Putting the FUN into functional spontaneity.

A focus of Sobukan Martial Arts is for students to achieve functional spontaneity in self-defence via fun, safe and realistic training methods. Functional spontaneity is a term borrowed from Hanshi Patrick McCarthy of the IRKRS. Functional spontaneity means to be able to adapt quickly and effectively within the context of violent conflict. I believe one reason why Sobukan has proved popular with experienced martial artists is because they can see the functionality of our training methods when compared with some of their previous martial art training.

In order to achieve functional spontaneity, we use the 3R approach:

Repetitious Replication of Reality.

Repetitious replication of reality means to regularly practice defending against common attack scenarios. However, to replicate reality too closely too soon is to risk injury. Injuries are a direct barrier to the Sobukan motto of ‘Healthier, Happier, Safer’, and therefore great care is taken to minimise the likelihood of injury, while providing functional and effective training.


How do we do this? Glad you asked! To summarise, we train for the following:

Early identification of an attack;

Automatic initial response aided by physical and mental training of contingency plans;

Muscle memory;

Use of force matrix aided by scenario-based training;

Strength and balance, by eliminating our weakness; and

Efficient and effective principle-based responses.


Some of the main training methods for doing so are:

Tegumi (and other related Koryu Uchinadi Kenpo Jutsu drills)



Kumite (safe MMA sparring)

Reflex training


Scenario training

Visualisation training

Again borrowing from Hanshi McCarthy, each class starts by practicing defences against habitual acts of physical violence (HAPVs). We train for early identification of attacks, and muscle memory in defensive applications. Simple, set, continuous defensive exercises such as tegumi and uchikomi are a core method for achieving this. The live nature and intensity of tegumi, randori, newaza (ground grappling) and kumite keeps students on their toes and teach students the principles of balance, controlling the opponent’s elbow and coordination of the entire body. These drills are flexible enough to adapt to individual needs or desired outcomes.

So, what do I mean by desired outcomes? Isn’t the objective in self-defence always to win?

This question will be answered in another blog in the near future…

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