by Lt. Col. Ridenhour USMC

In this newsletter I will point out how you can begin the process of developing the “The Fifth Principle” of Freedom of Action or adaptability. Again training as described in Part I will serve as the foundation for developing all of the attributes [i.e., balance, looseness, sensitivity and body unity] necessary to develop spontaneous movement to deal with the ever-changing chaotic nature of a real fight.   From the basic principles one is able to develop a multitude of responses--you are not limited by them--and eventually you begin to learn to manipulate them at will. You are only limited by your imagination because as stated before, “there is no box.”


Just as the mental aspect of talent cannot be underestimated your “touch” must be developed in order to apply your skills to the fullest. Probably the best explanation of this (as illustrated in the chart below) is something that Grand Master Perkins once said to me with regard to Sensitivity development.

“Each time you touch someone there is information going back and forth between you and that person--sort of a subconscious communication. When you train you must work on becoming so sensitive that even in shades of gray you can distinguish between the specks of black and white. You must learn to ‘feel everything’ with every part of your body and not just your hands and understand what it means. This in turn will drive your actions and your Body Unity…”

Or words to that effect, again the better you are at applying the principles the more efficient and proficient you become at it.  Those who understand the subtle differences and how to use their physical attributes within their own bodies [Body Unity] will have an advantage over a more physically developed adversary. Once again this is the reason why in Guided Chaos we continue to emphasize the development of the various attributes through the principles of the art.


Here’s another way to look at this as it relates to human reaction time. The Red “Time Line” at the top represents one second in time and provides some context as to what I’m describing here.

Typical human Reaction Time [a] is approximately 150 to 300 milliseconds (or 0.15 to 0.30 seconds). Since all people generally “feel” things at the same rate of speed you want to try to react as soon as you feel something as possible as represented by the “Green” dotted line [b].  The sooner you are able to react with your entire body the harder it is for a person to keep up with your movements.

The longer it takes for you to react when you feel something [represented by the “Black” dotted line in “c”] the slower the response time. In other words it’s not so much that you have to be physically faster to defeat their movement but that your sensitivity has to be faster and your movements more efficient.

Because you can sense something tactilely faster than a person can react, your sense of touch reveals where their weapons and targets are instantaneously. This is highly efficient, deleting wasted reactions, thus saving time.

When working with people during contact flow you want to start off being very light at first, moving slowly so that you learn to “feel” everything. Remember, when you can feel them they can also feel you.  You can’t change the density or structure of your body so through your sensitivity the trick is to hide your density and structure from the other person so that it masks your intentions [i.e., movements]. This allows you to isolate around the point of contact and move without them perceiving your movements [see the Attackproof Companion Part 3   and  Guided Chaos Combat Conditioning DVDs to see this applied].  By remaining light throughout your body and not just through your hands and arms you are able to achieve the “Ghost-like” quality expounded throughout Guided Chaos.

Now, when I’m on top [Fig-2a] with my hands or arms I am just there, when I am on the bottom [Fig-2b] I am just there and so on. My touch is ultra light and my arms have almost a “floating feeling” this same thing applies even when my hands / arms are on the inside or outside of their arms or if I touch their body. At this point I am neither pushing nor pulsing [explained later]. I am neither hard nor soft, I am just “there”. My muscles with the exception of only those muscles involved in the movement are so relaxed they seem almost flaccid.

The point is by controlling my arms and remaining light to the touch, not only do I feel everything that they are doing but I can also isolate around this point and mask my intentions, thus making my body “unavailable” and my strikes “unavoidable” since he never gains a point or reference from which to counter my movement.

[Note: Do not, do not, do not, do not, do not “rest” your arms or hands on top of theirs. If you do this not only will they feel this pressure but you have now given up control of your arms, something you should never do. DON’T DO IT!!!]


“Expect the unexpected…”

--Patrick Swayze as Dalton in Roadhouse

In order to become more spontaneous and creative you must develop the proper mindset.  One of my favorite “Grade B” movies is Roadhouse, staring Patrick Swayze. It is arguably the “best – worst” movie ever made. Granted it’s not Spartacus, but from the perspective of having the proper mind set towards violence there is more truth in it than you think. In other words you must assume the right things and as “Dalton” from Roadhouse would say, “Expect the unexpected…”

In that vein what I am going to show here is but an idea of how you can develop this ability. Since the principles of Guided Chaos are rooted in physics you have to start off with the right mindset of assuming that everyone knows what you know.  If you do not take this into consideration there is no way that you can learn to do what Grand Master Perkins has described to me as “Defeating the Art Within the Art”.

The number of possibilities are virtually unlimited so I will only show a few examples Remember this is only “an idea” of what you could do based on what “you perceive” and is merely presented to help change the way you think about moving with other people when performing the contact flow exercise. 

In other words: don’t fall in love with any specific technique.  Again the truth is it isn’t like anything. It is what we want it to be when we need it, where we need it, because the fight is what it is, it is less about what you want to do versus what you have to do.

Fig – 3a: In this first sequence while flowing with your partner you feel them begin to turn. You are able to sense this because you have direct contact with their body.

Fig – 3b: As they turn instead of reacting appropriately, you attempt to “stop” their motion and apply pressure to their arm. This is unnecessary since it gives away your intention.

Fig – 3c: Since they feel this pressure they feel your intention to stop them. In this instance it causes them to fold their arm through the space that “you” have created.  However if they are stronger than you they would simply “cut through” your push.

Fig – 3d: As they fold their arm inward they collapse into you and penetrate your center with their elbow as they react to your pressure.

Fig-4a: Now let’s look at it a little differently. While flowing with your partner you feel them begin to turn.

Fig – 4b: As they turn instead of reacting inappropriately as before you are going to “feel” their energy and “allow” them to move in the direction in which they wish to move, redirecting their energy “away” from you without pushing them.

Fig – 4c: Simultaneously you are going to step out of the way so that even if they fold their arm to counter your movement you are clear of their elbow [unavailable yet unavoidable].

Fig – 4d: Now use your sensitivity as you step out of the way and slightly behind them.  As they fold and collapse their arm you have redirected their energy and they are unable to penetrate you with their elbow. However this also makes them vulnerable to your strike.

Fig – 5a: In this sequence while flowing with your partner you feel them begin to step to your right. Again you are able to sense this because you have direct contact with their body
Fig – 5b: As they step you react inappropriately by attempting to catch up to their motion and follow “behind” their movement.
Fig – 5c: However because you aren't changing your body position you can never catch up since your are now a step or two behind their motion.
Fig – 5d: As a result they strike you as they step off line on an angle while gaining penetration all in one fluid motion.

Fig –6a: Okay now let’s look at it like this. While flowing with your partner you feel them begin to step to your right
Fig – 6b: As they step, instead of reacting inappropriately by following “behind” their movement, you are going to step with your whole body with them and on an angle, cutting off their movement.
Fig – 6c: Now instead of chasing after their movement you have moved not to where they were but where they need to be. Just like when you played Cowboys and Indians when you were a kid you want to “cut them off at the pass”.  In other words you want to fight in the future.  You want to be where they don’t want you to be.
Fig – 6d: Since you have now cut them off at the pass so to speak, the end result is they in turn “run into” your strike. This is what we mean by finding the straight line in the circle or “Defeating the Art within the Art”.  In other words this is a high- level chess match.
Fig – 7a: When they move, you move. Remember to move only as little as you need to otherwise you create too much space which allows them time to catch up with your movement. This is a common problem which is why Grand Master Perkins is adamant about newer students not backing up but learning to move in or off line as they enter.
Fig – 7b: When they fold, you yield and redirect their energy or their strike away from you remaining unavailable yet unavoidable.
Fig – 7c: When they push, learn to step out of the way and let them go. Then either redirect their energy or “add” energy to their motion causing them to over commit on their movements thus causing them to take themselves out of the fight. 
Fig – 7d: Like the Matador in the bull fight, when they rush in simply step off line and cleave their heads from their bodies (provided you feel like you could die from their attack).

Fig – 8a: When you touch hands understand that just as you can feel where they are, they also can feel where you are.  In other words at this point it is anyone’s fight. It is no different than a “Medieval Joust” and he who wins is the one who is able to “strike” first. Notice I said strike first and not “move” first. This is because if you don’t hit them it doesn’t count.
Fig – 8b: If you for some reason have to “stop” them as they enter do so by striking them even if it is against their limbs. Ensure that as you do this that you penetrate while simultaneously moving off line and in (unavailable yet unavoidable).
Fig – 8c: When they fold in on you, yield and redirect their energy and remain unavailable yet unavoidable. Or, when they “yield” you step in and take their space and penetrate their center in relation to your body.
Fig – 8d: Like the Matador in the bull fight, when they rush in or push (with the perceived intent to kill you), step off line and cleave their heads from their bodies either as they pass by or, as they turn, allowing them to “run into” your strikes.  This is just like hitting baseballs or them running into a pole.  The faster they move the harder they get hit. 


I threw this in here because it needs to be said. When I make contact with people because I am light and in complete control over my movement I can now “Pulse” their body thus prompting them to respond in an inappropriate manner. Pulsing is nothing more than a technique to illicit a response from your attacker: you’re basically setting them up to fail. Just like when you attempt to set the hook on a fish when fishing, if you pull the line too hard when you get a bite you’ll pull the lure right out of the fish’s mouth, pull too slowly and the fish will “spit” the lure our. You have to learn to “set” the hook. Pulsing is no different and requires that you develop a certain “touch” in order to achieve this. This takes a lot of practice and sensitivity to pull off and years to develop, which is why Grand Master Perkins is adamant that people not attempt it until they have developed the sufficient sensitivity to not over commit when performing contact flow.  For example, I may pulse their arm now if they push back against me [Fig-9a]. It loads my spring and I move out of the way or around their arm and strike.


But, if they pull away as in Fig - 9b below because I am in control of my arm I take their space and instantly strike. Notice that because I did not move at all--I am still in the same location so because I didn’t over commit I can react faster than he can recover.


Through sensitivity you have the ability to do this and are able to take their space and enter in to strike with impunity.  Remember: once a person reacts to the pulse it takes time for them to recover and they just can’t move fast enough to change direction and counter your movement [action/reaction]. You must learn to use this pause in their reaction time to your advantage or, as Bruce Lee once said,  “…learn to hit between the beats…” In the realm of real fighting this pause in their response time is an eternity and creates the illusion that you are faster than you really are.


As a final note to all this, when I move, I am always moving to strike no matter what, even when I am “Ghosting” my movements as I enter. I never try to “block” another persons' arm per se because the act of blocking actually slows you down.

So for example in the process of striking if their arm gets in my way rather than trying to block it, I hit it out of the way as if I were striking it in an attempt to break it by clashing with it as I move in. In doing this it allows me to knock it out of the way and continue onto my next strike. This is the essence of what I do when I “Ride the Lightning”.

Also notice that in Fig – 10b after I have struck the arm that my hand is still relatively in the same place. This is because by drop striking it creates space for your strike and prevents you from over committing and getting out of position or creating too much space with your strike, thus allowing you to move to the next strike with relative ease even through the space you have just created...

At the higher levels you will begin to develop the ability to either subtly take their balance with a light touch from the slightest angle or take their balance “as you strike them”! A little harder to  do but it is something that is totally learnable. Most of the Guided Chaos 2nd Degrees especially those with exceptional balance can do this. However that perhaps will be the topic of a future newsletter.