Archive for June 2011

General training ideas that come to mind

June 22, 2011

Directed towards Dan of DD.

While starting the internal slow methodology training re-engineered by TFT’s instructors, I often found that it didn’t translate my real world experience that was obtained moving at full speed. All my body mechanics which I could do, including translating body weight in a lunge strike, I suddenly had issues with when the speed was at 1/10th. And the slower it got, the more problems with balance I found in my form.

When such times come, doubt must be faced head on and challenged, for true belief to result and form confidence.

“In other words, in his view your technical training will come to nought in real fighting; you will default to your genetic predisposition. I respectfully disagree with this view.”

TFT only covered the fact that basic/gross motor functions will be what you have available to you in a kill or be killed, highly adrenalized situation. And that’s what they and I train for. However, that’s mostly because they have to train neophytes and guarantee they have the material. More advanced practitioners can gain greater and greater muscle dexterity control by training while adrenalized. There are many ways to do this, mental as well as physical. There are self-hypnotic methods to increase one’s adrenaline as well, such as fighting in very high places if you are afraid of heights or just putting two people on a raised platform and have them fight, with water beneath. The “idea” of falling and drowning, is just “enough” to trigger the lizard’s survival mechianism, but not DUMPING too much into a person’s system. An adrenaline dump usually happens when a person is unaware of a threat and then the threat manifests so quickly that the person immediately goes into fight/flight/freeze instinctual behavior. If he doesn’t choose something to do, his body automatically becomes even more stressed and he’ll become even more out of control with his muscles. That’s because adrenaline is designed to increase gross motor functions like RUNNING away from predators, not “hand skills” since few humans can kill sabretooth tigers. Now or before. So natural found it pointless to increase our ability to “have hand speed coordination” when it had jack to do with our genetic survival.

By training and gaining muscle memory in this “alpha state”, a H2H user now becomes accustomed and trained to use highly advanced coordination abilities while also adrenalized. The fact that the training for such exists, also decreases adrenaline by convincing the lizard brain that the “monkey brain” has it in control and so doesn’t “need” adrenaline to survive. More control in adrenaline state and less total adrenaline dump. Sounds good to me. If Yoga can control a person’s breathing and heart rate… then it’s not that hard to control a person’s adrenaline drip system and instinctual alpha state with the right training methodology.

Not sure if I posted this link or not but check out “adrenaline” search tag at writen by Marc MacYoung and his wife. I’ve learned a lot of “stuff” I never would have concerning social violence and anti-social violence from there. I learned how to deal with asocial predators using TFT’s tactical solutions and I learned the strategy of avoidance and “stacking my deck” at MacYoung’s site.

From your site, I am absorbing many compare and contrast details of TMA, MMA, and CMA.

The brain goes first, and then the body follows. Thus randori, as I see it (meaning Jigoro Kano’s randori system), is a way to train people’s brains so that they can correctly recognize threats and respond appropriately. Adrenaline increases a person’s ability to think quickly by analyzing sensory perception, so while we don’t have super quick hand speed coordination, we do have a machine “mental state” (alpha state) at work when under adrenaline. However, if a person is confused, fast thinking in adrenaline magnifies that confusion by looping the OODA loop faster and faster, until a person simply freezes due to total inability to make a decision and act on it.

I like various drills doormen do as well, such as kinesthetic touch sensitivity in order to feel what a person is doing by touch, and not by eye sight. They also have a drill where a person faces the wall and sets of 2 people are behind him in a line. So he turns to the gauntlet and has to walk through it, pretending everything is social and normal. However, he doesn’t know which of the people on either side of him will attack, or what weapon they may have to attack him with. It’s random and he couldn’t see what was going on behind him before. So he has to learn how to handle his mental agitation, and react appropriate by using peripheral vision when a person attacks. And that person can attack at any time. When he is in front. When he passes him. When the defender has already passed him and the guy is slightly behind him. After he passes the first line, then he has to encounter the second line.

This is, I think, a very good sort of randori. Kano’s randori, I seem to recall, had a person forced to fight off everyone in a room that is surrounding him. There might be a max limit on how many can attack at once, but they can attack at any time and at any direction. This forces people to become aware of what is really going on and not just one inch in front of them with their tunnel vision.


Civilian defense vs military offense

June 22, 2011

In Reply

If it’s true it makes a mockery of the Okinawan obsession with self-defence.

The Okinawans have been conquered a few times over their history. They learned to hide their martial expertise behind folk dances and what not. I wouldn’t find it surprising that foreign visitors found no “weapons”. They wouldn’t have found any if they had looked and they had them anyways.

Sumo would definitely be more native Japanese than Karate in my view.

To defend against eye gouging, one must understand how to do it. If their view is that to defend against grappling, one must think and do things a grappler would think and do, then the same applies elsewhere. In order to do an eye gouge, one must retain muscle memory and this, under TFT, is handled using a super slow form of targeting. Every single muscle impulse is locked in, perfected, and given complete form and flow. Except at the end, where the action to penetrate the finger into the eyesocket and swirl it around, is not taken. Instead you can order the muscles to do it, and shoot your arm to the left of the actual eye socket, but you are visualizing attacking the target itself. You’re looking right at the target. You’re just moving your fingers to the side. Eye gouges and rakes are also different. Hitting from the sides, using the knuckles vs using the finger tips, using the thumb vs using the index finger, it’s all different. Most people just go with whatever they find simplest to learn. When they ignore eye gouges and “assume” they can do it or defend against it, that’s relying on luck, not skill and training. If I wanted to rely on luck, I wouldn’t need training or anything else for that matter.

Once you understand the ability of an eye gouge to do damage, NOW YOU CAN defend. Now, but not before. Regardless, instead of coming up with creative ways to defend against eye gouges, TFT just focuses 100% on accessing targets in an offensive mode. An injured human is no longer a threat. Even in the US, the jury will not be convinced that you were “defending yourself” if you struck a person multiple times or kicked em multiple times on the ground. One stand up strike that leads to the guy falling and you stomping on him again to break his collar bone because he’s still moving and a threat, can be argued off as “self defense in perception of future grievous bodily harm from the assailant”. But because no single strike guarantees incapacity, is the reason why a lot of Self Defense Civilian fields advocate running away. They can’t guarantee one strike will ensure safety and they can’t guarantee that multiple strikes won’t get you into legal hot water so… best to run away so that you don’t have to appear in court for mutual combat.

TFT’s philosophy is purely designed for situations requiring lethal force. Meaning, if you are authorized by the law to shoot and kill a person, then that’s where TFT can be employed. This is much more flexible in the US than in places like Australia. States like Georgia and the southern states south of the Bible Belt have very liberal laws concerning self defens and the use of violence. Georgia even recently made it legal for people to carry combat knives openly, so long as they are certified CCW. This is why TFt doesn’t teach the “run away” thing. Because if you shoot someone and “run away”… well, that’s semi legal. Like a hit and run. Illegal if they catch you.

Our juries, in certain states, are far more understanding of appropriate uses of violence. However, if you go to California, it’s like a maximum security prison. If you aren’t the police, and you use violence, the state is going to punish you. Just because. Doesn’t matter what your motivations were and it doesn’t even matter what American law is on the 2nd Amendment. California will not permit the use of force or violence by ANYONE other than their LEOs. That’s their de facto stance, inconsistent with the de jure rule of law. So in the US, we think of California as like a third world banana republic actually. They aren’t ruled by the junta, but by a combination of MS13 type mobs in inner cities and the LEO unions. Don’t even go to Oakland.

Fortunately TFT is like the unarmed version of concealed carry of firearms, which is allowed in the US if the person is licensed. Virginia Tech, Ft. Hood, Columbine, were all perpetrated in areas that guns were banned in, including concealed permits. For safety reasons, the soldiers of Ft. Hood are unarmed. Only the Military Police are (maybe) armed or private security contractors. No personal loaded weapon or concealed sidearm, is permitted on US bases due to bureaucratic safety rigamole about “misfires” happening. It would take a few more Ft. Hoods to change that little rule of ours. That’s why TFT is so convenient. It’s an unarmed version of concealed carry sidearm. Hence, nobody knows you have it, metal detectors can’t see it, and thus it won’t be confiscated from you.

So in that sense, Dan, TFT would fit the definition of a military H2H training program (Army combatives are designed more with PT fitness than mind than actual functinality) on par with military marksmanship, except it’s been modified to also suit the requirements of civilians.

It’s pretty simple. I don’t need to shoot someone in the head to prove that the gun is dangerous and effective. We “know” it’s effective because we have confidence in it. That’s just a judgment. Judgments are based upon information and experience, but it’s still personal judgment. Sports can test their stuff out because their stuff isn’t dangerous to begin with. It has little threat compared to a gun or knife or determined psychopathic attacker.

A big giant of a man is just as vulnerable anatomically as a weak, petite, female. There is no difference in how humans respond to injury, absent some minor variable tweaks.

I don’t need to detonate a nuke in my backyard to “test” it out. Some things are too dangerous to play around with. The only thing that matters is technical proficiency and whether the principles are correct and working or not. You can “test” technical proficiency using “tests” but those tests won’t look like anything real precisely because if it was real, people would be dead. And there goes your test subjects.

Sometimes “realism” doesn’t actually produce results. It just produces casualties and injured students.


Nice, football as physics

Vertical and horizontal momentum components in Xingy

June 22, 2011

In reply to:

Re vertical component, I agree there is some. The main issue for me is still the horizontal one. After your foot lands, much of your forward horizontal momentum is lost, hence xingyi punches land with the front foot, not after, to use this momentum (as well as any downward moment).

If the focus is on maintaining forward momentum, then there are ways to translate the force without losing it when the leading foot comes down.-Dan

Judging by the Xingyi form sequences, the stance they used gets them in range and will reflect the force from the initial upper body strike, but it’s not 100%. There’s some dissipation due to the back leg not actually being on the ground but picked up and moved forward. The dissipation comes from the target being hit, the force traveling back into the attacking body, and then pushing their back foot down unto the earth. The time it takes to push that foot down until it connects, is a time where force is not being reflected. With exact timing, that’s not usually an issue, except that exact timing isn’t as certain as some preparation work.

Video Link

From around .55 onwards.

By putting the back foot on the ground in that position, one can lower the stance at the end by using the knees and the hips to transfer more momentum forward. That isn’t done in the upward stance you demonstrated or in Xingyi because the stances are different. Instead of moving the back leg up with a quick step drag, the body continues moving forward, but into a lower stance. Done this way, you can preserve a modicum of forward momentum without having to rely on the immediate burst transition. It does mean you are not going to access the upper body’s target, but the lower body. If the strike starts from an upper body stance to the foe’s upper body, then you can only access the lower body’s target afterwards or if you are still in contact, drive the force forward and downwards at 45 degree angle. This is the vice a versa of the momentum transfer of the hand strike in Xingyi’s stance. That had mostly forward, and a little bit of vertical adding to the forward. Now with a lower stance momentum transfer, you have mostly vertical, with a little horizontal.

The video sequence shows a similar movement, that is the alternative to the xingyi opening or its start anyways. It doesn’t show the transitioning to a lower stance, because the bag goes flying. But for the purposes of visualizing what I am describing, the beginning movement to the hit of the bag, has put the body in the right position to translate more momentum forward if the stance then becomes lowered.

The lower stance transition strike from an upward stance is much more offensive minded. Instead of relying on a burst of momentum in the beginning, and then pulling the back leg up to remain in range, this is more of a displacement move to go through an opponent’s space and replace it with yours. Rather than staying in the same melee range, this is replacing bodies with bodies. It has the most effect there, because if a person is too far away, the lower stance can’t input enough applied force before the body is able to move away.

Also, instead of relying on applying all the kinetic force in the .25 seconds it takes for the strike to hit, the type of hit I showed in the video relies more upon a longer duration contact and steady application of force. Instead of 500 newtons over .25 seconds, we have 400 newtons every second, applied for 1.5 seconds. For the sake of argument, if the xingi hand strike lasts for .25 seconds to .5 seconds, it has 125 -250 impulse. Assuming I’ve used the equation correctly, my video link’s strike relies upon the same or lower momentum transfer, over a long period of time. Thus it would be 400 to 600 impulse.

In math, it’s an anti-derivative. In laymen’s speak, more impulse and applied force is generated the longer a constant force remains applied in duration to the target. If one loses the initial total impact from the foot being on the ground before the hand touches the target, momentum can still be conserved and loaded up to be used in a forward strike. The person just has to be closer and move farther, in a lower stance, and remain in contact with the target longer.

This was mainly to address the question of “If the primary concern is conserving forward momentum in a strike, what options are available to the attacker”.

Vertical and horizontal force vectors reminds me of those physics pendulum questions about how fast the pendulum is moving if gravity is pulling on it at 90 degrees or 45 degrees.

Community and Village defenses in this Age of Terror

June 21, 2011

I first watched Joanna’s Tai Chi videos at youtube when I went around looking for why Chinese Martial Art movements looked very much like the TFT movements I’ve learned to use. Her article here is worth a look. It is unfortunate that her community will no longer have such an exceptional knight errant with them any longer.


She provided me a very clear, concise, and understandable format to grasp Tai Chi principles and better aided my H2H TFT training indirectly.

Persevering while working hard vs Natural Geniuses

June 20, 2011

Which wins out?


I think you’ll find the links and answers here very thought provoking.



Reply to applied force vs visible force in TMA/MMA [Updated and Edited]

June 20, 2011

Martial arts principle and technique analysis

This is my reply:

The first video’s kick imparts much more kinetic force, but most of it is lost due to two points.

1. The human body bends and automatically moves away from strong stimuli or pain in order to prevent damage to the body. Thus the body’s automatic balancing system will take steps back when a strong force comes from the front, rather than just stand in place and then fall backwards like a fallen tree and then have the skull crushed as it hits the ground. People who’ve been basically knocked unconscious, that’s basically how they fall. The other ones that lose some consciousness or just awareness (got dizzy), tend to lose strength in their legs first (a result of hitting the jugular on the side of the neck as well) and then they just fall vertically down then horizontal. But the ones that get knocked out while on their feet, they just go with the force and fall like a log.

2. The second is I think the more important point as it is something that can be controlled for. The first point is harder to control for with respect to the requirement that you literally have to do artificial things like put someone against a wall, make him prone on the floor, or place your foot behind his foot so he can’t back away without falling into the gravity well head first, to ensure a person’s body doesn’t move away from the impact. The second point is force reflection, a concept I describe as the attacker’s ability to reflect, not absorb, the force that comes from striking a target. A strong stance is designed so that a heavy force strike will not reflect into the attacker, but everything goes into the person. Thus fist breaks concrete and the force breaks the concrete. But it would have gone into the fist if the concrete had not broken. Force follows the way of least resistance and does damage to the weaker material. Because they are kicking someone, a lot of the force is going into the human leg joints and some of it is being reflected, but much of it isn’t. Thus without correct body structure, force will not all go into the target and much of it is wasted being re-absorbed into the attacker’s body.

Duration is an important concept in improving the ability to make a strike’s kinetic force do work on the target. Often the duration of contact is not long enough. To prevent the target from dissipating the kinetic force, one must maintain contact and continue accelerating into the target area. See Point One above. The kinetic force will “push”, as you describe it, the target away, but the constant contact and acceleration will penetrate through the body tissues’ natural ability to dissipate/absorb force, exceeding its tissue connective limitations and generating injury. Or just a huge bruise and damage on the muscles if the targeting was off.

Continuing on, the total amount of force in the push kick is much greater than the shocking kick, but the greater force is not applied correctly or efficiently. The same applies in hand strikes or any strike, including joint manipulation and throws. To snap a joint, one must isolate the joint and tightly hold the lever, and then apply the force and make sure you don’t let go until the joint is destroyed. In a throw, one must obviously not lose contact with the opponent’s body too soon. An application of a principle, based off a theory, applies to one technique’s situation, but principles are the underlying engine of all applications. Thus a single principle can be applied the duration of a hand strike, a foot strike, a joint break, or a body throw. Efficiency is something that affects all of them. Efficiency will improve the performance of all of these “strikes” (yes I call all of them strikes, more or less).

To address a different subordinate subject: concerning the shock kick, what I see is a lesser concentration of kinetic force in a smaller area. The kick doesn’t extend as far as the first kick, but that means when it has contact with the target, it keeps on going using the muscle extension. That’s not nearly as powerful, objectively, as a full extension or body weight powered strike, but the duration is long enough to penetrate the force into the body. If, however, you increased the total kinetic force of the shock kick to the same as the push kick, yet retained the shock kick’s duration of contact and penetrating ability (what I would call acceleration while transfering force to target area), then the target human would still fly back. Except he would now be horribly injured in the process as he flies back. The tissues would exceed their absorption and resistance limitations and break. Bones would snap. The tissues in organs would erupt internally, leading to internal bleeding and dysfunctional organs. Depending on the target, different types of such injuries can result depending on what the kinetic force destroyed in the body. Thus the important point is not total power, but how much kinetic force can be transfered into the target area without the target absorbing/reflecting the force and without your body re-absorbing and reflecting the force of your own strike.

Alternatively, another vital part is the targeting: where it is and how large the target one is hitting. The smaller the target area, the more force is applied to the target. The larger the area, the easier it is to hit, but concurrently less effective the kinetic force becomes. Theoretically, you don’t need a huge kinetic force if you can decrease the surface area you are applying the force to. A needle doesn’t need to be Spin Kicked into a person’s arm, for example, to penetrate the skin. But you’d need some kind of car crash to penetrate your elbow through a human body. Probably not going to be good for your elbow or the unfortunate person that gets hit by your elbow.

Duration is an important aspect or application of a common principle. To apply kinetic force, one must keep that force accelerating into the target and not simply let the target move away and dissipate the force using distance/time. Human muscles can only accelerate at maximum for certain lengths of extension and timings. But the human body, aided by a gravity well, has a constant acceleration: 9.8 meters per second, per second. Or, alternatively, the human body in motion has a huge mass in motion. No muscle can continuously apply that kind of acceleration, but gravity can and will when the body is in motion. No muscle has as much mass as your full weight, so when you hit someone with your arm’s mass it is not going to be the same as hitting someone with your weight of 100-200 pounds. It’s unlikely your punching hand weighs 100 pounds.

It’s a bit of a vector calculation, since gravity is pulling you down but you’re moving horizontal, 90 degrees, to the pull of gravity. Basic physics calculates this as being partially increasing the speed of forward momentum due to gravity. Any extra that can be used to break through a target’s resistance or absorption ability, will be productive force spent well. Any extra is good, one doesn’t need a “precise” math formula to use it well. It’s good enough that one can “grasp” the concept that vertical and horizontal momentums can feed into one single strike and add to each other.

Commenting on Dan’s use of the “shock kick” to strike different targets: the kicks I was trained to do only targeted the lower body, not anything above the navel, and the solar plexus was definitely out. So were the kidneys in the back, if the target human is facing away from you. The foot to the back of the knee, that was a classic we trained in as well, but we would place most of our weight into it (in order to crush the kneecap using an application of downward force or simply dislocate the kneecap as it tries to bend but the foot is prying the knee joint itself apart and preventing it from bending correctly. We’re basically shifting into a forward stance, like a cat, with that. Or even a horse stance sideways. The point is that once the body is in motion, striking is now much more effective on human body tissue, regardless of whether it is kicking or hand attacks. Even if he moves his leg out of the way, I’ve simply fallen into a perfectly normal stance and if he is close enough, my upper body will also strike downwards as I am falling into the stance, thus making use of my kinetic force, rather than wasting it by recovering from the ground up.

The targets in your kicking video, were mostly accessed by hand strikes of that nature in my training. Balance was an important criteria, but it was more because it followed straight line projections of force application. A kick can’t go in a straight line and apply force, when the distance is too close or far, or if the body is turned one way vs another. Regularly or optimally, the lower body then gets struck by a kick stomping down and the upper body is accessible by the accelerated body powered strikes of the hand, forearm, elbow.

A body powered strike is usually seen in Taji Quan or other internal kung fu. They practice very strong stances that can resist and reflect a lot of force going in any direction. That is very useful when one’s attack power is so high when applying it to a target that it’ll actually bend your body if you lack the proper structure. This is an example of an attacker’s body re-absorbing their own force: see Number Two above. This is something that is bad. You do not want to re-absorb the force of your own blow because that means your target is getting less force applied to it. High kinetic force is of no use if one cannot force it into the target area with reflection and constant acceleration: penetration. Body tissues tend to dissipate and absorb force automatically, since a lot of it is water, true. Everything has a limit, however. Stack all the odds in your favor. Reduce the opponent’s ability to absorb or reflect the force of your strikes and eliminate your body’s tendency to re-absorb the power of your strikes.

So in retrospect, it is impressive that the guy that came to watch your dojo/training kicked the bag and it went flying up. However, unless his leg is stuck to the bag as it goes flying up, and constantly applying and accelerating the force into the bag to exceed the bag’s resistance potential, he is doing no damage to the bag and no injury to a human. The human body can take a lot of non-specific trauma without going down. It cannot take injury however and remain 100% functional.

Looking over a couple of TMAs for the past few years, I have noticed that the kind of high level skill required to increase the very tip-speed of your hands or foot to make a strike apply more kinetic energy is often the realm of “external martial arts” based upon strength, speed, conditioning, and physical ability. While the internal martial arts depends a lot more on internal structure, transitioning of kinetic force using the whole body, which includes transitioning force downwards by going from a high stance to a low stance. To that extent, I suppose the training methodology I undertook is closer to internal martial arts than external martial arts, although it was never called any of that to begin with. It took me awhile to understand why external type strikes didn’t look the same to me, when internal style movements looked almost the same as my own.


Is also a good resource on this matter. I’ve read Dan Djurdjevic’s blog recently over the past few days and he has a very good and accurate grasp on the subject matter. A few of my contacts at Yahoo!Answers (Martial Arts) concurs. I write and comment on his blog entries not because there’s much I find wrong, but simply because I enjoy the analysis of principles and techniques.

Hard work vs natural genius

June 19, 2011
I think you should read this article. I believe you will find it fascinating. It has a great analysis of training methodology to boot.

Can hard work beat natural genius?

I think the key precept is that relentless work is as rare as natural genius. That, in fact, both are as rare and as exceptional as the other.