Thursday, February 22, 2018

Just a small movement

Let us consider something different.


A very long time ago I took the time to visit a school run by one I competed with and against and had interesting conversations with at karate tournaments in that day. Over time we became friendly, and then he invited me to visit him.


It was just an average class night for him.  I on the other hand saw things I had never seen before, and that would continue for a very long time when I visited him.


Class had begun by the time I drove there, it was a dark fall night and quite cold. They had finished some kata drills for the evening and were beginning a series of applied karate responded to attacks, Not from specific kata, rather useful ways of responding to an attack.  And I only saw this one time, but I had learned well to always take notes afterward, thankful I had learned that lesson.


All of them were interesting, but I am just going to limit myself to the first response.


I learned something new, thought on it a lot, and came to greater understanding of our arts because I was there that night.


Everything has to start somewhere, in this case the attacker just stepped forward with a straight punch aimed at his solar plexus.  Something all of us have seen a thousand times before.


He did not do much, just slid back a ½ inch, so the attackers punch just fell short missing his solar plexus. And as that happened he just punched them in the face.


It is as simple as it sounds. Actually profound in its simplicity.


Drill after drill followed, each of them worthy, but I remember as I wrote this up the next day, how different it was from the way I was using karate. And in time, much time, I worked out why and how it was different.


About that time I was also  receiving instruction from another instructor in a very different art. One of the things he shared was a small piece of his advanced students supplemental training. It was in a body of knowledge referred to as ghost techniques, or by a different naming methods of evasion.


A number of years later I used some of them against my students, telling one of them to step in and strike me. When he completed doing so he discovered I was standing 20 feet behind him.


Of course I was, it was magic. Rather misdirection, for attacked where he thought I was going to be standing. And ‘knowing’ I was standing there did not observe the way I shifted away from his attack,


I had gained an entire body of knowledge about ways this could happen.


But the one movement I recalled was not in that knowledge. It was another sort of technique, using the same underlying principle.  Which is most important, understanding the underlying principles and using them in different ways.

The attack was to where the attacker ‘thought’ I was going to be standing. He was working on automatic, just a slight shift back and I the target intended was not there. But fully able to respond.


Does this fit every sort of attack, no, nor is it intended too. But there are many, many other answers which can be used too. This requires serious perception of the abilities of the attacker, and when possible exploiting them.


I recall reading a quote by who I am not sure at this time ,it went something like ‘it was most important to size up the attacker and the attack, first’.


An attack depends on many factors:


1. Where is the world as attacks on a whole start differently in different locations.

2. Who is the intended target? Are they larger or smaller, are they male of female, or even a child.

3. Why is the attack taking place?

Some of the variables behind the attack.


It the attack a strike, a push, a grab to the wrist, a grab to the body? More possible variables.



Training at the beginning is often done against a standard strike, but when you consider what type of attack there could be, it can be a faster attack for training, and fits all of the possibilities.


Of course this does not involve many other sorts of attacks, other choics may be more appropriate.


So simple a solution, just slipping back a bit. Quickly placing yourself just out of attack range.


Most systems included basics done when retreating rearward. Currently there are those who discount this as rational defense. One reason an attacker barreling forward can move faster forward, than you can move backward.

The key is that they are moving forward as a response to your moving backward.

For this slight rearward shift, you are not in motion at all, in effect you are just standing your ground. They can not key a slight shift as reward motion triggering a different initial response, IMO. Certainly there are innumerable other angles (Interior line of defense, or Exterior line of defense ) available.

But your choice not to employ them can be as rational an answer as taking them is.


Then the follow up response to that shift must be considered:


1, It might be a strike with the blade of the knife hand rising in ascension into their forehead.

2. It might be a slashing downward back hand across their eye orbit.

3. It might be a strike to the face.

4. It might be a strike into the joint of the striking arm.

5. It might be a fingertip strike into their neck.

6. It might be a compression palm strike into their solar plexus.

7, It might be a spear hand strike into their solar plexus.

8. It might be a strike into their solar plexus.

9. It might be a multiple or layered strike

And then there are a variety of possible following strikes, just in case they are needed.


What seemed pretty simple becomes a whole cloud of possibilities.


Just one small movement opening into endless possibilities.


1 comment:

Victor Smith said...

It was Motobu Choki who said “One must become able to discern the strength of another in a glance.”

A few years later I was watching several of the instructors in the Kung Fu system work out. In one of their forms there was a movement which was a perfect application for this movement. The attackers strike was when the just broke their arm, or rather dislocated the attacker’s elbow with the form movement, It also represented the movement I have been describing here.

I have seen other karate instructors do something similar.