View Full Version : Countering deception and misdirection techniques

A. M. Jauregui
29th June 2003, 23:52
How do you personally counter the touch responses and ploys (physical and mental) that are common in many aiki based arts?

To help alleviate a bit of the cryptic nature of my question, here is a very basic example: I grab my opponent‘s hand so they break my balance with a relatively simple hand movement that is quick enough and directed in such a manner that I grab harder expediting my ending up on my butt. Now that I am at a place I do not want to be, the ground, I have a few choices to back roll or to front roll being the basic ones. For a split second I consider a back roll but since my opponent has stepped in physically a back roll might be possible but tactically it would be horrendous. So in the next split second I roll forward, as best possible, putting my eyes in a direct path to my opponent’s fingers of their outstretched arm and typical hand blade shaped hand.

So fundamentally in my example I was setup and manipulated. This is all good and well when one is on the end that it dishing out but not so much fun on the receiving end.

So what do you do to a void similar beguiling?

I have attempted to use a little terminology as possible so all can participate, but if I was not clear just ask and I will try to elucidate.

30th June 2003, 00:29
Kondo Sensei made a very specific statement with regards to Ukime and Technique that I think might answer your question. "There can be no Ukime from Daito-ryu technique" and "Technique must always be on."

Ukime is allowed in Daito-ryu so practitioners will be able to continue to train. If a technique is performed as it was originally intended (as it would in a real life situation) there could be no ukime. The outcome would be injury or death according to this edict. So, no ukime equals no opportunity to counter at the point where you end up on your but.

Also, a technique must always be working (i.e. a joint lock or control must always be applied with the correct intensity, angle etc. etc.). Under this stipulation, if it is always on, then there is no opportunity to counter unless you sacrifice a limb or joint.

So I guess, the only opportunity presented to enable you to counter would come just prior to the point were you grab the wrist. You would need to modify your attack. This is asuming that there are no errors in the performance of the defens/technique. If there are errors, you would need to feel/find them and counter in a manner that takes advantage of those errors.

So, I think the answer to your question is two fold.
1. Don't attack or attack in an indefensible manner.
2. Train hard and become sensitive to errors and train to exploit them.

Sorry if that is not what you are looking for. I don't know how else to answer your question given my limited experience.

A. M. Jauregui
30th June 2003, 01:26
Oh please do not take my example as something that actually happened *might have happened :confused: * - it was solely created to expand on and clarify the topic of my question: touch responses and ploys (physical and mental).

While it is definitely true that if all goes well there is no to very little defense to systematic sequences of techniques and tactics.

However by attacking when attacked, unorthodox tactics, noticing that you are being setup, etcetera there can be the possibility of countering.

I am very interested in the thoughts of Nathan Scott, Neil Yamamoto, Richard Elias, and Brently Keen on the topic of my question.

Thanks for the reply Brian :) and I left you positive karma,
1. Don't attack or attack in an indefensible manner.
2. Train hard and become sensitive to errors and train to exploit them.

Is a wise answer and wonderful general advice that I definitely take to heart but sometimes forget. :look:

30th June 2003, 01:59
I am not a good writer. I have a difficult time turning my thoughts and ideas into print. I understood your method in introducing the question and my answer may not have indicated that. Sorry for any confusion and thanks for the karma (?). I'm not much for the belief in karma other than karma reflecting self-fulfilling prophecy. But I think it was meant as a compliment of sorts and am happy to take it as such. Thanks.

p.s. Hope you get the response you are looking for from those individuals listed.

30th June 2003, 06:40
You do mean ukemi, correct? I'm not trying to correct you, I just wanted to make sure I understand correctly what you quoted of Kondo-sensei. For all I know, it could be a term I didn't understand.

Just so you know, while the Karma point feature can be used, it has been turned off for the purpose of its intended use (to check it out, click on the little green (or red) mark below your username. It gives your Karma points, or minus karma points. If you want to give karma, click on the blue button at the bottom of the post of the person to whom you would like to give (or take away) karma. It was a beta feature which will not be available in the new version of the software. Most complained about it. But as an example, you get one positive karma point just for logging on, or posting. Negative karma was intended to let the person know you didn't like or didn't agree with a certain post or posts. Mainly, it was abused.

Anyway, this is probably too much information for something which won't be around pretty soon.:p


A. M. Jauregui
30th June 2003, 07:32
Thanks Mark :) . Aww, I dig the karma :( .

Richard Elias
30th June 2003, 15:05
First, in order for “touch response” or other physical or visual deceptions to work, (as I understand them) the opponent cannot know that you are going to employ them. Most are designed to take advantage of the uke’s response at the very moment of application. They are not usually maintained for any length of time because the uke adjusts, thus countering the technique. There are even limits to how many times you can practice some of them in a dojo setting, because the training partner becomes acclimated to the speed and timing.

In order to counter any technique you have to know the technique, how it is applied, be sensitive enough to know when it is being applied, as it’s being applied, and quick enough to be able to respond with a counter before it is fully applied.

This is very difficult with touch response and visual response techniques.

It requires you either anticipate accurately what they are going to do and have a counter response prepared. (which happens all the time at seminars cause they already know what you going to do) Or you must condition yourself to be sensitive to them and yet non-responsive. That is, so that you know when they are being applied and can elect whether or not you body/mind responds as anticipated.

The latter is the more possible and plausible when you do not already know what they are going to do. Such conditioning is possible as long as you are familiar with and train in the types of techniques being used. You can develop a physical/mental detachment to the external stimuli. But it does depend on the type of technique being applied.

BUT, if the person applying the techniques has “the timing” you’re probably doomed. There will be no lag time between the deception applied and the technique, so you won’t know it is happening ‘til it does. And then, of course, it’s too late.

30th June 2003, 19:47
Just for discussion. I would think that because many of the ploys take advantage of hard wired or instinctive protective mechanisms it would be detrimental to try to “dampen” their effect.

In other words, you could conceivably dampen the flinch response to an object approaching your eye, but if you did you would lose a very important protective measure in everyday life that protects you from injury.

On the other hand I think part of practice is becoming familiar with a set of techniques so that one is not hypersensitive and can continue to process when inside a technique. Think about a beginner. You take their balance and it’s over. They have no references or ability to regain control over themselves. Then there is a more experienced practitioner of the type that falls for anything which I would term as hypersensitive.

I think Rich’s answer is a good one. Ukemi is in part an effort to save yourself. So you attempt to save yourself and try to find an opening to get out or counter attack. In practice the opening is provided to your partner as a part of continuing practice. In use, one would attempt to eliminate all openings, thus no ukemi as in Kondo’s statement.

Nathan Scott
1st July 2003, 01:01
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1st July 2003, 03:01
Yes I meant ukemi (I forgot to say I am not a good speller). Thanks also for the lesson on karma points. I still feal like I don't need them.

I got alot out of the target replacement thread a few months back on AJ's BB. I tried it out a couple of times in a row on some of my training partners. It continued to work even after I explained what I was doing. I think training to overcome this stuff would be quit difficult. Especially the responses that work on a mechanical manipulation based on biomechanical and physics principles as applied to uke (I don't know if that makes sense as it is written).

I think your emphasis on Kihon is right on the money. I know in our training, as we try to move on to higher levels, our basics begin to suffer. We therefore make a concerted effort (lately) to maintain a focus on the basics (not to mention the fact that basics seem to be the foundation to everything else).

I agree that trying to dampen autonomic responses would be detrimental. I think Nathan's response makes a lot of sense with regards to this issue. To be honest though, I have never felt this stuff from anyone outside of our group so I don't know how accurate Nathan's comments are in a truly applied sense.

Finally, it seems like everyone posting so far is on the same line of thinking. Train hard and train for specificity with regards to overcoming these techniques and ploys. Thanks for all of the info and of course the question.

Still no response from Brently? Maybe someone should PM him.

1st July 2003, 05:03
To add. Someone reminded me that we also have to work to control many “natural” responses especially in our technique. For example, at the decisive moment when we receive an attack we need to be in control of our movement and solid in our minds. Hence Kihon principles as Nathan rightly pointed out. To collapse or freak out at that point is disasterous.

Some take the position that, so called, natural responses are inescapable and build their technique on that, but I think the aiki arts take a different tack and often employ counterintuitive strategies to achieve their designs. So, often it is our own mental processes that stand in the way. Small hinges swing big doors.

Some might even say that you are not doing “aiki” until you are working beyond the kihon. Up till then you are just doing jujutsu - not that there is anything wrong with that.

A. M. Jauregui
1st July 2003, 06:03
Originally posted by Nathan Scott
The more serious martial training the person has, or, the more aggressive/pumped up they are, the less specialty techniques tend to work on them, in my experience. Which is interesting since these arts were developed to be used against trained opponents. This leads me to wonder how popular specialty-based techniques like these were a couple of hundred years ago in koryu dojo.

IMO, these techniques work best on those with little to no formal or serious training.
I think that would make an interesting thread. I certainly have a view on this...

Thanks for the replies so far. I really enjoyed yours the most Richard, not that the other ones were not enlightening. Also I asked for replies from certain people mainly because as seen in other threads they write volumes - which I love. Brain post more if you can! :) And thanks for the comment about this thread's question *being interesting* I really had to think about what has not been asked.

P.S. Walker there is nothing wrong with the jujutsu, I prefer it in fact, but as I am getting older *got carded few nights back - YAY* I want to focus more on the less rough and tumble.

Richard Elias
1st July 2003, 11:22
I would have to agree and disagree with you on a few points Nathan.

I suppose it really depends on the types of touch/visual response techniques being applied to a given situation… But most of what is used (in our system at any rate) are not so much based on fear or flinch reactions or psyching the out, but on deceiving ones senses so that what they perceive is not necessarily what actually is. Not really for redirection of the attack, but for redirection of their attention. We don’t want an over reaction to what is happening but for them not to really notice or understand what is happening.

“If you do not connect with your target, you simply re-acquire your target and attack again...From my way of thinking, unless the opponent moved grossly from their position (telegraphed), I am inclined to strike where an opponent was, and re-position/re-attack immediately if necessary until the opponent is disabled.”

That is exactly what we would be counting on. The idea would be to make you miss or to displace ourselves just slightly so that you think you can hit, but can’t. Sometimes cutting it so close it grazes. It’s that little tiny gap of time between, or more significantly “as”, you miss and re-acquire where we apply our technique. Or enter in so that re-acquiring and striking again is not an option. We use what we call counter offensive techniques. That is, we attack as the opponent attacks. The confidence of the opponent’s attack determines the effect of the deception. Often if the person lacks confidence it won’t work as well. Or if they are untrained, and don’t have the reactions of someone who is really trying to hurt you.

“I won't be drawn off balance, hoping across the floor, or pulled off target…”

I would actually prefer that you were not. Might look cool when demonstrating, but in application if the person looses that much control then we don’t have control over him. I would rather they just barely miss, and in fact think they were going to get the hit. When they don’t get the hit they are sure they would it causes a microsecond of hesitation or consideration. By that time we are in (hopefully).

“…when you try to grab something, you are doing something completely different in function than when you try to strike something. You target something to grab, and try to grab it. If it moves with good timing (not telegraphed), you'll tend to follow it - even to the point of being drawn off balance at times.”

I would have to disagree with you on this one in part. Much of what goes into striking a chosen target, IS the same as what goes into grabbing it. You choose a target, and try and strike it. If the target is moved, or replaced by another that moves with “just the right timing” your strike may indeed follow it.

I would not believe this myself if I had not only witnessed it in person, but also have had it done to me (by the way, I do have some background in striking arts), and observed it done on those that I know are determined, and competent hitters, with a wealth of experience in both competition and real-life fighting.

Much of the touch/visual response techniques we use are not necessarily techniques in and of themselves but part of the set-up, or just one piece of the technique. Especially the touch responses, where you may just lightly touch someone on their lower back to give them the sensation that they cannot move backwards. Their mind and thus their body perceives an obstacle, when in fact they could actually move backwards. That’s just one example.

The mind/attention follows where the body is touched.
If you grab at the wrist, and I touch your ribs your attention will go (if only for a split second) to you ribs. In that tiny little moment is when something must be done to either break away, or use the connection. And it must be done without the slightest hesitation.

The timing of any of these things is the most important element.

I do fully agree with the constant study of kihon waza. In our system, all of the elements of the advanced techniques are contained in the basics. It might just be one movement of a basic technique with a different application and timing. But it’s all there. Without a very firm grasp and skill in the basics of our system, the advanced techniques don’t really work that well. They may on some trained-seal of an uke but not on a determined skilled attacker.

Richard Elias
1st July 2003, 11:24

Now I'm writing like Brently too...

Mark Jakabcsin
1st July 2003, 13:21
Interesting post but I do disagree with the majority of it. My exeriences have obviously been different than yours so I have drawn different conclusions. I am not totally comfortable in breaking down the principles into basic and specialty as you have done but since that is the frame work we are working from I will try to use it.

Originally posted by Nathan Scott

Specialty principles applied to the right kinds of opponents under the right circumstances can be devastating, seemingly mysterious, and effortless. However, if the proponent mis-judges their opponent when applying such methods, they will fail 100 percent, leaving little margin for follow-up SYA techniques.

When using these sepcialty principles one still has to use the basic principles. One shouldn't simply disregard the basics because they are using a specialty principle. A large part of that is body positioning so irregardless of the success of the principle tori should be moving to a superior position, which would allow for follow-up techniques. Also I don't believe these specialty techniques are necessarily 100% success or failure. There are many degrees of success.

Originally posted by Nathan Scott

The more serious martial training the person has, or, the more aggressive/pumped up they are, the less specialty techniques tend to work on them, in my experience. Which is interesting since these arts were developed to be used against trained opponents. This leads me to wonder how popular specialty-based techniques like these were a couple of hundred years ago in koryu dojo.

This is where I have the biggest disagreement. In my real world encounters I have found using these specialty principles to be highly effective. Actually the more aggressive and pumped up the individual is the easier these principles work. The dojo setting is a fake environment, which normally causes people to likewise be and act fake. Real encounters strip this fakeness away.

Originally posted by Nathan Scott

My observation is this. In the context of these techniques, it could be said that we are talking about defense against striking techniques and defense against grabbing techniques. I find these techniques to be generally effective from grabs, and significantly less effective against strikes.

Like Richard I don't believe the difference between punches and grabs is all that vast, from a mechanical perspective. My preference is to spend more training time against punches since that is visually what I am most likely to encounter.

Originally posted by Nathan Scott

In other words, I think that diversions and re-directions against a trained striker (weapons or empty handed) would have minimal if any affect.

I have not found this to be the case in the dojo. However, it is sometimes difficult to encourage a trained P/K person to actually attempt to hit you. Frequently they simply pull their punches well short of the target. As for real encounters I have never stopped to ask for resumes afterwards so I don't know what if any level of skill these folks had. My preference is to always end these encounters with a fast Nike-ryu technique.

Originally posted by Nathan Scott

As for touch manipulation, this is based largely on the same considerations. If the opponent is amped up (adrenelin) and they are intent on attacking you, they may not pay much attention to a touch redirection technique. However, if an opponent is psyched out by being called up to assist a well known instructor at their seminar, and they believe that such techniques are effective, then there is a good chance that something like this would work on a pretty regular basis. Personally, I think specialty techniques have become popular from this type of atmosphere more than from combative testing.

I aggree that unfortunately we have some folks that just like to kiss up to the senior instructors and flop around like fish. This really doesn't help, makes the instructor look bad and generally piss said instructor off. However, I feel touch principles are/can be more affective than any of the other specialty principles you mentioned above. Simply put, our sense of touch is one of our most senstive and accurate senses. Furthermore we go through the majority of our life without another human being touching us, hence when we are touched it is not normal and we react to it immediately. The reaction may not be visible and it may only last a fraction of a second but we react, every single time (unless drugs are involved). Again my experience has been that the more 'amped up' a person is the better these things work.

Different experiences, different conclusions. Take care.


ps. Rich and Nathan if you really want to post like Brently you will need to learn to repeat your points 6 or 7 times each.

Nathan Scott
1st July 2003, 20:29
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Eric Joyce
1st July 2003, 21:07
Ana Maria Jauregui,

In the example you gave, just let go of the hand/wrist. That way you won't fall and get into that situation. I don't know if you were fundamentally set up or manipulated. Not being a wise guy and I hope I am understanding the thread correctly.

1st July 2003, 21:13
Off to the side rant:

While not specifically directed at you Nathan, I am starting to think that the idea of some super berserker immunity trumping everything in it’s path is becoming a bit overplayed. Like every strategy it has advantages, but there are also significant disadvantages.

Some would have us believe that if we just get ourselves worked up enough no one can do anything to stop us. I think this image of a bull in a china shop destroying everything in its path needs to be counterbalanced with that of a similar bull led by the matador’s red cape to its destruction.

Now to something specific:

"Target Replacement"
This idea is different than what I was thinking of in this thread. While effective in the context described, it does seem as though it would be difficult to do against multiple strikes...
Isn’t this just what Don did to Toby during his Expo demo (using that example ‘cause we were both there)? Took his multiple strikes - each one tying Tobs in a bigger knot - and dumped him. While Toby kept off the PCP for the demo :) I don’t think we would accuse him of being a slouch.

Óscar Recio
1st July 2003, 21:45
Missdirection of the movement by fooling the attacker perception works, i suffered myself while training with toby, and all the argument written by Rich makes a lot of sense. Of course this kind of mental and perceptive disruption doesn´t work with people blinded by fury, drugs or running berserk.
BTW...you can´t imagine HOW fine it works ´til you are being fooled by you OWN PERCEPTION and natural psychological responses to stimuli; man, you can feel really depressed and down (or fall to the mats laughing so loud ´cos you are realizing how fine it works and you are just a jerk :D :D :D)
It´s a really serious subject to talk about and study...the body and mind works with really subtle connection. As Rich said in his post...it really works.
AH, nearly forgot it: Doug, yes i think that Toby used it during part of his demo on the Aiki Expo. If you have any doubt just ask him to show some of hiw "magic tricks" during the incoming seminar in Portland. After it, and "suffering" those "tricks", e-mail me and i´ll be telling you wich Nickname my students use to adress Toby...yuk, yuk, yuk :D :D :D
Óscar :smilejapa

A. M. Jauregui
1st July 2003, 23:20
Originally posted by Eric Joyce
Ana Maria Jauregui,

In the example you gave, just let go of the hand/wrist.

Once again I will say that I pulled my clarifying example out of thin air. But must admit that it shows basic touch response, proper position and alignment, simple ploys, and the feeling of being mentally crushed. What I should have down was not write it in the first person omnipresent - “me“ recalling. Also I could have produced more of a background story. Oh well...

Anyway, Eric letting go of their limb after grabbing it was most likely not going to happen because of the touch response (coupled with timing, speed, etc.) that over whelms most and makes one grab harder. All hope is not lost - read my 2nd post for a quick answer on what can be done and the replies of others for better answers.

Eric Joyce
1st July 2003, 23:40

Sorry about that. I guess I should have.

Nathan Scott
2nd July 2003, 00:06
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A. M. Jauregui
2nd July 2003, 00:09
Aww, sorry Eric... As of late I have been coming off bitchy...

Eric Joyce
2nd July 2003, 00:14

Is the method "metsubushi" an atemi or something else. We do something as well to the eyes (I can't remember it for some reason) and I like it a lot. Very effective in keeping ukes mind busy.

Eric Joyce
2nd July 2003, 00:26
Ana quote:

Aww, sorry Eric... As of late I have been coming off bitchy...

No problem. I should have read through the posts before I spoke in haste. No harm done. Very good questions and answers nonetheless. :)

Nathan Scott
2nd July 2003, 00:36
[Post deleted by user]

Richard Elias
2nd July 2003, 04:06
Once upon a time…
Don’s teaching a seminar in the Mission district of San Francisco.
During the seminar a large man walks in through the open front door and is watching Don demonstrate. Among other things, Don has done his “wave of my hand and make his punch miss” technique.
The class starts working on a technique and Don is going around the room and teaching.
Don eventually makes his way towards the front of the dojo where the man is standing.
The man says he’s been boxing for years and tells Don he thinks he can hit him.
Don steps off the mat and tells the man he is welcome to try.

He throws a couple punches and they are easily waved away.
The man turns to us, standing near by watching this exchange, and says “well, I don’t want to hurt him”.
We say, “go ahead, try your hardest.”
The man proceeds to throw a barrage of various kinds of punches at Don at point blank range. That is, the man is close enough to hit Don without taking a full step.
Each, more determined to hit it’s target than the last.
Don deflects, distracts, and waves them away as though swatting at flies.
He never moved from the spot he is standing on.
This goes on for several minutes.
The man, try as he might, never landed a punch and eventually gave up.
Don fixes his hair, turns and walks away.

The man, breating heavily, turns to John Lovato and says “I was trying as hard as I can to hit him."
John says “yeah… funny how that works”.

I wasn’t talking about changing angles and counter striking. I was talking about making them miss when they think they are going to get the hit, and applying technique. Striking them will sometimes actually galvanize them against you. It is something they can understand and respond to. Striking might/might not be in there, but I am more interested in making them fall down. Bad guys have a lot less fight in them when they are falling down. Which, by the by, would also be my response to drunks and druggies. I worked for six years as a bouncer and never hit anyone. Just made ’em fall down and started applying control techniques as they were falling and not paying attention to what I was doing enough to resist.

The type of touch response techniques I am talking about do not require the opponent to actually notice them and give an overt reaction. They are subtle and count on them not noticing and in some cases not reacting. Like the touch on the back example I gave in my earlier post. It is what he does not do in response to being touched that matters. Most people don’t even notice the touch until it is pointed out to them, but they still respond to it by not stepping backward. There are many such touch responses that can be used to, not necessarily control the opponent in the common understanding, but control what he does as you are securing him or eliminating him as a threat.

It’s not the design (size) of the “stick”… it’s how you use it…
Don tells many stories of his cop days during the late 60’s and early 70’s. There is one where they were having trouble taking a man down who was on PCP. They were beating him with clubs, but it was no use, he wasn’t feeling anything. Don walks up and throws his club horizontally at the man’s legs and drops him. The rest of the officers proceed to dog pile him, grab hold of all his limbs and carry him away.

That last bit wasn’t on topic but Nathan’s mention of his cop friends brought it to mind and I thought I would share.

Óscar Recio
2nd July 2003, 11:25
(Clapping) (clapping) sigh...Don fixing his hair after pissing off this poor guy....:nw::nw:

2nd July 2003, 18:46
Yes Nathan, that is the thread I was referring to. Please excuse my manners for not attaching a link myself.

Rich, your stories are awesome. I love reading them. They serve to inspire people with the possibilities of reaching the outer limits of the aiki based arts, all of which seem to have a great deal in common with each other.

Eric, and Ana correct me if you weren't thinking of this possibility in the back of your mind, it is not always possible to let go of the wrist even if you had time to think about it. I've seen this with both Angier Sensei (at the expo and on video) and with Kondo Sensei (seen and felt). Its like being glued on when you grab them. I've been able to replicate this on occasion. It's quit an incredible feeling. I don't think this is what this discussion is about though. So, not knowing much about some of these more subtle and sneaky manipulations, I will go back to lurking.

A. M. Jauregui
2nd July 2003, 21:23
Originally posted by A.M. Jauregui
...letting go of their limb after grabbing it was most likely not going to happen because of the touch response (coupled with timing, speed, etc.) that over whelms most and makes one grab harder. All hope is not lost...

Brain you are right, what I should have said was that sometimes the touch response glues you to their limb. - Sorry for the overly complex *garbled* way that I stated that above. O:-)

Yes, yes, bravo Richard for the fabulous posts. :up:

2nd July 2003, 22:13
It is possible that everyone is "correct" in his or her opinion. Having spent 25 years in policing, my experience is that all things are situational or contextual.

The totally committed goal-oriented "amped-up" individual reacts both predictably, sometimes, and unpredictably, sometimes. As the Boy scouts taught me - always be prepared. I've watched my pepper spray fail, my baton cause injury without effect and muzzle blast tear gas simply make a snowman (snowperson?) of the culprit. So far only electricity (i.e., a "Tazer") has worked each time on the street.

As to metsubushi, Nathan you're correct. It is found in several others arts including hakko ryu and in my own school at the Yamanaka-ha. As described, it is used as distraction, finger whip, "blinding / hiding" technique etc.

With respect to the practice of these techniques / principles etc., it is most important that the attacker have the full intent (we call it "I") to execute the technique. At the dojo, at least one student per class will ostensibly strike me and I don't move, simply because the strike was never going to touch me anyway. The student had no "I." My experience on the street is similar. It is a twin-edged sword, the "amped-up" individual is both highly dangerous due to his or her state, but this same state can be used against him or her, especially with re-direction and kuzushi (balance breaking). A humble word of advice for these individuals - avoid the pain compliance techniques.

Hence, target replacement and touch techniques are contextual. It simply depends on all of the variables of the situation and how these are interacting with one another at the time.

As always, simply my opinion and my own experiences.

Frederick D. Smith

3rd July 2003, 18:48
If those pesky arms are waving distracting you why not attack those before going for the head/torso? In the simplest of terms defang the snake. The simplest way to gain profeciency is to practice hitting/cutting chopping/stabbing/grabbing a moving target. For me a padded steel hanging steel cross is ideal. Suspended by a belt or rope from the ceiling the action of the swinging swaying "arms of the cross' is quite livley indeed. In a short period of time you learn to readjust your attacks mid swing so to speak(shortened arce principle). And since hitting one side causes the other to come at you with equal force defense is also learned. I had a half a dozen welded up and sold /given to students and friends. One aiki practicioner who's opinion I respect very much stated that "without a doubt the cross is the best training device he has ever used". To get the idea with going through the expense of welding up pipe. Tape two 24 inch sticks together covered in foam and duct tape. Drill a hole in the end of one stick thread a rope and hang it from a beam. Total cost is about ten bucks and 20 minutes construction time.

Gregory Rogalsky

3rd July 2003, 19:02
I think both Nathan and Rich are correct. I think it is possible to "swat away" multiple committed punches, but man, you have to be really, really good (like Don Angier, obviously). It isn't so much a matter of technique (well, okay, it is) but also a matter of equilibrium of the mind, a calmness that allows someone like Angier to respond in such a way.

OTOH, as Nathan points out, many fights are really brawls. Doesn't have to be a psyched out PCP guy. Just a committed street fighter. Lots of those. When the first punch is thrown the attacker has already moved, mentally, on to the second punch. When the second punch is thrown, his mind has already moved to the third, etc. All in a matter of seconds. So you really get a flurry, or windmill, of punches flying at your head at various, and changing angles. In such a situation, many people will not be able to apply the touch response training to move in and defeat the attack. Though they have been trained, their mind may not adapt to the speed and commitment of the attacker. So maybe the person swats the first punch away and tries to counter/attack at nearly the same time. His counter punch lands but doesn't stop the attacker's second blow from landing either. And here comes the third punch, or a take-down, etc.

The point being, SOME people who are trained in this stuff can handle it (like Angier), and MANY who are trained in it can't. I know I'm far away from being able to avoid (sublimate is probably a better word) my own brawling instincts in a situation like that. I would still be more likely to fail than suceed in utilizing pure technique. My training and my instincts have yet to merge so compeletely. And I know my mind isn't there yet.

But Don Angier? Hey, I believe it.

Arman Partamian

3rd July 2003, 20:30
Arman, you make some really good points. There is a lot to be said for the unfettered mind. I would like to expand on your statement regarding the thought process of the attacker.

Just like we train (attempt to anyway) to respond to an unknown attack without thinking, the striking arts train to attack when there is an opening without thinking about how they will attack. The response comes from a reaction to the opening, not thought. In much the same way, the rest of the attacks come without thought. As Bruce Lee put it, "I do not hit, it hits." If your mind is moving on to the second attack as the first is being executed you are thinking and that makes the first and second attack ineffective. I believe it would work much the same for the defense or response to an attack.

I agree that that there are many variables at play. In general, we train to encounter these variables in a safe situation that exists within the dojo. Learning the principles of our respective arts provides us with a foundation to respond from and the training allows us to apply these principles in the face of many variables. Not all can be encountered in all dojos, hopefully most dojos.

Overall, I think the message that is pervasive throughout all posts is train and do it with integrity, not masterb... oops... well, reading the posts explains what I mean...I think.

p.s. the cross thing sounds a lot like a wooden dummy used in Wing Chun.