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BODY UNITY CONCEPTS FOR OVERALL IMPROVEMENT:
THREADING THE NINE PEARL GATES PART II

By Lt Col Al

In 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 supernatural speed.

As 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 of them.

You 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.

In 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.



In 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.

In 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.


In 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.


In 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.

 

In 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

In 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 II newsletter.

Switch 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.

Key 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.


Rooted 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.

Key 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.

Well 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 Part 2]


YOUR QUESTIONS...

Q. "Is there a difference between street self-defense and military hand to
hand combat?
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
style?"

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.

LtCol Al