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
“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
“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
Just because a technique is performed a certain way is not indicative that it is night-fighting. One that comes to mind, which I was also told is a night-fighting technique, when performed tells me a lot more as to its possible purpose other than night fighting. I can extrapolate it to mean "ducking" things like weapons attacks or even high kicks both in daylight or at night - regardless.
So, I ask the question, "Is there or are there night-fighting specific bunkai to this kata?" Is it possible that someone decided that because it was given an explanation as to "night time" that it and the kata are a night-fighting oriented kata?
Let me go a bit further, why would anyone designate any kata to be specific to just "one" strategy, tactic or bunkai? Why would anyone "limit" the possibilities of any kata? This seems to me a form of "limitation" which to my view "limits" a person's ability to very specific things, isn't this a bit "limiting?"
I will admit that Joe Swift's assessment is valid, " ... such interpretations were contrived to fit movements that are not very well understood. ..." I would agree that American's who returned after such a short period of instruction tend to "fill-in" in lieu of just stating, "I don't know," is a plausible validation to this statement.
May explanations to this "night-fighting" premise is always related to viewing the night or vision. In a nutshell night means vision is either limited or non-existent. Relying on say "moon light" to guide you also seems "limiting." To my mind it would be more inclusive to provide other sensory revelations such as "tactile," or "feeling." The sense of touch in many cases can be far more effective in night fights then always assuming some sort of visual enhancements are required.
I would also add in that the sense of "smell" also contributes more to this aspect, a small one, to handing night attacks. Let's not forget that "avoidance" is also another night fighting strategy, lets remove the particular of specific waza which is limiting, where one does not travel where one does not have adequate lighting to see as well as to avoid environments where the need to fight at night is prevalent. This comes back on to limiting our methods, i.e. strategies and tactics, because we "label" something into a rut, a hole and pidgin hole that few think to "think outside of, like a box."
Exaggerated movements is counter productive to the fundamental principles of martial systems, economic motion for greater conservation of energy, etc., which does not compute for night fighting, i.e. protection against a wider range of attacks .... how is this night-fighting for it makes no sense. We are seemingly making assumptions that are not readily present in this explanation so I would say this needs further investigation. It does not make sense to me.
I sense some explanations are geared toward a mindset that one is standing against a night attacker at a sparring distance which is also not conducive to fighting with the sense of sight limited or nonexistent. If one is attacked in the dark the best strategy is to use feel or tactile touch, i.e. move in close to feel the attacker's body and then use feel to unbalance, control and defeat.
Another one to consider is the explanation of reading silhouettes which relies heavily on sight which is also fooled by many factors and then exacerbated by darkness. In a nutshell most night-fighting explanations are predicated on the ability to use "sight" where I tend to think it is a matter of close in, feel and conquer which can be in any kata without limitations placed on applications.
I cannot see any proof in any of kusanku waza that say they are or are not night fighting techniques. I can see how to extrapolate possible strategies and tactics from various bunkai interpretations but would not name or label them night-fighting techniques. My assessment which could continue in this analysis is that kusanku is not a night fighting kata per say but rather one of many kata that can be used to determine appropriate strategies and tactics to avoid and defend if attacked at night. Any of the kata can achieve the same results.
Oh, and using sound to misdirect. Sound at night is not easily determined as to directions as sound travels differently at night and according to acoustics of the environment. I would not rely on sound for much but rather touch. When an attack touches me the instinct would be to close in and use my grappling abilities, etc. to remove the threat but then again to avoid being attacked at night prevails over any possible night-fighting technique you extrapolate from any and all kata - not just kusanku.
So, back to the question, "What are night-fighting techniques?" The question is better stated as, "What are the night-fighting strategies?"
One, know that the only effective strategy at night is to move in close, so close you can smell the garlic on the attackers breath.
Two, know that touch is the dominant sense used to remove the threat.
Three, smell can tell you just what your up against when you move in close.
Four, the best strategy against night-fighting is to avoid it all together but always remain prepared for it in as close to reality-based training you can get.
This is all off the cuff so to speak. It would be interesting to hear other views and suggestions. I doubt seriously many spend much time thinking of what it would take to actually fend off an attacker in a very dark place. Some other considerations I can think of are:
1. An attacker is not going to do so unless he or she has all the advantages.
2. An attacker is not going to attack you with a full moon to shine down on the arena but rather attack where the darkness provides him or her the complete advantage.
3. The attacker is in all likelihood going to know the arena of the night attack far better than you will so your at another disadvantage.
4. If you walk into an arena that is dark and triggers your awareness and spidey sense then what the fuck are you doing there to begin with.
5. If your surprised in a dark arena then your not paying attention, your probably listening to music or playing a iPhone game so you are going to be easy.
6. If you willingly go into a dark and dangerous arena, unless your a professional whose job it is to go into harms way, then your ego or monkey brain along with pride and a lot of testerone are driving the bus and who gives a shit, your just being stupid.
7. If you are a martial artist or a professional and have not considered night-fighting in your training/practice then you might want to reconsider your training syllabus.
9. Once again, avoidance is the absolute best strategy because if the attacker is a predator you can be guaranteed that the night is going to be only the beginning advantage for him, disadvantage for you, and your toast because you allowed yourself to enter that arena.
Again, would love to hear more input on this aspect to defensive/protective training. Night-fighting is the Yang of the Yin most train in, i.e. daylight, well lit dojo, smooth and comfortable dojo wood floors, willing participants, dojo mates, etc. ;-)