Thursday, May 20, 2010

Duality of Truth

Thinking about dichotomies, things that are true and untrue.
For my son's school project we have shot a little video- core defense, one of the big questions from the SF seminar, and power generation.

In the segment on Power Generation I make the statement that the essence of combatives is to transmit kinetic energy into the other persons body.

It's undeniably true. The whole point of hitting is to transfer enough energy to damage. At the same time, I know perfectly well that almost all fights are lost mentally, not physically. That people give up, they are rarely 'beaten'.

There is a point that comes up in most of the seminars very early-- I give instruction for the students to respond with one motion. It takes awhile for some to get it, but most see the value very quickly, the idea becomes for each move to be efficient on multiple levels rather than have three moves to defend, attack and position. As I said, most get it. The math is obvious.

But a few don't. They insist that they have been trained 'simultaneous block and strike' so effectively that they will always do it to each incoming attack. It's a bullshit dueling artifact.

To demo, I bring someone up from the audience. Preferably someone with some skill who knows how to move on the mat. It's better if the subject doesn't panic and hurt himself. As we reach to shake hands, I attack. A flurry of strikes, usually three standing, a take down and another 2-4 strikes on the ground. The elapsed time is under two seconds.

The only possible way to 'simultaneous block and strike' against a flurry is to be both twice as fast as the other human and able to process information and make decisions faster than your brain works. As I said, a bullshit dueling artifact. When the focus shifts to assault survival, the things that work change.

For the seminar students, it is a reminder: We are not talking about fighting or martial arts or survival. We are talking about violence. The class is not about how to flurry, that is easy, but how to prevail against that flurry.

That's not germane to this post really. The next part is.
One cool detail is that the initial flurry makes the subject freeze, even though every strike is pulled and I never touch him.

That's the dichotomy. Fighting bodies, you need to get kinetic energy into the threat. Fighting minds, you just need to overwhelm the thinking process. Either works. Both together? That's what I train for...

The essence of striking is to get kinetic energy into the threat's body. A true statement, undeniably... and yet... not just in demos, a couple of times in real life I have achieved full effects without any kinetic transfer at all.

Undeniably true... except when you do something completely different that also works....

Upcoming stuff:
Seattle Two course... Sunday june 27

Boston August 8th
Tentatively two classes in SanFrancisco September 11-12
Montreal in late September


Chris said...

I assume from your decision to put "simultaneous" in quotes, that it actually meant "sequential" in practice.

A martial art that depends on your ability to think twice as fast as the attacker is not inherently flawed. It is only flawed if it doesn't work. And it only doesn't work if you weren't adequately trained for the circumstances of the application.

I can see someone being overwhelmed by your handshake attack, despite their best efforts, but there really isn't any excuse for being surprised by there?

Travis said...

Trying to be twice as fast all the time doesn't work. So yes, it is an inherent flaw.

I think the point about simultaneous and sequential could be a good one but I don't think that's where Rory is going (feel free to correct my inteprettion Rory, not that you need permission). I think the point is that if you are using both hands to block and strike, oh say, the opponent's left jab then you have nothing open, other then maybe your chin, to pick up their right when it's firing down on you in the flurry.

I've never meet ANYONE who CAN'T be surprised. The only ways to pull that off would be to either isolate yourself from all or most human contact or to just clock anybody who approaches. Guy bumps into you, is it an accidental bump, a pickpocket or knocking you off balancce so his co-mugger can work you over? Odds are EXTREMELY small it will be the latter, but to 'never be surprised' you would have to treat all bumps as attacks. That just doesn't work.

Chris said...

Travis, I'm still looking for the magic approach that always works.

But I will say this: If I go to a knitting seminar, I won't be surprised by a ball of yarn.

Travis said...

My position(and I think Rory's) isn't 'let's look for a strategy/ technique that works all the time' it's that doing it as block/strike REQUIRES you to be faster every time, which is a sign it's not likely to be the best bet.

Continuing in the same vein I had a top-notch instructor/ former cop tell me once that the way to get REALLY good was to find the most efficient ways to move and then train until those were natural. Not to go with what felt right not, to do what worked okay but to systematically look for the most efficient movements.

Similarly, one of the schools I spent a lot of time at was perfectly okay with simultaneous block & strike but considered the one move counter to be a higher level /better technique.

Not surprised by a ball of yarn at a knitting seminar? SO your comments are oriented towards the seminar not the 'real-world' application of the ideas? I'm skeptical. If I thought that's what you really meant I wouldn't even bother with a response.

Steve Perry said...

It would seem to me that any technique that depends primarily on speed is going to be problematic. Once an attack commences, the defender is behind that curve -- rather like going against another sprinter in a hundred meter dash and giving him a head start -- speedwise, if you are anywhere close, you won't catch him. So you'll need another tool besides speed.

Thinking is pretty much too slow once action commences in any event. Action tends to be faster than reaction.

As a heavyweight and old, I'm unlikely to be as fast as a young middleweight in any scenario, so for me to try and train to outdraw him once he has already reached only works if he's a terrible shot and misses.

How we play involves the notion of the three most important principles in choosing real estate for you business: Location, location, and location ...

Irene said...

If you know it's coming (as in, Rory has said, "I'm going to blitz you")but you are nonetheless overwhelmed despite your best effort, how does that differ from being surprised? Seems like purely a semantic difference.

Mark H said...


Although the end result is the same the analysis to rectify a shortcoming or deficiency in your training is not. I'll use the "OODA" loop to explain. Boyd's "OODA" stands for observe, orient, decide, act and can be used as a breakdown for how humans think in terms to stimulus and response.

If you are surprised the problem occurs between or in the orient / decide phase. If you know the "blitz" is coming but can't stop it then it is the decide / act phase. Identifying the problem area then helps to clarify areas needing training ehancement.

Mark H