The primary components of physical development are: Learning, Practicing, and Testing. All three components fall along a scale. When that scale is physical and relates to types of relationship skills it will be a scale of volunteerism.
When talking about non-compliance training, the goal is to reduce the volunteerism over a scale of resistance that includes at least two variables of time and ability.
You are primarily learning to scale complexity. Not complexity of technique—although that is also a potential—instead you are predominately scaling the complexity of relationship variables that include, strength/power, speed, intensity, physiological and emotional responses. You are scaling the complexity by changing the intensity of the dynamic from learning and practicing to testing—usually referred to as “pressure testing.”
Personally I dislike the industry notion of pressure “testing.” The idea of testing has become this pass-fail mindset by which absolute value is determined. I’m not disputing the idea that some methods survive testing more often and regularly than others. No question. Particularly based on complexity rather than the notion of motor skills. But the reality is that all methods fail at some point. Only the simplest of methods or tactics or techniques are broadly applicable. Basically anything that doesn’t rely on a particular chain of events to be usable—that said, as skill increases, the likelihood of more complex methods succeeding also increases.
A boxer, for example, may practice a three strike combination—eventually coming to understand that not all of those three strikes are likely to land but that they are a framework that draws openings in different ways on different opponents. Does testing it with one person reveal that? No. Does testing that fails reveal that? Maybe. If you keep testing—even when fighting and failing through continued use can that value be understood.
The bigger issue is not one of value but of the danger of failing—even one time.
And before I get too far along let’s look at this idea of reality based training. Be clear in this: Reality Based is obviously not reality. It’s doing what we can to approach aspects of reality in our training.
Non-compliance or dynamic pressure testing is simply a spectrum of coaching through degrading levels of volunteerism so that the individual is eventually able to deal with any level from volunteering to active resistance.
This all comes down to process and remembering that the individual is the goal. Not the method.To help the individual you may need to tweak and modify a method or even get rid of it altogether.
There’s no question that this most often comes up in the reality based discussions or combatives and self-protection methods. And that’s great. It’s a good way to think of any technique but you also have to have an ultimate purpose in mind. Is it only combat efficacy or is it bigger? Is it joy, fun, friendship, physical activity, etc.
If you decide combat efficacy is your primary concern then you have to evaluate anything on these three points: Does it mostly work? What’s the impact of failure? What’s the value of success?
Ways To Create Non-Compliance
This notion of progressive or active resistance is an area that I think is often mis-explored in this realm. There are a group of ways you can create active resistance and the more they can be isolated the more readily they can be used to successfully help “coach” someone.
With that in mind, let’s look at a list of ways that you can actively create a non-compliant training dynamic. Some of these are so obvious but if you’re honest, somewhere in your training history you’ve experienced volunteerism that relies on the exact opposite of the items I’ve listed.
- Accurate Targeting
- Intentional hitting
- Changes in Movement
- Range of Motion
- Changes in Timing
- Changes in Speed
- Changes in expected resistance
- Changes in the relationship dynamic
- Spatial Control
- Multiple opponents
There is not one singular way to do it, but for my training programs I’m a lover of having at least a goal for the person being coached and ensuring that whatever types of active resistance are being used they allow the person to actually build the targeted skill.
That process can and should ultimately lead to freedom in active resistance but that takes place over time, not in one training day.
- Maybe it’s delivering an uppercut when they receive a certain stimulus?
- Maybe it’s stopping something from happening out of a freestyle training situation?
- Maybe it’s intentionally limiting the active resistance coaching to a particular type of resistance to help coach a person through a timing struggle?
There are a lot of different ways to coach someone within a non-compliant training dynamic that go way beyond just a simple blitzkrieg attack or that go beyond just being bigger and stronger and faster.
Yes, overcoming those things is also important if your intent is protection or combative efficacy. But a good training partner should be working along with the person training to actually help them through the struggle—rather than it being about the ego of the training partner to show how something doesn’t work.