Friday, May 20, 2011

Applying Defensive Strikes

  I was reading an article recently, that the author was evaluating various approaches to training for defensive responses to an attack. Most of their evaluations I could agree with, but (naturally) the article was about what-ever training method they had come up with (hence, I quickly lost interest).The article did cause me to consider how I have been defining threat evaluation/responses, and how I explain them to my student's. 
  I begin with explaining the particular “stages” that I (personally) advocate for making a defensive decision. There are numerous other/similar approaches to doing the same thing and I inform my student's that they should use whichever method/manner that they prefer.
The basic “outline” of making a defensive decision (that I utilize) consists of 3 stages.
#1 Perceive the threat,
#2 Decide an appropriate course of action,
#3 Act upon that decision.
  The actual time duration of any of these steps can vary greatly, the sooner that the first is established, the more time that is allowed for the remaining two. The second stage is often the most variable (on the part of the defender). It is based upon the knowledge, and experience of the defender. The final stage is based upon the ability level of the defender. 
  Depending upon the particular threat, these three stages could only span a few seconds, to taking several minutes between any of them. If a student has considered the possible situations/circumstances that could be encountered (beforehand), then they may have the opportunity/ability to extend (any) one of them, thus gaining further time to adapt (if necessary) their chosen course of action.
 (I should explain, that a student's instruction would have also included situational awareness prior to any in-depth study into the (actual) response portion of reacting to a threat.)

  The ability to perceive a possible threat, is (in many circles) often considered to be thinking in an “un”-Politically Correct (if not paranoid, LOL) manner (oh, well). For myself, being Politically Correct (PC) is only adhered to in situations where I am circumstantially obligated to behave in a certain manner, and I (have already) perceived no obvious threats. Beyond that, I'm always watching what's going on around me, and I suggest to my student's to do the same. 
  Once a threat is observed/noticed or begins, an individual needs to determine their best course of action. That can include leaving (if/when the option is available). When one is obviously forced into a physical altercation, that option isn't always available. It's those situations that I focus my instruction upon. Once the situation has reached this stage, the reactions (of the tori) need to be definitive, and as effective as possible.   
  The particular article I was reading, was comparing the various (training) methods of practicing this stage of a defensive response. Though I didn't completely agree with the author's evaluations of the methods listed, the article did present some legitimate considerations for each.          

  The one point I did disagree with, was the authors dismissal of “Blocks” as being (used as) “Strikes”. Evidently, the author only considers strikes to the head/body (of the uke) as being legitimate? Strikes (done to the limbs, in that author's opinion) won't effect the uke's ability to strike. I believe the author needs to get out more. I feel pretty confident that I can effect someone's ability to strike again (effectively, and most likely for a period of time) after striking their arm. Even our student's are finding out that it's not that difficult to do so.         
  The other weakness that I detected with the author's logic, was that he apparently considered strikes individually (when evaluating their effectiveness). I realize that many systems/practitioner's tend to focus upon individual strikes (when practicing techniques). The interaction/effects from one strike, can often effect the effects/results from other strikes applied (appropriately, and in area's which are in turn effected from the first strikes application).
  IMO, this (at least in student's) comes about from over-focusing on an individual technique. I'm aware that numerous systems (tend to) emphasize a one-punch mentality (to end a confrontation), and I might concede that it's a possible occurrence, but I would hesitate to ever depend upon it.        
  I tend to view (individual) strikes, as being akin to chopping down a tree. An individual strike, may bring it down, but (the odds are) multiple strikes (that build upon one another) will do so. Each strike should individually be causing injury (no matter how small) that adds to that outcome. As one progresses through the encounter, the cumulative effects (from the individual strikes) must be evaluated, and corrected upon. Certain strikes require previously established conditions be met, before their application is attempted or even feasible.        
  When explaining this (to students) I'm often questioned about whether the tori will have the endurance to apply this methodology long enough to apply it. This is the common misconception of the application of RyuTe techniques (and with describing their use/application) in a confrontation. The (actual) time involved (and/or required), only amounts to a few seconds. The average amount of time involved in a confrontation, will rarely exceed 20-30 seconds. I've found that people (in general), including student's, often attempt to compare a sparring match, to an actual confrontation. Those matches can last several minutes (unlike a real confrontation). Though endurance is an admirable attribute, it is not a prerequisite to guaranteeing a successful outcome in an actual confrontation.        
  The point that the author (of the aforementioned article) attempted to make, was that student's often over-emphasized their training, upon strikes applied to the aggressor (and their individual effectiveness). His argument, was that not enough emphasis was placed upon blocking. To a certain degree, I could agree with that assessment. Where I would differ, would be with the manner that those “blocking” techniques were being utilized. Simply deterring the completion of an attempted aggression, is insufficient to end a confrontation.        
  The entire concept of “blocking”, needs to be abandoned. In the “big picture”, the goal is to end the confrontation. Only Blocking, amounts to wasted motion. It's short-term benefits (the prevention of being struck), do nothing to prevent the aggressor from continuing their assault. Though not always possible (or practical), personal experience has shown (me), that by causing sufficient injury (to only an aggressor's arms/legs) can end a confrontation (without causing permanent injury). Legally, this works out very well (for the defender/tori), by only bruising up someone's arms and/or legs, makes it very difficult for them to press charges (if/when they began the confrontation).
  The ability to apply this principle, is (without doubt, LOL) not easy. It requires extensive amounts of practice to do so. That's the purpose of class-time. Practicing these applications is frustrating, and can often discourage student's (from their immediate inability to apply them). RyuTe is recognized as being a long-term (if not Lifetime) study. For those who require/demand the right-now results (from what they're being shown), I would suggest that they look elsewhere than RyuTe, for instruction. 


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The way I explain it to people is you can take an 18yr put in the military and in 6wks he knows how to kill. Learning to kill is fairly easy. Throat, Groin, Eye's are available to the average layman. If that's all a person's learned then they havn't learned much karate.