Self Defence: Trained v Untrained

Self Defence and the Training Environment

I thought to discuss a self defence issue and fantastic post Nat had on his TDA blog.

The discussion centres around having a 'trained' fighter being attacked by an untrained fighter. Don't make the mistake that your training is going to provide you a huge unfair advantage over this kind of opponent. Nat sums it up nicely -- "One of the reasons is that it's very different, akin to dealing with a beginner in the martial arts, but one with more confidence, and that's dangerous!"

The Beginner and Self-Defence

Self Defence is an important issue for instructors as we put beginners through their first form Chon-ji. In my syllabus I teach beginners only one punch and two blocks for the most part. But the mental focus for Chon-ji has got to be one of utmost commitment and applying the limited tools with the thought to destroy whatever weapon the opponent extends at you. With this in mind, as we lunge forward, it could be the forehead that makes contact, or the knee as it slams into the side of the opponent's knee. Or the folding for the block, or the extension of the block before the strike goes out.

If you are not thinking like this, then most likely through lack of inexperience, the beginning student will stack up poorly in such a self defence encounter.

Problems with Facing a Trained Opponent

More often than not the problem centres around the environment you train in. Your opponent is and has always been trying to 'help' you learn by going slower, using 'prescribed' ways of attacking, and really is also focused on your response to his attack.

A better way is to ensure that you use prescribed ways of attack as 'uke,' but then to subtly increase speed and intensity in time. Eventually, the attack should not be telegraphed, it should be done at a good speed, and should carry with it the objective to really hit the target. If uke 'misses,' well, then they should never leave the attacking arm stuck out. Retract quickly and strike again. Note: the arm is only left stuck out in instances where you are replicating an attack with some sort of heavy or long range weapon.


Challenges of Practicing Techniques as Opposed to Using Tactics

I give you a technique and I have to pair it up with a particular attack. However, if I say your technique has to accomplish *something,* and deal with a dynamic environment, that technique and it's applications become tactics. For instance, the opening sequence of Won-hyo - morote chudan uchi uke or double augmented block followed by funky hand chambers strikes, and re-strikes ... we use that same technique on the same arm to deal with attacks from either side of the opponent. And this is how it should be. Hard stylists are not clever - don't take it the wrong way - we have something that we can use, we need to judge what is coming our way, and then we use that 'something.' What if we pre-empt 'wrongly'? Well, we still have that one 'something' to use. We've got to use it then - that's the way we improve reaction time and get the job done!

A Good Self Defence Uke 

Being a good uke is difficult. Try to be less martial-arty. Try to be objective driven. Discard your learned 'techniques.' And don't go too easy on your opponent. If you don't feel your opponent getting frustrated, you're dumbing it down. And no learning environment can be good like that.

Keep it real folks.


Violence is ... Well it is violent

Colin Wee
Joong Do Kwan Chung Sah Nim
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