When you begin to feel like you are a tough guy, a warrior, a master of the martial arts or that you have lived a tough life, just take a moment and get some perspective with the following:
I've stopped knives that were coming to disembowel me
I've clawed for my gun while bullets ripped past me
I've dodged as someone tried to put an ax in my skull
I've fought screaming steel and left rubber on the road to avoid death
I've clawed broken glass out of my body after their opening attack failed
I've spit blood and body parts and broke strangle holds before gouging eyes
I've charged into fires, fought through blizzards and run from tornados
I've survived being hunted by gangs, killers and contract killers
The streets were my home, I hunted in the night and was hunted in turn
Please don't brag to me that you're a survivor because someone hit you. And don't tell me how 'tough' you are because of your training. As much as I've been through I know people who have survived much, much worse. - Marc MacYoung
WARNING, CAVEAT AND NOTE
The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books. Please make note that this article/post is my personal analysis of the subject and the information used was chosen or picked by me. It is not an analysis piece because it lacks complete and comprehensive research, it was not adequately and completely investigated and it is not balanced, i.e., it is my personal view without the views of others including subject experts, etc. Look at this as “Infotainment rather then expert research.” This is an opinion/editorial article/post meant to persuade the reader to think, decide and accept or reject my premise. It is an attempt to cause change or reinforce attitudes, beliefs and values as they apply to martial arts and/or self-defense. It is merely a commentary on the subject in the particular article presented.
Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.
“What you are reading right now is a blog. It’s written and posted by me, because I want to. I get no financial remuneration for writing it. I don’t have to meet anyone’s criteria in order to post it. Not only I don’t have an employer or publisher, but I’m not even constrained by having to please an audience. If people won’t like it, they won’t read it, but I won’t lose anything by it. Provided I don’t break any laws (libel, incitement to violence, etc.), I can post whatever I want. This means that I can write openly and honestly, however controversial my opinions may be. It also means that I could write total bullshit; there is no quality control. I could be biased. I could be insane. I could be trolling. … not all sources are equivalent, and all sources have their pros and cons. These needs to be taken into account when evaluating information, and all information should be evaluated.” - God’s Bastard, Sourcing Sources (this applies to this and other blogs by me as well; if you follow the idea's, advice or information you are on your own, don't come crying to me, it is all on you do do the work to make sure it works for you!)
“You should prepare yourself to dedicate at least five or six years to your training and practice to understand the philosophy and physiokinetics of martial arts and karate so that you can understand the true spirit of everything and dedicate your mind, body and spirit to the discipline of the art.” - cejames (note: you are on your own, make sure you get expert hands-on guidance in all things martial and self-defense)
“All I say is by way of discourse, and nothing by way of advice. I should not speak so boldly if it were my due to be believed.” - Montaigne
Economy of Motion
Tells are those actions that are more detectable to an opponent. Tells are a term used for sparring and competitions but as to fighting I am not sure I would waste precious moments trying to determine if the attacker is projecting some "tell" that I can use against them. In my very limited experience fights, not necessarily violent predatory stuff, of the socially driven kind tend to go very fast once it goes physical. The only tell I want to see is when the attacker enters my clear zone, i.e. gets in range.
Regardless of tells the goal in a fight first is to avoid it, second is to not get hit, and third is to act the moment your perceive they are in range, if you can, which could be done visually or when the first strike rocks your boat.
Economy of motion is finding that equilibrium between the motion of say a strike to the power needed. You do not put anymore motion in the arm for a punch then is necessary. You let your body mass, momentum, bring the power to the table and the hand and arm move only so far. Look at it like a piston in an engine. When it cycles through the four strokes there is a point where the compression is the highest and the power generation the greatest. It does not fire until it gets to that point and the stroke if to long or to short diminishes power, ask any one who has raced cars on a quarter mile.
To much movement provides to much time for the attacker to turn your lights off. It can take you to far out of range and you will lose effectiveness and so on. A lot of Isshinryu kata teach to cock the hand for a strike all the way back to the waist. This is ok for basics or intro to the system and instruction in form and movement yet there comes a time when that is no longer valid.
The best example I can provide for Isshinryu practitioners is the story of the vertical fist. Originally all Okinawan karate used a twist motion/punch where it came all the way from the waist and then all the way to full extension with arm locked and fist moving from vertical to horizontal. Yet, when you watched those same practitioners in kumite they all dropped the twist punch and tended to always punch with a vertical fist. In addition they seldom held the fist at the waist for a strike nor did they drop it back to the waist when punching. The hands/fists remained up in front, naturally held, to protect and to punch.
It is a great system to teach the basic and fundamentals of any system but one must graduate to a more efficient process, i.e. reduce unnecessary movement/motions, etc. Watch the old, old boxing matches of the early nineteen hundreds like Max Schmelling and Jack Dempsey and you will not see Mr. Dempsey dropping his hands back to his waist to knock out someone in the ring.
Lousi L'Amour hits at this as well in his biographical book the wandering man. He too was a fighter of sorts. Be mindful of how you do kata and how you apply karate techniques in kumite, sparring, practice, training and see if you have any disparities. Remember that kata and basics are the blueprints but to build the entire house takes a bit of adjustment as you go along to make sure the building is cost effective.