The Four “C’s” of Team Training
When training with another individual(s); “partner, opponent, attacker, etc.” it is important that each participant recognizes they are part of a team. That as a team member they understand the attitude of the role they are playing during a given exercise.
At Attitude First Martial Arts Academy we work to define the role using the Four “C’s”:
Each role allows for the participant to fully engage all aspects of an encounter and the learning process.
So often when individuals work together each wants to achieve (or “win”) their intention. Meaning if the attacker is supposed to kick the defender, he sets out with the intent to kick the defender. This is completely understandable with in the concept of “reality training.”
Unfortunately, full intent with full power and speed may overwhelm a participant. Due to being overwhelmed and if their defensive action is unsuccessful, the participant could easily become discouraged and not ever gain success in achieving and understanding the skills necessary.
Consider how long it may take to learn to catch a ball especially if you never attempted to catch a ball and/or had little experience catching anything. Now consider the time needed and the difficulties you would have in learning to catch if the person who was helping you only through 95 mph fast balls at your head.
Instead you would start with your partner at a short distance probably close enough that it would be just as easy for them to hand you the ball. Also, from this distance they would probably use a slow, underhand toss to get the ball to you. After a period of developing obvious skills and achieving repeatable successes, you would increase the distance and speed at which the ball was thrown.
Over time you might be able take on someone throwing 95 mph fast balls at your head with little-to-no difficulties. Developing long lasting, effective self-defense skills requires similar considerations.
Here is the outline of each role:
Cooperative- During this activity level the team member is working with the primary participant and allowing for all actions to work and/or be successful. They are moving/attacking at a speed and intensity far below what one would consider “reality based.” Worded differently, on a scale of 0-10; if 0 was doing absolutely nothing and 10 was giving full effort, power, speed and strength- the team member would be moving and attacking at about a 2 or 3. The scale could move up depending on the skill(s) of the primary but at all times the team member would be ensuring the success of the primary so they could develop an understanding of the actions they are choosing.
Collaborative- During this activity level the team member is working with the primary participant by offering suggestions and/or displaying alternative results to actions. There is much more interaction and the team member is a much more active participant in the development of results. It is at this point that the primary can learn to understand “failures” or why certain actions may not work the way intended. Now the team member might introduce factors such as speed, size, power, skill level, etc. that the primary will have to account for. Again, the goal is for the primary to achieve success but to also start recognizing more “Logical” choices.
Competitive– During this activity level the team member is challenging the primary participant’s knowledge and skill levels. The team member is attempting to push the primary to new levels of achievement by trying to successfully fulfill his/her intent over the primary’s intent and action. A “game” should develop between the two (or more) team members- as part of the “game” keeping score is encouraged. It should be noted that still at this level each participant is aware of the intended actions and there is an agreed level of intensity established.
Combative– During this activity level the team member is out to “defeat” the primary participant. The team member is attempting to ensure that nothing the primary attempts- will work. The concept of this activity is not to “win” but to “defeat.” The team member avoids at all cost informing or “telegraphing” his/her intentions. There isn’t necessarily intent to “injure” the primary but the team member is out to intimidate the primary with whatever means available: attitude, action, etc. This is a very “emotional” level and all participants are aware of the level of risk involved concerning injury. Unlike the other previous levels where controlled action is a focal point, at this level participants rely on skills, abilities, constitution to emerge from the activity with little to no damage. Many would recognize this level as “reality based training.”
Each level has an important contribution to the overall development of the participant(s). Obviously, the time involved with the Combative level would be minimal compared to the others but it is a level that should be experienced for the value that it offers.
As the participants and/or facilitator, it is important to discipline the team to focus on the roles as established for each level of activity (unless the plan is to move from one level to the other as the team chooses). A common issue is to escalate the speed and power as participants begin to rely on natural attributes of development of skill or ego gets in the way and they escalate from; Cooperative to Competitive or something like Competitive to Combative. Unfortunately as these escalations occurs the participating individuals move from an attention state to an intention state. They begin to be reactive in their actions instead of being able to choose actions they are working to develop. In the aspect of survival this can be acceptable because “use what works” is a viable argument. However, in the concept of training and learning if the participants aren’t actively working to improve and develop new skills then they aren’t truly training.
If you are interested in experiencing these different activities and seeing how the roles improve your overall development of Martial Arts skills, come join us on the mat at Attitude First Martial Arts Academy.