This week we approach modern times when the American Green Beret meets the Russian Spetsnaz.
I’m excited about this matchup because it is a return to real warriors. Last week’s Mafia vs Yakuza dipped into thug territory and it was hard to root for either. Now we have professionals on our hands.
A Little Bit About Em
The Green Beret and Spetsnaz (sometimes seen as spetznaz or spetnaz) were the finest fighting forces during the Cold War. Still around today, these elite squads are feared and respected for their mastery of modern combat.
Green Berets received their nickname due to their iconic headgear, but are actually United States Army Special Forces. Their main objectives tend to be “unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, special reconnaissance, direct action, and counter-terrorism”. – wikipedia.
In pop culture, John Rambo of the Rambo trilogy epitomized the rugged, effective, and lethal methods of Green Beret survival during the Vietnam war.
The Spetsnaz, which essentially stands for Russian Special Purposes Regiment, was the soviet equivalent of the Green Beret. Surfacing around the same time (cold war era), Spetsnaz operates under the guidance of the GDU – the main russian military intelligence agency.
The Spetsnaz have been involved in many middle eastern conflicts and “have trained the Republican Guard of Syria, Iraq and Iran. They have been involved in training other special forces units across the world”. – wikipedia.
Talkin ‘Bout Weaponry
The fighters of these two groups not only have skill and know-how, but also lethal firepower. The most important and looked-forward-to matchup is going to be the AK-47 vs the M4.
As you can see, the Green Beret utilized the M4 while the Spetsnaz used the even more famous AK47. These guns have caused a lot of debate amongst firearm afficionados and the results are sure to cause a lot of controversy one way or the other.
My suspicion is that the AK47 will win on sheer reliability and well-roundedness on the battlefield.
As for other weapons, I can’t be sure what they will use. I predict that we’ll see something explosive (as in a comparison of U.S. vs Russian grenades). There will also be a short range knife battle. I’m hoping the Green Berets get a Rambo style Bowie knife just because I think they are cool.
Final Thoughts and Verdicts
Like with Mafia vs Yakuza, I could definitely use your input! Any gun experts that happen by please feel free to jot your thoughts in the comments section for the rest of us to learn from.
But, with my limited knowledge, I think I’m ready to make my guess. I have to go with the Green Berets. Even though I’ve heard that the Spetsnaz training is harsher and the results more dramatic, I have to believe that American weaponry, intelligence, and know-how will win the day. The success of the Green Berets on the battlefield and behind enemy lines speaks for itself.
What do you think?
Read More / Comment
In general, bunkai is seen as a definition. By that I mean, kata represents a word which can then be defined by bunkai. For example:
Hypotenuse: the longest side of a right triangle, the side opposite the right angle
Block Left: A punch is coming in with the opponent’s right hand and I block with my left arm
See the similarity? Using this framework, people often develop a step-by-step dictionary of what they think their kata means. Through rote memorization, they can perform their bunkai on command when necessary. Unfortunately, when utilized as the sole method of bunkai learning, this method tends to get stuck and can be restrictive to learning.
Memorization is good until……..sorry…..I lost my train of thought.
The problem with memorization is that it is prone to failure. Time, distractions, creativity…they all get in the way of memorized techniques. Furthermore, locking in explanations for techniques prohibits the mind from exploring new options.
The concept of shuhari suggests that we must follow, transcend, and break away. Of course, this isn’t a step-wise process and is in fact circular, as we constantly learn new things, understand them, and then internalize them.
By thinking of bunkai as sheer memorization, we are limiting ourselves to shu (follow).
The First Phase of Learning Bunkai
The first phase of bunkai is almost always shu. Can it truly be any other way? We all have to learn the basics of our systems. Through the practice of kihon, drills, kata, and self defense skits we learn how to introduce our bodies to the art of fighting.
Unfortunately, getting stuck in the first phase is all too common. It is warm and comfortable in the first phase. “He strikes like *so* and I block like *so*. See? Nothing to it.”
It is also tempting as a teacher to simply hand bunkai to students, saying “here! do this!” But once again this is the path of least resistance; one that leads to little investigation of the core concepts traditional styles are trying to teach.
The Hard, Messy, Frustrating Way to Learn Bunkai
To turn bunkai into ti chi ki (or “what the hand is doing”) you have to engage in building and rebuilding. By that I mean slowly (very slowly) analyzing what your techniques are doing and what opponents could be doing. Instead of a single solution to a single problem, concepts like distance, timing, and scenario are factored into the equation. You also must look at where exactly you could be striking, grabbing, twisting, or throwing. As you can imagine, there are a lot of possibilities.
Going slowly and methodically like this leads to memory overload. In fact, it is not unusual for a practitioner to forget what they did at the beginning of a kata by the time they get to the end. The reason for this is the extreme concentration the person is putting on every single technique. At first it seems like you might be running into the same memorization problem as before, but in fact its due to an excess of learning as opposed to simply forgetting what you generally do.
With this messy version of bunkai, progress always seems slow. What you discover one week can be gone the next. To make matters worse, there might be different bunkai partners who offer various height, weight, and intensity challenges.
If learning bunkai and ti chi ki like this is so unpleasant, then why do it? The answer is long-term payoff. By examining techniques individually and presenting yourself with constantly shifting situations, you are forced to analyze all aspects of the technique. For example, sometimes a block can be a block, but other times it can be a strike. Other times it can be a joint lock. When, where, and how is for you to discover through trial and error.
Eventually, through this practice, techniques and situations will become ‘familiar’. Pieces of kata will start to remind you of other pieces in other kata and connections between the techniques can be made. Instead of “if person A does this person B does this”, you can begin to see “here is how my body will naturally react with an appropriate technique.”
Taking time to fail and try new things is the best way to really learn a kata. It is also one of the most effective ways to shift kata from a mechanized workout to a live, ever-changing platform to explore technique.
Remember – a technique is more than just how it looks at the end. There is space, time, and events occuring between stances and punches. Find out what’s going on!
Read More / Comment
We’ve arrived at the moment of truth and I want to give a big thanks to everyone for participating. It was a great pleasure for me to start up giveaways on this site and I hope to do plenty more in the future (with new and interesting ways to win).
I’d also like to extend a thank you to Karate Depot for being a great sponsor and hooking up our winners with some cool prizes.
The winners were selected at random using my randomization program (developed just for this purpose). For the comment prize, every comment submitted by you got you one entry into the pool. For the Facebook prize, being a fan of the Facebook page got you a single entry.
No, without further adue, The winner of the Comment Prize and new owner of a pair of Discipline Martial Arts Shoes ($50 retail):
Congratulations Mike Oliveri! You’ve been a killer commenter so you definitely deserve the win here. Thanks to all the other commenters too, I’ll get you in a future giveaway!
The winner of Facebook Contest and the new owner of the KD Elite Double Sided Focus Target ($30 retail):
Congrats to Christopher Lee! Who knew Facebook could be so lucrative, haha.
I’ll be in touch with the winners shortly to collect the necessary information. Should either of them decide to decline the prize, I’ll alert a newly drawn winner.
Thanks again to everyone for playing and being involved, and I’ll see you around tomorrow for a brand new post!
Read More / Comment