Friday, February 1, 2013

Tailoring One's Reaction's

  A recent comment on one of my blogs got me thinking (always dangerous, LOL). The comment reminded me, that our method of responding to an aggressor's actions, tend to be “off of the norm”.
  Though often claiming otherwise, the most common response to a (any) strike (to a defender's head/face), is to “Block/deflect” and then retaliate (pretty standard). The differences (between systems) is in just how that is accomplished.
  In virtually every (other) system that I have been involved with, the “standard” has been, if/when the aggressor's strike is coming at you from your left side, then use your left hand/arm to stop/deflect it. If/when it is from the aggressor's left hand/arm, use your own right arm to stop/deflect it (pretty simple, if not obvious).
  Of course, this isn't as practical, as one would at first assume it to be. When an aggressor is going to strike you in the head, they don't (commonly) tell you about it before hand (thus allowing you to put things in order, and make arrangements to account for it's impending arrival upon your face). More commonly, they would prefer it to be a complete surprise.
  The reason that the majority of people attend some manner of martial arts training, is to avoid this situation from occurring (or at least the “getting hit” part). Avoiding the “surprise” part, is only a matter of paying attention (and despite the description, is in fact a cost free skill-set, and only requires the awareness of one's surroundings, ie. “paying attention”, LOL).
  The second fact that makes this even more difficult (to accomplish), is that you are (commonly) only allowed seconds (more like Milli-seconds) to evaluate that they are (actually) going to hit you, which hand they are going to do so with, and which hand you need to use to (attempt to) stop/block it with, and (then) do so.
   The first (few) things can be done fairly quickly (the “evaluation” of the situation). It's actually the last one (the “response”) that's the most difficult to pull off. Most people (that have just been struck) will tell you that “they saw it coming” (but just didn't respond fast enough to do anything about it).
  Based upon these (numerous) evaluations that are often presumed to be necessary, the system we teach (ie. Taika Oyata's methodology), approaches a defensive situation differently. We learn (several) defensive motions that will provide (varying) defensive capabilities, regardless of which arm (or striking manner) is utilized by the aggressor.
  The ability to (initially) disregard which hand an aggressor is striking with, is a bigger deal than most would care to admit. When a defender is able to be unconcerned with an aggressor's initial strike, this provides an enormous (defensive) advantage.
  When I first began my study with this system, I (too) had been indoctrinated with the belief that I would be required to respond differently to an aggressor's Right-handed strike, than to one made with their Left-hand.
  My problem (at the time) was a common one, of limited understanding of the applications I was attempting to defend against. When examined, the ability to strike another individual in the head (the most commonly performed first strike made by an aggressor) is fairly limited in it's ability to do so.
  There are (basically) 4 ways that a hand/fist is able to strike another in the head. (#1) A straight punch (from the waist), (#2) a “shoulder-cocked” punch, (#3) an “uppercut” strike and (#4) a “roundhouse” punch. When this is attributed to include being done by either side, this makes 8 possible ways to be struck (and therefor be included in one's defensive planning)
  When you examine the way that (any of) those strikes can make their way to your head, you see that they can only occur along certain pathways to get there. By utilizing the same simple defensive motion (utilizing both hands) regardless of the individual “path” taken by the strike, it is a fairly simple matter of interfering with that strikes ability to reach it's target. 
  Doing so certainly doesn't make one impermeable, but it does raise the “odds” of one's ability to be successful at preventing an aggressor's initial attempt at doing so. 
  Being successful at preventing a “first strike” being successfully made by an aggressor, has an enormous psychological effect upon that individual. There (obviously) needs to be follow-up applications being applied afterword, but this is more easily accomplished if/when an aggressor's initial offensive attempt is disrupted.
  The first of these (types of) motions taught, is referred to as a “Cover-Strike” (a possibly over-simplistic name for a fairly encompassing motion/concept). Being that it is (first) demonstrated and taught at the lower kyu rank levels, student's often (misinterpret?) consider it to (only) be a “beginner's” defensive action.
  As with numerous applications learned from Taika, there are additional layer's to be added as the student progresses in their study. As the student becomes more comfortable with each, then another use/variation of the application is added (until defenses of every one of the “8” possible methods of being struck, are included within the same initial motion).
  The most difficult part of this (manner of) training, is getting the student to focus upon their own motion (and not that of the aggressor).

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