“And criminals try to start first – that is their raison d’etre.”-Dan D
That’s one of those mental blocks. People start first because their intent was purer and more efficient, or they were just faster on the up take. It’s similar to the various timings Miyamoto Musashi wrote about. You can be half a beat faster than the opponent, and just launch pre-emptive attacks they can’t respond to. But if they are faster and respond just as fast, then you should adopt a half beat slower timing in order to get them when they aren’t prepared. And if you are really slow, you should adopt a 1 beat or 2 beat slower timing, so you can defend and then attack. The progression is from easiest, simplest to use, most common to counter vs skilled enemies, to more complicated stuff that usually only works if the simple stuff has failed. If at all possible, the goal is to use the simplest, most energy efficient methods. If a pre-emptive attack can do the job, it’s better than waiting to defend, then attack. I call that adding unnecessary friction in warfare, and it gets people killed.
As one example, a teacher was hiding under something when one of the Kindergarten shooters came around. He came, he didn’t see a target, he left, and the person hiding saw the legs of the shooter right in front of em, before the killer left to go kill more kids. Now what made the shooter go first, wasn’t because he had a better plan than the person hiding. The shooter attacked first and killed first, because he had A plan. Everyone else had No Plan. They had no plan because society and people on the internet keep telling them the only thing they can do against murderers and psychopaths is to hide, defend themselves, and run away. While that can certainly work, because hiding saved that person’s life, it is not what I would call optimal for society or community.
The single greatest blocking point for civilians is their lack of aggression, aka their inability to throw off social conditioning and acquire killing (not defending or non harmful) intent. Withou that intent, it doesn’t matter if their bodies are trained better. Because their mind and spirit are not in harmony. A conflict between two equally armed individuals, the one with the higher intent wins. To win a conflict against an armed individual when you aren’t armed with an equal weapon or skill, requires at least equal intent, if not greater. It’s like people who think carrying a weapon gives them power, when they lack the mental focus to even look at the target when they swing the weapon. They’re looking “off to the side” because they lack the actual intent to do harm. So they miss, because that’s what they intended to do all along.
As the ancient martial artists noticed, even if the enemy is way faster than you are, you can easily wait for an opportunity and kill them. In 1 vs 1 deathmatches involving weapons and hands, this requires you to avoid, evade, distract, absorb, deflect, or block attacks to stay alive. In modern life, that’s not necessary. All you need to do is to watch someone with 1. intent and 2. resources that are used to kill civilians. You see one of those, you can act, both morally, ethically, and legally with justification. At worst, he kills a bunch of people, giving you time to jump him when he isn’t looking. If he stabs you, then if you can attack, do so. If you can’t, you don’t need to worry about it, cause you’re kind of dead. There’s no such thing as 1v1 duels in modern day mass casualty scenarios. Neither sword fights, knife fights, gun fights, or unarmed fights last as long as people think, when both sides have equal lethal intent, at the same high level. A lot of the defense skills are unnecessary for the greatest threat scenarios in existence, yet require an inordinate amount of time to train for actual use and the only time they get used a lot is for the lowest threat scenarios. IT’s far worse than Taiji Chuan’s saying about 10-30 years in the training hall before one can use it for real outside.
Generally speaking, most people train against diluted foes. So their techniques become diluted. A lot of martial artists talk about “real resistance” or “live training”, but even their standards for the highest threat scenario is manifestly far below the mass casualty, serial killer, psychopath, sociopath, drug induced berserker killer, scenarios that people should be training first for. Most of the problem is the inability to imagine what a serial killer and psychopath even is, let alone how they operate, and simulate conditions for that kind of training scenario. That problem is also why people fall prey to serial killers so much, even though technically they had the reflexes, youth, speed, and strength to defeat such weak physical specimens. It’s also because serial killers know how to pick weak prey too, there’s credit for that too.
“How it can creep in, seemingly unnoticed, into various “reality-based” systems is beyond me.”
When one trains for offense, one must discard defense, at least initially. What becomes more important is how to recognize the right timing to attack, and what attack to use, at when. The quality of the training is based upon the individuals in question and their results, which you can check for yourself. Videos are nice, but I wouldn’t use them as the final judgment of anything really.
Many of the scenario based systems, like Rory Miller’s or even Marc MacYoung’s private sessions, analyze their criticality based upon the moment when you, the civilian defender, must attack and kill/maim/cripple/harm the other human over there. If you hesitate against killers, they will kill you first. There’s no reload or respawn. And if you don’t hesitate and kill some guy playing around with you, there’s no reload or do over on that either. Most people actually don’t understand this because they cannot comprehend what the “right timing” is. In order to load that information in, normally it would take decades of training experience and several life and death encounters. To do so in a time efficient way in modern life, sacrifices in the training must be made, and the most efficient one to sacrifice is all the defenses, counters, and counters to the counters for the other counters. Training has always been a simulation and various sacrifices have been made to fit one’s particular threat environment. To do otherwise, is to engage in risky behavior. When criminals come sporting the latest MMA counter to lock A, B, C, and counter to throw C,Y,Z, then it might be different.
Well, they also don’t understand when to act because they think they can’t kill with just their hands or think someone else can’t kill them with just their hands. Training people’s minds will always come first, as such many of the old technique based systems already assumed the person knew when to use the techniques. Modern society has become a lot more complicated since then plus those techniques have been diluted in the passing. I wouldn’t necessarily assume people’s primary problem is how to use a technique well, with the right power or whatever. Their primary problem is that they don’t even know that they are in a life and death situation. Until it’s too late. Then it’s like that school with the kids.
“Where’s the “attacker”?”
If you recall, there is actually no attacker in many of the internal forms and training methods. That’s because the methods are designed to streamline the user’s intent, get rid of muddied thinking, and directly clean out the “what if” thoughts people tend to have. What if that guy attacked over here, vs over there. What if he attacked my head vs my hands. What if this, what if that. Taiji Chuan’s single whip encompasses many elements. That single principle, which encompasses both attack and defense scenarios, without requiring the user to even think much about those scenarios, is the goal. Instead of looking to see what the attacker is punching with, and then reacting based upon that, Wing Chun advocates a direct linear attack progression, always advancing, while taking care of defense in other ways. That idea, when applied by the ancients against solely melee/H2H range opponents, resulted in what they have. In modern day, adjustments must be made, but first people have to sort of re-engineer technical knowledge.
The shooter at the kid school didn’t need to worry about attackers. Because he was the only one that was actually dangerous there. Unlike a criminal, the duty bound civilian only needs to worry about criminal attackers. Criminal attackers do all kinds of stuff, most of it is unpredictable based upon the moment, but predictal at the strategic, broader, levels. Until one is training with the intent of killing criminals, one should first integrate that legal and ethical context in before worrying about simulating the actual attacker. If you give people a human to target and kill, and have the defender do “X”, then the next time they see somebody doing “X” to them, they will react with killing techniques. Even if the person doing “X” is 6 years old. Such training is olden technique based muscle memory, applicable only to the battlefield where the rules of engagement are as simple as one can get. Not appropriate to the complexities of modern life.
The reason why many fighters normally get freaked out by beginners or people from other styles (MMA included), is because beginners and other stylists, do things you don’t expect. Thus if you trained against response A, B and C, and you see XYWER, you basically just sit there trying to process new info while you get destroyed. The MMA guys that got knocked out by that guy’s karate snap kick, had the reflexes to dodge or get out of range, but they reacted incorrectly because they thought it was that “other kick”. This is where training is actually bad, because the person really should have been thinking about it more. Preferably, before the conflict itself.
One of the first things to keep in mind about training against specific “attackers” is that it is all imagined. Somebody made up that response. It’s basically arbitrary. There’s no one application to a movement. There’s no “if you see Y, do B” thing. That’s not an art. That’s just zombie robotics. An attacker attacking them, makes beginner civilians think they are in a fight. They start thinking about counters, what ifs, etc. In order to stop them from wasting their time, certain things must be adjusted in training. Whether that is effective or not, will require a specific case to be made, not a general one. The bulk of training a civilian to utilize lethal force is not physical, but mental and spiritual. The physical part is easy once their mind leads the way. Criminals are the verifiable case that it can be done, with half a brain, and no training or physical prowess whatsoever. And they didn’t always do it with knives, bats, and guns either.