Self Defense Training

The following is an article by and an introduction to one of our long distance students Derick Rock. Enjoy!

Self Defense Training
by Derick Rock

There is a common misconception thriving in America, actually there are thousands, but I am writing about Martial Art Training equals Self Defense Training. There are countless ways to start this article and even more points to be made. Time and space do not allow for that. I had planned another approach but due to the aforementioned constraints I will pick up where my last post ended.

In the post on the Tsai –Tui Drill I mention my conviction that learning countless techniques is not necessary and actually it is harmful.

First we need to clarify the “fight” – I am not referring to a confrontation with the victim of a bruised ego or the recipient of alcohol induced invincibility. All will be better served by walking away from either one of these morons. Most of us would like to knock this guy down and out, but it really is not worth the effort.

The “fight” here is a mugging, robbery or rape attempt, etc. – a situation where some cretin is hell bent on doing you harm.

My martial art training started in 1963 when I was 17 yrs old. At that time it seemed everyone was talking about the benefits of studying Karate and how after a few years you would be out there just “kickin ass”. Over the years it became very obvious that notion is nothing more than a load of Bovine Scat. Intuition and a few enlightening events – pool hall fights, baseball and football field fights and one of my all time best – – hitting on the neighbors wife led me to the pursuit of new “techniques”. And not only fighting techniques.

To round out my self defense capabilities, over the years I looked into and briefly studied, among others, Judo, Jiu-Jitsu, Wing Chun and Eagle Claw and none of these ever felt right to me. Tai Chi Chuan was not included in the aforementioned because it does “feel right” and it is an awesome art. I am not putting down any of the arts I studied or the teachers I had. Most of the teachers were true masters and tops in their chosen style. What “was not right’ were the training drills. And to date they have not changed. Sadly many Tai Chi instructors do not have it right as far as self defense training goes.

These comments are directed to “Traditional” Martial Arts – There are some styles that are well suited for street survival. Bagua, Kun Tao and the various styles of Silat just to name a few

Self Defense training CAN NOT be learned by repeating the “if he does this then you do this “type of drills. This will get your ass kicked or maybe killed. There are many beneficial training drills but they focus on other aspects of the art.

Self Defense has to be 2nd nature – it has to be unconscious – there is no time to think. The fingers poke the opponent’s eyes or throat, the elbow joins the left side of his jaw to his right – or vice versa. Any of the strikes can not be a result of thinking, deciding and then acting. You have to move fast and hit hard without hesitation. You MUST end it before you have even thought about it.

In the event the question has not popped up in your mind yet – I will now enter it here – “How do you train for this”?

Needless to say you can not use all the fight ending methods advocated at full force – you will not have any training partners and/or the Judge may not see your side of the story. A few years ago I was introduced to one of the many possible effective training methods. It is, or at least my teacher called it “slo mo spar”. It uses sensitivity training similar to Push Hands, Sticky Hands or Spinning Hands. Combine that with many of the elements that make up Tai Chi – balance, rooting, using the whole body and dropping for power, you then create holes in the opponent’s defense and attempt to strike the eyes, ears, nose or throat. Palm, finger and elbow strikes are the weapons of choice. One extremely critical element is that you and your training partner never break contact with each other. This is only the preliminary training – it gets better as time goes on.

As mentioned earlier this subject deserves a lot more discussion then space allows. Also I am in no way putting down any martial art, teacher or student – these thoughts are based on my personal experiences

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