BODY UNITY CONCEPTS FOR OVERALL IMPROVEMENT:
THREADING THE NINE PEARL GATES PART II
By Lt Col Al
Part I of this newsletter I discussed the importance of foot placement
regarding body unity. In Part II, I will pick up where I left off and
offer a more detailed explanation of this concept. Again, "Body Unity"
allows you to appear faster and more agile than you really are since it
ensures that all of your movement is unitized and coordinated. Thus you
are able to cut off angles of attack and penetrate people with little
or no movement. At times this type of action creates the "illusion"
that you have hardly moved at all, enabling you to move in an
economical manner by cutting off their attack with seemingly
stated in the previous newsletter, when you face an opponent
(regardless of where you position your body) you must understand that
your L stance can still be applied against an opponent from any angle
and is not something that is just limited to standing directly in front
are still striking your opponent based on where his center is in
relation to your feet, root and weapons. However--and this is
important-- while you may remain in the L stance, to the perspective of
the opponent it may appear as if you are standing in a relatively
square or parallel stance.
the next sequence of pictures I will demonstrate this principle of Body
Unity. Bare in mind that what I am presenting here is a very crude
outline of this concept and is in no way limited to what is presented.
In addition, keep in mind that what is expressed here while appearing
very mechanical is actually very fluid and dynamic and does not take
into consideration the subtle aspects of looseness and sensitivity and
their effect on Body Unity. I merely present them to open your mind to
the multitude of possibilities.
this sequence of pictures [Fig's- 1a, b and c] note that the bottom
figurers represent the corresponding foot work as you step to a new
root point. As you are attacked you can avoid their "bum rush" by
simply stepping off line at a 45º angle. In doing so it allows you to
get off line while gaining penetration all at the same time. Notice the
alignment of the feet as you step. By stepping in this manner you still
remain in a relatively strong position from which to strike. The other
pictures are self explanatory. As a final note on this, in each of
these examples it is important to understand that as you step you are
striking at the same time so that there is no wasted motion.
Fig-1b notice that sometimes you may need to box step out of the way as
you strike. In Fig-1c sometimes there is no time or room to step off
line so as you attack the attacker you want to thwart their "bum rush"
by stepping in with a drop strike. This works particularly well against
people trying to go low for your legs, allowing you to strike to the
side or back of the neck or set them up for a nasty uppercut to the
face and eyes.
Fig-2a sometimes it is necessary to box Step almost behind your
attacker as you avoid their bum rush. As you step you can still strike
with power from the side to great effect. In Fig - 2b and c you can see
that as the attacker attempts to bum rush as you step out of the way,
by stepping slightly off line you can simultaneously strike as you
step. The same applies for Fig-2c. Notice that your feet appear to be
backwards toward the attacker this is because as you step you are also
setting up your feet for your next strike. This is an important skill
especially for dealing with multiple attackers which I will cover next.
this sequence of photos Fig's- 3a, b and c, you can see that you are
now faced off against two opponents. Instead of trying to take them
both on at the same time, through proper body unity you are able to
step off line and out of the way of both attackers as they attack
[Fig-2b], striking them as you move. From there after striking one
attacker by merely box stepping around as shown in Fig-3c you are able
to strike from a completely different angle, thus thwarting their
attacks since they are placed in a situation where they are
continuously having to readjust to your movements. While this is a very
rudimentary way of describing this I present it anyway just to open
your mind to what is possible through good body unity. Obviously there
are a multitude of factors that could come in to play here but you get
the point. Also keep in mind that this does not take into consideration
what you can do with your feet by kicking as you move.
Fig-4a you can see that you are able to step off line in the L stance
at a 45º angle, only this time (shown in Fig4b) instead of box stepping
around you are going to pivot your body [as shown in Body Unity
Concepts Part I: Fig-14] and strike with the opposite hand as if
throwing out a jab strike aligning your body with your weapons. While
this may seem a peculiar thing to do, I present it to demonstrate that
even at very close range you can turn and create space or better angles
for your weapons to work from.
Basic Body Unity Footwork Exercises
order to develop good body unity (as with all of the other aspects of
Guided Chaos) you just can't get there from here unless you have a
modality of training to provide you with the proper foundation. Below
are a few basic exercises that are designed to give you that
foundation. These are the same exercises presented in the Balance Part
Feet, Box Step Over the Line, Step Over the Line, Basic Box Step Drill
and Circle Box Step - The footwork drills above are critical if one is
to develop the ability to isolate their balance around their root point
in order to step to a new point and strike with power. The arrows
represent the positions of your feet in relation to your body. Also
notice the numbers in the various box Step exercises (Switch Feet,
Basic Box Step, Box Step Over the Line and Circle Box Step). The
numbers indicate which foot should move first, however it should be
noted that the other foot should pick up immediately after the lead
foot moves. You should be able to pick the foot up easily and move it
in any direction at will. The transition should be smooth and even;
there should be no hopping to the new root point. As you progress with
this drill you will want to add kicking to develop your balance.
Points: as you step, the feet must come off of the ground; you should
never pivot or slide on the feet and there should also be no hopping
since this tends to raise your center of gravity too high causing you
to loose balance.
Multidirectional Step Drill - The Rooted Multi Directional Step Drill
is really an off- shoot of the Vacuum walk. In the figure above as you
can see it provides the general direction in which you want your foot
to move to the front, side and back. As you root over your leg you want
to keep your center of gravity over the center of your rooted foot.
Sinking your weight keeping the knee slightly bent over the rooted foot
while controlling your balance. As you become more proficient you will
want to start adding strikes as you move your foot. It should be noted
that while the diagram above represents a pattern you really want to
learn to move your foot in every direction. Start in any direction and
begin to move the foot from the center and out to one of the directions
indicated by the arrows and then back to the center then out in another
direction and so on.
Points: keep the foot flat to the ground and resist the temptation to
slide the foot on the ground; you should be able to pick the foot up
each time and place it on the ground. Start slowly and gradually
increase the speed, controlling your root over the rooted foot.
that's if for this series, I may expand on this in the future but I
felt it was necessary to get something out there to provide a better
understanding of this vital but important aspect of Guided Chaos. [Most
of the Stepping drills are covered in the Attackproof Companion DVD
Q. "Is there a difference between street self-defense and military hand to
Would the special forces be taught different exercises from
what's in your book? In regards to styles I have studied, I have
trained in Systema and now Silat, but was looking to change to JKD. What
exercises would you advise for them and is it wise to stay with one
style for more than a year or is it wiser to swap every now and again.
Lastly, what are your views on kettle bells and would they benefit your
A. I'll tackle the first part of your question then answer the rest. As for
street self defense versus military close combat, the only difference is
that in the military, because you are looking to run into the enemy, it is
actually easier since there is less ambiguity as to who the bad guys
are. Even in a guerrilla war since you're looking for the action, once
people start attacking you it's pretty obvious who needs to be taken
out, whereas with street self defense it is not always clear who the bad
guys are since they come in all shapes and sizes [The street punk? The
meth-freak? The old lady with an ice pick? Take your pick...] which is
why we have the street philosophy of "challenge no one".
I think that this is something that people continue to misunderstand and
confuses this philosophy for pacifism. Nothing could be further from the
truth. By challenging no one and not provoking an unnecessary
confrontation but remaining alert and aware, you force the bad guys to
"tip their hand" and in so doing remove all ambiguity as to
their intentions. When this happens you attack with everything you've
got and you end it right there. This is not to say that if you see
someone in danger that you don't help them, it just means that you
don't go around with your chest all puffed up looking for trouble, if
you look for trouble you'll find trouble, however if trouble finds you
it must be very clear in your mind that you are determined to end it
once and for all for whomever you may have to battle.
As for the Special Forces and what they are taught I am not at liberty to
discuss that for obvious reasons. In regards to Systema, Silat and JKD
here's the deal: no matter what you study, if they do not take into
account the utter chaos of a real fight then it is a total waste of time,
period. Understand that the principles we espouse can be applied to any
system of fighting since they deal with physics and human physiology and
not merely techniques or styles for that matter. I would do the
exercises from the book and work on learning to make whatever skills you
have learned work for real, however, be advised that as your skills grow
within the principles you will probably discover (as many people do) that
Guided Chaos is an effective art in and of itself.
Lastly, I have no problem with Kettle Bell training however, as with
weight lifting, if you are going to do it, ensure that you also focus on
working those muscles that are used for fighting [i.e., legs, shoulders,
traps, biceps and triceps]. Remember that strength, size and speed are
good regardless of what system of fighting you study so you want to
ensure that your Kettle Bell training is focused toward that end.