ESP is an amalgam of Western disciplines: Western boxing, Western Wrestling, and Western Empiricism.
ESP promotes the idea that the martial arts of the east are not the only repositories of knowledge available on the planet. Western civilization has its own rich history of unarmed combat disciplines that in many ways are superior to the dogma of the Eastern traditions.
ESP does not deny that there is much of value in these other disciplines; it merely suggests that the rich tapestry of Western combat arts has much to offer. Perhaps less so in the aesthetic sense, but this is more than made up in its pragmatic expression.
What Western Arts comprise the ESP system? Pugilism forms the foundation of our striking system. Pugilism is the pre-Marquis de Queensbury form of boxing in which elbows, head-butts, gouging, hip throws, and other such NHB tools were still legal. We've taken these tools from the legends of boxing's beginnings, combined them with positional and entry concepts utilized in Western fencing, added a touch of the illegal punches found in Boombattle, and fire them with the advances made in the Sweet Science over the past 100 years. This combination of the early Pugilist's brutality, the Fencer's finesse, and the Boxer's conditioning and overwhelming scientific attach make for a solid striking base well suited to the ring, the octagon, or the streets.
"I really enjoy the ESP realistic approach to the different situations you would find yourself in, in the real world."
--Brian A. Levy
ESP also uses Western Wrestling disciplines to educate the "shoot" or takedown. We utilize the lessons of Greco-Roman wrestling with their incessant upper body attack and the head-to-toe shots of the freestyle wrestler to build a "shooter" whose takedown variations number into the hundreds and do not rely on the gi, Sambo jacket, or any other non-body handle.
ESP bases its ground game in the breakdowns, rides, pinning combinations, escapes, stand-ups, and par terre disciplines of freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling. By emphasizing movement and control before submission we allow submissions to occur naturally rather than merely chasing a submission. ESP also uses these solid foundational skills to better set-up the "ground and pound" game.
ESP gathers its extensive submission vocabulary from the Western Wrestlers of yesterday. We learn from all Mediterranean basin wrestling styles, Russian folk wrestling, Sambo, Pankratium, and of course English All-In wrestling and Catch-as-Catch Can.
How does the Doctrine of Western Empiricism fit into the ESP matrix? Advances in Western sciences were made because of an evolved method of testing ideas for their veracity rather than just accepting them at face value. ESP reasons that any and all techniques and strategies should be subjected to this same testing process. It is one thing to say whether something is effective or not; it is quite another to know whether something is effective or not. Western Combat Arts have always adhered to the power of Empiricism. Boxing and Wrestling are ring-tested and trained in realistic feedback scenarios. This sort of training and competition lends itself to separating the wheat from the chaff. The tap out, the KO, the Olympic gold around a competitor's neck allows us to see for ourselves what has or has not been effective. Allow me to quote a purveyor of Eastern arts in regard to the Western arts.:
"Someone with only a year of training in boxing and wrestling could easily defeat a martial artist of twenty years experience."
These four words make up the ESP Training Continuum. Notice that conditioning is first in the continuum and thusly forms the foundation on which all else is built. ESP believes that fights are won in the gym not in the ring. You may have all the technique in the world but if you don't have the gas in the tank it is all for naught. The US Navy SEAL's, arguably one of the best trained of the spec war outfits, have a saying.:
"The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in combat."
We take that to heart.
ESP does not believe in training for conditioning blindly; we use the empirical approach here as well. We want no wasted effort or needless time consumed. We are also aware of the hazards of cross training. Cross training can give the illusion of completeness where in fact it may very well be divided attention. You must always do a cost-to-benefit analysis before augmenting your training in any way. Really examine the proposed idea and find out if it indeed does serve your goal. Keep the concepts of specificity and integration at the forefront. Integration is embodied by the following dialogue from Confucius' Analects (an Eastern reference I know, but quite apt):
The maser said, "Ssu, do you take me for one who studies much and remembers it all?"
"Yes," was the reply. "Is it not so?"
"No. I link all upon a single thread."
Positioning comes second in the ESP continuum but seemingly last in most combat arts. Before the first punch is thrown, before the first shot is set-up, before the first submission is hooked there comes the strategic positioning of your opponent's body and your own. Having knowledge of the inherent engineering weaknesses and strengths of any and all positions whether they are horizontal or vertical, static or fluid is integral to truly accessing the power of the final two components of the ESP continuum.
Striking-We have already discussed to some degree the striking perspective ESP propounds (the Pugilist base, et. cetera) but it takes on a whole new ferocity when you have an appreciation of the training modality (functional drills) and positioning concepts. You can literally triple the power of your existing strikes just by adhering to the positioning concepts and significantly reduce skill acquisition time by following the drill paradigm.
Submission-Last in the continuum but certainly not least. ESP strives to place emphasis on strikes over submission (striking on the ground included) but that does not mean that we ignore the vocabulary of the stand-up and ground submission game. Our submission vocabulary is vast and easily inculcated by the student in logical call and response chains that present moves/counter/re-counters pursued to their feasible conclusion. We train this aspect of the game in this manner to better ingrain responses as logical flow rather than just a random series of "tap: choices. Use the boxer's stratagem of "combinations-combinations-combinations" on the mat as you would in your stand-up game. Always know where you are going by having explored the possibilities previously.
Spec warriors have a saying.:
"Never do anything for the first time in combat."
By adhering to this tenet and shooting the continuum through the prism of empiricism we can rest assured that our training hours are filled with positive momentum without a wasted second.
"I truly believe that the ESP approach to martial arts and the harsh reality of a real street predator are what set ESP apart from the diluted shopping-mall training of today."
--Erik G. Bryant, Instructor
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"The ESP system allows its practitioners immediate access to self-defense techniques which could save the life of virtually any man or woman. After searching and training for years in the more traditional forms of martial arts (Kung-fu, Karate, Judo, Jujitsu), I found in the ESP Weapons Defense Seminar a system stripped of the customs and traditions which had made other systems ineffective in a real-world environment. The ESP Weapons Defense Seminar is designed and engineered for the real-world environment."
--Ray Martin, Software Engineer