Shutting down the attack is ALWAYS the preferred response.
Well actually no it isn’t – not even being attacked is preferred.
This is not, of course, done force on force. Overcoming force with force requires superior force not available to the smaller person.
You overcome force through force on weakness. (More on this issue later.)
It has also been posted that in assault situations there is often no time to move or to react.
I agree completely with that statement.
However there is seemingly a disconnect between this statement and my first one.
To shut down an attack you must “beat” the attack.
Your response to the action has to be faster than the action.
BUT if you have no time to react then how can your reaction be faster than the reaction?
You cannot have both NO time to react AND time to react so fast you shut down the attack.
This is impossible.
Therefore we go back to training and we try to work forward to where we are trained to get off a response and beat the attack perhaps even when there does not seem like there is time to respond.
There is a beginning, a middle and an end to an incoming line of force.
There is a continuum of responses available from the beginning of the line of force to the end.
This continuum is based on: when the person perceives the attack, their skill level and size/mass.
I add size and mass in only because while a force on force response is not optimum a much larger stronger opponent can get away with force on force – if they win.
I like to begin with the worse case scenario for many reasons. One is often martial artists tend to work from the optimum.
Read Rory’s book and where he notes many people train where they always have distance (time to react). This is optimum. But as was posted this is not always the case.
From my training if I can make it work in the worst case scenario then I should be able to make the best case work too. (I hope.)
So that means I look at the worse case (well, one up from I got hit -- which we do our best to train for too):
1) I do not perceive the incoming line of force until right before impact.
2) Therefore I have no time to beat the attack and shut it down.
3) I am smaller than the attacker.
The outcome I really would like is for me to hurt them but not get hurt myself. But again even in this microcosm this is an optimum result.
The true worst case is that I get nailed and knocked out and beaten to death.
From there it can only get better so let’s move from bottom to top in how we want to respond
1. I tuck my chin and move with the strike to minimize the impact and not get knocked out so I hopefully will not get beaten to death. Surviving the strike I can flow into a strike of my own.
2. I tuck my chin and get my hands up at least placing an obstruction between the incoming force and my ever important. By protecting the brain I continue to function. As long as I continue to function I can attack and I may not get beaten to death.
3. I tuck my chin and get my hands up at least placing an obstruction between the incoming force and my ever important brain and I move with the force so that no damage is done to me at all. This allows me to protect my head and limbs to continue to fight by attacking.
4. I not only tuck my chin and get my hands up at least placing an obstruction between the incoming force and my ever important brain and I move with the force but I do it with an aggressive posture rather than a totally defensive one – for example the Seisan/helmet/Dracula cape position which puts the elbow out as an impact point for the attacker. This hopefully gives me an opportunity to attack.
5. I not only tuck my chin and get my hands up at least placing an obstruction between the incoming force and my ever important brain and I move with the force but I do it with an aggressive posture AND I use the absorption of the force to roll inward to close and get a better opportunity to attack.
6. I not only tuck my chin and get my hands up at least placing an obstruction between the incoming force and my ever important brain and I move with the force but I do it with an aggressive posture (Seisan/helmet/Dracula cape position) AND I use the absorption of the force to roll inward to close, therefore using that elbow as a weapon attacking and opening up my options for my next strike.
That is about the best you will do perceiving the attack at the end of the incoming line of force.
As our perception moves up the line of force towards its point of origin then we add response time.
Add response time equals better response.
So now with a little more time I can improve the quality of my response.
I can either use a body shift or perhaps even footwork (even if slight movements) to improve my strategic placement.
If I remain where I am then I am directly in the line of force. With some time to respond I need to get off the line of force.
Here is a very boiled down basic way to see the difference in responses for using absorption.
Stand with your feet shoulder width side by side.
Raise your hands up palms outward toward your partner.
Have your partner push on your left hand.
Absorbing the force means to allow the push to move your hand backwards.
However there are two ways to do this.
These can be done with a body shift but we will use footwork to emphasize the differences.
Option One: As your partner pushes on your left hand absorb the push with your hand and arm and allow it to “push” your left foot backward to also absorb the force.
Take a good look at where and how you end up.
Option Two: As your partner pushes on your left hand absorb the push with your hand and arm; however this time do NOT allow it to “push” your left foot backwards. Instead understand that this push is just one half of a circle and allow your right foot to move forward and inward.
Take a good look at where and how you end up.
This is a very basic concept of combining absorption with a closing.
If I purely absorb then I am often left with absolutely no gain of strategic positioning.
By using the circle to advance the opposite side to the force I do not accept any of the brunt of the force but I improve my strategic positioning.
NOW for those very observant folk you will have also seen that the body mechanics for a strike are identical to the advancing forward and inward of the right foot as you absorbed with the left side.
This simple concept is the launch platform for the strategy of absorbing and closing.
Do this same move with the right arm coming into that Seisan/helmet/Dracula cape position and see what happens.
As we move our perception up the line of force generation our options grow.
This is because now our control over what happens grows.
If I can perceive the initial generation of a line of force – NOW I can shut it down.
Take that same right foot coming forward with your going into then that Seisan/helmet/Dracula cape position.
If you are close to your partner, both hands at your side and they move to slap you upside the head (okay a shoulder works for safety) AND you see that initial movement and drive inward with your right foot right arm coming up to that Seisan/helmet/Dracula cape position – what are the results.
Does it even matter which side they intended to swing from?
That simple shift gets you inside a circular attack and outside a straight attack.
Of course this is a simple example of moving up the perception line.
Challenging the force to shut down an attack when you are smaller and have less force can be done but this will relate back to when it is perceived and how you attack the incoming weapon to shut it down.
Just an approach.