It's been very difficult getting what I consider to be a VERY IMPORTANT topic going due to the format changes. So I'm going to drag it along a little here and hope that some of our RBSD experts around here (Rory, Van...) can chime in.
Thanks so much to Mike, Jason, and Stevie for jumping in. You're creating some great discussion material - more than I could have imagined.
I'm not a street fighter or a cop or a prison guard or a bouncer or anything like that, and just having those two guys target me, let alone actually attack, would probably give me an adrenaline dump. But when the schit actually hits the fan, I think it would be hard to hit me in the back of the head.
First... Apologies are in order to Mike in advance. This is a fantastic statement for discussion. I just hope Mike understands that I'm dissecting it for all our benefit.
Let's take a Seisan kata sequence where one turns to the east. After the turn/circle/kick (east) followed by the knee/bend-over/shoken, there's a very strange sequence. It goes like this:
- Two more shokens in that bent-over posture done in a push-pull fashion like standard "karate punching."
- Standing erect and facing east followed by a generic Sanchin thrust forward.
- A turn to the south and another generic Sanchin thrust.
- A turn to the north and another generic Sanchin thrust.
Now WTF was that???
Let's start with one paradigm shift. Instead of thinking of shoken two and three as two more hits on the bad guy (down and east), think instead of what your chambering motions are doing. They can indeed be elbow thrusts behind you. In other words as you're facing your opponent to the (touch range) east and finishing him off, his buddy jumps your back. You in turn get him off by doing first a right and then a left elbow into his ribs. Either or both will hit and dislodge him.
Those elbow thrusts are to the west. The subsequent Sanchin thrusts are to the (more distant) east, south, and then north. You have essentially cleared the deck and given yourself space. It's sort of like in basketball when you come down with a rebound and then swing your elbows around to keep the opposition from stealing the ball. Only in this case you're keeping them from stealing your life.
The truth of the matter is that an "adrenaline dump" or an extreme of neuro-hormonal stimulation is associated with a plethora of physiologic changes. It is true that it empowers us with enormous physical potential, albeit one driven primarily by gross motor movement. But there are many other changes, and it's important to know that they happen. There is tachypsychia, or the appearance of things happening in slow motion. There is auditory exclusion where the world around you can become strangely silent - even to your friends warning you to "Watch out!!!!" There is a dilation of the pupils, which creates excellent binocular vision - in a very
narrow depth of field (particularly at night). And then there is also tunnel vision.
So... an "adrenaline dump" is going to keep the bad guy from sneaking up behind you and taking you out? Not so much; it does the exact opposite. Watch my sister's Great Danes hunt coyotes at the edge of the Santa Ana desert. Two of them never get in each other's way. They run away from each other and circle towards their prey. The one challenges, and induces an extreme response from the prey. The other comes up from behind for the easy kill. And I mean easy. Never heard it coming (auditory exclusion) and never saw it coming (tunnel vision). And if the coyote turns and runs, well... right into the jaws of the other predator.
The military teaches their members of special forces to stop and scan the horizon after every few steps when approaching the enemy. It becomes a ritual that they practice again and again and again.
Seisan is teaching us the same. We just need to understand what the heck that sequence is. And then it must become a programmed response when in the fog of battle. Always, always scan the horizon. Assume your back is vulnerable unless your buddy is protecting it.
He basically said he was scared inside the stadium," John Stow said, adding that his cousin did not usually make such comments lightly.
The fear started there. It undoubtedly went up a notch when approached by the cursing thugs. And these two predators apparently knew exactly what they were doing. He never saw it coming.
Please, please don't assume your physiology is any different. Embrace the neuro-hormonal response, and learn what to do so you won't fall victim to its peculiarities.
And learn to recognize when you are being "interviewed." I have a long walk from my office to the parking garage in downtown Louisville. I am constantly approached by panhandlers - some of whom admit they just got released from prison. Whenever approached, I'm always, always checking my back. My "vision" immediately goes into peripheral mode (so to speak), and I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. And I barely give the panhandler the time of day. It's just not worth it.
I also have learned to do the 360-degree rotation without missing a step. It is inspired by our tenshin motions in the Uechi hojoundo and Uechi Kanchin kata. I practice an use it often. When I hear footsteps behind me, I do a 360-degree turn while going forward that would make any basketball guard proud. If (s)he looks friendly I smile. If not... I know they are there and they know I know they are there. And that footwork sends a message.
Don't get me wrong; I could be a victim as well. When I was in Louisville all of about 4 weeks, I was walking down Main Street late on a Saturday night and enjoying the night life. I was fascinated by this Russian Wolfhound on the other side of the road, and walked right into a 30-foot iron lamp post. Five stitches later, it was obvious that "it" could happen to me as well.
Light poles DO hit back!