Hitting Opponents With 'Invisible' Sparring Techniques

I was at SciTech over the holidays and was looking at this one exhibit that showed how a rotating drum could make stick figures within it appear to move smoothly. The science behind it is called 'persistence of motion'. Meaning the brain cannot process visual images faster than a certain frame rate, and thus the previous frame is 'melded' with the next frame and the mind provides the visual continuity for the stick figure to move.

I have used this persistence of motion theory against opponents before in order to reduce their reaction time against techniques sent against them. I have not made an exhaustive study of this, but I thought it would be cool to discuss some ways to trick an opponent to see what you want him to see.

The persistence of motion trick that I came up with was integrated with the concept of feinting. I would during the course of the sparring session send out a staple not-too-aggressive technique - for this example I would use a 'short' instep kick from the back leg. This is a good kick to check forward motion or stop a side kick. So I would do this once or twice and ensure that I'd do it a certain way, holding my arms just so that the motion would be imprinted on the opponent's mind. When I am going to throw the 'real' technique I then fire off the instep kick but drive it with vertical acceleration off the front leg. This allows me to launch the front foot as a long range roundhouse while the instep kick is still in the air coming back down. Really experienced sparring buddies of mine would swear that they felt the constriction of fear when this roundhouse kick seems to appear from nowhere flying into their faces. I've also varied the second kicking technique to use other non-basic kicks which have worked fairly well - though should only to be used in a sportive setting.

The next technique would be a hook kick to the head. Typically hook kicks are seen way before they land. My version, launched from back or front leg is performed within the shadow of the opponent's lead hand. Stoop down in front of a combative opponent and you'll see the lead hand blocks the peripheral vision in a tight vertical cone under the arm. All you've got to do is figure out how to send any kick into this shadow, and your initial movements are more or less disguised. So my hook kick would more or less appear magically at the side of the opponent's head over their shoulders - streaking toward them. It's a horrible nasty trick, but alas can only be done by adept-level kickers.

The last thing I would present is the lunge punch, a favourite of mine and something I learned from my instructor Michael Proctor Sensei. I've added to the general theory. Make sure the opponent is 'weighted' on his feet, generally by timing his bouncing and doing a kiai when he is coming down to the ground. Then launch forward but don't move your hands. All the opponent sees is something coming towards him - the static picture confuses his brain. Punch only at the absolute last second. The punch is done this way - your front hand blocks his line of sight. Your back hand 'punches' the back of your front hand. The front hand is pulled down to let the back hand pass. All the opponent sees is the fist about 4 inches from his face. This is a great gap closing strategy which can be launched nicely instead of kicks - and is DEAD EASY.


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