it as efficient and effective as possible.
This is achieved through UNDERSTANDING…. and NOT through beasting yourself and others in the blind hope that ONE MORE PUSH UP will make me understand better! Use some of the annoying Yoga couples wisdom… take your Art to the next level by UNDERSTANDING IT BETTER.
Ironically, this is what I have been doing for years with the various studies made… BUT at the same time doing that ONE MORE REP as anyone who has actually trained with me will testify!
Now it is time to drop the ONE MORE REP mentality! I have officially stopped hard / open sparring. At 46 that is acceptable I think!
I am actually taking my own advice and training a bit smarter! I hope that this little note has given you food for thought? I will write more soon.
Russell Stutely is recognised as Europe’s number one expert in pressure points and famous throughout the world for his innovative teachings, which have moved the boundaries of the martial arts and added new dimensions for all of us. His system can be applied to any martial art, so you don’t need to change style to incorporate his teachings. He has studied very deeply how to use pressure point fighting in high pressure scenarios, so that they will work when we really need them.
Russell has kindly agreed to do an interview with me which you’ll find below. But before you go on to the interview, I would like to take the opportunity to thank Russell Stutely for taking the time to answer my questions and share some if his insights with us.
But first, here’s a little clip of Russell in action:
CW: Russell, can you tell us a bit about your early background in martial arts, what inspired you to start and what style(s) did you practice in your early days?
RS: Like many people, I started Karate because my older Brother went to Class.. he stopped and I carried on. I started in Shukokai… stopped for a while and then started again in Shotokan
CW: When you decided that you wanted to develop beyond the usual traditional martial arts (as taught in the West), who did you seek you seek out to teach and take you to the next level?
RS: It was after watching “way of the warrior” that I knew there was more out there. I tried to study with all the experts and masters… but it was only when I met Rick Moneymaker and Tom Muncy that it all started to make sense
CW: You obviously have an in-depth knowledge of all the pressure point (or some might say acupuncture points). Do you also have a background in Traditional Chinese Medicine (or something similar)? If so, to what extent has this helped you in your martial arts studies?
RS: No background.. just learnt it as I went along
CW: I’m a great believer that whilst you should learn as much as you can from others, experienced martial artists should also be able to work out a lot of applications for themselves rather than waiting for others to teach them every single aspect of their art. To what extent have you taken the knowledge that you have and worked out the rest for yourself?
RS: I have no idea to what extent that has been done… Only when you begin to understand what you are doing, do you “sometimes” realise how much you don’t know!
As regards working out stuff.. we do that every day…as for applications.. I have no idea how many I know as the only limit is your imagination and the depth of knowledge that you have.
I sometimes can give a whole seminar on one move from one Kata and show a different application every 5-10 mins for hours on end. It depends on how deep you want to go
CW: Although you are primarily known as a pressure point expert, you include a number of other aspects which you refer to as “players in the game”. Can you please explain what these are?
RS: Technique enhancers.. the underlying principles upon which a technique is based.
CW: There are other big names in the pressure point business (like Rick Clark, George Dillman and others). Can you explain how your approach is different from the way the other experts teach?
RS: I am more interested in making the Points work when the proverbial hits the fan. That means that PP’s are the last 5% of any given technique… some people find that a hard concept to grasp for some reason.
CW: I’ve always believed that the ideal time to use pressure point strikes is during the pre fight build up, when you know that things are about to take off and you decided that your best option is a pre-emptive strike. If the guy is “peacocking” rather than taking up a fighting stance he leaves himself more open and vulnerable. Would you agree with this?
RS: Only hit if you have to.. but yes of course.. a pre-emptive strike has to be the preferred option if there is no other way out.
CW: Many people argue that pressure point fighting is not really viable in an all out fight as a high degree of accuracy is required to hit a small target when it is moving and you are under great pressure too. How would you answer this?
RS: They are doing it wrong are mis-informed about how and why Points work or have no real experience of Points other than with the wrong teacher.
Accuracy is VERY IMPORTANT and it is one area that many so called Self Defense “experts” purport to not need in a fight or is impossible to use… absolute rubbish. THEY may not use it.. aim small miss small. Accuracy is what you build up in training. Hit what you are aiming at and the rest kinda falls into place.
CW: Have you had much feedback from people who have actually had to use what you’ve taught them in a real live situation?
RS: Yes.. every day nearly from Cops / Security etc all over the World
CW: I’ve read a comment by you ages ago that some people, having experienced the “waveform” and felt how much more power they can generate; then go back to their own clubs and just go back to the way they were doing it before. How easy is it to absorb your teachings (players) into a traditional martial art?
(The reason I ask is that if somebody returning from one of your courses tries to do it in their own club and it is obviously different from what their regular instructor is teaching, they may be told not to do it that way).
RS: The reasons they went back to what they were doing previously are
Instructor said do it my way or leave
They were embarrassed to tell their students that they need to change
They were embarrassed at the fact they had been training 20 years and hit at X Power.. then in 60 Mins we got them to 2X Power… bit difficult for some people to take!
CW: You must have seen very many people progress and take great leaps forward due to your teachings. Is there anybody who you are especially proud of for the progress that they have made?
RS: All of our OCFM Coaches.. and lots of people who have trained with us over the years. Especially the Cops in MA and the DT Trainers there.. outstanding people with outstanding ability
CW: Putting fighting applications aside for a moment, how do you feel that your training/teaching has helped you to develop as a person (spiritually, emotionally, mentally, intellectually)?
RS: You have to develop in those areas when you study and teach
CW: Do you feel that anybody (as long as they train hard) can develop their personal characteristics (in the way that you have) as well?
RS: I don’t know if anyone wants to develop my personal characteristics 🙂 But anyone can develop to whatever their potential if they work hard enough. That is what we try to help them to do.
CW: Many people teach martial arts as their main source of income (or even just to pay a few bills). As you have been very successful, do you have any advice to give to help people build up their martial arts business?
RS: Just follow sound business practice. Don’t take that stupid attitude of “I teach for nothing” and the holier than thou attitude of the “knockers” out there. The MOMENT you accept money you are in business. You MUST treat your students like CUSTOMERS. Give them the BEST POSSIBLE service at a good price.
That is what we do with our OCFM Schools.. we do all the marketing etc for our owners.. they just teach.. and give the best class ever each and every class.
There is so much to running a School.. but we have the answers if people want them
CW: Finally, for anybody new to your teachings/philosophy and who may not be able to make a seminar, you have a lot of DVD’s/Downloads for them to chose from. However, it could be a bit confusing (especially with the different players). Which of your products would you recommend to somebody looking at your products for the very first time and getting confused as to where to start?
RS: Start at the recommended order listing at my store.. follow it in sequence for the quickest and best results. www.russellstutely.com/ashop
CW: Russell, on behalf of myself and my readers, thank very much for giving us the benefit of your insights.
Following on from my last article on pressure point fighting, I would like to quote from Russell Stutely who is widely regarded as Europe’s number one pressure point expert. He is also highly regarded by Geoff Thompson and Peter Consterdine of the British Combat Association, who are very much into reality martial arts.
The reason that I wanted to quote from Russell Stutely is that although he highly advocates pressure points and obviously makes a lot of money teaching them and selling DVDs etc; he still very much advocates that you must develop good basic technique first. If he was to promote pressure points in a such a way as to suggest that it is a magic bullet so that you don’t have to bother learning anything else and beginners could use them to defeat experienced black belts, I would be very suspicious. But he doesn’t. He is very methodical in his methods. As with my previous posting, I am wary of how effective pressure points can be under pressure, but I do think that if you do want to learn them you must do it in a structured and methodical manner, which is why I am open to Russell Stutely’s approach.
So here it is in Russell’s own words:-
“So many times people ask me about the best way to learn how to use Pressure Points… So, I am going to start sending out my “Tips of the week” on Pressure Points in particular and also to answer some of the most popular questions asked.
OK.. How to learn Pressure Points correctly?
This is a biggie… so will be answered in several parts over the coming weeks.
The first thing is to gain an understanding of how the body works from a Martial Arts perspective. This does not mean that you need to know the names of points or even the names of major muscle groups etc.. it would of course help if you started to learn them as you go along.
First of all… whatever art you practice… take your best / favourite technique and really get to grips with it.. really understand it.. break it down into its constituent parts.
This means that you must analyse it to death… UNDERSTAND what every part of your body is doing to ensure the correct application of that technique.
For a simple “jab” as an example.. you MUST know what your weight distribution is, how your feet are positioned, where you “push off” into the floor, how your body aligns, any “extra” movement that should not be there… where the correct power line of delivery is.. how you are balanced, how you keep your defenses,… the relationship between your shoulders, hips and ankles … and MUCH more.
Then when you can break this down and understand it.. you know how to “re-build” the technique to make it more effective.
Then and only then do you start to add in the Points… unless you have great technique to start with of course!
This sounds like a MAMMOTH journey if you are supposed to do this with EVERY technique??
Well.. it is not as long as it sounds… do this exercise with 4/5 techniques and you will begin to REALLY understand how to break down a technique… how to make it better.
Then you will be able to do this with any technique… THEN we can begin to add the points.
I ALWAYS teach people Balance Points first.. understand how the body is balanced from both your and your opponents perspective and you will automatically begin to break down technique.
Just this exercise alone will dramatically improve your Martial Arts and Self Defense skills.