Someone explain Softwork

I posted this on Sonnan's forum and the UG but didn't really get much response.  I watched the trailer and now I'm interested as to what this is.  I don't mean to be disrespectful but the trailer I saw was kind of bizarre.  Below is my original post. 

I think I'm missing something becuase I don't get it.  I've read his website and watched the trailer but it looks like he's doing bad Aikido stuff.  I then read some of the threads on the JKD forum and even got more confused when they were arguing about "beyond aliveness".  At first I thought it was supposed to be some type of light rolling excercise like in BJJ but the video trailer doesn't support that idea.  I have respect for Sambo and have heard he is a legit guy but I was thrown off by the trailer I watched.  Somebody help me out her and explain what this is. 

P.S.  Use small words that I can understand.  :) 

Better off eating the dish than trying to figure out the flavour from the menu's description,or SOMEONE ELSE'S description on the dish.

I love Vindaloo, but it is too spicy for many.

I understand slow sparring, but I don't get what is going on in the trailer with the multiple people attacking him.  A couple of people have said on threads that you just have to try it to see what it is.  I guess, but if I was putting out a product I would at least be able to explain to the interested consumers what it was.  Like if I was making a video on the drills of BJJ, I could explain that the shrimp drill will directly relate to your mount escape and then show the correlation.  I also could show how you and your partner could drill at 25% speed allowing both of you to move and escape with flow drills.  I just don't get what this video is trying to show.  It may be a valid training method that gets great results.  I just need someone to explain what it is. 

"I just need someone to explain what it is."

If you are talking about discerning some of the explanations I have read, your best bet is to hire a grad student to translate for you.

lol @ thescribe

Thanks nowaydo. I was just thrown off by the video trailer.  I guess they may have just been goofing around or something becuase it didn't look like your description. Good training and good health to you. 

i think the comparison between the chute boxe video and the softwork video is invalid

  1. the sparring in the chute boxe video is what you would do in full contact sparring, they were doing the same movements done in actual sparring, there was no preplanned movements just lighter touch.

  2. the sparring or movements in the softwork video are movements that in my opinion would not work or would in a real sparring situation, it seemed rather correographed and complaint.

  3. in my experience i have the same emotional involvement whether sparring or drilling, not sure really what is meant by emotional intensity.

vindaloo is great! i prefer lamb to the chicken!

Evrybody reacts emotionaly (weather they want to admit it or not)to combat situations,in training or in reality. The goal then is to aclimate ourselves to that emotional reaction, so it dose not make us flinch or pause in the face of a false attack or feint, or brace in the face of impact(bracing even slightly to an incoming impact can multiply the impact,Coach Sonnon uses the famous analogy of the drunk guy and the sober guy in a car accident). so therfore softwork is a tool to be able to reduce or remove the emotional reaction to combat situations.
In the begining you work slow and soft, as your emotional reaction decreases, you ramp up speed, and by default force, until you are working hard,(you never go very far beyond your emotional comfort zones, and the idea is that your comfort zone will increase until you are completly at ease in a full combat situation all the while maintaining flow with your partner).
Perhaps the reason it looked sloppy to you is the fact it was not choreographed in any way, and the fact it is not sambo or aikido. This by the way is by no means the diffinitive answer to what softwork is, depending on your training goal you can apply it to many things,

This is just my personal observation, I have only been working with a soft work seminar attendee, for a couple of months, my best recomendation is to go to the rmax forums and read the articles, ask lots of questions, and most importantly have an open mind.

Nowaydo hit it on the head. Softwork is a way to increase your ability to perform in a stressful situation.

I knew someone was going to comment on the multiple ground fight. It is just a drill to get you mobile while being attacked. What else can you do when 3 people are trying to stomp you? You move.

Pitchfork also had a good explanation.

It is like the boiling a frog analogy. If you through someone into a 90% sparring session with a new skill set, he will revert to his previous training. If you match each others speed and intent at about 60%, you are more likely to be able to access your new skill set without choking under the pressure.

The problem is that "softwork" becomes so soft as to not mimic reality at all.

The movements and skills learnt in softwork do not simply transfer over becuase you speed them up.

"The problem is that "softwork" becomes so soft as to not mimic reality at all. "

For that matter, the same could be said about Submission Grappling. When does "reality" resemble that? Two guys not hitting each other?

Is there any benefit from Sub Grappling that is transferable to MMA or a "Self-Defense" situation?

Ever hit a Heavy Bag? Focus Mitts? Ever work on a technique in it's Isolation stage?

Hardly reality.

"The problem is that "softwork" becomes so soft as to not mimic reality at all."

softwork is on a sliding scale with hardwork on the other side, you move along the scale to hardwork as you increase your comfort, and reduce negitive rection until you are going full out, without negitive reaction.
Imagine if you will, that you are sparring full out, your well conditioned (possibaly technically supirior) opponent has been able to begin to dominate you, you feel yourself not able to access your skills due to negitive emotional reactions or thoughts as they are landing shots/dominating positions, you are thinking to yourself "oh crap I have to win" or "I need to do something" or you are defensivily covering up trying not to get hit, and trying at the same time to access skills under pressure, this scenirio happens to evrybody in training at some point (just hopefully not on the street).
Now imagine you are directly adressing the negitive reaction, pausing, bracing, negitive thought,etc, training to eliminate it through incresing comfort level.
Soft work in my opinion adresses this in a more direct fasion, where as other systems do adress it, but mainly as a byprouduct of standard training, they hope you will just get better through repitition and live sparring,this dose not happen for evryone on equal levels, thats why you see rapid advancement with some and not so rapid with others, even though training time is equal.

also to respond to mr scott's assertation that

" The movements and skills learnt in softwork do not simply transfer over becuase you speed them up."

the idea is not to fixate on techinque, you are correct the skills do not transfer over, in rmax- softwork/hardwork there are no rote techniques that you have to attempt to access, evrything is spontanious you are versed in the principles,and physiology, and work from there. the goal is to find "flow" with your opponent, if you do, the "techniques" tend to present themselves without the need to set them up or try in any way to apply them.
-edited to insert meaningful comma-

oh yeah, before I forget, vindaloo is great, the hotter the better.

refer to russian martial, they are really into softwork, I haven't read the article in a long time, but from what I remember, I think Scott was referring to the fact the the martial artist get caught up to the flow that no longer is the move is realistic.

Also the lot of the elite soft work founder started out as hardwork, It is very difficult to go from softwork to hardwork, but it is easier to go from hardwork to softwork.

The founder to Akido, Tai Chi, etc.